If you read our resource that explains what on earth bounce rate actually is, then you’ve begun to gain an understanding of how this metric works, and what kind of data it can provide. To refresh, your bounce rate (as measured in Google Analytics), refers to the percentage of people who leave your site without clicking around to reach additional material. Within GA, it’s important that you mostly look at bounce rate in the context of individual pages — expect that blogs will have a higher bounce rate (70-80%), as will traffic from sources like Twitter and other social media sites where users are in browse mode.
Generally speaking though, your bounce rate reflects one message from your site content: how often users are leaving a page without doing anything else. If a user leaves the page they landed on without clicking on additional material, there’s a chance they didn’t find what they were looking for. With a solid foundation in bounce rate basics, you can now start thinking about ways to improve your bounce rate.
Luckily, there are a number of quick fixes that you can implement ASAP. They all fall under the umbrella of writing for the web to attract the humans — this means that in order to improve your bounce rate, you must be thinking about content strategy and search engine optimization. These are some of our favorite topics to ramble on about, so read on for all our advice on how to improve your bounce rate.
1.Keywords are major key
If you want to make sure users find your page because they want to be there, you have to know what they’re looking for to begin with. Using (free!) tools like Google Search Console and Google Trends, you can find the highly-searched keywords that are most relevant to your organization. Conduct further keyword research through programs like Moz or Ahrefs to assess which keyword variations will perform best with your content. It’s up to you to establish your preferences among these and other SEO tools, but the bottom line is this: Crafting your content around a focus keyword will increase your ability to meet users on their level, and will allow you to give them the content they seek when they search for that term.
The focus keyword should first appear in the title of your piece — people definitely judge a page by its title, so you should write and use keywords in your headlines the same way searchers do (tools like Sharethrough.com’s Headline Grader and Hubspot.com’s Blog Topic Generator can help you out). The focus keyword should also appear in the first paragraph of your piece and in your H2 subheaders so that readers know within seconds (or through a quick skim) that the headline wasn’t clickbait.
2.Think like Wikipedia
One easy way to encourage users to stay inside your website’s ecosystem is to hyperlink text within your content pieces to other articles and pages on your site. Sprinkling internal links throughout a page encourages people to click on additional content that is related to, supplements, or informs the page they started on. These links can help to clarify a topic, provide more specific answers to users’ questions, or push them towards other eye-catching aspects of your site — you probably know first hand how quickly this method can suck a person into the informational labyrinth of a site like Wikipedia, so just think what it can do for your bounce rate!
3.Callouts and click-to-shares
Making use of callouts and click-to-share functions within your publishing platforms is another way to demand more engagement within a piece of content. Drawing attention to important messages from your content can help persuade readers that a piece is valuable even if they’re just skimming it, and it might convince them to stay on the page. Callouts in the form of click-to-shares also invite users to take another action (thus lowering your bounce rate) by sharing highlighted messages across other social media sites.
4.Make a compelling call-to-action
The main goal of any article or page within your site is to encourage a user to engage with your mission — you eventually want to compel your audience to take some meaningful action for your organization, such as signing up for your email list, sharing a message on social media, or (ideally) donating to your cause. In order to reap these rewards and keep users from bouncing immediately from their landing page, you should also put time and energy into making convincing calls-to-action. Both the visual layout and storytelling techniques can work in tandem to accomplish these aims — make convincing textual claims as well as including an email signup option, links to a donate button, or tasteful pop-ups. If a user completes your CTA, they’ll be contributing to your cause, not your bounce rate.
In addition to linking terms within your text to other internal resources, you should also save space for a “recommended reading” section somewhere on your page. Using the information you know about a page’s keywords and categories, suggest related content to a user by adding a section of links to other pages. Like hyperlinked text, these suggestions for further reading serve to keep users within your site’s ecosystem by pushing additional content and encouraging them to click beyond their landing page. However, you can package these suggestions differently from in-text links by giving them an accompanying graphic and the appearance of a recommended reading list, or a staff picks shelf at a bookstore. Add headers to the section such as “You might also like…” or “Want more?” to give users the impression that your website has the ability to predict their needs and react to their choices.
6.Make them want what they can’t have
Everyone knows that the surest way to make someone want something is to tell them that they can’t have it. Use humanity’s weaknesses to improve your bounce rate by adding content locks to your pages. While you definitely want to offer some content “free of charge,” you can add a lock to downloadable templates and guides, videos or webinar recordings, or any other specialized content. Ask that users join your email list or take other meaningful actions on your site in order to receive supplemental resources.
Try out any of these easy site optimization tips and content strategies to quickly and efficiently improve your bounce rate. Let us know how these suggestions work for you, or send us your own by tweeting @WholeWhale!