Before we look at how to reduce bounce rates, we should ask:
What is a bounce rate?
In our experience, many Accountants and Accountancy firms are too busy being, well, Accountants and not marketers. As such, marketing spiel can sometimes be somewhat confusing. So we’ve taken the liberty of explaining this in Layman’s terms.
Contrary to some inaccurate definitions, a bounce rate is the percentage of single page visits where the user leaves from the site with only a single engagement. This can include exiting from a page that the user has landed on.
If traffic to your site is reasonable, but the level of engagement is low, it could be that you have a high bounce rate.
Bounce rate averages vary from industry to industry, but generically 40%-50% is considered average. Anything in excess of 60% should be investigated to look at user behaviour. Understanding user behaviour will give a key indicator of what elements on the page need to be fixed. Fixing these elements should then help to reduce bounce rates.
Why is it important to reduce bounce rates?
Getting an impressive level of traffic to your site is great, but the importance comes in retaining that traffic enough to engage the user. Engagement on your site may translate as opening case studies, navigating to contact us pages, downloading accountancy information on media packs or completing accountancy questionnaires.
Online brand engagement is an important factor in maximising conversions and securing more clients. This is one aspect. Another is in how search engine powerhouse Google views the bounce rate.
It is perceived, following the evolution of Google’s armoury of complex search algorithms, that the bounce rate plays a part in how Google ranks results. If a site has a high bounce rate, then it could be seen as less engaging than a site with a low bounce rate and thus be ranked further down the results pages.
Reasons for a high bounce rate
There could be a number of reasons why a user exits a site after a single engagement. Some of these include:
- Site design – does the site promote poor layout or too many display ads? Is the site non-responsive?
- Keywords – is the page content relevant to the search term the user typed into Google?
- Page load speed – does the site take too long to load causing users to want to find a faster site?
- Navigation – is it easy to navigate to other parts of the site or is the user getting stuck?
Whatever the reason, we would certainly encourage looking at Google Analytics. There is a range of metrics available to view, which indicate user behaviour.
Whitefish Marketing’s top 8 tips on how to reduce bounce rates
So now we’re up to speed on what a bounce rate is and why a high bounce rate is unfavourable, let’s look at some top tips on how to reduce bounce rates across your website.
Tip 1: Make sure your content is relevant to the search term
Keywords are an important indicator in what your content is about. Whilst the days of keyword stuffing to game the SERPs (search engine results pages) are long gone, it’s still import ant that your site’s pages are optimised for terms relevant to your on-page content.
If a user enters a particular search query into Google and is returned with a page, that when clicked, has content that’s not entirely relevant to the search term, they user will click back to the SERPs quicker than you can say “Accountant”.
This is most certainly the case for users who are not aware of your brand and stumble across your site by Googling an accountancy related term, rather than visiting your site directly. At this point there is no brand loyalty so you have to work that extra bit harder to satisfy user need.
Tip 2: Ensure your websites’ first impression is a good one
You never get a second chance for a first impression. Too true.
We all know how annoying it is to land on a site that has a multitude of display adverts, flashing images and pop-ups. Whilst display ads do generate revenue, they can distract the user experience and frustrate the user.
We recommend keeping your design clean, professional and user friendly. The site should be easy on the eye and functional so that users can quickly locate what they are looking for, without too many blockers. Check out these costly common website mistakes to avoid the pitfalls and get some inspiration on great website designs for Accountants.
Tip 3: Promote easily digestible content
It’s proven that users skim read large chunks of copy or read to a point and give up if too text-heavy. Break your content down with headings and subheadings, images and useful diagrams or infographics to deliver your content to users in sizeable pieces.
Read our how-to guide on creating great content for Accountancy websites.
Tip 4: Make your brand’s USPs obvious
You will know your brand’s unique selling points like the back of your hand, but if these are not conveyed on your site, or at least aren’t very clear, the user won’t know what differentiates you from another Accountancy firm.
In such a competitive industry, it’s vital that your firms USPs are visible on top landing pages to educate the user very quickly on what sets you apart from your competitors.
Ensuring your niche specialities are obvious to users is a great way to get users to buy into your brand and make the decision to engage.
Tip 5. Make CTAs simple but effective
A CTA or call-to-action is an engagement with you. This can include the completion of contact us forms, downloads of brochures or whitepapers etc. Check out these 30 call-to-action examples you can’t help but click.
What actions do you want users to take when they land on your site? If it’s to get in touch, make sure your contact details are on every page and are clearly visible.
If it’s to complete personal information for a survey, ensure your site looks secure and credible. If you’re not going to use the data, don’t ask for it. If you are going to use it, explain why.
Tip 6. Improve your page load speed
Page load speed is a contributing factor is how Google ranks sites. Too slow and the site could be down ranked if there is a number of other technical issues that may affect how the site is crawled.
Google has an objective to deliver the best search results to users and as such, they favour sites that load quickly. If your site is showing a slow page load speed, it ought to be fixed to ensure you are maximising rank potential.
One way to improve page load speed is to limit the number of video embeds, adverts and tracking codes. There are other ways that can be achieved by looking at your code.
You can check your page load speed yourself using Pingdom.com.
Tip 7. Improve navigation
A fancy design is all good and well for a first impression, but if a user struggles to navigate to other pages on the site, they will undoubtedly become frustrated and click back to the SERPs.
If the CTA you want the user to engage with resides on that page and is obvious to the user then it may be less of an influence on the bounce rate, but it’s still recommended to have a clear navigation structure that lets the user journey flow without difficulty.
If you want the user to navigate to other pages or content on the site, make sure your on-page navigation is clear and that you have a strong network of internal links.
Tip 8: Make sure your site is responsive
Responsive web design enables your site to be displayed on a range of different devices, providing an optimal viewing and interaction experience for the user.
With mobile search continuing to rise, sites that do not have responsive web design are seeing higher than average bounce rates for mobile traffic. Users who visit non-responsive sites on a mobile device are struggling to navigate the desktop version of the site.
In honestly, non-responsive design really is a thing of the past.
The final word
So there you have it, our top 8 tips on how to reduce bounce rates for your Accountancy firm’s website.
Whilst investigating each of these elements may seem daunting and remarkably time-consuming, the good news is, for us marketers, it’s a simple case of understanding user behaviour via Google Analytics and conducting a technical audit of the site to look at areas for improvement.
Do you need help reducing bounce rates on your site? Are you keen to understand more about the behaviour of your users with a view to improving engagement? Give our friendly SEO team at Whitefish Marketing a call on 01303 720 288.