How Are People Finding Your Website?
Web traffic is a funny thing. When creating a website, it is hard to imagine how many different ways there are for people to find it. Whether its organic search, social media, paid search or listing directories, there are so many different ways someone can be directed to your site. Knowing where your website traffic is coming from can be a good indicator whether your online marketing strategies are effective or not. Similar to the idea of a “qualified lead” in sales, making sure your website traffic is drawing in “qualified” web traffic. Using proper analytics tools can help you measure which aspects of your online marketing are getting the most return.
When it comes to tools for tracking website traffic, none are more widely used than Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that analyzes all web traffic on your site through a tracking code given to you upon signup. If you do not have Analytics installed, it is very easy to setup. Follow these simple steps to create an account:
- Visit https://www.google.com/analytics and select ‘Sign In’ and click on “Google Analytics” from the drown down box.
- Sign into an existing Google account or create one if you do not already have one.
- After signing into Analytics, click the ‘Admin’ tab. Under the ‘Account’ heading, click the dropdown box and select ‘Create New Account’.
- Enter the required information along with the URL of the website you’d like to track.
- After accepting the Terms & Conditions, you will be taken to the tracking info page. Before using the tracking info you are given, select the “Property Settings” tab.
- Scroll down to the ‘Advertising Features’ section and turn on the two options for ‘Enable Demographics and Interest Reports’ and ‘Use Enhanced Link Attribution’. These two options will give your account access to more in-depth information.
- Hit save and go back to the tracking code tab. Copy and paste the code you are given to your website to start tracking traffic.
After installing Google Analytics, you will want to give it a few weeks to populate. After a sufficient amount of time has passed, are should be ready to start looking at your website traffic. For those of you who are new to Google Analytics, the dashboard may seem overwhelming. There is definitely a lot of information that can be gained from Analytics. For the purpose of this article, we will be focusing our attention on the Acquisition tab. This tab gives information about where website traffic comes from. This is typically broken down by Direct, Referral, Organic Search, Paid Search and Social.
Direct Traffic is the most self explanatory of all of the traffic categories. This categories is for all visitors who come to your website without a traceable referral source. This most commonly is for people who directly type your URL into their address bar or use a bookmark on their browser.
A web referral is when one site links to another site. You may also know this as a backlink. When reviewing the Referral tab of Analytics, it is important to keep in mind that not all traffic is created equal. Websites have a tendency to get what are referred to as “Ghost Referrals” or fake hits to your website by SPAM bots or other types of unofficial web crawlers. Several of these fake website hits populate the Referral tab in analytics. You can usually spot them, because they will have shady sounding domains like “fix-website-errors.com” or “site-auditor.online”. If you’re not sure if a web referral is legitimate or not, you can usually pick out the fake ones due to their high bounce rates. It is possible to filter out these domains from your Analytics account so they will not dilute your data. Analytics Edge has a helpful guide for setting up several different tools within Analytics to remove these SPAM hits. While the referral tab does include a lot of what we like to call “garbage traffic,” it does include useful data on which websites are linking to yours.
The Organic Search section shows visitors who found your website through searching on Google or other search engines. This does not include links clicked from PPC campaigns such as Google Adwords or Bing Ads. This is the best way to track the effectiveness of the organic SEO of your website. One feature that you can use to track how people are finding your website on organic search is the Queries tab under Search Console. This shows a list of what search queries people have typed into a search engine to find your website. If certain keywords are not listed, you may need to make these keywords the focus in your next SEO refresh.
Analytics offers some tools to help you track the effectiveness of your Google Adwords campaign. Adwords is Google’s popular PPC service where you can put together highly targeted campaigns focusing on specific search terms. The Paid Search section under the Acquisition tab shows which search queries account for the highest percentage of search traffic. This information can be used to monitor which of your ad groups have brought in the most web traffic in a given time period. Analytics also offers information about the average bounce rate and session duration to see if these search terms are bringing in qualified traffic. If certain search terms are not bringing in the desired type of traffic, you may want to consider added the search term as a negative keyword in Adwords.
The Social Media tab on Analytics is exactly what you would expect. This gives data on which social media sites are leading customers to your website. While this is similar to the referral section, it is important to keep in mind that a social link is NOT considered a backlink. Links from social media sites are what is called a “no follow” link. Unlike a regular backlink, no follow links do not provide your domain with any “SEO juice” and will not assist in boosting your organic search rankings. This section is very valuable for tracking the effectiveness of any social media campaigns that your company may be running.
Creating and maintaining a website is no doubt a full-time job. With so many different moving parts, it is hard to find the time internally to do this effectively. If you are having trouble boosting your company’s online presence, why not hire a professional? Dallas Riffle Media is a full-service marketing agency right here in Cleveland. We specialize in web design, branding, online advertising, graphic design, content development and more. Give us a call at (216) 245-0835 or send us a quick email for a free consultation. Visit our website to learn more about how we can help boost your online presence.