deadsea - 3:49 pm on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)
Its very important to make a distinction between single page view "bounce rate" as measured by Google Analytics, and "did the user find what they were looking for on a single page".
Its often makes sense to instrument extra tracking so that single page user behavior like the following doesn't count as a bounce:
1) An article: The user scrolls to the end of the article (indicating that they have likely read it)
2) Interactive / AJAX content: the user views one page but interacts with the game, tool, map, or calculator in some measurable way.
3) External links / Ads: user clicks to off site to find what they want rather than returning to the SERPs.
The goal is to satisfy the user and prevent them from returning to Google to go somewhere else. The following "improvements" for bounce rate are counter-productive:
1) Splitting an article over two pages so that users have to hit two pages (and not get counted by a bounce by analytics) to read the whole thing. This just frustrates some users who then use the back button. Instead try to measure time on page or scrolling to the bottom of the article instead.
3) Removing links/ads from the page. If users click on them, they should stay. Instead of removing, clicks on them should be tracked.
I find Google Analytics very frustrating with its primitive notion of bounce rate. I have a site where I try to satisfy the user in one page view through interactive content. On this site, a higher Google Analytics bounce rate is better because it indicates that users are landing on the correct page.
I worked on a big website with tons of content and 7 pages per visit. Parts of the marketing department were fighting because one part was trying to reduce bounce rate and the other was trying to increase ad click through. When you measure ad clicks as a "bounce" it doesn't serve your business correctly.