Google Keyword Planner Alternatives – Free Keyword Research Tools

Google Keyword Planner Alternatives – Free Keyword Research Tools

In case you missed it – Google is shutting down free access to Keyword Planner.

Which I’ll admit is kind of crappy, but there are plenty of alternative keyword tools out there.

So if you’re looking for free alternatives to keyword planner, I’ve pulled together a list of other keyword tools that fit into 3 categories.

Free with Account  |  Free without Account  |  Paid Tools

In addition, I’ll share an exciting development I discovered; a workaround to still use Keyword Planner like you used to.

Keyword Planner Workaround

This workaround will allow you to still use Keyword Planner without having to run an AdWords campaign (yes, you read that correctly – there’s a workaround that let’s you still use Keyword planner without inputting any billing information).

This was shared with me by one of my master keyword research customers, Andrew McWhaw.

But – since SEO’s can’t have nice things, and I would like for this to continue to work – I’m not going to share it publicly.

UPDATE: Reports are that the workaround has already been shutdown by Google.

Onto the other alternative tools you can use.

Free Keyword Tools (with account)

The following keyword tools are free to use, and deliver some real value – though some advanced features may require a paid account.

SERPWoo Keyword Finder

One of my favorite keyword tools out there, Jason and CCarter understand search and data analysis and put a lot of time into building a truly powerful keyword suite with some robust scoring.

serpwoo-kw-finder

Keyword Discovery

Not only will you need to create a free account to get any of the keyword data with this tool, but to unlock the real power here you’ll have to also verify your account either by phone or SMS (both automated) – but it’s still free. From there it may take 1 business day for them to manually verify your account – but again, it’s not that bad for free data.

Once in you’re limited to 10 results per query and 50 queries per month.

kw-discovery

SEOBook Keyword Tool

One of my favorite features of this tool is that it only grabs very closely related permutations of the query you enter and it shows you daily volume as well as Google Trends data graphs.

seobook-kw-tool

Free Keyword Tools (no account)

The following list of tools you can use right away without the need to create an account.

Semantic.io Keyword Tool

A free keyword idea generator that includes functionality for positive and negative filtering as well as an option to download essentially unlimited results. I also published a guide on how I’m going to rank for keyword tool.

WonderSearch

Wonderful (pun intended) tool that scrapes Google for people also ask and people asl search for results, and then pulls back the average monthly search volume, average cost per click, and ad competitiveness, all of which can be selected as you desire and quickly (almost instantly) downloaded into a CSV.

Keywords Everywhere

This tool is SLICK!

It’s as free Chrome Extension that adds keyword search volume and CPC data right on the screen for other tools including Google Search Results pages, Google Analytics, UberSuggest, Soovle, Answer the Public, Keyword Shitter, Majestic anchors and MOZ’s Open Site Explorer.

Update: Now also available for FireFox.

keywordseverywhere

Keyword.io

Easily one of my favorite features of this tool is the list builder. This is functionality that TermExplorer’s latest version also has (but is paid only) and I find really useful for building targeted term and topic lists quickly.

Just an FYI – you’ll get a modal window asking you to create an account (still free) but you can close it by clicking the “no thank you” gray linked text at the bottom.

keyword-io

SERPS Keyword Tool

Another decent tool that you can dive right into, like keyword.io it also lets you build a list of saved keywords and export to CSV – my only gripe is the dataset is very limited – likely due to either 1) an smaller index overall or 2) a limited index for free users.
SERPS-kw-tool

Paid Keyword Tools

The following keyword tools provide results in some limited form without payment, but provide pretty much no useful data for free. With that said, I’ve paid for each of these tools at some point in the past and did find them each to offer their own unique value.

KeywordTool.io

What initially caught my attention about this tool was the individual scraped indexes from both YouTube, Amazon, and the AppStore – and while other tools now boast similar data, this is still my go to source for AppStore keyword research.

In addition, it has a built-in “questions” feature that’s wonderful for digging into TOFU topic content.

kw-tool-io

Wordtracker

Wordtracker definitely has some cool features, my favorite of which is probably KEI. The only issue I have with the tool is the data seems to be sort of stale.. maybe it’s daily data they’re reporting on which is why all the volume estimates always seem low; but it’s not clear.. which is my only gripe.

wordtracker

WordStream

So WordStream seems to scrape a crapton of data resources which is cool, and I like that they include their own tracked keyword search volume against Google’s stated volume.

wordstream

The post Google Keyword Planner Alternatives – Free Keyword Research Tools appeared first on From The Future.

096: How To Deliver Effective SEO Consulting w/Marie Haynes

096: How To Deliver Effective SEO Consulting w/Marie Haynes

headshot of marie haynes google expert

If you’re an SEO Consultant (or work with one) maybe you struggle with things like:

  • charging project vs hourly
  • how much to charge
  • dealing with difficult clients
  • how to acquire clients and sell SEO
  • problems with “snake oil” SEO selling
  • how to stand out in the SEO industry
  • time management
  • how to grow from a solo consultant into scaling an agency

Marie and I chatted about these struggles and much more on today’s show.

