If you’ve been struggling to increase search traffic to your site, improve email signups, get more leads and acquire more clients, it’s possible that your bounce rate is too high.
In other words, visitors and customers who visit your landing page bounce off, before they even give you a chance to convert them.
While you want to increase most metrics measures, you don’t want a higher bounce rate. But what is considered a good bounce rate?
One way to increase your conversion rate is by having more landing pages.
According to Navneet Kaushal, when you begin to see a high bounce rate on your landing pages, it’s a signal that your site and content marketing strategy needs a serious redesign.
Reducing your bounce rate helps to boost your conversion rate. Once you understand that conversion architecture, you can develop a clear content strategy that will grow your business.
I’ll break down the specifics for you, in this in-depth article. I’ll also show you what smart marketers are doing to boost their conversion rates and build successful sites that generate search traffic on a consistent basis.
What Is Bounce Rate?
When you’re working hard to increase your site’s search performance, one of the things that you should do is to reduce a high bounce rate. In other words, a high bounce rate is a symptom that something is wrong in your strategy – you’re not attracting the right site visitor or the visitors coming don’t have a good user experience.
So, what exactly is bounce rate? Check out the explanation below:
When a user (e.g., customer, prospect, or reader) visits your site on any page (known as an entrance page) and leaves without visiting other pages on the same domain, that’s a bounce. Your bounce rate is the percentage of all users who enter and exit on the same page, without any clicks to other pages on your site.
A high bounce could mean you don’t have an enticing, well-organized landing page. You might not have a landing page at all, creating CTA confusion on your main home page.
Listed below are 13 proven ways to reduce bounce rate and improve conversions for your blog:
1. Improve Your Content’s Readability
One reason that your target customers might leave your site is a lack of readability. User experience begins when your content is readable and legible. Specifically, large chunks of text scare readers away, so avoid them.
I’ve also been seeing lots of company blogs with great content and lousy formatting. This results in a higher bounce and faster exit rate.
Consequently, customers don’t even get to the merits of the content. That doesn’t create a good user experience.
If you look at a few of my posts, you’ll see how I layout my posts in an easy-to-read format.
Even when I’m explaining technical SEO practices, I still break up the post and write like I speak.
First, the headline – big and bold. Then, I use subheadings and bullet points to make the article easier to read.
Here are a few tips to help you format your content and make it more readable:
- Use subheadings to throw more light on your topic.
- Use bullet points to explain benefits or points worth noting.
- Use plenty of charts, images, screenshots and quotes from industry experts, where appropriate.
- Bold keywords a few times (don’t overdo this).
- Ask a lot of questions in your content, to give readers an invitation to participate, instead of just read.
- End your content with a subheading entitled “conclusion.” This tells the reader to quickly read the last few words and take action. Make your conclusion actionable.
You can test how readable your site is at www.read-able.com.
Just about every WordPress theme allows you to easily format content for the ideal user experience and mitigate a high bounce rate.
2. Avoid Popups – Don’t Disrupt the UX
Did you know that 70% of users say that they find irrelevant popups annoying?
This will never change – most people will always hate popups. Among site owners and marketers, it’s an intensely debated topic: whether to use popups or to avoid them.
I don’t use popups, because they annoy users and lead to a higher bounce. I know that when I visit a site and a popup disrupts my reading, I may decide to leave. Some marketers even use aggressive or even bullying language in their popups, which only makes my immediate departure more likely. I suspect I’m not alone and most would agree this can lead to a bad user experience.
On the other hand, popups work. There’s no denying the fact that they can grow your email list quickly.
If that’s the way you want to go, fine. But, if you want to build a long-term site that generates lots of organic visitors, consider limiting or totally avoiding popups. Or, at a minimum, make them as unobtrusive and un-annoying as possible.
Some popups are well designed and they will convert visitors into long-term readers, which is part of improving conversion rates. But, when we’re talking about search engine traffic and what makes search users excited, it’s a great user experience.
