Google Analytics Time on Site, Length of Visit and Bounces

Bounce as described by Google;

“Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Use this metric to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site and convert. You can minimize bounce rates by tailoring landing pages to each keyword and ad that you run. Landing pages should provide the information and services that were promised in the ad copy.”


To know how long a visitor has spent on a web page Google needs two things:

1 ) The time you arrived on a specific web page
2 ) The time you requested another web page on the SAME website.
Read # 2 again… “The time you requested another web page on the SAME website.” You have Google Analytics installed on your web site but if the visitor leaves your website for another page for any one of the following reasons; entering an URL in the address bar, closing the browser, clicking on advertisement or an outgoing “self target” link etc… Google Analytics does NOT get triggered again and it cannot calculate the time on that page. So… it defaults to 00:00:00.
Therefore in theory someone could land on a web page and stay on that web page for 10 minutes and get the info they were looking for, then close the browser and Google will count as 00:00:00 time and that equals as a bounce.

How to view your BOUNCE RATE?

If you have a Google Analytics account connected to your website you can view the bounce rates for your website by going to the Bounce Rate report under Visitors > Visitor Trending > Bounce Rate.

CLICK HERE to go to Google Analytics

Time on Site as described by Google;

“Time on Site: Time on site is one way of measuring visit quality. If visitors spend a long time visiting your site, they may be interacting extensively with it. However, Time on site can be misleading because visitors often leave browser windows open when they are not actually viewing or using your site.”


This method of calculating Time on Site is also not 100% accurate because even the reported time on site is faulty to begin with. Time on Site is nothing but the sum of Avg. Time on Page for all web pages. And we know that the reported Time on Page is not 100% accurate because Google Analytics does not record time spent on page for exits and bounces.

Length of Visit as described by Google;

“Length of Visit (Visitor Behavior): Length of visit is a measure of visit quality. A large number of lengthy visits suggests that visitors interact more extensively with your site. The graph allows you to visualize the entire distribution of visits instead of simply the ‘Average Time on Site’ across all visits. Keep in mind that ‘Average Time on Site’ is skewed by visitors leaving browser windows open when they are not actually viewing or using your site. You can see whether a few visits are skewing your ‘Average Time on Site’ upward or whether most visits to your site have a high average time.”


The only way for someone to register a visit for more than 0 seconds is if they go to a SECOND page. The reason for this is that Google Analytics can only tell how long someone has been there if they have more than one page view – it uses the timestamps (date and time record) of each page view and “subtracts” them to get the time that someone was on one page. For this reason; you will not know how long someone stays on the FIRST and only page visited and you will never know how long someone was truly on your site because you can’t tell how long they were looking at the LAST page they were on (in boyh instances there isn’t a next page for Google Analytics to subtract time from).

Google Analytics Definitions Help Web Page CLICK HERE

Till the next time,
Your Website Marketing Partner and Friend at ProNetUSA – WebSites and Internet Marketing