How to calculate Retained Entrances

October 28, 2021

Organic pageviews are a simple way to measure which pages are working for search. You go to the trusty “All Pages” view in Google Analytics, apply an Organic Traffic segment…

Google-Analytics-organic-traffic.png

…then scan down the list to see what’s what, with a focus on that “entrances” metric that tells you where people came into the site.

Googl-Analytics-All-Pages-metrics.png

That’s fine, although entrances aren’t that useful if your visitors immediately exit. Take two scenarios:

  • A page that gets 10,000 organic entrances, but has a bounce rate of 99%
  • A page that gets 500 entrances, but has a bounce rate of 10%

The first page with its amazing traffic is only retaining 100 visitors. The second page, with much less traffic, is retaining 450 visitors.

In a very real sense, that second page is providing you a lot more value.

So we have a metric we use called “Retained Entrances”.


🔢 The equation for Retained Entrances

Retained entrances equals entrances minus bounces.

However, Google Analytics only provides a Bounce Rate percentage. Oh, Google. So calculating the number of bounces will require a little bit of work.

Let’s look at an example from Google Analytics, with two (fictitious… or are they?) example pages:

smoothjazz-vs-blackmetal.png

To calculate your Retained Entrances, first we need to know the retention rate, which is the opposite of the Bounce Rate.

In other words, the Bounce Rate tells us what percentage of visitors left, so if we subtract that rate from 1, we’ll know how many visitors stayed.

On the /smoothjazz page, this gives us:

  • 5454 Entrances
  • Bounce Rate of about 85%, which means 15% of visitors stayed
  • That means 15% x 5454 = 818 Retained Entrances

(This is meant to be a pretty simple equation. You can even round the numbers like we did here.)

On the /blackmetal page, this gives us:

  • 3033 Entrances
  • Bounce Rate of about 54%, which means 46% of visitors stayed
  • That means 46% x 3033 = 1395 Retained Entrances

So, even though the /blackmetal page has many fewer entrances, it’s actually retaining way more people than the page with almost double the amount of traffic. This might be a better page to invest in converting visitors from.


🏄 What you can do with Retained Entrances

This metric helps a team shift focus from page traffic to page engagement.

The results guide strategic action to improve performance across your site – for example, deciding which pages need…

  • Updates
  • Rewrites
  • Redistribution
  • Better promotion

…and which ones should be left alone because they’re already SEO superstars.

Feel free to schedule office hours to look at this together!

Or just to tell us that you think we’re dead wrong on this topic.


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