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11 Reasons People Bounce from Your Blog and Never Return

You know what? You work damn hard to get people to your blog.

Pushing yourself to unearth the best ideas, pouring your soul into your writing, and promoting your posts like your next breath depends on it.

So it’s a real kick in the teeth when visitors arrive — then bounce right away again.

In fact, it stings like hell. Because let’s face it, getting rejected always feels worse than just being ignored.

But that’s what a bounce means to a blogger — rejection. It means someone showed up, checked you out, and didn’t like what they found.

Whether you know how many readers are bouncing or not, the signs are obvious. Low traffic, poor engagement, sluggish list growth. These are all the symptoms of a bouncy blog.

Naturally, no blog will be a perfect match for everyone who might wander up to the front porch. But if most people who land on your blog can’t wait to leave again, you have a serious problem, friend.

And while you can’t make your blog bounce-proof, you can at least make it bounce resistant.

But only if you know why people bounce.

So here they are, the reasons people bounce from your blog and never return.

1) Your Headline’s Writing Checks Your Post Can’t Cash

If you’re reading this blog, you should already understand the importance of headlines.

Your headlines entice people over from wherever they are to where you want them to be — your blog. And a weak headline will kill your post, no matter how magnificent the content might be.

You must never forget that a headline is a solemn promise from you to your reader. It says: “Lend me your attention and I’ll give you this result.”

But if a “Yeah!” headline leads them to a “meh” post, that’s a surefire formula for bouncing.

So start with a strong topic idea, not just an enticing headline.

Write something worth reading and then, craft the headline that’ll bring people running.

You’ll know you’re onto something when you worry your headline won’t live up to the standard of your post.

2) You’re Over Eager (and It’s Embarrassing)

Imagine meeting someone in a bar, and the first words out of their mouth are: “Hey — can I get your number?”

You’d probably want to run a mile.

Well, that’s what it feels like to land on a blog for the first time and get hit with a pop-up demanding your email address.

It’s just too…soon. The reader hasn’t decided what they think about you yet, so they don’t want to hand over their details. After all, you might be a douche.

And it’s annoying too. Like those websites that ask you to complete a “survey about your experience” when you’ve been on the site all of two seconds.

So whoah there, cowboy. Let’s slow things down a bit. Let people settle in before you tap them on the shoulder and ask for personal details.

Because when you ask too much too soon, all you do is make people want to bounce.

3) You’re Convinced Your Content is Worth Waiting For

You know this already:

Readers bounce from slow sites.

You know it because you’re a reader and you bounce from slow sites too.

Life in the information fast lane moves too quickly to hang around waiting. Particularly when the “Back” button is right there. (I mean, it’s literally right there.)

You know this, but have you acted upon it?

For instance, do you know how fast your blog loads compared to other sites? Have you tested it?

Because it might load just fine for you, but that doesn’t make it so for other people. After all, you already have those big images cached on your browser, but what about the person arriving for the first time? You may be in the same country as your host’s server, but what about the guy reading your blog in India or Australia?

So test your website’s speed. And if it sucks, get it fixed.

4) You Make People Exhausted Not Energized

Many bloggers think of themselves as teachers. And that’s fine because many readers read blogs to learn.

But the purpose of your blog post is not just to transfer information from your brain to the reader’s. That’s part of it, but it’s far from the full picture.

Just think about your favorite teachers from school. They weren’t the ones who knew the most. Or even the ones whose classes got the best grades. They were the ones who made the subject fun. At the end of the class,  you had more passion and enthusiasm for the subject than when you started.

And that’s how the best bloggers are too. They’re not just teachers, but performers.

Because if all you do is teach, your reader’s energy levels will fall — because learning takes mental effort.

That’s why you need to invigorate your readers too. Give them the energy they need to dive into your next post.

5) You’re Too Damn Wordy (Even for a Writer)

We writers love words. We’re fascinated by their myriad possibilities and we can toy with the same paragraph for an hour and still not get bored.

But for the average blog reader, words are simply a means to an end — getting the information they need.

So readers do not want to click your link and then see a seemingly unclimbable wall of plain text.

