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Since bots may request many pages at a time, why do they so often have a 100% bounce rate?

It seem unlikely that they would only request one page, then leave for over 30 minutes, then request another page, and so on

Could use some help understanding their behavior

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There is some argument about how bounce rate is measured. Google has even changed how it looks at bounce rates by adjusting how it views a visit through the years. In short, Google says that the bounce rate is the rate where a user has left your site from the entrance page.

This page seems to explain some of what Google sees as a visitor: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2731565?hl=en

Google relies upon cookies to track usage. Here is a link for that: https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/analyticsjs/cookie-usage

Unfortunately, Google does not do a very good job of separating bots from users.

Bots simply do not set cookies therefore are tracked as a single visit each time. Bots tend to be hit and run and may make rapid requests one page at a time rarely following a link but rather possibly noting the links and placing them in a queue though request patterns often indicate/follow link patterns. This is because often the requests come from the Google API at some point and are already known though not always. Because cookies are not set and each request is seen as new visit, the single request despite the reality, is seen as a bounce - ie. one page requested then left the site.

It is frustrating because Google has not been able to distinguish a user from a bot very well thus driving up the bounce rate in GA rather severely. One would have to assume that this translates into other metrics as well and can effect site performance.

  • It's also possible that the bot only parses JavaScript for the first page it visits, or none of the pages. Check your server logs for actual bot usage. – Stephen Brown Apr 9 '14 at 6:06
  • The only way I can see JavaScript coming into play is if it is not executed in which case, Google cannot count the visit as a visit relying on the JS bug as it's sole mechanism. – closetnoc Apr 9 '14 at 14:30

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