With content marketing, your main objective is to get qualified visitors to your site – emphasis on qualified. If your traffic bounces like a tennis ball (the average bounce rate is about 50 percent*), it’s time to take a cold, hard look at your website to see where improvements could be made to your writing and design.

On the sixth day of the 12 Days of Content, we’re talking with Senior Section Editor Rebecca Bakken about content strategies to cut your bounce rate. Play the video to hear her tips, and read the full blog for more insights.

*It’s normal to see a higher bounce rate for blog content, because readers come for specific information. However, there are some strategies that can encourage them to dig deeper into your site.

1. Improve your integration

The way your content is organized on the page is just as important as what it says. Even if people come to your site and ready your content, will they know where to click next? You need to make the next step intuitive with:  

  • Internal links to product-focused landing pages
  • Calls to action, such as Download Now buttons, Request a demo, etc.
  • Links to related resources to encourage deeper reading

These cues nudge visitors to learn more about the topic that brought them to your page in the first place. A link to a downloadable resource can help you generate leads, while references to landing pages direct viewers deeper into your site.  

2. Simulate or stimulate conversation with content

To improve your bounce rate, try to create blog content that simulates or stimulates conversations.

Simulating discussion means creating assets that feel like they’re part of a larger conversation that’s already taking place in your field. If you’re in the payment processing industry, you might be talking about up-and-coming technologies and what they mean for vendors. If you work for an ecommerce clothing store, you might create content around top trends.

On the other hand, stimulating conversation means creating something that people want to talk about and will spark discussion once they leave they leave the page.

Check out this success story for a closer look at the results clients see with content strategies:
Good blog content keeps visitors from bouncing off the page

3. Check the traffic source

If you have a high bounce rate, you should also consider the source of the traffic. Visitors who arrive from social media are going to behave differently than people who come via direct search.

If you have a high bounce rate, consider the source of the traffic.

Visitors who arrive from social media are going to behave differently than people who come via direct search.

Social media naturally has a high bounce rate because visitors discover your content as they’re browsing their newsfeeds. They may be interested in a specific headline, but chances are they’ll go back to what they were doing before they clicked that link, rather than diving deep into your site to learn about your products and services.

Conversely, a direct visit suggests someone is already aware of your business and is coming there directly to learn more about what you have to say and sell.

4. Consider readers’ intent

The readers’ intent impacts behavior with your content. Marketers aren’t mind readers (not quite!). Still, it’s important to remember you can’t achieve a flawless bounce rate if you’re generating enough traffic to also draw in curious but not-yet-qualified leads.

If someone’s intent is to shop and they’re researching in anticipation of making a purchase, they’ll have a lower bounce rate. If a person is just surfing the ‘net, looking for interesting content, they’re more likely to bounce off your page once they get the information they want.

“Images are very important to keep bounce rates low. People are visual. You need good quality images that are placed well to keep people’s interest.”

5. Make it easy on the eyes

You can’t underestimate how looks impact your content’s performance. Visitors back away from sites that look untrustworthy, and people are more likely to head back to search results for another source if they can’t quickly accomplish what they came to do on your site.

For blog and news content in particular, Rebecca recommends making the page look as attractive – and digestible – as possible to keep visitors from bouncing away.  

“If readers are casually perusing a blog, and you hit them with a huge wall of text, they’re probably going to leave,” she explained. “Images are very important. People are visual. You need good quality images that are placed well to keep people’s interest.”

We’ve seen that even small visual improvements have a significant impact on content’s performance:

Create content for readers to improve engagement, lower bounce rates

As marketers and SEOs realize they won’t win top rankings by writing for search crawlers, but rather writing for readers, they’ll become fluent in what visitors prefer. Content that’s well-written and designed with web readers in mind will outperform pieces that are dense and difficult to read.Elements_Yellow_Icon_Paper2

Our team recommends:

With a strong content strategy that keeps readers engaged after they click, you can educate prospects and nurture leads with additional information about your products and services.

For more specifics on successful content marketing strategies:

Check back for more answers in our 12 Days of Content!

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.