The A-B-Cs of Bounce Rate Optimization
What is bounce rate optimization all about? Basically, it is the approach of reducing your website’s bounce rate as much as possible. Along with doing that, you also work toward maximizing your conversion rate. You know that when web users don’t find what they want on a website, they “bounce” right back to a search engine like Google and move on to the next website. Your objective is to not give your site visitors reason to bounce out by applying the right strategies to keep your visitors engaged. Do not worry so much about the conversion rate. If you focus on optimizing your bounce rate instead, a better conversion rate will follow suit. As part of the SEO Services that we provide, we help you optimize your site’s bounce rate and your conversion rate.
A website’s bounce rate is the percentage of web visitors who land on a webpage and leave it right away without acting on anything. They don’t browse, click on any links, or fill out any forms. A high bounce rate means a lot of your visitors are not finding what they want on your website.
Where do you find your bounce rate? You find it in your Google Analytics dashboard. Look for the part that has statistics about users, sessions, and duration. Keep a record of what your bounce rate is and formulate a strategy to lower it.
How Is the Bounce Rate Interpreted?
A high bounce rate does not always indicate that your website is ineffective. You have to take a few things into account:
What kind of website do you have?
What industry you are in?
What kind of visitors is landing?
What directed them to your website?
What is the quality of this traffic?
What are the users looking for (their intent)?
What devices are they using?
What is the quality of your landing page and content?
What Kind Of Website You Have
Bounce rates will be inherently different depending on the kind of website you have. For instance, your bounce rate might be 100% if your site just has one page. If your landing page is a blog, readers will tend to exit right after they read it, so the bounce rate would naturally be high. If you used Flash to build your website and you are not monitoring events, that can lead to a high bounce rate, too.
What Industry You Are In
Bounce rates are different in various industries. For example, it is common for the publishing industry to have a high bounce rate. If you want to see what the average bounce rate is for your industry so you can have a benchmark to measure against and work toward, get the “Bounce Rate Bible” from DigiShuffle.
What Kind of Visitors Are Landing
If your site attracted many new visitors, your bounce rate would probably be high because they do not know your company. Return visitors tend to stay engaged longer.
What Directed Your Visitors to Your Site
The site that directed your visitors to your page will impact your bounce rate. Typically, if a visitor landed because they clicked on your link in their search engine results, that bounce rate would be much better than that of visitors who found your site through social media.
The Quality Of This Traffic
The bounce rate is usually high if you do not target the visitors from this traffic.
What Users Are Looking For, or Their Intent
A new trend in marketing, called micro-moment marketing, focuses on what the users want to accomplish, or their intent. Were they seeking information? Did they want to take some action? Did they have a destination in mind? Did they want to make a purchase? They landed on your website because they were looking for something.
If you want to serve your visitors better, you need to know what they want or need as they journey through your website. If you can provide content that will match their intent every step of the way, you will keep them engaged. The longer you can keep them there, the better your bounce rate will be.
The Devices They Are Using
Different devices will produce different bounce rates. You will have a high bounce rate if your site attracted many users using mobile devices but your website is not mobile-friendly.
The Quality of Your Landing Page and Content
A high bounce rate can mean that the user found what is needed on your page easily. For instance, on your contact page, the visitor found your contact information, then left. There is nothing more for them to do.
A high bounce rate can also mean that your landing page was poor in quality. If your page is cluttered with ads, irrelevant text, and just poorly designed and unattractive, your visitor will leave right away.
If your page has a lot of content that takes time for the visitor to digest, they might not have time to stay and read it. Instead, they might bookmark your page with a plan to return to it later. Your hope is that they will not forget.
Tips on Improving Your Bounce Rate
Make Your Content Easy to Read
Avoid posting long paragraphs. Unless you are publishing an eBook, your content should be formatted with short sentences. Keep your paragraphs short. Add in headings so the reader can quickly see whether the content is relevant to their intent. Use bullet points to make it easy for the reader to mentally organize what they are reading. If they can digest your content easily, they won’t be so quick to bounce.
On the contrary, if your content consists of huge blocks of text without any headings to divide it, your visitors will get overwhelmed by all the words, and they will leave to look for a competitor’s website with similar information that is visually more pleasing.
Incorporate High-Value Keywords to Bring in Quality Traffic
The keywords you include in your content can either bring traffic in or drive it away from traffic. Keywords should be high in quality if you want to attract high-quality visitors. Your keywords and key phrases should bring you high value in these four areas:
If you go back to your user’s intent, you can classify it into these categories:
– They seek information
– They need to go somewhere online
– They need to take some action online
The quality of your content improves with high-value keywords and phrases. Better content keeps your readers engaged and interested. They will spend more time perusing your content and not leave it so quickly. This is what keeps your bounce rate low.
