While many people are concerned with the number of inbound links from external websites in their quest for page one of Google’s search results, they often overlook their bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that enter your site and then leave your website without viewing other pages on your site. Search engines are looking more closely at the bounce rate of visitors to your website. It helps them determine relevancy.
According to Inc.com:
As a rule of thumb, a 50 percent bounce rate is average. If you surpass 60 percent, you should be concerned. If you’re in excess of 80 percent, you’ve got a major problem.
A “good” bounce rate, however, depends upon a number of factors. For example if you have a blog or news site, it is not unusual for the bounce rate to be 85%. Using Google Analytics, you can examine the bounce rate of your overall site as well as specific pages. You can also dig deeper into what browser and operating system they are using or whether they are using a mobile device versus a computer.
One primary way to reduce bounce rate is to reduce page load time. If your users have a slower connection speed than you do, they may be getting frustrated waiting for your page to load.
Top 8 additional ways to reduce your bounce rate
- Get readers to comment. This helps in several ways. Depending upon how your blog is set up the page will either refresh when they submit a comment or the reader is redirected to another page, either way they are no longer considered a bounce. Another benefit is that interaction on your website keeps visitors longer and encourages them to return.
- Build your email list. If you have an opt-in form on your website and send your visitors regular updates where they need to return to your website, your bounce rate will decrease while your customer base increases.
- Use internal linking. Whenever you write a new post, make sure to link to other relevant posts within your site that encourage your reader to explore further.
- Show a list of related pages. Whether you use a plug-in to do the work for you, or create this list manually, create a list of posts that are related to the currently displayed page.
- Keep your website simple and easy to navigate. Don’t give your readers too many choices. A cluttered space feels confining and most people will get what they came for (if they found it in the first place) and then quickly exit to escape the mess.
- Reduce the length of your home page. The default setting in WordPress is to display 10 posts on your home page. Depending upon the theme you are using and whether you have elected to use excerpts or not, you may be displaying the entire content of all 10 posts. If you have written 500 words on average for each post that’s 5,000 words — too much content for most readers to consume at once. A better practice is to use excerpts or the “more” tag within posts. So, you can either reduce how much of each post is displayed or reduce the number of posts displayed.
- Use your 404 page wisely. Place links to your high-traffic pages and your sitemap to make it easy for readers to find information.
- Create an “About Us” page. Besides your home page, this is frequently the page most visited on websites, especially blogs.
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