That bounce rate may not be so bad for the kind of site that you have.
If users find what they're looking for on the page for a single
resource, they may not need to go to any other page on your site. That
would get logged as a bounce. In this case a high bounce rate (really
high exit rate) may be exactly what you want by showing that the user
need is immediately satisfied.

One way to test this some would be to use some event tracking.  If
there is a user interaction on the page even the single page view with
an immediate exit does not count as a bounce. If you have user
interactions on the page which show real engagement, then your bounce
rate may come down even if your exits from show views stays high.
Since you can trigger an event with any arbitrary javascript you have
a lot of flexibility to determine what actually should count as a
bounce. Taking a quick look at Catalyst you have some user
interactions that do not take the user to a new page that would be
candidates for event tracking.

It would be interesting to see if these features get use and to what
extent they effect your bounce rate. Maybe you already have some of
this data?


On Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 2:25 PM, Sean Hannan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> It's hard to say. Going off of the numbers that I have, I'd say that they do
> find what they are looking for, but they unless they are a JHU affiliate,
> they are unable to access it.
> Our bounce rate for Google searches is 76%.  Which is not necessarily bad,
> because we put a lot of information on our item record pages--we don't make
> you dig for anything.
> On the other hand, 9% of visits coming to us through Google searches are
> return visits. To me, that says that the other 91% are not JHU affiliates,
> and that's 91% of Google searchers that won't have access to materials.
> I know from monitoring our feedback form, we have gotten in increase in
> requests from far flung places for access to things we have in special
> collections from non-affiliates.
> So, we get lots of exposure via searches, but due to the nature of how
> libraries work with subscriptions, licensing, membership and such, we close
> lots of doors once they get there.
> -Sean
> On 2/23/12 1:55 PM, "Schneider, Wayne" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> This is really interesting. Do you have evidence (anecdotally or
>> otherwise) that the people coming to you via search engines found what
>> they were looking for? Sorry, I don't know exactly how to phrase this.
>> To put it another way - are your patrons finding you this way?
>> wayne
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
>> Sean Hannan
>> Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 12:37 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Local catalog records and Google, Bing, Yahoo!
>> Our Blacklight-powered catalog ( comes
>> up a lot in google search results (try gil scott heron circle of stone).
>> Some numbers:
>> 59% of our total catalog traffic comes from google searches 0.04% of our
>> total catalog traffic comes from yahoo searches 0.03% of our total
>> catalog traffic comes from bing searches
>> For context, 32.96% of our total catalog traffic is direct traffic and
>> referrals from all of the library websites combined.
>> Anecdotally, it would appear that bing (and bing-using yahoo) seem to
>> drastically play down catalog records in their results. We're not doing
>> anything to favor a particular search engine; we have a completely open
>> robots.txt file.
>> Google regularly indexes our catalog. Every couple days or so. I haven't
>> checked in awhile.
>> We're not doing any fancy SEO here (though, I'd like to implement some
>> of the microdata stuff).  It's just a function of how the site works. We
>> link a lot of our catalog results to further searches (clicking on an
>> author name takes you to an author search with that name, etc).  Google
>> *loves* that type of intertextual website linking (see also: Wikipedia).
>> We also have stable URLs. Search URLs will always return searches with
>> those parameters, item URLs are based on an ID that does not change.
>> All of that good stuff doesn't help us with bing, though. ...But I'm not
>> really concerned with remedying that, right this moment.
>> -Sean
>> On 2/23/12 12:37 PM, "[log in to unmask]"
>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>> First of all, I'm going to say I know little in this area. I've done
>>> some preliminary research about search indexing (Google's) and
>>> investigated a few OPAC robot.txt files. Now to my questions:
>>>    - Can someone explain to me or point me to research as to why local
>>>    library catalog records do not show up in Google, Bing, or Yahoo!
>> search
>>>    results?
>>>    - Is there a general prohibition by libraries for search engines to
>>>    crawl their public records?
>>>    - Do the search engines not index these records actively?
>>>    - Is it a matter of SEO/promoted results?
>>>    - Is it because some systems don't mint URLs for each record?
>>> I haven't seen a lot of discussion about this recently and I know
>>> Jason Ranallo has done a lot of work in this area and gave a great
>>> talk at code4lib Seattle on microdata/, so I figured this
>>> could be part of that continuing conversation.
>>> I look forward to being educated by you all,
>>> Tod