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guide to bounce rate in google analytics

Ultimate Guide to Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

What is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of visitors that leaves a web page without taking any action. The actions can be clicking a link, filling out a form or making a purchase.

To simplify it, the bounce rate is when someone visits a page on your website and leave the page without browsing through your complete website.

Bounce rate is important because:

  1. When someone bounce from your site, it shows that the user is not converted hence the conversion rate reduces. If you stop the majority of your users from bouncing, the conversation rate automatically increases. Hence, you’ll be seeing a positive ROI from your digital marketing investment.
  2. Although it is not publicly announced by Google, bounce rate may be used as a Google Ranking Factor. According to a study conducted by Backlino,  bounce rate was closely correlated to Google rankings.
  3. High bounce rate shows that there is something wrong with your web page. There may be issues with the content, search intent, copywriting or even user experience.

 

How you should interpret the bounce rate metric?

If you fail to interpret the bounce rate metric correctly, the metric can easily mislead and affect your online marketing initiatives.

It’s a misconception that high bounce rate is bad and low bounce rate is good. It can be vice versa. Custom Media Labs conducted a research on finding average bounce rates of different types of websites.

Source: https://backlinko.com/hub/seo/bounce-rate

The study shows that, e-commerce & retail site has the lowest bounce rate (20-45%) and landing pages, dictionaries, blogs and portals have the highest bounce rate (60-90%)

Different categories of websites have different bounce rate due to many reasons. For example, people visit a blog, read a particular article and leaves the site which results in a high bounce rate.

If the bounce rate is extremely low, for example, 5-10%, then there should be some technical issues due to improper implementation of tracking code or other website issues which causes multiple requests sent to Google Analytics server for a single page visit.

When you interpret your website’s bounce rate, consider the following elements:

  • User behaviour
  • Type of websites
  • Type of Landing pages
  • Quality of landing pages
  • Type of published content
  • Type of niche
  • Quality of traffic
  • Type of digital marketing channel
  • Device type
  • Visitor Type

 

User behaviour

How your visitors are interacting with your website? If the landing page does not appeal or fulfil the visitor’s query then most likely the visitor will bounce from that particular page.

Even if your landing page satisfies the visitor’s query, the visitor can bounce if there are no CTA’s available for the visitor to stay longer on the page.

 

Type of websites

As shown earlier in the research study conducted by Custom Media Labs, different types of websites will have different bounce rates. Let’s say you have a one-page website, the bounce rate could be 100% as there are no other pages for the visitors to browse.

 

Type of landing pages

If your visitor lands on a landing page which has a straightforward indication to provide information, they might provide the necessary information and leave the page. As there is no other reason for the visitor to stay on the page, the bounce rate will high.

 

Quality of landing pages

If your landing page does not meet the expectation of the visitor, the bounce rate going to be high. Landing pages without clear message, cluttered with too much text and looks spammy often ignored by visitors.

 

Type of published content

The content published on your landing page can determine whether the visitors wants to consume them right away or bookmark it to read later.

 

Type of niche

The bounce rate often varies depending on the niche. Websites in magazine or publishing niche have a high bounce rate. Even a bounce rate of 70% is considered good for these niches.

 

Quality of traffic

If you haven’t created your buyer persona, you have high chances of getting the wrong traffic to your website. Targeting the wrong audience can increase the bounce rate.

 

Type of digital marketing channels

Different digital marketing channels tend to send traffic that have different bounce rates. For example, organic search traffic usually have lower bounce rate compared to social media traffic.

 

Device type

If your website is not responsive on mobile devices, the bounce rate going to be high. People tend to leave websites that are not responsive on all devices.

 

Visitor type

When there is a new visitor to the website it is normal for them to bounce and show a high bounce rate. This is because they are new to your website and just started to recognize your brand unlike returning visitors who are already familiarized with your site.

So, these elements will help you determine whether the bounce rate for your website is good or you need to improve them.

 

How does Google Analytics Calculate Bounce Rate?

 

The old Google Analytics used to show the bounce rate where you can see the number of “Entrances” and “Bounces” which results in Bounce rate.

You can’t see the “bounce” element in your Google Analytics anymore.

So the calculation of Bounce rate is as following:

Bounce rate of a web page =Total number of bounces / total number of entrances on that page  x 100%

 

The Google Analytics screenshot shows the pageviews, unique pageviews, average time on page, entrances and bounce rate for the content on my site.

