Demystifying Bounce Rate Using Google Analytics

Many bloggers, Internet marketers and small business owners have an incorrect understanding of what the term “bounce rate” actually is and the role it plays in business. We think that if we have less than a 50% bounce rate, our blog is among the best; however, this is a very wrong impression.

Whether you should be happy about the blog’s bounce rate depends on a lot of factors. A blog with a 90% average bounce rate may be more useful than the one with a 35% average bounce rate.

Therefore, let’s demystify the bounce rate syndrome.

What is Bounce Rate?

The Google Analytics bounce rate tool measures the conversion rate and/or functions as the popularity meter for the specific blog page, website or landing page. Internet marketers regularly suggest that bloggers should try to keep the bounce rate below 50% but as we will see in this post, it doesn’t matter that much.

When do you have a bounce?

You have a bounce, either less or more, when someone visits a particular web page, spends some time on it and leaves. The visitor does not interact with anymore pages.

Does the Google methodology have any faults?

When you view Google Analytics, it not only gives you the bounce rate but the time spent on the site.

Now let’s see what Google has to say about them.

On ‘Bounce Rate’

If a user leaves your site after loading the first page, regardless of any interaction, this is considered a bounce.

On ‘Time on Site’

If users are only loading one page on your site, irrespective of how much they interact with that page, their time on site is 0:00 to Google Analytics.

For instance, if you visit any of the Income Insiders blog pages, read the content in 59 seconds, and leave without clicking on any other page, Google Analytics will show the bounce rate as 100.00% and the time on site as 0:00, not 59 seconds.

The above situation can happen despite the fact that the page you visited was excellent, exactly what you were looking for and highly recommended by you for others.

For the blog webmaster, the performance for the page will be 0 and the webmaster is likely to place the page back in ‘drafts’ for “non-performance,” which will be a very negative action.

Therefore, YES, the Google Analytics bounce page evaluation is not entirely foolproof.

The Google algorithm becomes more misleading for the following reasons:

1. Your blog has a form to capture leads or direct visitors to a landing page. This means that when a user comes to a page, spots the landing page link in 35 seconds, navigates away from the page, signs up or buys a product / service, Google Analytics will give you a 100% bounce rate but in reality, the 100% bounce rate gave you a SALE.

2. You deliberately recommend users to external links. Hence, it is entirely possible that the user may want to click on the external link and navigate away.

3. If the user finds all the information on one page and spends minutes reading it, why would the same user click on any other webpage link? But Analytics does not consider this. Thus, if the user spends 10 minutes on the same page, it will still be shown as 100% bounce rate. You think – is this good or bad?

Other reasons for a higher bounce rate:

1. The visitor clicks on the ads and navigates away.

2. The visitor types a new URL on the browser or closes the browser altogether.

3. The visitor hits the “back” button.

Should you worry about a high bounce rate?

To answer this, you should do a holistic assessment of the blog/website. It entirely depends on the purpose – the aim of the blog.

Google Analytics is undoubtedly a powerful tool but you must know when to take it seriously and when not to.

Bounce Rate
IncomeInsiders.com Bounce Rate Apr 2011
Demystifying Bounce Rate Using Google Analytics
IncomeInsiders.com Bounce Rate Jan 2012

If the website/blog is a lead capture page, informative knowledge base, displays an opt-in form or a subscription page, a higher bounce rate is not unusual; hence, nothing to worry about.

BUT, if you have a blog like a million others publishing content, AdSense ads, and affiliate ads, you DO need less than at least a 60% bounce rate.

Use the tips to lower the bounce rate.

Tips to Improve Bounce Rate

Simple formula –>to reduce bounce rate, you need to RETAIN visitors.

The tips below tell you how to improve bounce rate.

1. Add videos. Use YouTube or create your own, and embed it within the blog post.

2. Add a “Related Posts” plugin from the WordPress plugin database. The plugin will show similar posts at the end of the blog, prompting the reader to check those too.

3. Use a search box.

4. Give internal links. It will be better if the internal links are from the blog itself. Of course, if your blog is new, this is hard to do but don’t forget it.

5. The “Subscription” box should be clearly visible on the blog.

6. The blog should be easy to navigate. Place categories and recent posts links in clear visibility.

7. Do not fill the blog with banner ads. It makes the blog look cluttered; hence, loss of visitors.

8. Write informative content.

9. External or internal links should open in a new window.

10. Improve the load time of the site.

11. Articles longer than 1000 words should be split into parts.

12. Remove pop-up ads. They are annoying.

Conclusion

Don’t fret about bounce rates all the time. It’s significant too but first, perform an assessment of your blog and identify how much significance the bounce rate will have for you.

Any thoughts? Leave them below…

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