How To Perform a Technical SEO Audit in 15 Steps

technical seo audit

We’ve all been there, whether we’ve been an SEO for weeks or decades — staring at a website, knowing there are issues slowing it down and keeping it from the top of results pages. Just looking at the site, you can tick off a few changes that need to be made: Perhaps the title tag on the homepage doesn’t follow SEO best practices, or the navigation looks like something you need both hands to maneuver.

A technical SEO audit isn’t easy; it’s a puzzle with lots of evolving pieces. The first time you face an audit, it can seem like there’s just too much to do. That’s why we’ve put together this detailed guide.

Follow these steps to run a technical audit using Semrush tools. It will help beginners, especially, who want to reference a step-by-step guide to make sure they don’t miss anything major. We’ve broken the process into 15 steps so you can check them off as you go.

When you perform a technical SEO audit, you want to check and address issues with:

Semrush’s Site Audit Tool should be a major player in your audit. With this tool, you can scan a website and receive a thorough diagnosis of your website’s health. There are other tools, including the Google Search Console, that you’ll need to use as well.

Let’s get started.

1. How To Spot and Fix Indexation and Crawlability Issues

First, we want to make sure Google and other search engines can properly crawl and index your website. This can be done by checking:

  • The Site Audit Tool
  • The robots.txt file
  • The sitemaps
  • Subdomains
  • Indexed versus submitted pages

Additionally, you’ll want to check canonical tags and the meta robots tag. You’ll find more about canonical tags in section three and meta robots in section eight.

Semrush’s Site Audit Tool

The Site Audit Tool scans your website and provides data about all the pages it’s able to crawl, including how many have issues, the number of redirects, the number of blocked pages, overall site performance, crawlability, and more. The report it generates will help you find a large number of technical SEO issues.

robots.txt

Check your robots.txt file in the root folder of the site: https://domain.com/robots.txt. You can use a validation tool online to find out if the robots.txt file is blocking pages that should be crawled. We’ll cover this file — and what to do with it — in the next section on site architecture issues.

Sitemap

Sitemaps come in two main flavors: HTML and XML.

  • An HTML sitemap is written so people can understand a site’s architecture and easily find pages.
  • An XML sitemap is specifically for search engines: It guides the spider so the search engine can crawl a website properly.

It’s important to ensure all indexable pages are submitted in the XML sitemap. If you’re experiencing crawling or indexing errors, inspect your XML sitemap to make sure it’s correct and valid.

Like the robots.txt file, you’ll likely find an XML sitemap in the root folder:

https://domain.com/sitemap.xml

If it’s not there, a browser extension can help you find it, or you can use the following Google search commands:

  • site:domain.com inurl:sitemap
  • site:domain.com filetype:xml
  • site:domain.com ext:xml

If there’s no XML sitemap, you need to create one. If the existing one has errors, you’ll need to address your site architecture. We’ll detail how to tackle sitemap issues in the next section.

To fix crawlability and indexing issues, find or create your sitemap and make sure it has been submitted to Google.

Submitting your sitemap means posting it on your website in an accessible location (not gated by a login or other page), then entering the sitemap’s URL in the Sitemaps report in Google Search Console and clicking “Submit.”

Check the Sitemap report in Google Search Console to find out if a sitemap has been submitted, when it was last read, and the status of the submission or crawl.

Your goal is for the Sitemap report to show a status of “Success.” Two other potential results, “Has errors” and “Couldn’t fetch,” indicate a problem.

Subdomains

In this step, you’re verifying your subdomains, which you can check by doing a Google search:

site:domain.com -www.

Note the subdomains and how many indexed pages exist for each subdomain. You want to check to see if any pages are exact duplicates or overly similar to your main domain. This step also allows you to see if there are any subdomains that shouldn’t be indexed.

Indexed Versus Submitted Pages

In the Google search bar, enter:

site:domain.com

or

site:www.domain.com

In this step, you’re making sure the number of indexed pages is close to the number of submitted pages in the sitemap.

What To Do with What You Find

The issues and errors you find when you check for crawlability and indexability can be put into one of two categories, depending on your skill level:

  • Issues you can fix on your own
  • Issues a developer or system administrator will need to help you fix

A number of the issues you can fix, especially those related to site architecture, are explained below. Consider the following two guides for more in-depth information:

genesis-2-1

  • Site Structure

    Site structure is how a website is organized. “A good site structure groups content and makes pages easy to reach in as few clicks as possible.” It’s logical and easily expanded as the website grows. Six signs of a well-planned and structured website:

    • It takes only a few clicks (ideally three) for a user to find the page they want from the homepage.
    • Navigation menus make sense and improve the user experience.
    • Pages and content are grouped topically and in a logical way.
    • URL structures are consistent.
    • Each page shows breadcrumbs. You have a few types of breadcrumbs to choose from, but the point is to help website users see how they’ve navigated to the page they’re on.
    • Internal links help users make their way through the site in an organic way.

