Make your distribution money work for you through less bounces
The Bounce Rate in Google Analytics defines how big a percentage of readers leave without visiting more than one article. It is a good indication of the site's relevance or appeal and if we engage our visitors. For some sites – especially in e-commerce – a low Bounce Rate can be crucial, but for non-sales platforms, the metrics are sometimes taken with a grain of salt. However, those publishers are missing out on an opportunity, because the more pages a reader visits per session the more likely he/she is interested in your product or service. Of course, whether or not a particular bounce rate is good or bad is relative to how well you are achieving your website marketing goals and business outcomes (sales) achieved. But, if you are having concerns with your website's goals and are experiencing higher bounce rates, here is how you can improve:
1. Create amazing content
Focus your content research, content planning and content production around relevance, quality, integrity and transparency and you are off to a good start. Use Google Analytics to check the data for Average Time on Page. If that metric is generally low, it is a good indication that your content is not meeting the expectations of your visitors. Are you able to keep your audience engaged for longer? You’ll have a better chance to lead them on to more of your content. Keep interruptions like popups during the reader experience to an absolute minimum.
We at Mediaplanet look at the below key metrics to evaluate content engagement which helps indicate whether or not content is performing:
- Average Time on Page
- Scroll Depth (how far down the reader is scrolling)
- Scroll Percentage (average of the readers who scrolled the content)
- Pageviews + Unique Pageviews Per Month
2. Make sure your pages load fast
The human digital attention span has plummeted to around 8 seconds and if your page takes a long time to load, you’ll be certain to lose people. Surveys suggest that 53% of people will leave a page if it takes longer to load than 3 seconds, so they are leaving faster than you can mouth ‘please don’t go’. Check your load times and from a content perspective, pay attention to what you add to the page. That means religiously optimizing all content for the web to be on top of your load speed and grab attention faster.
3. Stay on top of what your search results look like in Google
We tend to bounce from sites that do not meet our expectations and lose patience if we have to search a site for the answers we want. Take a peek at results for your site on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) and make sure that your meta descriptions match the content in order to award your readers for their click. Yoast is an amazing plugin for working with those texts. To get a full overview of how you present yourself in the SERP, check out Google’s Site Operator. Type in site: your URL (ex: Site:fightagainstmalaria.com) in the search field of Google and you’ll be presented with all indexed pages of that specific site.
4. Carry out great formatting
Readers tend to bounce if they are presented with a ‘Wall of text.' Write short and sharp and format your content nicely.
- Break the text for every 300-400 characters
- Keep the headlines short and clear – especially the subtitles.
- Limit sentences to about 20 words
- Use bullets for an overview
- Limit your paragraphs to about 7-8 sentences/300-400 words
- Start every paragraph with the most important sentence
- Use the shortest possible variation of words like, try instead of attempt.
5. Linking internally and externally
Link internally to other relevant articles on the site within the body text or underneath it. Don’t go overboard and link to anything and everything. Do it only when it makes sense and adds value to the article in question. Don’t overlook the internal anchor texts. It is good SEO practice, but it also makes it more obvious to the reader what you are linking to.
Make sure external links open in a new window. If the window changes to some other site, the readers have a tendency to go with the flow and surf on the next new thing never to return to the content they came from.
6. Optimize for mobile
More than 75% of digital readers use their phone when browsing. If your content is not well adapted to mobile, your readers easily lose interest. If your visitors are unsure where to find the needed information and you do not deliver answers right away, they will leave quickly to seek other sites for answers.
7. Don’t Make Me Think
Make your website easy to navigate and get an overview of what the site contains. This is not only true for the homepage. Many visitors won’t enter through your index, but rather on the article level, so make sure you lead your readers on to more content from there. Read Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think that is all about usability on websites.
8. Are you delivering as advertised?
Consider the relationship between distribution ad and content. Think about why the readers click on i.e. a Facebook ad and if we award that click with relevant information on our site. Is the reader getting the payoff without having to search for it or worse getting disappointed?
9. Know your numbers
Are you improving your game and do you have a goal you are trying to reach? Take a look at which of your landing pages have the highest Bounce Rate and get a better overview of what is dragging you down. Document your progress and content changes and move your mountain one rock at a time.
DID YOU KNOW?
Having a high Bounce Rate will make metrics like ‘average time on page’ less accurate as Google Analytics is incapable of measuring the length of the visitor’s last page view. It will use the initiation of the next pageview to track the end of the previous one in a session. So, for visits lasting just one pageview – Google Analytics can only make a qualified guess to the length of those.