Have you ever wondered why certain sites show up during a web search? The reason is SEO. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a digital marketing strategy that can increase the visibility of your website’s pages in a web search on search engines such as Google or Bing. Why does this matter for your website? Sites with better visibility are usually those that are higher ranked on the search engine results page, which means more web traffic.
How SEO Works
Search engines will “crawl” your pages, collecting information on them and then indexing that information. When a search is executed, an algorithm analyzes the pages it has indexed, evaluating elements such as site reputation and a user’s location to generate the most relevant results for the user. Sites with large amounts of content and good reputations have a better chance of ranking higher.
Two SEO strategies can improve your website's visibility: on-site optimization and off-site optimization.
On-site optimization: also known as on-site SEO, this component focuses on optimizing elements on your website as a way to improve its position in search rankings, thus increasing the amount of internet traffic to your site. This type of optimization is something that, for the most part, you can control. Elements such as the title of a page on your site or keywords used can improve your site’s visibility.
Off-site optimization: this includes the components that aren’t actually on your site but can still improve your site’s position in search rankings. These components are typically out of your control such as attracting links from social media and other websites.
While there are a variety of search engines to choose from, the most popular by far is Google. Google has a variety of algorithms that are designed to improve user experience such as:
Hummingbird: the name of a 2013 algorithm in Google Search; this algorithm uses phrases rather than keywords to better understand the intent and context of search queries to match them with relevant pages and results.
Penguin: an algorithm that penalizes websites for violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Reasons for penalization include keyword stuffing and manipulating the number of links that led to a site’s page.
Panda: a Google update that penalizes "thin" sites with "low-quality content" by ranking them lower on SERPs (see definition below). This algorithm aims to prioritize higher-quality sites.
Other Key Terms That Can Help You Understand SEO
SERPs: Search Engine Results Pages; the results and pages that come up in response to a search.
Local SERPs: the results that come up in response to a local-based search; the site visitor’s location affects these results.
Organic SEO: natural methods and strategies that help a site get high rankings on SERPs. With organic SEO practices, high rankings on SERPS are achieved through optimization strategies mentioned under white hat SEO rather than paying for ads. In fact, with organic SEO, you cannot pay search engines to get higher rankings. There is still the option to increase the visibility of your website by paying for ads, but this visibility ends when the payment ends. Organic SEO is a longer-lasting way to attract traffic to your site, and it’s free. Think of organic SEO as an investment – the more content you build for your site, the more likely it is that your site will generate traffic.
SEO UX: UX stands for user experience; the added “UX” emphasizes how SEO has shifted its focus to the user’s experience in an effort to move away from highlighting pages that are chalked full of keywords.
Sitemaps (XML and HTML): Sitemaps allow search engines to efficiently "crawl" a website to index the information on a site's pages. The two main types of sitemaps are XML and HTML. XML is used by the search engine; it indexes information on a site's content and the general importance of a site's pages. One of the benefits of an XML sitemap is that the site's owner can choose the specific pages or information it wants the search engine to crawl and index. HTML is used primarily by the site visitor; it structures the site's content in a way that is user-friendly.
The above definitions are some of the many terms used in the world of SEO. However, SEO, like all things on the internet, is constantly changing, and search engines like Google are constantly releasing new algorithms or programs that are sure to affect how these practices are done. Constant tweaks to your site are necessary to ensure all the proper tools are in place for SEO optimization. SEO Tuners can help maximize your website’s potential through our organic SEO services, which follow a white hat approach. We also offer a variety of SEO packages that are customizable to fit your company's budget. We are available to answer any questions you may have on SEO or any of our other digital marketing services. For more information, visit us at www.seotuners.com, or call (877) 763-1112.
If you’re fighting the good fight working to increase your website’s SEO, Google ranking, and conversion rates, you’ve likely come across this pesky percentage showing up in your Google Analytics (GA) page called a “bounce rate”.
