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This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >     
Do Google Visitors Really Stay?
They seem to just pop in and out.

 5:32 pm on Apr 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've been looking over my stats and am amazed to find that though Google brings about 25% of my visitors they usually just look at one page.

People coming in through book marks and direct URL stay longer. But the people who really stay and explore the site come in through links from related sites.

We always talk about getting links from related sites to help us in search engine results but we might be underestimating these links in terms of direct traffic.



 1:44 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Are others having this same experience? What can I do to get my Google visitors to stay and look around?


 2:03 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

In this case I think you need to look at exactly what keyword combos are bringing these "pop in, pop out" visitors.

My guess would be that they aren't visiting via your target keywords and are in fact coming in on some off-target keyword combination that your site just happens to rank well on.

Another reason they may appear to only be visiting one page is that your site is taking far to long to load and they are simply hitting the back button. Is your host overloaded? Is your site very graphics intensive?

The other possibility of course is that your site is scaring them away. This could be the case if your site is overloaded with ads or otherwise looks spammy. Also, personally 1 attempted pop-up or pop-under from any site gets me on the back button fast. (Even though I do block them, it's the attempt that ticks me off.)



 2:15 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Most pages are articles about an aspect of history. But people can see that in the description.

Plus I don't understand the huge difference between Google visitors and people coming in from links from related sites.

If the Google visitors are bored why aren't the other visitors?


 2:29 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

A link from a related site serves as "testimony" that the site they just came from believes you offer valuable information. Some human (allegedly) chose to say "this site is good enough to link to for more information." (Assuming the link isn't from a scraper type directory of course.)

The SERPS are just a list of sites that a match their keyword search. Given the poor quality of the SERPS in general lately people may have less trust in their results and are sick of being taken to a bad (but highly SEO'd) page. If you can't hook them in a couple of seconds they are gone assuming that they just found another dud.

Just a tip from personal experience based on your description of your site. Assuming that your site is highly textual in nature. Put a nice on-topic pic within your content, preferrably a human face. It will make them pause on your site for a while. They simply can't help themselves.

Also do a search for "eye tracking study" so you put your "hook" in the right spot on the page.


The real simon

 3:00 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's perhaps that someone searching on google want a really specific information and want to find this info directly on the first page and then leaves.

Someone following a link is ready to find the same information after going through a few pages. It is also perhaps more likely that he is not searching one really specific information but want someting more general.

If you can get the information, try to see which keyword people are using to get in your website. Then perhaps try to appear on keywords a bit less specific about a subject.
One more thing, it is perhaps not a bad thing, as after finding what they wanted they might keep your website under their favorites.

Nevertheless these are just speculations ;)


 4:46 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree with the real simon--people are coming to your site for different reasons. I get the same thing happening at mine.

There are at least three different kinds of visitors to my site. People coming from SEs, who tend to come to one of a few pages, read it, and leave. People who are regulars, who look to see what's new, and leave. And people coming from other sites, who haven't seen the site before, and spend a lot of time browsing.

I have made some adjustments to the site to take into account the different wants of these visitors....


 5:48 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Of course search engine visitors will average fewer pages than those following links from other sites or following bookmarks. Even targeted adds should do better.

All those other methods are used by people that want to go to your site. Search engines are more likely to be people looking for some new place that they have not been before.

If you think of it like having a store in a big mall (I know, it's an imperfect analogy), the bookmark people are the ones that will go to the mall, just to go to your store because they have been there before.

The people that follow links are comparable to asking their freind Bob where he shops for blue widgets, and he suggests that they head to your store in the mall.

Search engine traffic is more like those people already walking around at the mall that see something interesting on a display and come in to check things out. The vast majority of them will look around and wander back out.

But a small percentage will stay and browse, buy something, or add you to their "bookmarks".

It is a completely different category of traffic.


 6:53 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)


You are describing exactly what happens with my sites. I would be very interested in what kinds of adjustments you make for the different kinds of visitors.

