If you want your website to engage your audience, monitor your Bounce Rate and make adjustments to improve it.
What is Bounce Rate?
According to Google, a bounce is a single-page session. A bounce happens when a visitor visits a website, views a single page and leaves the site.
The extent visitors engage with your site is directly correlated with the likelihood of converting visitors to leads and customers. When someone clicks away after viewing a single page, it often indicates your site failed to engage that visitor.
Bounce rate, expressed as a percentage, measures the ratio of one-page visits to total visits. Low bounce rates are usually a positive indicator.
One exception is a dedicated landing page designed to elicit action. Such pages are often designed to discourage visitors from engaging with other content on the site by hiding the site menu or delaying access to navigation options until the visitor completes a desired action. If the visit results in a phone call, your page has likely achieved a valuable objective and yet Google may record the visit as a bounce.
Where do I check my Bounce Rate?
You can review bounces in Google Analytics. Now, I assume you have heard of Google Analytics and have installed Google’s tracking code, but have you been monitoring your bounce rate?
If not, let me tell you where to check it.
- Sign into your Google Analytics
- Click on Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
There, you will see your site-wide bounce rate as well as the rate for individual pages and posts.
But what does it mean?
Let’s simplify it.
On the surface, again, it is the ratio of one-page visits to total visits.
But we’ll look a little deeper. Here’s how Google measures it:
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.
Makes perfect sense right? Well, no!
There are two terms you must know:
Entrances – The total number of times that visitors to your site entered on that page.
Bounces – The total number of times a person entered your site on that page and ended their session without visiting another page.
Google records a bounce when they detect a request for only one page on your site.
Here’s the formula:
Bounce Rate = (Total Bounces / Total Entrances) * 100
So, if Google recorded 500 entrances and 400 bounces on a page, the calculation would be:
(400 / 500) * 100 = 80%
Your site-wide bounce rate equals total bounces / total entrances.
What if a page’s bounce rate is 100% and visitor time on the page is 0:00?
Let’s answer this with an example:
Jim clicked on a link to your About page. He spent 5 minutes on the page reading all about you and then closed the page.
Since Google measured one tracked event (visiting the page), and no clicks to any other pages or links, Google recorded no time spent on the page. Google can’t measure the time Jim spent reading about you because he didn’t click a link or do something else measurable, such as submitting a form.
Even though he spent 5 minutes on your page, you will see a time of 0:00. And your bounce rate for this session would be 100%.
Lisa clicked on a link to your About page. She also spent 5 minutes reading about you. Then, she saw a fascinating list of blog articles and clicked a link to read one.
Google creates a timestamp when the second event occurs. They log the duration as 5:00. The bounce rate for this session would be 0% yielding a 50% average bounce rate for the visits from Jim and Lisa.
What this means for you
When analyzing your bounce rate for any page, it helps to consider your objectives for the page.
If visitors are arriving at your Contact page and calling you, there may be no cause for concern.
On the other hand, when someone visits a blog post or your homepage, you want them to click around and stay a while. Lower bounce rates are desirable in this scenario.
Aside from landing-page traffic, if your bounce rate is high, evaluate why people are not engaging more with your site.
How Can I Lower My Bounce Rate?
Many factors can influence visitor engagement. To improve yours, here are a few suggestions.
- Add engaging internal links
- Add calls to action
- Ensure your menu system is easy to understand and navigate
- Use more images or better quality images
- Embed videos
- Write informative content
- Hire an editor or at least use a tool to check your spelling and grammar
Whatever your website objectives are, understanding and monitoring your bounce rate can tell you a lot about the health and success of your site, so take time to understand this metric and check it routinely.
Photo credit: Josh Calabrese on Unsplash