What is the “bounce rate” in Google Analytics

Google Analytics is, without doubt, a must use tool for all website owners and managers. If you haven’t already been using this free tool then you have been getting only a blinkered view of your website’s performance. The great thing about Google Analytics is that it puts on your fingertips a lot of useful information about the performance of your website. This allows you to tweak your site in such a way that it becomes the best that it could ever be. One of the pieces of data that you get is the bounce rate. But what is the bounce rate and why is it important for websites?

Meaning of Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

The term bounce rate in Google Analytics refers to the percentage of visitors to your website who leave after viewing only one page.

Why is the bounce rate important?

The bounce rate is one of the most important metrics for websites. But why is that the case?

  • The bounce rate is used by Google and other search engine as an SEO parameter that reflects how useful the content of a website is. If all the people who land on your pages quickly leave without opening other pages, then that’s taken to mean that your content is probably not good enough. So, a high bounce rate often translates into a lower ranking on Google.
  • The bounce rate shows you how well your internal linking structure is working. Such things as your “Related Posts,” are what keep the bounce rate down. If these things are not present, then this could be the reason why nobody is seemingly interested in pages other than the ones on which they landed.

Should the bonce rate in Google Analytics be high or low?

bounce rate in Google Analytics bonce rate
Google Analytics bounce rate should be low

Most people who ask; What is the “bonce rate” in Google Analytics are confused as to whether the bounce rate should be high or low. Is it better to have a bounce rate of 100% or that of 20%?

Well, based on what we were talking about in the definition, you DONT want a bounce rate that’s excessively high. So, when it comes to the bounce rate, the lower the percentage the better. If you have an excessively high bounce rate, then it’s an indication that your content is not engaging enough to entice people who land on your pages to click on other pages on your site.

What is the average bounce rate for a website?

The average bounce rate for websites that are out there is 58%. So, if you have anything above this, then it could be indicative of trouble. As an example, the site whose screenshot is shown above has a bounce rate of 87%. That’s not really good considering that it’s way over the average.

However, you need to note that bounce rates differ depending on the type of website. Ecommerce websites, as an example, cannot be expected to have the same bounce rate as general blogs. A news website is also probably going to have a lower bounce rate because people are much more likely to want to read other news articles once they land on it’s pages.

How to Improve your Bounce Rate

Okay, now that I have answered the question; what is Google Analytics bonce rate, it’s time for me to give you tips on how to lower your bounce rate. The first thing to note is that if you have a high bounce rate in Google Analytics, there is no need for you to celebrate. A high bounce rate is a sign of trouble and could see you being downgraded by Google and other search engines. If you have a high bounce rate in Google Analytics, the following is how to lower it;

  • Write engaging content that people will want to read. I know, this is easier said than done, unless of course if your are into fake news. People across the world just love fake news. Oh well…!
  • Do some internal linking. If you link to an article that people think is important, then they will click on that link, thus improving your bounce rate.
  • Make sure that you have a “related posts,” section appearing below your content.
  • You can also display “featured posts,” “popular posts,” and other post types to get people to click on them.

You can read the following article for ways of decreasing the bounce rate on a website.

Google analytics bounce rate too low

I heard the other day someone actually complaining that their Google Analytics bounce rate was too low. Well, that was because they didn’t understand the entire concept of a bounce rate. As mentioned above, the bonce rate in Google Analytics is a reflection of the percentage of people who leave a site without opening other pages. You want to have it as low as possible. And you want people to spend the entire day browsing through your pages where possible. That’s an indication that you are doing things right.

Bounce rate formula in Google Analytics

So, how does Google Analytics calculate bounce rate? The following is the Google Analytics bounce rate formula;

Bounce Rate = Total number of visits with only 1 pageview / Total number of visits * 100.

Bounce rate formula

So, if you get 100 visitors, with 50 of them leaving without visiting other pages, then your bounce rate would be 50/100*100=50%.

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