Reducing bounce rate – 6 top tips for happier users!
Online shop owners, bloggers and webmasters aren’t just aiming to entertain their users; they usually also have clear conversion targets. Over the years however, user expectations have soared at the same rate as search engine requirements and webmasters face an increasingly difficult challenge to satisfy both.
High bounce rates aren’t just a signal of user dissatisfaction but also an indicator of lack of quality content.
And so, webmasters are advised to keep bounce rates as low as possible in order to ensure stable rankings and profit from the resulting online success.
In this article, webmasters will find practical hints and tips to help identify factors which play a role in increasing bounce rates, as well as the courses of action available to reduce bounce rates in the long term.
Focusing on expectations
When users submit a request to a search engine, they tend to have concrete expectations as to what sort of results they want to see and what will encourage them to click on a particular link. Webmasters should always pay close attention to these expectations since these are what contribute to higher bounce rates.
Titles, URLs, descriptions and headings all give users important clues about your online presence. When these pieces of information don’t match the user’s needs or expectations, your target audience will quickly leave your page.
In order to satisfy users’ needs, content must match expectations. Webmasters should pay attention to the following:
- Titles & descriptions
- Headings & sub-headings
- Anchor texts
Promote value, not advertising
When users decide to visit a website or a particular online shop, they are giving that page their trust, time and attention. They also hope that the internet presence they have chosen will be able to satisfy their needs and provide genuine value. After all, they could have gone for a different website.
If the user is then confronted with lots of advertising, they are likely to get the feeling that the website or online shop is only out to make money from them and isn’t really interested in satisfying their needs. Successful webmasters are aware of the balance they need to strike and therefore place great value on making sure their content is the main focus, not advertising.
“Sustainability” is increasing in importance here.
Furthermore, when users are satisfied with the high value content offered by a website, they are likely to return again in future, since they will have a positive memory of their last visit. The resulting trust helps develop a more longstanding relationship which will lead to further online success in future – and certainly more than the average benefits derived from advertising.
Avoid long load times
Load times have a significant effect on bounce rates and therefore on the behavior of both search engines and users. Websites which have long load times also tend to show high bounce rates with users quickly leaving a page and choosing an alternative.
Search engine crawlers also favour websites and online shops whose content is quickly available since content is easier to interpret and process. If long load times are detected, many search engine crawlers simply abandon their search in order to not “waste” resources and move on to the next page.
Successful webmasters and online shop owners place great value on well-optimized load times so that both search engines and users can quickly access the content they are looking for.
Tips to reduce load times:
- Use browser caching
- Avoid re-direct chains
- Use css-stylesheets
- Compress files with gzip
- Reduce http requests
Optimize for mobile devices
Optimizing for mobile is no longer just an important SEO ranking factor, it’s also essential given the increasing number of users accessing pages via smartphones.
Successful webmasters optimize their pages for mobile devices so that users can access their content quickly even when on the move. Since so many webmasters have already optimized for mobile, user expectations have changed accordingly.
Here a three key measures to optimize for mobile:
- Responsive design (recommended!)
- Dynamic serving
- Subdomains – e.g. mobile.exampledomain.com
Use internal links
Internal links are a powerful tool in SEO terms but they can also help to reduce user bounce rates. Webmasters are advised to take the time to identify content which could be of particular interest to users and link to it internally using suitable anchor texts.
This enables your target audience to access the content most likely to satisfy their needs in as few clicks as possible.
Online shops also profit from internal links which help to boost conversion rates. For instance, similar or related products and accessories can be internally linked which can lead to an increased average value of users’ shopping baskets. Internal links therefore have the following advantages:
- Search engine crawlers have easier access to new content
- Internal links help prioritize particular bits of content
- Anchor texts give search engines clear clues as to the type of content
- Important link juice flows to relevant sub-pages
- Search engines can get a better idea of context
- Reduce bounce rates
- Increase conversion rates
Legibility and layout
Content layout should always be optimized to ensure that users from your target audience enjoy a positive reading experience. To ensure user satisfaction, pay attention to the following:
- Colors and contrast
- Font sizes
- Text in visible areas
- Easily clickable elements (especially on mobile)
Successful webmasters tend to go for colors, fonts and sizes which are considered positive by their target audience.
Webmasters and online shop owners should dedicate time and effort to the subject of bounce rates, not just from an SEO point of view but in order to identify which areas of content are of least importance for users. Content, quality, genuine value and long-term customer satisfaction must always be the main focus since it is these things, not advertising, which have the most significant influence on the success of a website.