    It’s harder to navigate a site with messy architecture. Conversely, when a website is structured well and uses the elements listed above, both your users and SEO efforts benefit.

    Site Hierarchy

    When it takes 15 clicks to reach a page from the homepage, your site’s hierarchy is too deep. Search engines consider pages deeper in the hierarchy to be less important or relevant.

    Conduct an analysis to regroup pages based on keywords and try to flatten the hierarchy. Making these types of changes will likely change URLs and their structures and may also affect the navigation menus to reflect new top-level categories.Read more…..

A.J. Ghergich

By: A.J. Ghergich

Source: How To Perform a Technical SEO Audit in 15 Steps

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This tutorial goes through a full SEO audit using Ahrefs’ Site Audit tool. The example website is a VERY popular website where we find and analyze thousands of technical SEO issues. Try Ahrefs’ Site Audit tool ► https://ahrefs.com/site-audit More specifically, you’ll learn: » how to conduct a website audit for over 100 SEO errors, warnings, and notices » how to analyze your website’s SEO health » how to read through Ahrefs’ SEO audit reports. » a simple workflow to correct your website’s issues. » how to automate your audits and monitor it over time.
Technical SEO is one of the rare things in search engine optimization that you have full control over. And it’s something that you shouldn’t ignore as it could prevent your website from reaching its full ranking potential in organic search. Timestamps: 0:41 Create a project in Ahrefs’ Site Audit tool and run the crawl 4:30 Analyze your website’s SEO health 7:17 Look through your meta descriptions and titles 7:33 Handle the duplicates on your site 9:22 Use this workflow to correct your website’s issues Be sure to subscribe for more actionable tutorials on the Ahrefs channel. https://www.youtube.com/AhrefsCom?sub… STAY TUNED: Ahrefs ► https://ahrefs.com/ YouTube ► https://www.youtube.com/AhrefsCom?sub… Facebook ►https://www.facebook.com/Ahrefs Twitter ►https://twitter.com/ahrefs Google+ ►https://plus.google.com/+AhrefsCom/posts
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The Importance Of Audit In The Evolving Financial Reporting Ecosystem

The debate about responsible financial reporting has not been sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the future of audit—and how it should adapt to changing stakeholder demands—has only grown in importance as financial reporting ecosystem participants consider how to deliver reporting that provides the insights for businesses and investors to recover and thrive.

To inform this debate and understand the value placed on financial statement audits, Deloitte Global surveyed 351 C-suite, finance and audit committee executives, investors, shareholders, and board members across nine countries from a broad spectrum of companies. The survey, which was conducted in April/May 2020, at the height of the initial global response to COVID-19, shows that even within the economic turmoil of the pandemic, market participants place great value on audits and the assurance that they provide.

Audit remains essential

The survey results underscore the fact that audit is an integral part of the financial reporting ecosystem, which includes management, boards and those charged with governance, regulators, standard setters, auditors, and investors, each having an important role to play. Ninety-eight percent of respondents agree that an audit of a company’s financial statements allows them to trust and rely on the financial statements to some degree (31% agree completely, 62% agree strongly, 5% agree somewhat).

There continues to be differing views about the perceived scope and purpose of audit. While today’s complex business environment requires the audit to be dynamic, multidimensional, and insightful in order to meet changing needs and expectations, there has been a growing demand for audits to evolve and provide real-time, relevant information, and companies expect audits to keep pace as they innovate their businesses and processes.

Auditing firms are responding to these demands to modernize the audit. These advancements seem to have made an impact, as 94% of respondents said that they are more confident in their financial statement audit process than they were five years ago, with nearly one-third (32%) answering that they are much more confident. Although great progress has been made, with increasing complexity, risk, and expectations, there is still more to do.

Expanding audit

Ninety-two percent of respondents seek a more holistic view of the direction their organization is heading from their audits. When asked which business areas they would like their audit to include in the future, they were equally split among the following areas—corporate culture, sustainability practices, ethical standards and practices, social responsibility practices, corporate purpose, and cyber risk.

