How to reduce Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate can be defined as how many visitors leave your site without seeing a second page in your site. This is an important metric for your website performance. It does not matter how many hits, page views, unique visitors you get. If they all leave immediately, then something is wrong.

How to measure Bounce rate?

You can install Google Analytics to monitor bounce rate. If 60 out of 100 visitors leave without seeing second page (usually in a given time like 30 minutes defined by cookies), then your bounce rate is 60%. A bounce rate below 40% is good. 40%-65% is OK. Anything above that should be taken care of. Also, what you want to achieve through your site also defines what is a good bounce rate for you. A high bounce rate is not always bad. For a search engine like Google, 100% bounce rate may be good, actually !

How to reduce bounce rate?

1. Choose your niche. The more focused you are the lesser will be the bounce rate. Don’t write about civil wars and cinema gossips in the same site.

2. Update your site regularly. Regular visitors may bounce too. People often visit their favorite sites to check for new content. If you don’t have new content they will bounce. Give them Email and RSS feed subscription options so they won’t contribute to the bounce rate.

3. Write in depth articles: People often land through search engines in particular pages. If you don’t have comprehensive info about the given topic, they will bounce.

4. Write more number of related articles: If viewers like any of your articles, they will like to read more of the same topic in your website. Try to write more number of related articles on any given topic.

5. Monitor the search terms: Sometimes Google can send you people for a not so matching query. It is not your fault. But, you can record these queries and try to provide updated content on these topics. So you will have better performance in Google and your visitors will also be happy.

6. Give internal links: Give a list of related articles at the end of each article. Link to relevant previous articles from within the article. Categorize and tag articles.

7. List popular posts in the sidebar.

8. Have better page navigation: Often people get lost and don’t have a clue how to reach parent sections. Give them navigation bread crumbs at the top like Home >> Category name >> Articles name . Link to previous and next articles. This would help people to navigate back and forth and explore.

9. Use homepage real estate: Many sites have 100s of useful articles. But the homepage will be static and clueless of the hidden content. Redesign your homepage to include teasers and direct important sections within your site. Make it dynamic to show the latest updates to the site automatically. But, please note that not all land in your site through homepage. So, you need to focus in internal linking, context based menus in all pages of your site.

10. Have a clear and simple menu: Google does this well. Don’t squeeze all your pages in the site in your menu. Have a context based dynamic menu for each page. A menu should be self-explanatory. Don’t design it badly to look like a flash gimmick.

Now a quick quiz. I assume that websites with some specific content will always universally have lower bounce rates. Can you guess what ? 😉

Why Wikipedia ranks better in Google?

For almost any search query, a Wikipedia article ranks better in Google.  Is Google biased towards Wikipedia? No. Google itself has Knol which is a direct competitor for Wikipedia. Then, how do Wikipedia articles rank better? Here is the secret:

1. Google favours informative pages over commercial sites.

A search for web hosting in Google lists informative articles including Wikipedia in the top.  See how a search for web hosting in Yahoo just lists only commercial websites.  We can think of Google as favouring information. Or it may be indirectly forcing companies to buy their adsense slots by denying top search results. Only Google knows 🙂

Except the above point everything else is well deserved merit by Wikipedia.

2. Wikipedia is online since 2001. Google thinks old sites are more reliable.

3. The structure of a Wikipedia article itself is highly SEOed:

* Both the title and URL of Wikipedia pages are to the point, short, self explanatory.

* Highly exhaustive, comprehensive collection of information.

* Articles are focused on a single topic. Assures keyword density.

* Natural writing assures  presence of related keywords.

* Frequent updates to the articles, addition of new articles regularly brings the search engine crawlers very often. So the changes are indexed at once.

* Copy formatting, text highlighting, sub headings, section – sub section structure help the bots clearly understand the content.

* Title definition at the very first paragraph.

* Images with description, alt tags, descriptive names and URLs.

* Presence of relevant external links., Google likes this.

4.  People by default link to Wikipedia to learn more. The Wikipedia pages are heavily interlinked. This increases the PageRank of Wikipedia pages.

Wikipedia is the best place to learn SEO because it doesn’t employ any SEO expert at all and yet ranks so well 🙂