One of my goals has been to address my high bounce rate on this blog, which has been above 80%. To do that I’ve been working on features that increase my website stickiness.
Bounce Rate is a SEO factor
Why would I want to do this? Let’s put the SEO factor aside for a moment. As a blogger you of course want people to get value from your blog, read several posts and return. A high bounce rate means that most of your visitors just visited the single page they originally landed on and then left your blog. Of course if the article answered their question completely that would be a good thing, even if they left without browsing further. This is more difficult to measure, but you can look at time spent on the site as another clue.
Most SEOs would agree that Google and the other search engines are taking bounce rate into account. Google might be looking at Google Analytics for the bounce rate, but even if you don’t have Google Analytics installed, Google and Bing can collect bounce rate data by looking at how quickly the user returns back to the search engine results page and clicks on the next result. A quick return and click on the next website on the list means the user didn’t find what they are looking for on your website.
So from both the SEO and user engagement / conversion perspective you should care about your bounce rate and website stickiness.
So what have I done to improve my bounce rate? Well a simple and easy thing to do is to use WordPress menus to give users more navigational choices. Prior to WordPress 3.0 you either had to build this or rely on your theme to provide them. Now, under the Appearance Menu you can easily create your own menus. So I created menus on my navigational bar for my main categories: WordPress, SEO and Online Marketing and just pointed them to my category pages. I want to replace these with static pages in the future, but this “phase 1” was quick and easy.
WordPress SEO plugins that improve bounce rate
Then I installed and configured a couple of plugins.
- Yet Another Related Posts: This plugins uses your meta data to find other posts you’ve written on a similar topic and lists them at the end of your current post. The idea here is that your reader might then click and read an additional post, keeping them on your site longer.
- Advanced Random Posts: This plugin randomly (as the name implies) features posts on your sidebar. You can configure how many show on the sidebar and from which categories. This not only gives your users another navigational choice but helps with spidering your website as the search engines can easily reach this rotating list of posts.
If you are interested in further exploring WordPress SEO, Mike offers a WordPress SEO plugin list [affiliate link – opt-in] in exchange for your email address. While you can piece together the list yourself, his is a decent list and will save you some time.
Reducing bounce rate is an important thing in SEO point of view. I am using LinkWithin plugin in my blog and it is doing a good job in reducing bounce rates.
Thanks for the suggestion! Looks like a nice plugin especially if you use thumbnails.
To add to the Bounce Rate issue, there are a lot of factors to be considered.
The Bounce rate which we see in the Google Analytics is not something the search engines consider for quality purposes. Search engine consider the “Dwell Time” which is nothing but the time spent on a page by the visitor before leaving back to the search results page or closing the page (without going to any other page on the site).
Also, there are two types of bounce rates: Actual Bounce Rate and Standard Bounce Rate
Actual bounce rate: user visiting your page from search results page and leaving within a few seconds without navigating to any other page on the site. The bounce rate what you see in the Google Analytics program is nothing but the Actual Bounce Rate. This is a negative sign as the Dwell Time is just a few seconds.
Standard bounce rate: A person visits a page with high quality content, reads the full content and then leave (spends more than 10 mins). Also, he doesn’t visit any other page on the site. This is still a bounce, but “Standard Bounce Rate”. Here this is not considered as a negative sign by the search engines as the Dwell Time is more than 10 mins!
Great comments. We know that Google can monitor both types of bounce rates via the Google toolbar that many have installed in their browser. It is there that Google can see how quickly someone “bounces” off your site. As you point out, a few seconds is bad, but if they linger on the page for a while indicating they are reading the article and getting value from it, this is not bad even if they do not look at other pages on your site. Most SEOs believe that the data from Google toolbar is given more weight by Google than the data from Analytics.
I’ve also used the nRelate plugin, it helps to show the most relevant posts of your blog, and you can also add thumbnails to your posts.
Thanks Gerald, that’s a new one for me, I’ll have to check it out!
Great post, very informative. Great job.
Hi Kathy Alice,
I am totally with you. Bounce rate definetly IS a factor that goes into ranking algorithms of different search engines. Every webmaster should try to give the visitors an exclusive time on their website to reduce bouncerate.
I use videos and the free Linkwithin plugin to do so. Just a tip 😉
Thanks for the tip!