I'm also wondering what would help the most in getting search engine visitors to want to bookmark. One thing I'm thinking about is writing a paragraph that summerizes the article, perhaps including one particluarly interesting bit of information found in it. Has anyone tried this?


 7:39 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

annej, I've been observing the same behaviour for a while. I finally got the boss to agree to putting AdSense on a few product pages - specifically those one hit wonder pages. I figure if they're window shopping or comparing prices or even just lost we might as well try to squeeze a nickle out of the exit. It's working.


 8:23 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have noticed the same. And I'm not surprised, however I can't help the feeling I should have make my website better for my visitors.

Plus I don't understand the huge difference between Google visitors and people coming in from links from related sites.

Some surfers think similiar way as Google algo (or the other way round actually ;). If I'm searching for information about something new, first I search with SE for official website and related websites with many links. I pick as much information as I can from these sites and then follow the links. I rarely go back to SE results in I have enough links.

There are so many spammy and unrelated results, that I wouldn't bother with visiting and browsing most of them. What SERP do I click? The snippet is the king. I'd rather go deeper into results than click result with unsatisfactory and not promising information in snippet. After clicking, it's important for me to find a short information ensuring me that site is related and a clear navigation showing me what can I find on the site. All other things may only decrease my impression, especially, I hate seeing any ads - I don't like to visit sites that steel my time to show me unsolicited information for their profit.

Maybe mainstream visitors behave differently, but in my opinion there is one simple rule how to hold visitor on the website: build site for visitor, and avoid stuffing things that serve other purposes than user's satisfaction.

But people will always trust human added links more than any search results, and on-topic site will be perceived more reliable source of links than any search engine or directory.

Genuine on-topic links are more important source of traffic than good position in SERP - not the only one, but more important - if only you can get them.


 8:54 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

annaj, I do something similar to what grandpa describes. Pages that have a high number of entrances and immediate exits get both AdSense and targeted affiliate links. Pages for the regulars get a link to my "bookstore" page--they don't click on ads or AdSense, so I've taken them down. Pages that people find by browsing I try to get them to keep moving through the site, by letting them know about other resources...

I have a lot of work to do on this, but you can see my site listed in my profile if you want to visit.


 1:21 am on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

It got nothing to do with Where the visitor came from and everything to do with your site. When we saw that one of our product pages had a 90% bounce rate we changed the page and re-focussed it bounce rate went to 40%. You need to look at what is wrong with the page they are bouncing on not where the visitor came from for answers.

We just got great rankings in Yahoo for SEO related keywords I wish those visitors would go away the leads are the worst I have ever seen. I guess its good for the ego to get the high rankings.


 2:50 am on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

wizard, By snippet do you mean the description in our meta tag. I see that Google is using that extensively now. Mine are OK but I need to go back through and give them a closer look. I think I need to make them enticing yet to the point in terms of what the site is about. Some of my site is very old but history is always evergreen so it the old pages still get visited as much as ever. So I need to give things like title and meta tag a new look in terms of today. I was working with some very old pages this week and realized I had given them file names with 8 characters or less. That was back in the dark ages!

The talk about bounce rate got me to looking more carefully at my stats. Basically I am mostly losing people who go directly to a page. For the most part that will be from a search engine as almost all inbound links from other sites go to the homepage. So the people coming in on inbound links get a nice view of all that the site has to offer. The search engine people just see one page, then they either find what they want and read it or don't find what they want and move on. I need to do something to get them interested in looking at the rest of the site. Hmmm, it just occurred to me. I have the site title at the top of each page and it's hotlinked so people can click on it and go to the homepage. Do you think some people just don't realize the link is there? It's not underlined. Maybe I need to make a link that says HOME in big letters.


 5:51 am on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think another big factor is that google-people are surfing the SERP's.

They may visit every page on page 1 of the results and then pick one. So if you don't 'look like what they're searching for' or catch their interest then they're gone.


