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Analytics Exit Rate Pinpoints Problem Content Pages

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The exit rate from Google Analytics and other providers will reveal problem pages that send people away from a site.

There is no escaping the fact that site visitors will leave at some point. The important question is where they leave and why.

Google Analytics offers a chance to pin down the where. Users can click on Behavior and All Pages on the left to see a complete list of site pages that GA tracks.

The second to last column on the far right shows the exit rate percentage for each page.

“%Exit is (number of exits) / (number of pageviews) for the page or set of pages. It indicates how often users exit from that page or set of pages when they view the page(s),” the popup explanation says.

A page with a high exit percentage is giving people more reasons to leave the site than pages with a low percentage. A high exit percentage has a number of possible causes, some of which are good reasons and some which are bad. The list includes:

  • The page didn’t give the information they wanted, so they gave up and left.
  • The visitors got the information they want and have no reason to stay anymore. This is a tough one to fight.
  • The page has the information, but it is poorly written or buried down below.
  • The page has technical problems such as too slow to load.

How to Fix Exit Rate Problems

An exit report like the one in Google will show an average exit percentage at the top of the page list as well as percentages for each page. Ideally, the most important pages have exit rates that are lower than the site average.

A site with hundreds, thousands or more pages has too much content for a publisher to tackle all of them or even a fraction of them.

So the effort begins with identifying the most valuable pages with exit percentages above the site average. They include:

  • Pages with the most page views.
  • Pages with the most advertising revenue.
  • Any pages that are meant to lead visitors to other valuable pages, such as ecommerce.

Starting with 10 pages at a time is a way of keeping the project from becoming overwhelming.

Improving the exit rate calls for several tactics that may or may not work. They include:

  • Rewriting the content so it is easier to read and has more important information at the top.
  • Rewrite the headline of the article to better reflect the article content.
  • Include more links to other content within the article.
  • Change content on areas of the page outside of the article to attract more clicks.

Revising pages to improve the exit rate is no guarantee they will improve. Once every effort has been exhausted, it’s time to move on to another group of pages regardless of the results

Realistically, some pages will improve and some won’t. Some improvements may be dramatic and others only slight.

When all of the most important pages have been revised, a site publisher can move on to other priorities.

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