Tracking Adjusted Bounce Rate In Google Analytics
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 | 9:00 AM
Labels: Code and Configuration
Have you ever wondered how many visitors really pay attention to your website before exiting the page? Have you
wondered how many of those “bounced” visitors will remember where they’ve been in future? How many of them are
totally useless, how many are not?
There is a way to track this!
“Bounce rate” in Google Analytics is one of the key metrics that helps to evaluate the quality of your traffic. “Bounce”
happens when the visitor exited the website right from the landing page, without going to any other page. This is a
great indication on how relevant the content was for the user and how engaged they were with your website.
While working perfect for most websites, there are categories of sites where this metric is not enough.
Imagine you’re promoting a blog post that describes all the benefits of your company. The visitor might read the
whole post and remember your company and products really well - they might even go to search for your product on
one of the search engines straight away. However, since the visitor only looked at 1 page (exactly where the blog
post is) they will be recorded as bounced visitor.
Another example if you have a description of the product right on the landing page, and your phone number on the
same page. The visitor might study the description and call straight away - again, they will be recorded as a bounced
visitor, as only 1 page was viewed. There are many more examples, and even traditional websites may benefit from
the method described below as opposed to the standard bounce rate.
There is a solution to this - something that we call “Adjusted bounce rate”. You implement a small tweak to your
Google Analytics code, which executes an event when a user has spent over a certain amount of time on the
webpage. Depending on the website, the time can range from 10 seconds to few minutes - you should decide for
yourself the amount of time you consider the user to be sufficiently engaged with your website or product.
Once the event is executed, the visitor is no longer counted as “bounce,” even though no additional pageview is
recorded. This will mean your bounce rate will show users who have not spent a required “minimal time” on your
website - the ones who have really bounced. Here is a modification to the Google Analytics code that you need to
make (on the example of the latest, asynchronous code):
var _gaq = _gaq || ;
setTimeout("_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', '15_seconds', 'read'])",15000);
ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script'); s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
The setTimeout function is the one that does the trick here, and you can set it up to whatever delay you wish (in this
case, it is 15 seconds).
Moreover, since the event is created once 15 seconds lapse, you can define this event as a goal in Google Analytics,
and even import this goal as a conversion to AdWords, provided the conditions are met.
We hope this small fix will allow you to track and understand the users’ behavior and quality of the traffic coming to
your website more accurately, and make more informed decisions. One thing website owners should be vary of,
though, that not only the function may slow down the users' experience, even insignificantly, but will also increase
the volume of hits your site sends to Google Analytics, which might bring your usage over the limit (currently set at 10
mln hits per month). As such, this fix should only be applied when necessary and justified by the concept of the
website and the landing pages.
20 KPIs you should monitor in Google
A Key Performance Indicator or KPI refers to a set of measurements reflecting the performance orsuccess of
an organization in terms of progress of its goals. In this article we present the most important website KPIs from
online marketing perspective and we discuss how to monitor them in Google Analytics.
Most online marketing professionals, SEO engineers and webmasters have in their daily routine the monitoring,
reporting and data analyzing tasks followed by decision making regarding the optimization of the performance of
their websites. Within web metrics, charts and pivots lots of information can be found unveiling new ways
to optimize their strategy.
Nevertheless all these numbers, metrics and statistics can be confusing. Which ratios should be taken into account
during the above analysis? Which are the most important stats? Many of these questions will be answered shortly
since in the following lines we will discuss the importance of website goals and we will list the most important
KPIs that are used to measure the defined targets.
Website Goals & KPIs
Setting specific and measurable goals is a vital stage before defining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Depending on its type, a website can have much different goals. Common goals of E-commerce sites are the increase
of the number of purchases, the number of items in basket, the average transaction value etc while for content
websites common goals are the increase of media consumption, subscribers, video viewers, online game players etc.
Indicators of Success
Can be presented through rates
Depend on the industry and type of website
General KPIs about Website
Conversion Rate: This ratio displays how many visitors are converted into desired actions.
Goals Conversion Rate: Shows how many visitors reached at least one of the goals that you have setup by
using the Google Analytics service.
Type of Users (user defined): The User defined is a variable that helps you define specific types of
users that have completed a goal or a specific action in the website (pageview, form completion etc).
Bounce Rate & Time on Site: These are 2 extremely useful KPIs which indicate whether your visitors find
what they are looking for in your website or if they leave your site immediately. This metrics can be found in
the Visitors section of Google Analytics, nevertheless it is also very useful to focus on them when you evaluate
the various channels/sources of traffic.
Type of Sources: This is a complex report which is generated by segmenting the traffic by specific sources
and mediums such as Search Engines, Referring sites, Direct, E-mail or custom campaigns. Focus not only on
the total number of visitors but also on the quality of the traffic (bounce rate, time on site, transactions etc).
Traffic of Non branded keywords: This is the common Keywords Traffic report filtered to excludebrand
Traffic generated by specific terms: The long or short tail keyword strategy can be evaluated using this
segmentation. Usually the keywords traffic report that can be found in Google Analytics returns too many
combinations. By using filters you can break down the keyword list and focus on the ones that contain specific
terms or you can check for 2 words phrases, 3 words phrases or for terms that satisfy aspecific rule. To
generate such a report, use regular expressions in the advanced filter.