 8:42 am on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

From my stats I find people coming to my pages from G pages 6, 8, 10,
What is it? Is it new behavior or people cannot find relevant things on the page #1?
It is amazing! They are browsing to page 10 , unbelievable!
How they select what is relevant and what is not?


 8:59 am on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

How they select what is relevant and what is not?

They must find what they want in your descriptions.

Now that Google is using our meta description I think writing a good one makes a big difference. The title needs to catch their eye too which is sometimes hard as it also has to be to the point for the search engines.


 4:23 pm on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I had given them file names with 8 characters or less. That was back in the dark ages!

What is wrong with 8 or less? I though it important to name pages after keywords.

Google recrawled my entire site this month because i made global changes. Still using snipets not META descriptions, I did se META desc for about a week during the last update (is it over yet?)


 7:11 pm on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

wizard, By snippet do you mean the description in our meta tag. I see that Google is using that extensively now. Mine are OK but I need to go back through and give them a closer look.

The search results listing begins with page title, and this is the only part we can be sure of - the excerpt can be taken either from description, or from page content. Recently, Google uses description from meta more often than it used to, but still sometimes it takes text from page content, if the keyword from search phrase can be found there.

We can't be entirely sure about how the snippet will look like, but the point is we must take care while creating title and description - make it both for Google (putting keywords there) and for users, but perhaps building them for users is more important - many of them won't click your #5 listing, if they can't find snippet promising.


 9:57 pm on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Am I right then in thinking the snippet is what ever Google decides to show and sometimes it's the meta description. I sure prefer that, at least it makes sense. Right now it Google seems to be using the meta description. Hopefully they will settle into doing it that way.

What is wrong with 8 or less?

Nothing is wrong with it. It's just we had no choice back in the olden days. So words that were longer than 8 letters had to have the ends cut off. It's amazing how much has changed in the last 8 - 10 years.


 11:11 pm on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

oh yeah annj I forgot about that - but I wasn't heavy into computers then.
way way back in the olden days.
I can't Imagine what the net was like then.
I guess IE 2.0 and windows 3.1 eh?


 11:19 pm on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

In really ancient history there was only Compuserve. ;)

Back on topic I just went through one small site and was amazed how awful my meta descriptions were. Some were just boring, some were only about 4 words. Some lacked the second quote causing html to be splattered across the snippit. Some were from other pages and never updated when I used an old page as a template for a new one. I was just tossing them on in case some lesser search engine needed them. I gave them no respect. I never dreamed Google might someday use them on result pages.


 2:46 am on Apr 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yeah i think we've all been neglecting our descriptions.
I guess Yahoo and MSN will get better anyway (because everyone is updating their desc tags now) and google will likely revert back to snippets.

I have neglected keyword tags too. I just left em there for lesser se's some of the keywords aren't even on topic. Template thing.

For what it's worth I should probably just lose them.


 3:01 am on Apr 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

For me, with equal traffic from all, even compared to MSN & Yahoo, Google users stay less and buy less. That's across a few sites, so it would seem to be a generally conceivable rule.


 2:48 am on Apr 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Interesting, I knew they stayed less but don't have sophisticated enough stats to have realized that they don't buy as much. I wonder if they click on AdSense as much.


 4:04 am on Apr 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have a theory, all google traffic can be divided into one of these groups:

a: spammers
b: scrapers
c: competitors checking on you
d: people looking for pictures


 11:20 am on Apr 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

The answer is: C


 2:48 pm on Apr 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is only guess.
How to prove this speculation?

Any way, about 1% of visitors buy from my site.
What others are doing?

I think Yahoo search does better now. At least less spam in search results.


 5:03 pm on Apr 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

The reason that google users buy less, is that google is more likely to be used by those doing informational searches than those on MSN or Yahoo!

The different search engines have different demographics.

Just as some people read the Times, some read the Post, and some get their news from the Weekly World News.


 10:12 pm on Apr 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Any way, about 1% of visitors buy from my site."

I'd take 1% every day of the week! I suppose those selling $10 items need much more than that.

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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