Listen Now!

BuzzSumo – One of my favorite tools for coming up with content ideas, finding people who share content in an industry, and tons more (like alerts to keep an eye on your competitor’s links). Also, check out their new Question Analyzer Tool (formally Bloomberry – just launched within BuzzSumo!) Listen to the show for a special code to get 30% off BuzzSumo for 3 months.

Related Episodes You Might Like

Show Agenda and Timestamps

  • Show Introduction [0:19]
  • Marie’s introduction [1:23]
    • How Marie got into SEO [1:30]
    • Does Marie believe it is important that people associate her with Penguin and Panda? [5:23]
    • How to do SEO services well [6:44]
    • Is Marie trying to move beyond the perception of being the Penguin and Panda expert? [10:40]
  • Twitter Question: Client Aquisition and combatting the promise of #1 Google ranking spam emails  [12:00]
    • Marie’s guest posting secret [15:55]
    • Dan’s optimizing LinkedIn profile advice [16:59]
  • Twitter Question: How do you talk about successes (or failures/learnings!) without breaching client confidentiality? [18:43]
  • BuzzSumo Sponsor Break with Discount Code [21:34]
  • How does Marie respond to people that say SEO is too expensive [22:27]
  • How does Marie feel about giving away things for free to land a client [29:20]
  • Twitter Question: Pros and Cons of consulting on an hourly basis versus retainers versus packages? [34:55]
    • How does Marie think about pricing the projects and packages? [36:47]
    • Does Marie increase prices for longterm clients? [38:40]
  • Twitter Question: Ideal ways to establish billing processes? [39:53]
  • Twitter Question: Any useful advice when you have completed your keyword research, the process of mapping tons of keywords into the content of a page for SEO 2018 best practice? [43:08]
  • Twitter Question: When you’re diving into a successful SEO project that’s already thriving, where is the BEST place to begin so that you add value and “do no harm”? [46:20]
  • Twitter Question: How to explain the amount of time spent on work and how different projects vary. [48:10]
  • Has there been an instance where Marie was unable to help a client recover from a penalty and how does she deal with charging for that work? [50:10]
  • Twitter Question: How much reporting is enough (or too much)? [52:50]
  • Twitter Question: Keeping your cool with some of the worst clients (and people) you’ll ever meet. [54:20]
  • When did Marie make her first hire and why did she decide to start hiring? [58:12]
  • Twitter Question: What to look for in staff hires and what does Marie’s interview process look like? [59:47]
  • Are their certain attributes Marie looks for in a potential new hire? [1:01:25]
  • Twitter Question: How to Scale Your Agency & Train New People [1:03:23]
  • How does Marie deliver work to clients? [1:05:12]
  • How much time do Marie and her team spending doing phone calls and meetings with clients? [1:07:54]
  • Twitter Question: What’s the best advice you can give to someone starting out? [1:08:52]
  • Where to find Marie online [1:10:53]

Tools Mentioned

Articles, Resources, and Links Mentioned

Find Marie Online

The post 096: How To Deliver Effective SEO Consulting w/Marie Haynes appeared first on Evolving SEO.

3 Types of Content That Earned Prime Publishing Their Best Links in 2017 (and 2018)

3 Types of Content That Earned Prime Publishing Their Best Links in 2017 (and 2018)

My team admittedly has a distinct advantage when it comes to link building and making connections. Our company has worked with bloggers in our niches (cooking and crafting) for years, making it easy for us to reach out often for a shout out or small promotion from our trusted blogger network. Surprisingly enough, however, this does not always lead to quality links.

In the past year, we have decided to dedicate a team to audience development. This team focuses on creating longform content, building reader relationships, and (of course) link building. Over the past year, our 35 websites have earned 707 links total from bloggers. 405 of those links were to our top websites. These are the links I examined for this article.

Links We Earned This Year

From January 1, 2017 until April 26, 2018, our editorial team has earned over 700 links to our websites and content that our bloggers told us about. My company manages 35 websites, meaning each site received around 10 to 20 links. For the purposes of this blog post I examined the incoming links to the 6 top sites. I looked at the first 300 of these links to see what our network was linking to and found the following:

  • Branded links, or links directly to the homepage, made up a bulk of these links at 29.14%
  • This was closely followed by project and recipe roundups or lists (23.71%). Working with a strong blogger base means this time-honored linking tradition is still going strong for us.
  • The other big chunk of these links were to the blogger’s own content on our site or their profiles (18.36%).

While a wide variety of content earned us links this year, we discovered three strategies that consistently brought in high-quality, long-standing links.