So, what is a bounce rate and why should you care, if at all?
If you’ve ever clicked on a website and then left without visiting other pages of the site—you’ve participated in that website’s “bounce rate”.
Google’s definition of a bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits made to a website. It’s calculated by taking these single-page sessions and dividing them by the total number of page sessions a website has to get a percentage. That percentage then shows up on your Google Analytics (GA) page as the bounce rate.
So, the higher your bounce rate, the more often people click one of your pages and then simply exit your domain. This could be through clicking on a link that goes somewhere else, hitting the back button, closing the open tab/window, typing a new URL into the search bar, or even just session timeout.
Google claims that bounce rate does not directly affect your search ranking, but common sense tells us that this percentage can give us some important intel. Bounce rate is ultimately a measure of how well we’re engaging with our target audience and getting the desired action, whether it’s a purchase, a subscription, or a phone call.
A high bounce rate can indicate a poorly designed website, confusing user experience, or low quality of content. Users may leave your page because they are not finding what they need—whether that’s because you don’t have it or it’s just not obvious enough.
On the other hand, depending on the context, a bounce may not always be a negative thing. For example, looking at the bounce rate for a particular page rather than the entire website, we expect that there will be a higher bounce rate for informative content like blogs that don’t have a specific call to action.
Users may follow your business and click on blogs via social media posts, read the post, and leave the page. Their opinion of your business may have increased, and they may make a mental note to return to your website at a later date— all positive things that are not reflected in that percentage.
Ideally, you would like for a user to click on your services, contact, or products page and purchase something or connect to you every single time they click one of your pages. However, in reality, conversion is often much more nuanced than this. We don’t just create content to get immediate conversions, we create it to make a connection with our target audience, build trust, establish our expertise, and offer information or entertainment to the community.
That being said, having high traffic does little good for your business if users aren’t interacting with the rest of your site. Looking at your bounce rate can help you narrow down what might be going wrong in the space between a click and a conversation, whether for the whole site or particular pages.
If you’re looking to reduce your bounce rate, increase user satisfaction with your site, and potentially increase your conversions, here are 8 tips to help:
1. Install, Configure, and Utilize Google Analytics (GA)
This step is crucial because GA tracks your bounce rate across all your pages, including the number of bounces, where the user “bounced” to, and where they came from in the first place. This can really help you narrow down what might be affecting your percentage.
Is it particular social media sites? Locations? Pages? Or was it during a specific time period, maybe when your website’s speed was significantly slower?
It’s also important to ensure that your GA is configured correctly. This includes making sure that your GA tracking code is properly set up on your website and that there aren’t any duplicates.
2. Avoid Pop-ups, Excessive Ads, and Auto-Play Content
According to a study done by Search Engine Land, 65% of users would block sites with too many ads from their search results. Ad blockers are becoming more and more popular—popups, excessive ads, or content that plays automatically can trigger users to bounce from your page before they even give it a chance. Why? Well, they’re annoying. They hijack the user experience and can be overstimulating, overwhelming, and for some, they may not even be viewable.
Even if the content of your popups is quality and there is nothing malignant or dangerous, users often have an automatic reaction to close out of the page due to their overuse and association with viruses and scams.
Popups can be effective, but you have to be very careful about their design. If you’re not willing to put in this time and effort along with some split testing to see if they’re successful or not—you should probably air in the side of not using them at all.
If you do consider using a popup, stick to offering no-strings-attached benefits to the user. Things like discounts, exclusive access to free services, or limited-time offers can make for a good popup. But if you plan to renege on these promises, your popups are likely doing more harm than good.
3. Clear and Concise Content—More is Not Better!
It’s not uncommon for a user to click on a page that may have a plethora of very useful content on it, but then they click away because it’s formatted in a wall of text that’s hard to read.
Or maybe the user is looking for a breakdown of complex information but the information they’re finding is more of the same, complex, jargon-filled content that is entirely inaccessible to them.