When asked specifically about financial statement audits, 95% of those surveyed said that a financial statement audit should provide additional value beyond providing an independent auditor’s report on the historical financial information. These findings suggest that a financial statement audit should inform as well as assure, extending its scope to areas of broader public interest, not solely historic financial statements.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%) believe financial statement audits are designed to provide assurance that any fraud will be detected by the auditors. However, in its current form, an audit is not designed to provide these absolute assurances indicating there is a misunderstanding about what an audit is designed to do. The auditor’s responsibilities in relation to detecting fraud is an area of continued focus in adapting the scope of the audit and requires the constructive, integrated evolution of standards.

Fraud risk is not new, but recent corporate failures have increased the focus. This is emphasizing the responsibilities of management boards, regulators, and auditors. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant operational and financial pressures on many companies and may have led to changes or weaknesses in their internal controls.

Transparency expectations

Technological disruption, rapid market changes, and recent events have also highlighted the desire for greater transparency and breadth in reporting. A majority (65%) of executives surveyed cited greater visibility and transparency around the process and outcomes of the audit as a way to address these expectations.

Further, we see much greater interest in sustainability by a range of stakeholders. Over the past years, issues such as ESG (environmental, social and governance) performance have moved from being a fringe interest to a key factor in investment decisions.

Auditing firms are actively engaging with policymakers in evolving the scope of the audit—taking a critical look at the auditor’s role within the financial reporting ecosystem and how greater transparency can drive more meaningful financial reporting.

A financial reporting ecosystem fit for the future

As expectations evolve, it is clear that the entire financial reporting ecosystem will need to continue to adapt as an integrated whole. All players across the ecosystem have a collective responsibility to serve the public interest. More forward-looking reporting, covering both financial and non-financial matters, such as climate and ethics, is an important step in this evolution. Ultimately any changes implemented need to drive responsible business behaviors, improve clarity and transparency of relevant reporting, and provide stakeholders with more meaningful information to equip them to take informed decisions.

The auditor is critical, but only one part of the financial reporting ecosystem— continued constructive collaboration is needed to drive further change.

Jean-Marc Mickeler

Jean-Marc Mickeler

Jean-Marc Mickeler is the Deloitte Global Audit & Assurance Business Leader. He started his career at Deloitte in 1994, overseeing the audit of several major international banks. Jean-Marc holds an MSc in Management from Amiens Business School. He is a registered Statutory Auditor and an ACPR registered auditor. Jean-Marc has also served as the Chairman of the Professional Club Control Commission of the DNCG (Professional Football League) since 2017.

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Edspira 172K subscribers Auditing provides credibility to companies’ financial information and is therefore essential to the functioning of capital markets. If you’re thinking of purchasing a business, buying shares of stock in a company, or lending money to a company, you need to know that the numbers in the company’s financial statements are legitimate. Auditors create value by serving as an independent, third party that rigorously examine management’s assertions in the financial statements and let you know whether these assertations can be trusted. If investors and creditors have no way of knowing whether they can trust companies’ financial information, they will be hesitant to invest or lend money to firms – this would cause markets to grind to a halt.

SUBSCRIBE FOR A FREE 53-PAGE GUIDE TO THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS & OTHER FREE GUIDES * http://eepurl.com/dIaa5z — MICHAEL’S STORY * https://www.edspira.com/about/ — LISTEN TO THE SCHEME PODCAST * Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast… * Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/4WaNTqV… * Website: https://www.edspira.com/podcast-2/ — CONNECT WITH EDSPIRA * Website: https://www.edspira.com * Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edspiradotcom * LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/edspira * Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Edspira * Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/edspira *TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@edspira — CONNECT WITH MICHAEL * LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/prof-mich… * Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Prof_McLaughlin * Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/prof_mclaug… * Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/prof_mcl… *TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@prof_mclaughlin — HIRE MCLAUGHLIN CPA * Website: http://www.MichaelMcLaughlin.com/hire-me

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Building Resilience: The Importance Of Audit During Times Of Disruption

The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the existing challenges facing businesses and exposed new risks that must be addressed. To better understand these challenges, Deloitte Global conducted a survey of 351 respondents from around the world in April and May 2020, at the height of the initial global COVID-19 lockdown.

Through this survey, we sought to better understand the value that c-suite, finance and audit committee executives, investors, shareholders, and board members place on audit as a result of COVID-19.

The results unveil some of the most pressing COVID-19 concerns, many of which are still relevant today, as well as executives’ changing perceptions about the role of auditors in approaching these challenges.

The importance of assessing risk

Deloitte’s survey reveals respondents were seeking insights that could help them assess the risk presented by COVID-19 or similar “black swan events.” In fact, 90% of executives in our survey felt that management could benefit by taking a page from the auditor’s playbook in assessing risks from such events. For example, adhering to sound internal controls principles and practices, employing robust systems of quality control, and entrenching a culture of ethics and integrity can go a long way to helping an organization remain resilient in times of crisis.

