If you’ve been struggling to increase search traffic to your site, improve email signups, get more leads and acquire more clients, it’s possible that your bounce rate is too high.
In other words, visitors and customers who visit your landing page bounce off, before they even give you a chance to convert them.
While you want to increase most metrics measures, you don’t want a higher bounce rate. But what is considered a good bounce rate?
Accepting that your site has a high bounce rate is a little like accepting that maybe, just maybe, your child isn’t the best-looking kid in the schoolyard. Sure, you think your precious little angel is just adorable (and just so we’re clear, we’re talking about your website now), yet when you head into Google Analytics to check the numbers, your bounce rate tells a different story.
Of course, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too is what constitutes a “good” bounce rate. Some sites might view a bounce rate of 80% as awesome, whereas other sites might see this as nothing short of catastrophic. It really depends on your site and business goals.
Regardless, many site managers and webmasters pay close attention to bounce rate as an overall indication of a site’s “stickiness” or appeal, and would like to reduce this troublesome number as much as they can. Some people even think that bounce rate can influence your search rankings, via Google’s new machine-learning algorithm RankBrain. So it’s obviously in your interest to optimize this metric.
Optimize Page Load Time
Many marketers assume that if their bounce rate is high, the issue must lie with a page’s content – when, in fact, serious problems can arise before a user even has the chance to read a page at all.
Of all the problems a web page can have, taking forever to load is arguably the worst. After all, it doesn’t matter how good or bad a page’s content is if a user can’t read it (or even see it), and 47% of users expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, making on-page optimization crucial to reducing your bounce rate.
Improve Your Content’s Readability
One reason that your target customers might leave your site is a lack of readability. User experience begins when your content is readable and legible. Specifically, large chunks of text scare readers away, so avoid them.
Here are a few tips to help you format your content and make it more readable:
- Use subheadings to throw more light on your topic.
- Use bullet points to explain benefits or points worth noting.
- Use plenty of charts, images, screenshots and quotes from industry experts, where appropriate.
- Bold keywords a few times (don’t overdo this).
- Ask a lot of questions in your content, to give readers an invitation to participate, instead of just read.
- End your content with a subheading entitled “conclusion.” This tells the reader to quickly read the last few words and take action. Make your conclusion actionable.
Use Sidebar Widgets and Promotions Sparingly
Some web pages are an ideal vehicle for offering relevant content, offers, and other material to your audience. Blog pages are a prime example, and you’d probably struggle to find a decent blog without something in the sidebar. However, cramming the digital margins of your content with ads, offers, award emblems, and other crap is a surefire way to overwhelm your visitor and tempt them to bounce.
Also, be wary of the type of pop-ups offered by services such as Bounce Exchange. These promotions can be highly effective, but they can also be terribly distracting, especially if you set them to appear the moment a user visits a page. Give your visitors enough time to immerse themselves in your content before pouncing on them with newsletter sign-up offers or other promotions. Don’t push too hard, too fast.
Avoid Popups – Don’t Disrupt the UX
In 2013, 70% of users said that they found irrelevant popups to be annoying. That probably hasn’t changed – most people still hate popups.
Our takeis to better avoid them, but you can use maximum of one
Include a Single, Clear Call to Action
Just as you should consider what the user wants when serving content (as you should be when optimizing for relevance in tip #5), you should also think about what specific action you want users to take when they’ve consumed whatever content you’re offering. Once you know what you want them to do, you can prompt your visitors to take action by including ONE crystal-clear call to action.
Keep Your Blog Fresh With the Right Content
Keeping your blog fresh, with the right content, will always yield the best ROI.
According to HubSpot, businesses that update their blogs with fresh content regularly will generate 126% more leads more than those who don’t. However, it’s important to differentiate powerful content from the right content.
If you are new to blogging, a simple WordPress theme with the right plugins will be your hero, because it is updated often and maintains responsiveness on the backend. Your job is to keep visitors responsive.
Target Keywords With High-Value Traffic
Keywords can make or break your content marketing campaign. If you want to improve search performance, start targeting high-value keywords, because that’s where the high-value traffic is.
According to LinchPin SEO, a perfect high-value keyword sits at the intersection of four important metrics:
- Traffic value
- Conversion value
- Persona value
- Brand value
Use a Logical – and USEFUL – Internal Linking Structure
Many people advocate for including dozens of internal links in your content as a way to reduce your bounce rate. Although this strategy can work well, as it provides Analytics with that essential second click to accurately measure Time on Page, it can also backfire by making your content seem, well, a little sleazy or cheap. We’ve all seen sites that link internally in every other sentence, and not only does this look awful, it doesn’t do much to enrich the user experience or offer audiences something of genuine value.
Rework Your Product Pages
Getting product pages can be tricky. Offer too much information and you risk overwhelming your visitors. Offer too little and your prospects may not feel as though they have enough information to make an informed decision. However, if you spend even a little time looking at product pages, you’ll probably notice several opportunities for optimization that could not only decrease bounce rates, but improve conversion rates.
Attract the Right Visitors
In her book Content Strategy for the Web, Christina Halvorson wrote that “better content means better business for you.” This is why 58% of marketers plan to increase their paid distribution budgets – they’ve seen the impact of the right content on the target audience.
Higher bounce happens when you’re getting the wrong website visitor from the start. This is a targeting problem.
If your content strategy isn’t yielding the right visitors and increased sales for you, it’s time to improve. There’s nothing as powerful as publishing custom content that’s “right” for your market, using a content strategy that takes each stage of the buying cycle into account.
Make Your Site Easy to Search
Even in 2016, site search functionality is one aspect of the Web that seems to have remained largely unchanged since the migraine-inducing days of Geocities sites. For whatever reason, site search is considered an afterthought by many websites, representing a huge missed opportunity to provide your visitors with the tools they need to find what they want and reduce your bounce rates.