1. Appreciation and Best Of Posts – Earning Links from Your Network

Nearly 9% of all of the links we earned in 2017 and 2018 thus were to a handful of “best blogger” pages to our sites. These lists are not simply round ups of bloggers we like in the industry, but instead are round ups of bloggers we work with on a regular basis. These collections prominently feature our favorite video channels, collaborators, and more. Instead of reaching out for the first time, these pages leveraged our existing relationships. They promoted our friends and told their stories.

Examples

https://www.allfreesewing.com/Basics-and-Tutorials/Top-25-Sewing-Blogs

https://www.allfreecrochet.com/Miscellaneous-Crochet/Top-25-Crochet-Blogs

Why it Worked

This content worked because it utilized pre-existing relationships with our contributors instead of just wishing for a link-for-a-link relationship with a stranger or new connection. We work closely with our blogger network and these posts were initially designed as a thank you and a shot out. Since this content was about them instead of simply mentioning them flippantly, people were excited to announce that they made they list. Creating content about your users, contributors, and connections shows you appreciate them and that genuine content and connection encourages linking. You’re telling their story. Not just baiting them with a PR mention.

How it Could Work for Other Brands

While we run a pretty specific type of website with a heavy amount of user-generated content, this process and general concept could easily be applied to plenty of other brands. Consider creating content about your users and customers. SaaS companies, for example, could utilize case studies to highlight the work their favorite customers are doing. Blog posts like 5 Ways Our Customers Are Transforming Their Industry with XYZ gives them a genuine, interesting brand mention that will likely lead to links and shares. Retailers could easily create content around particular branches and stores, earning local links and media mentions. What do you really love about your customers? What story do they have to tell? These stories are engaging, interesting, and linkable!

 

2. Hyper Specific How To and Q&A Articles- High Quality Linking Practices

While this type of content did not earn us a high volume of links (about 3%), it did earn us the highest quality of link. Rather than linking to our homepage or a simple brand mention, our reference and how to content outperformed all other links when it came to the link itself. These pages are consistently linked to with their title or exact keyword matching for our intended keyword cluster. If you’re hoping to boost your authority in your niche or a particular topic, this is the way to go.

Our top content for this particular content type was NOT a general or all encompassing topic like how to cook steak or how to crochet. Instead, the content that did the best here was for hyper specific skills and techniques or specific questions that are not often answered in those other general, higher level content. It helped solve one particular problem.

Examples
https://www.allfreeknitting.com/Knitting-Tutorials/Condo-Knitting
https://www.recipelion.com/Cookies-and-Bars/No-Bake-Cookies-Too-Dry-Gooey
https://www.recipelion.com/Casserole-Recipes/Thaw-Frozen-Hash-Browns  

Why it Worked
This content works on several levels. First and foremost, it is addressing an obscure question that by and large has yet to be covered on its own. While many articles on no bake cookies, for example, may mention issues with consistency and texture, a thorough explanation of them is a unique and engaging piece of content. These always do well on social. It answers a question that might have have been answered already.

Secondly, this content is much easier to link to than the dreaded listicle. This article provides a unique value that makes it very linkable. When reaching out, we are able to mention that we have a thorough explanation for a technique or recipe that might be worth mentioning.

We have also had success with the gentle nudge that the blogger failed to mention something in their recipe and providing the research for them. “I noticed you didn’t mention whether or not to thaw the frozen potatoes for your casserole. Is this something you would recommend? We actually just wrote an article about this since some of our readers were asking.” This allows you to create content that is adding to their own and participate in a conversation.

This type of content also does an awesome job of earning links naturally over time.

How it Could Work for Other Brands

What is often called pillar or reference content is not a brand new concept for any content marketer. We have all worked on creating this higher level, long-form content at one point or another. What is important to note about this strategy is the specificity. It solves a short-term and very specific problem a user might have, something that might be mentioned in these longer form pieces of content (and linked to)! Finding these topics can be tricky, but there are resources out there. Try perusing the “people also ask” sections of the search engine result page or the tool AnswerthePublic.com.

The trick here is to find a great topic that aligns with your goals. Our readers for our knitting site, for example, are generally retired women with limited income. Condo knitting is a vintage style of knitting that was popular in the 70s, so it offered a nice #throwbackthursday vibe. Our readers don’t tend to love higher end materials, so writing an article about how to care for expensive alpaca or cashmere yarn would not have done as well for our intended audience.

SaaS companies could do this by writing a shorter, snackable article about a specific solution their platform offers (like Buzzstream locating email addresses). Retailers can easily create articles on how to care for their product. Remember to find a specific topic. We’re not looking for “how to care for a mattress” and instead looking for something like “how soon after buying a new mattress should you flip it” or “can sleeping on a short mattress cause back problems”. As an added bonus these low stake, content snacks tend to do fairly well organically when you find the right topic. This article about thawing frozen hash browns we created last week is already receiving about 10 or more organic clicks a day and it took the team about an hour to put together. Staffing wise, it will likely pay for itself pretty quickly in leads and ad dollars.

