Web SEO – How to Improve Your Bounce Rate

Moving web SEO beyond Search Engine rankings to conversion …

Web SEO is not all about your Search Engine rankings. Better positions on a Search Engine usually correlate to better click-through rates which equal more visitors. However, for at least 20% (and sometimes up to 50%) of the visitors on your site, it isn’t the first click you have to worry about … it’s the second that’s a real fight to get. Here are the top 7 tips to maximise the value of your web SEO, reduce your bounce rate and increase your conversion rate.

What is a bounce rate?

Your bounce rate reflects the proportion of people that leave within around 10 seconds of arriving at your site, and is expressed as a percentage of your total number of visitors.

Given that the web is so enormous, and people aren’t always sure what they’re looking for, even the well-established sites with good web SEO practices often have a bounce rate up to 20%.

Bounce rates over 30% are usually cause for concern, and if your bounce rate is over 50% you may need to do a major re- think of your website design, website copy or linking and advertising protocols.

Where are your ‘bounciest’ visitors coming from?

Usability expert Jakob Nielsen identifies 4 separate sources of traffic for the purposes of analysing bounce rates. You’ll want to know which of the following traffic sources contributes most to your bounce rate:

  • Web SEO traffic, either from organic results or sponsored listings
  • Links from other websites
  • Repeat visitors (who may arrive by typing the address into their browser bar or have it bookmarked)
  • Digg/Delicious or other low value or social bookmarking traffic

Ideally, your bounce rate from paid and organic web SEO traffic will be the lowest, because users have arrived at your site based on a keyword search that you are optimised for.

Deliver what was promised

The biggest reason why your website is more elastic than a pair of your grandfather’s pants is that the keyword that you are ranking for on Search Engines does not mirror the content on your website. A high bounce rate would indicate your site is not relevant to the search they performed or they judged your site to be of poor quality.

Invasive advertising

Web surfers landing on your website may be turned off by intrusive web advertising that makes the website difficult to navigate and read. While advertising may be a necessary evil for some websites, a web designer needs to achieve a workable balance between the level of advertising on the site and usability of the website to improve your web seo.

Take off your autoplay videos and music

Often, companies love autoplay videos and music; they feel it adds to the ‘experience’ of the site. However, this can be quite annoying to a new visitor to your site. If you’re able to set your bounce rate analysis parameters, check how many users leave within three seconds of the time it takes your music or video to load. This will tell you if they’re the culprit behind your springy site.

Give your visitors 5-7 choices

Put the most popular links and call to action buttons on your site in the ‘best real estate’ of your pages. The location, location, location rule of web pages is that close to the top and towards the left of the screen is better. Consult with your web SEO experts to determine if your site structure and home page design is ‘scaring’ visitors away. Too few choices and people see no value; too many choices and they feel paralysed.

Check your page load time

If the average user has to wait longer than 10 seconds for most elements of your page to load, there’s a chance they’ll either assume something is wrong with the site, or simply get impatient and leave. This is not to say that you can’t have an engaging site – just make sure this doesn’t affect the user’s experience. Site loading time is now one of the signals Google uses to determine your Search Engine ranking.


Most people that constitute ‘target audiences’ on the net don’t think in corporate speak. If your site is filled with headlines like “Key considerations for deploying integrated collaborations successfully”, you’ll need to cut them down. The most successful headlines are 5-7 words long … do you notice a pattern? You need to speak to your target audience in a language they understand.

Consider a redesign

If the simpler tricks to reduce your bounce rate fail to make an impact, you should consider redesigning your site. A redesign with a focus on usability and simplicity has been known to reduce bounce rates by a massive 25% or more. Ensure when you re-design that you follow best practices such a testing for usability, designing with web SEO in mind, and targeting a specific demographic.

There are a lot of factors that can affect your bounce rate. Sometimes you are simply too close to, and too familiar with your own site to be able to judge where improvements need to be made. If your bounce rate is persistently high despite your adherence to best practices, there is help available. Contact us – a full-service SEO Works expert can help you fight for, and win, that second click and improve your web SEO.

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