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 that 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 in to 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 equals single-page sessions divided by all sessions, which also can be stated as 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.
Here are two relevant metrics that illuminate how well a single page is performing:
Entrances – The total number of times that your website visitors entered on a specific page.
Bounces – The total number of times a person entered your site on that specific page and ended their session without visiting another page.
Remember that Google records a bounce when they detect that a visitor’s browser has requested only one page before leaving your site.
Here’s the page-specific formula:
Page Bounce Rate = (Total Bounces / Total Entrances) * 100
So, if Google recorded 500 visits that initiated on a page (Entrances) and 400 times, Google determined that the website visit ended without requesting another page (Bounces), the calculation would be:
Page Bounce Rate = (400 / 500) * 100 = 80%
Since sitewide Entrances equal sitewide Visits, your sitewide 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 clicks on a link to your About page. He spends 5 minutes on the page reading all about you and then closes the page.
Google measures one tracked event (visiting the page), and no clicks to any other pages or links on your website. Google can’t record 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, Google will clock it at 0:00. Your bounce rate for this session is 100%.
Lisa clicks a link to your About page. She also spends 5 minutes reading about you. Then, she sees a fascinating list of blog articles and clicks a link to read one.
Google creates a timestamp when the second click (measurable event) occurs. Google logs the time spent on your About page as 5:00. The bounce rate for this session is 0%.
Jim and Lisa, together, yield a 50% bounce rate.
What this means for you
When analyzing your bounce rate for any page, it helps to consider your objectives for the page.
If visitors arrive at your Contact page and call 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 awhile. Lower bounce rates are desirable in most cases.
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, relevant, well-written content
- Hire an editor or at least use a tool to check your spelling and grammar
Understanding and monitoring your bounce rate can tell you a lot about your site’s health and success, so take time to understand this metric and check it routinely.
Photo credit: Josh Calabrese on Unsplash