by Traci K and BrightMove Staffing Software and Recruiting Software

The design of the career section on your company website will affect, not only the number of people that stay on your site, but also the number of candidates that actually apply.  The interest generated has to do with various factors including eye-catching layouts, keywords, and ease of use.

The percentage of viewers that visit your website or job ad page and then leave is called a Bounce Rate.  Bounce rate is one metric you should be evaluating to assess the appeal of your site or ad.  To gain bounce rate data, utilize resources such as Google Analytics.  A high bounce rate in and of itself does not point to a problem, but a high rate in combination with a low number of viewers is a cause for concern.  Should you find yourself in this category, consider these slightly edited tips provided by Search Engine Journal.

Internal Factors Affecting Bounce Rate

  1. Web Design and Usability:  Presentation is important. If your web design is cluttered, has colors that hurt your eyes, or is full of jumping flash animations or other design flaw that makes your visitors feel uncomfortable, you can be sure that the page will experience a high bounce rate. On a similar note, if your users need to spend time trying to understand your website or comprehend the features you provide, even if your content is the best in the world, your bounce rate will tend to be on the higher side. Here are some site usability checking tools. Provide easy to use interface with a nice design and good content and your visitors will stick.
  2. Website Content: Make sure your content adds some value for your visitors and also ensure that the content and information flow is good enough to carry your visitors from one page to the other. You might have good content but if there is no spontaneity in the writing and if the information flow is not proper, after reading the first page your user will think “what next?” This is why they bounce off your site. Ensure that your content is written well and give prominent clues to your visitors as to what the next step is. Your website is like your home; if you want your guest to see the entire house you need to take them around.  When your visitors come to the door and you don’t invite them in they are likely to leave. So use your content wisely, inviting them in and keeping them entertained.
  3. Website Navigation: Somewhat similar to the point we discussed above, navigational issues are one of the key factors that contribute to bounce rate. If you want your visitors to move around your website, provide them with a clear, intuitive navigation structure. Don’t leave anything to guess work.
  4. Technical Issues: There can be a wide range of factors under this category. Think if a visitor lands on a page, part of which shows some PHP code instead of the data that it was supposed to pull from the database. Aren’t you likely to feel bad about it? If you have got a fancy ActiveX component on your webpage that requires your viewers to download some other file to get it to render properly, how many of them do you think would do that? Most of these visitors would add to your Bounce rate figure.

Marketing Factors Affecting Bounce Rate

  1. Wrong Keyword Selection: Search marketing is one of the key avenues through which any website gets a large chunk of their traffic and the entire search marketing game is based on keywords. What happens if you choose the wrong keywords? Well if you choose the wrong keywords and start optimizing your website for non-relevant keywords (which is a tad difficult with modern day search engines) or show up on search ads for non-relevant keywords (which is very much possible), all you get are some non-targeted visitors who are looking for something different from what your website has to offer. Result: High Bounce Rate.
  2. Ad Copy:  Ad copies represent your website in the paid search results. If this representation is not aligned to what your website has to offer it is definitely going to boost up your bounce rate. At times novice search marketers would create alluring ad copies to boost CTR and increase the number of visitors, but if the communication in your ad copies is not in line with the content on your page, you can’t retain them.
  3. Page Title and Meta Description: You can say this is the organic counterpart of Ad Copies. Search Engines typically display the Page Title and Meta description in the organic search result snippets. If the message in page Title and Meta description is not in line with the content of the page, high bounce rate is a big possibility.

External Factors contributing to High Bounce Rate

  1. Occasional Irrelevant Results from Search Engines: Well, irrespective of all the advancement that the search engines have done, at times they still throw in a few irrelevant results and if your site is one of those results you will definitely get a few extra visitors that will definitely be bouncing off. There is not much that you can do about this. You can still find out those unrelated keywords that are driving traffic and investigate the reason on how search engines are relating to your site for those terms and then try to eradicate the cause.
  2. Improper External Link: A very rare situation, but might happen. If an external site links to your site using an anchor text that’s not related to your website, this link would drive traffic that come to your website with some expectations but would find different content – Result: bounce off. Here are some tools to explore and validate outbound links.

Some of this advice may be over the head of those of us without extensive IT knowledge (like me), but the tips are still sound, contributing factors to bounce rate that can be taken into consideration when evaluating the cause of a high rate.

Another obvious aspect to consider in relation to website structure is the wording and arrangement of the job advertisement itself.  This applies whether you are considering the posting your site or an ad placed with a job site (Careerbuilder, Monster, etc).  Next week’s post will explain the Dos and Don’ts of writing a job ad.  Taking into consideration your website and the way your advertisements are perceived will ultimately work to lower your bounce rate and increase your applicant pool.

Traci K. is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in recruitment and immigration.  When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.

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