The internet is a highly competitive environment for businesses, where search engines make it easy for consumers to simply go elsewhere if they’re dissatisfied with your website. If a web user clicks through to your website from the search engine results, only to leave shortly afterwards without navigating through your site, it’s a clear indication that something’s wrong. This is known as ‘bounce rate’, and if left unaddressed it will mostly likely result in your business losing custom to the competition. But what could be causing a high bounce rate, and how do you improve it? Find out below.
Target the right keywords to attract the ‘right’ visitors to your website. That is, target only those search terms that are genuinely relevant to your products or services; it may be tempting to try to maximize the volume of traffic, but don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Focus on the search intention of your target audience when selecting your keywords, and assess how they can be encouraged to navigate to other pages of your site. Keywords that target those who aren’t quite ready to purchase yet is a good example, since you can then create informational content designed to persuade them. This way, the traffic you receive will be much less likely to ‘bounce’, and more likely to convert.
Furthermore, ensure you have appropriate landing pages for your chosen keywords, especially longtail ones. The idea is to make your visitor do as little work as possible to find what they’re looking for. For example, if you’ve identified ‘high top Vans sneakers’ as a potentially lucrative keyword, ensure you have a relevant landing page for it. Ideally, create multiple landing pages for high volume keywords; in this case you could have separate landing pages for ‘Vans sneakers‘ and ‘high top sneakers’, for example.
Due to technological advancements, internet users are far less patient when it comes to loading speed than they used to be. If you have a slow website, they will simply go elsewhere. There are numerous steps you can take to improve this, from optimizing image files and using caching plugins, to using a content delivery system (CDN). Your first port of call, however, ought to be dealing with the foundations of your website – choosing a reliable web host.
Web hosting packages aren’t all created equal, but bear in mind that cheaper options don’t necessarily mean less reliable. If in doubt, go for offers from larger more reputable companies that offer scalability, such as these packages. This way, you can ensure your website loads quickly as your traffic increases, thereby reducing the risk of users ‘bouncing’.
User-friendly web design
Poorly designed landing pages are a major reason for high bounce rates; it stands to reason that if the appearance and functionality of your site is not user-friendly, visitors will not be encouraged to explore further. It’s not just about creating attractive landing pages, though, you should also ensure the purpose of your website and project is crystal clear. As with the speed of your website, consumers have little patience for websites that fail to present their purpose clearly; they want to know what you’re offering as quickly as possible, so they can decide whether it’s worth their time. Clear navigation is paramount for this reason, but it also applies equally for the layout and content of your pages – do all you can to avoid cluttered design and bloated paragraphs.
Another crucial factor is to avoid popups that appear immediately on the first page – they disrupt the user experience and are often frustrating. That’s not to say popups are always negative, but it’s a matter of ensuring they offer value to your visitors without causing too much irritation. Try triggering popups with incentives, such as exclusive content or time-sensitive discounts, when users navigate away from your site instead.
Reminder: responsive design
This has been said many times before, but it’s still worth repeating: responsive design is a must-have for any modern website. As web traffic from smartphones is overtaking desktop PCs, optimizing the mobile browsing experience is becoming more essential year on year. Unless your site can adapt to all sizes of screen, you run the risk of forcing visitors to abandon your site. See here for a guide on how to get started.
User-friendly meta data
By now, you are probably familiar with the significance of meta data when it comes to SEO, but the meta description in particular is also an important factor for reducing your bounce rate. It can be all too easy to forget that the description isn’t just for the sake of pleasing search engine algorithms, it also appears in the search results and therefore ought to be enticing to users. Essentially, the aim is to ensure the user has a clear idea of what the page contains before they click through.
While click through rate is significant for SEO, it’s of little use if the meta description was misleading enough for people to abandon your landing page because it wasn’t what they were looking for after all. In addition to enticing wording, make extra sure you don’t exceed the character limit (use any free SERP snippet optimization tool) and place your keyword towards the beginning of the description.