If you spend any time with your website’s statistics, you may be familiar with “bounce rate.” The bounce rate represents the number of visitors who access one page on your website and then leave. A high bounce rate means that most people see just one page on your site. A low bounce rate means your visitors visit multiple sub-pages.
For years, search engine optimization specialists have theorized that Google uses data collected by Google Analytics as part of their ranking algorithm. Some believed that a website with a high bounce rate would not rank as well or that a site with a low bounce rate would rank higher.
On average, visitors on law firm websites click on 1.5 pages each. If you don’t have a contact form on every page of the site, you are significantly reducing the likelihood of someone clicking on “contact us.” If your site has a high bounce rate, those bouncing visitors could still be converted to a lead if a short contact form is available on the page they are reading.
When looking at your natural search engine ranking performance (for lead generation), you should aim for a lower bounce rate. You have a lot of content, and you want it to get read. Also, the longer someone is on your site, the more likely he or she is will convert to a lead. But does the bounce rate in and of itself help or hurt your ranking? The answer is no.
Google quality control specialist Matt Cutts commented on bounce rate saying, “Personally, I don’t think a single page visit is a bad thing. To me, it tells me the visitor found what he was looking for. Isn’t that what Google would want? If I were Google, I’d want a searcher to find the answer to his search on the exact page he clicked on in a search result, not one or two clicks in. If I were Google, I’d look more at who bounces off that page, returns to the same Google search, clicks on something else and then never returns to your site. But I’m not Google, and that’s just my ‘if I were Google’ thoughts.”
When looking at pay-per-click performance, bounce rate matters. When looking at your natural SEO conversion rate, bounce rate matters. However, when looking solely at the ranking, your bounce rate does not appear to be a consideration in Google’s algorithm.
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