Ways to increase traffic to websites has always been a head ache for online marketers and SEO professionals around the world. With the introduction of the Panda updates of Google, it has become more challenging. In this article we try to understand a term “bounce rate”, how to keep it low and how a low bounce rate can increase traffic to our website.
So what is bounce rate? It’s one of the many metrics used by Google to understand the user’s reaction on visiting your website. When users leave your website after visiting only one page, then it is called bouncing. So the percentage of visits in which user leaves your website without visiting any page other than the landing page, is called bounce rate of your website. Panda updates of Google, use bounce rate of your website as a metric to measure the user experience provided by your website. So having a high bounce rate would affect search engine ranking of your website.
Let us understand this better through an example – Suppose in a particular time period, 500 users visit your website and out of that 200 people exit your website from the landing page. This can be because of reasons like – they got annoyed by the design of your site, too many ads, too much loading time, moved to a different website, closed for no reason. In this case bounce rate of your page would be = 200/500 = 0.4 = 40%.
So now we know, maintaining a low bounce rate is very important in an SEO perspective. Next I will discuss about some tip and techniques to decrease bounce rate of your website:
First impression is the best impression
The first thing a user sees in your website/blog is its design. A dull and mediocre design cannot keep your reader interested. A smooth and professional theme could do wonders for your website. If any user by chance comes across your website, the visual appeal of your website could make him browse through pages in your site. Another important factor is your website’s loading time. It is estimated that about 57% of users would not prefer sites taking more than 3 seconds to load. Make advantage of tabbed browsing – Suppose you are linking your website/blog to an external site like YouTube. In that case make sure, you select the option “Open link in a new tab” at the time of linking. So when the user clicks on that link, it would open in a new tab keeping your website open in the current tab. User can come back and further explore your website. By making your user to browse in different tabs, you can keep your bounce rate low.
High quality content
Users visit your website/blog for information. So make sure you provide answers to their queries. The content should be properly structured and divided into paragraphs for easy understanding of readers. Usage of proper sub headings and concise descriptions could provide a better experience for the readers. It’s better to avoid too long articles. It’s the quality of the content that matters, not quantity.
Keep reader interested
Your reader might be reaching your website through links of some articles shared in social media. So it would be a good idea, if you could have a list of recommended articles by the side. This should be related to the topic searched by the user. You can also add links to other articles in your blog/website in between a particular article which you feel would give a complete idea about the topic. In this way you can make the reader browse through various pages of your website/blog. This technique of internal linking is one of the main SEO strategy used by Wikipedia. Strategic placing of internal linking can significantly reduce your bouncing rates.
Be mobile friendly
Mobile users constitute a large part of the total internet users. Websites with large number of images and graphical contents would take time to load in a mobile as mobile users have lesser bandwidth and restricted data package compared to desktop users. They would need fast loading sites which consume less data. So by having a minimalist version of website suited for mobile users would reduce bounce rate.
Attract the right audience
You attract readers to your site through keyword optimisation. But always make sure you get the attention of the right audience. Wrong audience entering your site would only increase your bounce rate. So if you are having high bounce rates, one way to reduce it is to make alterations in your keywords. Keep a track of the source of your traffic. If they are irrelevant to your content, they would only result in high bounce rates.
Provide best possible user experience
There are some guidelines that website should follow to ensure a good user experience – Don’t overload your website with ads. Be careful about the auto play videos and audios in your website. Majority of users immediately exit such kind of websites. Pop-ups which annoy users should be avoided. Users should be able to properly navigate through your website/blog. Contents should be properly arranged and easily accessible. It would be helpful if there is an internal search box within the website/blog so that it would be easy for readers to find out what they are looking for.
Zero bounce WordPress plug-in
Finally, there is a trick to keep your bounce rate low. The zero bounce plug-in by WordPress would be of great help to you if you are facing high bounce rates. Suppose a random visitor clicks on a link to your website/blog from search engine results or from social media and immediately clicks on the back button. This plug-in allows you to redirect that user to any page of your choice. You can redirect to any of your web pages so that it won’t be considered as a bounce.
Keeping your bounce rates low is critical to have higher search engine rankings. I would suggest the best way to do that is to understand your readers and their requirements correctly and tailor your website/blog according to that. Eventually bounce rates will come down and Google will reward you with high search engine rankings.