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This is a question to experienced people that might help us shed some light on the issue.

We noticed a very strange behavior on our site, in Google Analytics. Some dude from Finland, namely, from Kouvola city is hitting one of our pages - only one page on our site, 'bout a hundred times per day, all with an average bounce rate of 90%+...

This is causing our overall bounce rate to go up by 1 to 3% per day... which is very disturbing.. since we're trying to do our best in order to keep it as low as possible. And obviously having it jumped from ~24% to 27%, just because of that crazy dude is not making us happy at all... We tried implementing a geo-targeted script in order to catch this particular visitor and deliver him a juicy message, and it seemed like it helped in the beginning, it has stopped for a day or two, but now he's back...

The geo-targeted script was also logging all IP addresses for page requests originating from Finland in order to find out more details and (in order to block them on the server level, later).. but thing is, it was all mainly cable or DSL connections with various, but not constantly repeating IPs... we are all wondering what is he up to really ?

I think that this page should be kept updated with ideas on how to combat this and perhaps someone could also shed light on what it might be ? What is the reason for doing this "bounce-rate attack", as I call it?

There was a similar question asked on stackoverflow earlier, with no meaningful answer - here - How to stop bounce rate manipulation.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 20 '11 at 14:23

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Here it happens to us again, this time it's from another country - and constant hits on a single page, but a different one... I include a link to a screenshot that shows this - micora.net/screenshot-bounce.jpg - It shows numbers for one day... –  Denis Volovik Aug 9 '11 at 10:12

1 Answer 1

This kind of attack won't affect your rankings as bounce rate is almost certainly not a ranking factor.

It's hard to say why this user is doing this but I doubt it's to manipulate your bounce rate or site stats. More likely reasons are:

  • they are trying to attack your site through that page.

  • that page being loaded somehow benefits them and thus they are automating the process (it's hard to say if this is the case without knowing more about that particular page).

  • that page is stuck in their browser cache and every time they load their browser it pulls up that. That may be due to a faulty browser extension that loads previously closed tabs or something along those lines.

  • that page is the default homepage in their browser and every time they open up their browser is loads that page.

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Ok.. thank you, there is sense in your reply, in particular regarding a faulty browser extension, etc.. Thing is - we also had a similar behavior from a visitor in South Africa, but then it stopped, effectively after delivering our juicy message to them. The page itself, yes, I cannot expose it's URL (just in order to avoid any further unwanted visits) - but I can say that it's a simple, static HTML page with nothing to "post" to (no html <form> tag), nothing to knock at with the horns... –  Denis Volovik Jun 20 '11 at 14:31
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It definitely is a tricky issue. Both could be benign. Both could malicious. It's so hard to say since there is little hard evidence to work with. Hopefully you can get it resolved, and if it is not a malicious issue, correct or adapt to deal with it and mitigate the effect on your site stats. –  John Conde Jun 20 '11 at 14:33
    
+1 - Bounce rate isn't a ranking factor, but a measurement of how useful you might consider a page to be, or a measurement of how accurate the anchor text that lead a visitor to that page was. –  Anonymous Jun 20 '11 at 14:59
    
Bounce rate is now a ranking factor. Google Panda update has made it into one of their ranking algorithms since a bounce rate does clearly indicate the quality of a site (there are other new ones, ofcourse, including time on site, average pages per visit, etc) - businessinsider.com/google-panda-has-changed-seo-forever-2011-6. From our own experience, I can clearly state that a bounce rate was an indicator to our visitor's evaluation of our site. When we made it better for the visitors, bounce rate went down, time on site went up, etc.. Today our site has an average of 20% bounce... –  Denis Volovik Jun 28 '11 at 21:34
    
@Denis that article makes no mention of how they know bounce rate is a ranking factor. In fact they gloss over it. I strongly suspect they're speculating about that as it doesn't address any of the issues I raised above. –  John Conde Jun 28 '11 at 23:09

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