Obscure Factors That Can Increase Bounce Rates & Harm Your SEO
Building a reliable, consistent SEO presence in one or more search niches takes months (or even years) of work. Between optimizing content and pages for indexing and pleasing specific audiences with both style and substance, seizing the top spots in SERPs isn’t an easy task. Even if you do succeed, there are always others seeking to compete and dethrone you in order to obtain more visibility for themselves.
For established websites and brands in search, there is arguably no bigger nuanced metric that can derail these gains than bounce rates. If people visiting your website suddenly begin exiting in large numbers, that can quickly spell trouble for any SEO effort.
We’ll look at some of the more obscure factors that may be hurting your SEO efforts due to increased bounce rates so that you can fix these problems.
Inventory That’s Out of Stock
Given that the biggest contribution to higher bounce rates is the fact that visitors aren’t finding what they need, it shouldn’t be surprising that e-commerce platforms have issues when inventory is limited or out of stock. Shoppers who are pinging search engines in search of products expect results to show relevant products that are also available. When your store is currently out of stock, this can naturally increase bounce rates which harm long-term SEO outcomes. As such, maintaining consistent inventory levels (and removing pages that are no longer offered products) is recommended.
Clickbait Titles and Headings
Even if the content you’re offering in search results is relevant in some way, overhyping the content or otherwise misleading audiences will cause an increase in bounce rates over the long term. Fundamentally, most bloggers and brands understand that blatant lies in terms of content offered not only no longer work with search engines, but can negatively impact performance. The same can arguably be said about sensationalized headlines and titles for content: do not intentionally mislead or misrepresent the content provided, as users will quickly catch on and abandon your pages in droves.
Slow Website Speed
The internet has naturally made everybody a bit less patient. People now expect quick delivery of products, instant access to information and totally relevant search results. As a result of this, slow-loading websites and pages can fundamentally impact your bounce rates and other related factors. Even if the page manages to load in a reasonable amount of time, other elements – such as embedded videos and images – can affect bounce rates if they load more slowly than expectations demand. This is especially problematic on mobile devices, through which most search traffic now originates.
Popups and Interstitial Ads
Last but not least, while you may be pinging search engines with valuable content, if that content is laced with pop-ups or other intrusive elements, then visitors are more likely to abandon the page before any meaningful interaction has occurred.
Interstitial, popups and other comparable interfaces hamper the ability to navigate, read or interact with pages (this is especially true for mobile users). As such, navigating the balance between promotion and SEO is a vital element of any strategy. If integration of such elements precedes an increase in bounce rates, then it may be time to rethink said strategy.
These less obvious causes of increased bounce rates can be just as harmful as other, more discussed examples. By knowing how these examples can impact performance, you can create a strategy that minimizes the chances of them interrupting your search visibility, user engagement and broader performance.