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Dealing with High Bounce Pages for a Noob

4:54 pm on Aug 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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My site was hit by Panda in mid-April 2011. It has never recovered.

I've done many, many improvements - and gone as far as I can with what little I know about SEO. Basically I'm a mom at home - and trying to keep it that way by earning an income that was the same as my job outside the home. This has worked out for 10 years.... which is awesome. However - I miss my great rankings. LOL Don't you?

So now I'm trying to educate myself more, understand analytics more (I wish there was a class!) Doing so.... I have noticed I have about 75 pages with a 100% bounce rate and very little traffic coming to them. My site is about 460 pages. (Some pages are already noindexed and have been. Pages like disclaimer, about us...etc.

I've looked at the keywords bringing traffic to these pages - and they seem correct. So that leads me to believe the content is thin? Nope. It's not.

So....should I noindex these pages for now - and tackle each one individually? Should I just delete them? That seems harsh.

What is bad bounce rate cute off? 60%? Should it be under 50%?

I guess noindexing the pages would be somewhat of an experiment. Seeing if it helps the overall site bounce rate fall lower than it's current 54.45% -- which I don't think is awful - but then again, I don't really know? I'm thinking maybe 30% would be awesome?

I'm just trying to formulate my plan for dealing with 75 pages with 100% bounce rate. My plan right now is to noindex them. But I'm a little afraid and thought - just ask for help.... don't be embarrassed. So that's what I am doing.

Thanks in advance.
9:37 pm on Aug 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Bounce rate on its own is a very fuzzy metric. Google spokespeople have often mentioned that it is too "noisy" to use as a direct signal.

I'd suggest you need first to adjust your bounce rate to remove those pages where people spend significant time o the page (dwell time) but don't click through to another page on your site. Those visitors are not really problematic.

If you use Google Analytics, there's a recent article that describes how to do this automatically - see See Tracking Adjusted Bounce Rate In Google Analytics [analytics.blogspot.com]

Looking for a hard number as a "good" bounce rate can also be frustrating, because that will vary by website. What I do is focus on improving the adjusted bounce rate in comparison to earlier bounce rates on the same page.website.
11:58 pm on Aug 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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DO NOT noindex them. This is advice from a recent experiment I ran, I have a site with policy and links pages ranking higher than content when doing a site:domainname search. So I changed the robots directive to "noindex,follow" and they all went from PageRank 2 to nil (nothing/10 versus 2/10).

My solution for pages that had high bounce rates took a little work and creativity but if you can move the user to another page, get another pageview out of them, that's the solution. I can't say what will work for your situation and it's hard in situations where SERPs target the correct page for a user's query, but if you can generate some interest in a related topic without changing you current page's content it would be optimal. Adding a link to another page like the index or table of contents at the top of the higher ranking pages content that said something like "See every thing about this <keyword>" would redirect them to a set of links they can look at and bounce around. Doing it honestly they will end up on the same page the search engine sent the user to but you gave the user options and got some extra pageviews and on site time.

It's deceptiove in a way, yes, BUT, if you have several pages/folder/directories about several topics and have a "table of contents" for each topic, it's not deceptive to send the user to the start page for that topic from each of the internal pages.... "Here Is The Start Page" which is also a call to action if you present it properly.
1:27 am on Aug 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have a page with an over 90% bounce rate that has always ranked well. Users spend an average of over 3 minutes, then most bounce.

You might try including some "related article" type links in the upper content to provide options based on the keywords users typically use.