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What to do about high-traffic pages that don’t convert

Your site probably has at least one blog post that drives a substantial percentage of your traffic but also has a really high bounce rate.

So the post is attracting visitors to your site! But with a 70%+ bounce rate, it’s really not converting anyone.

We call these posts PBLs, or “Popular But Lazy”.

Why do these popular pages fail to convert?

One reason may be that your target audience isn’t finding value in the page. This could be for any number of reasons, including…

  • Audience intent is mismatched
  • Writing and paragraph structure are subpar
  • UX and page experience are a drag

For example, let’s say you sell pizza-making robots. (If you really do this, please reach out!)

Your site has a Popular But Lazy post entitled “Where To Buy Pizza Robots.” It’s top-ranked in Google and the search intent is right on, but your site’s UX is miserable: slow, cluttered, loaded with obnoxious pop-ups, and the copy is one endless paragraph of fluff.

You’re attracting bottom-funnel leads but they hate how your site feels. So they bounce.

Or you’ve got another PBL post entitled “History of Tomato Sauce.” It’s the top-ranked page in Google. The problem? Nobody searching ‘history tomato sauce’ is looking to buy a robo-pizzaiolo! This voluminous traffic you’re getting is not your target audience. So they bounce too.

What you can do?

Start by identifying your Popular But Lazy pages. Go to Google Analytics, sort your pages by traffic, highest to lowest, and look for the high-traffic pages that have really high bounce rates.

Next, perform a quick conversion rate optimization inventory.

Assess the page experience:

If the UX fundamentals seem to be strong, take a look at the call-to-action and internal links. Each should provide a clear next step for the visitor. People bounce when they don’t see anything compelling to do next.

  • Are there internal links to other relevant posts on your site? (If not, add some. If you can’t find any, then this might be a sign that the post isn’t a great match for your audience.)
  • Is there a CTA that can match the visitor’s intent? (Top-funnel leads don’t want to schedule a demo of your pizza robot, but they might sign up for your brand newsletter.)

(We could, and probably should, write an entire newsletter on those last two bullet-points.)

Lastly, if the fundamentals are there but the search intent is mismatched (our “History of Tomato Sauce” example), a heavier touch is required. Consider revising the piece to better fit your topic strategy then post it as something new.

Something like “First Androids in Tomato Sauce History” might attract your true audience.

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