Does A High Bounce Rate On A Contact Us Page Matter?
Google describe their mission statement as:
“…to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.“
It is a statement worth remembering if you are about to engage in some search engine optimisation. It underpins everything Google as a company does, of which their search engine algorithm sits at the heart. Google guard their algorithm very carefully and it can be difficult to know exactly which factors influence search ranking and to what extent. One aspect I have often pondered is the bounce rate.
If you are not sure exactly what the bounce rate is, Google themselves define bounce rate as “the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).“
It is this statement that has really got me thinking. User experience is at the heart of Google’s mission to organise the world’s information. And yet on the face of it, it would appear that a well optimised site with a clear, user-friendly ‘contact us’ style page, incorporating postal address, telephone number and email address is always likely to result in a high bounce rate. Users will find the only information they want and ‘bounce’ away from the website. Will this effectiveness result in a negative impact on the search engine results?
This is the question that caused me to stop and ponder how sophisticated the Google search algorithm has now become. It is generally accepted that a high bounce rate is likely to be a negative factor for a websites search performance. If we stop and examine the definition of bounce rate in a little more detail, something else becomes apparent. Google talks about ‘interacting’ with a page, not necessarily clicking on a link to another page.
If we then consider how a person might interact with a page such as a ‘Contact Us’ page, they might use
- a ‘click to call’ link from a mobile phone browser;
- they might download a vCard file (an electronic business card);
- they might follow a link to find directions to an office.
All of these would involve ‘interaction’ with a page, albeit they would still be seen as a ‘single-page visit’ in the eyes of most users.
What is Useful to a User?
All of this causes me to focus on the last word of Google’s mission – ‘useful’. Is the structure, design and content of the website useful to the person who landed on it. If the answer to that question is positive, then Google will probably be kind to you!
My approach is always to start with your target user in mind and develop your website and content around that person. Use free tools such as Google Analytics to help you understand how your website is being used and refine your approach based on what you learn.