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20 Proven Ways To Reduce Your Bounce Rate

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20 Proven Ways To Reduce Your Bounce Rate


Properly diagnosing high bounce rates to identify areas of improvement is a useful way to increase user engagement, improve site rankings, and put more money in your pocket.

There are many misconceptions about bounce rates, so let’s define what it is and explore why it’s sometimes a good thing but other times needs improvement.

Google defines bounce rate as:

“…is a single-page session on your site.

In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.”

Essentially, this means that when a visitor “bounces” from a webpage, they have left not just that webpage; they’ve also exited the entire website after only viewing one page.

While this definition is clear and easy to understand, the underlying cause of a bounce is generally more complex.

What Causes A High Bounce Rate?

Sometimes a high bounce rate can be an indication of a poor user experience.

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A site visitor hit the page and either the page didn’t deliver the content they were expecting or they were underwhelmed by something else, like a non-responsive webpage.

On the other hand, a high bounce rate can also be the result of a positive user experience.

For example, let’s imagine a user is searching for a recipe’s ingredient measurements.

They click through the search result and land on a site where they immediately see the ingredients list need. They get it and leave the site.

That high bounce rate is an example of a great user experience. The visitor instantly found the information that they were looking for, then left.

Ideally, some of those high bounce rate site visitors will bookmark the page for future reference, and some other visitors may remember the site another day and return to it, seeking it out by name on Google.

When Google Causes A High Bounce Rate

Google’s algorithm exceeds at identifying what a page of content is about and what a search query is about.

However, there may be some rare edge cases where Google may show a website that does not have the correct answer.

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This can happen when a searcher uses a poor choice of keywords (like vague words) or the search phrase is rare.

In that situation, Google sent the visitor to the incorrect webpage.

The visitor did not find the content they needed.

The high bounce rate in that situation is not a poor reflection on the website itself, as there’s nothing wrong with the content.

The source of the problem could be with Google’s algorithm or, more likely, with the search phrase a user typed in.

A high bounce rate is not always a sign of problems with the webpage itself.

Nevertheless, it’s still important to keep an eye on bounce rates to make sure there is not something there that might be driving website visitors away.

Here are 20 proven ways to reduce your bounce rate when needed.

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1. Pay Attention To Page Load Time

When a user has to wait an excessive amount of time (and by excessive I mean more than three seconds) for a page load, it creates an incredibly poor user experience.

The content on the page does not matter if a visitor cannot even see it immediately.

Page load time is even more crucial on mobile devices because users are more likely to become frustrated with slow load times and bounce.

2. Make Site Search Easy

Some websites neglect adding a site search functionality or make it difficult to see.

If a user is searching for something specific that they do not instantly see on a page, this is an extremely useful tool that they can use to search with instead of possibly leaving the page or site entirely.

3. Provide Easy Navigation

Navigation should be easy and effortless for visitors.

When a user gets to a site, they need a clear direction of where the content that they are looking for lives.

If this is not simplistic and clearly laid out in an intuitive navigation, they will most likely bounce from the site.

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4. Focus On A Great Design

Good website design is intuitive and builds trust with a user. A good website design is also a signal of quality.

Visitors will not spend a large amount of time a site that is unpleasant, unattractive, or have difficulty trusting.

Provide an appealing user experience by starting with a great design is not just about aesthetics. It’s about creating a functional, intuitive, and pleasant overall website experience.

5. Keep Mobile Top-Of-Mind

Mobile users have even less patience than desktop users.

A website should have a responsive design in order to provide users on mobile devices with a solid user experience.

6. Make Webpages Easy To Read

Content on a webpage should be clearly and effectively formatted.

This is crucial from a user experience standpoint, as no visitor to a website wants to see large chunks of disorganized text.

When this happens, users will usually skip over crucial content.

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However, if that content was formatted into smaller blocks, including bullet points or also image or video content, a user will have a much easier time understanding the content and sharing it with others.

