Why Bounce Rate Can Help Local SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | March 26, 2015

A website’s bounce rate refers to the number of times a visitor, or user, comes to a website, views a single page and then immediately leaves without viewing additional pages. In essence, they literally “bounce out” of the website. For companies trying to reach their local market, lowering a website’s bounce rate implies that the website is providing content that gives potential customers a reason to stay, a reason to inquire, and ultimately, a reason to make that all-important decision to purchase.

While there are varying opinions as to how bounce rates impact a website’s PageRank, few SEO professionals would argue about the relevance of this particular analytic. The longer a potential customer stays on the website, the more likely they are to purchase because they’ve bought into the website’s call to action. Therefore, what simple strategies can a company looking to reach its local market adopt in order to improve local SEO and upgrade its search engine results page (SERP)?

1. Providing Engaging and Thought-Provoking Content:

The written word is no longer the single dominant medium online. Granted, content is still king but online content itself has changed. It has morphed and videos are playing a larger role in SEO because they simplify the message. It’s human nature to want to see a video as opposed to reading an elaborate webpage. Today’s consumers want immediate answers and videos provide that by engaging their audience and adding that critical human touch.

2. Having a Clear Call to Action:

One portion involves having video, but the other includes having a clear, well-designed and well laid out website. You should assume the role of a customer of yours and ask yourself if your website is easy-to-use. It might include improving navigation and or making sure your visitors see a clear, concise and well-defined call to action. That call to action can be a button or a structured path to another portion of your website. Either way, make your point and make it quick.

3. Promote Relevant Content and Avoiding Irrelevant Pop-Ups:

You might want to consider removing immediate pop-ups as it is often easier for a visitor to hit the back button than it is to remove the pop-up. If you have to use pop-ups then make sure they are relevant and provide immediate information. Also, your website isn’t a single page, so make sure to use everything your website has to offer. Improved navigation helps, but promoting other relevant content with internal links is a critical portion of lowering bounce rates.

4. Securing Links to Reputable References:

Local customers want to go with reputable and recognized local businesses. Securing a link with your town’s local Chamber of Commerce brings immediate validity to your website. Relevant links with local reputable businesses and local trade associations in your town or borough ensures that your business is looked upon favorably by potential customer and has a relevance to local search terms. Your local Chamber of Commerce aims to promote strategic alliances between local businesses, so be sure to take advantage of what they have to offer.

5. Not All Websites Are Measured Equally:

A service-oriented website is most likely measured differently in terms of bounce rates when compared to an e-commerce website, a blog and or a forum. When looking at your bounce rate, make sure to consider the time spent on the page by your visitors. If your website has a high bounce rate, and its visitors spend no more than 20 to 30 seconds perusing your website, then time spent is far more likely to have a negative impact on local SEO than bounce rate alone. After all, how much can one visitor learn in 20 to 30 seconds?

Focus on providing engaging content by combining the written word with videos. Have a clear call to action and remove irrelevant popups. Improve navigation and promote internal content with easily-navigable links. Finally, understand that the time spent your page has just as much impact on local SEO as does a high bounce rate.