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This 40 message thread spans 2 pages: 40 ( [1] 2 > >     
keeping people on your site for two page views at least
should you dump the free search engine?
londrum




msg:3013577
 8:22 pm on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

i've just realised something...

part of google's ranking is based on how long a visitor stays at your site. if they click off the first page after five seconds then google is going to think your site is rubbish.

but... how many of use free site-search engines? like google's own offering, or atomz's.
if someone searches for something on the first page they view (which 30-40% of visitors are supposed to do), then they will immediately be taken away from your site to view the search results! and, more often than not, i am guessing that they won't come back because of all the relevant ads that appear at the top of the search results page.

that is going to skew your site stats towards one page view per person.

 

Quadrille




msg:3013769
 11:16 pm on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

part of google's ranking is based on how long a visitor stays at your site. if they click off the first page after five seconds then google is going to think your site is rubbish.

Sez who? I really don't think so.

You could use the same logic to say 'never have a single link', I suppose.

Having said that, I'd recommend having a quality site search, such as Google, which offers site search or web search.

the only solution to keeping visitors is having a really good site, appropriately optiized, so visitors get what they expected to get.

But if a visitor wants to go, no force on the planet will stop them - all you can do is offer them useful choices. Else they'll use a back button or close the window.

[edited by: Quadrille at 11:20 pm (utc) on July 18, 2006]

annej




msg:3013932
 2:38 am on Jul 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

There are various kinds of software you can download for your own on site search. I prefer it as I get my own stats, can set how my search box and other features look and the search results don't have ads on them.

On top of that when people select 'search this site' they do not leave my site.

I like the stats as well. Looking at that info helps me decide what articles and features to add to my sites.

I'm not sure if Google is considering time on site yet but keeping people on your site and helping them find the information they want is always good. That was the other thing I didn't like about the Google search. I wanted the search to be my site only and Google makes it too easy to search Google instead of my site only.

mattg3




msg:3013996
 4:37 am on Jul 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

They might do this more advanced over analytics.

But time spent on page will depend on many factors, text on it etc.

What is dodgy if this is the case is that the analytics servers take ages to request. I put the javascript on the end of the page, as when they were at the beginning the pages often didn't load until analytics had sorted itself out.

But if the analytics javascript code is at the end of course and takes ages to load the person might have read what is on the page, then analytic loads and thinks the user was only on it for 3 nano seconds.

One can only hope they know about their server loading times, although the last 6 months on analytics do not make me too confident about it.

londrum




msg:3014982
 8:32 pm on Jul 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

what i really meant was, the URL for the search results page (i use atomz search) is an atomz URL. it's off-site.

so while the visitor still thinks they are on your site, as far as google's toolbar (or google analytics) is concerned, they have left your site after looking at one page.

that can't be good for your ranking, surely.

Quadrille




msg:3015018
 9:07 pm on Jul 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

It has absolutely nothing to do with your ranking.

nada

zilch

zero.

I hope that's clear ;)

ericfwebmaster




msg:3015035
 9:31 pm on Jul 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

I can see it now, spammers writing scripts to disable the back button every 4th visitor so it looks like their site is useful.

Anyway I dont think it is factor at this point either.

jomaxx




msg:3015065
 9:56 pm on Jul 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

It could have a minor effect on your Alexa ranking, but not Google. Plus it doesn't really look that professional to use a free site search.

dataguy




msg:3015075
 10:04 pm on Jul 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

It has absolutely nothing to do with your ranking.
nada

zilch

zero.

I hope that's clear ;)

Just because you say so? There has been evidence to the contrary discussed quite a bit here in this forum, and many here believe that user data does play a role in ranking. If you have reason to believe that it doesn't, outside of your gut-feeling, please present it so that it can be discussed. 'nada, zilch, zero' doesn't do a lot for discussion.

SuddenlySara




msg:3015077
 10:09 pm on Jul 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

If I remember right, didn't both Inktomi and Yahoo (who did yahoo use years ago?) admit that this was part of their rankings years ago? I'll try and dig that up...

Anyways, NOPE I don't think so with Google right now. I've lost allot of people traffic from google natural search since June 27th and
since then people are finding us more than ever with our
company name and direct type ins and detailed searches for us. And people are staying at our site longer than ever...
But we are still lost in Google for major keywords right now.

jomaxx




msg:3015080
 10:12 pm on Jul 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

What's the evidence to the contrary?

Quadrille




msg:3015087
 10:18 pm on Jul 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think that's back to front;

I've never heard any evidence that site visits affect page rank; if you are asserting that visitors affect ranking, then the burden of proof is on you, isn't it?

In the absence of any evidence of that assertion, I'm hapy to stick with my view - nada, zilch, zero.