7. Write Shorter Paragraphs

One of the primary things that help with the overall readability of a site is the length of the content.

Create content within short paragraphs so that your visitors can quickly read the content on the small mobile devices most people use these days when consuming content.

8. Use Various Types Of Content

Another focus area when it comes to website readability is to use multiple forms of content in order to engage site visitors more effectively.

Video content can communicate certain kinds of information (like how-to instructions) more efficiently than text.

High-quality images can also help to break up the text, improve communication of big ideas, and help to reduce bounce rates.

9. Use Relevant Keywords

Use relevant keywords that are appropriate for the content topic.

The accurate use of words, sentences, paragraphs, and headings will help to communicate to Google what the page is about.

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Stay on topic, do not stray.

The closer on topic the webpage is, the more likely the visitors Google sends will also be on-topic with what they expect to find on the page, thereby reducing the bounce rate.

10. Target Relevant Audience

Similar to relevant keywords, relevant content, on the whole, should be used across the site, and the right users should be targeted.

Identify the core target audience of the site and create niche content around that audience.

Targeting should not be too broad, as there is a greater chance of getting users who are not looking for what your site features.

Honing in and focusing on a specific group of users helps to ensure that you are finding people who want to find what your site offers.

These users will be more engaged and apt to spend a great amount of time exploring your site.

11. Stay Away From Popups

Users generally do not enjoy intrusive interstitials that prevent them from getting to the content.

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There are better ways to show interstitials that will not impact users or your webpage rankings.

The rule of thumb is to not get in the way of a site visitor and the content they expect to see.

Allowing them to scroll and enjoy the content first is a better user experience.

If you can avoid using interstitial popups then give it a try.

12. Limit Distracting Ads

Similar to avoiding interstitials and popups, distracting ads should be avoided as well.

A horizontal rectangular ad unit at the top of the page generally performs well, followed by ads within the content and along the sides.

Large ads that make it difficult to read the content can be a poor user experience.

Be aware of the kinds of ads shown on your site in order to catch and block annoying ads.

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Listen to site visitors if they complain about specific ads, and follow up with them to understand why they’re having a problem with those ads.

13. Add A Convincing Call-To-Action

A call-to-action (CTA) should be clearly visible on a website.

The user should be able to locate this within the first few seconds of being on a page.

A CTA should also be compelling so that a user is enticed to click on it.

The colors used, the fonts, the verbiage, etc. are all elements that can make a large impact on whether a person clicks.

14. Limit Broken Links

A large number of broken links will only create a poor user experience, leaving a visitor to a website dissatisfied and frustrated if they cannot locate the content that they want to find.

There are a few different ways to locate all of the broken links on a website, such as through Google Search Console or through a site auditing tool such as Screaming Frog.

15. Focus On An Internal Link Strategy

Focus on increasing the likelihood of a user staying on your site by using internal links to keep a user there.

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This helps to let users easily navigate to what section of a website they are looking for, and keep their overall user experience enjoyable.

16. Ensure That Links Open On A New Tab

When creating a sound internal linking strategy and linking to other pages on a site, it is important to remember to ensure that those links open in a tab.

This helps to potentially increase the time a user spends on a site since they will have multiple pages open at once.

17. Create A 404 Page That Is Helpful

A 404 page should communicate that a page was not found and also provide alternative webpages for a user to navigate to.

This will help to lower the bounce rate by helping users find what they are looking for.

18. Publish New Content Frequently

Creating fresh content consistently that can offer users a wide variety of topics to explore can be helpful in order to convince people to visit and stay on a site.

19. Display Credibility

Visitors are always looking for how trustworthy a site seems.

When visitors land on your website, they are going through an examination of the content and assessing how reliable it seems.

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As a way to help build credibility and increase trust with visitors, it is a good idea to include positive reviews of whatever products and/or services your site features.

Showcase any special seals, and make the site secure in order to help a user trust a site, and thus, decrease the likelihood of them bouncing.

