What is Bounce Rate in Google Analytics?

What is Bounce Rate in Google Analytics?

Having high bounce rate is a headache for every website-owner. If people land on your site and they just close the browser then it is not a good characteristic for your site.

What is Bounce Rate and does it matter?

If I go with dictionary definition of the word Bounce then it means repel. If any object hits another object and then moves back, preferably in the opposite direction then it means that the first object is bouncing from second object. This is what I have explained as per English dictionary.

When it comes to SEO industry, the meaning remains same but just the definition becomes different. Let us read on this topic in detail.

When any user lands on any page of your website then that is counted as one session in Analytics. In that single session, user can navigate through n number of pages on your site. If a user exits your site by closing his browser and by visiting just one page then it will be termed as single-page session and if the user has surfed multiple pages then it will be multi-page session.

And if you divide the single-page sessions by the total number of sessions then that will be bounce rate percentage.

Let us understand this bounce rate calculation with simple mathematical formula.

Bounce Rate Formula

In order to calculate the bounce rate, first understand few terms that are used in the calculation of bounce rate.

Session
Any person can come on your website though any of the below means:
• Searching any keyword on any search engine.

• Through any social network such as facebook, twitter, etc.

• If you have written guest post on any other blog then you can get referral traffic through that blog.

• If any other external website has linked to your any blog-post then he can send referral traffic to you.

• If you might have commented on some good blogs then people surfing that blog can land on your website through the comments on that external blog.

In Google Analytics, when any visitor comes on your website (through any means) and till the time he exits from your site, is termed as session.

In between the session duration, the same visitor can click on n number of pages on your site or can exit from the single landing page itself.

Single-Page Session
After landing on your website’s page, if the visitor closes his browser instantly or after some time and he stays on the same page only throughout the session-duration then it is called as single-page session. Analytics count it as 0 seconds duration.

If the visitor stays on your site for few seconds or minutes too then also the analytics will count it zero seconds as the user has not clicked on any other internal link on your site and therefore, google analytics will treat it 0 seconds duration only.

Multi-Page Session
After coming on your blog, if the user clicks on any other internal link then it is a good sign for your website bounce rate. This session is known as multi-page session since in this session-duration, user has surfed multiple pages and that too, in the same session.

Session-Count
The total number of sessions created by users on your website in a given month is known as session-count for that month.

Now when we know about the useful terms, let us write the mathematical formula for bounce rate calculation.

Bounce Rate percentage = (Number of Single Page Sessions / Session-Count) x 100

In plain English, Bounce Rate (BR) for a given period of time is dividing the number of single page sessions by total number of sessions and multiplying it by 100.

Bounce Rate Example

If you are still not able to grasp the bounce-rate completely then let me explain it in simple terms. In order to understand this in non-technical terms, let us take an example below:

Suppose you have a query and in order to resolve this, you call your mobile’s customer care department and any representative picks the phone and try answering you.

Now, consider the below 4 types of representatives on other side:
1. The executive is male and he is not having complete knowledge on his subject. Also, he speaks to you rudely and you become angry and instantly, cut down the phone.

2. The customer care executive is male and he speaks politely with you and answers your all questions then you will stay on call with him for quite good time and he keeps on answering your questions till the time your query is not resolved fully.

3. The representative is young girl who speaks politely with you but has average knowledge and is not able to answer your all questions.

4. Now comes the fourth option. The executive is a girl who speaks in a very sweet language with you, has complete knowledge and information about her job, and answers your all questions. You love talking with her and as such, ask some extra questions but the good thing is that she happily answers your those extra questions too.

Now tell me that if the mobile company asks you to rate all employees then whom you will rate well and whom you will rate worse? I know you will rate that fourth executive because she is a young girl and you are in love with her voice :).

Not just voice but infact; she has satisfied your all queries and thus, you rated her best.

The same applies to internet world and websites too. Considering the above 4 executives, let’s put the same four options related to websites.

1. The first option is for sites that have ugly design and no useful content related to user’s query. It means the user was not able to find the info he wanted. Also, the useless pop-ups are annoying the user. Here, the user instantly closes his browser and runs away from this site. This site has high-bounce rate.

2. The second option states that the website has relevant information corresponding to user’s query but he did not like the ugly design. Also, the website lacks some recommended on-page seo things such as internal-linking. Here, user stays for some time but then eventually go away. It means the user has not clicked on any other link/page on the site.

3. The third option states that the website design is nice, has internal-linking to some extent. But the problem here is that it does not display the complete information pertaining to user’s query. So here too, the user cannot stay for long.

