Many great management thinkers have talked about the need to measure what you want to improve.
Well, if you want to increase the number of relevant visitors that are coming to a website, a good place to start, is to monitor where the current ones are coming from.
Website visitors broadly come from five sources:
- Via people searching in Google or clicking on a paid Google Ad (known as Search)
- Via people clicking links on other sites that link to yours (known as Referrals)
- Via typing your website address directly or clicking on a Bookmark. (known as Direct)
- Via people clicking on links in Social Media e.g. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (Social)
- Via specially crafted links from email-shots, PDF’s (called Campaigns)
By understanding where your visitors are currently coming from, it will help you to work out where you can get more visitors from in the future.
A common way to refer to website visitors is as “traffic”. This is similar to the way the retail trade refer to shop visitors as “footfall”.
Using Google Analytics to Understand Website Traffic
Built into Google Analytics are a series of reports that give us insights into the level of traffic for a website. When I look at these reports I want to see the following from the 5 primary traffic sources:
- Search: I expect traffic from search to be about 50-70% of the overall traffic. Less traffic might indicate that the site has an opportunity to increase the number of pages that can get found by searches. Or it could suggest an opportunity to test some paid averts.
- Referrals: I expect this to be about 15-25% of the overall traffic. Less might mean that the site needs to look for more ways to get links from other sites.
- Social Media: I am looking for about 10% of the traffic to come from Social Media if a site is actively doing Social Media marketing.
- Direct: I am always trying to get this down to as low a percentage as possible, around 10-15% is a rough guideline.
- Campaigns: By increasing the amount of campaign links that I track, I can understand the effect of my email marketing. Between 20-30% would be a good guideline.
The following charts shows some examples of the split of traffic for 4 different websites.
- Site A: This site’s Social Media traffic and Referral traffic are both low. Building more links from good quality relevant sites and a more active participation in Social Media would improve their results.
- Site B: This site has a good spread between most sources but should start tracking it’s campaign traffic so that it has a better understanding of response from its own email campaigns. If it is doing any email marketing then this data is currently ‘hidden’ in the Direct traffic.
- Site C: This site needs to work on its Search Traffic, which is very low in comparison to Referral traffic. Also it is either not running or not tracking campaigns so could benefit from starting to do so.
- Site D: This site has a good spread but could increase campaign tracking and the amount of Social Media marketing it carries out.
Up to this point we are just comparing percentages. Obviously you’ll have to also consider the actual numbers. But just by monitoring these 4 simple areas below, it will guide you as to where to put your focus and energy.
4 Simple things to Monitor in your Google Analytics to improve your level of traffic
Initially start by monitoring the 4 following areas and over time you will start to see patterns that will then guide you to make decisions about your web marketing to improve your results.
- Are the number of searches from good keywords increasing?
- Are the amount of good sites that are referring traffic to you increasing?
- Have you increased the number of traffic sources e.g. Social Media?
- Are you driving more traffic using campaign links and reducing the amount of direct traffic?
If you’d like to understand more about how to use Google Analytics to help you with this, we regularly run a half day Google Analytics training that will help you to get started with this amazing tool.
Please click the link to learn more about our Google Anlaytics Training.