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Overall site visits increasing, but page views per visit going down
sett




msg:4568150
 6:52 am on Apr 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi All,

I am facing a very strange situation. The overall visits for my website are regularly increasing in past 30 days but total page views are going down.

Visits for my website are increasing from all resources i.e. direct, ref. and search resources but on the other hand page views, pages/visit are decreasing. Also, there is slight increment in the bounce rate.


Could you please share your thoughts that why it is happening?

Thanks in advance.

 

Kendo




msg:4568224
 9:43 am on Apr 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

Where are you getting these stats from? If they are from your own logs, then the ghoulies may have found you. These are one hit wonders from banks of servers. Maybe bots or proxies. There is a thread on this forum that is constantly updated with IP ranges to exclude from access. Our hosts are constantly updating their firewall. Otherwise our stats would be 6-10 times more than what they really are. The ones that we get hit every page on the site but never venture further. Then they return a few minutes later to do it all over again.

jinxed




msg:4568226
 10:03 am on Apr 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

Have you changed your title tags and/or meta descriptions recently to optimize for different terms?

HuskyPup




msg:4568227
 10:09 am on Apr 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

There is a thread on this forum that is constantly updated with IP ranges to exclude from access.


Is there? Where, I'd like that, I've always had to make-up my own list.

sett




msg:4568240
 11:56 am on Apr 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

Where are you getting these stats from?


I am checking my stats in Google analytics.

Till Mar'13 there were on an average 300-350 visits/day, 3.5K page views/day and 5-6 pages/visits per day.

Now visits are more than 450 per day, page views are 1.2k and 3 pages/visits per day.

tedster




msg:4568243
 12:15 pm on Apr 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

This sounds like your new traffic (the increase) is not as well targeted as the original traffic was.

tedster




msg:4568504
 2:28 pm on Apr 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Kendo: There is a thread on this forum that is constantly updated with IP ranges to exclude from access.
HuskyPup: Is there? Where, I'd like that, I've always had to make-up my own list.

For background, the initial thread is here: [webmasterworld.com...] - but it became very hard to follow and is now locked. The currently active and updating thread is here: Server Farms - March 2013 [webmasterworld.com]

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4568512
 2:43 pm on Apr 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think the good/bad of page views per visit depends on the situation, because some times it's not a bad thing or negative at all to have lower page views per visitor.

I personally work to get page views per visit lower most of the time by trying to get the right page in front of people when they land initially rather than having to surf around to try and find the information they want.

Is it possible people are landing on more targeted pages and not having to surf as much and this is causing the lower page views?

[edited by: TheOptimizationIdiot at 2:47 pm (utc) on Apr 27, 2013]

tedster




msg:4568515
 2:47 pm on Apr 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

That's the inverse possibility to what I suggested, and I agree it also may be true. A closer and more granular study of the search terms and that pages the user arrives at should tell the tale of which is the right direction.

diberry




msg:4568516
 2:49 pm on Apr 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

This sounds like your new traffic (the increase) is not as well targeted as the original traffic was.


Have your rankings in Google gotten better? If so, the spammers always follow that trail to see if you've got anything they can use. So a Google ranking will not only increase your Google traffic - which in itself may or may not be well-optimized - but traffic from all kinds of other sources, which is actually just spam/bots/SEO stuff.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4568518
 2:55 pm on Apr 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

A closer and more granular study of the search terms and that pages the user arrives at should tell the tale of which is the right direction.

Definitely and I think those type of granular looks into things are necessary more than many people realize, because so many people make blanket statements like "a high bounce rate is bad" or "lower page views mean people aren't engaging, so that's a bad experience", when in reality a high bounce rate + lower page views could mean people found what they were looking for on the page and possibly even bookmarked it to return to later.

<mini-rant>

Personally, I think there's so much misinformation about page views and bounce rate impacting rankings negatively when they're "too high" I wouldn't be surprised if many people try to manipulate those number, end up providing a worse user experience than they did initially, and eventually lose overall traffic/visits due to "chasing better numbers" that really don't tell the full story in isolation.

</mini-rant>

Robert Charlton




msg:4568570
 7:39 pm on Apr 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

My initial take on this was the same as TOI's... that you might now be getting visitors who are finding what they're searching for more quickly. Or, possibly, that they may be spending more time per page on the pages they visit. This certainly would be in line with what I understand Google is trying to do.

Do you have any measures of engagement onsite? Time on site? Time on page? Any conversion goals that might suggest user satisfaction? Any information about return visitors? How do these fit in with the number of visitors vs page views per visit?

netmeg




msg:4568576
 8:36 pm on Apr 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yea I had a client who kind of went nuts when the average pageviews went down after a new launch, till I pointed out that we'd gone from a seven page checkout to a two page checkout. D'oh.

Robert Charlton




msg:4568584
 9:50 pm on Apr 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

One other point to take into account, so we can discuss this clearly....

