Combat the Bounce

The Dreaded Bounce  — What Is It?

Visitors who bounce like this are bad for your rankings.

We’ve all done it. Clicked on a link to a web page somewhere and realized it’s not what we were really looking for. So we click the Back button in our browser and move on. That’s a bounce: we bounced right back to where we came from.

Is a Bounce Bad?

Clearly, a bounce isn’t exactly good; that visitor didn’t buy anything. But is it really bad? Or just … meh?

Actually, it’s pretty bad. It’s not just a “so what?” matter.

When someone bounces, especially when they landed on your site from a search page, that tells the search engine that (at least to that visitor) your page wasn’t a good match for what they were searching for. And if your page isn’t a good match for whatever keyword phrase was searched, the search engine probably won’t want to rank your page as highly next time.

This can hurt you no matter how well your on-page keyword optimization has been done, and no matter how many relevant pages on other sites are linking to your page. Bouncing is a negative ranking factor.

How Do You Prevent Bounces?

This is where you need the skills of a copywriter. You need to make your page uniquely informative  — or fun  — or surprising  — or outrageous  — or provocative. And unique. SEO techniques can’t help you with this. Nothing done with search engines in mind can help you with this. You need to craft each web page with your visitors in mind. What do they need? What are they looking for? What will they like?

And you need to ask them to do something. “Click for more.” “Sign up for our newsletter.” “Tell us what you think.” “What are your questions about this?” “Buy now.” These are calls to action, and their efficacy is undisputed. Why do you suppose when you order a fast food burger they always ask you “Want fries with that?” It’s because they sell lots more fries that way. It can work for you, too.

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Do You Need an SEO?

Maybe. Probably.

Google has an excellent post that answers this question and more. Here’s how they start:

SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization” or “search engine optimizer.” Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time, but you can also risk damage to your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site.

So how do you tell an “irresponsible SEO”?

We’ve addressed some of this before with posts that can all be found here. The recent article by Google overlaps a bit with that, and here are the main points Google stresses:

  • Avoid Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.
  • No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
  • Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do.
  • You should never have to link to an SEO.
  • Choose wisely (our posts can help).
  • Be sure to understand where the money goes (organic or PPC?).
  • What are the most common abuses a website owner is likely to encounter?

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What are your thoughts? Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.

We encourage you, after reading what Google has to say, to put us to the test.


Do AdWords customers get special treatment?

If you buy Google Ads, can you get special treatment?

Google has long said that buying AdWords ads doesn’t help your rankings in the search results. But someone recently asked why his AdWords rep couldn’t help answer some questions about his organic rankings.

Google’s Matt Cutts answers the question.

Need help with your organic rankings? If Google can’t help, Rank Magic can!


Don’t Optimize for Google

Huh???

Sure, Google gets twice as many searches as Yahoo and Bing combined, but you shouldn’t optimize for Google. You shouldn’t optimize for Yahoo and Bing either.

It’s the User. It’s always the User.

A poor UX will get you nowhere with Google.Identifying the right keywords and doing on-page keyword optimization is arguably the easy part. The hard part is developing a compelling UX (User Experience). In a competitive niche, that’s what separates the high flyers on Google from the also-rans.

Let’s think about that for a second. It’s always been Google’s goal to present the best sources of information for any given search. That’s why you won’t find multiple listings on the first page of results that all have the same content. They’re out there  — just look at websites developed by vertical market website vendors; they often have pages with lots of information, but pages that are the same on many other websites. Google never wants to show you more than one of those: the rest are all redundant.

But it’s more than just having unique content on your site (although that is an irreducible essential). Your site needs to be easy to use, easy for users to find what they want, full of information not easily found elsewhere … it needs a good UX. That’s always been a #1 priority for Google and in their statement of philosophy headlined “Ten things we know to be true”, three of them relate directly to UX:

  • Focus on the user and all else will follow.
  • Fast is better than slow.
  • You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.

I’ve written about all of those things in this blog before, but it wouldn’t hurt you to review some of them.

Focusing on the user is Google’s #1 value. We’ve gathered all the stuff we’ve posted on that subject in our User Experience category.

The speed issue is always a concern when we prepare optimization recommendations for our clients, and all of our posts on that subject are neatly combined into our Page Speed tag.

Recognition that people are increasingly accessing the web on their phones is inescapable. But many websites that look great on a desktop or laptop, or even on a tablet may be close to unusable on a phone. We’ve written about that, too.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.

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How does your UX stack up against your competitors? Need some help beating them out in the rankings? If so, Rank Magic can help

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Are Your Facebook Posts Getting Fewer Views?

It sure seems like Facebook posts are getting seen by fewer people.

Bad FacebookWe’ve had reports from clients that as soon as they paid to promote a post on Facebook, all the rest of their posts achieved fewer views than before. By a lot – a drop of more than 50% in the number of people who saw them.

