7 Easy Steps to Reduce Bounce Rates

Reducing bounce rates is critical for SEO and lead generation.

How Can You Improve SEO? Reduce Bounce Rates

The scenario: Your SEO and content strategy worked and you’re finally at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). Your traffic escalates. Your next job is engaging visitors on your site. But what if your valued visitors only glance at the first page they land on and then leave your site without further interaction? That’s a fail, for sure—and it’s called a bounce.” Your next goal is to reduce bounce rates, the metric calculated by dividing single-sessions by all sessions.

What does Google think about Bounce Rates?

The bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who land on your website and do nothing other than glance at a single page (note that I’ll use “page” and “article” interchangeably). They don’t click on menu items, calls to action, internal links, or interact in other ways. This lack of user engagement leads to a high bounce rate, from which Google infers that your webpage is poor quality or that it’s not drawing the audience it’s intended for.

What is a bounce? A bounce is a single-page session on your site. 
What is bounce rate? Bounce rate is a percentage calculated by sing'e

From an SEO perspective, a high bounce rate will cause your organic page ranking to drop—leading to less traffic, fewer leads, and loss of potential customers. If your overall website is “bouncy,” it can affect how Google ranks your entire site. If you can reduce bounce rate and increase “website stickiness,” the ability to keep visitors on your site, Google will reward you.

Learn more about website Stickiness.

Should you reduce bounce rates to get beyond your average?

What is your “average” bounce rate, and is it good or bad? Find out your bounce rate using Google Analytics or other tools. Once you know that metric, your next question might be, “is my bounce rate is good or bad”? The short answer is that there is no typical bounce rate, so it’s hard to say whether your bounce rates are good or bad–or you goal to reduce bounce rate. The percentage varies widely based on various criteria.

Examples of “typical” bounce rates:

  • Landing pages have an average bounce rate of 60-90%
  • The average B2B website has an average bound rate of 25-55%
  • Blogs have an average bounce rate of 65-95%  
  • E-Commerce and retail sites have benchmark bounce rates of 25-40%, while non-e-commerce sites are higher, at 35-60% (source: Kissmetrics)
  • Content-based websites have bounce rates of 40-60%, while lead generation sites with services for sale are lower, at 30-50% (source: Kissmetrics)

First, we see that the range for each statistic above is pretty broad. Further, “typical” or “average” bounce rates vary by industry, niche, B2B or B2C, where the traffic comes from, type of website, type of web page, and other factors.

No matter what the research shows about bounce rates for companies similar to yours, the only number that really counts is based on setting your own company’s benchmarks. You can reduce bounce rate only by benchmarking your current rate, analyzing factors that lead to bounce rates and, conversely stickiness, and then adjust your content and other website factors to improve results.

What techniques can a copywrite use to reduce bounce rates?

Bounce rate isn’t totally dependent on the written content of your webpage, blog article, or other content. You can also look at how a page is promoted, back-end SEO techniques, page errors, and other factors. However, the copywriter plays a major role in whether visitors leave after a single page or continue to interact with other pages.

Here are key steps for using copy to reduce bounce rates. 

Step 1:

Make quality and readability your top priority.

High quality, authoritative, easy-to-read copy should be your top priority.

If you read my blog articles regularly, you know I put most of my eggs in the “high quality” basket. That’s the single most important thing for keeping people on your site to reduce bounce rates and improve SEO.

The first aspect of quality deals with addressing a specific audience or audience persona about a topic they deeply care about. Second, respect your reader by making the content accurate, easy to read, easy to scan, and as error-free as possible. Third, give visitors a reason to stay by giving them opportunities to dig deeper, with internal links, resources, and tools.

Read these 5 important rules to increase the readability of your blog post.

Step 2:

Logically organize the page.

People’s attention spans are shorter than ever. They want to be able to see at-a-glance what the article’s about, know what topics are included, and quickly pinpoint specific facts and areas of interest. If they can’t scope this out almost immediately, they’re gone. Each web page should be set up with a hierarchy of heading tags, from H1 (your title) to H2 (your main subheads), and down the line to H3, H4, etc. Let’s look at these in more detail.

Step 3:

Create a compelling H1 page title.

What's the difference between Title Tags and H1 Tags? Title tags show up in search engines as the hyperlink that searchers click on and in the title bar at the top of the web browser. They do NOT appear on the actual webpage.
H1 Tags are what users see on the webpage. It is in large text and acts as a title for the page. H1 tags usually do not appear in search engines.

H1 Tags are the first opportunity to keep visitors on the page. Also known as the “post title,” this is the title that shows up on the webpage itself. Note that this isn’t the “SEO title tag,” which shows in the browser window and is the title used in the Google results page snippet. Your H1 page title is the first place where the copywriter can help reduce bounce rates.

Your page title should have impact, interest, and clearly state what your article is about and what the reader will learn. No hype, no self-serving angle, no misleading wording. The right title will get you more organic search traffic. Then, once readers land on the page, the right title will encourage people to move ahead with the article, rather than abandon it at first sight. On the other hand, the wrong title can cause visitors to abandon the page and your website.