3. Create a Compelling Call-to-Action
After you’ve attracted visitors with your headline and built interest with the content, don’t lose them with a weak CTA. The action you don’t want is an increase in the exit rate. You want every site visitor to buy, or at least think about it.
Whatever you do, make sure that your CTA is compelling. It should compel users to click and see what’s on the other side.
When optimizing the CTA, every element matters. Even something as seemingly small as changing the text on a button can make a huge difference. Specifically, it can engage users and lead them to a resource page on your site, thus reducing the bounce rate.
Sprout Social, a social media management software business, understands that giving users a free trial period and educating them along the way is a surefire way to convert more users into customers.
You can get a buy-in without getting a buy from a client with a CTA that is a free trial. This will help you achieve a good bounce rate. Review your landing page, whether a WordPress theme or not, to see how you can offer something with urgency and get a site visitor to take positive action.
If you’re in the SaaS business, offering free trials truly works. Your free trial should be made plain in your CTA.
Remember that great calls-to-action will improve usability. When that happens, your ideal customers will gladly stay on your site. Every second spent on your site, due to an enhanced CTA, will improve your conversion rate and lower your bounce rate.
4. Improve Your Brand Storytelling
Storytelling will captivate the minds of your target audience members. But, you have to use it well. Remember that your customers are wired to remember and respond to good stories.
Storytelling can bring your brand to life.
You’ve got to recognize how people read content. They’re mostly scanning a page, looking for something that stands out. It could be a subheading, a word, a term or an image. Storytelling can connect those eye-catching elements with the rest of your content.
Of course, you need clarity in your content. But, storytelling helps your content appeal to users in a dynamic, emotional way. As a result, they’ll begin to trust you more.
So, how should you incorporate storytelling into your content, if your goal is to build a loyal audience that will read your content, respond to your offers and take part in your adventures?
Make customers the hero: Ann Handley said that if you want your story to be memorable and truly lead to business growth, then “make the customer the hero of the story.” It boils down to putting customers first and providing high-quality content that they’ll find beneficial to share. And, sharing demonstrates a level of trust. Trust enhances user experience.
Copyblogger tells good stories. In fact, Brian Clark built Copyblogger Media by telling great marketing stories and creating an enormous amount of high-quality content.
Today, the company has grown into a $7 million digital company. Their project, Rainmaker.fm, a digital marketing podcast, is also thriving, due to good storytelling. In all, they’re putting the target audience first – and making their customers the heroes of their stories. And, who doesn’t want to be seen as a hero?
Be truthful: Great storytelling is born from a passionate belief in the truth.
For example, if you believe in helping customers find the right content online in your industry, then don’t shrink away from sharing your story of failure. Remember that the story of failure is often the story that your target audience most wants to hear.
You’ve got to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective. Whatever you do, don’t lie to them, even with the best of intentions. It’ll hurt both your credibility and your readers. They will leave, increasing your exit rate, when they suspect you’re not being upfront. Generally, they won’t be back.
In storytelling, you’ve got to avoid anything that might jeopardize your credibility. So, be honest in your storytelling. J
5. Keep Your Blog Fresh With the Right Content
Keeping your blog fresh, with the right content, will always yield the best ROI.
According to HubSpot, businesses that update their blogs with fresh content regularly will generate more leads than those who don’t. However, it’s important to differentiate powerful content from the right content.
Powerful content may evoke a “wow” reaction from your readers, but it may not solve their problems. In contrast, the right content will wow them, but it’ll also give them actionable tips to implement and produce results for them.
Before Google added mobile responsiveness as a ranking factor, mobile bounce rates were about 60%. But, now that sites are displaying well on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, the bounce rate will improve (i.e., reduce).
If you are new to blogging, a simple WordPress theme with the right plugins will be your hero, because it is updated often and maintains responsiveness on the backend. Your job is to keep visitors responsive.
By consistently adding fresh content, you’re gradually building momentum and establishing trust. Remember that readers are very clever and can see through deceptive and manipulative tactics. But, they’ll also remember every action step that you take and the words that you use. They’ll come to trust you.
