I noticed that one of the Hubmetrics numbers on hubs is view duration. It tells you how long people stay glued to each of your hubs before clicking away for something else. I know that Google measures view duration as well. Do you think that pages that get viewed longer are naturally boosted in the Serps? Or is it too easily manipulated and therefore discounted?
That HP metric is there for a reason. Given that HP and Google have a certain symbiotic relationship (after all, that's how we get our AdSense revenue...a good handshake between the two), I'd guess duration is a factor.
I'm curious: How do you think duration could be manipulated on HP?
Do you mean that google measures view duration in analytics? Not all sites use google analytics you know.
I don't see how they could get reliable enough information to use this in their ranking algorhythm.
They can measure the time when someone clicks out from search results and when (and if) they hit the back button. I don't have any inside knowledge, but if I were building a search engine I'd use data from that extensively when determining whether a particular search result is a good fit for a term.
Paul, do you have the highest 'followers to hubs' ratio on Hubpages, excluding those with zero hubs?
I'm sure they use bounce rate - the number of people going straight back to the search engine to look for something else - but if someone doesn't go straight back to the search engine they wouldn't know, and if they do go straight back to the search engine then they probably didn't find what they were looking for, so what does it matter how long it took them to realize the site was useless to them?
I think the idea is that if you stayed a bit, it WAS useful.
For many types of pages, bounce rate is meaningless. Specifically consider pages that answer serious computer or medical problems. The person finding the right answer reads it and then likely rushes off to implement it - bounce rate at or near 100%.
Or consider someone researching. I do this all the time: do a search, visit the page, copy the URL and perhaps some text to remind me and then back to the search to look at the next page.
I might never go back - the info I copied is what I need for my research and I have the URL if I am going to reference it. 100% bounce but the pages are very meaningful (at least the ones I copied the url from are).
If they find something and rush off to use it, then the bounce rate isn't 100%, its 0% - a bounce would be if they click back on their browser and search for something else. Just leaving the page isn't a bounce, because everyone leaves every webpage in the end. Althoug there will always be exceptions, generally a bounce means the visitor didn't find what they were looking for, whereas if they click a link, close their browser, or type a new address in, then there is a better chance that they did find what they were searching for.
In any case my main point was that they can't use view duration because they have no way to know what the view duration is unless it was a bounce, in which case the view duration before bouncing back to google isn't particularly relevant. They may be doing what you describe above, and so not stay long despite the fact that it was a good page, or it may be a confusing page and may take them a while before they realize there is no relevant information.
That's not how Google Analytics defines bounce. They simply say
"Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page."
No mention of going back to search. They could go anywhere (except to a page within my site - that's NOT a bounce) it's still a bounce. A bounce is a single page visit that leaves, period.
But even if they did, my researching example would give a very fast 100% bounce rate and yet often the pages are quite valuable to me.
I wasn't talking about google analytics. How could they base their search results on analytics information when it only relates to sites that choose to add analytics?
Analytics is not the only source of information they have. Their Adsense code runs almost everywhere and they could pick up duration from that too.
But even if they only used Analytics, the point is that they COULD use this information for other purposes. Most sites (most sites of any importance) do run Analytics. Nothing says that Google can't use that information to assign SERP if they think it makes sense to do so.
I'm not saying they do - just that they could,
I would imagine the longer a viewer is on your page, it appears the page is full of useful information and engaging the viewer. not everyone searching is searching for products, they're searching for information on everything, including products.
I guess the logic would be the longer the duration, the more the page satisfied the viewer. that would be a good reason to give a higher rating.
But how would they know what the view duration is? They may want to use it, but they would need reliable information in order to do so. I don't see how they would get good enough information to asses view duration.
View duration is simply the time elapsed between entering a page and leaving it. I don't understand why you don't think they have the information to calculate it.
I may well be wrong, but where would they get the information from? I don't understand how they could get this information for every internet user and every website, and if they are using partial information then surely that would skew the search results?
I can't see cookies giving complete enough information, analytics isn't on every site, and perhaps not even a majority, and I don't see microsoft sharing info from their browsers with a rival.
That's where it comes from. I strongly suggest you sign up for Analytics, by the way.
I do know what google anayltics is, but my point is that not all sites use analytics. You can get just as good information from other services. I don't think google is as ubiquitous as you seem to think, and I don't see how they could use analytics information for search results, when it only relates to the sites that choose to use it and not to all websites.
And no thanks, I get plenty of info on my sites in cpanel from awstats. I just don't need to use google analytics.
Google Analytics is used by more than 50% of the top 100,000 sites.
It probably gets even higher as you move into the even bigger sites.
You are fooling yourself if you think awstats even begins to compare to Analytics. I suspect eventually you will regret that you have not implemented it.
If it's 50% of the top sites, and I would guess less overall just as likely as more for the top 1000 or something, then if they do use it I would think it must be in a very minor way otherwise they would be generating search results based on whether a site has analytics or not rather than on whether it is good quality and highly relevant to the search.
And I awstats gives me all the information I need, from a convenient location. I'm perfectly happy with it. I'm sure analytics has it's advantages for some people, but I just have no reason to use it. There isn't anything which I would like to know but don't, so why should I bother? And awstats is just one. There are other alternatives to google analytics out there.
It's a little fuzzy, but this sort of implies that analytics data doesn't directly affect serps:
Will sharing my data directly affect the ranking of my natural search results, ad quality score or ad placement?
Your website data will not be used to affect your natural search results, ad quality score or ad placement. Aggregate data across many customers will be used to improve our products and services.
