How To Reduce Google Analytics Bounce Rates
All the tricks you need to reduce bounce rates are included in this article, but first…
Don’t use spammy badly written content! Google will punish you eventually. Even those who have spent a considerable amount of time and money building a private blog network (PBN) will come a cropper sooner or later.
Why? Google will not last very long if it serves up anything the searcher doesn’t want. We will all simply find a more reliable search engine.
If you’re in business for a quick buck, then go ahead (and we will uselessly waste our time and energy moaning about you!), but otherwise understand that the ONLY way to build a sustainable and profitable business (that will satisfy your real reasons for life) is to create something brilliant and unique.
Reducing your bounce rate starts with content. But first, what’s important about the bounce rate metric and why should you pay attention?
- A bad bounce rate (anything greater than 70% – but it depends on the context and what else is available) will reduce your position in search engine results pages (SERPs).
- A bad bounce rate means your readers did not get the information they wanted from your landing page.
- A bad bounce rate means there is a mismatch with how your page showed up in the search engines and what the searcher was looking for.
- A bad bounce rate means your site is not aligned with your audience and the way the search engines understand your site.
- A bad bounce is VERY bad for business.
All this means that you won’t be found at all, and even if you are, no one will stay long enough to discover your brilliance.
There are a lot of tricks you can use to improve your bounce rate (covered in a moment), but it all has to start with your content.
And that means starting with the vision you have for your site.
Can you vividly picture what it is your site is for? Why you set it up?
Spend a second right now and right down your vision. Can you clearly see the audience you want to attract? What do they look like?
If you were putting on a live event, who would show up and why?
Once you’ve got that figured out, put yourself in your audiences’ shoes and ask yourself what you would most want to hear.
What is the biggest problem they face that they would love to get an answer to right now?
What are the related problems they could also do with getting answered?
Do this and you will serve your audience well and they will WANT to come back for more.
Think about how that would look? How would you let them know they could come back AND they would get even more of what they need?
Think about how you consume information. Do you like it full of stories and anecdotes, or do you just want the facts?
What does your audience want? Is it both? Is there a time and place for both in your vision?
It’s true we all love pictures (even the touchy feely people love pictures – and even the auditory types love them too – 99.9999% of us dream in pictures).
Yet we are more than content with a 600 page novel without a single illustration and seemingly no paragraph breaks to ease the mind!
A pure blanket of text can be loved by MILLIONS – look at any best seller on Amazon.
So one of the ‘tricks’ to reducing your bounce rate is to write long, relevant, interesting, lively and cliff-hanging articles you know your audience absolutely must read or they will MISS OUT on something so massively important to them, they will leave the door wide open to their competitors.
If you’re still reading (and of course I know you are – and I thank you for it) then you are my kind of person.
Long articles are by definition full of semantically linked words and phrases. Google’s Hummingbird algorithm understands and respects this.
It uses synonyms and context to understand what an article is about (known as semantic search and in operation since August 2013).
The more you write on a particular topic, the better Google will understand and the more likely it will be to push your article up the search rankings (assuming the bounce rate is not excessive).
Back in the day, every SEO person talked about spamming out 400 or 500 word articles in abundance, each of which covered a specific topic in your niche as a way to show that your site was an authority site on the subject.
Indeed, if you go in search of article writing services, you will still even today see these numbers bandied about all over the place.
The phrase “how long should an article be?” was made redundant years ago (and should remain that way forever).
The same applies to video by the way. Anyone who says a video should be no longer than 2 minutes needs an injection of common sense. Imagine buying a DVD of the latest Hollywood blockbuster and discovering it only contained a 2 minute trailer.
You could object by saying “but that is a different context”, and I would absolutely agree. Context is what Google are talking about. When the context is right for your audience (ie. it’s what they want to see, hear or read about) they cannot get enough of it. When you’ve got interested in a topic, how many books, articles, videos have you watched, listened to or bought on the subject?
It’s what your audience want.
Here’s another trick to keep people on your page.
10 When you use…
9 Bullet points…
8 Make sure…
7 They start at…
6 The top…
5 And work their way…
4 Down, so…
3 Your readers are forced to scroll…
2 Or at least…
1 Read on to find out what is the NUMBER 1 item on the list.
Now you’ve read this one thing, you will start to see it everywhere – and you will know why!
If you’ve got a long article you want to publish (ie. longer than 3,000 words or so), then split it up into separate pages.
I’d do that like a shot with this article but it’s not long enough, so you’ll just have to carry on scrolling (for which I apologise).
Start your article off by highlighting the first paragraph (scroll to the top to see it in action if you can be bothered). The contrast makes it look more interesting.
Add other bits and bobs in too if it makes sense. Images are another way to make the page longer, which forces people to scroll, and thereby stay on the page longer (provided the image is striking).
The top tip is to add a video. People often do this right at the start and set it to auto-play. This is a really crappy idea, but it certainly helps keep your audience from bouncing right back to the search results – PROVIDED the video is actually interesting.
Adding relevant links to other authority pages on the subject also helps. Although they are ‘bouncing’ away from your site, it is NOT via going back to the search engine that sent them there.
Common sense will tell you that Google understands that if someone doesn’t immediately return to their results page, then they must have either found what they wanted, or they found a way to get what they wanted (and Google was the gateway to get there).
Incidentally, the relevant link I added two paragraphs above is an example of Google showing you how to LEGITIMATELY SEO your site with regard to improving your bounce rate – but don’t worry about that, as everything relevant from that very short article is included here anyway.
Note that I’ve added an HTML “rel=nofollow” tag to the external links in this article so I don’t lose any link juice to the site or this page. You should do the same (unless it’s an internal page, which is fine as it is).
And by the way, linking internal pages is another GREAT way to keep people on your site (and reduce the bounce rate). Here’s a related (internal) page on how to get a page indexed in Google in less than a minute.
If you do much surfing of the web you will have come across many sites with sections at the bottom that include a ton of images about related stories. They’re all written using a curiosity and attention grabbing headline like this:
“And You Thought This Was Stupid!!!! Find Out What Happened Next…”
Admittedly this stock photo is nowhere near as stupid as it should be, but you get the idea.
And it works like crazy! But once again it’s all about context. Keeping people from bouncing is always best done by writing useful and interesting articles that your audience wants, and it always will be.
Your reputation is riding on it. Everything you put out affects your audience in one way or another. You are a book and your cover will be read first. Make that the best it can be, so they at least get to start reading the contents.
Using an infographic is almost a cliche these days and no one does it better than Neil Patel on the QuickSprout blog. I love his stuff and on that link I just added you can read some more brilliant ideas on reducing your bounce rate.
Meanwhile what amazing things have you seen on websites designed to get readers’ attention and keep them there at any cost?