 

3. Collaborative Content and Promotions – Working with your linkers!

Two of our biggest projects every year are National Craft Month and National Sewing Month. These month-long promotions and content calendars provide 30 days of new content to our readers as well as a myriad of giveaways, freebies, and more. Our entire editorial team gets on board to create the content, finding bloggers to help with projects, and promote the content. These large scale projects are link-earning machines. This year alone National Sewing Month earned us about 25 links while National Craft Month (on our biggest site) far exceeded that by earning around 3-5 links per project, earning us just under 90 links in total! These promotions consist of brand new high quality content created by our editorial staff as well as collaborators. With such a big group working together, the link building is natural and expected.

Examples

https://www.allfreesewing.com/Miscellaneous-Projects/National-Sewing-Month-2017

https://www.favecrafts.com/Most-Popular-Crafts/National-Craft-Month-2018

Why it Worked

Rather than focusing solely on bringing links inward, these month-long promotions focus on creating content with creators we love. They share projects on our sites in full as well as promote them on their blogs. Readers have the option to win a ton of prizes. We send out social media blasts, tag everyone, and create a community around one promotion. Rather than just linking to us, collaborators on these projects feel as if they are part of something. They submit project ideas and applications to be apart of the promotion, giving it just a little exclusivity. It is something they are proud to be apart of and want to share. This means promoting their projects on our domain is also promoting their very own brand.

How it Could Work for Other Brands

While brands might not have as strong as a collaborator or blogger network to pull from, the overall idea of creating a community and an event instead of single pieces of content is easily transferable. Depending on your goals and resources, it would be just as easy for companies to create week-long promotions showcasing new content from talented collaborators and freelancers. Digital promotions like this one give collaborators a feeling of community. If they are part of something, they’re likely to promote and link to their own content as well as those within their network. SaaS companies could easily create a week of webinars and retailers or brands could easily borrow from influencer campaigns to create a week of DIY ideas or recipes using their products.

Creating week-long or month-long content calendars also has the added bonus of inspiring internal promotion. If your company does something new and exciting, your staff is more likely to share the engaging content on their personal channels and blogs. Organic social promotion is just as useful for brand promotions as link building even if it is a little more ephemeral.

 

Build Relationships and Links Will Follow

My team creates a wide variety of content with several goals in mind. We’ve created a lot of longform and reference articles for our site to add value for our readers and promote our Youtube content and videos. We’ve created shorter listicles for users who are just looking to browse. We’ve even created content focused solely on building links that involved a lot of ego-baiting within listicles. Many bloggers are willing to link back and share the love, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this is because of our existing relationships and not the content itself.

After a year of link building and hundreds of reach outs, our main takeaway is that curating excellent content and working closely with the collaborators we love is the best way to earn links. Working with other content creators to create content either through shared promotions or offering them something extra (like a niche reference article) is going to earn you more links than a 1,000 cold emails ever will.

The post 3 Types of Content That Earned Prime Publishing Their Best Links in 2017 (and 2018) appeared first on BuzzStream.

How to Implement Hreflang

How to Implement Hreflang

If your website is targeting multiple languages or locations, hreflang tags are an integral part to your technical SEO success.

Google’s John Mueller recently Tweeted about the complexity of hreflang tags, even for advanced SEO professionals.

We’ve helped dozens of clients work through this complicated process – in this article, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about properly implementing hreflang tags on your site:

Let’s get into it.

What is an hreflang Attribute?

An HTML ( rel="alternate" hreflang="x") markup that denotes the language or region your webpage is targeting. The attribute makes sure Google knows which page to rank, in which language and in which location (i.e. in Google US, UK, etc).

The hreflang tag is important because it can help your website get more exposure for international search queries. 

It’s important to note, hreflang will NOT:

  1. If your website is only in 1 language, the tags will not improve performance.
  2. Transpose rankings across SERPs. For example, ranking for “Nike shoes” in Google US will not translate into equal rankings in Google Mexico.
  3. Fix errors with duplicate content. The hreflang tag does not function like a canonical tag.

 

When to use hreflang Attributes

Hreflang attributes should be used for content that’s specific to a local audience. The tags help Google understand the relationship is between your pages in alternate languages and regions.

For example:

  • If your pages are in the same language, but different markets (i.e. pages are in English, but targeting US, UK, Australia, Canada, etc)

hreflang-multi-language-site

  • If you have the same pages translated into different languages (i.e. you translate a page(s) into Spanish, French and German)

hreflang-multi-region

  • If you translate sections of your website into a different language (i.e. if you have a forum with UGC and multiple languages spoken)

hreflang-forums

 

How to use hreflang tags

The hreflang tag gets added to the head of each relevant page. A simple example could be:

 link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com/" hreflang="en" link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com/en-gb/" hreflang="en-gb" 

The attribute tells Google that http://example.com has an “alternate” (i.e. duplicate) page. That page can be found at http://example.com/en-gb/ and it’s written in British English.