And, that means that your repeat visitors will begin to exceed new visitors, which begins to increase your conversion rate. You can generate more revenue from repeat visitors because you’ve established a level of trust with them.
Note: a good bounce rate is not measuring strictly who isn’t buying. This metric is determining the site visitor who isn’t interested in staying on the site. If people stay, read and look at other parts of your site, there is a good chance you have developed trust and they will return.
6. Target Keywords With High-Value Traffic
Keywords can make or break your content marketing campaign. If you want to improve search performance, start targeting high-value keywords, because that’s where the high-value traffic is.
According to LinchPin SEO, a perfect high-value keyword sits at the intersection of four important metrics:
- Traffic value
- Conversion value
- Persona value
- Brand value
Did you know that 97% of Google’s revenue is from advertising? The bulk of their revenue comes from targeting expensive keywords.
All keywords are not created equal. Some are going to bring you valuable traffic, while others will only keep you waiting by the side of the road for a ride that probably isn’t going to come.
Simply writing content for your blog will not adequately reduce your bounce rate or improve conversions. You’ve also got to target keywords with high-value traffic. These keywords, in turn, will send high-value customers to you.
What are these keywords? As you already know, commercial and informational keywords are the two major categories and every search term falls into one or the other.
Informational keywords are used to create awareness, while commercial keywords show a strong desire for the specific product and directly result in sales. Connecting the dots, strong desire contributes to good bounce rate metrics.
When I say high-value keywords, I’m talking about those keywords that support in-depth and powerful content that your users will spend more time reading.
Remember that the more time they spend on your site, the more likely they are to want to read more and the more they come to trust you. That’ll slice your bounce rate by half or even more.
There may still be an exit rate of visitors who don’t buy the first time, but they aren’t bouncing.
Some keywords are for “just visiting” traffic. Yes, they may be searching for those keywords, but they’re not really that committed to reading every piece of content that gets sent their way.
However, other keywords are highly targeted to the customer’s present needs. If the content writer creates persuasive content, targeting that keyword, it can captivate the audience so much so that they’ll gladly read it and share it with others.
High-value keywords are powerful. They not only improve your traffic, engagement and conversion rate – but they also enhance your authority and online reputation.
Sites with higher bounce rates don’t take the time to build authority. They are just throwing content out there.
Having seen the potential of specific keywords in sending high-value traffic to your site, how do you find the right keywords?
It’s a lot easier than you might think. Simply follow these steps:
Step #1: Go to Google Keyword Planner. Make sure you’re logged in with your Gmail account. Plug your main keyword + a qualifier into the search box and click “Get ideas.” We’ll use the website design strategy as an example.
The high-value keywords from the list are:
- freelance web designers
- web design prices
What is the intent behind these keywords? Take freelance web designers: the searcher is mainly looking for a list of freelance web designers. If you’re a web designer and want to attract this kind of customer, you’ve got to understand the buyer cycle.
People searching for these keywords aren’t ready to buy yet. They’re just trying to figure out which is the best service or deal before they make a final decision.
Another reason the keyword is high-value is that you can create a series of articles with your content and lead the customer from one page to the next, thus reducing your bounce rate. Each page could, for example, showcase one company or professional, their rates, work schedule, and terms.
Take this example, from Made for Mums. They present 20 meals to eat during pregnancy in a slide presentation – each slide is a separate web page.
As readers move through the pages, they’re increasing the value of that page and reducing bounce rate, all without realizing that they’re visiting 20 separate pages.
Step #2: Dig for high-value brand keywords that the searcher uses to discover the various product models for a particular brand.
This may work best in ecommerce SEO. But, if you’re smart, you can also use brand product keywords in your industry.
Still using the keyword planner, type in your brand keyword, to find its variations (e.g., nike training shoes).
You could turn each of these high-value keywords into headlines that will attract plenty of organic clicks and social shares.