But I think they can arrive at a reasonably accurate view duration using just data from the back button. For instance let's say I have a page that is #1 for a particular search, and you have a page that is #2:
On my page:
1. 50 click back in 10 seconds
2. 30 click back in 45 seconds
3. 20 never click back
On your page:
1. 20 click back in 10 seconds
2. 30 click back in 45 seconds
3. 50 never click back
Maybe for purposes of calculating a view duration they just figure that people that never click back spent, say ,180 seconds on the page. They would arrive at:
Average view duration
My Page: 54 seconds
Your Page: 106 seconds
Not perfectly accurate, but probably good enough, and your page is probably better than mine!
Now, I'm sure they use a far more sophisticated analysis of click/back patterns than this to predict search result quality (and it's only 1 of many factors), but this should give you an idea of how it might work without any direct measurement. And, yes I think view duration is a pretty good indicator of quality.
Yeah, that's a pretty simple yet effective way to measure it. I'm inclined to agree that duration is a pretty effective measure of quality. The only downfall is what Irohner mentioned earlier about having multiple windows open while doing research, thereby increasing the duration of all the windows by quite a long time unnaturally due to simple multitasking.
You can bet your bippy that Google has analyzed the heck out of consumer usage patterns and habits. I also agree that there is a world of difference between someone visiting a webpage and immediately clicking the "back" button and one that visits a webpage and just gets distracted.
I did a limited study on this for a client a while back using a tool (can't remember the name) that recorded users' screen movements and played it back like video. It was an eye-opener to say the least. All I can say is, don't get too excited the next time Analytics tells you someone stayed on your hub for 10 minutes or so.
View duration isn't always meaningful, and I seriously doubt whether Google takes it into consideration.
Ask yourself this--how many times have you visited a webpage, only to get a phone call just as you start reading? Do you close that page before you take the call?
How many of you have 5 or 6 webpages open while you're researching a hub or an article, and keep them open the entire time you write even though you may only spend a few seconds on each one?
Do you always shut your computer off at night and close the browsers? Do you close all of the webpages you have open before you go to walk the dog? I didn't think so.
I think you're definitely right on with all your points. I also think that Paul hit on something really essential as well. If a person clicks on a page in the Serps and then hits the back button pretty quick, only to click on something else in the same Serps page, I bet they monitor that, and it if happens enough on a single page, I bet they get devalued. But like you said Irohner, just measuring duration isn't very feasible.
Thanks all. That was really helpful.
By the way, usage of Analytics probably exceeds 30% overall and definitely is over 50% among the top 100,000 sites (source: Bullwith Technology Usage Statistics ). An incredible number of us rely on this tool to give us insights into our visitors and their actions while on our sites.
Bounce rates are extremely important and becoming more important every day. How does google know if your page is good or not. the bots dont know. People know and the amount of time a person stays on your site is telling google that this is a good webpage that people like. Google is getting all kinds of data now and bounce rates is only a small fraction of the data they get. Useless unrelated backlinks making any difference in your serps is a thing of the past.
Why do you think hubpages is not putting the big 336 x 280 box in the top left corner like every internet guru says you should to earn more money. We could all earn more money initially but the bounce rates would go down and then google would start devaling hubpages and end result would be negative.
I couldn't disagree with you more. If someone comes to one of my hubs, spends five minutes reading it and then leaves, that's a "bounce." So what exactly is that telling Google?
If I go to Encyclopedia.com and look up "purple dogs with blue belly button rings," I read the entire entry, get the information I need and then leave, does that ding the site because I didn't bother reading the page on "pink cats with green belly button rings?"
You dont really understand bounces. 5 minutes reading a site and then going somewhere else is a vote up for your site and not a bounce. A bounce is not really a good term to use. Google takes into consideration how long you view a site, where you go after ie. do you just hit back button, go to another site etc.. All too analytical for us common folks but google has a system where a site is voted on by the time people spend on a site and where they go after and probably where they came from. Sure there will be people doing all different things so google takes an average over time.
From the Google Analytics site: "Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page." I read the entire entry several times, and have yet to find anything about duration of the visit. Can you please cite your source?
Since I also do not believe that (unless you immediately hit the back button) Google puts too much weight on page visit duration, I would also like to see your sources on that subject. I'm still not convinced that Google has cameras in my house recording my every move so that they know I'm still reading your webpage and not out walking the dog.
I can show you Analytics reports that show a bounce after 28 minutes on a page.
I would say it is you who doesn't understand what Analytics calls a bounce.
google records the duration of your visit. This is common knowledge. Google also records a whole lot of other things that I am sure most of us would be surprised what they track. Again common knowledge. How do you think google can rate a site. No it is not backlinks from irrelevant sources. Google knows people can get many irrelevant backlinks by paying or just perseverence. These do not make a site or article good and google knows this. Google is not going to put on their website how they rate sites. This is none of our business and is top secret information. Sure relevant backlinks matter but there has to be more. Google values relevant engaging content ie what hubpage values. Case in point
my article on ezine about how to regrout a shower. Go to google and type in how to regrout a shower and my article is always up there at the top.
http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Proper … id=2364056
There are 100's of articles about regrouting, how to regrout a shower etc... People like this article so it ranks high and gets many hits a day. I got a whole lot of other ezines that get nada. Article has absolutely no backlinks so why does google put this at the top???? The answer is people read this article, spend a lot of time reading it and google must like where they came from and where their going after.
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I don't understand something.If the average time people spend on an article is 4.5 minutes, how can the bounce rate be 90%? Doesn't 'bounce' mean that they just go on the site for a split second and then go off?
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