Not Ranking on Google’s First Page? Blame High Bounce Rate

Bounce Rate for SEO Explained
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“Why won’t my article stay on the first page of Google?”

It’s the same question I used to ask myself when my rankings will quickly jump to the 2nd page of Google after being on the first page for little time. I tried increasing content, adding backlinks, more social shares, but nothing seems to buzz that spot.

Fortunately, I came across this article from Moz which made me realize that I was looking at it from the wrong angle. The problem isn’t from the outside, but the website itself.

User experience, engagement, and content do affect SEO rankings.

User engagement is the key to the success of your blog. And one of the biggest measures of user engagement on your site is represented by the bounce rate.

Wait, What is Bounce Rate?

In the simplest terms, bounce rate is the percentage of your visitors who leave your website after viewing only a single page/post.

For those who are a bit familiar with the Internet, Bounce Rate can be stated as –

Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits (or web sessions). It is the number of visits in which a person leaves your website from the landing page without browsing any further.

Bounce rate is an important metric for on-site SEO and can affect your website search rankings. You can keep track of your bounce rate using Google Analytics.

How Does Google Analytics Calculate Bounce Rate?

According to Google, the formula used for bounce rate calculation is,

Bounce Rate = Total Number of Bounces for A Web Page divided by Total Number of Visits to That Same Web Page (in the same time period.)

In a similar way, you can calculate bounce rate of a website by taking in the account total page visits and bounces.

To see the bounce rate of your site, head over to Google Analytics homepage.

High Bounce Rate
Bounce Rate Above 70%

There you’ll get an overview of the bounce rate for your entire website for a period (a week or a month.) Click on “Bounce Rate” stats to see detailed information.

What is The Ideal Bounce Rate for A Website?

Based on various case studies and researchers, the bounce rate grading system is as follows:

25% or Lower: Something is probably broken
26-40%: Excellent
41-55%: Average
56-70%: Higher than normal, but could make sense depending on the website
70% or higher: Bad and/or something is probably broken.

So, if you want your site to be a better place, try to target a bounce rate of 26-55%. Anything above or below that is a point of concern.

Now, before I talk about 8 reasons for high bounce rate, I would like to explain the biggest misconception about Bounce Rate.

Bounce Rate is in not the amount of time a user spent your site.

Many of the Internet Marketers, I know had this exact misconception and that’s a legit one.

So, let’s now move forward and allow me to explain you 8 reasons why your website has a high bounce rate. Of course, there are tips to solve the problem and make your site less bouncy.

8 Reasons for A High Bounce Rate

Let’s dive in.

1. Your Blog Takes Forever to Load

A slow web host makes your blog down in many ways. Not only it affects engagement, traffic, but also the bounce rate. One in four visitors will leave your website if it takes more than three seconds to load.

What happens to the remaining three (who are patient enough to let the page load)? They won’t even think of clicking on an internal link to read the other article.

Who’s got time for that?

It is a point of concern for you if you are hosted on a cheap shared web host and your page takes more than three seconds to load.

Solution: You can either use these speed optimization tips to improve your blog or switch to InterServer web hosting.

2. You Welcome Your Readers to Annoying Popups

Annoying Popup Examples
Source – www.smartinsights.com

Again, a common mistake by bloggers. If you’re too focused on collecting subscribers that you have popups everywhere on the site, then please stop that.

Even Google has started penalizing sites with Popups. (Source)

I know, collecting emails is great, but there are other ways to do that without annoying your readers. Users will give you their emails only when they found your blog valuable, which happens only after they’ve read your article.

By welcoming them with unwanted popup or welcome mat, you make (read as force) they leave as soon as they have found their piece of information.

Solution: Remove all those annoying Popups and welcome screens.

Let your visitors read your content first, and then you may bombard them with those subscriber boxes. A smart move is to add multiple subscription boxes in between article and sidebar of your blog.

Giving something for free like ebooks, printables, tutorials, designs, are even smarter moves.

3. Your Fonts Are Hardly Readable

The readability of your content matters. You may be a great writer, but if the font used is tiny, then it becomes harder for even the sharpest eyes to read what’s written. I have talked more about the importance of fonts on a website.

I have seen many blogs using 10-12px font sizes which are difficult to read and stressful to eyes. The optimal size of your blog’s body fonts should be in between 14px – 18px.

What fonts use is also important, but if the size is comfortable, that doesn’t matter much.

Solution: Edit your font settings and increase your body font size to at least 14px.

Themes like MyThemeShop and others with inbuilt editors make it easier for nontechies like me. If there’s no option provided in your theme, then you may need to edit your WordPress or contact the developer of your theme.

4. You Click Bait Your Titles

What You See Is What You Get.

That’s what I love. If I clicked on your article after reading an interesting title, your content should better be the same.

If you’re a smart marketer with hidden abilities to write catchy headlines, you might want to use the same tactics as your article body as well.

Don’t clickbait your articles when you have an article nothing related to it. It will only make your readers frustrated and leave your blog.

