Bounce Rate. It’s another one of those highbrow SEO technical terms that highbrow SEO technical people toss around like you should know. “Hey Mike, what’s your current bounce rate?”
If you’ve read some of my other posts you know how I like to simplify things. Ready to tackle this one? Here we go!
UNDERSTANDING BOUNCE RATE
The general idea is that the longer and deeper you keep people on your site the better. That’s it.
HOW TO LOWER BOUNCE RATE
No matter how you got here you landed somewhere. Hopefully that page gave you what you were looking for. Even more hopefully, a few other things tempted you to click. For instance on this post I put a abnormally huge amount of links to other things above. Did you click on them? Over on the right side there are a few “Calls to Action” – click on those? I can even put them in the middle of a post.
At the bottom of the post a plugin called linkwithin shows what may be related content as does the Discus Comment plugin – both enticing you to Click Away Merrill. All of those actions reduce my Bounce Rate. (ok that last one would add to my Bounce Rate) Does that make sense?
FORGET ABOUT BOUNCE RATE
Now that you understand it – forget about it! Here’s why.
I’m going to play devils advocate here not just for the sake of argument but because I see too many small market bloggers getting hung up on little details way too often. It stifles their writing and eventually kills their blog.
If you are a small market blogger, paying attention to things like Bounce Rate you might be leading yourself down a path of destruction. Ominous sounding eh? The problem is your sampling from too small of a bucket. Let’s say you write 5 posts. All five are basically the same length and similar style. You fire up Google Analytics and find out that Post #4 has a much smaller Bounce Rate than the others. Looking at Post #4 the obvious difference is that you included a picture of a cute puppy, oh and you used the word ‘pickle’ 7 times.
The next week (or month)… ALL your posts include a puppy and at least one mention of a pickle – some even picture a Puppy named Pickles. What happens? Sadly your Bounce Rate for these is no better than any of your other posts! ARGH!
What really happened was this. Of the 17 people who happened upon Post #4 one of them was your nearest competitor. He was looking for ideas to steal and happened to start there. He clicked and clicked and clicked around looking for ideas to steal. Unfortunately for you, you mis-interpreted the data. Discouraged, you soon drop the writing of posts from your marketing plan. Your blog dies a tragic death all because some highbrow SEO technical person you looked up to told you that you need to watch your Bounce Rates. Worse than that, you decide not to adopt that shelter dog you were looking at and vow never to eat another pickle ever again.
The other 16 loyal readers that used to regularly visit your blog now think you’ve gone off the deep end with all these pickles and puppy references. Some of them have even unsubscribed. Ooops!
Being smart is good, being aware is good. Stop trying to write the perfect SEO Posts. Start writing for your Readers.
Get 100 posts written, get hundreds or thousands of regular readers and then, only then, peek into bounce rates.
The wonderful thing about tiggers
Is tiggers are wonderful things!
Their tops are made out of rubber
Their bottoms are made out of springs!
They’re bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy…
By the way: Do you know what has a 100% Bounce Rate by design? A Squeeze Page! Think about that.
He's an avid hockey fan, rides a mountain bike, sometimes rides a road bike, has a few motorcycles (he had a really fast one, bought a cool orange one, rode a really slow one, and wants a really small one). If that isn't enough, he makes cheese and sourdough bread, loves strong beer and good red wine, and poorly plays the Mandolin.