Welcome to the first part in this series of 10 areas of Google Analytics that you can use to understand more about your candidate's journey through your careers site.

Today we're starting off with the bounce rate.

Bounces are bad

We want our website to help our users find out more information about us and what we offer employees, and to do that it's better if your visitors are looking at multiple pages on your site before deciding whether you're not the right place for them (which is a perfectly reasonable outcome), or that they register their interest with you or, even better, apply for a job.

When candidates arrive on the site and then leave again without interacting with the site or visiting another page, we call this a Bounce and it is collectively referred to as your Bounce Rate (the percentage rate of visits that leave after only one page). 

A low bounce rate indicates that candidates visit multiple pages, which means that they know more about your company and what you have to offer. This is a good thing.

A high bounce rate indicates that the candidate didn't engage with your website content and left without any finding out any further information.

When a bounce can be good

Bouncing is fun. Take trampolining... who doesn't like to bounce on a trampoline.

Sometimes, like trampolining, a bounce on your website can be justified. These are some scenarios where you will see a bounce (and that is okay)

  • Candidates land on vacancy page and the click on the apply link which takes them to the ATS site
  • It's a campaign page with the one call to action sending candidates to a Register Your Interest form hosted on the ATS
  • It's an event page and the call to action takes them to register on a meet up or eventbrite page

Those of you with an eagle eye will notice that all these scenarios ended up with the candidate doing exactly what we set out for them to do, but because the link pointed them to another site which wasn't part of the Careers site, it counts as a bounce. This happens because your Google Analytics does not exist or is not linked to the Google Analytics that lives on the other site, therefore Google Analytics can't tell if the candidate clicked on a link or closed the browser.

These kind of bounces are okay, but they will skew your stats and make it look as though you site could be under performing.

You can fix this though. By setting up Events on those links, Google Analytics will be told the candidate has clicked on the button/link just before they head off to the other site and it will not be counted as a bounce.

We won't go into setting up Events in this series, but it's good to know they exist and you can find out more about how to set those up from the team that manage your site for you (or me if you're a client).

Finding the worse performing pages

Now we know about bounces, let's look at how we can find the pages on your site that are performing the worse.

Visit your Google Analytics account and go to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages 

This will give you a list of all the pages that people have visited on your site for the past 7 days (this is the default date range on Google Analytics, but you can update that to any date range you need using the date range in the top right corner).

Look across the table of results and click on the heading called Bounce Rate. This will order the list by the pages with the best/worse bounce rates. To start with we want to see everything that has a 100% bounce rate, meaning everyone landed on this page and the left again immediately without viewing anything else on your site.

If you notice that there are a LOT of results that only have a couple of page views we can fix that by using the advanced search option.

  1. Click Advanced
  2. Select Exclude
  3. Select Page Views
  4. Select Less than
  5. Enter 10 (or which ever makes sense for your traffic numbers)

You will now only see pages that have have more than 10 visits in the order of which pages receive the most bounces per visit.

Go through this list and take note of all pages that have a bounce rate of more than 50%. If there's a lot of them you can export these to Excel or as a CSV using the export option at the top of the page.

Before you start looking through your site and the poor performing pages, flip the order around and look at the pages with the lowest bounce rate. Now when you look at the poor performing pages you can compare them against the best performing pages. 

Look for what the poor performing pages have in common, and what do the good performing pagers have in common?

  • Is the content easy to understand?
  • Is it chunked into easily scalable sections with headlines?
  • Does the page contain helpful inline links within the content (like this link to the overview of these articles)
  • Are there any call to actions at the bottom of the page (links for benefits, day in the life, current jobs, search and apply)
  • Does the page have images and do they load quickly?

By understanding what good looks like on your existing site and where things are going wrong you can apply the things that work on pages that are failing and give your candidates a better chance of getting the content they need and provide a better understanding of your company.

Next up we'll be looking at how long your candidates are spending on your site.