One of the most valuable sources for data, analysis and refinement in an SEO campaign is in the statistics available via website tracking and measuring programs. A good analytics program can provide an incredible amount of data that can be used to track your visitors and make decisions about who to target in the future and how to do it.
Below is a short list of the most valuable elements in visitor tracking:
- Campaign Tracking – The ability to put specific URLs or referrer strings onto ads, emails or links and track their success.
- Action Tracking – Adding the ability to track certain actions on a site like form submission, newsletter signups, add to cart buttons, checkout or transaction completions and tying them together with campaigns and keyword tracking so you know what ads, links, terms and campaigns are bringing you the best visitors.
- Search Engine Referral Tracking – Seeing which search engines sent which visitors over time and tracking the terms and phrases they used to reach your site. Combined with action tracking, this can help you determine which terms are most valuable to target.
- Referring URLs & Domain Tracking – This allows you to see what URLs and domains are responsible for sending you traffic. By tracking these individually, you can see where your most valuable links are coming from.
- First-Time vs. Return Visitors – Find out what percentage of your visitors are coming back each day/week/month. This can help you to figure out how “sticky” and consistently interesting your site is.
- Entry Pages – Which pages are attracting the most visitors and which are converting them. You can also see pages that have a very high rate of loss – those pages which don’t do a good job pulling people into the site.
- Visitor Demographics – Where are your visitors coming from, what browsers are they using, what time do they visit? All these questions and many more can be answered with demographics.
- Click Path Analysis – What paths do your visitors follow when they get to your site? This data can help you make more logical streams of pages for visitors to use as they navigate your site, attempting to find information or complete a task.
- Popular Pages – Which pages get the most visitors and which are neglected? Use this data to help improve low popularity pages and emulate highly trafficked ones.
- Page Views per Session – This data can tell you how many pages each visitor to your site is viewing – another metric used to measure “stickiness.”
Applying the information you learn from your visitor tracking is a science unto its own. Experience and common sense should help to discover which terms, visitors, referrers and demographics are most valuable to your site, enabling you to make the best possible decisions about how and where to target.