Issue #167

Make em’ STICK (for more traffic)

Yesterday, we talked about scroll depth as a key indicator that your site is ticklin’ people’s fancies. And the more you wet their whistle and Google sees it, the better that is for you in terms of your SEO and traffic.

Now, very tightly related to scroll depth is time on page and bounce rate. The two don’t exist in a vacuum. Obviously, scroll depth alone isn’t enough. Because if the person does a quick scrolly-scroll and then bounces off your site, it was pretty clear what they saw didn’t interest them. So, you want them to scroll AND stick!

Time on page is, simply, the length of time that a user stays on that page. And the bounce rate is pretty much the inverse of that… the percentage of people who arrive on the page and pretty much immediately leave (hence “bounce”).

Obviously, we want time on page to be high and bounce rate to be low. As part of that low bounce rate, we’d also prefer that people don’t become one-page viewers but that they actually click over to another page of your site.

So, like all things SEO, we can do some things to engineer this behavior.

First of all, it absolutely needs to be repeated that…. the way to improve ALL these metrics is simply to create freakin’ awesome content. Create content that impresses the crap out of people who arrive. Make them feel like they just hit the freakin’ jackpot when they arrived on your article. Ya feelin’ me? 🙂

This is why I strongly encourage you to stop date-based blog quotas and instead look at The Redwood Strategy for your content. Because it affords you the time to really improve each piece of content on your blog so that it has long term value and actually does what it is supposed to do.

But, in terms of a few smaller items you can do to increase time on page and reduce bounce rate?

First, when it makes sense, embed videos for them to watch. It could be your own video… or it could be somebody else’s video you’ve just included. But, videos make people want to play them. And, when they play videos on your site, they sit there longer. Hence higher time on page. Woo hoo!

Once again, this is another reason long-form content works nicely. When it is longer, people will tend to stick around longer to read it if for no other reason than that it takes longer.

In terms of bounce rate, your goal is just to entice secondary clicks. So, give them enticing things to click on. 🙂 Backlink to other posts in your archives. Give them “further reading” or related posts. Just give them other interesting stuff to click on.

All this stuff will work to not only entice the scroll (which we discussed yesterday), but likewise encourage them to stick around longer. Hence, higher time on page and lower bounce.

Google sees that and it is all additional ranking factors to raising your listing up the search results.

As we end off, I remind you again of our recurring theme…

We’re optimizing for human beings. Not for bots. We’re creating content that gives people what they want, over-delivered, and makes it obvious to them that what they just found (on your site) is very much worth their time. If you create content that does that, the bots take care of themselves.

– David

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