If you have worked with websites, you must have once in your working time heard about bounce rate. So what does bounce rate mean in google analytics? When does a viewer bounce? Is it merely a visitor that taps the back key or is there more to it? Moreover, what can you say by seeing the bounce rate of a page?
What does bounce rate mean in google analytics?
Bounce rate is a measure that estimates the percentage of visitors who land on your website and do absolutely nothing on the page they just opened. They neither a ‘read more’ link, click on a menu item nor any internal links on the page. That means that the Google Analytics server does not get a sign from the user. A visitor bounces when there is no activity with the landing page, and the visit finishes with a visit of a single-page. You can also use the bounce rate as a measure that shows the rank of a page and the “quality” of your visitors. The meaning of the quality of your visitors is whether the audiences fit the idea of your website.
How does Google Analytics calculate bounce rate?
As per Google, bounce rate is ascertained in this way:
“Bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by all sessions or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.”
In simple words, it accumulates all sessions where a user only visited a single page and divides it by all the sessions.
If you have a high bounce rate, it means the following three things:
- The quality of your webpage is low. Nothing is tempting for a visitor to engage with.
- Your viewer does not meet the objective of the webpage, as they will not engage with your webpage.
- Visitors got the thing that they were looking for on the first page.
I will further explain what does bounce rate mean in google analytics below:
SEO and Bounce rate
There have been many debates about bounce rate in Google Analytics that whether bounce rate is a ranking factor of SEO. I can barely believe that Google uses Google Analytics’ data as a ranking factor, because if Google Analytics is not executed perfectly, then the data is not reliable. Furthermore, you can very easily manipulate and shape the bounce rate.
Fortunately, several Googlers assume the same thing: Google does not use Google Analytics’ data in their algorithm. However, you need to ensure that when visitors come from a search engine to your website, they do not bounce back to the search results, as that kind of skipping believably is a ranking factor of your website. It can be estimated in a separate way than the bounce rate in Google Analytics, after all.
If you see it from a holistic SEO view, you have to optimize each aspect of your website. So, looking at your bounce rate will help you optimize your site even further, which will contribute to SEO.
How do you interpret bounce rates?
The extent of your bounce rate and if that is a positive or a negative thing, depends on the objective of the webpage. If the aim of the webpage is solely to inform, then an increased bounce rate is not a negative thing for you. Of course, you would want your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter, read more articles on your site and so on. However, when they have only entered a page to find a meaning or read a post, then it is not unusual that they close the tab after they are done. Understand that even in this case, there is no signal sent to Google Analytics server, so it most definitely is a bounce.
A smart thing you can do is, when you have a blog, create a section that merely contains ‘New visitors’ only. If the bounce rate among new visitors is high, analyze about how you will increase their engagement with your website because you would want new users to engage with your website.
If the idea of a webpage is to engage with your site actively, then an increased bounce rate is a negative thing. Let’s assume that you have a webpage that has one objective: getting visitors to read more articles. If such webpage has a large bounce rate, you may want to optimize the webpage itself. If you add a clear call-to-action, a ‘read more’ button, for example, you could reduce that bounce rate.
However, there can be different causes for a significant bounce rate. If you have attracted visitors in under misleading pretenses, you should not be amazed when these users do not engage with your webpage. They reasonably expected something different when they landed on your subscription page. On the contrary, if you have been very transparent from the beginning about what users must expect on the webpage, a low bounce rate could mean something about the quality of the audiences– they could be very motivated to read more articles – and not significantly about the quality of the webpage.
Conversion and Bounce Rate
Looking at bounce rate from a perspective of conversion, then bounce rate could be used as a measure to estimate success. For example, let’s say you have amended the design of your webpage assuming that it will convert correctly, ensure that you keep watching the bounce rate of that webpage. If you witness an increase in bounces, the shift in design you have made may have been the bad change, and it can explain the low conversion rate you experienced.
Another way of inspecting at your bounce rate can be from a perspective of traffic sources. What sorts of traffic sources can lead to a low or a high bounce rate? Can you decide what the cause of this bounce rate is? And if you are running an AdWords campaign, you must examine the bounce rate of that traffic source too.
How do you lower your high bounce rates?
The only way to lower your bounce rate is amping up the engagement on your webpage. There are two methods of inspecting the bounce rate. From a page perspective and a traffic perspective.
If some traffic sources have higher bounce rates, you have to look at the motive of the users coming to your website from those sources. For instance, you may be running an ad on another site, and most visitors coming to your website via that advertisement bounce, then you are not satisfying their wants or living up to their expectations. Make sure you review the ad you are running and see if it suits the page you are showing. If not, make sure the webpage is a valid follow-up of the advertisement.
If your page has a high bounce rate even after living up to the expectations of your visitors, then you have check out the page itself. How is the utility of the page? Is there a call-to-action above the fold on the page? Does the page invite people to look further on your site? Do you have internal links that lead to related posts or pages? Do you have a menu that’s easy to use? All these are all things you have to examine when optimizing your page.
Supriya Adhikari is one of those who loves reading and writing. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Marketing and is pursuing Masters.