A lot of SEO gurus believe that a high bounce rate could negatively impact your site’s ranking in Google. I have no hands-on proof on this claim, but just in case you are interested in reducing your site’s bounce rate here are some of things you can do:
The usual rules for fixing a site’s bounce rate are:
a) Make sure the page content is relevant and useful – if the searcher does not find the content on your site relevant and useful then he would immediately hit the "back" button of his browser to go back to the Google search results page from where he came! This in turn would increase your site’s bounce rate percentage! Of course, ‘relevance’ of content is subjective and not all visitors may relate to your content equally; like they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure!
b) Make sure the page does not take too long to load; certainly, not more than 10 seconds. Online users have short attention spans and if your site takes too long to load the visitor won’t bother and just hit the back button of his browser!
You can use several free tools to test the speed of your site, such as:
Google Page Speed (it is more of an optimization tester than speed tester)
c) Keep your site’s language simple. If your site uses rhetoric and technical jargon then make sure you link such terms to their proper definitions on Wikipedia or Freedictionary! Assume that all of your visitors are school dropouts! :D (kidding)
Some free tools you can use to test the readability of your site’s content:
Writingtester : It gave me a readability score of 48 and a grade level of 8 for a sample text from this article.
Readability index calculator: For the same sample text, this tool gave me the following scores:
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 13.
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score: 47
d) Keep the layout and design as simple as possible. Follow the K.I.S.S. principle while designing your site. Use as few images as possible. Even not using a header image at all is better than using a high resolution header image that takes several minutes to load! Keep the site navigation simple and self-explanatory, as you won’t be present there guiding your visitors!
In addition, make sure your site looks good in most browsers. Browsershots, one of the best free tools I have found for this purpose, is getting slower by the day, but still, I feel it is worth the wait! :P
A much less versatile tool (but may still serve your purpose) is Anybrowser. Here is how my longest, boring article till date looks like in Anybrowser:
I am not sure you would read that article if it was really formatted the way it is shown in Anybrowser. (kidding)! :P
How do you think Googlebot views your article? It would see your article in the same way as the blind and disabled people would through a ‘text-only browser’ such as Lynx. So out of curiosity I checked the same long boring article in the online version of lynx (btw, no offense meant, but I have no idea how text browsers work or how blind people can really ‘read’ using a text browser). Here is the result.
e) Checking your site for broken links is also important; broken links and 404 errors not only make you lose out on potential cash but also show your site in bad taste to the visitor (btw, 404 is sort of a minor insult, but I think people are as much used to it as the F*** word). There are several free link checker tools you can use: Anybrowser itself provides one, but the one I frequently use is Linkleecher. Please note that if you use the bad behavior plugin on your site then you must disable it before running your site through any of these tools, as the plugin blocks these ‘third party’ bots from accessing your site and shows them a 403 error (or something similar)!
f) Offer your visitors something extra after they have finished reading your article. Ask them to post a comment, show them links to content closely related to the article they just read (this is something that helps the LSI factor too), add a search button to your site (NOTE: use a Google Adsense search button to make some $$$$), etc.! :D
Let visitors subscribe to your newsletter; then you can bore them just the way I do! ;)
g) Track different parts of your website to see which part gets the most attention of the visitors! You can then fine-tune your ads accordingly! If you use an ad tracking software like Prettylink then-
- Create a tracking link to track your ad.
- Create more tracking links to track the ad’s effectiveness in different areas of your site; for example, you can name your tracking links ‘sitenametop’, ‘sitenameside’, etc. to track the ad clicks on your site’s top and the sidebars respectively.
Nothing technical or rocket science stuff! :D
h) Use Google Website optimizer to split-test different versions of your webpage and see which one converts the most. :)
Given that your site has relevant content, good navigation, loads fast, offers your visitors lots of activities to participate in, you should have a lower bounce rate than usual!
If you liked this article, please feel free to post a nice comment, retweet it, like it on Facebook and link to it from your website, thanks. :D