Understanding Google Analytics Bounce Rates

Google Analytics can feel like a minefield of data, making you uncertain of where to go or what to do next. One of the most important elements to understand is the bounce rate of your site. This is the percentage of visits from people who arrive on a page and then leave without exploring further. The higher that rate is, the less successful your site could be.

Of course, it does depend on the nature of the page the visitor lands on. If lots of people visit one page but spend ages on there when they arrive, it gives a different picture to the one you would get if they arrived and left in just a second or two. It could also be that the page was so good, they got the info they needed the moment they landed there.

However, in many cases, bounce rates are high because people are turned off by the page they have landed on. You should aim to keep your bounce rate below 50% if possible. If it is higher than this, you should consider figuring out what to do about it.

Does a high bounce rate matter to you?

Notice I said, ‘to you.’ Some sites consist of just one page that aims to get people to sign up to a newsletter. In this case, you wouldn’t expect people to visit more than one page. Few are going to read the Ts and Cs, for example. They’ll either leave after signing up to the newsletter or leave in search of something else. That’s when you need to look at the time spent on your page before worrying about the bounce rate.

Even the type of site can influence what would be a good or bad bounce rate. For example, most sites should have cause for concern if the rate goes above 70%. That said, a news site wouldn’t be too concerned if it had a rate above that because of the nature of the site.

Reduce your bounce rate by making sure your site engages visitors

It could be that one page of your site is generating a higher bounce rate than others. This likely means that page needs optimising to retain more visitors. What are they visiting that page for? What do they want to see? And how is your page failing to provide that for them?

By assessing what you want your site to achieve, you can better understand your bounce rates and improve on them where required.

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