And so the test begins.
I sent over a couple screenshots to the Google AdWords team showing that a ton of clicks were staying for only 0 seconds and yet I was being charged for them. Here is what I got back:
Please be assured that our system identifies invalid clicks and filters them so you are not charged for those clicks. Therefore, the charges that you have accrued are for legitimate clicks.
Whew. I feel better now.
They went on …
Dave, please understand that zero second visits do not indicate invalid click activity. Analytics calculates time spent on one page by looking at two time stamps: one from the request for the first page and one from the request of the second page. If your users have visited only one page then time on page will be zero regardless if he has actually spent time on that page. This is because Analytics does not have a reference point of another page to calculate Time on Page. Therefore, you may be seeing zero second visits even though users may have been on your site for some time. However, I will not be able to recommend any third tracking software for you.
OK – so now I’ve learned something. I’d made the mistake of thinking Google knew the time to exit, perhaps assuming they really are Big Brother and know everything – Analytics is more limited than I first thought. As I’m fundamentally an organic SEO who dabbles in PPC and I went off on this project all on my own. There are definitely phrases that would result in visitors who hit the site, read a review and head off to another site (hopefully via an affiliate link). So stay tuned, I’m going to be placing some redirect pages rather than direct link in to see if this affects the stats. If so – my apologies to the Google AdWords team for a few of the words I’ve used over the past 48 hours.
SEO news blog post by Dave Davies, CEO @ 5:51 pm on August 27, 2010