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Fantomaster writes... So maybe it’s yet another fad, just like one of the many that have hit the SEO industry consistently ever since it came about to be. Remember the “theme based search” debates? Reciprocal links? Directory submissions as the be all and end all of effective SEO? Domain age, registration span and Whois data as a purported search ranking factor? The “filthy linking rich” (Mike Grehan’s lovely phrase) versus the link havenots?
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from planetc1 2032 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I admit I’m not well versed in the lingo used by many SEOs so when I hear terms like "bounce rates" I come to my own (possibly paranoid) conclusions as to what’s generally being said.How I’ve taken things is 100k visitors in a matter of hours to a page on my site, with 99% leaving seconds later, would potentially have a negative affect for my site in search engines. I have no idea if this is the theory being discussed but that’s been my thoughts regarding it.If that’s the case it seems to me to be screwy since why couldn’t a citizen journalist be the first to break a story online, attracting a massive single day bounce in site traffic, then easing off the spike and back to regular activity again?Am I misunderstanding what’s going on with the discussion?

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from fantomaster 2032 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Not really, no. You’re quite on track. It’s about your pages’ stickiness: if a visitor hits your site via a search engine and leaves again in a whiffy (i.e. "bounces"), the rationale says that your site’s probably not what they were looking for. So if the search engine can determine this visitor behavior (e.g. if they return to the SERP they came from, if they’ve got the Google toolbar installed, etc.), there’s a possibility (as borne out by several published patents plus a lot of more or less anecdotal statements to this effect by a number of webmasters) that your rankings could suffer.Inversely, if visitors stay on, the page in question was probably relevant to their search and may, by inference, experience a ranking boost.There’s lots of controversy surrounding this which my article doesn’t really address. Because the point I’m actually making is that if this currently pretty common perception prevails (namely that search engine are actually adopting this route - or have already done so in part at least), we’re bound to see the black hat SEO community react by rolling out SEO Surfbot Nets.Personally, I’d disagree with the fundamental rationale of basing rankings to any significant extent on such behavioral metrics because they’re so easy to fake. But then again I’ve always had my beef for similar reasons with Google’s PageRank algo which is merely an overblown citation index patently unsuited to a commercial environment.And yes, of course I’m aware that there’s lots of other ranking factors involved, and that ranking by itself is utterly immaterial if you can’t get your traffic to convert, etc. etc. And that it won’t pay off to focus exclusively on any isolated ranking factor and fret too much about it, be it PR or inbound links or bounce rates or what have you...

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from massa 2032 Days ago #
Votes: 1

personality management. and I believe you are exactly right FM about adwords,not relelvancy,being the driving force.If it converts,it couldn’t hurt!

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from theGypsy 2032 Days ago #
Votes: 2

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from amabaie 2032 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"If that’s the case it seems to me to be screwy since why couldn’t a citizen journalist be the first to break a story online, attracting a massive single day bounce in site traffic, then easing off the spike and back to regular activity again?" Let’s say you broke the story about a scandle with a little-known band called "Twiddling My Thumbs" (a name that not too many websites would be optimized for) and 99% of the massive spike in traffic left after a few seconds.  That sounds like pretty good evidence to the search engines that your article isn’t that good; otherwise, people would stay and read. On the other hand, maybe little is known, there’s not much to say, and it makes sense for people to leave after a few seconds.  This would not hurt your ranking position, because other websites ranking for "twiddling my thumbs" would bounce visitors even faster (since you broke the story and their pages really are about twiddling their thumbs).  If you have the best information about "Twiddling My Thumbs", even those few seconds before the bounce should give you a competitive advantage with a algorithm that includes bounce data (all other factors,such as inbound links, domain longevity, on-page SEO, etc. being equal).  Your key would be to manage that information and maintain the best and most complete information on your website, so that people searching for "twiddling my thumbs" continue to stay longer on your page than people who visit other websites for that same search phrase.Disclaimer: this is all theory about how it "should" work.  The search engines will each decide how they would implement such user data, and there is no telling that what Google and Yahoo and MSN do will even resemble each other.