There’s 2 elements of the tag:

  1. Language codes
  2. Location

Without these, Google understand won’t understand what you’re trying to communicate. These are standardized codes in ISO format. You can find them here:

Misused Language and Country codes are a common error that can hurt your rankings. Triple check your codes before implementation.

Hreflang use cases

There are several instances where you will want to consider using the hreflang directive.

1. Multi language websites

hreflang-multi-region

The simplest use case is when you translate your website into multiple languages. In an ideal situation, you’d set your site up on subfolders for each language:

  • example.com
  • example.com/es/
  • example.com/de/

Each translated page passes under that subfolder:

  • example.com/services/
  • example.com/es/servicios/
  • example.com/de/uber-mich/

Neil Patel translates his blog posts into 5 different languages to maximize traffic to his site.

 href="https://neilpatel.com/" hreflang="en" href="https://neilpatel.com/br/" hreflang="pt-br" href="https://neilpatel.com/de/" hreflang="de" href="https://neilpatel.com/es/" hreflang="es" href="https://neilpatel.com/it/" hreflang="it" 

2. Regional targeting

hreflang-multi-language-site

When you want to distinguish the difference between two locations, that speak the same language.

CNN uses a subdomain to target UK readers but the same domain to target US and Canadian audiences.

 href="https://edition.cnn.com" hreflang="en-gb" href="https://www.cnn.com" hreflang="en-us" href="https://www.cnn.com" hreflang="en-ca" 

3. Cross domain tags

hreflang-multi-region

Before hreflang tags, the common practice to capture international searchers was to use multiple Top Level Domains (TLDs). If you have multiple top level domains, you’ll still want to link them with hreflang tags.

ASOS uses a combination of TLDs, subdomains and subfolders to manage their international presence.

  • asos.de targets Germany
  • asos.com targets the UK
  • asos.com/ru/ targets Russia
  • us.asos.com targets the US
 hreflang="es-ES" href="http://www.asos.com/es/" hreflang="de-DE" href="http://www.asos.de/" hreflang="en-AU" href="http://www.asos.com/au/" hreflang="fr-FR" href="http://www.asos.fr/" hreflang="ru-RU" href="http://www.asos.com/ru/" hreflang="en-GB" href="http://www.asos.com/" hreflang="en-US" href="http://us.asos.com/" 

This is complicated setup – most likely left over from legacy, stagnated regional launches.

Generally speaking, best practice is subfolder structure across a single domain. This preserves SEO equity and reduces effort required to manage multiple domains.

How to Implement hreflang

Google recommends 3 methods…

1. HTML link element in the header.

This is generally the most followed route. You’ll need to write the hreflang attributes and then have a developer insert them into the <head> on all the pages needed.

For example, if you have an English (webris.org) and Spanish (webris.org/es) site:

 rel="alternate" href="https://webris.org" hreflang="en-us" rel="alternate" href="https://webris.org/es/" hreflang="es-co" 

Aleyda Solis has a great tool to help you generate the code.

2. HTTP header.

If you publish non-HTML files (like PDFs), you can use an HTTP header to indicate a different language version of a URL.

3. Sitemap

You can submit via sitemap. Using the same English (webris.org) and Spanish (webris.org/es) site, the sitemap would look as follows:

<url>
<loc>https://webris.org</loc>
<xhtml:link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-us” href=”https://webris.org” />
<xhtml:link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”es-co” href=”https://webris.org/es/” />
</url>
<url>
<loc>https://webris.org/es/</loc>
<xhtml:link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-us” href=”https://webris.org” />
<xhtml:link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”es-co” href=”https://webris.org/es/” />
</url>

If you’re using WordPress, there’s some plugins that can help manage the load:

Plugins can bloat load times and are better suuited for smaller sites.

Troubleshooting hreflang implementation

There’s a lot of SEO tools like SEMrush that can flag issues you might be having.

But for deeper technical audits, you’ll want a more hands on approach.

You can start by mimicking Google search results from other locations. This can be done by altering the URL string.

breaking-down-google-searches

Google has a full list of CCTLDs language and reference sheet – you can review the Google docs version go here.

Closing

There’s a handful of small items that can create a big headache. If you’re experiencing issues, check the following:

  1. Errors with codes – Tag used in the wrong order or incorrect selections. Triple check your tags before implementation or check legacy tags for validity.
  2. Errors with Sitemaps – If implemented via sitemap, make sure to follow Google’s guidance. It’s easy to miss ASCII codes which can break sitemaps.
  3. No alternative page – no HREFLANG required. Don’t use HREFLang without a link to an alternative page – this can cause GSC to return errors that could cause a lot of wasted time troubleshooting.
  4. Don’t use HREFLang on pages you have set to NOINDEX.  This can result in a number of errors.