20. Utilize Google Analytics & Other Tools

Several tools can help you when tracking user engagement.

Google Analytics can track:

  • Time on site.
  • Bounce rate.
  • Pages per session.
  • Most frequently and least frequently visited pages.
  • And much more.

Track User Experience with Microsoft Clarity

Other tools like the free Microsoft Clarity can provide heat mapping and visitor recording so that you can see exactly what a user did during a session.

You can view how users react to pages and then adjust and test changes on those pages accordingly.

Increase User Satisfaction

Increase site visitor engagement by diagnosing the reason for high bounce rates then using those insights to improve the site visitor’s user experience.

Optimize based on findings identified by Google Analytics and Microsoft Clarity so that avoidable high bounce rates can be avoided.

The end result will be a website that users enjoy which is exactly what Google prefers to rank.

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Featured Image: Bakhtiar Zein/Shutterstock





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SEO

How To Use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper

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How To Use Google's Structured Data Markup Helper

If you drill down to the very core, every search engine optimization (SEO) strategy has the same aim: convincing Google your webpage is the best answer to a user’s query.

There are a lot of tactics you can and should employ to achieve this, but that’s the goal.

And, as the Google brain has grown more complex, it’s able to display increasingly more detailed and helpful answers.

For example, if you’re looking to book a flight from Chicago O’Hare to LAX, Google can now show you options in rich snippets on search results pages.

Likewise, if you run a concert venue, you can add code known as structured data to your website that will encourage Google to display your events when they’re relevant to web searchers.

If you’re not familiar with the term “structured data,” don’t fret – there are a lot of SEO professionals and web marketers who aren’t.

In this article, we’ll set that right, plus give you tips on using the Structured Data Markup Helper to easily add it to your site.

What Is Structured Data?

As defined in this post, structured data is information (data) that is organized (structured). Organized information is basically what structured data is.

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For SEO purposes, structured data is a specific type of formatting that gives Google information about the meaning of a page.

Following a standardized vocabulary outlined by Schema.org, it is used across several search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex.

Structured data can use syntax like JSON-LD, RDFa, and Microdata, among others.

Why Is Structured Data Important?

There are several reasons why webpages use structured data.

For one thing, it makes navigation easier for both search engine crawlers and human users.

This is because it provides the information that can then be displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) in the form of rich snippets, video carousels, and other special search result features and enhancements.

This leads to faster indexing by search spiders and enhances your site’s search visibility. This can also help improve your click-through rate, increase conversions, and grab more voice search traffic.

In an article for Search Engine Journal, Winston Burton, Senior Vice President of SEO at global search and marketing agency Acronym, detailed the results of adding structured data to the client’s website.

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With no other optimization strategies employed, the client saw a 400% net growth in rich result organic traffic and a 140% growth in impressions for the company’s answer center.

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Even if this is a statistical outlier, it still highlights the massive potential of using structured data.

What Is Structured Data Used For?

Now that we’ve covered what structured data is and why it’s important, let’s look into some of the ways it can be used.

In an April 2022 Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout, Google Search Advocate John Mueller dove into structured data and its uses.

If you have 30 minutes to spare, it’s well worth the watch. If you’re in a hurry, the part that’s relevant to the current topic begins at 27:19. Or better yet, read Roger Montti’s coverage of it here.

In this hangout, Mueller was asked a question about how to choose the best format for structured data.

His answer was that it’s not so much about what format a page uses, but rather what kind of rich result is available for the page.

Structured data is very versatile and provides a lot of opportunities for businesses to use it to drive clicks. Some of these you may wish to take advantage of include:

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Knowledge Panels

Used for things that are part of the Google Knowledge Graph, they provide a quick overview of information about a topic.

Screenshot from search, Google, June 2022

As a business, you can use knowledge panels to give users at-a-glance information about your brand name, logo, and phone number, among other things.

Rich Snippets

Sometimes referred to as rich results, this is the additional data Google shows users in addition to normal search results. This may include things like music, events, or recipes.