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from theGypsy 2032 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Well, of the patents and papers from the big 3, the approaches to behavioral data is reasonably similar. Once more, its a problem of how to get useful signals... that’s why I am more inclined to see them as better personalization tools than outright reg organic...And I think bounce rates aren’t the most interesting... the stuff on ’application focus’ really takes things to a new level... those would be things like your IM, Email and even a Word Doc on your desktop. As people start ’computing in the clouds’ this will become an even more interesting signal...And what of explicit behavioral signals such as bookmarking, favorite in your feed reader, SearchWiki... as tools for refining search in a personalized environment they can work quite well (IMHO)...The fascination with bounce rates is freaky to be honest. People a few weeks back couldn’t stop talking about personalized search as a larger factor in ’09 - so how is it with this behavioral concepts in front of us, some aren’t connecting the dots? I say YES... personalized will be growing... and YES behavioral is important...and YES, I did the math and they make a great partnership. Stop focussing on the organic SERPs as much with these theories... but that’s just me.One thing we all MUST do, is be responsible when discussing it and ensure those seeking to profit from being ’experts’ on the topic are kept in check. Some of the oldest topics are ’SEO Ethics’ ’SEO Standards’ and ’SEO is Dead’ - by being responsible in our reporting we might just help all three...Fanto’s post was excellent and I think has the tenor this topic needs for the moment. I know as much as the next guy about things actually work behind the curtain - and don’t claim to on this one.... cheers

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from fantomaster 2032 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@theGypsy: Right, Dave, couldn’t agree more that "generalizing atomization" (my wording, of course, not yours) is a methodologically dubious approach at best.Personalising search is all very well if people accept it - though I’m pretty doubtful that it will really be the big hit overall. Take involuntary geo targeting: the main reason why I’ll only conduct searches via U.S. based proxies is that I’m located in Belgium - meaning that Google and others will force me to search via their Belgian sites which I’m not interested in one bit because 90% of our SEO activities are U.S. focused. Some "great user experience", doh...But even if widely accepted by users, there’s plain too many individual factors involved to generalize such data with impunity: starting off with persistent (aka stable, reliable) personal interests + bias, followed up with situative, ephemeral factors and interests which simply won’t lend themselves to easy generalization.Take Amazon: if you’re looking for a whodunnit to give to your friend for his birthday, and if you happen to actually buy one from them, they’ll start pestering you with tons of alternate whodunnit offers for months every time you login again. Smart marketing? Well, I know they’ve come to the conclusion that this has helped their sales dramatically, but who really knows how many people it has ticked off instead as well? (Maybe it’s just me but I for my part find this pretty silly and irritating.)Search is similar: what may be your #1 issue today, causing you to enter pertinent search phrases by the ton for hours, may have lost all interest to you by tomorrow.And I’m not at all sure that all this can easily be translated into a statistical mean capable of handling the law of large numbers, etc.Of course, what we haven’t addressed at all yet is the Negative SEO aspect of this: could you conceivably make your competitors’ rankings drop some day by hitting them with a Surfbot Net that trashes their performance on the bounce rate side? A scary thought, to be sure, but anything but unrealistic once we agree that behavioral metrics (which bounce rates are a major part of) are promoted to a major ranking factor...

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from theGypsy 2032 Days ago #
Votes: 1

You raise a few more interesting points...A. Even personalization can be skewed as each member of my family plops onto the computer during a Saturday - no worries tho’ Microsoft has a patent about ’bio-metrics’ for our computers to not only identify us, but read signals (happy, angry, displeased) - you know -"I’m sorry Dave, I sense you are unhappy with these search results"B. which brings us to another point of yours - that behavioral management could be next and actually slow a persons evolution as they would naturally evolve. Could they manage us and our desires? Google and MSN have behavioral targeting for TC set top boxes (which ads U liked etc..) Sounds whacky, but I have spent waaaaay to much time reading the evolutions of these efforts. Waaaay beyond privacy, as a society there are concerns that I have with this level of ’personalization’And the spam-ability is the part that seems most likely the achilles heel (in a non-personalized enviro). Tough times mean cost cutting, new signals that have a higher spam detection cost (in processing) are unlkely to be as popular as cost saving technologies such as page segmentation algos.There’s just been too much jumping the gun going on IMO... discussions like this can hopefully bring a larger brain trust into the conversation.... kudos once more.

