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Friday, July 28, 2006

Stopping the dribble...Good content's ability to reduce bounce rates...

You get a visitor to your site. He or she looks around. Then what? Does he or she stick around and do some reading, searching, thinking and buying? Or, is her or she searching for the fastest way to get the hell out of Dodge?

If visitors stays are brief, you have to find a way to make things stickier. You can spend on SERPs a million different ways and go into debt to get that high position at Google, but if that traffic jumps ship after seeing what you are offering, your investment has been squandered.

Visitors: Get them, keep them, sell them.

Today, I read a piece on this subject by Glenn Hefley, another freelance writer. He discusses bounce rate (the percentage of people who recoil in terror or who otherwise flee from your site in a matter of seconds) and argues that if a bounce rate is up around 30% or higher, there is a serious problem afoot.

I haven't crunched numbers on this, so I don't know if 30% is the magic point on the spectrum, but I do like what Glenn has to say about the whole thing. He's worth a read (see: "High Bounce off the Search Engine

I haven't crunched numbers, so I don't know if 30% is the magic point on the spectrum, but I do like what Glenn has to say about the whole thing and it is worth a read (see: "High Bounce off the Search Engine").

You see, webmasters come to freelance writers and demand keyword rich articles for the sake of SEO. They want better SERPs and loading up with material loaded with keywords can help. However, there should be some balance in terms of quality and keyword density. At some point, even the best SERP-promoting content in the world is a loser IF it's doing nothing to encourage staying around.

So, if you have a site and you are noticing high bounce, you need to make some adjustments.

Hefley has a nice list of factors ranging from bad links to poor site design that might be promoting bounce. Content, of course, makes it on the list in a few different ways.

My point?

First, bounce is bad. Your objective as a webmaster is to convert visitors into spenders. If they are hitting that left-pointing green arrow five seconds into their scan, you are wasting potential customers and erasing the value of your overall SEO investment.

Second, better content can reduce bounce. Time materials capture interest. Well-written text keeps people around. Truly informative articles get bookmarked. Good stuff gets return visitors. Strong copy captivates and removes wallets from back pockets. If the rest of your site looks okay, and your bounce is still high, content adjustments could be a great way to solve the problem.

Looking at bounce is just a good way to help people really see the value of quality content in action--and the costs of running with low-grade material. None of this is anything new. It's the same old story. Good content keeps people and converts them. Junk, even if it's gobbled up by Google and converted into good positioning, doesn't do the job once you get the visitor.

Create good content or hire someone (like me, perhaps?) to write it for you.

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