On top of all the problems that I had recently I’ve just learned that Google is taking serious considerations on websites with high bounce rates and this got me really worried because most of my websites are made in first-page-all content structure and most people don’t bother to click-thru the website as its not mandatory. This website structure generates massive amount of bounce-rates because by definition page bounce rate is the number of people that land on one page and exit from the same. This issue is very bad for my websites because when one person lands on the main/home page about 70% don’t go any further and that generates 70% bounce rate which is quite high.
The other issue that I’ve been observing for quite a while now is that some of my websites rank quite well for irrelevant keywords to my topic/theme and this also generates a lot of bounces since people leave the website quite quickly since they don’t find the content that they were looking for. That issue got really serious in our SEO News Blog where we started the weekly top paying AdSense keywords and due to the high quality of that website we ranked quite high for those keywords and immediately started receiving traffic for them which is 100% irrelevant to our targeted niche. Based on the Google Analytics issue we should lose our ranking for those keywords pretty quickly and more useful website will take our place, but what I’m most afraid is not to get the overall ranking for the relevant/targeted keywords punished because of this issue. I hope the Google engineers are smart enough to figure this out and protect webmasters like me….
I’m not really sure if there is a tool or webmaster specification on how to tell search engines which keywords for each particular page are negative keywords, but I’ll investigate a bit further on that. If you don’t know what negative keywords, those are keywords that act as stop words and instead of helping you rank for them, they are de-ranking you for those particular terms. I know that there is such notion in AdWords and other advertising networks, but I’m not sure if this thing has been implemented for webmasters.
Those problems got me really thinking on how I can improve my websites in order to decrease their page bounce rates to acceptable level – about 30%-40% instead of being in the high 70% which is really the threshold and going beyond that point I can get flagged for low quality website and that’s quite disturbing. I’ll have to figure this out and I’ll put some experiments for that.
I suppose the first thing I’m going to do is to kill StumbleUpon from my Analytics tracking with a PHP cloaking script that when he sees that one person opened my website with stumble as refferer, then I won’t generate the Google Analytics code. The primary reason for doing this is because about 90% of all stumbler traffic does not click on any inner page and therefore generates massive amounts of page bounces and that can be a killer if Google Analytics tracks it down. With cloaking I can still keep stumbling my pages and get that stumbler traffic and in the same time I won’t tell google about it. Yes that will decrease my page visits but its going to decrease dramatically my bounce rates and that’s a really good thing. I’m not sure if Google Tracks down pages with the AdSense code but if they do I’ll have to cloak the AdSense code also. Anyway Stumblers don’t click on AdSense also so it won’t be a big deal .
I’ll do some experiments and I’ll post updates as soon as I get them.