If you’re in need of help with your website’s international SEO, let’s talk!

The post How to Implement Hreflang appeared first on From The Future.

How Lowering Your Bounce Rate Can Help You Increase Your Rankings

How Lowering Your Bounce Rate Can Help You Increase Your Rankings

One of the most overlooked ranking factors in Google is your bounce rate.

That’s because bounce rate doesnt have a direct impact on SEO.

BUT!

It does have a huge impact on lots of metrics that DO have a direct impact on your rankings.

In fact you are losing out on traffic every single day that you are ignoring your bounce rate.

I will explain more about that later, but first let me tell you…

What You Will Learn

  • Why bounce rate is important for SEO
  • What bounce rate really is (it’s not exit rate)
  • How to increase traffic by lowering your bounce rate
  • 8 ways lower your bounce rate right now

What Is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your website and leave without viewing any other pages on your website.

For example, if one of your pages has a bounce rate of 75%, it means that 75% of the people who come to that page leave after only viewing the page on which they entered.

It doesn’t matter if they spend 20 seconds or 20 minutes; if they leave without visiting any other page on your site, it’s considered a bounced visit.

If your site only has a limited amount of pages and few internal links, your bounce rate will naturally be high.

Think about it.

Where can people go?

On the other hand, if your page has more than a dozen pages, and particularly if they have good content, good design, and good internal linking—you will have a lower bounce rate.

To find your bounce rate, go to your Google Analytics account and on the left sidebar, click on Audience > Overview:

bounce rate google analytics

There — you will see your average bounce rate.

bounce rate

Note: This blogs bounce rate is 75.87%

This bounce rate isn’t representative of your real bounce rate because it includes the behavior of the new users and the returning ones.

That’s why you need to segment it by audience to get a true look at things.

In the left sidebar, click on Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

google analytics site content

Then, in the top bar, click on the “+Add Segment” button.

segment google analytics

In the list of available segments, scroll down until you find the “New Users” segment and click on the “Apply” button.

new users segment

The “New User” segment will only show you the bounce rate of the people who have never visited your site before.

In the All Pages report that you accessed before, you will be able to see how the bounce rate of your new visitors compares to the returning ones.

bounce rate google analytics

Bounce Rate Isn’t The Same As Exit Rate

Some people confuse bounce rate with exit rate. They may seem similar, but the truth is that they are different metrics.

Exit rate is the percentage of visits who actively click away to a different site from a specific page, whereas bounce rate is the percentage of visits that were the only one of the session.

In other words, the exit rate represents the visitors who exited on a specific page, after possibly having visited other pages on your site.

Bounce rate, on the other hand, records when a user exits directly from the page they entered.

Therefore, all bounces are exits, but not all exits are bounces.

How Bounce Rate Affects Your Rankings

Bounce rate has never been considered an important metric SEO-wise.

Sure it was nice to improve the user experience and there are many reasons to do that, but it had no impact on the way a site ranked in the search engines.

But all of that has changed.

One way bounce rate can negatively impact your rankings is when a user visits your site, clicks back to the search results, and clicks on a competitor’s result.

That’s called pogo sticking and is essentially a Bounce.

When that happens, the user is saying your site isn’t as good as your competitor’s one – and Google is tracking that!

A high bounce rate means you also likely have a high pogo sticking rate and that is casting negative votes against your rankings every day.

Not only that but a high bounce rate is often a symptom of weakness in other SEO factors-

  1. Low engagement
  2. Slow speed
  3. Bad mobile optimization
  4. Bad keyword matching
  5. Bad design
  6. Bad internal linking
  7. Bad content

If you improve each of these aspects of your site, you will make your website more relevant and therefore, better suited to rank while taking care of the pogo sticking issue at the same time.

So let me show you just how easy it is to lower your bounce rate right now-

How To Lower Your Bounce Rate (And Increase Your Rankings)

If your site has many different pages, like blog posts, landing pages and an about us page — you can expect a wide range of bounce rates.

That’s why you need to take a look at the bounce rate of each individual page to see which one has the highest bounce rate right now.

You should focus on fixing the pages with the highest bounce rate and most traffic before anything else.

Here’s how you do it.

Step #1 – Finding The Pages With The Highest Bounce Rate

First off, go to Google Analytics, and click on Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

high bounce rate

Here you will see the pages on your website that have received the most pageviews and their bounce rates.

Sort the bounce rate by clicking on that column to see pages with the highest to lowest bounce rate at the top-

bounce rate report

One problem with this report is that you will get pages with little to no traffic.

You want to ignore those pages with next to no traffic and focus on the ones that have at least a certain amount of traffic.

To filter those low-traffic pages, click on “Advanced.”

advanced button

In the menu, click on the “Page” dimension, and scroll down to the “Site Usage” section.

Then click on the “Pageviews” filter.

