Reduce Bounce Rates in 7 Easy Steps for Copywriters

Reducing bounce rates is critical for SEO and lead generation.

Reduce Bounce Rates for SEO & Performance.

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.

Is your bounce rate good or bad?

You can 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.

How can a copywriter affect 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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#SEOcopywriting #BounceRate #WebsiteStickiness #MarketingCopywriter

The Most Essential Tips for Planning an Ebook

The most essential tips for planning an ebook: Computer monitor filled with books

If you’re a content marketer, ebooks are a hot commodity. Their potential for high-conversion rates makes them valuable assets for lead generation, but starting one can seem overwhelming. If you’re planning an e-book for your next content marketing campaign, here are tips on the what, why, and how of ebook writing.

What is an Ebook?

First, let’s define what an ebook IS NOT. These days, marketers use the term ebook very loosely, which is unfortunate because it devalues the true nature and value of the ebook as a well-written, substantive educational document. It’s not a short-lived blog post, an opinion piece, or an ad. While ebooks may resemble white papers, they are distinct differences. Ebooks are usually shorter (a minimum of 3-5 pages), have quick takeaways, and feature visual pizazz. They read more like a user-friendly book, rather than a hard-nosed report.

Now, let’s define what an ebook IS. An ebook is a branded, long-form content asset that should reflect your expertise on a topic and provide solid value for the reader. Ebooks are a favorite asset for content marketers because they typically generate highly qualified leads—especially those in the mid to late stage of the marketing funnel. Further, ebooks have legs. Often published in PDF form, they are easily sharable, increasing the likelihood of introducing other prospects to your brand.

Find out more about writing white papers and using them as a lead generation tool.

Identify your audience to determine your topic.

Pick a Topic – Step 1: Identify a narrowly defined audience.

Image: Man shooting arrow at  trget: Define your audience to kind a killer topic for your ebook
Define your audience to find a killer topic for your ebook

When planning an ebook, it makes no sense to choose a topic before selecting a narrowly defined audience. For example, you might be targeting a senior-level decision-maker in the financial software sector, with ompany revenues of $50-100 million.

Once you have determined who you are writing for, your task is to identify a very specific question they want the answer to—written at the right knowledge level, using language that is accessible to them, and creating a tone that suits both them and your brand.

If you don’t already have a buyer persona for your target audience, here’s how to create a buyer persona, along with an easy-to-follow template.

Pick a Topic – Step 2: Leverage your expertise.

When planning an ebook, remember that you want to be perceived as authoritative, plus you want to be original. Pick a topic that matches your area of expertise, preferably a subject that is not already well-covered, or one where you can provide a unique viewpoint. If you’re stuck, you can get ideas from industry websites, articles from expert bloggers, your own high-performing blogs, and your sales team. You can also type a relevant keyword or phrase into a search engine and see what comes up on the results pages. Your topic should be narrowly defined, with one core idea that is supported by all the other elements.

Do the research to support your topic with hard facts.

Visualizations of statistics: Ebooks require reliable evidence to build credibility.
Ebooks require reliable evidence to build credibility

An ebook is not a blog article, an editorial, or a promotional piece. It doesn’t have to be stuffy, but you need to provide reliable facts that your audience can trust. People are counting on you to be clear and correct, so this is no time to cut corners.

It’s important to use recent, verifiable data from well-known sources (making sure to cite the source). If you get facts from a second-hand article (“According to Study X…”), go back to the original source to verify the statistic. The author of the article you are reading may not have bothered. As you’re gathering facts, stay focused, and don’t go down the rabbit hole to explore tangents.

Here’s an article that gives some great tips on doing online research.

Writing your ebook using a planning process.

Scrabble tray with "organize:" Plan your ebook to be on target, thorough, and efficient.
Plan your ebook to be on target, thorough and efficient.
  1. Write the title: The title has to get attention—without too much hype. It should also clearly and honestly state what the ebook is about. Your title is the core topic upon which every element in the ebook is based. You can brainstorm titles at any point during the creation process.
  2. Primary subheads: Your main subtopics should be directly related to the core topic so that you deliver what the reader expects. The subheads form the framework of your ebook’s story, similar to chapters in a printed book. Put them in a sensible, logical order.
  3. Secondary subheads: Each secondary subhead supports the primary subhead it’s under. Be careful that the secondary subheads directly relate to that section or the reader will become confused. Again, put these subheads in a logical order. Plow ahead to the next steps before filling in all the sections.
  4. Transitions: Transitions from one section to the next enhance the overall flow, adding to the reader’s comprehension. Write smooth transitions from subhead to subhead. If the transition is extremely hard to write, it may be that something is out of place and you need to reorder your sections.
  5. Initial research: Steps 1-4 above represent the ebook’s outline, which is your point of departure. Now you have a clear picture, or a roadmap–but haven’t yet written the full-blown content. This is a good time to do your initial research, selecting evidence that your premises are correct (and sometimes finding out that your argument is flawed and requires rethinking). Your findings may also provide interesting insights that shift your perspective.
  6. Filling It Out: This is where you put your head down and fill in all the elements of your outline, making smart use of your research points. You’ll be doing multiple drafts, so don’t get too hung up on specific words the first time around—you’ll have a chance in subsequent revisions. Continue to check that the ebook has good flow and sufficient real-world data.
  7. Formatting: Big blocks of copy are hard to read and understand. This is one reason to break the ebook into subheads. Aim for short paragraphs and easy-to-read sentences. Also add eye-candy, such as bullet points and lists, images, pull-quotes, and other ways to draw interest and rest the reader’s eyes.
  8. Interactivity: While an ebook isn’t necessarily interactive, it’s good to go that route for several reasons. First, digital navigation, bookmarks, and hyperlinks make it easier for readers to find the specific information they need without endless scrolling. It also makes it possible for search engines to index the content.
  9. SEO: I always say that you should write for people first, not search engines. Nonetheless, SEO is necessary for getting found online, increasing traffic, and generating leads. I’ll leave the topic of SEO for another time. I just wanted to point out that I don’t focus on SEO until the end.
  10. Edit: Here, you want to be merciless. Cut out all the fat—it’s not a contest to see how long your ebook can be. It’s more important to be concise to make it worth the reader’s time.
  11. Proofing: I can’t emphasize enough how important this is. Too many typos, grammar problems, and awkward sentences can blow it. Poor proofing can lead to your company looking unprofessional and prone to making mistakes. Grammar checkers are good, but they don’t catch everything. Make sure to scour your ebook for typos, with several people reviewing it if possible before publication.

As in all content, readability is a primary consideration. Learn the 5 Most Important Rules for Readability.

Build your pipeline with high-quality ebooks

Build a Sales Pipeline

Ebooks aren’t the easiest type of content to write and produce, but they are one of the best ways to get high quality leads into the sales pipeline. Baking ebooks into your content marketing strategy is a smart move. When planning your ebook, ensure that you have expertise in the topic, B2B writing talent, and top-notch creative skills. Boston-based Westebbe Marketing has the experience to make sure your ebook meets your audience’s needs. Contact Boston-based Westebbe Marketing.

#ebookCopywriting #BostonCopywriter #ContentMarketing #BostonCopyExpert