1script - 10:18 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)
I've looked at Analytics In-Page reports today and found an insane amount of clicks from a page going to the same page which the CMS links by default from within the breadcrumbs section, pagination and then several more times in the comments section, this time with named anchors attached to the end of the URL. It looks like on average 50% of clicks from a page go right back to the same page, and sometimes it's as high as 70%+!
So, this got me thinking: are these self-referencing links harmful in any way? I can see how they may be a nuisance to the user if they click and simply reload the same page. I'm not sure exactly why do they click on that link in the first place - it's the same anchor as <h1> right above it, only linked back to the same page.
But, the actual user experience aside, what would this do to the way Google sees my pages if using UX as ranking metric: do I get a "credit" for the second visit to the same page? Do I get an "infraction" for shorter stay on the page if, presumably, the entire stay would they get divided between two page loads? Do they even consider those as separate visits given that they are only a few seconds apart most of the time? Do these links unnecessarily dilute PR going to other pages?
Some of those self-referencing links are unavoidable: the comment permalinks are actually different URIs since they have the anchor at the end, although they lead to the same page. But I can adjust the CMS to remove those self-referencing links from breadcrumbs and navigation.
What do you guys think is the best way to handle those self-referencing links? Should I even bother?
Thanks for all your input!