What is Bounce Rate in Analytics?

If you have ever had an interest in analytics, you may be asking yourself, what is bounce rate in analytics? When learning about analytics, you will surely come across the term “bounce rate” many times. Google has very straightforward definitions of these terms. First, let us define a bounce. A bounce is a session on your site that only lasts on a single page. This means that a user has clicked on only a single page of your website and not continued the session, exiting instead. That session is then sent to the analytics server. A bounce rate therefore is the percent of users that only had a single page session on your site. For some sites, a high bounce rate is not good news. For others, it is not concerning. 

what is bounce rate in analytics

Google Analytics Bounce Rate: A Quick Overview

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools available on the internet. It was founded in 2005 and has been constantly evolving since then. Google offers free courses on Analytics that anyone can take, just to learn about the software. These courses can be great for anyone looking to learn how to improve their site, and they also look great on a resume. Being knowledgeable in Analytics is important for website developers. It helps answer questions such as what is bounce rate in analytics.

The purpose of Google Analytics is to help users collect key data from their sites. Poorly performing pages can greatly benefit from Analytics, as they can identify what went wrong, and attempt to correct it. It must be said, however, that a very high, or very low bounce rate shown by Google Analytics is not always bad, and we will discuss more on that below. Therefore, being proficient at Google Analytics can help marketers and website owners greatly. 

bounce rate

The Importance of Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of sessions consisting of only a single page on your site before the user exited. It is sometimes also referred to as exit rate. It simply refers to the time period the user spent on your site. The user may have not liked the content, or may have left the website for a variety of other reasons. Either way, a bounce rate is very important to web designers. Your bounce rate metric can tell you a lot about the user experience of your website. For some, a bounce rate can be an unpleasant number to look at. It may be a high percentage, and if their website relies on users clicking through multiple pages, it does not bode well.

A Shopify store could be an example, which is why many Shopify optimization services are offered. Sometimes though, the numbers can be misleading. Some sites may have multiple topics surrounding them. They may have a blog, as well as e-commerce. One may have a much higher bounce rate than the other, yet if you have not set up the bounce rate in Analytics properly, it shows the overall bounce rate. Segmenting the bounce rate is crucial in this aspect. It shows more depth about the overall effectiveness of the site.

If you dive deeper into Google Analytics, you can compare your bounce rate to other users who use Google Analytics for similar sites. You can compare to the industry average and see how well you are doing. If your bounce rate is lower than the industry average, it is a good thing. Disregarding your bounce rate can be a mistake, especially if you seek to grow your online website, so keep in mind that it is important to know what is bounce rate in analytics. 

How to Calculate Bounce Rate

You can calculate your bounce rate by the total number of one-page visits divided by the total number of entries to your website.

Pogo Sticking

Pogo sticking is an interesting concept which is part of searching for something on the internet. This occurs when a user searches a query and clicks on the first link, is not satisfied with the result, and backs out to the search results page, clicking the second link, and so on. This is where Pogo sticking gets its name from. Pogo sticking ties in to bounce rates and it is very important to know how to prevent people from Pogo sticking from your site.

For example, you have the top result for a search query, but your bounce rate is higher than what it should be. Google’s algorithm sees that you are not converting enough people, as they are backing out and going on to the next result, so they decide to rank your site lower on the search results page. It is a sign that users do not like your site. So, Pogo sticking tells us that keeping your site relevant is crucial to reduce bounce rates that come from a site being irrelevant. 

bounce rate definition

Expanding on the Bounce Rate Definition

We have discussed the bounce rate definition multiple times, as well as what is bounce rate in analytics. Expanding on that definition is crucial to your overall understanding of search engine optimization and the utilization of tools that can reduce a bounce rate. Different sites have different goals, so a good or average bounce rate varies.

E-Commerce Website Bounce Rate

As mentioned before, high bounce rates are not bad for every website. It depends on what goals the site has set, as well as what they are targeting. Users may be satisfied with the information they found on the landing page, so while they contribute to a high bounce rate, the site has fulfilled its goal of user satisfaction. A good bounce rate depends on the website itself. A high bounce rate of, let’s say for example 75%, would not be good for an e-commerce website, because it means potential customers are not shopping.

News Website Bounce Rate

On the other hand, a news website would not panic at a bounce rate of 75%. Per the bounce rate definition we discussed earlier, users would click off after viewing a single page, and for news sites, users may just want to read breaking news before they get back to what they were doing before. Some websites raise money from ads, and even if someone clicks just on one page, they are still exposed to the advertisement, which is the website’s primary source of revenue anyways.

bounce rate Google

Suspiciously Low Bounce Rate

If you have a very low bounce rate of under 20%, do not rejoice. Your site may be set up incorrectly for Analytics. You may have duplicate code, or an incorrect setup. Usually, the best performing sites are around 25-45% (without an error.) 

How to Lower Your Bounce Rate

Meanwhile, if your business really needs to reduce a high bounce rate, then hiring an SEO specialist may be the way to go. An SEO specialist’s main job is to understand how these factors affect your site’s traffic, and they can help you increase conversions. They understand the bounce rate definition rather well, and also know what is bounce rate in analytics.Perhaps your user experience is poor on your website, or your product pages do not do a good job of selling your product. A professional SEO company can increase user engagement on your website and work on getting you to a good bounce rate. 

Accuracy of the Bounce Rate Google Analytics Measures

The accuracy of the bounce rate Google Analytics measures is confusing at times. While bounce rate has an SEO impact, some experts believe that reducing your bounce rate will not give you a higher ranking on a search engine results page (SERP.) Bounce rate does not measure how much time users spent on your site, so even if someone engaged with your site for a good period of time, they still contributed to the bounce rate percentage. Wikipedia and any other informative site are examples of this. Sometimes, a page just takes too long to load, and it may not even be the website’s fault. A user may not have a good data plan or WiFi, so they exit the page before it fully loads. That still contributes to bounce rate, and adds to the percentage.

If you plan on using Google Analytics, just focusing on the bounce rate Google Analytics measures is not the best plan. Being informed about all of the KPIs of Analytics is crucial. Also, Google Analytics is not the only choice out there. There are other choices for tracking analytics, so be aware that the bounce rate Google Analytics measures can be easily found in another analytical tracker. Overall, the accuracy of the bounce rate Google Analytics measures is confusing, and not always reliable. Having proper knowledge about the whole of Google Analytics, or whichever analytics tool you use is more important, and can help you understand how your site is doing as a whole.

what is bounce rate

The Importance of Bounce Rates

Knowing what is bounce rate in analytics is very important to anyone looking to optimize their site. Google Analytics is not perfect. No analytics tool is. It is however, important to understand that the bounce rate Google Analytics measures, can be helpful but not informative enough. As mentioned above, some external factors tie into why the bounce rate is not always a measure of your success or failure when attracting new users to your site. Remember, focusing on bounce rate will not bring in conversions. In part, knowing what bounce rate is in analytics can confuse you at first, but will nevertheless be important knowledge that you can possess. 


  • What is a bounce?
  • What is bounce rate?
  • Why is bounce rate important?
  • How do I lower bounce rate?
  • How do I calculate bounce rate?

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