Businesses that seek to understand the long-term impacts of the crisis on their operating models are more likely to find new ways to quickly adapt to the post-COVID-19 world. To navigate this emerging environment, all participants in the financial reporting ecosystem from companies and boards to regulators, auditors, and investors, will need to continue to participate in regular and transparent engagement.

Successful businesses will find opportunities to learn from the COVID-19 crisis and use their experiences to prepare for future disruptive events. For example, some companies—Deloitte included—are leveraging their cloud infrastructure and investments in innovative collaboration tools as well as virtual learning.

Addressing resiliency concerns

While the pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the ways some businesses operate, it’s also ushered in a new reality of virtual working. Driving a reliance on digital technology and collaboration tools has left many executives concerned about the long-term efficacy of their pre-COVID-19 business strategies. When asked about the resilience of their companies during COVID-19, the two largest concerns for respondents were viability of their business models (e.g., impacts on infrastructure, logistics, technologies, ongoing operations, and go-to market strategies) (57%) and accounting and financial reporting issues (54%).

When viewed by geography, respondent concerns shifted somewhat. Brazil, France, India, and the US rated business model concerns the highest. European respondents in general showed greater concern for the health and well-being of their employees (49%), and Asia Pacific respondents’ had the greatest concern for customer relationships and future demand (49%).

The pandemic has impacted industries in different ways, and the results reflected these differences in executives’ concern by sector.

For example, consumer products companies cited financial resilience (capital stability and liquidity) and liquidity as their top concern (64%), while companies in the financial services industry were most concerned with the brand and reputation of their businesses (55%).

Evolving the financial reporting ecosystem

The economic and health crisis resulting from the pandemic has also caused the process of financial reporting to be far more challenging than before. Professionals must now deal with travel restrictions which prevent routine in- person meetings and activities, market volatility that impacts estimates and valuations, challenges of cross-border data sharing, and complex tax implications of work-from-home mandates.

It is therefore unsurprising that 54% of executives shared that navigating accounting and financial reporting issues was a top concern—this was an especially common concern among investors. They are seeking objective insight about systems of control and quality that informs guidance in difficult decisions relating to forecasts, estimates, and other judgments related to valuations and complex accounting treatments.

Infographic: Covid-19 concerns
Deloitte Global

When asked what actions their businesses were planning to take to respond to COVID-19 challenges, 63% of executives said they were focusing on communications with investors and stakeholders on business challenges and impacts. This response amplifies the positive potential impact that constructive engagement throughout the financial reporting ecosystem could have on markets.

Many regulators have acknowledged the uncertainties created by COVID-19 and emphasized the need for high-quality reporting that includes the transparent disclosure of new risks and assumptions made. These comments have provided some assurance for reporters and users of financial statements alike, and more regulator input will go a long way in reinforcing trust and reliability.

Access to timely, transparent, meaningful data and insights to inform financial reporting and associated disclosures remains critical. It enables stakeholders— investors, employees, suppliers, governments, and regulators—to identify which companies have so-far mitigated the disruptive effects of the pandemic.

Looking forward

As businesses continue to adjust to the new normal, understanding the long-term effects of the pandemic and what actions we all need to take is critical. COVID-19 has revealed just how disruptive events can be on “business as usual” and emphasized the need for future planning. With threats like climate change ramping up there is a lot to be considered and planned for. Further, the pandemic has brought into sharper focus the need for transparent and reliable information beyond historical financial statements.

Doing business has been forever changed, including how auditors operate. It is clear that the auditing profession has an important role to play in advancing economic recovery. This is why the conversation around the future of audit is so critical at this moment in time.

Jean-Marc Mickeler

Jean-Marc Mickeler

Jean-Marc Mickeler is the Deloitte Global Audit & Assurance Business Leader. He started his career at Deloitte in 1994, overseeing the audit of several major international banks. Jean-Marc holds an MSc in Management from Amiens Business School. He is a registered Statutory Auditor and an ACPR registered auditor. Jean-Marc has also served as the Chairman of the Professional Club Control Commission of the DNCG (Professional Football League) since 2017.