The keywords are:
- cheap nike training shoes
- nike baseball training shoes
- new nike training shoes
Fresh, clickable and benefit-driven headlines:
- 20 Cheap Nike Training Shoes Under $70
- The Top 9 Nike Baseball Training Shoes You Should See
- New Nike Training Shoes: Where to Buy Stylish Training Shoes
In summary, keep the following tips in mind, when you’re looking for high-value traffic:
- Target high-value keywords that will lead the customer from Point A to Point B.
- Target keywords where the user intent is not limited by the keyword itself.
- Write the best and most in-depth content that you possibly can – don’t shy away from making it emotionally relevant to your customers.
- Don’t stuff keywords – it could get you penalized. Instead, target LSI keywords to drive extra search visitors.
You can also check out these other methods for bringing down those bounce rates.
7. Attract the Right Visitors
In her book Content Strategy for the Web, Christina Halvorson wrote that “better content means better business for you.”
Higher bounce happens when you’re getting the wrong website visitor from the start. This is a targeting problem.
If your content strategy isn’t yielding the right visitors and increased sales for you, it’s time to improve. There’s nothing as powerful as publishing custom content that’s “right” for your market, using a content strategy that takes each stage of the buying cycle into account.
Brian Dean boosted his conversions by 785% in one day, with A/B split testing, because he recognized that the traditional ebook giveaway is no longer effective for building a massive list. He created the “content upgrade” strategy, which has now become a marketing standard.
The mistake that a lot of content marketers make is attributing a high bounce rate to a lack of quality content. But, the term “quality” is relative. Your definition of “quality” may not be the same as mine. A higher bounce might be better attributed to the wrong content.
For example, in the internet marketing world, lengthy articles (usually 2000+ words) are considered high quality, because they tend to address every question or concern of the target audience.
On the other hand, this is not true in non-internet-related industries, like health, entertainment, and finance. In these industries, shorter, informative articles tend to perform better on social media platforms.
This is a lesson for you when building a campaign or creating content: Always target the right visitors. If you run a Facebook Ads campaign, drill down into your campaign and get to the right people.
The value of the right audience can’t be overemphasized. In an interview with Forbes, Robert Kiyosaki said that the key to his success in building a multimillion-dollar brand around financial literacy is “simplicity.”
This is truly striking because I’ve often advocated the usefulness of the KISS (keep it simple stupid) concept.
It’s a chain reaction. When you create the right content and use the right channels to distribute it, you’ll ultimately reach the right audience that will be interested in your offer. You’ll develop a good bounce rate.
This is the easiest way to make marketing work for you. For example, if you sell information products (such as ebooks or software) and services, you’ll double or triple your sales conversion rate just by attracting the right prospects.
Further, research data from HubSpot shows us that 50% of consumer time on the web is spent engaging with custom content that’s tailored to them.
8. Write Attractive Meta Descriptions for Search Users
A lot of companies don’t optimize their meta descriptions for search users. As a result, their click-through rate continues to decline.
Maybe they didn’t think that it was that important – but it is. When users type a keyword into Google search, any word that matches the search term is bolded, to differentiate it from the rest and to tell the searcher to consider that result.
Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that describe what a particular web page is about. Search engines use meta descriptions to display a snippet of your web page, so that users can determine whether a particular search result is right for them, just by reading the description.
The optimal length for a meta description is 155 characters. If a web page description is longer, the remaining characters will not show in the search results pages. Instead, you’ll see an ellipsis (…) at the end. This may cause a higher bounce rate because people felt misled about your website.
Before you can successfully write an attractive meta description, you’ve got to understand the anatomy of a search result and where the meta tag fits in.
One of the tactics that I employed to grow Gawker Media’s traffic by 5,000,000 visitors was to create a unique meta description for each page, instead of allowing Google to automatically pull the site’s slogan or initial copy.
So, how do you write an attractive meta description?
