ia play

the good life in a digital age

Archive for the ‘rnib search’ tag

search logs – bounce rates

without comments

This article is part of a series about search log analysis which includes what people are searching for, spotting real opportunities and the geographical element.

As well as popular queries, I’ve been examining the bounce rates in our search logs. Often interpreted as a bad thing (after all, you don’t want people to leave your site) bounce rates can mean all sorts of things. The searcher could have rapidly realised they are in completely the wrong place for their query, they could have been dissatified with the content, or they might have only been looking for a quick answer which the site actually satisfied.

You need more evidence before you can unravel which of these reasons is causing a high bounce rate. If I see the query has a high bounce rate,  and a high number of new visitors and the query is non-RNIB specific  then this tends to suggest the searchers ended up on the site “by mistake”. I see this alot where the query is quite general e.g. “curriculum” or “flash” and then content on the RNIB is specifically about accessible curriculums or accessible Flash.

Some seemingly similar searches have very different bounce rates.  Searches for ‘Helen Keller’ average a much higher bounce rate than searches for ‘Louis Braille’. This doesn’t necessarily reflect lower satisifaction with the Helen Keller content. ‘Helen Keller’  goes to a simple lengthy page with limited onward links. Louis Braille, on the other hand, leads users to a mini-site about Louis Braille and Braille more generally.  Whilst ‘Helen Keller’ has a high bounce rate the term also has a reasonably high “time spent”, so you could interpret this as the searcher got the information they were looking for and didn’t feel the need to explore further.

The logs might provide evidence for areas where we should try and lower the bounce rates. Should we be trying to keep the attention of the web designers and developers who stumbled onto the site looking for general web design ideas? Or the schoolchildren looking for a Helen Keller biography to complete their homework? Or fundraisers looking for ideas for raising money? Which group represents a better opportunity for the RNIB? This needs more thought.

Intriguingly, the bounce rate for ‘RNIB judd st’ is twice that for ‘RNIB Judd street’ but the results are the same. Does that reflect the impatience of a searcher who won’t spell out ‘street’ in full?

Next:  spotting real opportunities

Written by Karen

March 25th, 2009 at 6:35 am

Posted in rnib,search

Tagged with

search logs – what are people searching for

without comments

This article is part of a series about search log analysis which includes bounce rates, spotting real opportunities and the geographical element.

As I explained on Friday I’ve been categorising the top 500 referring keywords for RNIB.org.uk.

Before I did the categorisation, Helen Keller and RNIB were far and away the biggest referrers. Both are a magnitude of 10 larger than any other individual query. But the third largest query is for Glaucoma and other specific eye conditions appeared frequently throughout the logs (as do a multitude of Helen Keller related queries) so I was interested in other significant types of query.

So after my arbitrary categorising I ended up with these types (these are not actual keywords):

  1. Helen Keller
  2. Specific eye conditions
  3. RNIB
  4. Welfare support and benefits
  5. Keyboard shortcuts
  6. Eye tests
  7. Equality and disability rights
  8. Fundraising ideas
  9. Louis Braille
  10. Talking Books

(these ten cover about 50% of all the keywords)

As I said earlier the categories are a bit arbitrary. I could easily have grouped eye conditions and eye tests into ‘eye health’ and Helen Keller and Louis Braille could be “historical figures”. The categorising helps more as a activity for immersing myself in the full 500 list and getting a feel for what is significant in the logs.  The actual rankings are a bit of a red herring.

Next: bounce rates

Written by Karen

March 23rd, 2009 at 6:56 am

Posted in rnib,search

Tagged with