Make sure the filter says “Greater than” and then define the minimum amount of pageviews you want to filter this report with.

filter google analytics

Click on “Apply” and you will get a list of all the pages with the highest bounce rate AND more than 100 pageviews-

filter report google analytics

This report helps you see what pages you need to focus your efforts on.

Step #2 – Find The Parts That People Don’t Like Or Understand

You may think your website is simple to understand, but your readers may disagree.

Instead of guessing what people do on your site, you can use heatmaps to find the specific user behaviors that show you the parts people look at, scroll to, and click-through.

With the information from heatmaps, you can determine the best layout & content placement for your site.

For example, the following heatmap shows how the visitors of this site behave-

heatmap analytics

With this heatmap, we can see the visitors scrolled in the article’s title, in the badges at the top, and in the menu bar, particularly the “Post Categories” section.

Some others seem to click on the bottom right, probably to click on the scroll bar.

With the information from this heatmap analysis, I could optimize my site by testing-

  • A larger top menu bar
  • Adding/removing calls to action on the menu bar
  • Adding a link to the award images (or placing a call to action near them)
  • Remove the about me box in the sidebar and replace it with a call to action (takes lots of space, gets zero attention)

You can use a heatmap to find things like:

  • The sections that people most look and most ignore, so you can make things more/less prominent
  • The buttons people see but ignore
  • Which page elements attract peoples attention

You should use the data from the heatmaps to carry out A/B tests and improve your pages.

A tool I recommend is Inspectlet, which not only gives you access to heatmaps, but also to session recordings, and form analytics, among other things.

Here is a handy coupon for you.

Step #3 – Make Your Pages Match Your Desired Keyword Or Message

The best way of lowering your bounce rate is by improving the engagement on your pages.

One reason why your pages have low engagement may be due to the fact your visitors don’t get what they want—or expect to get—based on the information shown in the Google results.

For example, if you’re running an ad on Google Adwords that leads to a page with high bounce rate (and low conversion rate as well), it may be that the ad promises something that the visitors don’t get.

The same applies to someone who reaches your site through an organic search result, email or social media.

It’s important that your content matches the intent of the keyword.

In the example below, you can see the results for the keyword “how do you start a blog post”

start a blog

But none of the ads have anything to do with my search.

They are all about starting a blog, not writing a blog post.

I clicked on the third result, and here’s the landing page they offer:

weebly blog post

Weebly is one of the largest website builders, yet in this case, their ad is completely irrelevant to what I was looking for, which is blog post writing tips.

How do you think this affects their bounce rate?

Make sure your title tags and meta descriptions paint an honest picture of what your pages are about. As the saying goes, underpromise and overdeliver.

Step #4 – Improve Internal Linking

I have already shown you how implementing the right internal linking strategy will improve rankings.

But besides the direct SEO benefits, internal linking allows people to visit more pages on your site, thus lowering your bounce rate.

The goal of your internal links should be to invite people to look further on your site.

Your internal links can be contextual (i.e., those that show up in a sentence), or separated from your content, like the ones shown at the bottom of this article.

For example, here’s one contextual link taken from the internal linking article:

internal linking

And here’s an example of three non-contextual internal links:

non contextual internal links

If you have a blog or a niche site, you can add “Related articles” at the end of your content like I do on the blog using this plugin.

When linking contextually, think about other pages that people could be interested in.

If you have an e-commerce store, think about adding a “Related products” at the end of your product pages. Actually if you have an ecommerce store you should implement my 7 day ecommerce SEO strategy.

Look at how Asos uses three different types of related product recommendations-

  1. One for shopping the whole look (which adds more relevance to the recommendations)
  2. One that’s based on your preferences
  3. One based on recently viewed products

asos internal links

If your design includes a sidebar, like the case of The Next Web, then include links that everyone should read.

the next web sidebar links

For example, if you have one article you know that has high engagement or a high conversion rate, make sure to add it.

I do this with the Super Post plugin on the blog but you’ll notice my blog posts don’t have a sidebar – just my home page, archive pages and static pages do.

Step #5 – Optimize Your Site For Mobile

As I showed you in my recent post about Googles new SEO starter guide, mobile organic traffic has accounted for 50.3% of all web traffic generated worldwide.

If someone visits your site from a phone and it’s not mobile optimized, they will have a horrible experience which will lead to a bounce or negative pogo stick signal.

Most WordPress themes (including my Authority theme) are responsive and mobile-friendly.

But I highly suggest you browse your site on both a smartphone and a tablet to see how it looks.

A recent study by ConversionXL showed that when Bullymax optimized their site for mobile, they got a purchase conversion rate uplift of 24.5%-
conversion study

What’s more, They also saw an increase in their search engine traffic after making their site mobile-friendly-

bullymax

So pull out your phone or tablet and check your mobile experience right now.

You will be surprised at what gets through the cracks!

Step #6 – Make Your Content Easy To Read

One of the biggest contributors to a high bounce rate is badly written content.

