Five Tips for Website Visitor Retention

welcome-please-come-inWe all work hard enough in search marketing to get visitors to our sites and to our clients sites.  To make these site visits beneficial, we want visitors to peruse our content, understand the offerings and calls to action, and to then convert. Sounds pretty easy, right? Well, I don’t usually write about the things that people are doing correctly.

Information Architecture

One of the most often overlooked elements of a website is the information architecture, or how your content is structurally laid out. This is square one and if you are not on track then a redesign might be in the works. Think if your site’s information like a content roadmap. This will help you to properly form the navigation and sub-navigation of a site. It will help you to understand how and when to present content and how to funnel it into a transaction. In other words, don’t put the cart before the horse, structure your content so visitors will understand what they need to do.

Navigational Link Text

Have ever been on a site and been completely enthralled by the navigational text “Products”? Me neither. From the main navigation down to the sub-navigation to the footer navigation you must not be vague in the naming of your links. If you want to compel site visitors to traverse your site, you have to tell them where to go. When possible, pair a relevant keyword with the current bland navigational link text. You will likely help the page and the linked page from an SEO standpoint and will likely see a jump in Time On Site in your analytics the next time you assess your visitors behavior.

Internal Linking

This tip takes from the fore mentioned link text naming conventions above but within a different site element. An important practice for SEO as well as for usability is the practice of linking to other internal site pages from text within page body copy. If you want to captivate a reader into visiting another related site page remember to link to targeted-keywords in the text relevant to the current keyword theme of the respective page. Your visitors are smarter than cattle, they don’t need the overly used “click here” link text that I see all too often. A few suggestions for helping your visitors find what they are looking for while also helping your SEO and visitor retention are, “We also recommend reading our ‘targeted keyword’ information” or “Not what you’re looking for? Try our page on ‘targeted keyword’”. This is a great way to offer one last chance to retain a visitor that may have before bounced from your site due to confusion or discontent of information.

Headings and Copy

You can write completely for the search engines and have killer rankings and no sales, or write solely for the people and have an envious conversion rate with minimal visibility. The perfect copywriting artist knows how to add enough keyword usage in the heading, subheadings and copy, specifically at beginning of the first paragraph to help on-page SEO. They also know that you have to provide quality information on how your offering can solve their need and what your product or service is about. With this said, when possible make sure that a heading is not solely a targeted keyword. In other words, add nouns to the heading such as “’targeted keyword’ source”, “’targeted keyword’ solution” or “The home of ‘targeted keyword’”. Ensure that you do the same in sub-headings. Use targeted keyword variations to mix things up. The last thing you want to convey is robotic text, if your visitor notices your keyword focus and not your message, then there is a problem.

My Biggest Pet Peeve

I run across this almost daily and when I do it makes me want to scream, webmasters who place links within content to external sites…that open in the same window! I am absolutely baffled that many people out there openly give their site visitors an invitation to leave their site. While it is a plus for credibility between the site and a visitor when you link to relevant information that is usually an even more trusted source, but please, make sure the link opens in a new window.

Some of these tips are no-brainers while others may take a little more time. Regardless, I urge you to get moving and I am willing to bet you will soon see a bounce rate decrease, time on site increase, and a boost in conversions!

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  • Great list! I am really guilty of the last point – and what's funny is that I hate it too! I just went back over my blog at jasonereid.blogspot.com and fixed the links in some of my posts.

    Btw, I'm sure it's on purpose, but the links at the bottom of your post aren't "_blank"… 😀