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Bounce Rates & Publisher Monetization from Search

Bounce rate from natural search is a problem that has plagued publishers for a long time. It’s one of the problems we’re working on solving at Yieldbot.

Many pubs spend a great amount of time and effort working on SEO to increase site visitors. The fruit of this labor is increased traffic to pages relevant to the intent of the visitor (as best Google can infer). On the face of it, this traffic would seem to be highly valuable. However, from my experience bounce rates (defined as the percentage of visitors that click off the site after landing on the page from Search) are typically between 70-90%. This is an extraordinarily high number when you consider that the most famous algorithm in the world has undertaken this keyword-content matching. As a result, tons of intent driven traffic ends-up as remnant inventory and is poorly monetized.

Taking the perspective of the visitor (as all good optimization should do) we are presented with two possible outcomes to optimize against:

1)   The visitor completes her goal of information recovery or discovery on the landing page.

2)   The visitor does not complete her goal and continues searching.

Either case is ripe for optimization.

In the first scenario after the goal is completed visitors are typically open to receiving new messaging. Here it’s possible to start a new goal path. This is the brief no-intent window. This window can be highly valuable especially if it has some contextual relevance to the goal that was just accomplished. A typical example is an offer for a rental car after the visitor has booked a hotel room.

In the second scenario the query was most likely not specific enough to deliver a relevant results page (or result) that matched one of the three visitor goals (primary, secondary, latent). This presents the opportunity for ad matching to deliver alternate goal paths that could be more relevant than the underlying content. Since it is intent driven traffic, success here should have a high transactional value if we can solve the matching problem. To see how this might be possible one only has to look at the search engine result page (SERP) itself where often times the ads are more relevant than the content (result set). We all at one time have done a search and clicked on an ad.

Still, nearly all publisher landing pages from SEO are dead ends or Google boomerangs. Partly because publishers have not thought of these internal pages as landing pages or treated them the way eCommerce sites do.  It is possible to match display ads and offers on landing closer the goals of the visitor than the underlying content. But as we seen with search, the only way to do this is by having the ad matching and delivery system woven into the experience. That’s what we’ve built.


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There's also a question of trust for the site that you land on. For example, if you search for "buy usb drive" on google, there are so many sponsored ads that, personally, i would click on several that had an appealing URL first, look at the design of the site and decide if it "seemed" trustworthy or not before actually going through the purchase process.
My point is - there's a lot more than search optimization that causes the bounce rate to be that high.


Good post.
I am not sure if I understand your case 1 correctly. "A typical example is an offer for a rental car after the visitor has booked a hotel room." If the user just booked a rental car that is not considered a bounce. That will be considered an exit.

I agree though that the user finished their task and the window is "no intent" window and is a great opportunity to cross-sell.

Good post. I agree with your idea.Keep writimg...Thanks.

Thanks for sharing your idea with us. keep write as always......

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