Did you know your website may be acting more like a boomerang and less like a strong magnet, attracting customers to your business? Imagine someone coming to your site and seeing a wonderful post you’ve written on your top 10 favorite resources for your industry. Each item contains a link to the site. Or, maybe you have all your social media icons running across the top of the page with huge arrows pointing to them. People are sure to notice and check you out on Facebook or Twitter, right?
While it’s marginally helpful to your SEO to reference popular sites on your website, it can be harmful to your bounce rate if not done properly. Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that enter and leave your website on the same page. It’s like a boomerang. They enter your site, stick around for a few seconds, then turn right around and go to another site you are inadvertently sending them to. The good news is you have control over improving your bounce rate and I’ll show you how.
Linking is good, Making people leave your site is not good.
In the example of listing resources in a blog post, the most common reason your bounce rate would be high is that you are linking to other websites or references without opening a new window when someone clicks a link. People’s minds are running a million miles a minute when they’re surfing the web and it’s so easy to click to a new site, get lost in the new content and forget all about the original site that brought you there. We’ve all done it.
Opening a link in a new window leaves your site up in the browser and if someone has forgotten to finish reading your article, they’ll happen upon it again, when closing down all the windows left open. It’s one more opportunity for them to see your site.
If you use WordPress, setting this up is easy. When you go to insert a link on your page or post, simply check the box that says, “Open link in new window.”
Voila! No more boomerang page. Another way is to include the following property in your <a> tag: target=”_blank” for those of you who edit code. A general rule of thumb is to do this for links that are external to your site. There are some exceptions to this, and definitely don’t open links in a new window for pages that are still on your site – totally annoying! Just ask yourself, if people go to this link and leave my site, will they become distracted and forget to come back? Just use some common sense and think about what would make for the best experience for the visitor.
So go update some of the links on your site and watch your bounce rates drop!