We all know the importance of optimizing a website to ensure it ranks well by the search engines, but knowing how traffic is getting to your site can be equally important, especially when trying to increase your site’s ranking.
Some of the most important tools to add to the back end of your website are website analytics—the statistics that measure a site’s performance. Site statistics are usually included in your web hosting package, however these results are often difficult to understand and contain limited information. Using a combination of analytics tools can give you a deeper understanding of how visitors found your site, what their entry and exit points were, the amount of time they spent on your site and what pages or links were clicked during their visit.
By viewing the top keywords visitors used to find your site, you can determine if your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is working effectively and where it can be improved. For example, if your domain name was HeffleyLakeTours.com, you should expect to be ranked highly when Googling the phrase “Heffley Lake Tours.” However, if, when analyzing your keyword results, you find most of your hits are coming from those keywords alone, you’ll want to change things up to focus on alternative keywords that aim to reach broader search terms.
Viewing data on the sources of your traffic can reveal whether your visitors were organic, direct or referring.
Organic traffic is traffic that came from a naturally occurring search result. For example, after Googling “heffley lake tours” a visitor clicks a link to your site from the search engine result.
Direct traffic refers to visits from those who are familiar with your domain and typed it directly into the address bar of their browser. These visitors may know your domain name because of traditional forms of advertising, or it may be traffic that’s unmeasurable, meaning it came from an offline source such as a link in an offline document.
Referring traffic comes to your site via an outside source such as Twitter or Facebook, an e-mail campaign, or other websites that provide links back to your site.
If you’re working on your SEO, generally you’ll want to see that the majority of your traffic is organic.
Viewing the statistics of how your blog posts were found will give you a good indication of whether your efforts yielded effective results or not. For example, did you receive a spike in traffic after sending out a blog post or e-mail campaign? What source generated the most traffic? Many e-mail campaign services will provide separate statistical information like who did and didn’t open the campaign, who clicked links within the campaign and what e-mail program they used to view your campaign.
Using integrated e-mail and web analytics tools will show you if there was an increase in visits from your blog post or e-mail campaign.
Other useful information to view includes: which pages received the most views, the number of visitors to your site, your visitor bounce rate and the average time a visitor spent on your site. These can be viewed by day, week, month, year or all time.
It’s a great practice to view these statistics on a regular basis. Knowing where your traffic is coming from, and how visitors are finding your site, will give you great insight on where and how to focus your SEO, and on what platforms drive the most traffic to your site.