I would be interested to see the Analytics for this month and how NTW changed the numbers.
Looking at one of Sims original statements,
....there is no way from this stat you could know why the viewers left the forum, this is just speculation on your part. Another explanation is that they goggled "Napoleon", and ran across a gaming site instead of a biography....10% of new visitors who hit the forum index currently just leave, not going to any other page. They probably looked for a few seconds, didn't see what they wanted, and went back to try another search result.
ask for permission so you can analyze the stats yourself.
It is not speculation that new users who arrive from search engines will leave if they don't quickly find what they're looking for, although you're correct that this doesn't necessarily mean that accounts for most of the bounce rate. The bounce rate is actually much higher for search engine results for the site overall, more like 25%. It varies widely by search term, too. For the top ten terms,
total war center 12.31%
third age total war 19.44%
tw center 12.86%
empire total war mods 15.23%
rome total war mods 16.02%
total war forums 11.89%
roma surrectum 13.92%
total war 22.48%
empire total war forum 10.93%
Notice how the lowest bounce rates are when they search for us specifically, or search for a forum specifically. Searching for mods gives a higher bounce rate, although we're surely the best place to find them: it seems likely people aren't finding the modding part quickly enough, and we could improve that. The highest bounce rate of the top ten search queries is "total war" itself, which makes sense, because our generic Total War content is fairly poor. It's unlikely that anyone searching for non-game uses of "Napoleon" or "total war" would even click our link in the search result.
It's possible to set up controlled studies using Google Analytics, although the setups it supports are pretty tightly constrained. It would probably require hacking vBulletin to get such a study to work. Sadly, I don't have the time.
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