Most of the fake news sites are using the same technique which might result in massive short traffic, but the end results are worst. Building trust with your readers take thousands of tries but losing it needs only one.

Solution: Make your titles catchy and engaging, but don’t go overboard. Don’t click bait and make false promises under the headings.

Always think of long-term results and whether or not your readers will return after reading ‘that’ piece of content.

Moving on, the next reason why your blog has a high bounce rate is…

5. Low Quality or Under Optimized Articles

Once again, related to the readability of your blog.

Low quality isn’t entirely about bad writing or grammatical errors. But, the way you explain things and makes things interesting is important.

You need to be decent enough to write simple and explanatory sentences. Not using any header tags, relevant images/screenshots, and super long paragraphs are considered as under optimized contents.

Solution: As discussed above, start optimizing your articles for your readers. Here are few points to remember while writing your next fantastic article –

  • Make the best use of heading tags (H2, positive effectsH3)
  • Create shorter paragraphs (Maximum of 2-3 sentences)
  • Use bold, italics, and underline for important points.
  • Add related screenshots or stock images multiple times in your article body.

6. There Are Too Many Ads In The Content Body

Best Ads Placements for Google Adsense
Idle Ads Placement Guide

Recently, Google removed the limitations of maximum numbers of ads in a single content page. While it has some advantages, most of the Bloggers are considering it as a gold mine of making money.

But, it’s not.

No reader wants to see ads after every 2-3 paragraphs, and it does affect your website loading time as well. Placing more Google Ads throughout the body may earn you few extra dollars, but again think of the long-term results.

Solution: Maintain a proper balance of ads and other similar boxes. If you have a 1000 words article then placing more than 3-4 ads is not a wise idea.

Having less or no Google Ad placements will also significantly boost the loading time. Read this Google Ads Placement Guide for better revenue with lesser ads.

7. There Are 404 Error Page

404 Error Page Example

404 error pages appear on your website when either the URL entered is wrong, or the page/post has been deleted.

When a user lands on a 404 error page, he/she will quickly close the tab thus restricting himself from reading some of the amazing articles from your site.

Dead links also affect your blog SEO and having more error pages will lower your SERP rankings.

Solution: Keep track of 404 error pages on your blog with the help of Google Webmaster tool. Regularly check if there are any new dead links and try to resolve it.

Another brilliant way to deal with this problem is to customize your 404 error page. So, when a user lands on it, instead of showing plain error, add links to homepage, a search bar, contact form, or popular posts. It will give the reader few reasons to stay on your blog for longer and browse through various pages.

Check out this amazing website for all the creative 404 error pages on the Internet and get some inspiration.

8.  You’ve Got Inappropriate Links from Other Websites

The quality and relevance of links is an important part of SEO and your blog. Instead of building 100 links from non-relevant or low-quality sites, you should always work to get one link from a high-quality site in your niche.

Imagine your blog is about web hosting and you get links from some fashion related websites. Now, when visitors of that site click on your link and visit blog, do you expect them to read an article?

They aren’t interested in your topic and they will instantly leave your blog without scrolling further. Sometimes, you might start getting spam traffic from unwanted sites, and you’ll see the bounce rate being way too high for those sources.

stop spam traffic from google

You should instantly take action and remove spam traffic from Google Analytics.

Solution: Build links from websites in your niche only. It is okay if you get only 100 visitors, but if they stay on your site, and are actually interested, it will pay off in the near future.

You can also get started with Guest Posting for links and exposure for your new blog, but again only with the good quality blogs in your niche.

Final Words

What’s the bounce rate of your blog at the moment? And are you taking any actions to reduce it? Share your results in the comment section below.

Also, make sure to share this post with your friends and followers.

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Shafi Khan

Hey Readers, Welcome to BlogCharge. I am Shafi Khan, a Digital Marketer with 3 years of experience. Here I share my knowledge about Blogging, SEO, Link Building, Affiliate Marketing, and so on... Know more about me ...
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29 thoughts on “Not Ranking on Google’s First Page? Blame High Bounce Rate

  1. As usual your post was amazing and informative to me.
    I loved reading your post always. I will share this post with
    my friends and recommend them your blog. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Anand,

      Yes, Bounce rate affects rank and it’s an important ranking factor. Basically, it helps Google evaluate what pages are more engaging and helpful to readers based on their stay on a page.

      For example, if people click on your page and leaves instantly, it means there’s probably something broken and/or the content isn’t useful to the reader.

      On the other side, if people stay on your site for a longer period of time and click on other interlinks, it shows that the page is useful for the reader i.e. Google should rank it better.

      I hope it clarifies your doubt.

  2. Hi Shafi,

    I would like to your potential readers will leave if you don’t provide good navigation and easy way to find content that they are looking for, such as search functionality.

    As you mentioned 404 errors and broken links is something that gives very bad impression about your blog and you as a blogger.

    Thanks for sharing!

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