Content in the form of text, and in turn comprising blogs, pages, and articles, is the standard architecture of the vast majority of websites on the internet. Content is now usually supplemented by video, infographics, images, and other forms of media to make it more engaging and keep people reading and visiting longer, but do we really know exactly how important these factors are?
There has been a long debate with SEOs for some time about bounce rates affecting the ranking of your website – the logic is, if your bounce rate is high, the visitor isn’t finding what they’re looking for, and therefore you shouldn’t be positioned above other web results offering similar information for a consumer if their bounce rates are lower.
I personally wouldn’t have supported this as a ranking factor since if you don’t have Google Analytics on your website, how would Google know what your average visitor is doing? But there is one thing Google knows for sure: if a person is entering a query, visiting a website, and then going back within X amount of time to the search results again to enter the same query, the first link they visited more than likely didn’t satisfy their search.
The Survey Results
We surveyed 250 people and asked them several questions about their expectations when they visit informational pages on websites. Our first question was: “What issues with a webpage would cause you to leave a website?” Participants could select multiple reasons. The results are as follows:
Not Enough Content 45.00%
No Formatting 32.50%
No Images/Infographics 19.50%
No Links to Outside Sources 5.50%
Content too Technical/Hard to Understand 34.00%
Interestingly enough as we’ll see, a shortage of content on a page doesn’t help to answer all of a consumer’s questions, nor does it enable them to make a decision about a product or service; rather, it gives an impression of lack of expertise and/or knowledge on a subject. This does align with what Google is looking for in a webpage as well. As we’ve seen over time, minimum word counts for effective webpages has increased from 400 to 500 to over 700 in recent years. These standards may have more to do with consumer behavior than we realize.
Content Factors That May Affect Time Spent on Site
Formatting is also helpful for navigating and digesting content. It is a good practice to ensure pages utilize shorter paragraphs, headers, and the use of lists when possible. Even appropriate font families and font sizes are worth considering for this point.
Images are good for an aesthetic engagement as well, and though infographics don’t seem to be a mandatory medium for synthesizing data, having components of your page that offer information besides text is important.
Links to outside sources may not always be required by visitors to your website, but remember it is an important aspect of meeting Google’s EAT requirements.
Writing for the average consumer is paramount – we sometimes struggle with conveying to the professionals that we work for to write for their ideal client, not their ideal colleague. If the content is strewn with industry jargon, grad school level vocabulary, and college-level references, chances are you’re going to lose plenty of visitors. On the other hand, if you’re only looking for a specific client base that would relate to that level of complexity, that may be the approach you decide to take.
What Could Make People Leave My Website?
Now that we know some of the biggest factors contributing to people leaving your website, there were a few other things we wanted to know about how people judge content when they land on a page:
On a scale from 1 through 10, with 10 being “often” and 1 being “never,” how often do you stay on a page with no formatting but significant information? Average: 4.88
While 32.50% of respondents said formatting was an issue, rephrased here we learned that the issue is somewhat neutral. This is likely countered by the fact that if the page has “significant information,” the formatting issue could be overlooked.
On a scale from 1 through 10, with 10 being the strongest, how strongly do you agree with the statement: “A web page’s design and the length of content on it affect my perception of the company as a trustworthy source on the subject.” Average: 7.37
Here we can confirm that the length of content is not only important for the obvious inclusion of more helpful information but also gives the impression again that a particular site is a source someone can trust for a topic.
On a scale from 1 through 10, with 10 being the strongest, how strongly do you agree with the following statement: “Images and infographics make it easier for me to digest the information I find online.” Average: 7.56
Though 19.5% of people said an absence of images and/or infographics would be a reason to leave the page, a significant number of people confirmed that these forms of media would assist in understanding information.
On a scale from 1 through 10, with 10 being the strongest, how strongly do you agree with the following statement: “Web pages with insufficient content and a lack of formatting make me think that the website is not knowledgeable about the subject.” Average: 7.21
In another manner of validating the importance of offering as much content as possible on a subject along with the presentation of that information, many people confirmed that a website may not seem to be an authority on a topic should there be insufficient formatting and content. The most common response to this question was also a solid “10.”
Get Yourself a Marketing Team that Knows Content
Content is one of the most important features on your website that engages users and drives business. From ensuring that the information you post is relevant and accurate to using just the right keywords that will attract the right people, a strong content team is crucial to your success. If you’re in doubt about the quality of your content, give us a call for a free consultation on how we can help you build and maintain a healthy website starting with the mantra “Content is King.”