But what is badly written content?

It’s not really got anything to do with grammar or spelling mistakes but it’s more about how that content engages people.

Does the content match the intent of the keyword? And if it does – does the content engage people enough for them to click through to other parts of your site?

For that to happen you need to make sure your content is easy to read and draws people in.

If you have read my content for some time, you know that all my paragraphs are short, easy to read, and clearly written.

matthew woodward content

You can do that by doing things like-

  • Adding sub headings
  • Adding images
  • Making text bold/italic/underlined
  • Adding bullet pointed lists (like this one)
  • Breaking your content down into smaller pieces

And contrary to popular SEO advice:

Once I finish writing an article, during the editing process I try to reduce the word count as much as possible while adding value at the same time.

You can find an analysis of your writing by checking the results Yoast SEO gives you at bottom of your posts.

yoast article content check

You don’t need to achieve the perfect score here (I never do) but you wants to try and get a green light on the majority of points.

While the plugin says there are two problems in my article, what matters isn’t to get a perfect score, but to get the majority of the points in green.

You could also take advantage of some of these SEO copywriting techniques to help keep people hooked!

Just take a look at how Steve Kamb of NerdFitness writes the intro in this article:

nerdfitness content

It’s emotional, it’s appealing, and it creates suspense on how to achieve the same results as the subject of the article.

There are more techniques you can use in your intros, including the Agree-Promise-Preview (APP) Model and The Bridge Model.

Whatever technique you use, having a catchy intro is a great way of sucking people into your site.

Step #7 – Make Your Site Faster

If your site is slow, people will bounce. Fact.

Not only that but it’s costing you more money than you realise.

Decreasing my site’s load speed time by 3.156 seconds allowed me to earn $30,587 in just 6 hours.

To increase your page speed, run your website through GTMetrix.

gt metrix speed analysis

GTMetrix will give you a breakdown of your page, its loading time, and the problems it encountered loading it.

gtmetrix analysis

The best part is that if you click on each problem, you will get a specific analysis of the files it had problems loading.

gt metrix results

If you need help improving your site speed, first you should also use a plugin like W3 Total Cache, which allows you to optimise your site’s page speed in a few minutes without spending a penny.

You can turbo charge that even further by using a Content Delivery Network like MaxCDN.

And if you are really serious about increasing your site speed (you should be) then use a good host like WPXhosting or Kinsta (who host this blog), which will have a huge impact on your site speed.

Step #8 – Add Clear Call To Actions

You can have a beautifully-designed page, but if it doesn’t have a clear call-to-action (CTA) you will be doing damage to your bounce rate.

Every page on your site should have a specific goal in mind, for example-

  • A homepage that leads to a sign up trial, a lead magnet download, or a piece of content
  • A blog post that provides a lead magnet or content upgrade
  • An about us page that leads to a page where you show case studies from other clients

I visited the homepage of my favorite backlink checker on the planet, Ahrefs

effective cta

Not only is the title and description fantastic but the CTA is above-the-fold, it contrasts with the rest of the page and offers a clear benefit at a low price.

Obviously people are going to click through at a high rate because its both highly relevant and the most obvious thing to do on the page.

cta

Make sure all your pages and posts have at least one CTA, even if you find it hard to find one that’s relevant – adding something is better than nothing.

It’s easy to imagine that a product page has a “Add to bag” button, like the case of Asos.

asos cta

Your “About us” page should lead to a contact form for your services, a popular and profitable piece of content or a category page with your most widely shopped products.

Your blog posts should lead to your content upgrades or lead magnets backed up with an email marketing strategy

All of these things will not only lower your bounce rate, but increase your conversions and profits as well.

Wrapping It Up

So now you know how to lower your bounce rate, what are you waiting for?

Because you are literally losing traffic and profits every single day that you are not optimising your bounce rate.

Here are 4 quick ways you can get started today:

  1. Use Google Analytics to find which pages have the highest bounce rate that alsorecieve a large % of your sites traffic – focus on these pages first.
  2. Install Inspectlet to begin analyzing how your visitors interact with those pages. Based on the heatmap analysis, improve your site to make it easier to use.
  3. Run your site on GTMetrix and check for any problems that slow down your site. Install W3 Total Cache and use MaxCDN. You might want to change to a faster host like WPXhosting or Kinsta (who host this blog).
  4. Run your site through the Google Mobile-Friendly Test and fix any problems the tool finds. If you see your site isn’t responsive at all, it’s easier to change to a Worpdress theme that is.

Once you have taken care of those foundation problems you can focus on adding call to actions, making your content easier to read and improving internal linking.

But until then don’t forget:

Every day you are ignoring your bounce rate, you are losing traffic.

Which change has had the biggest impact on bounce rate for you?

How Lowering Your Bounce Rate Can Help You Increase Your Rankings was originally published on Matthew Woodward