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Harnessing Innovative Technologies To Advance Audit Quality – Panos Kakoullis

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Businesses today operate in a dynamic, fast-moving, digitally enabled, and fiercely competitive global economy. To respond, organizations must constantly adapt – and so must their auditors, by incorporating innovative technologies to continuously address and identify emerging risks in markets characterized by perpetual transition. Ground breaking technologies are significantly enhancing audit quality by arming auditors with innovative tools to solve big problems— such as how to acquire robust and complete data in a repeatable fashion. Technology is enabling auditors to process, organize, and evaluate data at a faster pace than ever before………

 

 

 

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Bounce Rate Analytics: How to Measure, Assess, and Audit to Increase Conversions

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Your bounce rate can be such a scary number, right?It’s common knowledge that a high bounce rate is bad and a low rate is good.Every time you log into your Google Analytics account, it’s right there waiting for you.

I understand the feeling when you see that number creeping up.But the problem is that numbers can be misleading.After all, how high is really too high?In this post, I’m going to show you how you can fully measure and assess your bounce rate. That way, you’ll know if it’s actually too high for your industry or if it’s perfectly normal.

I’ll share tips and tricks on how to audit your bounce rate and understand what’s driving it up.I’ll also tell you some of my secrets for lowering your bounce rate.But first, let’s talk about exactly what a bounce rate is and why you should care.

What is a bounce rate and why does it matter?

A “bounce” occurs when someone visits your website and leaves without interacting further with your site. Your bounce rate shows you the percentage of your visitors who bounce off of your site.

By default, Google Analytics considers a visitor to have interacted with your site if they visited at least one additional page.

The bounce rate you see in your overview report on Google Analytics is your site-wide bounce rate.

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It’s the average number of bounces across all of your pages divided by the total number of visits across all of those pages within the same period.

You can also track the bounce rate of a single page or a segment or section of your site.

I’ll show you how once we start looking at the different segment reports.

The bounce rate of a single page is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the total number of bounces divided by the total number of visits on a page.

If you run an e-commerce site that also has a blog, you may want to implement a segmented bounce rate.

Why?

Your blog posts may have a very different average bounce rate than your product pages.

We’ll get into the exact details later, but segmenting the two can make your numbers more meaningful when you’re looking at the data.

So, why is bounce rate important?

According to SEMrush, bounce rate is the 4th most important ranking factor on SERPs.

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However, according to Search Engine Journal, Google does not use bounce rate in its algorithm metrics.

Can they both be right?

Yes, and I’ll tell you why.

Google’s algorithm may not directly take bounce rate into account, but what it signifies is very important to it.

As of 2016, RankBrain was the third-most important ranking factor of Google’s algorithm.

If you’re not familiar with RankBrain, its main purpose is to improve search results for users by better understanding their search intent.

If a user clicks on your page and leaves without any interaction, that could signal to RankBrain that your site isn’t what they’re looking for.

It makes it look like your result doesn’t match the searcher intent well. As a result, RankBrain says, “Maybe this page shouldn’t be so high in the results.”

Can you see how these connect?

If you understand bounce rate properly, it can tell you if your marketing strategy is effective and if your visitors are engaging with your content.

The key is to understand what your “target” is and break down your bounce rate in a way that provides meaning.

What bounce rate is good?

Many different variables determine what a “good” bounce rate is.

Things like your business type, industry, country, and the types of devices your visitors are using all influence what a good average would be for your site.

For instance, Brafton found that the average bounce rate is 58.18%. However, their research shows that bounce rates are higher for B2B businesses than B2C businesses.

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These 2017 benchmarks show a wide range of average bounce rates across industries:

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If you’re still unsure about the bounce rate you should be targeting, Google Analytics can help you figure it out.

Google Analytics gives you a quick visualization of the average bounce rate for what it believes is your industry. It does this by benchmarking.

First, you need to set up benchmarking in Google Analytics.

Under the admin section, click on “Account Settings” and then check the “Benchmarking” box.

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Now you can compare industry averages.

Just navigate to your behavior reports. Click on “Site Content” and then “Landing Pages.”

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You’ll immediately see the average, site-wide bounce rate.

Of course, a site-wide average can be too broad to be a valuable benchmark.

You can drill down further to view section-specific bounce rates.

With either the Content Drilldown Report or the advanced filter feature, you can see the average bounce rates for sections of your site.

For example, now you can compare the industry average for just your blog or product pages.

In the “Audience” section of Google Analytics, go under “Behavior” then “Benchmarking.” Then, select “Channels.”

Now you can choose your vertical and compare whichever time period you want to review.

This should give you a better idea of your website’s bounce rate performance compared to the average by channel.

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The chart above compares your channel bounce rate against other Google Analytics accounts or properties in your industry.

If you want to look deeper, you can do so by going into “Acquisition,” then “All Traffic,” and then “Channels.”

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Then click the “Comparison” button on the right and filter by “Bounce Rate” to see which channels are above or below average.

