A Proven Way to Lower Your Bounce Rate & Boost SEO

Lower Bounce Rate

A Proven Way to Lower Your Bounce Rate & Boost SEO

I’m going to brag about something for a second: the bounce rate on the 816 website is 6.4%. This is a big deal—OK, a really big deal. Our little baby’s grown up so fast!

According to Google, the average bounce rate among websites right now is about 40%. This varies depending on your industry and other factors, such as which page the visitor entered the website on.

For instance, if someone entered your website on your contact page, got your phone number or filled in your online form, and left, that’s technically a bounce. But we’re not worried about those people.

What we want to focus on is how to keep quality website visitors moving around your website for longer.

What Is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your website after having visited just one page.

Google Analytics Benchmark Averages

These are the average bounce rates Google released in 2011 for different types of websites.

  • 40-60% Content websites
  • 30-50% Lead generation sites
  • 70-98% Blogs
  • 20-40% Retail sites
  • 10-30% Service sites
  • 70-90% Landing pages

A Few More Stats from Google Analytics

So I’m going to go full disclosure here and tell you that, in the past month, our average visitor looked at five webpages and spent about 6 1/2 minutes on our website.

Lowering Bounce Rate

These three most popular pages yielded the following bounce rates and average durations:

About half of our traffic for the month entered on the homepage. The bounce rate from our homepage was 3.81% and the visitors spent about a minute there. That’s what we’d expect because our homepage is set up as a navigational conduit to drive people deeper into the site.

The blog post “6 Steps You Should Take After Launching Your Website and Social Media Pages” was another high-ranking entrance page. The bounce rate was 0% and visitors spent just under a minute here as well. We haven’t yet publicized this through email marketing, but we have sent it out via social media and to blog subscribers.

The third most popular page is a new one: Write for 816, which we publicized heavily on social media but haven’t yet published in our email marketing to send to our email subscribers. Again, the bounce rate was 0% and the time spent on the page was nearly 1 1/2 minutes.

2/3 of the popular pages on our website are affiliated with our blog, which we update 2-3 times per month.

What This Means for Your Website

Remember that many people aren’t even seeing your homepage when they come to your website, particularly if you have a number of landing pages, ads and social media posts that link to specific interior pages, and the like.

Every page on your website needs to clearly indicate what you do and be targeted to keywords that visitors might type into a Google search to arrive at that page. Each page also has to be content-rich, current, and include a call to action wherever possible.

Deviate from the Brochure

Imagine that you’re in a meeting with someone who wants to hire you as a client. He says, “Let me show you what we’ve got,” opens up a brochure on the table in front of you, and then looks at you expectantly, waiting for you to say you’re ready to sign a contract.

Seems kind of odd, right?

There was a time not that long ago when websites were just this and nothing more. But now, with the convergence of websites, blogging, social media, email marketing, and other types of interactive content, your website has the opportunity to be so much more than just another stale, static brochure website.

Pay Attention to What Your Intuition Is Telling You

When you visit a website, you get a certain feeling about it, right? You can tell if it’s dated or modern-looking, interactive or stale, regularly updated or static. You can tell these things because you have learned to register certain signs and patterns.

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For instance, you might see a Latest News feed on a homepage. That’s a pretty good sign that the website is updated frequently. Or you might see a slick-looking image slider, or the fonts and colors just speak to it being modern and fresh. You might not know what it means, but you get a feeling from these triggers.

Those impressions allow you to decide if: (a) you’d like to continue navigating the website; (b) the website owners are engaging regularly with their online visitors; and (c) they have worthwhile content. In fact, you most likely make a decision right there and then about whether or not you even want to do business with that company.

If their website is tired, uninformative, difficult to navigate, or lacks aesthetic appeal, what does that say about their attitude toward their business?

When Content Hangs Things Up

It’s too often the case that dollars literally sail out the window as visitors bounce away just because of the poor quality of content on the website they’re visiting. They cannot find what they’re looking for, get a poor impression of the company’s message or branding, or simply don’t find value in the overall website experience.

Plan to have at least one person on staff designated to generate content on a consistent basis. If you’re running a small business or non-profit and people are already overwhelmed with tasks, consider hiring a content developer to help you generate content for a nominal fee. Many are freelancers, who can step in when you need them or are pressed for time.

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Justifying Time & Cost

Some business owners have difficulty justifying the time needed for content development or the cost associated with hiring a content developer to step in from time to time. Think instead of what you’re losing by not generating content on a consistent basis. 

Whether you realize it or not, when you go to a business’s website, you’re seeking that content, and so are your visitors. If they don’t see it, they’re likely to bounce right back out again.

A shift has occurred: Companies are devoting more time and energy toward their websites than print promotional materials. Websites are easier to update and correct, have a much wider reach than a print piece, and offer multiple ways to generate a lead.

The inherent value in having quality content regularly appearing on your website is in the leads you’ll gain, the quality of the traffic you’ll attract, and these other benefits.

  • Google and other search engines will push your website further and further up in ranking if the website is regularly updated with keyword-driven content.
  • Content creates unique lead generation opportunities, such as requiring registration to attend a free webinar you’re hosting.
  • Generating content gives you something to feed to your email subscribers and social media contacts.
  • Website visitors will have a reason to return to you if you make it clear that you are constantly updating your website with relevant, interesting, and informative content.

Apply What You Know to Your Website

At this point in time, content is the #1 factor in hitting your target client and generating more leads through your website.

If you generate quality content—in a blog and/or news feed, through a webinar, via email marketing and social media, and through downloadable white papers and research reports—you’re distinguishing yourself from your competition tenfold and keeping visitors moving around your website longer.

Think about the impression your website is having on someone who drops by for a second versus someone who navigates several pages!

You have a unique opportunity to make your website more than just a summary of your products and services. You can generate content beyond the business pages to show that you’re an expert in your field, that you want to be helpful as well as informative, and that you’re reaching out to your audience on a consistent basis.

In order to have lasting impact, having a content development strategy is a good way to form habits around creating content, develop an organized schedule for releasing content, and ensure that it doesn’t get lost in the day-to-day shuffle of running a business or non-profit organization. The SEO benefits don’t happen overnight, but they will happen if you stay consistent in your efforts.

Have questions about creating a content development strategy to help your business or non-profit? Ask below!

Photo credit: Vince Alongi and Chad Nicholson

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Sarah Williams

Founder & director of 816 New York and passionate about all things strategy and unity.

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