Texty is not sexy.

So if your posts are as visually appealing as iTunes’ mile-long Terms and Conditions page, your blog will be as bouncy as a kangaroo on a pogo stick.

Short sentences and paragraphs. Bulleted lists. Features and inline images. Quotes and callouts.

All of these can transform your post from hard-to-read to hard-to-resist.

And be sure you include some of this visual goodness “above the fold” (i.e., the part of the post that’s visible when you first land on the blog). Otherwise, people will never know what they’re missing if they bounce.

6) Your Links are Too Damn Interesting

First things first. Putting external links in your posts is a good idea. Links boost credibility. They build goodwill with other bloggers. And they’re good for SEO.

But they can be dangerous too.

Every external link is a side tunnel that diverts readers away from their destination — finishing your post. Each one is an invitation to leave your blog forever.

So use external links sparingly and ensure they:

  • Launch in a new window.
  • Don’t break the flow of your writing (i.e., no attention-grabbing calls-to-action).
  • Highlight supplemental, not essential information.

Readers might intend to return to your blog, but we all know the reality. Browsing the web is like diving from one rabbit hole to the next, and you rarely end up where you started.

7) You’re Thinking Too Big

I get it. Your content’s so good it deserves to be seen on a big screen.

You wouldn’t expect Interstellar to have the same impact on an iPhone as it does on an IMAX screen. Likewise, your blog deserves the full desktop experience.

But whether you like it or not, content’s going mobile. And readers don’t give a hoot how you’d like them to consume your work.

So if your content strategy is more mobile worst than mobile first, you might as well go the whole hog and start publishing your blog as a printed newsletter you mail out to your readers.

So get with the times Grandpa (or Grandma) and lean into mobile.

Your first task — test your blog to see if it’s mobile friendly. Better still, borrow every mobile device you can get your hands and find out what it’s actually like to spend time on your blog.

You might be (unpleasantly) surprised.

8) You’re Too Busy Trying to Make a Few Cents

“I didn’t like your blog because it didn’t have enough ads.”

Said nobody, ever.

We’re on record here as saying that most bloggers should steer well clear of ads, but if you’re hoping to keep people on your site, they’re a double threat.

For most readers, ads are an annoying distraction that cheapens your brand and increases the chances they’ll bounce. For the small percentage who are enticed by an offer, ads are an exit ramp taking them away from your content.

It’s a lose-lose situation for you as a blogger.

So ditch the ads. And stop giving people extra reasons to bounce from your blog.

9) You’re Exploring Well-Charted Territory

Humans are hopelessly addicted to novelty. Hence the modern addiction we have to our newsfeed.

Every time we click a link we hope to learn or see something new. Mostly we’re disappointed, but that hope remains.

That’s why the moment your blog content seems to say something we’ve heard before, expressed in the same way, we lose interest. And we bounce away in search of something else.

The antidote? Make sure you know what’s already been said on your chosen topic and navigate around those ideas. Or at least put a fresh spin on them.

Be bold. Brave. Even shocking.

But don’t ever be predictable.

10) You’re Scared of Commitment

Want to know one of the most common mistakes of beginning bloggers?

Lack of focus.

They struggle to commit to a single topic (worrying “What if I choose the wrong one?”), so they hedge their bets and write about several loosely connected topics.

But that approach sends a mixed message about who your blog is really for, and makes for a very bouncy blog.

Here’s my personal test for a truly focused blog:

If someone reads — and loves — a random post from your blog, is there an excellent chance they’ll love all of the other posts too?

Achieve that, and you’ll have visitors devouring post after post because each is as strongly relevant to them as the last. In other words, they don’t bounce, they stick.

Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t occasionally write a post that appeals to a slightly different audience. It’s a good way to attract new people to your blog.

But do it intentionally, not accidentally. I promise people will stick around for longer.

11) You Leave Your Readers Hanging

Sometimes people will like what they find on your blog, but they still bounce.

Often that just means they didn’t know what to do next. And in the absence of a better idea, clicked the “Back” button

That’s why smart bloggers always know what they want readers to do next — and they tell them.