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You can then dig even deeper into each one for further analysis.

Ultimately, a “good” bounce rate will be different for every site. It may even be different for every page on your site.

I suggest that you simply focus on your bounce rate trends over time and how you can improve the highest ones to boost conversions.

The focus should be on using this metric to find weaknesses in your site. Don’t worry about hitting a magic number.

Now, let’s look at how you can improve your bounce rates.

Modifying bounce rates

Your site-wide bounce rate is too broad to be anything but a vanity metric.

It’s too shallow to provide meaning.

To measure and assess your bounce rate, you need to narrow it down and group it by different variables.

You won’t be able to start lowering your bounce rate until you really understand what’s causing it to be high.

There are a couple of ways that you can modify the bounce rate metric you see in Google Analytics.

As I already mentioned above, the first way is by segmenting your bounce rate.

You can create all sorts of different segments in Google Analytics to better analyze your bounce rate. You can even create custom variables.

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We’ll look at nine different segment options that will help you assess and improve your bounce rate.

Segment by age

There are plenty of different demographics that Google Analytics tracks, which allows you to better segment and analyze your site traffic.

One of these is the age range of your visitors.

To look at bounce rate by age range, look under “Audience” and then “Demographics” on the left-hand sidebar. Then, click the “Age” option.

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The resulting report should look something like this.

google analytics age breakdown 2

Now you can easily see if your bounce rate is higher with a certain age range.

You can see in the example above that seniors (65+) have a much higher rate than the rest of this site’s visitors.

If seniors are part of your ideal target market, make sure that you structure your web pages properly for marketing to them.

For example, avoid using jargon, trendy language, and slang.

Segment by gender

The “Gender” option is just below “Age” on that left-hand menu.

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This report tells you your bounce rate for males and females.

Google analytics gender breakdown 1

You can now easily see if your site is better at retaining one gender over the other.

Gender targeting with tactics such as different language and colors can impact viewing and purchasing behavior.

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If you have a higher bounce rate with one gender, make sure you’re not accidentally creating the perception that you’re only targeting the other sex.

Segment by affinity

The next option in the “Audience” section is under “Interests” and then “Affinity Categories.”

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This groups bounce rate based on visitor interests.

google analytics affinity reports 1

Check out which affinity categories have the highest bounce rates to see if you’re losing out on key marketing groups.

You can see in the example above that this site is engaging best with business professionals and shutterbugs.

Engagement with music lovers, movie lovers, and green living enthusiasts is the poorest.

This knowledge can now help you better target those groups with your imagery and content.

Segment by location

Still in “Audience,” just under “Interests,” you’ll find the “Geo” section. Within that, you can click on “Location” for another segment report.

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First, you’ll see a color-coded map that shows you where most of your visitors come from.

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Below that, you’ll see the table version breaking down your visitors by geographic region.

google analytics geographic breakdown 2

This gives you your bounce rate by country.

In the example above, you can see that Australia and the UK have much higher bounce rates than the other countries.

You can drill further into it to see if there are certain provinces that are engaging worse than others. Then, you can adapt your marketing strategy to target areas where you want to see improvement.

Segment for new visitors

A good segment to check out is the “New Vs. Returning” breakdown. It’s also in the “Audience” section under “Behavior.”

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Now you can see if your new visitors are bouncing at a higher rate than your returning visitors.

google analytics new vs returning user

I would expect your new visitors to have a higher rate.

So, to get more value out of this segment, you can view the acquisition source as a secondary dimension.

Just click on the “Secondary Dimension” drop-down list at the top of the table and select “Source” from the list that appears below.

We’ll talk more about acquisition in a minute.

Segment by browser

The browser breakdown report is a good way to see if you have any technical issues that are causing your visitors to bounce.

In the “Audience” section under “Technology,” select “Browser & OS.”

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The report should look like this:

google analytics broswer breakdown

If one browser has a higher bounce rate than the others, that might indicate that you haven’t configured your site well for that browser.

You also need to consider versions of browsers. For example, don’t just check Internet Explorer. Check across versions 8.0, 9.0, and 11.0.

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If one has a noticeably higher bounce rate, your site might have bugs or UX issues with that browser.

Even if it’s an outdated browser, you will want to fix the issue if the browser is still bringing you traffic.

Segment by device

Underneath the “Technology” section, you can find the “Mobile” section. Select “Overview” to see your bounce rate across devices.

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This will give you a bounce rate comparison between desktop, mobile, and tablet.

google analytics mobile devices breakdown

If you find out that your bounce rate is significantly higher on mobile or tablet, it may indicate that you haven’t properly optimized your site for those devices.