Many writers and SEO experts view creating the right titles as something of a science—and spend a lot of time thinking of titles that will enhance performance. Just Google “blog titles” and you’ll get pages and pages of expert advice about how to generate titles that drive traffic. You can also find various blog title generators, such as this one from SEO Pressor or this one from Hubspot.

Step 3:

Guide the reader with logical H2 subheads

What is an H2 Tag? An h1 tag is for your title. An H2 tag is a secondary header that you can user to: emphasize secondary keywords; break up content to make it scannable and easy to read; highlight important pieces of information; saturate content with keywords

H2 Tags, or your main subheads, direct readers from the beginning to the end of the page.If your H1 title passes the first stickiness test, your reader will want a better idea of what they’ll learn from the page. At this point, they’ll either start reading your intro paragraph or scanning your H2 subheads to understand the content, relevancy, and flow of the article.

In addition to enhancing scannability, H2 subheads should guide viewers to information they are specifically interested in. Equally important, each subsection should focus on a discrete idea, and all content should closely reflect the subhead it falls under. If section content is redundant or doesn’t fit the subhead, you will confuse both Google and the reader. Also, include your keywords (or synonyms) in H2 subheads; don’t overdo keyword use or inappropriately force it, or Google and your readers will be turned off and your bounce rate will jump.

Step 4:

Write an intriguing intro paragraph.

Either directly after the page title or after skimming the subheads, your reader moves on to the critical first sentence of the intro paragraph. There are many techniques to grab the reader here, such as asking a question, sharing an intriguing statistic, or placing a relevant quote.

If your first sentence is successful, your reader will continue reading through the paragraph to get a general idea of what the article is about, what they’ll learn from it, and why they should care. If you do this job well, you have hopefully succeeded in encouraging the reader to plow ahead, deeper into the article.

Step 5:

Create ways to maintain the reader’s interest.

Good formatting techniques can help create visual interest, pinpoint interesting facts, and make an article easier to read—and this reduces bounce rates.

Your readers’ time is limited. They are busy and easily distracted, whether they are at home or in an office setting. Nowadays, with so many people working remotely, you’re competing again kids, home entertainment, and tasks of everyday life. Make it easy and enjoyable for them to move through and digest content.

Techniques to boost reader interest include:

  • Making sentences short, easy to understand, and varying in length.
  • Breaking up the copy with graphics, lists, subheads, callouts, and similar details to add some eye-calming white space.
  • Using bold and italic text to highlight words to call attention to certain items and to improve readability.
  • Using color as accents, sparingly.
  • Avoiding hype, jargon, or complicated words when an easy one will do.
  • Including interesting graphics, charts, videos, or other items that cause the reader to stay on the page longer.

Step 6: Include the right information and depth of knowledge.

If a webpage doesn’t have enough information, is too general, or is too complex (or not complex enough), it may lack the decision-making information your reader wants. Any of these situations can make your visitors leave and disengage. These decisions will also vary based on the type of page you are writing (blog article, product page, contact us page). Each type of page has opportunities to make it appealing, readable, and optimized to decrease bounce rates and increase conversion.

Here are some questions to ask before you write:

  • Know how much information and level of knowledge is right for your audience.
  • Are they looking for a casual read or more in-depth information?
  • Where are they in the marketing funnel?
  • How much time do they have?

Step 7: Include internal links to move them through the site.

Smart use of internal links promotes important pages on your site and gives readers opportunities to read related or more in-depth content. Up to several internal links on a page can help readers engage, but too many can be overwhelming, confusing, and difficult to read.

I’m going to repeat the previous paragraph in 2 different ways so you can see what I mean (Note that the links in the paragraph are fake!):

Smart use of internal links promotes important pages on your site and gives readers opportunities to read related or more in-depth content. Up to several internal links on a page can help readers engage, but too many can be overwhelming, confusing, and difficult to read.

Messy, right? Instead, cut down the number of links or find alternate ways to display them. Here’s the same paragraph—you still have internal links, but it’s easier for the readers to identify extra resources that interest them

Again, the sample paragraph below includes fake links.

Example 2 – fewer, but more useful, links:

Smart use of internal links promotes important pages on your site and gives readers opportunities to read related or more in-depth content. Up to several internal links on a page can help readers engage, but too many can be overwhelming, confusing, and difficult to read.

Read more about internal links here.

Here are more resources about readability.

Much better! The paragraph above shows that you can have several links even in a short paragraph without overwhelming the reader (and making them leave the site).

Successful copywriters focus on engaging readers to reduce bounce rates.

A copywriter’s first duty is to the reader. However, it would be silly to suggest that a modern copywriter doesn’t have to be mindful of website performance. It just takes a little more knowledge and practice. If you use external creative resources, look for a freelance copywriter who creates SEO-friendly content that engages your audience, and keeps them on your website.

For high-quality web content that boosts traffic and reduces bounces, contact Westebbe Marketing, a Boston-based agency specializing in high-performing original content.

Contact us online, call us at (617) 699-4462, or email us.

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