The calculation of bounce rate for page 1 is: [total bounces(x) / total entrances(409)] x 100% = 77.51%

So we want to know how many entrances bounced as it does not show up anymore on Google Analytics.

So the calculation for the number of bounces: 77.5/100 x 409 = 317 bounces.

It shows that 317 entrances bounced after visiting page 1 and only 92 entrances visited other pages on the website.

People have a misconception that the bounce rate actually influence the “time spent on the website”. To be honest there is no correlation between bounce rate and time spent on website.

Sometimes people just spend more time on other pages as they feel that those pages have the information or products they were looking for.

 

8 Reasons that Causes High Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

These are the top reasons for your site to have a high bounce rate on Google Analytics:

Irrelevant traffic

What happens when your website starts to get traffic that has nothing to do with your products and services?

They leave your site immediately by clicking the “back” button on their web browser.

This often happens if your website targets the wrong audience. This scenario often happens with paid search and paid social where they target the mass market that is not interested in any type of information offered on the website.

 

Landing pages with poor design

Landing pages are something your potential customers first before browsing other pages on your website. The first impression is the best impression. If your landing pages are not visually appealing with attractive and persuasive copywriting and CTA’s, most likely people get tuned down and leave your site.

 

Slow loading web pages

If your web pages are taking more than 10 seconds to load, people will start bouncing from your site. People are not happy with slow loading websites nowadays.

 

Landing pages do not satisfy the user’s search intent

People will start leaving your website if you’re unable to satisfy the user’s search intent. Even if you generate the right traffic to your landing page, the people will get turned down if they are unable to find what they were looking for.

 

There are no reasons to stay longer on the site

People visit your website with a purpose (make a purchase) or to find a solution to their problems. Once the reasons for their visit is solved, they will leave the website unless you have something else that might trigger their interest to stay longer.

 

The landing page content is confusing

If people find it hard to consume your content, it will encourage them to leave your site immediately. You don’t want to add complicated jargons and terms to your landing page content.

 

Website is getting spam referral traffic

Spam referral traffic or fake traffic is fake bot traffic sent to your Google analytics. If you find referrals with 100% or 0% bounce rate with huge sessions, they are spam referral traffic.

 

Website using Ajax/Flash elements

When a website uses Ajax/Flash elements and content, most of the user interactions occur on a single web page. The users don’t have to browse other pages on the website.

So, the bounce rates tend to be high for websites relying on Ajax/Flash contents.

 

7 Best Methods to reduce Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

Following are the 7 best methods to reduce your site’s bounce rate:

 

Improve Your Content’s Readability

You need to make sure your content is readable and legible. Over the years I’ve seen hundreds of blogs with amazing content with lousy structures and formatting.

It’s all about the experience you provide your visitors. User experience matters the most in retaining customers and encourage them to spend more time on your site.

If you’ve seen my blog posts, I have a particular format. Here are some of the tips to format your content and improve its readability:

  • Use subheadings for your topics
  • Use bullet points for lists like reasons or benefits
  • Include relevant images, charts, screenshots and even quotes from experts.
  • Bold your primary keywords
  • Ask more and more questions in your content to sound interactive and invite the readers to participate in the discussion rather than just reading.
  • Make your conclusion actionable. Make sure to end your article with a closing subheading like “conclusion” or “wrap up”.

 

You can also check the readability of your content with the WebFX readability tool

 

Stop targeting keywords that send low-value traffic

The keywords that you choose for your site can either make or break your digital marketing efforts. If you want to improve your paid or organic search performance, stop targeting low-value keywords and target keywords that offer high-value traffic.

There are four important characteristics of high-value keyword which was stated by LinchPin SEO.

  • Value of traffic
  • Value of conversion
  • Persona value
  • Brand value

Simply writing content for your site without any planning will not reduce your bounce rate or improve conversions. Target high-value keywords to drive high-value customers.

So how to find high-value keywords?

Just follow these awesome tips:

  • Target high-value keywords that will start your potential customer’s journey on your website.
  • Don’t target keywords where the user intent is limited to the keyword alone.
  • Write the best content on the topic and make it relevant to your customers. Provide the value your readers deserve and connect with them emotionally.
  • Don’t stuff keywords for the sake of ranking high on search engines. Instead, target LSI keywords to broaden your traffic to the relevant audience.

 

So, targeting high-value keywords will position your site relevant and relatable to the visitors.