So don’t leave a reader hanging. Instead, do one of the following:

  • Direct them to a related post.
  • Offer them a content upgrade.
  • Ask them to complete a quick survey.

And keep the trail markers coming. Make sure you always have something for them to do next.

So, for instance, when someone signs up for your content upgrade (and your email list) put a link in the welcome email directing them back to the blog for something else to read.

When they do decide to leave your blog, just make sure it’s not because you didn’t invite them to stay longer.

Let’s Banish Those Bouncy Blog Blues

It’s tough being a blogger.

You can’t just attract people to your blog — you have to keep them there.

Visitors who bounce never get the chance to turn into regular readers, loyal subscribers or valued customers.

Luckily for you, keeping people on your blog for longer isn’t hard. You just need to eliminate the most common reasons people leave.

Do that and you’ll see more traffic, more comments, and more subscribers. All without doing more of anything else.

It’s a no-brainer. And you’re a smart blogger.

So what are you waiting for?

About the Author: Glen Long is the managing editor of Smart Blogger (a.k.a. chief content monkey). When he’s not creating or editing content for this blog or an upcoming course he’s probably watching Nordic Noir. Why not say hello to him on Twitter?

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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5 SEO Mistakes Killing Your Content Performance and a Fix for Each

Common SEO Mistakes

Common SEO Mistakes

Even the most seasoned content marketers make mistakes. In the world of SEO-driven content, with constant algorithm tweaks and changing search patterns, it’s nearly unavoidable. However, those same mistakes can often lead to discoveries that enable even better content performance.

The key is being able to recognize those easy-to-fix SEO mistakes and address them. As a result, your content will become an optimized, integrated network of metaphorical highways, leading searchers to best-answer content in a strategic and purposeful way.

So, what are the most common SEO mistakes, and how can they be addressed? Below, I’ve singled out the ‘usual suspects’ along with guidance on how to fix them while setting yourself up for long-term SEO success.

SEO Mistake #1 - Choosing Target Keywords Based on Volume vs. Relevance

How Keywords Affect Content Marketers: Great content isn't great unless people see it. But when content marketers overemphasize high-volume keywords, they miss out on meaningful engagement.

It’s tempting to plug into your keyword research tool of choice and select keywords with the highest search volume as your focuses for new content. But if the content you’re creating doesn’t match the search intent for that high-volume keyword, it’s unlikely to perform to your expectations.

The Fix: Google it! All jokes aside, evaluating the first ten search results for your target keywords can help you understand what searchers are trying to find, and what supporting content you should provide to truly be the best answer for that query.

While you’re analyzing those top results, pay attention to key factors that will shape your content creation and promotion strategy:

  1. What type of information is NOT included in top content, but is topically related? This can help you inform how you differentiate your content.
  2. What’s the content demand for that keyword? For example, are mostly top of funnel blog posts ranking, or are you seeing mostly product or service pages?
  3. How many backlinks and referring domains are pointing to the top search results? This can help you understand how competitive the first page of results is, and whether or not ongoing link building should be part of your content promotion strategy.
  4. How long is the top-ranking content for that keyword? This will help you determine ideal content length for your own post.

SEO Mistake #2 - Targeting the Same Keyword with Multiple Pages or Posts

How Same-Topic Targeting Affects Content Marketers: Pressure to create comprehensive content on a topic can actually result in dilution within search.

The conventional wisdom that more is better doesn’t apply universally — especially when it comes to SEO-driven content. Creating multiple pieces of content that target the exact same keyword is a surefire way to stand in your own way of success. There’s enough competition out there for B2B marketers without having to compete with your own content.

For example, a B2B technology company that wants to rank for B2B software consulting should optimize their service page for that term based on what is currently being served in search results. But, if they also create a series of blogs or resources that are targeting that specific term, search engine bots will be confused about which page is the best answer for that query. This could result in none of the content appearing in the top 10 results, in favor of competing sites with a more clear ‘answer’ to that query.

The Fix: Determine which of your pages or posts is the best answer for that particular query by analyzing ranking and analytics data. Which post or page sees the greatest amount of engaged organic traffic for your target keyword, and most closely matches the associated search intent?

