Do you know who visits your website and how they find you? If you aren’t monitoring your website traffic, you are missing out on information you need to grow your business. There are tools and reports available, many of them free, which provide valuable insight as to who is visiting your website and why. Your webhosting company may have reports available, but I like to use Google Analytics.
Free Website Analysis Tools from Google
The simplest and most cost effective way to find out what secrets your website holds is to install Google’s Analytics tools. This is a simple piece of code pasted into the HTML code for pages on your website. Just sign up and get the code at http://www.google.com/analytics/. If you use WordPress for your site, there are plugins to make this an easy task.
The first statistic you’ll want to look at is the number of visitors to your website. The term “hits” is meaningless. You want to know how many unique visitors and how many repeat visitors came to your site. You’ll learn how many visitors represent direct traffic and which were referral traffic, sent to you from other sites. Direct traffic numbers are comprised of visitors who typed in your website URL or clicked a bookmark to arrive at your website. Referral traffic visitors are directed to your website through search engine response pages and by links from other websites.
Now you can learn what links are sending you the most traffic. Are you getting results from your social media efforts? If you see a lot of referral traffic coming from Facebook, then you may want to focus even more time and attention on building your Facebook presence. Have you started a new campaign, perhaps using YouTube for the first time? Are you seeing visitors from your YouTube pages?
When looking at the search engine traffic report you’ll identify keywords that deliver traffic to your site. This can give you insight to keyword phrases. I have been surprised by some of the keywords people use to find my sites. There may be search phrases used you didn’t anticipate. This may point to new points of interest or suggest new offers. Minimally you should create new pages emphasizing those keywords to lock in more traffic.
You may also want to add new content if visitors are not finding exactly what they are looking for when they come to your site. For example, if someone searched for “Google Analytics WordPress plugins” and they were sent to this page, they probably will not find exactly what they are looking for. When you see that people are being sent to pages that don’t quite match what they searched for, consider creating a page that has that information. If I saw that I was getting referral traffic for the keyword phrase “Google Analytics WordPress plugins,” I might add a post that lists and compares the various plugins available, with links to download them.
Trending is another way to view the incoming traffic to your website. Compare previous months to the current month or even previous years. This will tell you if your website is bringing in more traffic or not. The more content you have, the more visitors are likely to discover your site via search results, so as you add more posts and pages, you may see more visitors.
Google Analytics will also tell you how many pages were viewed by your visitors and how much time they spent on your site. Generally, the more time they spend on your site, the better your site looks to the search engines. Another statistic related to this is the “bounce rate.” Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who came to your site, only looked at one page, then left. The higher your bounce rate, the less useful your site is generally considered to be by the search engines, especially if they spend a very short time on that page.
Use the information gained through Google Analytics to increase link building efforts for some keyword phrases and back off of other less productive keywords. You may want to add pages to capture search traffic for specific products or services. Then use Analytics to monitor and measure your efforts.