Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Ian MacLeod on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, December 20, 2018).

Should I delete pages with high bounce rate?

We have some content on our website that has been there for many years. The content is essentially pages of free business letters that served to attract traffic to our site. I don’t think you would call them doorway pages because it is the content the user is searching for.
Analytics says 92% of visitors to these free letters are first time visitors, but the theory is they may take note and return at another time for paid products. 89% exit from the entry page and these pages do not contribute any revenue in sales and we do not serve advertising on these pages.

You might consider some of the content thin by today’s standards but it is useful to the visitor and we figure they must be copying the content or reading it or something because they stay on the pages for an average of 3min 33 secs.

However, these pages have a high bounce rate (average 85%) and we worry that the high bounce rate associated with these pages is sending poor quality signals to Google and wonder if we should delete them? Or simply leave them as no index?
What does the panel say?

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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Perry Bernard: GA bounce rate is not a ranking factor. If you are vaguely worried about that, fire an event on the page after 30 seconds of viewing the top-most DIV with GTM. This will give a more "true" view of people looking at the page for half a minute or more and reduce your "apparent" bounce rate without having to change the global GA pageview timeout off 30min. Also, you could trying implementing measurement to see if new users hitting those landing pages convert in later sessions, and what value that might have.
  • Perry Bernard: FWIW this "trick" typically drops GA bounce rates immediately. If it doesn`t, it probably means your 85% bounce is genuinely bounce, and then yes, there`s gotta be something wrong between implied promise of what the page contains vs what it actually contains.
  • Perry Bernard: The bounce rate that affect rank is not really bounce, it`s "return to search". i.e. the rate at which a searcher returns to search results after clicking on a result. Google doesn`t use GA data to define this - it uses (hidden) Search Console data because the analytics in question here is happening on their property () not yours.
  • George G.: I agree with . What i would add is - make a better CTA or popup on exit to a related resource on your site or w/e might interest them. You can also offer a freebie and gather emails. If the content gets traffic, use it.
  • Michael Martinez: Google does not use any kind of bounce rate to adjust its rankings. They just confirmed this again.
  • Ian MacLeod: Thanks , I didn`t see your response before I posted my thanks. I`m so out of date with this stuff, but I`m grateful to have access to such a knowledgeable resource.
  • Ian MacLeod: We`ve always been reluctant to delete pages and these insights have given us a clear strategy with which we can move forward. With your advice in mind we have decided to keep the pages in place and develop some alternate offers to get some benefit from the traffic. Thanks and for the responses, appreciate your time

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, December 20, 2018).

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