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Web Analytics

Web Analytics

I’m often asked of analytics, “Where do I start with real basics?” When analyzing the performance of any website, the main focus is almost always traffic, which is defined as the number of visitors. Yet web analytics involves so much more.

With all the information available, it becomes easy to track a variety of signals that might affect the website/business. These signals can help site owners understand how visitors behave within the website and provide insight on how to take advantage of the traffic.

Number of Visits

Number of visits is undeniably important. It is the foundation of measuring any site’s performance. However, in order to truly optimize a site, it is important to analyze a variety of other things. Why are these additional aspects of performance important? Because each one provides insight on how visitors behave in the website. Gaining a deeper understanding of that behavior makes it easier to understand how well the website works converting visitors into conversions. In terms of SEO, more traffic to your site indicates at a basic level your site’s relative authority on your subject matter. However there’s a bit more to consider than that.

Average Number of Pages Visited

If users enter the website to get information and flow through smoothly to the desired course of action, then the website seems to be performing fine. However, if users land on a page and then leave the website quickly, something may be wrong. Even in instances where traffic appears to be flowing smoothly from entry page to conversion, average number of pages visited can help provide insight as to whether or not the path to conversion may be shortened, potentially increasing conversion further. Improving the average number of pages visited on your site is another signal to search engines of the relative quality and authority of your site. Improving these numbers can also improve the overall rankings of your site.

Average Time on Site

This is the measurement of the duration of someone’s visit to the website and another constructive indicator of site performance. Where some of these metrics have generally accepted target numbers (see bounce rate below), average time on site will vary exponentially depending on the nature of the site and industry. For example, users will linger far longer on online gaming sites than they will if they just want to see the weather in their city on their local newspaper website.

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is the percent of visitors who visited a single page in the website and then exited in less than 30 seconds. Bounce rates can vary from page to page. In general, the bounce rate should be under 50 percent; the lower, the better. The rate can vary depending on the page. Analyzing pages with high bounce rates can help you understand why visitors are not satisfied with the website and/or the information found on the landing page. If visitors spend very little time on the page, it is likely something needs to be changed. Bounce rate also is a strong indicator of a page and site’s overall quality. Reducing bounce rates signals a strong user experience to the search engine algorithms, so improving these scores can help improve SEO.