What is a Bounce Rate in Google Analytics and How to Improve Yours

Google analytics bounce rate

Google launched Google Analytics as a service in 2005 and one of the components it measures is the Bounce Rate. It is a measurement of how long a visitor stays on your website. At first, I understood it to be if someone lands on one of your site’s pages, then leaves in seconds — not finding what they want — it’s recorded as a bounce. However, this article by Neil Patel and it’s infographic explains it further and it’s not what I thought it was at all.

What is a Bounce?

A bounce is recorded when someone visits your sites and views only 1 page, then leaves. It doesn’t matter how long they stay. This happens especially when you’re offering an answer to a question.

Why do Visitors Bounce Off?

They can bounce off your site by…

  • Clicking on an external link to another website that doesn’t open in a new window or tab.
  • Clicking the “back” button on the browser
  • Closing the window or tab in the browser
  • Typing a new URL
  • Session timeout

Calculating the Bounce Rate

The bounce rate of a single page is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the total number of bounces divided by the total number of visits on a page. 

Neil Patel

Neil Patel and his team created this infographic to help explain it. When I first looked at the equation, my initial thought was algebra! But he explains it very well, so the non-analytic, non-mathematicians can understand it. Below it, I have some tips for you on how to reduce your bounce rate.

Note the factors that affect and increase your bounce rate…

  • Pop-ups, music or instant streaming video — I hate pop-ups! They are the most annoying thing ever invented. Think of this, you land on a website because they have an article that answers your question. Then, you’re immediately assaulted by an ad to join their email list or download a free whatever. How do I know if I like your content if you don’t let me read it! In addition, music or instant-playing videos are a major turn-off and a negative affect.
  • Your page ranks high for irrelevant keywords — this can happen when the name of the business or the page has no relevancy to the keyword search terms that apply to your business.
  • Type of audience — your content is attracting the wrong audience. This will happen if you don’t do proper research.
  • Landing page design and message — there are too many distractions on the landing page or it doesn’t get to the point and the call-to-action is not clear. It could also have too much text.
  • Wrong ad message — the ad they clicked on was misleading or click-bait. It is totally different than what’s on the landing page.
  • Emails and Newsletters — this happens if you have a call-to-action or a linked phrase and it goes to a different page by mistake. It occurs more often than you think! Always test your emails and newsletters before you send!
  • Page loading speed — people want pages to load in seconds. Older websites sometimes have a problem with this. Google measure page loading speed by how fast it loads on a mobile device. That’s because the user may be on cellular rather than logged in to the Internet.
  • Links to external sites — like I mentioned above. Yes, external links to relevant websites help with SEO, but they could also increase your bounce rate.
  • Purpose of the page — what do you want the visitor to do on the page? What’s the purpose or objective? If what they need is not obvious to them, they’ll leave.

Tips to Improve and Reduce your Bounce Rate

  • Make sure you rank for “branded” keywords — this means doing your keyword research BEFORE your create a page or write a blog post.
  • Provide relevant content — really understand your target market‘s pain points and provide answers to their problems. (Get your free target market workbook here!)
  • Have a clear navigation/menu — you need to guide the visitor to where you want them to go — to a conversion!
  • Have a link to a glossary defining industry terms — like I do! That page or post should have internal links to each blog post that further defines the terms.
  • Have a search box near the top and make it easy to see and use.
  • Speed up page-loading. Google’s SiteKit plugin for WordPress will help analyze how fast your page loads. This plug-in will make it easy for you to review your Google Analytics. If you don’t have a WordPres site, use this free tool from Google to test your page loading speed.
  • Don’t use pop-up ads. If you must have a pop-up — and unfortunately, they do work — have it appear when a person scrolls to the bottom of the page or starts to leave.
  • Reduce external links or have them open in a new window.
  • Also, have these features on your page (NOT a landing page!) to keep visitors longer
    • Related Content
    • Latest Posts
    • Most Popular Posts
    • Categories
    • Tag Cloud
  • Write more content! Obviously, if you’re just starting out, your bounce rate will be high until you get more content up. The idea is to get it below 60% or at least in your industry’s average as depicted in the infographic.

Wow! That’s a lot to take in!

According to SemRush, your bounce rate is the 4th most important ranking factor on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

All in all, there many strategies to improve your conversions — keeping people on your website longer is one of them! The longer they stay on your site, the better the chance they will convert!

I’d be happy to take a look at your website to see where improvements can be made. Just schedule a free 15-minute phone consult by clicking here….

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By Giselle Aguiar

Giselle Aguiar is a social media, inbound and content marketing specialist and trainer helping business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields.

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