If you are tracking your blog’s visitors using Google Analytics, you’ve probably noticed a statistic known as the bounce rate. In a nutshell, your site’s bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit your site and “bounce” (close out your site) without visiting a second page on your blog. It can be used to show the effectiveness and quality of your blog – if people tend to browse around and stay on your site, then it’s likely you are providing them what they are looking for.
Though the number is presented in Google Analytics, it doesn’t seem to play an important role in determining page rank or search rankings. In 2012, Google expert Matt Cutts spoke at a conference called SMX Advanced, where he confirmed that Google doesn’t take the bounce rate into account. I cannot find any further information contradicting his statement made in 2012.
However, your bounce rate is still important for the user experience (UX). Sometimes, a visitor may land on your site and find the answer right away. This is great and you are providing quality. However, if they are clicking away for other reasons, the high bounce rate you are likely seeing may hint toward a bad UX. Plus, a high bounce rate means less page views per visitor — which is a stat that many companies want when working with bloggers.
Tips for Lowering your Bounce Rate
1. Internal linking on your blog – Linking related content with your blog posts is perhaps the best way to lower your bounce rate. By doing this, you are giving your readers the door to another post they may want to read. They simply have to click the link, instead of searching your blog or trying to find similar material by clicking through your blog’s tags or categories.
2. Add images to popular posts to your sidebar – Visually capturing your readers’ interests is usually easier to do than by using text links. Place the image that coordinates with your top 3 posts into your sidebar, linking to the appropriate content. Once a visitor has finished reading the page they entered on, they may notice an image and click on it rather than leaving your site.
3. Use a “related posts” plugin – If you are on WordPress, you can easily direct visitors to other posts that may be of interest by using a plugin. These plugins typically add a few text or image links to the bottom of each post. They are smart enough to pull related content based on what you have written in an article. Once you have installed the plugin there is no additional work needed from you.
For a good related posts plugin, search the directory for YARPP or nRelate.
4. Avoid having auto-play music or pop ads on your homepage. Nothing makes me want to leave a site faster than one that blasts a song two seconds after I open it. This is especially horrible when the room is quiet and I am startled by the sound. Pop-ups can be just as annoying. Don’t think about adding these to your blog if you want your visitor to stick around.
5. Consider a category-based homepage rather than your latest posts. Most blog themes are set to show a certain number of your most recently published posts. However, this can be unhelpful to someone who is looking for a specific topic. Category sections allow them to easily see a couple of blog posts you have written on a given subject, which could result in them reading more posts rather than clicking away.
What are your best tips for lowering a blog’s bounce rate?
Exposure Ninja –What is a Good Bounce Rate?
***This article has been updated from an article that was originally published on Basics4Bloggers – now part of the DiggingIntoWordpress Network.