I’m sure a lot of you have signed up for Google Analytics. It is a powerful and easy to use tool, with the added bonus of being free, which is always nice!
The question that always persists is why are they giving it away for free in the first place? One answer is the goodwill that comes with these free services, another is that the more you use Google services the more likely you are to use their search engine. A third reason is all that fantastic data they gather from hundreds of thousands of websites which they can then use to their benefit. A very interesting article concerning a study in to what Google is doing with the ‘bounce rate’ data can be found at http://www.1stsearchenginerankings.com/2007/06/08/google-bounce-factor-research-data-is-in/
In summary, they found:
1) Too many searches resulting in a click to your site which then result in a bounce could negatively effect your site.
2) Somehow lowering this bounce rate, by providing what the users want most likely can indeed have a very positive effect on your site.
3) Google Analytics data is INFACT used by Google to manipulate results in their search engine. By using Google Analytics your data could have either a negative or positive effect on your site.
4) The overall bounce rate for the site and each individual bounce rates for each of your keywords plays a role.
This is just one of many variables Google takes in to account so do not get too worried about how your rankings are being affected if you have pages with high bounce rates. However, from the perspective of your site’s design and content, it is worth your time to try and find out why they have them and taking action to try and lower the bounce.