If it helps, I'll take a bet ... but I'd rather see the evidence, please :)

Oliver Henniges




msg:3015624
 10:56 am on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

I also believe that analysis of user behaviour is now one of the major parts of the ranking-algos; I thirdly believe that the algos have now got to a complexity far beyond a state where any of us could "prove" such a hypothesis. All evidence I have, is some dully felt correlation between the secondary deeplinks google presents from my site and my visitor statistics; but here you quickly run into the chicken-and-egg-thing.

Nevertheless I think that this is completely irrelevant for OPs question. If you have a really good website in terms of usability and user-friendliness (i.e.googles first law) there is no need to

a) have the visitor use your site-internal search-engine
b) have more than two page-visits on average

If you're doing well in google, she indexes all your pages and presents the most relevant deeplink to the searcher. the latter pops in, fills in some figures in your form if necessary, and then clicks the button you make money with, be it the buy-button or your affiliate link.

For the same reason I have some doubts affiliate-programms provide reliable income for the future, because I believe that sooner or later google is going to try to become THE only, lonely affiliate partner.

This is different for shop systems: If google is tracking user behaviour as suggested, and if the visitor does not perform a similar search on google after having visited your website, google knows that he either has found what he had been looking for on your site or has found a reason there to give up searching for these terms. Both reason enough to thicken that graph of the neuronal network a bit.

trinorthlighting




msg:3015732
 12:44 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

I believe traffic flow and page views does have an effect on ranking. But, google has to have a way to track the traffic which it does in some ways. Click through ratio is something google measures. A few ways google tracks traffic:

1. Analytics-On pages you have it installed on.
2. Google toolbar-If the user who visits your site has the tool bar installed it tracks 100%
3. Adsense-On pages you have it installed on.
4. Adwords landing pages.
5. Google search-If a person types in "Product A" and your site comes on top. Notice in your webstats you get referrer [google.com...] (Using this as an example) At that point does the user click to another page or add that to their favorites (Google can track that) If the person clicks the back button and picks the next site (Google measures that as well) I think that would effect how google matches the keyword to your site.

annej




msg:3016202
 5:14 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

what i really meant was, the URL for the search results page (i use atomz search) is an atomz URL. it's off-site.

If you are really happy with your search I wouldn't change it. Mine does stay onsite and I kind of like the idea that it does but I don't know if it affects SE results. It would be a pretty minor factor.

I don't think it matters if time on page or pages visited is used by search engines. You want to improve it anyway where you can. Check out our Usability forum [webmasterworld.com...] and information on the net by Jakob Nielsen.

Many webmasters need to pay more attention to usability. We can get so focused on SEO here on Webmaster World but few seem to care about usability judging from how few participage in our Assessibility and Usability forum and how many participate here on the Google Search forum.

calumniate




msg:3016242
 5:43 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think that time on site has anything to do with it but would google pay attention to something like with average page views?

alexa.com has a page views per user session statistic. Ours is generally around 15 which isn't so bad I don't think.

Any thoughts?

Cheers,

Russell

annej




msg:3016305
 6:30 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

If page views were considered more important than time on site it would go against content sites as they have articles which take time to read.

I can see it now. The newest SEO trick, webmasters chopping thier articles up to a paragraph per webpage to keep the page views up. Or how about a sentence per page?

londrum




msg:3016364
 7:26 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

i'm always wondering why google brought out analytics.

adsense and adwords, sure, they brought those out to make money. and google maps will probably make a lot of money for them one day, with ads, or corporate sales or something. and gmail carries ads as well.
so it all makes money for them, which is fair enough.

the google toolbar doesn't make money, but it can track which sites a user visits etc, which is obviously useful for their index.

but analytics only covers a SINGLE site. and it doesn't carry ads. so the only worthwhile thing that google can be getting out of it is the data.
what data would they find useful? it can only be the page views, number of visitors, inbound and outbound links and time spent on site. and maybe what part of the world people are coming from.
they must be using the data to try and work out how good our sites are. surely they couldn't afford to just give us all this data for free, and store it all for us for free, without getting some definite benefit out of it themselves.

not that i'm complaining, of course, because it's a good service. but i've convinced myself that the data they collect affects how they rank our site. or maybe i'm just an old cynic... or nuts!

jay5r




msg:3016400
 8:12 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you're doing well in google, she indexes all your pages and presents the most relevant deeplink to the searcher.

In my mind I want to get non-customers off my site as quickly as I can. It's a site that sells rights-managed medical illustrations - so most people probably won't be customers. So yes, I want the search engines to link to the best page in my site and if that still isn't what the person is looking for I want them to understand that the instant they land on the page. I don't want them rummaging around the site trying to figure out if I offer what they're looking for.