Bounce rate per keyword: This can be found on the table of keywords traffic report. Focus on the column
called “bounce rate” which shows the average bounce rate per keyword.
Keyword Ranking: Find your keyword rankings by using the keyword battle tool and then compare the
results with the Organic traffic reports of Google Analytics to find out if your keyword selection istargeted and
if your SEO strategy is successful. Focus on how much traffic you get from each top ranking keyword and see
if you need to adapt/change your SEO strategy by focusing on more popular or more targeted terms.
New Vs Returning Visitors: This metric can give you insights about the loyalty of your audience and show
you how many new visitors you attract on your website. Depending on various factors such as industry and
website type, it is useful to analyze their behavior. This report can be found under the Visitors section of
Social Media Interactions: Monitoring the amount of visitors that interact with your social media profiles
(visit them by clicking on the appropriate buttons of your website or like/tweet/share your pages) can be
extremely useful. To monitor this you need to use event tracking or virtual pageviews.
Media Consumption: This KPI focuses on how users consume the content on the website, how many of
them read posts, watch videos, listen to podcasts etc. This report is under the content section but it requires
you to setup special tracking mechanisms in cases of video or interactive flash.
Contact/Subscribe: Knowing how, when and how many visitors contact the website owners via e-mail,
contact forms, live chat etc is extremely useful. In most of the above cases this action can be tracked easily by
using goal tracking in the “thank you” pages or event tracking.
Cost per Transaction: This metric measures the promotional cost per transaction for specific campaigns
(adwords, banners, newsletters etc). It measures how much money you have to spend on each campaign in
order to generate one transaction. This is very important when you want to see how to allocate
your advertising budget and it is particularly useful in decision making.
Average transaction value: This KPI shows the efficiency of the cross selling and up sellingtechniques
that you use. The report can be found under the Ecommerce section of Google Analytics.
Average items in basket: Similarly to the above this KPI shows how many items are purchased on average
in each transaction.
Conversion Rate per Medium: This KPI shows the conversion rate of each medium and it is extremely useful
to monitor it in order to distinguish your top selling channels. The report can be found under the All Traffic
Sources menu by using the “Medium” view option.
Geo Targeting KPIs
Transactions distribution per Country: This report provides very useful insights since it allows you to
distinguish the nationality of your clients. It can be found under the Visitors Section in the Map Overlay Report.
The information is located in the “e-commerce” tab of the previous page and it shows you the transaction
distribution by country/territory.
Bounce rate distribution per Country: This info can be found on the same map overlay table and it shows
the distribution of bounce rate by Country/territory.
Traffic Distribution by Country/Territory: This information is provided in the map overlay reportand it
can easily be found under the Visitors menu of Google Analytics console.
Allow crawling of all content
The sample above is valid, but in fact if you want all your content to be crawled, you don't need
a robots.txt file at all (and we recommend that you don't use one). If you don't have a robots.txt
file, verify that your hoster returns a proper 404 "Not found" HTTP result code when the URL is
Disallow crawling of the whole website
Keep in mind that in some situations URLs from the website may still be indexed, even if they
haven't been crawled.
Disallow crawling of certain parts of the website
Remember that you shouldn't use robots.txt to block access to private content: use proper
authentication instead. URLs disallowed by the robots.txt file might still be indexed without
being crawled, and the robots.txt file can be viewed by anyone, potentially disclosing the
location of your private content.
Allowing access to a single crawler
Allowing access to all but a single crawler
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Controlling indexing and serving
Indexing can be controlled on a page-by-page basis using simple information that is sent with
each page as it is crawled. For indexing control, you can use either:
1. a special meta tag that can be embedded in the top of HTML pages
2. a special HTTP header element that can be sent with all content served by the website
Note: Keep in mind that in order for a crawler to find a meta tag or HTTP header element, the
crawler must be able to crawl the page—it cannot be disallowed from crawling with the
Using the robots meta tag
The robots meta tag can be added to the top of a HTML page, in the <head> section, for
<meta name="robots" value="noindex" />
In this example, robots meta tag is specifying that no search engines should index this particular
page (noindex). The name robots applies to all search engines. If you want to block or allow a
specific search engine, you can specify a user-agent name in the place of robots.
For more information, see the robots meta tag specifications.
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Using the X-Robots-Tag HTTP header
In some situations, non-HTML content (such as document files) can also be crawled and indexed
by search engines. In these cases, it's not possible to add a meta tag to the individual pages—
instead, an HTTP header element can be sent with the response. This header element is not
directly visible to users as it's not a part of the content directly.
The X-Robots-Tag is included with the other HTTP header tags. You can see these by checking
the HTTP headers, for example using "curl":
$ curl -I
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
For more information, see the X-Robots-Tag specifications.
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Most websites will not need to set up restrictions for crawling, indexing or serving, so getting
started is simple: you don't have to do anything.
There's no need to modify your pages if you would like to have them indexed. There's no need to
create a robots.txt file if all URLs may be crawled by search engines.