Once you’ve determined your target page, it’s time to evaluate the remaining content targeting that keyword. Look for opportunities to:

  1. Remove or prune low-value or outdated content. Is there a blog post full of stats from 2009 that’s hindering your priority page’s chances of ranking? It might be time to consider removing that post and implementing the proper redirects.
  2. Optimize existing content for related, but different, keyword targets. For example, if you have a priority post for Chocolate Chip Cookies, and another post that more closely relates to ‘Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies’, consider optimizing that post for the latter and implementing internal links back to your priority cookies post.
  3. Combine closely related content. For example, if you have several blog posts around your targeted keyword(s), consider combining those posts into a longer, more robust piece of content.

SEO Mistake #3 - Ignoring Internal Link Structure

How Internal Linking Affects Content Marketers: Links are like electricity on the web, lighting up content for people and search engines alike.

Content is discovered by links. Your site’s internal linking structure tells bots (and users) which pages are most important, and which pages are most relevant to specific keywords. If you link to several pages from the same anchor text, for example, there will be some confusion about which page is truly ‘about’ that topic. Other times, you could have pages or posts on your site that are orphaned, with no internal links directing users or bots their way. This can confuse your site users, search engine bots, and even your own team. Confusion is not a ranking factor!

The Fix: Make sure you develop and continue to update your site’s keyword map. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet that lists your page’s URL and associated target keyword(s). This keyword map will help you determine what anchor text should be used to link to your target pages.

Next, conduct a site audit to determine:

  1. If there are orphaned pages that need internal links
  2. If you are linking to multiple pages with the same keyword-rich anchor text
  3. Where there are opportunities to create additional supporting content
  4. Where you might have opportunities to reduce and prune existing supporting content

Next, you’re going to want to crawl your site to find any orphaned pages. Then, map those into your overall keyword strategy and implement internal links.

SEO Mistake #4 - Ignoring Data from Other Digital Tactics

How Marketing Data Affects Content Marketers: Inspiration often drives ideation for many content marketers, but data drives optimization for ideal content performance. Marketing performance data can provide both.

Any data you can collect about how your audience engages with your content has the potential to be an SEO gold mine. For example, analyzing the keywords from your paid search campaigns can give you insight into which keywords are your best converters, and what content best suits searchers for those terms. Social posts that get the greatest amount of engagement can tell you which topics your audience is most interested in. Ignoring data from your other marketing and sales channels means missing out on an opportunity to better engage your prospects.

The Fix: Meet with different teams or departments to find out what kind of content performs best on their channels. Look at the data each platform or channel provides and compare that with your site analytics data for a full picture. And, be sure to share your channel performance data with the rest of your marketing team. The more information available related to content and marketing performance, the better equipped you are to optimize.

SEO Mistake #5 - Giving Up

How Persistence Affects Content Marketers: Content performance in search is a long game and persistence is essential for success.

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes a lack of results can feel demoralizing, but giving up is simply not an option. You wouldn’t stop building your house just because the nearest lumber yard ran out of wood, right? You’d find another lumber yard and keep plugging along.

The Fix: Take a step back. Re-evaluate the search landscape, your competitor’s organic presence, and your site’s overall health. Being able to remove yourself from the frustration can help you find opportunities you may have missed and additional whitespace to tackle.

Next, seek out advice from other SEOs. Ask questions on social media, in specific groups or forums, or send a question to your favorite SEO blog. If budget permits, enlist the help of a consultant or SEO agency that can help you break through your roadblocks.

Finally, we have two big SEO bummers that are tougher to fix, but absolutely necessary to address.

Bonus SEO Mistake: Migrating Your Site with No SEO Plan

How Migrating Without a Plan Affects Content Marketers: A bad migration can effectively undo your hard work, reducing content visibility and creating more user friction.

If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of SEOs cringing around the globe. A botched site migration can wreak havoc on your organic positioning and torpedo your results. It can take months, even years to recuperate organic visibility to pre-migration levels.

