Bounce Rate: Why You Might Be Worrying Too Much About This Particular Metric
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Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors that click away from a website without taking any action – like clicking on a link or filling out a form.
Is bounce rate an important metric? Absolutely. If your bounce rate is too high it might indicate a sub-par user experience and mean that your website just isn’t converting as you’d hoped. It’s also an important Google Ranking Factor. Many in the industry firmly believe that a low bounce rate is tightly correlated with ranking on Google’s first page of search results.
However, while it’s important to keep an eye on your website’s bounce rate, don’t put too much emphasis on this metric.
A high bounce rate doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t rank, nor does it mean that there’s anything wrong with your law firm’s website. It could mean that users are getting what they need right away – which means you’ve done a great job optimizing for user experience and intent.
Let’s look closer at the bounce rate metric and discuss whether a high rate really indicates whether or not you have a problem.
What Is the “Average” Bounce Rate?
The average bounce rate for all industries ranges between 41 and 51%. However, the specific “normal” bounce rate depends more on your industry and your traffic source. Different types of websites also have entirely different bounce rates. Overall, eCommerce sites have the lowest average bounce rate of 20-45%, while blogs are as high as 90%.
In terms of industry, law firms tend to have an average bounce rate of 40-60%, although the exact range will still depend on a variety of factors. Your site’s traffic sources will highly influence your bounce rate.
For example, studies have discovered that email and referral traffic sources have the lowest bounce rate while display ads and social media traffic exhibit a super high bounce rate.
What a High Bounce Rate Could Mean
People often bounce for different reasons, including:
Page Not Meeting User Expectations
Let’s say someone gets into a car accident and wants to find an attorney to help them understand (a) if they have a case and (b) what it might be worth. They enter the phrase “car accident lawyer near me.”
Let’s say your law firm specializes in car accident cases. It’s your bread and butter. So much so that you’ve designed your entire website to focus on car accidents. So, the homepage shows up in the results.
But, the user is brought to a branded page – really heavy on information about your firm – but lacking information that they’re looking for. They might scroll for a second, not get any information that they need, and click back to try again for a better match.
Your Site Isn’t Built to Convert
A poorly designed website can cause your bounce rate to skyrocket. Visitors will judge your website based on the design first before even looking at the content. If it’s not aesthetically pleasing and lacks calls to action – people will probably not hang around for too long.
You can have the best content in the world and offer premier legal services, but if your website isn’t built to convert it might not matter. Always work with a professional web designer or an SEO company that specializes in law firm SEO to create for you an exciting website that is also user-friendly.
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It Offers a Poor User Experience (UX)
Other than exquisite design, your website should be simple and easy to use. When users can seamlessly navigate around your site and consume content, they can stay longer on your site and reduce your bounce rate.
It Provides the Answers Users Need
Sometimes, a high bounce rate might not be due to a poorly designed website or content that lacks. If your page offers everything the user is looking for, they will likely stay on it and not click through to anywhere else.
For instance, if someone wanted to learn about “child custody rights for moms” and they get everything they need on your page, they’ll likely close the page once they’ve read through to the last sentence.
Why a High Bounce Rate Might Not Necessarily Be a Bad Thing
A high bounce rate is a tricky metric for the legal industry since visitors can Google something, get the information they were looking for, and simply leave the site. Just because they leave doesn’t mean that their visit wasn’t a success, nor does it mean that they won’t call you for help when they need it.
As with most metrics, context is always a key influencer of bounce rates. According to Google Analytics, if the success of your website depends on visitors viewing more than a single page, then a high bounce rate is definitely a bad thing.
However, certain websites tend to address user needs on a single page, such as news sites, blogs, and websites. In such a case, a high metric might not be a big deal.
Signs That a High Bounce Rate Isn’t Harming Your SEO Project
When it comes to bounce rates, what really matters is how helpful your site is to users. To get a true sense of how well your content performs, it’s important to conduct a thorough audit of all the pages on your website. That way, you can better understand your outliner performers and replicate the same across your site.
Additionally, knowing why a page performs exceptionally well could help you fix other underperforming pages and improve your overall SEO performance and rankings.
Overall, here are a few ways you could tell if a high bounce rate doesn’t harm your SEO efforts:
- You have great content that poses a question and provides an answer right off the bat. This applies to highly informative articles/blogs.
- Your site’s other metrics, such as traffic and time-on-page, are still good.
- You’re still converting visitors into paying customers or clients.
At the end of the day, it’s about where you rank, the traffic to your site, and the leads you get. If those aren’t suffering, then don’t worry too much if you have a bounce rate on the higher side.
What to Do If Your Bounce Rates Are Signaling A Problem
If you’re concerned that your bounce rate is extremely high, Google offers multiple suggestions for analyzing and adjusting bounce rate metrics. However, you need to remember that bounce rates can be misleading and should not be considered the sole indicator of a site’s performance.
You need to take into account other qualifying factors such as traffic sources and user experience. Overall, legal entities and governments should expect an average bounce rate of 60%, but that can be exceptional if you can bring it down to 40% or less.
Having said that, here are some steps you can take to reduce your legal practice website’s bounce rate:
1: Use Attention-Grabbing Introductions
You should hook up your audience right from the introduction. A great way to achieve that is to employ the PPT (Promise, Proof, and Transition) approach. In a nutshell, you should use the introduction to “Promise” to deliver what the user is looking for, offer “Proof” that they can trust you and your content, and finally provide a smooth “Transition” that encourages them to scroll down.
2: Make Your Content Skimmable and Easy to Read
If your content is crammed up in a huge wall of text, your bounce rate is undoubtedly going to go through the roof. Use multiple white spaces to give your content space to breathe. Also, break up paragraphs into 2-3 sentence chunks with fonts of 15-17px.
3: Satisfy Search Intent
Since Google is the number 1 traffic source online, you’ll want your key landing pages and content pages to satisfy Search Intent. Every page should offer Google searchers what they’re looking for; otherwise, they’ll simply bounce back. Fortunately, helpful keyword research tools, like Ahref, determine the search intent of a keyword and optimize your content accordingly.
4: Sprinkle in Bucket Brigades
Today’s readers have very short attention spans. They’ll read through your content and get to areas where they get bored. To keep them scrolling down, sprinkle in bucket brigades in areas of your post that don’t seem compelling.
Great examples of words to throw in include:
- See how that works
- In fact
- Check this out
- With that
- Question is
- That made me think
- Quick story
Utilizing bucket brigades is a great way to keep your readers interested and engaged – and keep them on your website.
5: Improve Loading Speed
Slow page load speeds closely correlate with higher bounce rates. These stats shouldn’t come as a surprise since people online are extremely impatient.
Your first step is to check out how your site is doing in terms of speed. Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool is a great option to do that. To get the most out of the tool, check the specific recommendations referred to as “Opportunities” to speed up your page.
Some possible suggestions would be to compress your images, resize large images, use a faster hosting provider, remove unused scripts and plugins, etc.
6: Embed Videos on Your Page
Adding videos to your pages can significantly improve the average time on the page. However, other statistics indicate that pages with a video have a considerably lower bounce rate than pages without a video.
Ultimately, the bounce rate is an important metric to track and consider for your legal practice’s website. However, a high rate isn’t always problematic. When it comes to law firm and attorney websites, it’s easy for visitors to Google something, get what they need, and simply bounce.
This is particularly true if your website has super informative content. Don’t worry about a high bounce rate if you have high-quality content that’s easy to read and your website is converting well. If your bounce rate is a sign of a problem, take actionable steps to fix them.