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Here’s an interesting and hacky use case for you. It’s all about uncovering bounce metrics for visits which originate from organic Google search results. In particular, the metric we’re interested in is how long user dwelled on the landing page after arriving from organic Google search AND returned to the search engine results page (SERP) using the browser’s back button. The inspiration for this post came from an audience question at the Best Internet Conference in Lithuania, which I recently attended as a speaker.

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Quick history. On May 23, 2014, the following announcement was made on the Google Webmaster Central Blog: In order to solve this problem, we decided to try to understand pages by executing JavaScript. It's hard to do that at the scale of the current web, but we decided that it's worth it. We have been gradually improving how we do this for some time. In the past few months, our indexing system has been rendering a substantial number of web pages more like an average user's browser with JavaScript turned on.

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Google has a myriad of ways to make the search engine results page (SERP) livelier. When you input a search query, the engine’s mission is to provide you with the most relevant information with as few clicks as possible. Often, this means that you’ll see the answer to your query directly in the SERP: See also Dr. Pete’s excellent description of variation in the SERP (note that this post is from 2013, and not all the data types are relevant today).

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A word of warning. This is not a developers’ post, a guide, or a thought experiment. This is a bona fide rant. Sometimes we just need to vent. A couple of weeks ago, I checked one of our (inactive) client’s Google Analytics accounts I still had access to. What I saw in the acquisition report was this: See how direct traffic gobbles up a great big share of organic traffic in late October?

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My days as a freewheeling, unrestrained, happy-go-lucky, gung-ho city cowboy are over. As of 31 August 2013, I’m a married man, and for the rest of my life, I will dedicate myself to optimizing my relationship to my beautiful wife. The old ball-and-chain. But before I bury myself in the bosom of our bless├Ęd alliance, I’ll continue to blog about the dark and murky undergrowth of digital marketing that SEO is.

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So you’ve spent a whopping amount of money on paid search, SEO, Facebook ads, competitions, link building, and traditional marketing. You’re seeing a crazy influx of visitors to your site. Just as you’re about to call your boss to accept the promotion, you notice a worrying trend: your new visitors are barely making an impression on conversions from online traffic. What’s up with that? All your high-paid consultants told you that a high return of investment is guaranteed, since The Internet is da bomb, everything is cheap, and percentages are always in your favor!

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So it’s been a while, I know. I’ve been enjoying my summer vacation, either swimming in the lush blue waters of Finland’s lakes or in the murky, greenish, (only slightly toxic) chemistry lab reject also known as the Baltic Sea. I’ve also had the pleasure of playing golf only to realize I’m roughly at the same skill level I was at when I first started. I blame the fact I’ve played less than ever before due to some unexpected patellofemoral pain in my right knee (yes, I know it’s called the Runner’s Knee, but if I know words like patellofemoral, I will use them).

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Simo Ahava

Husband | Father | Analytics developer
simo (at) simoahava.com

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland