Bounce Rate in Google Analytics: Guide for Webmasters

If you manage or own a website, you probably use Google Analytics and also Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools. In this article, I’ll try to explain the concept of bounce rate and how to use it to analyze your visitors’ behaviour on your website and also how it connects to the data in Search Console.

Bounce Rate in Analytics vs. CTR in Search Console

While Google Analytics records data straight from your site’s visitors using a piece of code on your website, Google Search Console collects data from Google Search and thus is independent from Google Analytics data.

Google Analytics measures the activity of a visitor and records a visit to a landing page after someone opens a page from a website in her or his browser. If a user doesn’t interact with the website in any other way, which is measured by Google Analytics, then this is recorded as a single page session and thus, a bounce. The bounce rate is the portion of bounces in relation to the total number of sessions.

Google Search Console, on the other hand, collects information from Google SERP (Search Engine Result Page) data, which means that these are the numbers straight from Google. You can view these data only if you add your website as a “property” inside your Google Search Console. To do that, you have to verify that you have control over the code of the website, or that you have full access to the Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager accounts associated with the website. In Google Search Console, Google gives you CTR (Click Through Rate) data for each search query and landing page.

CTR in Google Search Console can give you a better understanding on how your content performs in the competition of Google’s search results. If your CTR is low relative to the position of your landing page or query, you should work on the relevance of your page’s content and the presentation in the SERPs – most importantly the Page Title and Meta Description tags.

Luckily, there is a way to integrate the data from Search Console to Analytics. This is done by linking your Search Console property to your Google Analytics property, both of which you have to own.

Historically, Google Analytics used to show organic (unpaid) keywords used in Google Search to access your site. They have stopped providing this data in 2010 due to changing privacy policies, so ever since, the only source of this information has been Google Search Console. With linked accounts, you can see the data relatively side-by-side and compare the number of clicks for each landing page with organic traffic to these pages (this should match very roughly) and you can analyze a single page’s bounce rate and click through rate from Google’s Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

Thus, with this information, you can analyze landing pages with respect to their CTR from Google and bounce rate from Analytics and have a clear picture of their performance.

Some Essentials of Google Analytics and its Bounce Rate

  • Bounce rate data helps improve the rank of your website when it appears in organic searches,
  • It enables you to know when to update meta-descriptions, keywords, and tweak your copy, etc.,
  • Having a clear understanding of bounce rates helps you to better manage your conversion rates and can help you to generate higher sales.

When Users Leave your Site?

There are various reasons why the users leave sites:

  • They have gained all relevant information on one page and thus have been satisfied
  • They didn’t get the answer to their question and leave quickly to Google to find out more
  • They didn’t find the information, products or services they were looking for.
  • It takes too long for the site to load.

If your Bounce rate in Google analytics is high then your site has some issues which need addressing to ensure that you don’t lose traffic and sales.

Ways to Reduce your Bounce Rate:

  • The main aspect here is to consider what visitors expect when they search using key phrases/words. The one thing you must ask yourself is whether or not your website is resourceful and fulfilling the expectations of the visitors.
  • The second aspect is whether you offer your visitors ways to interact with your website’s landing page. You can provide satisfying information, but if the visitor doesn’t know, what’s the next move on your website, you will lose her/him and record a bounce. Therefore you should offer Call to Action elements like buttons, banners or links to lead your visitor and convert her/him into a customer
  • The last thing is to ensure that Google Analytics records relevant events on your site. If you want to consider everyone who scrolls down to the bottom of your blog post as a visitor who has not bounced, even though he did nothing else, you can set this up in Google Analytics and on your site or in Google Tag Manager.
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