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"Improving" Bounce Rate - more pages vs tabs for information?

5:49 pm on Nov 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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About a year ago we switched our product specific pages to use more css and using tabs to see specific information about the product. Since doing so we have seen a dramatic increase in what Google considers bounces... in that a one page view is what they consider a bounce.

What we did was have tabs so they can see:
Description / Technical Details / Larger Images / Related or similar products.

Now when a potential customer lands on the page all the information is there in css/javascript tabs. Great for the customer as they dont have to load more pages to get all the details.

So I'm starting to wonder if Google is now counting all these one page views aka bounces negatively.

Should we force customers to click tabs that load a new page for each portion of the product.

As sites get more dynamic with jquery and ajax, the actual page views are going to be down considerably for those sites that choose advanced user interfaces and HTML5.

Would this improve "bounce" rate, increase page views per visit and would it send Google "positive" signals about our site?
9:05 pm on Nov 4, 2012 (gmt 0)


WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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What happened to the average time on site when you made the change?

Common sense would suggest that the average length of visit ought to be just as positive a signal for the algo as the number of page views.

If tabs result in more one-page visits, but those visits are longer, one would hope that the algo would consider that okay either way.
11:24 pm on Nov 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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For search ranking purposes Google not look at bounce rate as measured by Google Analytics. It looks more at "bounce back". That is, how many people return to the SERPs to click on a different result or refine their search.

I have a site that is highly interactive. 80% of my visitors view exactly one page and and are usually satisfied with that. I recently implemented some "actions" to let Google Analytics know when users interact with my site. My "bounce rate" as measured by Google Analytics fell from 80% to 30% but my rankings didn't change at all.

If you care about improving bounce rate to help user experience, I would suggest letting Google Analytics know when a user clicks on a tab by firing off some javascript to ping it. You can read the technical details about how to do so here: [developers.google.com...]