If you’ve got the All In One SEO pack installed on your WordPress blog, this is easy to do. For every post that you publish (each of which is a separate web page on your site), you can provide a unique meta description. Use these tips:
Include the target keyword: Since a meta description is basically targeted at search users, make sure that the keyword they’re searching for is present in your description. However, this doesn’t mean that you should go stuffing keywords into descriptions. On the contrary, you should absolutely continue to write naturally.
For example, let’s say that your main keyword is best plumber in NY. Here’s how to include it in your description naturally:
You can see that I mentioned the keyword just once in the description – not more. Also, notice how the keyword flows into the rest of the copy, so it doesn’t appear manipulative. This helps achieve a good bounce rate where a site visitor will come to see what the site is about and hopefully be enticed by the CTA.
Use a call-to-action: Search users – all users, really – need you to tell them what to do next.
Still using the above keyword (best plumber in NY) as our example, here’s how to use it as a call-to-action in your meta description:
9. Create Multiple Landing Pages for High-Volume Keywords
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the more landing pages you have, the better. You’ll create a richer experience for your users.
Creating more landing pages also increases your search click-through rate. In that respect, it’s a numbers game.
One of the metrics that’s analyzed by Google Analytics is the exit page. If you look at your dashboard, you’ll probably notice that most people are exiting your site from the homepage. The rate at which users exit your site homepage often correlates to a high bounce rate.
To solve this problem, create more landing pages, based on the high-value keywords that people are searching for in your niche. I showed you earlier how to find those valuable keywords that would increase engagement with your blog and a positive user experience.
Once you have more landing pages, first make sure that they’re easy to navigate, then link to all of them from your homepage. You might even link to the separate landing pages on your navigation menu. You might have a higher bounce if people don’t quickly find what they hoped for. Multiple landing pages help here.
Some companies who have increased their number of landing pages from 10 to 15 have seen a 55% increase in leads.
And, the more optimized landing pages that you have, the lower your bounce rate will be. This will greatly improve your conversions, as well.
So, why are so many businesses not creating more landing pages? According to MarketingSherpa’s Landing Pages Handbook (2nd edition), it’s because they don’t know how to go about it.
Fortunately, creating a high-converting landing page is now easier than ever. You could use pre-made templates from Unbounce, Instapage or Onepagelove.
10. Speed Up Your Page Load Time
How important is site speed to users? Well, consumers expect a web page to lead in 2 seconds or less. After 3 seconds, consumers will no longer wait for your site to load – they’ll just move on to your competitor’s site.
The slower your landing pages load, the higher your bounce rate will be. And, Google is also concerned about site speed – you can slip in rankings, if your site is consistently slow to load, resulting in a higher bounce rate.
The bottom line is that a slow site can destroy your business and discourage potential customers from buying from you. These consumer behavior statistics give you a clearer picture:
So, what’s your current site speed? Find out by using the Pingdom Speed test tool. On the homepage, type in your site URL (e.g., quicksprout.com). Click the “test now” button.
Next, analyze your speed and determine if it’s time to make an improvement in this area.
So, how do you increase site speed and lower your bounce rate?
Foodmom improved its site speed to 1.17 seconds.
Some of the strategies Foodmom used to increase site speed include:
- Removing query strings from static pages to improve performance
- Optimizing images with WordPress plugins
- Tweaking .htaccess file
Roman Randall also improved his website speed by 90.03%, with both minor and major changes:
See also: How to Make Your Site Insanely Fast
11. Set External Links to Open in New Windows
Designing with the user in mind is a crucial part of any successful web design strategy. When you open external links in the same tab, you create back button fatigue for users.
What this means is that every time a user clicks a link to an external page, they have to click the back button to come back to your site (assuming they decide to visit again – they may get distracted by the new site). This will decrease your page views.
And, if they visited four different external links from your tab, they’ll click the back button four times. This is time-consuming and annoying. It also increases both exit and bounce rate.
If you use a WordPress theme, you can download and install the WP external links plugin. It’ll automatically set all of your external links to open in a new tab or window.
12. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Is your site responsive? When prospects visit your site on their iPhone, iPad, tablets and other mobile devices, will it display perfectly?
