Remember the times when you open a webpage you think will be beneficial, but you close it back almost as soon as you open it?
You were contributing to that webpage’s bounce rate in Google Analytics.
You hope no one does the same to your webpage, but you may be getting it wrong, just like that webpage you left in a hurry. You need your bounce rate to be optimal.
In this article, I will share with you what bounce rate is, what causes high bounce rate in Google Analytics, how to check your bounce rate, and four steps to reducing it.
First things first…
Bounce rate in Google Analytics refers to the number of times visitors leave a single page session on your website without triggering another request from that single page to Google Analytics.
For example, when you open an online shopping website’s homepage, if you look through the homepage without clicking on products, categories or any other call to action link on the homepage before exiting, then it is called a bounce.
This means that a bounce occurs when you do not visit any other page on a website from the initial page you opened.
Bounce rate in Google Analytics is quite different from an exit rate.
A bounce rate is basically tied to single-page sessions.
However, an exit rate is about exiting a website after visiting more than a single page or exiting through a page that ordinarily indicates that you have finished using the site for its purpose.
For example, an ordinary exit page on an online shopping site would be the ‘“Check out” page.
Leaving the website through the add to cart or check out page will form part of the exit rate and not a bounce rate. Also, if you enter through the homepage and then visit only the product page from the homepage before exiting the site, it forms part of an exit rate, too, and not a bounce.
However, a single-page session can also form an exit rate instead of a bounce rate in Google Analytics. This happens if the webpage is designed to have everything a visitor requires without having to visit another page on the website.
An example is a catalog page containing links to your contact, which requires leaving the site entirely.
So, when you have a single webpage that contains no links to other pages on your website, the bounce rate can be treated as an exit rate in Google Analytics.
All bounce rates are exit rates, but not all exit rates can be called a bounce rate.
Now you know what bounce rate and exit rate in Google Analytics are all about. You may want to understand how the whole thing works.
This is important if you want to know how Google analyses the SEO bounce rate for your website. Also, there’s a bounce rate formula that you can work with to help you understand your Google Analytics rating.
The Google support page says bounce rate is a single page session. So if you open a page and exit without triggering any other requests on Google Analytics, it becomes an automatic bounce.
This can be problematic for single pages that do not need you to trigger another request on Google Analytics. Especially if your Google Analytics settings are linked to page views only.
Once you open a page, Google automatically registers it as a page view. It doesn’t matter if you engage in any meaningful way on the webpage, it still amounts to a single-page session.
For example, if you open an article with a table of content that sends you to the part of the page where each content is, or you use a plugin chat box on the same page, it is meaningful engagement but can be read as a single page session that amounts to a bounce when you leave.
Engagements like this should not be counted as a bounce. It should be treated as an event.
Events can work for completing a form, watching a promotional video, scrolling depth, pop-up impressions, and much more.
Using these metrics can improve your bounce rate. However, you should be careful not to confuse Google Analytics into giving inaccurate readings on actual engagements and interactions with your website.
Bounce rate is calculated by dividing the total number of single-page visits by the total number of visits to the site.
For example, if 100 people visit your website and 10 persons out of 100 contributed to single-page visits. The bounce rate will amount to 10%.
You may wonder if a high percentage of bounce rate in Google Analytics is a terrible thing. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t.
A few factors come into play in determining an average bounce rate.
Usually, it depends on the nature and content of the website or webpage.
For example, if the landing page of your shopping website gets a high bounce rate of 70%, it means people are not interacting with the rest of the website, which is bad.
But, if a single-page blog post that doesn’t require further interaction with other parts of the website gets the same high bounce rate, it isn’t so much to be worried about.
Also, mobile devices tend to have higher bounce rates than desktops, regardless of the industry.
An average bounce rate for mobile devices is 51%, while desktops will come at an average of 43% bounce rate in Google Analytics. When checking your bounce rate in Google Analytics, it is important to look at these factors:
Have a look at what an ideal bounce rate is based on website categories;
Go to Reports – Audiences – Overview.
Go to Behaviour – Site Content – All pages
Using Google Analytics to check your bounce rate is very important for several reasons.
Here are a few;
The goal of any website is to meet its target audience faster by getting high SERP rankings.
However, Google has denied using bounce rates and other Google Analytics metrics in determining algorithm rankings for a number of reasons.
However, SEO may be affected by using related signals.
For example, when you search a particular keyword and leave a site that appears for that search almost as soon as you enter the site, this will indicate that the site wasn’t relevant to your search.
If the site consistently suffers such brief interactions, it will be apparent that it isn’t relevant to users, which will affect the SEO.
Use your bounce rate to determine how well your SEO strategy is working. You may find that you need to improve your content and keyword relevance.
Checking your website bounce rate in Google Analytics is a way of assessing your website’s user experience.
An unfavorably high bounce rate tells you there is something hindering visitors’ quality use of your site.
Take it as an indicator to do something about your site.
You can record the user sessions on your site to know how users interact with your site and how to improve their experience.
