Most webmasters report that the biggest percentage of their traffic comes from the search engines, the majority of it from Google. If your website is listed in reputable web directories, you will also notice a comparatively small percentage of traffic coming to your site from these directories. As compared to Google, it probably won’t look like much.
However, when you take a closer look, you will probably find that most of the search engine traffic that you get receive has a high bounce rate, which means that the visitors who come to your website via the search engines often leave your site as quickly as they come, and seldom look beyond the page they entered on.
How Bounce Rate Affects Your Website
Evaluating your bounce rate is a good way to determine the effectiveness of your SEO campaigns and, perhaps, of your site itself. Generally, a high bounce rate will indicate that you have a lot of wasted traffic that will simply go away from your website without buying anything or taking whatever action you hope your visitors will take. Most likely, these visitors will not return to your site.
There are a number of possible reasons for a high bounce rate. For example, there may be design or usability issues relating to your site. In some cases, a visitor might receive all of the information that he came for from the first page that he visited, but that’s unlikely.
Most often, when you are seeing a high bounce rate, it is because visitors are not finding what they expected to find. This occurs frequently when search engines return irrelevant results to searches performed.
The type of traffic that will yield the most benefit for your site is known as targeted traffic. Targeted traffic is the most likely to convert into sales. You receive targeted traffic when visitors to your site are looking for what you’ve got.
When you take a look at your site’s analytics, you can view the keywords and key phrases that are being used to find your site. This will include the top keywords that your visitors have used to find your site. It is likely that you will find that many of these keywords will have little or nothing to do with the content of your site. At times, you will find keywords that are highly irrelevant to your site’s chief topic.
This is a common cause of a high bounce rate. As people enter search terms or phrases into their web browser’s search bar, they are given pages of search engine results, many of which are not particularly helpful. When you site is included in the first page or two of the results, searchers may click on your site, quickly determine that your content is not what they were looking for, and leave.
Quite likely, other people are looking for what you have and are, instead, being directed elsewhere. Often, this is a problem with the search engine itself. At other times, it might be the searcher who is in error.
On the other hand, when people are browsing or searching a well organized web directory, as opposed to the search engine, they are far more likely to come up with sites that are relevant to what they are looking for.
Web directories will typically offer far fewer results for whatever it is that a user might be seeing, but their results are highly relevant, particularly when a user navigates to the correct category or subcategory of the topic they are seeking.
In response to a query, a search engine might deliver 50,000 results, while a web directory might have only ten sites on that topic listed, but you will seldom find ten highly relevant results on the first page of a search engine results page, and people seldom look beyond that.
Because organized web directories offer more relevant results, the visits that you receive from a web directory will have a much lower bounce rate. This is because web directories produce targeted traffic, and people who are interested in what you have are more likely to make a purchase, to subscribe, or do whatever else is is that you would like them to do.
Only ten percent of your overall traffic may come from web directories, but this will be targeted traffic. So, if your site is not listed in popular web directories, you are losing the biggest source of targeted traffic that you can get for your site.