Google keeps a close eye on the user-experience of the sites they list. So for pure white-hat SEO, you’ve got to focus on the quality of the experience, and eliminate any problems that detract from it.
The best way to do this is to use software like Google Analytics to track how your customers are using your website. In today’s article, we’re going to talk about one metric Google Analytics gives us to track the user experience: Bounce Rates.
When someone visits your website from the search engine results, they have two choices: read more, or leave.
If they find what they’re looking for, they’ll read on. If they don’t, they’ll leave immediately. This is called a “bounce”.
Google wants to eliminate as many bounces as possible. Why? Because if someone bounces off of your website, it means they didn’t find what they were looking for. The higher the bounce rate your site has, the more likely it is your content is being improperly presented.
So what are some reasons why a visitor may bounce off your site?
First and foremost, we have our most important aspect: content quality. The quality of your content directly determines the amount of value your visitors will get out of visiting your website. On sites that work around-the-clock to provide top-notch value, the bounce rates are very minimal.
This shows to Google that your site is giving visitors exactly what they’re looking for. This means Google is giving the visitor exactly what they were looking for when they searched to begin with. This helps Google’s business, so in turn, they’ll likely help yours as well.
Good quality content is unique, highly-detailed, and easy to consume. It gives people exactly what they’re looking for, in complete detail, and is very easy to read.
A good way to gauge the quality of your content is to ask yourself if a visitor would need anything else other than your article to answer their original question. When writing an article or other piece of content, aim to make it THE definitive piece of content for that topic – a visitor shouldn’t have to go anywhere else to find an answer.
Avoid “wall-of-text” type articles at all cost. Instead of just a big splotch of words, your content should be evenly divided to improve readability.
One of the best ways to do this is to include a picture at the top of every – right under the headline. Then, keep your writing minimal… include paragraphs whenever you go into a new idea, even if it’s on the same subject as what you’ve been writing about.
Use the article you’re currently reading as a reference. I’ve used paragraphs to divide the flow of the article, which makes it easier to read. Don’t go overboard, but don’t be afraid to push the “return” button!
Additionally, you should include images throughout the post to break it up. The longer the article, the more pictures you should include (remember to optimize the alt-text!).
Some websites feature “forced-consume” content. That means, auto-play videos or music. When people land on sites with auto-play, their odds of bouncing skyrocket significantly.
It’s definitely a good idea to have a video on your website, as video is an easy type of content to consume. However, give the visitor the option to push play themselves. If they want to see it (and they probably will) they’ll click on the play button. By forcing them to watch it, you’ll most likely just annoy them.
The older your site is, the better it gains SEO authority. And that’s a great thing! However, if you have content from several years ago, it can be outdated, and as such, no longer an authoratative piece of content.
If someone searches for your site and finds an outdated article, they’ll probably bounce off. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to update old content on a regular basis – at least once it gets outdated. This will ensure your site is always up-to-date, which will lower bounce rates!