You may have the content right, perfect images and a great customer journey on your site, but is it quick enough?
Google has bolted a speed gauge onto its ranking indicator, so how will this affect your site and your ranking position on Google? Well, the speed gauge is going to measure the time that a landing page takes to load, this speed measure is called site speed or page load time. The clock will start when a visitor lands on the page and will stop when the page has fully completed loading.
This speed indicator was discussed last year and Google stated that it would be included into its ranking indicator. Now however, this discussion has turned into practice and the page load time is being incorporated into searches. For many businesses this inclusion of speed will not be an issue, because a quick loading page makes the visitor experience a lot better.
If your landing page is slow, all will not be lost. You will not free fall down the rankings and Google will alter the ranking of one site per two hundred. How much of a penalty the new speed gauge will produce in terms of ranking is not known.
You might think that this new measure is a bit harsh but it’s all geared essentially towards rewarding websites that provide the best service. Also you can just force your way to the top of the rank without considering the visitors experience.
On the occasional websites that you come across, they are very slow which can be annoying, but with patience you find the product that you want and decide to make an order. During the order process you are left hanging for a page to load and that patience runs out and you start the search all over again. This is what Google wants to eradicate as it comes under pressure from Bing.
There could be hundreds of reasons why people don’t hang around on landing pages, they click away and so don’t navigate around your website. This situation is often called the bounce rate, because the visitor bounces on and then off your website.
These reasons for bouncing could be website relevant or not but no matter what, it is impossible to get this bounce rate figure down to 0%. Not only is it annoying but it is also costly if the visitor has come through a search engine like Google.
So, what can be done to reduce this figure?
Firstly, from a user point of view there is nothing more annoying then clicking on a link or writing a URL to a website that takes an hour to load. If 5 seconds go by and there is nothing on the screen you might try it again, but it unlikely. Therefore, the visitor will go elsewhere. Make sure that the homepage or landing page is prompt.
Avoid any Popup windows early in the visitor’s experience of your site, despite what the popup says. It could be relevant but most users find them annoying. Keep the visitor focused on your main goal.
If the user searches for a particular product or service make sure that the landing page shows it. Otherwise the user may think that it’s an error and click back to the search results and may click on a competitor.
Manually check the enquiry forms or order forms work, on all browsers. Your site will need to be effective on all browses as you can’t predict what browser the visitor is using.
Keep the text on the landing page to a minimum, but make it match the search as much as possible.
Make sure that the design is engaging and try to stay away from harsh colours and bright backgrounds.
Keep the number of questions within online forms to a minimum, this will improve the conversation.
During the search process a visitor is likely to come across websites that they have never seen before. Make sure that the site has appropriate symbols and logos to develop trust. Also, design the website so that the visitor receives an email of they make an enquiry or place an order.
So, there you have it, logical really but often not recognised.
Some of the best websites on the planet along with the worst ones will all suffer from what’s called a bounce rate. This rate is generated when visitors are directed to your website from a search engine results list and exit the site either back to the results list or elsewhere without interacting with the page or processing through the site.
There is not a magic spell that you can put on this problem that does cost money with no return. However, there are some things that you can do that will help reduce it. As with so many things, first impressions are vital. This is totally the same with websites – especially when you have not been on them before. This bounce rate is not just influenced by the landing page but the content. The style of the website needs to be consistent throughout, making sure that you have good, useful information with appropriate clear and engaging language.
Plus, if you are going to convince people that the website is credible and deserves their time, you will also need to ensure that the site is very easy to navigate, clearly designed and is compliant with all offers in the press. If these key areas are not completed and managed then the bounce rate will not improve. When all key areas are running at 100% the visitor will be assured that the website is professional. Some of the largest companies on our planet have a good reputation, but if you didn’t know them and only looked at the website you may click away.
As already mentioned, the first click or first sighting of the website is very important in reducing the bounce rate. Sometimes the most obvious errors to a visitor are not always spotted by a web developer. So be very thorough when checking images, content, miss- spelt headlines, and even HTML code, as the smallest error could cause the biggest problem.
If say, you have an ad on a PPC campaign and content does not match the landing page, and the visitor clicks ‘back’ to get to the results list to try again on another website, this counts as 2 bounces. This is a double problem, highlighting the importance of the first page and first impressions.
As a target you may think that a 10% bounce rate is acceptable, but 30% is actually very good, particularly from a PPC campaign. This rate is a very good measure of concise delivery and a logical website. A 40% rate is good and 50% is acceptable. The lower the better, but it will never get to 0%.
The internet market is expanding and it is very important that your website conversion rate is always increasing. There are many aspects that have to be managed and analysed when looking to boost conversion and ultimately sales.
So, below is a condensed list of 6 aspects that you can review to make your conversion rates better.
First of all is landing page relevance. Perhaps you have done a search online and have clicked through to then be directed to a page that has nothing to do with the initial search. Research suggests that the 21st century internet user does not even scroll down the page after the redirect. So, if the site or landing page from the results list is not 100% accurate against the search then they will click away and that will kill conversion.
Accuracy on the PPC ad is also a problem area. An example would be when you have clicked on a result from a search because the ad states ‘Free Delivery’ or ‘20% off your first order’. However, on the site that the advert is for there is no evidence of this. Sometimes a customer may click on the back button to return to the search results which means the advertising company is just wasting money.
Let’s assume that the landing page reflects the research and the prices seem competitive, but online shoppers will use more comparisons than just relevance and price. Another big conversion killer is the dreaded ‘P + P’. If your postage and packaging is 1p more than the competition then you will be waving business good bye. So, make sure that you are under cutting the competition and so giving you no reason for your visitors not to buy.
Research does also highlight that buyers and more importantly ‘best deal shoppers’ use certain keywords to show they are in buying mode. To increase conversion, include search terms such as Buy, Cheap, Discount, Sale, Order and Purchase. These key words will funnel visitors to buy because they see the word that they want to see.
As per pervious blogs, negative words are also critical to make sure that the results from the search are accurate because this is the beginning of the cycle and if results are not right the conversion will be affected. Filtering out irrelevant search terms will ensure that the results put you in good stead, and your ad will be in front of visitors that are looking for that very thing. The more negative words the better, to keep the results right.
The end goal of all of these aspects is revenue and sales. So the order process must be easy and logical, and not taxing. Many purchase processes can be very off putting and can cause an issue for the visitor; the easiest thing for the visitor to do is not bother – oops! So, to defeat this drop-out at such a critical level is not to remove the home, back button or any other options from the screen, but to ask a 3rd party, perhaps somebody that is not completely up-to-date with the online world. Ask them to make an order, but more importantly watch the mouse movements and how logical it is for them. Try not to give any instructions while making notes of any sticking points or problems.
So, some top tips to make your conversion better. Make sure that you are on it to boost your rates!
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