You can also view the “Devices” report. This further breaks it down by mobile brand and operating system.

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If you find, for example, that Apple users are bouncing at a higher rate than Android users, you might have some design issues.

Pay attention to individual device models as well.

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Focus on trends and device release dates. For example, you might discover that your bounce rate is fine for Apple devices in general, but it’s too high for the latest models.

This may indicate that your website isn’t compatible with the newest Apple OS.

Segment by acquisition

Now, let’s look at segmentation by acquisition rather than by audience.

Go to “Acquisition,” then “All Traffic,” and then “Source/Medium” in the left-hand menu.

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The table at the bottom of your screen should look like this.

google analytics traffic source

It will show you a breakdown of where all of your traffic is coming from and the associated bounce rates.

Take a look at the sources that have the highest bounce rates to see if there’s a trend.

Here’s an example where you can see that the paid advertising campaigns have a much higher bounce rate:

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Either your advertising targeting is too broad, or your landing pages are not lining up very well with your ads, resulting in a higher bounce rate.

Segment by landing page

The final option we’ll discuss is segmentation by landing pages.

In the left-hand menu under “Behavior,” click on “Site Content” and then “Landing Pages.”

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The resulting table shows you a breakdown of your landing pages and their average bounce rates.

You might find that one page has a much higher bounce rate than the others.

Visit that page and look for any design problems or issues that might be making it less effective than the others.

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Make sure you haven’t forgotten any key steps to optimize your landing pages for conversions.

Now that you know the different ways that you can segment your site traffic, I’ll show you how you can create adjusted bounce rates.

You can adjust what Google Analytics considers an interaction. This will directly impact your bounce rate.

For example, you might feel that a visitor has interacted on your site if they watched a video.

In Google Analytics, you have the option to set an event like playing a video, clicking a button, or completing a download as an interaction.

Then, users who complete these “events” will no longer count toward your bounce rate.

However, you need to careful with this. Make sure that automated events don’t skew your results.

If you’ve set up your videos to play automatically, you need don’t want to count video views as interactions.

The simple way to modify how Google records interactions is by sending events into your Google Analytics that tell you when a user spends a certain amount of time on a page, scrolls through a certain percentage of a page, or sees a specific element a the page.

You can send events from Google Tag Manager:

1. Adjust your bounce rate through scroll percentage events

The “Scroll Depth” trigger allows you to create custom events based on how far a visitor scrolls down a page.

First, you need to create a new tag.

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Then, name your tag, select “Universal Analytics” for tag type and choose “Event” for the track type.

Next, you need to type in the event category and event action.

To get the action, simply click the small plus sign beside the field and select “Page Path.”

For the event label, pick “Scroll Depth Threshold.”

If you don’t see this option available, go to your “Built-In Variables” screen and enable the scrolling variables:

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Now, select “Non-interaction Event” as “False,” and add in your UA tracking ID .

If you’ve completed all of those fields, it should look like this:

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For this tag, I recommend setting the scroll to 75% of the page. That means that Google will consider a visitor to have interacted on your site if they scroll 75% of the way through the page.

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Make sure you’ve selected “Scroll Depth” as the trigger type. Then, in percentages, put down “75 percent”.

Once done, you can save, preview, debug, and then publish.

2. Adjust your bounce rate through the timer function

You can also decide that Google should consider a visitor to have interacted on a page if they spend a minimum amount of time on it.

Create a new tag and give it a name, such as “UA — Adjusted Bounce Rate — Timer.”

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You can choose the length of time that you want to start with. I suggest trying 30 seconds.

To do this, add a new trigger and name it “Timer — 30 seconds”.

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The interval is in milliseconds. So, for 30 seconds, you need to put enter “30000.”

Select a limit of one. Then, in the conditions section, set it for “Page URL matches RegEx*.”

This will make it so that Google Analytics includes all of your pages in the tracking.

Make sure you save, preview, and debug before publishing.

Other methods for decreasing bounce rate

Here are some more ways to see where visitors are bouncing and how you can use that information to boost conversions.

Review top exit pages

Another report you should check out is your top exit page report.

You can find it right below the landing pages report in the left-hand menu.

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This report will show you which pages people most often abandon your website from.

Take a look at your top traffic pages and compare your bounce rate and your exit rate.

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This will show you who’s landing directly on that page and bouncing versus who’s arriving there from an internal link and exiting.

It can help you narrow down where you should spend your time testing and making improvements on your site.

Review in-page analytics

Another great report within Google Analytics is the in-page analytics report.

This is only available now via a Chrome plugin, but it is still very useful.