You can only determine your conversion rate by the number of users interacting with your site.
How many have been on your page, and how many have engaged further by getting your product or responding to your CTA?
For example, if you have 100 users visit your site in a day and 40 out of the 100 buy your product, you can say you have a conversion rate of 40% because you know the number of people you were able to reach and the number that engaged your call to action.
It may just be time for you to put your money into another campaign or redesign an old one.
Your website bounce rate helps you evaluate the performance of your marketing strategy by understanding how users engage it.
For example, if users are not clicking on your call to action (CTA) link, it could indicate that the placement or design is not catchy enough or user-friendly. That means you need to switch up something.
Also, declining engagement may mean that the campaign has run its course and it’s time for something new.
Many things may be contributing to a high bounce rate on Google Analytics for your website. Have a look at some of these factors.
Imagine opening a site you believe will be beneficial to your Google query, and you are instantly flooded with way too many pop-up ads or chat links that make it difficult to scroll through the site.
Most users will leave the site just as soon as it becomes difficult to navigate the site.
This also includes demanding way too much information from users before they can use your site.
If you open a site and you instantly get requests to give out personal data, will you proceed with the site afterward?
Visuals are a great way to sell your content. People are drawn to what they see. It’s all about aesthetics.
Most users will first judge your site by the design and layout before considering your content.
Also, make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Mobile device users will leave your site if they cannot use it with ease.
For example, zooming in and then moving from one end to another to view page content will be an unnecessary chore for an average mobile user.
Nobody wants to waste valuable time waiting to access content on the internet.
Imagine those few seconds when you eagerly wait to press the skip ad icon on a youtube video. It’s the same impatience at play when you are trying to load a site to check out its content for your Google search.
It’s worse when it’s a site you haven’t used before. You don’t trust that the information on the site will be helpful, so what’s the point in waiting so long to find out?
Having a slow loading speed will make users leave your site before they can even see what you have to offer.
When people visit your site, they do so in hopes of getting relevant answers to their search engine query. It will be very disappointing for users if your site doesn’t offer what they hoped for.
Low-quality content can come in several ways. It could be poorly written or organized content. It could also be content irrelevant to the user’s query.
For example, a user who wants to view cheap healthy food options and ends up on a site with expensive healthy food options or cheap, unhealthy food options. The content will be completely irrelevant to the user.
Also, it could be that you used the keywords to manipulate traffic to your site, and your content failed to meet up with the expected information for those keywords.
So, not having enough beneficial information can be a problem too.
You may be doing everything right except for the backlinks you use on your website.
That is one sure way to shoot yourself in the leg.
The backlink you use may be coming from a bad site, and it will affect how users interact with your site. This can automatically contribute adversely to your bounce rate in Google Analytics.
After identifying the issues contributing to your site’s high bounce rate, the next step is to figure out how to improve your bounce rate in Google Analytics.
Here are a few tips to try.
SEO and meta descriptions are key components of your SERP ratings. Good SERP ratings can help you maintain a good bounce rate in Google Analytics.
You just have to ensure your content aligns with the keywords on your meta description.
Do away with typos, give rich content, and ensure your titles are not misleading.
Also, easy-to-read content is perfect for users. Make use of paragraphs and white spaces a lot.
Break down your sentences, use medium size fonts, and provide subheadings and a table of contents. This is a great way of telling the user what to expect and how to navigate your page easily.
For instance, take a look at the screenshot below of a blog post on hotjar.
Several things may be contributing to the slow loading speed of your site.
A major contributor would be images. Ensure that you don’t saturate your page with too many large-sized images that require more loading time.
Try to use less CSS as much as possible. Cut them out if they are not functional and merge tools into smaller functional sizes.
Also, check out your site host. Sometimes your hosting provider is the reason your site takes forever to load. It might be time to upgrade to a fast hosting provider.
Internal links are a great feature that enables your users to access other pages without leaving your site. That way, they visit more than one page on your site, and your bounce rate doesn’t increase.
Also, if you are linking other sites, they can open on another tab without users having to leave your site entirely or pressing the back button to return to your site.
This is another way to boost user experience, and it all works to improve your bounce rate in Google Analytics.
Create an appealing design for your website. Make it easy for users to navigate your website with ease.
A mobile-friendly site is great for user experience, and that will impact your bounce rate in Google Analytics in a good way.
Do away with crappy and excessive pop-ups. If you must use pop-ups, use exit-intent pop-ups that show up when the user is leaving the page already.
While Google doesn’t use bounce rate for its rankings, a high bounce rate in Google Analytics can affect your website’s success on Google. Even more, it can be useful to you in analyzing the progress of your landing page and site as a whole.
Take out time to investigate the performance of your landing page, your website exit rate and your bounce rate.
A proper analysis with the understanding you have now may be all you need to start making a difference.
Let’s bounce! It’s time to fix up!
Toby Nwazor is a freelance writer for B2B SaaS and marketing companies. He is the founder of Millionaire Writers, a website dedicated to teaching freelancers how to turn their hustles to money-making businesses.