Five Ways to Improve Reader Engagement

We’ve mentioned before how many pieces to Google’s search engine optimization algorithm exists, right? Over 200.

And one of these is Reader Engagement (or negatively and much more commonly referred to by SEO specialists as Bounce Rate).

Bounce Rate refers to the amount of visitors you receive to your website who do not go any further. Meaning, they may first go to your homepage and then, no matter the time spent on your homepage, will go back without clicking your About page or Contact page.

Bounce Rate no longer refers to the average time spent on your website (but can be seen as your Average Time Spent on Page).


Reader Engagement = Average Time Spent on Page – Bounce Rate.

You want a higher Time Spent; a lower Bounce Rate.


So, how do we achieve such a feat?

Below are five strategies we use to engage more readers on our own webpages.


1. Give your readers what they need immediately.

How many webpages have you been to that claimed three awesome gardening hacks and you can’t find one of them, much less three?

Truth is, when you try to hide the information from your readers, they’re not going to sit around on your page looking for them. There are far too many other websites claiming similar things that make it easy.

Have things in a list so that if they’re short on time, they can scan your article and still walk away with the information you’re giving them. If they’re still curious after scanning, they may go ahead and read the rest of the good stuff you have out there.


Photo by SSG Robert Stewart, US Army


2. Kill your darlings (and cliches).

Don’t get lost in the sea of black umbrellas. Instead, drop your cliches and pick up unique and strong similes or metaphors. Enjoy the blogging process like a border collie does a bone, and don’t let it fall flat as a flitter.

Likewise, if you have a particular phrase, sentence, or idea that you love but can’t seem to fit just right in your article, get rid of it. Jarring your reader simply because you like what you have written voids your reader-writer trust contract.

Instead, use that as the jumping off point for another blog later.


3. Write like you mean it.

Content may be number one in the world of marketing these days, but that does not give anyone the go-ahead to post terrible content due to the lack of time, interest, or experience.

Doing so could negatively impact your search rankings with dropping Time Spent and a higher Bounce Rate.

Try to take time out of your schedule to really write something meaningful that you know your clients, customers, and prospects could really benefit from. Use language they know and appreciate. And really make that connection with them.

They’re awesome, just like you. So, let them know it by showing your effort.


4. Engage the reader’s senses.


Photo by anoldent, Flickr Creative Commons

It’s snowing here right now. Or perhaps that is snow melting off the tree limbs over head. Either way, their is a variating tap-tap on my window frame. My fire place is blowing out warm air, and when I look up, my hot tea is steaming a dance called, “Drink Me.”

When you’re in a position to really use the reader’s senses, go wild with it. Allow them a chance to sit where you’re sitting, putting on their own Disney-themed slippers, and enjoying a nice snow day.

Dig even deeper, if you dare. Allow them to feel the senses they already feel within them.

If they’re worried their power is going to go out, explain how that fear can dissipate when they crank up their reliable generator.

No worries about what’s for dinner then.


5. Befriend your reader.

No one wants to be sold to, but most everyone needs to buy things in order to survive and thrive. There isn’t a need to tell people to buy your product if they aren’t in the market already for it. Perhaps, they don’t need it, so why try to convince them otherwise?

Instead, befriend your audience. Get to know them and write for them. Then, when they have the need for your product, the association of product to person will exist.

They will be far more excited to purchase from someone they know and love, and you’ll be more satisfied that you never once “sold” to them.

Focus on the relationships you’re building without an ulterior motive.

Now it’s your turn:

How do you drive up Reader Engagement? What is your “secret weapon” for more comments and likes on Facebook or LinkedIn? Let us know.

For more information on SEO or content marketing, contact us today with your question. Include your website, and we may use your question as an upcoming blog.

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