Monday 30 June 2014

6 ways to improve your bounce rate to boost SEO results

Bounce rate, as explained by Google is “the percentage of visits in which users view only a single page of your site.”

If you have an e-commerce website, your aim is to get visitors to stick around, look at your products, read about your business, put items in their basket and make a purchase – then you need to get your bounce rate as low as possible as a high bounce rate means low conversion.

Bounce rate is also used by Google to measure how relevant a website is to the search terms or keywords used to find it. This means that if a website has a high bounce rate, not only will it convert fewer visitors, its Google rankings will be negatively affected. And on the flip slide, lowering your bounce rate shows Google that your website is relevant and useful, positively impacting your rankings.

How do you find out your bounce rate?

a) Firstly you’ll need to have Google Analytics set up.

b) If you’ve already done this, go to Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages.

c) Select Comparison View from the icons at the top right of your data table.

d) Select Bounce Rate from the (compared to site average) drop down, and you should see a chart like this:

Now on to how to reduce your bounce rate.

1. Drive quality traffic

As mentioned above, bounce rate tells Google how relevant a website is to search terms used to find the website. Driving quality, relevant, hungry-to-buy traffic is more important than getting large volumes of less interested visitors as poor quality traffic will only result in a high bounce rate.

First concentrate on ranking in Google search results for keyword terms that correlate closely to what your website is about, rather than more vague and competitive keywords with a large number of monthly searches.

2. Focus on customer intent

One reason that visitors don’t stick around on a website is not being able to find what they’re looking for. You know the frustrated feeling; you instantly hit the back button and go to the next website in the list of search results.

Overcome this by thinking about what your customers are most likely to want, need, expect, be looking for on your website and then clearly provide a route to that information from your landing pages. (A landing page is any page that a visitor enters your website on.)

Use enquiry emails to provide you with insight into questions customer couldn't easily find the answers to on your website. You can use these questions to create an FAQ page, write blog articles on, add information to your landing pages, improve your product pages, and so on.

3. Get your website looking its best

With the online world becoming increasingly competitive, customers have higher expectations, they’re more impatient and less tolerant of poor design. Good design now signals legitimacy, trustworthiness and providing a quality product and service.

Google actually gives redesigning the landing pages of a website as the first piece of advice to websites with high bounce rates.

4. Improve usability

Usability is just as important as design. A website which looks amazing but offers a very tedious checkout process will lose customers to its competitors. How easy a website is to use is actually a reflection of the quality of customer service provided, it will not only build trust it will keep your visitors on your website, reducing your bounce rate. You can read more about how to improve your usability here.

5. Make your website mobile friendly

This is simply a website that will resize according to the screen it’s being viewed on. It’s a great way to optimise your website for those browsing on mobiles or tablets. Mobile traffic now accounts for one quarter of all web searches and 30% of shoppers say they will abandon a website if checkout is not optimised for mobile.

Additionally 57% of mobile users will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Clearly, making your website accessible to mobile users can have a massive effect on reducing your bounce rate.

6. Give visitors a clear reason to buy from you

We've already mentioned how competitive e-commerce can be; this final point is one we couldn't leave out. Is it obvious to visitors why you are different to competitors? If you provide the best value for money, best quality product or fastest delivery service is this clearly stated on your website?

This differentiation actually comes down to brand definition. Visitors need to be given a compelling reason to stick with you rather than going back to the previous, maybe slightly cheaper but not as great, product. Providing this will keep them glued to your website and to you as a customer.

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