SmartErrors: Decrease Your Site's Bounce Rate

by Joshua Motta.

SmartErrors: Decrease Your Site's Bounce
Rate

You may add SmartErrors to your site here.


Visitors dread them, publishers fear them and we've all seen them. Page Not Found errors (also known as 404s) are a common occurrence on the web where content is constantly created and discarded. However, few things increase a site's bounce rate faster. Even cutesy errors — which may garner a frustrated smile—don't actually help a visitor find what they're looking for.

Imagine our horror to discover that over 1% of all page views that pass through CloudFlare's global network lead to a 404 error! We knew that something had to be done.

Your Enemy: the 404 Error

A web site's server will typically generate a "404 - Not Found" page when a visitor to a site tries to access a page that doesn't exist for one reason or another. These errors typically occur when someone mistypes a URL on your site, when there's a broken link from another page or site, when a page that previously existed is moved or removed, or if there is an error when a search engine indexes your site. What's worse is that they can be impossible to control, as many old links come from external sites.

SmartErrors: Decrease Your Site's Bounce
Rate

The 404 error: not a pretty enemy

404s can be problematic for site owners as they:

  • Are a lost opportunity to engage with a visitor
  • Increase bounce rates (when users click back and navigates away)
  • May lead to SEO (search engine optimization) penalization

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

Introducing SmartErrors: a beta feature that can be enabled with a single click, and that dynamically transforms dead-end error pages into an intelligent site search. SmartErrors uses keywords from the referring link that produced the 404 to find relevant content and discourage your site's visitors from using the back button and leaving your site to look elsewhere.

SmartErrors: Decrease Your Site's Bounce
Rate

*SmartError's Substantially Increases Visitor Engagement *

In our testing across hundreds of CloudFlare sites we've measured average visitor engagement rates of over 12%, with some sites as high as 75-80%. What this means is that, on average, 12% of SmartErrors resulted in deeper engagement with a site. It really does make a difference!

SmartErrors can also help your site's SEO (search engine optimization). Dead-end pages can rob your site of so called "link juice." We've marked all links that point off your site as rel="nofollow" and designed the page so that both search crawlers and actual visitors stay on your site.

Who Gets SmartErrors?

SmartErrors can be enabled for any active CloudFlare site from the app store. To learn more about how SmartErrors works, check out the detailed app description here.

With SmartErrors we're excited to tackle one of the web's most frequently seen errors as we continue our mission of building a faster, safer and smarter Internet.

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