The Fix: Always, always consult your in-house SEO team or SEO agency when you’re considering a website migration. Before you move forward, it’s imperative you have a plan for technical, on-page, and off-page factors.

If you’ve already migrated your site and have experienced a loss of organic traffic and rankings, start with a site audit. Check for the basics, like whether or not your site is being indexed, first. Then start to evaluate technical factors like broken links, crawl errors, and duplicate content.

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Recovering from a site migration is a challenge for even the best of SEOs, and sometimes those big challenges call for a little teamwork.

Bonus SEO Mistake: Not Optimizing for Mobile

How Not Optimizing for Mobile Affects Content Marketers: Even the greatest content can’t stand up to a bad mobile experience. Users will bounce, reducing engagement and sending negative signals to search engines.

Mobile accounts for about half of web traffic worldwide. Knowing this, in March 2018 Google started migrating sites to mobile-first indexing. Providing a seamless mobile experience is no longer optional, especially when you’re living in the wild world of search.

Sites that didn’t properly prepare for this can and will likely see some declines in organic search traffic and rankings as a result. And, as more sites follow mobile best practices, more users will notice and become frustrated by poor mobile experiences. This leads to declines in other pivotal ranking factors like on-page engagement. In short, if not properly addressed, a poor mobile experience can wreak havoc on your search visibility.

The Fix: The first thing to do is to conduct a mobile audit on your site. Understanding your site’s mobile performance is step one toward making improvements. Look for things like:

  1. Mobile site speed. A couple great tools for this are Google Page Speed Insights and Pingdom. These tools can tell you where to look for issues like slow-loading code, images that aren’t optimized, and other technical issues.
  2. Mobile experience. Visit your site on your phone. Ask someone who doesn’t use your site regularly to do the same. Record your experience, take notes on where you get stuck and why. Click on everything. Turn your phone into horizontal mode. Try to think of every single way a user could browse your site. And, don’t forget to try a site search on mobile.
  3. Look at mobile analytics. This will tell you key metrics like mobile bounce rate, mobile time on page and pages per session.

These steps will help you build a hypothesis to test against. Is your mobile bounce rate crazy high? Does your site take a long time to load? Is your time on page way out of line with desktop traffic? Then, use A/B testing to root out the discrepancy. Use these same metrics to test if the fix is working. Then, repeat with another element.

So, What Does This All Mean for You?

Ultimately, following SEO best practices as a content marketer can reduce performance-related headaches and set you up for long-term success.

For example, when Innovatech Labs decided it was time to make major changes to their website, they worked with our team at TopRank Marketing to implement a safe website transition strategy, minimizing their risk of reduced content visibility on Google. This assessment involved avoiding many of the big risks mentioned above, including linking, use of data and keyword research which allowed us to act quickly post-migration to combat organic traffic declines. The result? Double- and triple-digit increases in organic traffic (and increased conversions, too!).

A best-answer content strategy focused on creating content with the most relevance to their audience was the ticket to better marketing performance for a martech SaaS company. Working with the team at TopRank Marketing, long-tail and hyper-relevant keywords were researched for a comprehensive content strategy to help the brand content become the best answer for those queries. The “best answer” approach and topics were applied across organic and paid efforts. As a result, the volume of both paid and organic MQLs increased, leading to better content performance and spontaneous proclamations of love from the client’s sales team.

Fixing these big SEO mistakes aren’t only for short-term wins. Our longtime partner Antea Group USA has achieved amazing triple-digit growth over three years by avoiding these big mistakes and implementing an ongoing commitment to SEO-driven, best answer content.

As I mentioned earlier, even the most experienced content marketers can make these common SEO mistakes. But, with the right SEO strategy driven by diligent execution and monitoring of results, you can get back on track. The key is to be intentional about your site’s architecture, as well as the content you create, and to never, ever give up.

Still feeling stuck? Or maybe your team doesn’t have the resources to take on this battle alone? Check out our SEO services, tweet us your thoughts @toprank, or drop me a line in the comments. We are here to help!

The post 5 SEO Mistakes Killing Your Content Performance and a Fix for Each appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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