Marketers, get ready for May 2021—the launch date of Google’s new Page Experience update. Once again, Google has decided to turn SEO on its head, adding user experience to the list of priorities that their algorithm uses to rank sites.
What is this update, and why is reducing your website’s bounce rate the best way to stay competitive in this changing market? We break it down below.
What is the Page Experience Update?
Things are about to change dramatically for Google. According to the Webmaster blog, the Page Experience update will “measure aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.”
In other words, this update will prioritize the pages that consumers really love to use—so consumer experience has never been more essential. Google considers bounce rate (a metric that measures when a user lands on your site and immediately leaves) an important factor in how consumers view a website. As such, a lower bounce rate will be a significant factor in the new ranking system.
Why do People Bounce?
Before we can fix your website’s bounce rate, it’s time to look at the reasons that people bounce away from your website. Backlinko describes the most common reasons below:
- The page didn’t meet their expectations;
- The website design is ugly;
- User experience is poor (loads slowly, too many pop-ups, unclear navigation, etc.);
- The page gives users exactly what they’re looking for.
Not all bounces are bad bounces. Users might navigate away from a page quickly if it gives them exactly the information they need, or if they found your website while they were searching for something else. The goal here, however, is to reduce these bounces altogether, so Google doesn’t penalize your website for the wrong reasons.
7 Secrets to a Lower Bounce Rate
Reducing your website’s bounce rate comes down to taking a hard look at your website offerings and assessing where and how you can improve weaknesses. We’ve listed our best tips below:
1. Conduct a site audit.
For the experts at Crazy Egg, auditing your site is the first step. Take a look at your bounce rate data in Google Analytics. Most websites have a bounce rate between 26 percent and 70 percent. Anything over 70 percent is considered high.
2. Start with the page that has the highest bounce rate.
Start with the worst page on your website. The odds are that if your overall website is suffering, one page (or a few pages) might be the root of your problem. Dive into your data. High bounce rates and low conversion rates are definitely something to flag. After you’ve looked at user experience, Crazy Egg recommends evaluating design, navigation and content, which brings us to our next tip.
3. Assess your website’s content.
Being honest about your website’s content is critical when it comes to a lower bounce rate. Often, content that fails to answer a relevant question, doesn’t correspond to the call-to-action, or is simply unclear and irrelevant, is the culprit. Another common issue is formatting—large chunks of text can scare (or bore) consumers, even if the information they’re looking for is buried somewhere on the webpage.
4. Limit popup ads or subscription forms.
For Neil Patel, popups have a purpose—they grow your mailing list and increase your conversion rate. However, not all customers enjoy popups and it can lead to a higher bounce rate. For the best user experience, consider limiting your popup ads or subscriptions to new users and be sure to monitor their performance, as well as your bounce rate.
5. Speed up your website.
According to Search Engine Journal, “if your pages take longer than a few seconds to load, your visitors may get fed up and leave.” They recommend reviewing your site’s speed and taking the time to compress images and leverage browser caching.
6. Prioritize video content.
We’re consuming more video content than ever, and video remains one of the best ways to capture your audience’s attention. The most effective videos are used as a background or placed right next to the call to action.
7. Use high-quality images.
Bounce rate could come down to the images you use. For the experts at OptInMonster, “the reason so many websites use high-quality photographs as fullscreen backgrounds is that they have proven to be very effective. Companies like Google that were famous for their plain white background and minimalistic layouts are now using high-quality images on their landing pages.” Audit your current images and consider swapping them out for high-quality options.
Prepare Your Site for Google’s Page Experience Update
There’s no denying that this Google update will change SEO strategies for marketers (as all updates do). However, with a few small changes, you’ll be able to navigate the update and improve your website’s overall performance. On the bright side, at least Google is giving us plenty of advanced notice!
Contact us for a free site audit. We’ve helped countless clients lower their bounce rate and increase conversion rates—specifically after infamous Google updates!