If your bounce rate is high, you should review your website analytics. Study the traffic pattern. Which keywords and marketing channels are sending you low-quality traffic? Identify these and stop using them. Modify your campaign with higher-quality keywords to bring traffic to the right landing pages.
When the landing page can keep your visitor interested, they may stay for a very long time. They will eventually leave, but when they do, they will not be considered as bounces because they spent a lot of time on your website.
How To Find High-Value Keywords Relevant To Your Target Audience
The best tool to use is the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. You have it with your Google account. In the search box of this tool, enter your top keyword and a qualifier, and click on “Get Ideas.”
We can try it in our small exercise below.
Type in “SEO strategy.” The tool comes back with these high-value keywords:
– “Best SEO company”
– “SEO pricing”
We will look at each of these and determine the intent. Keep in mind that when a user types in a search term, their intent is not to purchase right away. Rather, they are seeking information or promotions to help them reach a decision on where to purchase.
With the first keyword, “best SEO company,” the user is looking for the best company in the SEO business. With the second keyword, “SEO pricing,” they want to find out the typical cost of hiring an SEO company.
How would you use this information on your website? For one thing, you can write articles that are relevant to the topic of SEO. Make it a series so one article leads to the next to keep the reader engaged and to avoid a bounce. Write reviews about different SEO companies and discuss the reasons why they are deemed the best, their services, their prices, and such. This information should be accurate and helpful so your visitors will keep reading to learn more.
Use the high-value keywords in article titles and subject headings. This will bring in clicks and sharing on social media. Use keywords strategically, and never stuff them. Write naturally and authoritatively, and include other words that are commonly found in this subject area.
Figure Out What Triggers An Audience Response By Using Split-Testing
Split-testing is a powerful tool. You can use it to test various elements of your website like the layout, colors, text, placement of the buttons, and the like. You can change one element, and the tool will randomly deliver two versions of your website. When a visitor lands on your page, they will either see the original version or the version with the change. You can review your analytics to see which version performed better in terms of traffic quality, bounce rate, etc. With each split test, you can tweak your website design so you only keep what your visitors like, thus lowering bounce rate and likely improving your conversion rate.
You Can Call Your Visitors to Action by Using the Meta Description
In any search results, beneath each link of a webpage is a description. This description is the meta description code in your website that the search engine pulls out and displays. You can enter anything you want in this part of the code. It is like free advertising, so enter something that will motivate the web user to click on your link.
Improve the Quality Of Your Landing Pages
If your site is generating traffic but still has a high bounce rate, that means the user did not find what they needed on your landing page. Look at your analytics to see which search terms brought the user to your site, and provide content that is relevant to those terms.
On each landing page, figure out a good call to action that is relevant to that page. Include that in a prominent spot on the page. Make it high quality because a poorly designed call to action can also make people leave prematurely.
Your landing pages should have a visually simple but attractive design that loads quickly. A page that has good information that is easy to understand will please your visitors.
Create a variety of landing pages to improve your user experience. You will encourage them to click through to the next page and keep them interested.
Reduce The Time It Takes To Load A Page
If there is one thing that always turns away a visitor is a page that loads slowly. Users are an impatient crowd, and they will not wait more than two seconds on average for a page to load. If the load time takes longer than that, the visitor will leave, and the bounce rate will go up. The loading speed of a website is something that Google monitors. A slow load time can pull down a website’s Google ranking.
You can test your website’s load speed with a tool such as Pingdom Speed Test. If your site has a slow load speed, here are some suggestions to make it faster.
Reduce the size of your images
Turn on browser caching
Use a CDN (content delivery network) for faster content delivery
Reduce the size of your HTML and CSS files
Streamline your CSS code
Keep scripts at the bottom of your page (below the fold)
Have links to external websites open in a separate window
If you include links to another website, set those links to open in a new window. This way, you keep users on your website while allowing them the opportunity to visit another. After they’re done with the other website, they can easily return to yours by just closing the other window. They will appreciate not having to click the back button multiple times to get back to you.
Design a Website that is Responsive and Mobile Friendly
There are now more users surfing the web on their mobile devices than on their desktop computers. Google sees this trend and expects your website to be mobile-friendly. If your website is not responsive, you need to fix that right away. If your website is difficult for mobile users to use, they will leave and go to your competitor.
Provide Proof Of Your Credibility By Using Trust Symbols
We previously discussed how trust symbols can improve your credibility. Consumers look for this social proof before they trust a brand. What matters is how the public perceives you, not what you say about your business. Being transparent to your customers is the key. Show them that you can offer quality and value that they can count on.
The bottom line is that you should always focus on what your customers need. When you can consistently fulfill those needs, you will earn their trust, and you will enjoy more success in your business.