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from fantomaster 2032 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Sir - it’s always been my contention that Orwell was an inveterate optimist: so are you actually subscribing to that irrational optimism of his as well? Lol - just joking.Fact #1: Google is primarily a Data Mining outfit, not a search engine. (It’s something I’ve been writing about for years, having studied the politics of power and their societal mechanics for the better part of three decades - i.e. no mere paranoid knee jerk reaction on my part... though I’m fairly accustomed to people shrugging it off as such.)Fact #2: Search (and the encumbent advertising network) is their primary data infusion blood line.Fact #3: "Data mining" potentially encompasses lots of different areas of application ranging from commerce and public relations to intelligence, law enforcement and political crowd control.Conclusion #1: The more they know about you as an individual, the more likely they will be to try and track and, as required, exploit or manipulate you - be it as a consumer, as a citizen i.e. a polity member, as a (perceived) health hazard, as a (perceived) sociopath, as a (perceived) security risk, etc. etc.Conclusion #2: The better they are able to categorize you (aka slap some generalized "profile" of theirs onto you), the easier it will be for the process to become self-perpetuating and auto-referential: anything you may do or avoid doing (as tracked and monitored by them) will actually only reinforce their hold on you - both as an individual and as a member of whichever societal group or subgroup you may belong to.Thesis #1: Yahoo! and Live/MSN aren’t that much better, they’re merely not as large and expansive, but as they are probably catering overall to different demographics, their role is anything but trivial.Thesis #2: The train’s departed long ago - no way any individual can effectively stop this development. Short of a political, societal and cultural revolution (a real one, not a mere overblown half assed "reform") there’s no conceivable opt-out option. (Well, you might get fully unplugged, of course - which is when other instruments of crowd control will have to kick in. Think offline surveillance, "anti terrorism" measures, police state tactics etc.)And no, I’m not saying that this is some huge conspiracy with a few elites in the know pulling all the strings - no need for that if you’re actually dealing with systemic mechanisms of "reality production". (But as I can hear people groaning already, I’m certainly not going to get into system theory and similar high falutin’ specialist fields here... peace all! :)On a more particularized scale: yes, I agree that cost-efficiency considerations may impede speedy deployment of more violable mechanisms.

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from theGypsy 2032 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I couldn’t agree more on that ship having sailed. When I first started finding more and more about behavioral (in paid ad patents and then organic areas) I was pretty excited as a techno-geek... very innocent and optimistic. Now? It’s really starting to freak me out some. As I was mentioning both Google and Microsoft have offerings (multiple patents) looking to do this for Television as well (ad tracking, programs etc..)It all came tumbling down with the biometric stuff from MS... there is every implication that this genie is our version of splitting the atom, at least from a sociological standpoint. The tracking and ’reccomendations’ are mere steps away from behavioral modification. But it’s nothing new, just evolved to massive levels because of the data mining and profling abilities available to peeps such as the do-no-evil gang at Google.I thought it also funny that they aquired a company that essentially does DNA analysis ... no that really IS wanted to index ALL the world’s information... sigh... oh well, time to start making some more Tin Foil Hats...

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from wredlich 2029 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Does it matter more if the bounce rate is high for the home page versus for a deep page? My bounce rates are low for the home pages and category pages, but high for the deep pages -- the ones that provide more detailed information about a very specific topic. Isn’t that the way it should be?

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from jimbeetle 2029 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I read the article when fanto first posted it and was on the fence as to whether it was worth a sphinn; this conversation certainly is.

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from seobro 2023 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Bounce rate is so important that if a page has a very high "hit the back key in a sec" percentage you are SOL, so lose that webpage pronto. I mean erase it now. This could help drag you down. The search engines feel that if a user stays a long time on your site the content must be plus max.OK so, a great way to get users to view your page for more than a minute is to put in some  movies. Yes, go to youtube and grab related videos. That will make your page as sticky as fly paper. Remember your score is based on bounce rate more than ever before.

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from theGypsy 2023 Days ago #
Votes: 0

SEObro... whaaaaaattt? A bounce is only a measure that they only visited ONE page. If Google does it’s job right and finds people what they want, then ONE PAGE may be all that’s needed for satisfaction of said user/searcher. Ultimately there is abso-friggen-lutely NO evidence that any major search engine use using implicit user feedback as a ranking signal at all (tho it does seem likely for personalization is anywhere). Just sayin’

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from Gab 2018 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Very insightful post here from the Ralphster

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from yetanotherben 1912 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Just totally blown away by the value of the comments.  Following the debate that went on all those months back it’s good to know that the debate has subdued (at least as far as I can tell). And from my perspective at least, Fantomaster / Dave Harry have done a great job at rationally educating and sharing their experience/research.  Really, I am so greatful for open and frank commentary link this.  Great stuff!  :)

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