Here are some tips for making your content more accessible:
• Subheadings to separate different sections
This helps to break up blocks of text, and it also allows a user to skim the subheadings to get a general summary of what’s included in the content.
• Short, concise, and straight-forward sections
Have you ever looked up a recipe and had to read the poster’s entire life story when you’re just trying to get to the ingredients? Please don’t do this to your users.
• Bullet points & numbering
Hey, it helps, that’s why we do it. It’s easy on the eyes and helps mentally break up dense content.
• Images, graphics & screenshots
Not only does this make your content more engaging, but it can also add so much to the experience if done right.
• Customized examples
This is a way to connect with your audience and offer them something that another source may not do as well.
• Avoid “jargon” and define your terms
Be careful to avoid unnecessarily complicated words. If it’s relevant, unavoidable, or helpful to the user to know the term, make sure to define it.
• Consider a clickable table of contents
Like subheadings, this can help the user get what they’re looking for without having to wade through everything else, leaving them more likely to be satisfied.
• Include a clear call to action with a relevant internal link
This is so important because it gives the user a clear directive on where else they can go once they have finished reading the page! Consider offering specific and relevant links in your call to action depending on what the page was about.
Long-form content and informative guides tend to score the best for SEO purposes, but it’s worth going the extra mile to ensure that your content is actually engaging and helpful, rather than just a slew of keywords strung together.
4. Target the Right Audience
Sometimes a bounce rate might be high because it’s not the correct audience that’s clicking on your content—they might realize once they hit your page that this is not what they were looking for.
So, what can you do about this? Check-in on the keywords you’re using and how you might be marketing your page. You may need to adjust which audiences you’re targeting or the message that you’re delivering to make a better fit.
The goal is not to have everyone in the world clicking on your website—it’s to have the right people clicking on it.
5. Optimize Your Site
If your website is not visually appealing and well organized, this may become clear in your bounce rate. Double-check your site menus and layout to make sure that it’s intuitive and easy to navigate. There are tools that can assess your site’s readability quickly and for no cost.
You’ll also want to ensure that your site is mobile-friendly. Often when a business creates their website, they recreate a separate version just for mobile, which might leave out certain aspects of the desktop site or not be updated as frequently.
Your mobile site is as important if not more important than desktop—the number of users searching primarily from mobile devices is increasing year after year.
Growing your internal links where it makes sense is always a good strategy. It allows users to stay on your domain rather than clicking off. This is always good for your SEO, too.
Another issue that can cause an increased bounce rate is broken links. Using tools like Dr. Link Check can do this for you pretty quickly.
It can also be helpful to make all external links open in a new window. By default, they usually open in the same window which can cause a user to leave your site even where they don’t intend to.
If they’re using your site for reference, they may end up doing a lot of back-button clicking, which can be irritating and can also jack up your bounce rate. If your site is on WordPress, there is a WordPress plugin that will do this automatically for you.
6. Timing Is Everything
Page loading speed is a Google ranking factor, albeit a small one. But it has a big impact on bounce rate and user satisfaction.
If your site is running on the slow side, the following are some things that could be slowing it down:
• Large, uncompressed images
• Your website hosting
• Plugins, apps, and widgets
• Themes and other large files
• Redirects/broken URLs
According to research, 40% of users will exit a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. You can check your site’s speed using tools like Lighthouse or Cloudfare if you’re on WordPress. PageSpeed Insights will rate your site’s speed and even give you tips on how you can improve it.
One quick and easy way to increase your page speed is to compress your images with services like Optimizilla.
7. Write Accurate Meta Descriptions
30% of websites don't even use meta descriptions. Why? Because Google regularly ends up rewriting them when they don’t match a user search, but this is often because there isn’t one written to begin with, or because it doesn’t accurately describe the webpage.
