Understanding Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

Understanding Bounce Rate in Google Analytics
Corin Tomasello

Bounce Rate: you may have heard the term or saw it in your Analytics account or report before. It may be an analytic, but it’s actually very interesting and has a big impact on your sales...But what does it mean exactly?

What happens when a visitor to your website bounces? There is much to learn from your website’s bounce rate and today our content marketers are going to take a look at what exactly it means and how to improve your site’s bounce rate and customer engagement!

What is Bounce Rate?

A visitor “bounces” when there has been no engagement with your landing page, and the visit ends with a single page visit.

You can use bounce rate as a metric that indicates the quality of your landing page, or even the quality of your target audience (whether your audience fits the purpose of your site). This means that the visitor didn’t click on a menu item or any other links on the page. When this happens, the Google Analytics server doesn’t receive a trigger from the visitor.

Remember: bounce rate is a metric that measures the percentage of people who land on your website and do nothing on the page once they get there.

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How does Google Analytics Calculate Bounce Rate?

Google collects information on all sessions where a visitor only visited one page and then divides it by all sessions. Your bounce rate is calculated by taking your single-page sessions divided by all sessions during a period. Ultimately, the bounce rate is the percentage of all sessions on your website where prospects viewed only a single page.

If you have a high bounce rate, it can mean a couple of things:

  • The quality of your page is low, or it has nothing inviting or interesting to engage with. Try adding some links to other pages!
  • Your audience doesn’t match the purpose of the page, so they won’t engage with your page. (Maybe they landed on your page by mistake). Take a look at your keywords and how the page is written.
  • The visitor found the information they were looking for without needing to click on any other links or pages. Related content that is on a similar theme may help to keep them engaged – increasing your chances they may buy from you!

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Bounce Rate and SEO

There has been much discussion over whether bounce rate should be used as an SEO ranking factor. Of course, you want to make sure that when people click on your website from a search engine that they don’t bounce back to search results, since that kind of a bounce is a ranking factor. Engagement is key in today’s SEO world!

Charisma Tip: From a holistic SEO perspective, we recommend optimizing every aspect of your site. So keeping tabs on your bounce rate can help to optimize your website even further, which in turn contributes to SEO.

Interpreting Bounce Rates

The height of your bounce rate, and whether it is considered a good or bad thing, ultimately depends on the purpose of your page. If your website is purely to inform, then a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing per se.

It’s a given that you want people to read more than one article, or subscribe to your newsletter when they visit your site, but when they have visited a page to read a post or find a phone number or address, then it’s not surprising that they close the tab after they have found what they need. Even in this case though, there is no trigger to the Google Analytics server, so it's a bounce.

Charisma Tip: If you own a blog, creating a segment that only contains “new visitors” will help you improve your content, especially if the bounce rate amongst new visitors is high.

On the other hand, if the purpose of your website is to have a visitor actively engage with your site, such as subscribing to your newsletter, or buying a product, a high bounce rate is a bad thing. If you are struggling with a high bounce rate, then you might need to optimize your web page itself.

If you are clear about what a visitor should expect on your page, a low bounce rate could also say something about the quality of the visitors themselves, not the quality of your page.

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Bounce Rate + Conversions

Bounce rates can be used to measure conversion success! If you’ve recently changed the design of your page hoping that it will convert better, then be sure to keep an eye on the bounce rate of that page. If you notice an increase in bounces, maybe the change in design might have been a step in the wrong direction.

Charisma Tip: Check the bounce rate for your most popular pages. Make note of which pages have a low bounce rate, and which have a high one. Compare the two, and learn from the pages with low bounce rates.

Lowering Bounce Rates

The best and really only way of lowering your bounce rates is to amp up engagement on your page.

If particular traffic sources have high bounce rates, then you need to take a look at the expectations of your visitors coming from these sources. Example: You’re running an ad on another website, and most people that come to your site via that ad, bounce. There is a problem here and your page isn’t living up to their expectations.

Review the ad and see if it matches the page that you’re showing. If not, make sure that the page is a logical follow-up of the ad and vice-versa.

Fixing a High Bounce Rate

If you are checking all the boxes with your visitors, and you still have a high bounce rate, then take a deeper look at the page itself. How is the usability of the page? Is there a clear call-to-action? Do you have internal links that point to related pages or posts? Does your page load quickly and look good? These are all important aspects to consider when optimizing your page.

Need help creating an inviting web page or clear call-to-actions? Charisma Communications can help! We are specialists in SEO and content marketing! A strong content marketing strategy consists of content that is SEO friendly, but is also user-friendly and enjoyable to read, which can help keep people on your page longer and click on more links!

Book a consultation online with our Tampa marketing consultant; we’re excited to help your business grow!