What is the point of creating a great website if the no one is able to see it? While it is important that web developers and designers focus on making great websites, it equally important that they focus on Search Engine Optimization, otherwise known as SEO. To review, SEO is a process of improving the quality of websites using a number of techniques/tools in order to achieve higher rankings with major search engines (“What is seo,”). One of the tools that help with SEO is the use of Analytics tools. In general, Analytic tools help track sites’ statistics and help measure how successful your site may or may not be (Chen, 2011). It is able to track marketing subscriptions, contact form completions, downloads, clicks to social accounts, amount of traffic, etc. (Gabe, 2012). However, When it comes to SEO, analytic tools are the most used when it comes to measuring site traffic and conversion rates (Monsen).
Measuring Site Traffic:
When it comes to SEO, if organic traffic to your site increases, your search rankings are most likely to increase as well. As your site gains more views, you will want to keep track at how people are accessing your site. Analytic tools allow you to do just that. Using these tools can give a breakdown of three different types of traffics: Direct Navigation, Referral Traffic, and Search Traffic. It is a good idea to keep track of the following every month, as knowing the statistics of each category will help identify any strengths or weaknesses a site may have (“Measuring and tracking,”).
Below is image of an example Analytic result that displays the statistics of the three different traffic types.
- Direct Navigation refers to any intentional traffic where visitors arrive directly to the designated site through either: typed in URL addresses, bookmarks, emails, or SMSs (“Measuring and tracking,”). Having a high number in this category is definitely a good sign for your website. In fact, Direct Navigation is possibly the strongest out of all the traffics as it is a strong indicator of a your site’s brand strength. People who visit your site this way mean that they are already familiar with your site and the service it provides (Roggio, 2011). Therefore, it is more likely that your site may be trending offline as well as online. That’s free advertising! If this number is low, it is a clear indication that a change to your site needs to happen. In essence, this means that people are not aware of your site. To increase your Direct Navigation numbers, you may want to create an easier-to-remember URL address, rethink your content/layout, or better strategize your marketing scheme.
Below is an image that displays Direct Navigation Analytics results. Note that the bounce rate refers to the amount of visitors that only go to one page before exiting out (“Bounce rate,”).
- Referral Traffic is associated with visitors who arrive at your site through direct links from other sites. For example, if a visitor or company likes your website, they can post the URL address on other sites, blogs, or social media websites where other people can click and view the site for themselves. Referral Traffic may also include promotional or campaign ads (Anubhab, 2013). A high number in this category is good sign and shows that your site may be trending or is being talked about. A low number in this category may mean that your site is not picking up enough traffic with the general public. Regardless, you will want to avoid low numbers in this category.
Below is an image captured from Google Analytics that displays the statistics for Referral Traffic. Note that underneath the graph displays a list of different location referrals.
- Search Traffic refers to visitors who come to your site by clicking on search results (“Measuring and tracking,”). This is where the proper use of keywords comes in handy! Analytic tools can give you a unique insight and break down of the specific key terms that may or may not be attracting people to your site. By checking your analytics monthly, you will be able to see what key words are popular and may continue to update your words in order to stay trending. Again however, if your Search Traffic is low, it is an obvious indication that a change to your site needs to happen. This is a direct indication that your site may not be getting the amount of visitors it should be receiving. In general you should ask yourself the following: Are key terms only trending during certain months? Have your rankings dropped? Which key terms are trending (“Measuring and tracking,”)?
Below is an image of Google Analytics that displays the appropriate statistics for this site’s Search Traffic. Note that the top, trending key words are located underneath the graph.
Measuring Conversion Rates:
While acquiring heavy traffic is a great indicator on how successful your site is an even greater indicator is how high your conversion rates are. Conversion rates refer to the number of potential visitors who perform the desired action. This may include buying a product/service, filling out a form, downloading software, etc. (“What is a,”). In the end, measuring your site’s conversion rates will be able to give you a better idea on whether your goal is being reached or not. An example of this is, if 1 out of 100 visitors buys a product from a ecommerce site, the conversion rates for that particular website will be 3%. In general, the higher your conversion rates are, the more successful your website will be (“What is a,”). As said, you want your conversion rates to be high. If the numbers are low, it means that your website is not creating enough demand enough for people to invest in it.
Below is an image of Google Analytics that displays the appropriate statistics for this site’s Conversion rates.
The Various Analytic Tools:
There are hundreds of analytic tools out in the market like: Google Analytics, Yahoo analytics, seoMoz, Clicky, SEO Chat, etc. Let’s explore a select few:
- Google Analytics is a free service that is currently used by over 50% of the top 10,000 websites in the world! The application is simple; yet robust enough to gather all of the data essential for SEO (Dubois, 2010). Google Analytics have many SEO targeted functions and visuals that can capture: mobile organic search traffic, organic SEO traffic, organic traffic decrease alerts, custom SEO reports, and more (Solis, 2013). Its no wonder Google takes the top spot when it comes to Analytic tools.
- Clicky is a currently trending analytic tool that offers both a free and paid version. The free service is limited to only 1 website and 3,000 daily page views. The paid version costs anywhere from $9.99 to $19.99 a month and extends upon features on the free version (number of websites & monthly page views). The real advantage that Clicky has over its competitors is that it is able to gather data in real time. For example, this service allows you to see real time searches and key words. This will allow you to catch any trending topics early, which is obviously helpful when improving SEO (Haden, 2011).
Below is a screen shot of the Clicky dashboard. If you want to further play around with the dashboard, visit this link http://clicky.com/stats/?site_id=32020.
All in all, it is obvious that the use of Analytic tools is imperative when it comes to measuring the success of your website. By giving you unique insight, Analytic tools help gather useful statistics that you can utilize to reach your goals. As websites’ footprint continues to grow, Analytic tools are surely to evolve and grow as well (Park, 2009).
“They say that if you can measure it, then you can improve It.” – seoMoz (“Measuring and tracking,”).
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