Rich Snippets ExampleScreenshot from search, Google, June 2022

For commercial purposes, this is where reviews can be shown. It can also highlight things like products, addresses, and special offers.

Hosted Carousels

Common on mobile devices, this shows multiple “cards” from the same site.

Not to be confused with ordinary carousels, which can include images, video, and other data pulled from multiple sites, hosted carousels use content from only one “host” site.

Google currently supports the following types of hosted carousels:

  • Educational Course.
  • Movie.
  • Recipe.
  • Restaurant.
Carousel exampleScreenshot from search, Google, June 2022

AdWords

If you’re using Google’s automated ads as part of your PPC strategy, you can use structured snippets to give more information to customers.

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For example, you could use them to provide information about a line of products, included features or services offered.

AdWords exampleScreenshot from search, Google, June 2022

But, before you go inserting structured snippets into your webpages willy-nilly, you should know these are subject to standard Google Ads policies and must meet a number of requirements, a full list of which can be found here.

Getting Started With Structured Data

By now you should see the benefits structured data can offer, so let’s look at how to add it to your website.

The simplest way to add structured data to your webpage is by using Google’s Data Highlighter tool.

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To use this, simply open the tool and highlight data like name, date, location, etc. with your mouse.

Google will note this information the next time it crawls your site and present the data in rich snippets on search results pages.

You can also manually markup elements on HTML webpages. Sound intimidating? It’s not. You just have to have a small working knowledge of coding.

For your convenience, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  1.   Open Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
  2.   Click the “Website” tab.
  3.   Select the type of page you’re marking up (e.g., job postings, restaurants, Q&A page, local businesses, etc.)
  4.   Enter the URL of an existing page or raw page HTML.
  5.   Click “Start Tagging.”
  6.   Highlight the parts of the page you want to be included in rich snippets and identify them in the dropdown that appears.
  7.   Fill in the required information. For an event, this includes the event name, location, and date.
  8.   After you have finished tagging, click the “Create HTML” button and choose an output format. JSON-LD is Google’s preferred format, though you can also choose Microdata.
  9.   Copy the code or download it. If you are using JSON-LD, paste the generated code into the body of the existing page. If you choose Microdata, replace your page with the generated HTML.
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Some other things to note:

  • To test the generated code, copy and paste it into the Rich Result test, which will show you any missing fields you need to fill in.
  • You can have multiple items on one page, but Google recommends that they are all the same type, e.g., all movies or all job postings.
  • All pages you want to display rich snippets for should be available to the public and not hidden behind login screens.
  • It may take a few weeks for Google to crawl your new page, but once it does it can be shown in rich snippets.

Is Structured Data A Ranking Signal?

Now for the $10,000 question: Will structured data markup help your site appear higher in search rankings?

Unfortunately, no.

In a deep dive into the topic, Search Engine Journal found that while it offers many benefits, there is no direct evidence schema markup is used by Google to determine search ranking.

That said, because it helps search engines more easily understand the content of your website, it can help you show up in relevant queries you may have been excluded from in the past.

Key Takeaways

Traffic is always the name of the game in digital marketing. And leveraging structured data on your website is a great way to help attract visitors.

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Not only does it enhance the appearance of your content in search results, but it can help your site get indexed faster.

Rich results (particularly positive product reviews) can also significantly improve your click-through rate and average time on the page.

If your page is used in a featured snippet, it will show at the top of SERPs.

In addition to the increase in visibility that provides, featured snippets are used to answer voice search queries. That means you’ll be the only result for anyone who uses Siri or Alexa for a query.

The final reason you should use structured data on your website is that it gives you more control over your information.

You determine how Google understands your brand and allows you to control how your information is defined.

Structured data is a useful tool in your toolbox. It doesn’t work for every site and every type of content, but if you’re in a field where it is useful, it’s something you need to be using.


Featured Image: NicoElNino/Shutterstock

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