If you write accurate meta descriptions, you’re more likely to increase your click-through rates (CTRs), which is going to have a positive impact on your bounce rate.
Here are some quick and easy tips for writing meta descriptions:
• Keep them between 150-160 characters for web pages or between 138-148 characters for blog posts or pages with publication dates.
• Put the most important information about the post or page in the first 100 characters, such as keywords.
• Summarize the web page or post in simple, accessible terms without keyword stuffing.
• Be specific. Avoid gimmicky sales talk and really focus on what a potential user might be searching for that your page would be a match for.
If you haven’t already been writing meta descriptions, start now, and we also suggest going back to previous pages and creating them. This can increase your CTR for older pages and content.
8. Don’t Fix It If It’s Not Broken
Remember, a high bounce rate is not necessarily something to fret about. In fact, most blogs have a bounce rate of over 80%. For blogs, in particular, a high bounce rate may mean that users are coming to your page, finding exactly what they’re looking for, and “bouncing” away happy and satisfied.
There are good bounces and bad bounces, so it’s important to think critically about your bounce rate and consider whether those percentages fit what you would expect for your content, or whether they might indicate an underlying issue.
Do you need assistance optimizing your web pages? Get in contact with us today. SeoTuners can offer an affordable solution for your business to increase exposure and SERP rankings with organic SEO strategies like keywords. We’re confident we have a solution for all your marketing needs.
A comprehensive digital marketing strategy might include the following elements: web design, social media tactics, custom link building, paid and organic search, local maps optimization, online review monitoring, and SEO penalty recovery. However, focus on each element will likely vary depending on the business.
Some digital marketing strategies might lean heavier into paid Facebook ads and pay-per-click (PPC) ads or focus on garnering more organic social media followers. Still, other digital marketing strategies might lean into fine-tuning a business website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
The proportions of any strategy will depend entirely on the industry and niche. So, which industries benefit the most from SEO? In this article, we’re going to break down the businesses that would see the biggest boost in revenue by zeroing in their focus on increasing organic search through SEO.
Three Industries That Can Expect the Highest ROIs on SEO Investments
1. Industries That Struggle with Old School Marketing Mediums
Prime-time TV ads, magazine and newspaper ads, or even paid placements can be pricey and ineffective. These forms of old-school marketing mediums are probably best suited for corporations with deep pockets and financial influence – not local-centric businesses with budgets.
Print and screen advertisements are often subjected to the values of the medium owners and their viewership’s sentiment in addition to oversight from federal regulatory agencies like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its associated organizations. While all advertisement is regulated by the FTC and, in certain areas, local and state law, focusing on SEO gives businesses more autonomy in crafting their brand message at an affordable price.
By digging into SEO tactics, companies are also able to circumvent Google’s paid ad restrictions. For example, Google prohibits the promotion of speculative and/or experimental treatments. Medical practices offering potentially life-saving treatments, such as stem cell therapy, cellular or gene therapy, or platelet-rich plasma infusions, cannot promote these services through paid placements. Instead, these practices could reach those in need using finely-tuned SEO tactics to attract organic search with the right keywords.
2. Specialized eCommerce Businesses
No storefront? No problem. Niche online retailers can gain a competitive edge over catch-all online behemoths, such as eBay and Amazon, by using simple yet effective SEO tricks. This is where specialty online stores would really benefit from optimizing SEO elements, such as link building and keyword-rich, long-form content. Keyword research especially is a fundamental part of any traditional national SEO campaign, as including the right search terms allows businesses to generate leads and draw in consumers with intent to buy at the moment of search.
Here’s a case study proving the remarkable ROI potential of smart SEO strategy for eCommerce businesses:
In 2019, Skregear, an online retailer specializing in all-terrain hunting gear, approached us at SeoTuners with the desire to improve their keyword rankings and organic search traffic to substantially boost online revenues. It took us just four months to double their monthly traffic to nearly 5,000 visitors.
