For today’s article, we are focusing on reducing bounce rate and increasing average session duration. Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who leave after viewing just one page. Average session duration is the average time that visitors spend on your site in a single session (provided they view more than one page).
These two metrics are crucial as they determine if your site is retaining and engaging your visitors sufficiently. This is especially important if the page’s success depends on whether visitors view more than one page. For example, you would want your home page to have a low bounce rate since it links to all your other pages.
A high bounce rate or low average session duration may suggest that your site did not meet your visitors’ needs or was simply too difficult to use. However, a high bounce rate or low average session duration is not always negative. It could also mean that visitors found exactly what they are looking for in a short period of time, and thus have no reason to navigate further.
Also, depending on the page, it may be normal. For example, if the page has a straightforward goal, such as to provide contact details, it is not surprising for it to have a high bounce rate.
This info-graphic from Kissmetrics provides a clear representation of the expected bounce rate for different types of pages.
Tips to reduce bounce rate
1) Attract the right visitors
The ultimate goal of search is to fulfill a need, be it for information or commercial purposes. To reduce bounce rate, attract the visitors who would be satisfied by your content. The key to attracting the right visitors lies with targeting the right keywords. Choose the keywords that match your content and have substantial search volume. In order to do that, you need to conduct keyword research. Here on our blog, we have a 3-part series that talks about keyword research in detail, so go check it out if you need some help!
Quick tip: Make sure you target keywords containing your brand name so visitors looking for your brand can find your site easily!
2) Create readable content with great formatting
Of course, good content that is relevant and useful to your visitors is definitely required to reduce bounce rate. (Read our previous article on good content!) But other than quality, something else that is more often left out is the readability of the content. Making your content readable encourages visitors to stay on the page. Here are some formatting tips to make your content more reader-friendly!
- Avoid large paragraphs of words – they scare readers away! – split them into smaller sections instead.
- Use headings and sub-headings to make your content easier to follow – they are the things that readers spot first when they scan the content to determine if it is worth the read.
- Use bulleted and numbered lists to convey multiple points – it makes the content appear less daunting and also more organized.
- Make use of bold and italics to bring the readers’ attention to key points
- Avoid making any language mistakes
3) Improve overall user experience
Everything on your site contributes to user experience. This can include your layout, Call-to-Action (CTA), page speed, ads etc. Improving your user experience helps to retain your visitors.
- Ensure that your layout allows for easy navigation – include page tabs, an easy-to-find internal search bar and set up responsive layout for mobile devices.
- Create an attractive CTA – make sure it is clearly stands out! Studies have shown that a great CTA helps increase conversion rates as well as reduce bounce rate.
- Improve page speed (Here’s our article on page speed!)
- Avoid using distractions such as pop-ups, ads or self-loading videos. Visitors may find them annoying and abandon your site, leading to high bounce rate.
Tips to increase average session duration
4) Encourage navigation
This works the same way as creating an attractive Call-to-Action (CTA). It can be done in many ways. One of these ways is to include internal links within your content. If you recall, that is exactly what was done throughout this article with the various prompts to read our previous articles. Did you click on any of them?😉
You can also do this by including recommendations to other related articles at the end of the page or on the sidebar. As visitors navigate to other pages, they spend more time on your site, increasing average session duration.
5) Include multimedia materials
Reading content that consists of only words can be pretty boring. Insert some pictures, infographics, diagrams and videos to spice up your content. This keeps your visitors engaged so they stay on your site for a longer period of time.
In actual fact, the benefits of these tips do overlap and help with both reducing bounce rate and increasing average session duration. As with most SEO tips, the rule of thumb is to do things that benefit your visitors.
Is your site plagued by a high bounce rate or low average session duration? Feel free to contact us so we can help you improve the situation!
Zachary is a Business Development Executive in Appiloque. In the after-hours, he serves as a Division Agent, taking back the city of New York when all else fails.