Analysis, Implementation, Tracking, Reporting
It’s all about Unique Visitors—not “Hits”
How many times have you heard somebody say: “I had (x) amount of hits last week on my website.” You probably heard it more times than you have fingers and toes. Hits are basically defined as how many files are requested from a website and have little value in the context of actually tracking users on your website. In the world of SEO, we track Unique Visitors, which are individuals assigned to an IP address that can visit once or multiple times—and they are only counted once. Every month, “unique visits” are tracked and graphed so the client can get a bird’s eye view into how their website is performing over the short and long term.
How do we track Visitor Behavior? Server log file analysis programs
Most website servers have secure, installed web analytic programs which essentially track who, when and how a web server is used. Things like numbers of unique visitors, duration of stays, entry and exit pages, browsers used, keyword phrase searches used to get to the site, particular search engines and their volume… and many more great metrics are supplied by these programs. The data can also be categorized by date ranges for even deeper analysis by the requesting party.
Since the log file programs show so much visitor information, it’s important to create a simple spreadsheet which only shows about 4-5 types of information. At PalmettoSoft, we recommend at minimum, showing the following: 1. Number of unique visitors per month. 2. Duration of visitor stays 3. Queried (or inbound) keyword phrases 4. Most popular pages. More information can be shown via client request and/or SEO program level (introductory-to-advanced), but for the average, non-technical audience, the aforementioned list will give the client a great understanding of how their optimization program is performing.
Now that Tracking is understood, let’s switch gears and hit the turbo.
As more traffic hits the website, modifications to a particular web page will have a more profound impact. For example, we notice last month that page “C” on your website had an average visitor stay time of 15-30 seconds while page “D” had an average of 2 minutes. We can study the layout of page D and it’s components and make the same (or better) enhancement(s) to page C and watch it’s stay time dramatically increase over the short term. There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of comparisons that can be done with analysis and usability upgrade enhancements. With a good optimization firm as your strategic partner, the possibilities are endless.
About the Author: Rhett DeMille, the owner PalmettoSoft LLC, is a leading search engine optimization consultant located in the Charleston SC area.