UX and Content Strategy Could Solve Your “Pogo-Stick” Problem
We have all experienced this scenario: You’re searching online for an answer to a very specific question. You click on the first search result and the webpage looks like it’s from the Stone Age, so you quickly click back to Google. The second result is an in-depth article with a headline not relevant to your question, so you quickly hit the back button. Finally, the third result displays your question in the headline followed by a helpful answer. For the next five minutes you click through to other pages to discover more helpful information. Success! This experience is called “pogo sticking,” and it’s negatively affecting your organic rankings if your website was one of those first two search results.
Optimal visibility within the organic search results has the ability to deliver lots of new users to a website. Unfortunately, the potential to convert these new users into customers could be lost if users find your page unhelpful or difficult to navigate. It’s best to remember that Google strives to provide the best experience and information for its users. If the quality of a page is low and users are quickly bouncing back, Google takes that experience into consideration as a ranking factor. The interesting aspect of this topic is that it’s not new. I found an article from 2008 on Search Engine Land discussing the correlation between rankings and high bounce rates.
It’s All About Perspective
The solution to high bounce rates could come from integrating user experience (UX) and content strategy thinking, providing a different, more user-focused perspective to help increase the engagement and value of your pages. Below, we’ve provided some initial questions to consider when reviewing content on your site:
- Is valuable information below the fold?
- Is the page layout busy or distracting?
- Does the user get served an annoying pop-up within several seconds?
- Does your design entice a user to go deeper?
- Is your navigation clear?
- Does the page load really slow (longer than three seconds)?
- Does this page fulfill the needs of your customers?
- Is this content your visitors actually want?
- Is the content useful, usable and actionable? Does it answer your customer’s questions?
- Is your content one massive block of content? Or is it easy to scan for relevant information and read?
- Is the answer your customers want wrapped in industry speak and jargon?
The initial goal of any website should be to deliver on a visitor’s needs, while still balancing your business goals and objectives. If your website visitor is confused, your website (and your business) will lose.
Your first step toward a solution is to compile a list of pages that currently have optimal visibility within Google’s organic search results. Since most people don’t click past the first page of results within organic search, you may want to initially focus on pages found within Google’s top 10 to maintain those rankings and traffic. Once you have your list of pages with optimal visibility in organic search, import the sessions, bounce rates and conversion rates in organic search from your analytics platform.
Pages with a lot of visitors that have high bounce rates and pages with a lot of visitors with low conversion rates should be your priorities. From there, your UX and content strategy teams have a list of pages to review and can deliver direction as to the changes needed to create stronger pages for your target audiences.
Important note: Not all high bounce rates are problematic, so make sure to evaluate the goal for each page. If a page provides a quick answer to a question or provides some type of user resolution, that page may have a justifiably high bounce rate.
High Stakes in Organic Rankings
Due to the nature of organic search, optimal visibility within the organic search results is not something that comes easily or is simply handed out, yet the reward is often significant and long-lasting. Organic search is still one of the best channels for delivering qualified potential customers to your website. The number of additional potential customers that can be gained when moving from the second or third page of Google to the first can translate to significant revenue growth. Conversely, a decline in search visibility can critically affect both traffic and revenue. We suggest bringing in a new set of eyes from UX and content strategy to address your pogo-stick problem.
Please let us know if Ethology can provide some assistance in resolving any of your digital marketing challenges. 855.Ethology
Contributing Ethologists; Kacie Willis, Content Editor, and Brandwyn Boyle, Marketing Director.