In SEO terms, managing bounce rate is not often talked about, most ‘experts’ tend to focus on off page optimization that usually involves minimizing reciprocal links and gaining relevant one way links.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been taking a look at my stats on this site over the last four years, and a couple of other sites I own that are younger.
What I’ve been looking for is a way to improve my SERP (Search Engine Result Page) position, or improve earnings from passive sources such as AdSense.
Internal links improve pageviews
The interesting thing I’ve discovered is that there are several pages on this blog that have a good number of backlinks and have their own unique title, description etc.
The pages that also deeplink to my other pages on a relevant topic have a lower bounce rate and improve overall pageviews. I’m assuming because if you’re interested in reading about SEO, you’ll also follow the links to my other SEO pages, whereas if you’re interested in knowing how to write Christmas cards you’d find I only have one post about this and then leave.
The difference between the two pages is that one has links to other posts within or at the end of the post, and tend to get clicked, whereas the Christmas card post doesn’t so a reader has no incentive to look for more.
This is a real eye-opener for me because in fact almost every post on this blog can be reached in two clicks from the sidebar navigation, YET, pageviews have been average readers are not clicking those links to find more posts in the same category.
Instead, readers are mostly clicking links contained within the post and this accounts for almost all of the higher pageviews this site gets. Initially I thought this might be a problem with the current theme, but looking back over four years of history, it’s actually been fairly consistent.
Reducing bounce rate by increasing pageviews
The conclusion I’m led to is that navigation links aren’t as effective as links within the article, and furthermore, that links within the article reduce bounce rate!
Which leads me back to the original point of this post. Reducing bounce rate improves website performance, and increases revenue.
Overall, if your site already has traffic, but revenue isn’t high, then reducing bounce rate is a highly effective way, and often a very cheap way, to increase conversions and SERP positioning.
There is a lot of chatter in the SEO industry about the development of Google’s algorithm, specifically on the subject of Google being able to track the stickiness (bounce vs pageviews) of ranking sites, and then adjust the rankings to favour more sticky sites.
My experiences of editing older posts on this blog to include relevant links on this site, is that bounce rate has decreased, pageviews are up, and so too are earnings, although not from AdSense on this site.
On another site I own, doing the same thing actually did increase AdSense earnings.
Both sites improved in the SERPs, and are now ranking well for certain keywords. In fact I might even try the experiment again with one of the keywords I’ve been itching to be ranked for and see if I can rank higher without resorting to off page optimization.