Do you look at your blog bounce rate and wonder what it means?
Is your bounce rate climbing and you don’t know why?
About a month ago, my blog bounce rate was sitting at around 80%. A month before that it was around 35% – so what happened? Well, if I am honest, I completely took my eye off the ball. I published content in a rush and didn’t take the right amount of time to make sure each blog was tagged and categorised properly or optimised for my target audience.This week, after a few days tinkering (well, strategic changes) and a more focussed approach to publishing new posts over the past 3 weeks, my blog bounce rate is sitting at 21%. This equates to a staggering 74.22% improvement in a month. So, with a beginners grasp on SEO, how did I do this?
Before we get into that, let’s look at what exactly bounce rate means?
According to Google analytics, ‘the Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page)‘. On face value, this would imply that a high bounce rate is not a bad thing, after all it could mean your content is awesome and has addressed the need of users. This is even better if your blog goal is for users to read the post they land on and then bugger off. But what if one of your blog goals is to increase page views, or time spent on site? In these instances, a high bounce rate is not so great and let’s be honest, most bloggers, want users to do something else once they land on the page – such as leave a comment or search through other posts to see the rest of the fantastic content they’ve spent hours crafting is available, right?. I know I do, so when I saw my ridiculously high bounce rate, I rolled up my sleeves and made some changes.
The 4 things I did to decrease my blog bounce rate:
1. Identified poor performing blog posts
A quick and easy way to do this is to jump into Google Analytics and dive into Behaviour – Site Content – Content Drilldown or Landing Pages. Information here will tell you what content is performing the best and worst for your site. As a bonus it also tells you the page where people exit from the most. Once I had identified exactly which pages were contributing to the overall poor performance of my blog I moved onto the next step.
2. Assessed the keywords
Write down the keywords appropriate to your industry, content and audience, then conduct some keyword analysis through Keywordtool.io or Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Then, take a look at the focus keywords attached to the poor performing blog posts and be brutually honest with yourself, as I was – are they the right keywords for your audience and the content. If not, update the keywords, as I did, to better reflect the content and how your audience searches for it.
3. Revised Tags & Categories
Every time you post content you categorise and tag it (if you don’t you should – start now). Adding tags and categories to your content helps you sort your content, and as a result helps users find similar content to what brought them to your blog in the first place. Poor use of tags and too many categories can confuse users and result in them leaving your page ASAP. I culled around 50% of the categories I had, grouped relevant content under key categories and added more tags to index the content better. This alone helped users find content similar to what they had just finished reading, and not only did the bounce rate decrease, my pages/sessions went up 72%, and the time on site doubled.
4. Culled the bad content
Kill the content that doesn’t fit with your new structure. The toughest step I did was get rid of the content that did not fit in with my new streamlined list of categories. I want my blog to be known for marketing and social media content, with a little bit of professional development, management and general business. So unless I could categorise posts into these categories, I deleted it. Harsh, but as a result I have a better performing website and blog.
After about 3 days of hard work and a few weeks of results, this is what I ended up with.
Whist I slightly decreased the number of sessions and number of users, I ended up with a more qualified and relevant audience who spent more time and read more content on my blog. An added bonus was more returning visitors, meaning they were coming back for more – and after all, that is what I was after.
Do you have any tips to improve the performance of a blog?
Image Credits: Shutterstock