So my ideal is to have a lot of <30 second visits, but a few people who are interested in the site that spend some real time on it. That's pretty much how things are now - 60% are there for <30 seconds, 18% for 31 seconds to 2 minutes, and the rest are 2+ minutes.

At least in my case, as the site gets better and the search engines get better at delivering users to the best page on my site, I should see the average page views go down (not up), but the page views should go up for the top 10 or 20 percent of my users. So Alexa's average page views per visit is really pretty useless.

So to me the quality of the site is related to the average page views for the top 10% of users, not the average page views of all users.

Oliver Henniges




msg:3016406
 8:15 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

> Many webmasters need to pay more attention to usability.

yepp: google's first law: Concentrate on the user. ALL else will follow. Fulfill the needs of your visitor on any level, from website-usability to absolute fair regulation of complaints. 'Love' your visitor/customer. Present a better world to her. All else will follow. It's so easy.

Search engine optimization is out of date. All you need is love and a minimum of search-engine-friendliness of your pages. Maybe it takes a while in high competitive areas.

jomaxx




msg:3016410
 8:24 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

add that to their favorites (Google can track that)

This is pretty much the only user behaviour metric that I would agree is a strong indicator of a high-quality or highly-relevant website -- even if only something like 1 in 1,000 SERP clicks probably results in a site being bookmarked.

But can Google really track this action? Does the toolbar have its hooks that deeply into Explorer that it can detect when this happens?

Oliver Henniges




msg:3016428
 8:36 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

well, your browser at least sends a request to favicon.ico, doesn't it?

jomaxx




msg:3016435
 8:43 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think it does that anyways, to display that little icon in the URL bar.

Oliver Henniges




msg:3016463
 9:16 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think details depend on your browser. Some send a request whenever you visit that side, and some only when performing the add-to-bookmarks-arction. But it doesn't really matter. All google has to know is: Uh, this side seems to be important.

trinorthlighting




msg:3016539
 10:21 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sure they can track when people add to favorites if the page has analytics, adsense or if the user has the tool bar.

This thought brings up an interesting point, what is a good % of users who do bookmark a site. I would not measure it on pages added to favorites but as unique visitors adding to favorites.

I think people who add a site to their favorites shows google its a good site and people want to return. If its a bad site, then people do not add it and it looks at it negatively.

trinorthlighting




msg:3016562
 10:36 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Another interesting thought on how google can get surfing information, via internet service providers....

Example, if your ISP is Comcast (Which is big in my area) Comcast has all sorts of data. Google powers their searches and I wonder if there is a sale of surfer information someplace between Comcast and Google. It is very routine to sell data as long as it does not violate privacy laws.

One other thing, look at all the dell computers on the market and google toolbars rolling out. All the businesses... I would say google has a ton of information and does use it.

SanDiego Art




msg:3016565
 10:40 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

londrum -

Correct, While Google Toolbar & Analytics are not direct revenue producers they are revenue drivers. The toolbar makes it 1 step quicker/easier to perform a search (while viewing any URL - without having to go to Google.com) which in turn generates AdWords ads to produce revenue.

Analytics on the other hand, is a tool they acquired (not much extra development costs) in order to get more advertisers in their Adwords program. By allowing them to easily get metrics on their spending in order to show ROI. Without ROI these days, advertisers won't throw money away. What's better than a free tool that integrates with their ad network, to track and hopefully encourage increase ad spending because they can now more easily (and freely) get metrics.

While there might be "side effects" to these tools as far as "search" implications, I feel they have to do more with increased revenue.

Also, the toolbar only reports back to Google with the "advanced" options on, correct? Advanced = Page Rank Enabled, etc.

jomaxx




msg:3016566
 10:43 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sure they can track when people add to favorites if the page has analytics, adsense or if the user has the tool bar.

No, I believe the correct answer is that they CANNOT track that information via Analytics or AdSense.

If you're simply talking about the referrer being blank, there are lots of reasons for that besides accessing a site via one's bookmarks.

trinorthlighting




msg:3016567
 10:45 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

They can track how much the page is viewed.. When ever a user visits a page, google has to send the site an advertisement.

Oliver Henniges




msg:3016934
 8:48 am on Jul 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

> Also, the toolbar only reports back to Google with the "advanced" options on, correct? Advanced = Page Rank Enabled, etc.

Yes, I think so. And if you have, google exactly knows which site you visit, how long and when.

I don't know about the exact percentage of users having turned this option "on". I believe that the reason for google mentioning the toolbar on the main page from time to time is, that they need more data, that the percentage of users is in danger of dropping below statistical significance.

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