The overall visits for my website are regularly increasing...

Are we talking here about Google traffic, or about all traffic?

I think it would help us, from the standpoint of discussing this with regard to Google search, to separate out (as much as possible) various types of traffic and look at them separately. Certain types of traffic may not be clearly attributable, and we should separate those out as well.

tedster




msg:4568597
 12:08 am on Apr 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think there's so much misinformation about page views and bounce rate impacting rankings negatively when they're "too high" I wouldn't be surprised if many people try to manipulate those number, end up providing a worse user experience

Right on the nose! I think I've been helped in seeing this by working with a wide variety of sites from the early days of the web. I noticed that there was no such thing as a standard way to view bounce rate. There are just too many dependencies involved.

I would say if you build your site for a good user experience, then juet let the chips fall where they may, unless you can see a need to improve the USER experience, not the search engine experience.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4568604
 12:36 am on Apr 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think I've been helped in seeing this by working with a wide variety of sites from the early days of the web.

I have had some "help" in a similar way myself.

One example is I had a site I knew a bunch of information for and sat down and wrote it all out on a huge page, then left it. I didn't "optimize" for anything or build any links to the page or site; I just let the information "speak for itself" and whatever it did, it did. I wasn't too concerned about it because I had a ton of other things going on.

What the page did, until I let the site go, was rank in the top 3 usually only behind the EMD domain I also wrote some of the content for, had a +90% bounce rate (for years) with an average time on page of over 6 minutes (for years).

In looking at the queries the bounce rate and time on page weren't due to people not engaging, it was due to them reading, because about the bounce rate % of the time what they searched for was answered in detail on the page. Good result for the visitor, Google and me. I didn't mind a bit.

That's definitely something I wouldn't likely know if I hadn't had those type experiences in my years online though.

sett




msg:4569233
 6:38 am on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Do you have any measures of engagement onsite? Time on site? Time on page?


We measure engagement onsite through "downloads of software" and our number of daily downloads were not affected after page views decrement.

Are we talking here about Google traffic, or about all traffic?


Here, I am talking about all traffic means direct traffic, referral traffic and search traffic.

Robert Charlton




msg:4569429
 8:31 pm on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Here, I am talking about all traffic means direct traffic, referral traffic and search traffic.

I think it's hard to get a precise picture with all three lumped together. You will probably also have to get "more granular" within each of these classifications, once you separate your views of them.

Several replies early on in this thread suggested that rogue bots were a possibility... and with the aggregate information only, that might well have explained it.

Subsequent information...
Till Mar'13 there were on an average 300-350 visits/day, 3.5K page views/day and 5-6 pages/visits per day.

Now visits are more than 450 per day, page views are 1.2k and 3 pages/visits per day.

...and also...
We measure engagement onsite through "downloads of software" and our number of daily downloads were not affected after page views decrement.

I take this additional information, all together, perhaps as a positive sign, though again that's a rough interpretation only. The same number of goal events (downloads) with fewer overall page views per day suggests to me that visitors are seeing content that motivates them to make a decision more quickly, which perhaps is an increase in efficiency.

On the other hand, you're getting fewer downloads per visitor... but the change in engagement on the page view level appears to be more dramatic than the increase in traffic.

I don't know whether or not you've segmented this data further. I suspect in some cases you probably have. To look further at what the change of traffic is, you'd want at the least finer detail on search referrers, eg, and query data (if available). For purposes of this discussion, you'll want to identify what traffic is identified as Google (or might be coming from Google). I'm assuming that "increase in efficiency" is something that Google considers a good thing, which may affect what traffic Google is sending where. Is there a change in queries for which Google is sending you traffic? Is there a change in landing pages?

Within your site, are you tracking visitor behavior? Have you set up conversion funnels, and are you seeing any changes in visitor patterns since March 13? What about time on pages? Return visitors?

There are many things you can measure... probably more than might be useful for your situation... but, as you can see, it's hard to draw conclusions from just broad stats. Some of the visitor behavior data may well suggest useful site changes you can make.

sett




msg:4569645
 12:48 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

I take this additional information, all together, perhaps as a positive sign, though again that's a rough interpretation only. The same number of goal events (downloads) with fewer overall page views per day suggests to me that visitors are seeing content that motivates them to make a decision more quickly, which perhaps is an increase in efficiency.


One more thing I want to mention here is that we didn't make any changes in site's layout, navigation structure,content etc. So its bit difficult to understand that now our users are getting required info quickly.

Also, there is no change in our rankings on Google

diberry




msg:4569714
 4:48 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Sett, is it possible that somebody is sending a chunk of visitors to the exact deep page they need to go? I.E., Google long tail phrases you haven't paid much attention to, or some social media links that you may not even be able to decipher (Facebook)? If a source is doing that, it might account for what you're seeing.

Dether




msg:4572198
 7:51 am on May 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

It can be like that because all links you have over the internet points to one page and people just look at it and leave maybe

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