Want Better Rankings In Google Search Results? Control Your Bounce Rate!
I get this question quite a bit, so I decided to give you guys a brief explanation of what “bounce rate” is, and a couple of simple strategies you can implement right now to help reduce it. Here we go!
Note: Access to Google Analytics is the easiest way to track your bounce rate.
What is Bounce Rate?
A lot has been made about bounce rates over the past couple of years, and with good reason. With the constant releases of new algorithms by Google, it is more important than ever to provide a great visitor experience for people visiting your site or blog. Here is a simple example of what is commonly considered a bounce:
Susan goes to the Google search engine and types in the phrase “how to remove a stain”. She is then presented with a number of links she can click to hopefully get the information she is looking for. She clicks on the first link, and is taken to a site selling a stain remover. This is not what she is looking for so she clicks her browsers back button to go back to the search results to try another link.
Since she only spent a few seconds on that site AND had no further engagement with that site, she would be considered a bounced visitor. Google would assume that she had a poor user experience with that site and if enough visitors do exactly the same thing she did, Google may reduce that site’s ability to rank high in the search results.
Google in particular wants to see a couple of key things happening.
1) They want to see visitors spending at least a few minutes on the site. The longer a visitor stays on a site, the less likely it is they will be considered a bounced visitor.
2) Google wants to see user INTERACTION with the sites they visit. This can be watching a video, listening to a music clip or podcast, or something as simple as clicking on a link that leads to another page on the same website domain. (That last part is critical..the link they click must not take them off the site)
How To Avoid A High Bounce Rate
Here are a few tips you can implement right away to help reduce your bounce rate:
1. Embed a video
This is probably the easiest way to see immediate results as people love to watch video! Just make sure the video contains content that is relevant to your website and is at least a few minutes long. Embedded videos kill two birds with one stone as Google considers clicking the play button an “act of engaging” and if they stay on your site and watch a 3 or 4 minute video, that also gets looked at as a favorable length of time.
2. Have A Linking Strategy
This one is a little more advanced, but once you grasp this concept it can take your blog or website to a whole new level. Let’s break this one down into simple terms:
A.) If you have written a few articles that are related to each other, link them together and use a call to action such as “hey if you liked this article on twitter, check out the post I did about Facebook”. This also accomplishes a couple different things. Google loves to follow links. The more related links you have pointing to different posts on your site the better. It also provides the reader with a few more options, keeping them on your site even longer. Remember, a visitor clicking a link that leads to another post or page on the same domain is a good thing and will not count as a bounced visitor.
B.) I understand the need for many of us to try to monetize our blogs, but you must make the effort to use some strategy behind it. Most of us either use Adsense or links pointing to some sort of affiliate offer. If a visitor spends only a few seconds on your site and clicks one of those banners or links, it will count as a bounce. Now, some would argue that it is okay..since that person might have bought the item and made us some money. But most of you who have been in the game for a while know most of those people who click the links don’t buy. Try to avoid using lots of banners and links stuffed into the sidebars of your blog. Instead, try using a call to action at the end of your post possibly directing them to a resources or product page on your site. That way at least you will get credit for the engagement and possibly the sale!
When it comes to reducing the bounce rate of your website or blog, just keep it simple and remember this rule:
No engagement + short amount of time on site = high bounce rates.
Engagement (clicking internal links, watching video) + longer amount of time on site = lower bounce rates.
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About 3 months ago my blog was averaging bounce rates in the mid 70% range. From the research I have done, a good bounce rate would be in the mid 50% range. Obviously lower is better but the mid 50’s seemed to be the number that came up the most for a target. Here are a few of the steps I have taken to reduce my bounce rate and get closer to my goal:
The first thing I did was start to add videos to my blog posts. Even if it is only a quick couple minutes, people will click and watch it.
I then started to focus more on the content I was writing. I was worried about longer posts not getting read, but by using more images I was able to keep the reader engaged and moving down the page.
I reduced the amount of banner ads and affiliate offers in the sidebar of my blog. The only one there at the time of this post is a banner that leads back to the homepage of my main domain..a internal link.
I plan to add a few more image links to the sidebar pointing not to affiliate offers, but to some of my more popular blog posts..again, internal links.
I was running landing pages on the same domain as my blog. This caused a huge jump in bounce rate. As you know, some sign up and opt in..but the majority bounce. By moving my landing pages to a separate domain used specifically for that purpose, I have been able to protect my blog and reduce my bounce rate even further.
I hope this article gives you a few ideas and inspires you to take these simple steps to reducing your bounce rate and giving your visitors a great user experience!
To YOUR Success!