Here is a quick tip, for those of you who may be wondering why your average bounce rate in Google Analytics looks so good (so low that is). And for those of you who are just starting out, I’m sure that you are asking the question: what does bounce rate mean?
But let’s back up a step or two.
For those of you who haven’t yet discovered Google Analytics, I strongly suggest that you take advantage of the free tracking and performance metrics that Analytics provide when you list your site.
Regardless of whether you have had a site up and running for some time or you are just starting out, it can be frustrating wondering if anyone knows that your site exists, not to mention if anyone is visiting it. Once you set up your site in Google, you can access a whole range of different analysis tools.
All you have to do is have an account with Google. Do you already have a gmail account? Then you are all set to access a whole raft of tools that your account offers. If not, you can sign up for a free account here: https://accounts.google.com/NewAccount
Web Analytics Tools
Once you have a Google account, you can just follow these steps to set up your Analytics:
- Log in.
- Click on Account.
- Look for Products on the left hand side of the screen. (You can then see lots and lots of different tools that are provided for you.)
- Click on Analytics.
- Within the Analytics screen.
- Click on the Admin tab.
- Next, click New Account.
- Complete the form, providing the URL of your website.
- Read the Google Analytics Terms of Service.
- Once you have agreed to the TOS, you will be provided with the code to insert into your website.
- Copy the lines of Analytics code provided for you.
- Paste the Google Analytics code into the HTML of your site.
If you have a WordPress site, this code can be pasted once into your footer.php file.
If you are using a WordPress theme, the theme dashboard might provide a place to enter the code.
Now you are set to start receiving tracking information such as how many people have visited your site each day, what keywords they used to find your site, where they came from, how long they stayed , how many pages they visited etc. etc. Each time you log into your account, you can see all of this data.
Bounce Rate in Google Analytics
So back to our original question. Once you have Google Analytics tracking happening on your site, you will notice that one of the metrics is Bounce Rate. So what is bounce rate exactly?
Bounce Rate Definition
Website Bounce rate tells you what percentage of visitors to your site ended up leaving after viewing just 1 page, their entrance page. So a high bounce rate of 90% for example, is not what you want to see. However, it happens occasionally that an unnaturally low bounce rate may have been recorded. For example, 0% would be a rate that should raise your suspicions. “What, everyone is staying on my site forever? I don’t think so.” But that is exactly what I was seeing on a newly re-vamped site of mine. And I knew that it wasn’t a case of people coming and never leaving. But finding the solution was something that I was putting off until I had more time up my sleeve.
However, thanks to a post published by Ana Hoffman on her site www.trafficgenerationcafe.com, I found my answer. As soon as I started to read the post it dawned on me. I had made the same mistake. When setting up a new theme on the site, I had entered the Analytics tracking code via a screen provided by the theme. Forgetting that I had done this, I then, some days later, went and manually entered the lines of code into my footer section. Ooops, now I had the code entered twice. And of course, this was confirmed by viewing the page source of my home page (Right Click – View Page Source in Firefox, View Source in Explorer). There it was, the duplicated code.
This duplication was producing the unnatural, totally unrealistic and impossible bounce rate of 0%. As soon as I removed the 2nd version of the tracking code, the bounce rate jumped up to a more believable figure, albeit not as flattering.
Thanks to Ana for bringing this to my attention in a side note on her post called The UN-Massive Guide to Getting Massive Traffic.