The problem seems even more pervasive than that. Facebook has to filter what you see because there’s so much content there you can never keep up. But the way they’re filtering really restricts what you see.

Facebook Ads: A Bad Idea?

Derek Muller of Vertitasium has produced two effective videos explaining why it’s a bad idea to advertise on Facebook.

Here’s the first one

And here’s their followup.

What’s been your experience with Facebook paid promotion? Positive? Negative? Please let us know in the comments below.

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Product You – What You’re Worth to Facebook, Google & Twitter

Product You
Source: BizBrain.org


Search Engine Market Share

Search engine market share- Google then Bing and then YahooWe haven’t reported on the respective market share among the three top search engines for more than a year and a half, and we see most trends continuing. About three years ago Google had 64% of all US searches, Yahoo had 16% and Bing had 14%. That changed n 2012 when Google’s share improved to 66%, Bing improved  to 15% and Yahoo dropped to 13%, their lowest share of the market yet. That moved Bing into second place for the first time.

Google & Bing Up, Yahoo Down  — Again

Now Google’s share has improved to almost 67%, Bing is up to 18% and Yahoo is down to 11%, their lowest share of the market yet. Ask has about 2½ % of the search market and AOL continues to come in at about 1½%. So the big three still monopolize search and their share has increased over the past year and a half, from 94% to 96%. That’s why in our reporting, we don’t bother with rankings other than at Google, Yahoo & Bing.

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Are Social Media Links Devalued?

social mediaThis is a frequently asked question.

We’re often asked if links from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter count less than other kinds of links. We’ve found an interview conducted awhile back by Stephan Spencer of Netconcepts with Matt Cutts (widely known as “The Google Guy”) where that question was pointedly asked.

Here’s Google’s response

Typically, our policy is: a link is a link, is a link; wherever that link’s worth is, that is the worth that we give it. Some people ask about links from DMOZ, links from .edu or links from .gov, and they say: “Isn’t there some sort of boost? Isn’t a link better if it comes from a .edu?” The short answer is: no, it is not. It is just .edu links tend to have higher PageRank, because more people link to .edu’s or .gov’s.

To the best of my knowledge, I do not think we have anything that says social bookmark links are given less weight. Certainly, some sites like del.icio.us (now delicious.com) and other people, may choose to put individual “nofollows” in and they may choose to take actions to try to prevent spam, but we do not typically say anything like: social bookmarking by itself – give less weight.

So there you have it. If this emboldens you to become more active on social sites, go for it. And if you need help with that or other SEO issues, just give us a call.

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Don’t Think Twitter’s Not For Business

I know, I know.

Lots of people consider Twitter to be “the great time waster of the century”. (As is expressed in the cartoon below from the folks at Ranked Hard.) And it’s true; lots of people post “TMI”  — what they had for breakfast, how hung over they are, and so forth.

But there’s more to it than that, especially for your business.

A couple of years ago I wrote a piece about how people look for the same things on Twitter as they do on Google, except on Twitter they’re asking their friends. “Anyone know a good plumber?” “Anyone know an experienced business attorney” “Anyone know a social media consultant?” “Anyone know a web designer?” Check out that blog post for a great trick to find out who’s looking for what you do. If anything, it works even better now.

Using Twitter for business.

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Even More Unfortunate Domain Names

Does your domain name get you ridiculed?

We’ve written before about webmasters who chose domain names without fully thinking it through. Our first article on the subject was back in 2006. It was pretty amusing, but only a year later there was a new compendium of unfortunate domain name choices.

I thought the rather widespread exposure would result in those domains getting fixed. No such luck. Many of them are back in a new compendium from BoredPanda. Some of the new ones, though are equally striking:

  1. Effective IT Management from RegencyTechnologies
    itscrap.com
  2. A French arborist
    lesbocages.com
  3. Scrap metal recycling
    americanscrapmetal.com
  4. All about North Lake Tahoe
    gotahoenorth.com
  5. A Bait & Tackle Shop
    masterbaitonline.comPay attention to your domain name selection
  6. An emotional healing therapist
    therapistinabox.com
  7. Educational astronomy website
    analemma.org
  8. All about Winters, California
    wintersexpress.com
  9. High tech hardware from Dickson
    dicksonweb.com
  10. Directory of therapists
    therapist.com
  11. Top MP3 songs
    mp3shits.com
  12. A toy consignment service
    kidsexchange.net
  13. Travel website
    choosespain.com
  14. TV personal advice celebrity
    bendover.com
  15. A cafe in Serbia
    bitefartcafe.rs
  16. Language teachers
    teacherstalking.org
  17. A bedspread company
    ladrape.com
  18. Formal wear for kids
    childrenswear.co.uk

If you’re about to register a new domain …

I wrote a helpful article awhile back listing 5 rules to keep in mind. Perhaps it’s time to add a 6th rule: eliminate alternate unfortunate interpretations.

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