 

Develop landing pages that satisfy the visitor’s query

You’re driving the right high-quality traffic to your landing pages but your landing pages fail to satisfy the visitor’s query. This results in a high bounce rate because visitors didn’t find anything valuable as per their expectation.

For example, a visitor clicks on your search ad ” digital marketing strategies that work”. If your landing page only provides general information about digital marketing, the visitor likely to bounce.

You want to make sure you’re giving valuable and in-depth information for your visitors to consume. It should reflect to your digital marketing efforts. It’s not going to work out if you keep your digital marketing efforts generate high-quality traffic and land on a half-baked landing pages.

 

Create a Persuasive Call-To-Action

You’ve attracted the right traffic to your website. Don’t lose them with a weak or unattractive CTA. You don’t want to increase the bounce rate. Although you can’t persuade every visitors to buy from you, but it’s not wrong to think about it.

No matter what you do, make sure your CTA is compelling. You need to encourage the users to click on it and see what it has to offer.

When you optimize your CTA, there are many elements that can influence the outcome. Even changes to the font and colour of the CTA button can make a huge difference. The main focus here is to keep your visitors engaged and lead them to a particular action. This will reduce the bounce rate.

 

Publish the right content and keep your blog fresh

I’ve seen organizations that consistently publish quality content tend to yield the best ROI.

So what it has to do with reducing bounce rate?

Business websites with fresh and quality content tend to attract high-quality traffic. There are many studies conducted by organizations like HubSpot has found that businesses that update their blog regularly with quality content manage to generate more leads than those who don’t.

If the right content can attract the right traffic, it can also make those visitors to browse through other content on the website and reduce the bounce rate.

The right content that we’re talking about is the content that provides actionable tips and guides to implement and generate results.

You need to understand that bounce rate is not about the users that doesn’t convert. This metric is to measure the percentage of people who isn’t interested in exploring other parts of your website.

If the percentage of people who stays and look at other parts of your site is low, still it shows that you’ve gained people who trust your site. More likely they will return and consider your products and services.

 

Improve Your Page Load Time

Why site speed is important than ever for bounce rate?

Most users expect the web page they’re visiting to load in 2 seconds or less. If your web page takes forever to load, your potential customers will no longer wait patiently and move on to your competitors website. And you know it will certainly increase the bounce rate.

Personally, I’ve changed my hosting and improved the site speed in both mobile and desktop to provide the best experience for the visitors.

If your site is taking longer to load, please get it fixed. It’s not about bounce rate alone but also for the performance of your entire site.

Google has announced that page loading speed is one of the ranking factor. Even if you’re not focused on ranking on search engines, you might not want to miss the chance of ranking naturally.

You can use the following tools to check your page speed:

 

Focus on Internal Linking

Internal linking strategy is often overlooked by many. Set SEO benefits aside. Internal linking allows visitors to check out more pages on your site which relatively reduces your bounce rate.

Your internal links should encourage people to look deeper into your site. You can either include internal links naturally within your content or have the separately as resources.

Example of internal links:

 

 

As you can see the anchor text “SEO strategy” links to “Best 9 SEO Techniques to Drive Organic Traffic in 2021″ article.

Make sure the links you’ve added opens up in a new window or new tab. If you choose to open on the same page, people might get bounced from the page.

You can also add related post at the bottom of the page or on the sidebar to encourage your visitors to read other blog posts from your website.

In my blog post sidebar, you can see that I’ve added the latest posts which shows the blog posts I’ve published recently.

Having these strategies in place, you can effectively reduce the bounce rate of your website.

Conclusion

In this article, I’ve covered everything you need to know about bounce rate and the ways to reduce your bounce rate effectively. But, always remember that even if you manage to reduce your bounce rate without high-quality content, the risk of it to increase if quite high.

To avoid any increase in your bounce rate, come up with a content marketing plan. You need a monthly editorial calendar and execute them. Publish quality contents for your target market consistently and you will see the changes in bounce rate and also increase in your conversion.

Some of the ways mentioned above can help you gain quick results, but you might want to focus on growing your site’s traffic for the long-term while reducing the bounce rate.

If you choose the satisfy your users expectation, it will naturally improve your site’s overall performance from generating traffic to converting your visitors into paying customers.

What do you think about this guide on bounce rate?

Share your thoughts below.

Naven Pillai

An experienced digital marketing strategist with 8+ years of experience. Helped various small and medium businesses to generate massive traffic from digital marketing channels. In addition to digital marketing consulting work, Naven owns multiple authority sites that generates passive income.