Skregear revenues jumped by 680 percent, equating to about an extra $40,000 per month. The cost to our client? $2,000 per month. Compare that to the average cost of a 30-second commercial on a national network at $115,000, and we think you’d agree that SEO offers more bang for your buck.
3. Local Storefront Businesses
Local brick-and-mortar shops have a huge advantage over global, impersonal businesses: the “map pack”.
The “map pack” is that bundle of location-based results for “near me” queries at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). Map-bound results are prioritized for local searches, providing mom-and-pop shops and storefront businesses the opportunity to outshine global competitors.
Here are several types of local businesses who could benefit from optimizing their local SEO, including their online local business listings:
• Boutiques and specialty shops. Niche shops like thrift stores, indie bookstores, and mom-and-pop general stores can reap high returns through SEO. Many people want the tactile experience a physical store offers that an online retailer simply can’t, especially when shopping for clothing and other apparel. Other consumers, such as “shop local” advocates, want to support their community by purchasing from local makers.
• Local service companies. Plumbers, electricians, interior designers, mechanics, house cleaners, computer repair technicians, landscapers, and lawn care providers – the list could go on and on. Locals turn to their devices in their hour of need to find the highest-rated, reliable providers in their area. It won’t matter that you’re the best if you’re not optimizing for local SEO.
• Bars and restaurants. Restaurants and bars are missing a huge opportunity to drive business through their doors when they aren’t optimizing their online local listing. Google, for example, will pull information directly from your Google My Business listing. If you’re listing isn’t up to date with the most accurate information, including your physical address and phone number with local area code, your restaurant isn’t going to show up for this query, period.
• Hotels. Tourists want to find a hub they can temporarily call home. Updating your local listing and optimizing your landing page and content for relevant keywords will help your hotel, bed, and breakfast, seaside inn, or youth hostel attract all the weary travelers.
4. Software as a Service (SaaS) Companies
Many SaaS companies depend on paid advertising, such as PPC ads, as their primary source of traffic. Instead, they really ought to be investing in a content-driven strategy that promotes organic traffic to their site. Creating valuable, shareable, keyword-rich content can help earn SaaS companies crucial backlinks and higher organic SERP rankings that will greatly reduce the cost-per-acquisition.
A content-focused SEO strategy will involve some heavy lifting to determine your audience persona and how they experience their search journey. Knowing these, you can cater your content to specific consumer intent, ensuring you’re there at every point of the discovery process.
Industries That Don’t Have High ROI on SEO Investments
Should all industries invest heavily in SEO? Not so much. There are two categories of businesses that should probably focus on other areas of their digital marketing strategies:
• Companies with low-profit margins. Businesses such as grocery stores, airlines, low-end retailers, and car dealers aren’t likely to reap the same benefits as high-margin ones. SEO often requires a long-term, ongoing investment to see significant upticks in search traffic, making the cost outstrip the benefits for many low-margin companies.
• Companies in highly competitive, saturated industries. National companies with bottomless marketing budgets can afford to throw money at whatever they choose. Local businesses in crowded marketplaces, on the other hand, probably lack the resources to yell over the noise. A great example of such a business is insurance. Unless you offer a highly specialized form of insurance, such as body part insurance for models, your company isn’t likely to see high returns from SEO.
Should You Seek the Services of an SEO Specialist?
These are just some rough categories to consider when feeling out your online digital marketing needs. One thing we do know for certain is that you want to avoid companies that offer a one-size-fits-all package; instead, opt for companies that offer SEO tactics in the right proportions for your business.
If you’re looking to supercharge your internet marketing strategies, call our Los Angeles and Ventura office for a free consultation at (877) 736-1112 or reach out online.
We help small to medium-sized businesses increase their online exposure through a range of affordable services, including user-friendly web design and organic search optimization.
We’re not just a bunch of self-proclaimed SEO experts. We have a proven track record – see for yourselves.