4. The fourth option states that the landing page has all the relevant information that the user was looking. Plus the blog has a clean and elegant design. The webmaster has adopted good on-page tactics, proper internal and external links are in-place. As such, the user surfs the other pages on this blog. This blog will have lowest BR.

Now, let’s go to our mathematical bounce rate formula again and do some more maths.

Suppose your website creates 100 sessions in month and out of these 100, 30 sessions are single-page ones then how you will do calculation?

Here,
Single-page sessions = 30
Total Sessions = 100

BR % = (30/100) x 100 = 30%

I hope now this term is very much clear to you.

Is High Bounce Rate bad?

No webmaster in this world wants a high repulsive rate for his website. No one wants that the visitor lands on his blog and just moves back. Every webmaster tries to lower down this rate as much as possible thinking that failing to do so might affect his seo rankings. This fear is valid too because everyone wants that visitors should stay longer on their sites. But will you believe that google has slightly different view on this.

As per Google, a high bounce rate is not always bad. Going by their reason, if your blog’s homepage is the main landing page for your visitors and on homepage, you have links to different sections on your blog such as News, Articles, Images, Videos, different categories then yes, you should be concerned in case of high repulsive rate.

If users get some meaning on your blog only after landing on the homepage then it is something you need to seriously look into because in this case, you are lacking the real value of your website.

But if you are a blogger whose individual posts keep value then there is no need for you to take much burden on high bounce rate. If you are not dependent on your homepage then to have a higher bouncing rate is perfectly normal. These are not mine wordings but google is saying this.

So it means we should not take any measures to reduce the bounce rate?
The simple and clear answer is No. No matter what your site is about, I would suggest that try as many measures to reduce the bounce rate as you can.

If you are advertising on Google adwords or facebook and people are just landing on your site and going back then that’s a bad sign for you, atleast for your money :). You are wasting your money for the traffic that is not at all interested in your niche.

So the correct approach would be that you should target different audience and save some money for you. Try adjusting the paid keywords for which you are paying to Adwords or Facebook; or try changing the geographical location from where your visitors are coming. Please note here that neither Adwords nor Facebook can impact your search-engine rankings.

But if you see similar trend for the visitors visiting your website through search-engine then there is something for you to worry. Because that is free traffic and if visitors are repelling back then it means either you do not possess quality content or your website design or coding is bad. For any of the reasons, you should look into the matter seriously.

When checking the stats in google analytics, make sure you do not consider the overall bounce rate of your website but instead, go in each of the channels and check that how the bounce-rate is divided.

Bounce rate google analytics
Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

To support my theory, I have something more to share.
In 2016, Google’s Andrey Lipattsev revealed something on their search-engine algorithm. He stated that the content, links from other websites pointing to your site and RankBrain are the most important signals that the search-algorithms take into account.

Content we all know that it plays a major role. Links from other sites is also something that we agree upon. And the third factor comes as RankBrain.

If you do not know what this RankBrain is then let me tell you that it is used by search-giant to keep a check on user-experience with respect to the indexing of their search-results. It means that if for a particular keyword, google showed you on number one position and if user landed on your site thru google-search but instantly bounced back then that is not a good signal for you.

Google will consider that user’s experience and it will make a note of it that the user did not like the result that it showed to him. If such incidents appear too much then you might see your site dropped in search-ranking.

The above video is more than an hour but it’s worth to watch. From above video, you will not be able to guess the first and second positions for links and content but one thing is sure that you will be able to rank the rankbrain on third position.

So, three important factors in search-indexing come to be:
• First and Second: Content and Links from external sources
• Third: RankBrain

Considering above, it is clear that whether your blog had landing door as your homepage or you have different topics written as different posts, you should try all possible ways in improving the bounce rate of your website.

What is a Good Bounce Rate?

This is a billion-dollar question. And the answer of this question varies as per industry and niche. It all depends on the niche that you write. If you blog on science or technology then you might see a high bounce rate while on the other hand; online shopping sites, entertainment and poetry websites might result a lower bouncing rate.

As per Brafton, the average bounce rate observed in 2017 was 58.18 percent. It further stated that B2B businesses had a higher bounce rate as compared to B2C. Hybrid was at the lowest part with 52.36%.

bounce rate benchmarking
Bounce Rate Benchmarking

The below graph shows the benchmarks across various industries.

Bounce Rate Benchmarks
Bounce Rate Benchmarks

From above benchmark images, we can conclude that while the BR varies as per niche and industry but we can judge that the good bounce rate can be anywhere from 50-55%.

Let me know what bounce rate your website has.

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