I’ve been doing quite a bit of research into the Google Panda update in order to determine how to maximize the “trust/value/relevant” signals that are common to the best ranked websites and minimize the “untrusted/low value/not relevant” bad signals that can cause the panda to take a bite out of your site rankings.
Do this and Panda will reward you as well. For example, do a search for “Flaxseed Oil Benefits” and you will land on a #1 ranked site running ClickBump 5 that does just that.
There is an abundance of evidence, both from website owners and from published research papers from current and former Google engineers, that indicate a strong correlation between bounce rates and user satisfaction (and by extension, lower bounce rates – higher site rankings).
In a paper titled “Predicting Bounce Rates in Sponsored Search Advertisements“, four Google engineers provide some concrete evidence that bounce rate can be utilized as a reliable metric and indicator of quality and user satisfaction:
Kaushik claims bounce rate is important for advertisers to monitor because a user who bounces from a site is unlikely to perform a conversion action such as a purchase. He suggests that high bounce rates may indicate that users are dissatisﬁed with page content or layout, or that the page is not well aligned to their original query
What is “Search Bounce Rate”?
When we are discussing bounce rate in the context of search, we are specifically referring to the activity of a user who clicks on a link from search and immediately returns back to the search page to perform the same search or click on another search result. In contrast, the bounce rate of a given page within a website has totally different meaning. A page in which all users visit only once, and they all click an outbound link (ie, an Ad or affiliate link) and never return again, would have a 100% bounce rate, however, it would be a very effective (and lucrative) page and still may rank very highly in Google because the “Search bounce rate” may be close to zero.
There is mounting evidence that Google pays close attention to “search bounce rate” as a key indicator of landing page quality.
So, how can we increase user satisfaction and decrease search bounce rates?
I want to share six essential elements that you should strongly consider implementing on your website immediately. These elements help to convey trust, increase user satisfaction and decrease bounce rates. Most importantly, they are in accordance with Google’s recommended guidelines for quality.
- A logo, owner photo or header graphic – Websites that are trusted and established have logos and/or header graphics relevant to their target audience. Websites that do not have logos or compelling header graphics are instantly seen as possible spam sites.
- An illustration, diagram or video within the content (as close to the top as possible) that helps explain the concept, product benefits, or information you are presenting. Diagrams are preferred to photos since they tend to be custom fitted to the content, rather than simply lifted from stock or web galleries. Make sure to include “Alt” text that describes what the graphic represents.
- An author byline– A byline is one of the easiest and most effective ways of conveying trust to the user. It gives the user a perspective with which to ingest the content from a human perspective. For example, as opposed to merely “reading a web page”, the context is shifted to “Reading Julie’s evaluation of this product”. This feature has been added as a default option in that latest update of ClickBump framework, version 5.2 r6.
- Over-deliver on content value. This begins with understanding the minimum metric for valuable content: content length. My previous absolute minimumrecommendation for a single article has been no less than 350 words. I’m raising that to 750 words and suggesting a target of 1000-1500 words for maximizing content value.
- Use named anchors to create an index of your page – to create a searchable index within your page, create jump links to identify each section of your page – Named anchors within your page are divisions which have jump links. Google now indexes these named anchors as independent links under the same search results. You can see an example here for trans fat as well as for the search prostate cancer.
What does a high quality site look like?
Here’s a couple of sites which use the ClickBump framework to provide informative, engaging, credible and trustworthy content. These are the types of sites that we are talking about: