The bounce rate is the percentage of the single page visits. A high bounce rate is common for low-quality web pages, and most site owners feel that when users leave their pages without any engagement, their content is not valuable and relevant. Google only tracks the interaction for only 30 minutes. Suppose a user reads your page for 20 minutes goes to another site or reads their mail, and come back after 10-15 minutes and clicks on another page, Google will still record that as a bounce. If the user is using multiple tabs for different pages on your site, it still counts as a bounce since Google does not seem to know the difference.
Here is how to get Google to give you the actual bounce rates.
Track In-Page Events and Not Page Views
To get the correct bounce rate, Google needs to track both the events and the page views. Events are important since they allow you to count the interactions that do not involve the other pages loading, but you need a customised code to track them. You will need to create an event goal on your Google Analytics account. Your website will then track the event, but you may require the services of a developer to input the code to your website.
Use Inbound Traffic Segmentation
One of the biggest problems with Google Analytics is that it cannot tell the difference between your direct traffic from other sources of traffic. The solution is to create different landing pages for different sources of traffic; this is inbound traffic segmentation. The reason for this is that there are warm and cold leads coming to your site, and segmentation allows you to see the channels that are generating the needed engagement. Be on the safe side by optimising your site especially the landing pages for mobile, since the device used accounts for bounces.
Test Your Site for Phantom Bounces
Phantom bounces are bounces that happened because visitors clicked away because the pages took too long to load. If you have a bounce rate of 50%, one of the things to look at is the speed of your site, without going through Google Analytics. You can use Google’s Page Speed Insights and test your site’s speed.
Delay the Timing of Pop-ups
Pop-ups give your visitors a way to interact with your site, which will push down your bounce rates. If you have not designed them according to Google’s specifications, it might lead to increased bounce rates. This is because Google sees them as intrusive, especially on mobile sites. Delay the timing of the pop-ups by 3-5 seconds and Google will not penalise your site and thus lower your bounce rates. The alternative is to have exit pop-ups that load when the user signals that they are leaving your page.
Look Into Your Exit Rates
Exit rates are calculated based on the last page a user visited before leaving your site, and they have a direct correlation to your bounce rates. If you notice certain pages with a high bounce rate but low exit rates, then look into your user’s behaviour and not the page views alone.
In conclusion, Google will tell you that a user left, but not why they left. It is, therefore, necessary to do your analysis by event tracking, create separate landing pages, test your site speed, conversions, pop-up timing, and exit rates. Do not take Google’s word on bounce rates lying down; be proactive.