joined:Sept 13, 2004
[title]Highest Quality Pages, Google, & Google Analytics[/title]
Google Analytics seems to almost completely ignore the highest quality pages, providing incorrect statistics for the most important page views on many high quality sites. I hope Google's search results algorithm does not use the same criteria! (Perhaps it does?)
How has inaccurate data corrupted your SEO efforts?
See my workaround below.
I've read many articles discussing what Google believes to be the best quality page, simply a page that answers every question about the original search terms that prompted Google to produce a link to the page in the first place. There's no reason whatsoever for Google's visitor to click on any link on this page, because the page itself was perfect, meeting the visitors needs. Google's visitor having completed their task is likely to "back out" to Google to begin a new search project whatever it might be, or close the browser.
So why does Google's premier analytical tool do such a terrible job of analysing these highest quality pages. They are invariably called "bounces" by Google Analytics and even awarded an average time on page of ZERO!
An example of a high quality page might be "Moby Dick", the entire book. HTML certainly has enough elements to do an excellent job of encoding the page. So Google's visitor will search "read moby dick", a link is provided to the book (206,052 words * 5.1, about 1 Megabyte). Now Google's visitor reads this high quality page, and Analytics reports a "bounce" with a zero time on page! Because the visitor didn't click a link to another page on the "site". This failing seems to be accepted by many articles that explain why it must be this way, this is how Google Analytics works?
I have many pages that for days and even weeks do nothing but bounce, 100% exit, but the actual average time on page might be 20 minutes. I have a few pages I expect visitors will actually spend hours on legitimately, and then expectedly exit. 100% Exit = 0 Time on Page!
If you have stats like this and want to know the time on page (inaccurately), visit the page yourself, then visit another page on the same domain, then exit the site to terminate the snalytics "seesion". The wait some random amount of time for the analytics results to update, and finally you will see a time for the page. Here I'm speaking about the report "Behavior", "Site Content", "All Pages".
Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).
"Interacting with the page" is the key, Analytic's definition is farcical, the only default interaction is clicking on another page, an ad, or leaving the site. I find this misrepresentation very annoying.
I wonder if the reason some webmasters may have trouble getting pages to rank is because they are making decisions about which pages to put effort into, or which topics they should persue, and they're basing these decisions on bad Analytics data. SEO at its worst. A workaround
Anyway, in the analytics thread above I've described a workaround that seems to report (in most cases) the actual time on page for a page Analytics calls a bounce. This workaround has made a huge change in the statistics reported by Analytics. They are far more reasonable now. I just hope "Universal Analytics" is fixed or this change easily ports to UA