It’s time to take your brand to mobile because your customers have their mobile devices with them everywhere.
We’re living in the mobile age. Almost 95% of your customers are on mobile, so your site must be optimized for them.
If you’re not convinced yet, here are a few quick facts:
Remember that Google follows users. The best way that Google gets accurate information is by monitoring the activities of users on your site, from desktop and mobile.
In fact, mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor. This means that if your site is not mobile-friendly, no matter how useful your content may be, it won’t rank well in Google results pages.
First and foremost, test your site, by following these steps:
Step #1: Go to Google’s mobile-friendly test tool. Plugin your site URL (e.g., qualaroo.com). Click the “ANALYZE” button:
Wait for the page to process:
Step #2: Check your result. If your site is mobile-friendly, you’ll see a page like this:
Otherwise, you’ll see a result page similar to this:
Many businesses didn’t previously have a responsive (i.e., mobile-friendly) site. Consequently, after Google adjusted for responsiveness in its algorithm, these sites saw a drop in search rankings and traffic. The smart ones optimized their pages.
If you’re a WordPress theme user, it’s very easy to make your site responsive. All you’ve got to do is install the JetPack plugin and activate the mobile theme. You can also use the WPTouch plugin.
If you’re not using a WordPress theme and you’re not a technical person, you may need to get a professional to help you out.
See also: 3 Steps to Increase Your Search Traffic With Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update
13. Show Credibility
The word “credibility” is the ability to inspire belief or trust in other people. Just like reputation, credibility isn’t what you say about yourself, but how other people perceive you. Credibility matters – don’t ignore it.
Whatever you do online, recognize that it can’t all be about making a quick buck at the expense of your reputation and principles. Instead, use every opportunity to help others.
I can’t give you an explicit checklist of things to do, to increase your personal credibility. No one can, really. But, over the years, being transparent and giving away plenty of valuable resources for free have both been instrumental in my success.
Fortunately, the more credible you are, the more money you’re likely to make. A research study by Consumer Web Watch found that 4 out of 5 users say that being able to trust the information they read on a website is important.
In a nutshell, you don’t buy from people you don’t trust, do you?
A credible site does the following:
- Makes people trust and believe what it says (the content)
- Gives people reassurance that their personal information is safe
- Instills confidence in them, when spending their hard-earned money
- Eliminates the buying dilemma (e.g. should I buy or not)
Peep Laja, founder of ConversionXL, shares some of the ways that you can make your site highly credible in the minds of your users:
Online consumers feel excited, when buying from brands like Apple, Amazon, and Zappos, because, in their minds, these brands are credible.
In this article, I’ve shown you several ways to reduce your bounce rate and boost your conversion rate. But, without high-quality content, even if you succeed at cutting your bounce rate in half, your risk of increasing it again is high.
To avoid that, map out a content strategy and an editorial calendar. You’re reading this blog today, because I’ve made up my mind to put you first, by creating in-depth content that you’ll find helpful.
I have a good bounce rate. I’ll be surprised if my bounce rate gets higher than 50% because most readers spend a notable amount of time on my site. That’s what every site owner has to work towards – gradually increasing the time that users spend reading their content.
In all, keep at it and stay consistent. I know that some of the strategies here could produce fairly quick results, but don’t expect that. Keep growing your site audience. As you satisfy your users, they’ll gladly tell others about you – thus improving your search traffic, inbound links, and lead generation.
Did you find any of these 13 ways for reducing your bounce rate helpful? Share your experience below.
See How My Agency Can Drive More Traffic to Your Website
- SEO - unlock more SEO traffic. See real results.
- Content Marketing - our team creates epic content that will get shared, get links, and attract traffic.
- Paid Media - effective paid strategies with clear ROI.
Are You Using Google Ads? Try Our FREE Ads Grader!
Stop wasting money and unlock the hidden potential of your advertising.
- Discover the power of intentional advertising.
- Reach your ideal target audience.
- Maximize ad spend efficiency.