As you can see below, the report allows you to see the click-through rate for every link on a web page. Page Analytics by Google

This is a great way to evaluate a landing page, but it can be useful for any content on your site, including your homepage.

It will allow you to see which links in your content people are clicking on and which ones they skip right over.

This will help you determine which anchor texts you should reword or which calls-to-action you need to improve.

View Page Timings

Your pages may have high abandonment because they’re too slow.

You can check this with the Page Timings report.

In the “Behavior” section of the left-hand menu, click “Site Speed” and then “Page Timings.”

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The report will tell you how fast each page on your site is loading.

google analytics site speed

You can sort by number of page views and average page speed. That way, you can start improving your pages with the highest traffic yet slowest load times first.

It also shows you your overall site average speed.

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In light of Google’s Speed Update that’s coming in July, site speed is becoming increasingly important. But even apart from that, it’s critical for improving bounce rates.

For example, the average page speed above means that our bounce rate is 123% higher than it could be.

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Google Analytics Site Speed reports

You can check out the other Site Speed reports for further analysis and options for improving your site speed.

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The Speed Suggestions report will not only indicate potential issues but also give you useful advice on how to resolve them, such as prioritizing visible content.

Utilize A/B testing

Throughout all of these report checks, you are hopefully pinpointing some specific areas you need to target for improvements.

It’s difficult to guarantee which changes will improve your bounce rate the most.

For instance, you may have identified a weak landing page. But what do you need to do to improve it?

Do you need to make it longer? Do you need a different call-to-action? What will increase your conversion rate?

A/B testing is a great way to test your improvement strategies.

It allows you to test things like different call-to-action wording, different landing page designs, and different target audiences.

A/B testing will make it easy to see what’s working and what isn’t since it allows you to show one version of your website to half of your visitors and another version to the other half.

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Just make sure you set a clear goal for your testing and follow the correct steps.

To better understand your A/B test results, you can also use a significance calculator.

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Make your pages easy to read

It’s easy to forget such a simple aspect of your pages, but readability is important.

There are lots of free tools that allow you to check the readability of your content and your website like the Yoast plugin for WordPress.

Be mindful of your font size and type, your sentence and paragraph length, and the amount of white space on the page.

Use subheadings and break your content up into chunks.

Also, consider other elements on your page that might be distracting like your color choices and ad placements.

Include clear CTAs and consider their placements

A great way to get people to engage and convert is by using compelling calls-to-action.

A call-to-action should compel someone to do something such as sign up for a newsletter or purchase a product.

There are many ways to improve your call-to-action buttons. Consider your copy, color, button size, placement on the page, and so much more.

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Apple suggests making sure that all CTA buttons are at least 44 pixels tall.

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Use videos and images to engage your audience

Humans are visual creatures.

We love imagery. We also retain it better.

If you hear something or read something, the chances are good that you’ll only remember 10% of it three days later. However, if you see a picture, you’re likely to remember 65% of it.

Adding images and videos is a great way to get your audience engaged with your content.

Short, catchy videos are increasing in popularity, and they can boost engagement.

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Infographics are also effective at drawing your visitors in.

In fact, over 41% of marketers said that infographics were their most engaging form of visual content.

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If you find that your audience isn’t engaging with a certain page, you may simply need to add more images, videos, and infographics.

Offer live chat support

Live chat is the fastest method for offering customer service support.

If people come to your page and don’t immediately find exactly what they want, live chat can help engage them before they give up and try the next site.

There are lots platforms out there today that can help you set up live chat services, such as Intercom.

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Live chat is one of the best tools you can implement on your website this year to decrease bounce and boost conversions.

Conclusion

Analyzing and improving your bounce rate can be intimidating.

But improving your bounce rate means a more engaged audience and more conversions.

If you follow the steps I’ve outlined in this post, you should see your bounce rate decrease in no time.

First, understand what a “good” bounce rate really is and narrow down your analysis to pinpoint exactly what your bounce rate metrics are telling you.

Remember that a site-wide bounce rate is simply a vanity metric. It’s too broad to provide actionable information.

Focus on the different segment reports and your other analytics tools to dive into the data.

Check out your top exit pages, page timings, and speed reports to understand what might be causing your bounce rates to be high.

To help people engage with your content, be sure to improve your site’s readability, add imagery, optimize your CTAs, and use live chat.

Do some A/B testing to see what works best for you and your audience.

Monitor your reports with each change to see where and how you’re improving

Remember: There is no magic number that you’re trying to hit.

The goal is to simply keep improving and offering your customers a better, more engaging experience.

What tools and tricks do you use to monitor and improve your bounce rate?

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