Your goal is not merely to attract someone to your website. That’s relatively easy if you think about it. “Click here for 10 million rand cash! No strings attached!” You’ll get a lot of lookers, but when they get there and realize you do not have any money for them, they will immediately leave the page. Your bounce rate will have just increased.
The bounce rate measures how many users find your page in a search, view your page and then hit the back button to return to the search engine results pages (SERP) without looking further. A high bounce rate means many people who look at your page decide it is not what they thought it was or what they needed. It also could mean that they are having an unpleasant experience when they visit your page.
Whatever the cause, a high bounce rate is detrimental to your search engine ranking, and you need to fix the problem. Here are five tried and true ways to increase user engagement on your site, help boost your SEO efforts and start lowering your bounce rate immediately.
Deliver What You Promise
Like the imaginary scene in the opening paragraph, nothing puts users off as much as a false promise. If you are using keywords designed for a particular product or activity, deliver the goods with content tailored to the individuals who search for those words.
It comes down to being authentic and letting the user find you naturally. Use research and analytics to paint a mental picture of the type of person you are trying to reach. Then go after your audience with all the straightforward transparency you can muster.
When someone in your target demographic searches for “safaris in Tanzania,” for instance, make sure he or she finds your article on the subject with a headline that says something like “The Ultimate Guide to Safaris in Tanzania.” Then, deliver the in-depth content you would like to find if you were searching for information on the topic. Serve your users, and you will be more likely to engage them.
Use a Variety of Media
Written content is still king, but video and other forms of media have a vital role to play. Depending on your subject, a how-to video may be more valuable to your users than a lengthy written tutorial. Sometimes a printer-friendly and vibrantly colored infographic will entice users to hang around and explore your content pages.
How do you find out what your customers want to see on your pages? It may seem a little radical, but one way is simply to ask them. Also, learn to use and take full advantage of analytic tracking tools to learn about your users’ habits and preferences. Find out what your people want and give them more of it.
Write for (Web) Readers
If you learned to write in college, forget everything you know. Well, that may be a bit extreme, but chances are you do need to purge the academic from your writing. Web readers are a special breed, and to get them to hang around for more than a few seconds, you probably need to do some of the following:
- Use bulleted lists to break up large blocks of information (did you see what just happened?)
- Write in small, easy-to-manage “chunks” of information. Avoid long paragraphs or sentences.
- Keep the tone conversational. Avoid technical descriptions by using infographics or illustrations.
- Use subheadings for easy scanning, which is a common habit among web readers.
Web users consider certain behaviors to be rude. One of the big no-nos from web marketers is the overuse of popups. Popups can serve a purpose in some instances, but for the most part, they are an interruption to the flow of information and a nuisance. Try to avoid them.
Misleading people with “click-bait” headlines or making them search endlessly for information within your website is also impolite. Be kind to your visitors; you need them to like you well enough to stick around and see what you have to offer them.
Master the Technical Details
To rank well in the search engines and keep your visitors interested in your offerings, you need to master a few technical details related to web design. Even if you hire someone to design your site for you, you still need a basic understanding of optimizing your website for search engines:
- Use keywords in your meta tag section in the head section of your website. Put your strategically selected keywords in your page title and headlines and throughout your body copy.
- Build landing pages strategically targeting specific interests of your audience to entice them to go deeper in your site structure and consider you a reliable resource.
- Employ crosslinking within your site structure. Make hyperlinks from one post to another to enhance the user experience and provide easy access to more in-depth information.
- Design an elegant navigation structure. Stick with a clearly labeled navigation system that intuitively leads users to the parts of your site they are most interested in finding.
- Learn to use Google Analytics tools to monitor your site traffic and activity, so you can intelligently make decisions about how to better attract and engage users of your site.
This post was contributed by Boostability, a U.S.-based SEO firm that works with media and agency partners worldwide. Contact Boostability SEO services to learn how to make your online marketing efforts provide a return on investment with more traffic and user engagement on your site. This guest post is part of a series designed to offer tactical content to help the BigFive community succeed in its mission to deliver value to small business undergoing digital transformation in Africa and the Middle East.