Analyzing Traffic – Visitors V. Hits


 Analyzing Traffic – Visitors V. Hits

If you're running a business website, your goal is to have lots of visitors and lots of hits. This blog post will explore various techniques for analyzing traffic that might help you decide which strategy is best for your specific site.

One easy way to analyze the performance of a website is Google Analytics. It’s set up by default so it's simple to start gathering data, but that’s only the beginning—the data available in Google Analytics can be immensely helpful when used correctly. When combined with other tools, Google Analytics provides an expansive network of information about how visitors behave on your site and what elements are driving them there in the first place. Here are some of the more interesting ways to use Google Analytics.

Analyze Visitor Activity

Within Google Analytics, set up goals and track the results of each action taken on your site. Use custom dimensions to compare data across different analysis locations. For example, you may wish to compare traffic from the UK with traffic from the US or compare traffic from your home server with traffic from your office server. You can even set up goals for specific visitors so that you can closely track their engagement on your site (e.g., convert visitors into email subscribers).

Analyze Navigation

Google Analytics has many different filters that can be used to analyze the navigation of your site. For example, you can set up a filter for "Categories" to see how visitors interact with your categories on the site. You could compare pages with a high number of categories and then look at their total number of clicks. You'll see all the important elements that your visitors click on and then compare it to the statistics surrounding their conversion rate. The more categories they visit, the more likely they will convert, so this is a metric you should pay close attention to when developing your site's navigation strategy.

Analyze Traffic Sources

Google Analytics provides information on campaigns, keywords, and referrals for your site. You can use all of this data to see how visitors are finding your site. Are they using a paid search campaign? Are they coming from a brand new website that's just started linking to your site? You can even set up an alert for new links so that you know immediately when a new page is talking about you. Each traffic source is important for different reasons, but Google Analytics makes it easy to find the answers you're looking for.

Analyze Content Performance

Google Analytics also provides information on the overall content performance of your site. Look at every piece of content on your site (e.g. home page, product pages, etc.) and analyze how visitors interact with—and ultimately convert on—each one of them. Look at the position of the content on your site and the number of clicks it receives to determine its overall performance. You can also set up custom alerts for specific content so that you know immediately when a piece of content is performing far better than you expected or has gone offline for some reason (e.g., a link break).

Analyze Social Media

Analyze your social presence, as well. Set up social media goals in Google Analytics and then track how much traffic is coming from social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Set up custom alerts for specific social networks so that you can immediately see when something is going viral and take steps to make sure it stays that way. The reach of social media far exceeds the limitations of most other traffic sources, and being able to track the success of your efforts through Google Analytics will help you get the most out of this valuable resource.

Analyze Traffic Change Over Time

There's a lot more than just hits and pageviews happening on your site. You need to optimize your site in order to increase conversions while decreasing costs. All of these goals can be set up and analyzed within Google Analytics, which means that you don't have to waste valuable resources trying to improve results based on guesswork alone.

Using web analytics can be valuable to your business, as long as you know how to get the most out of them. Use the tips in this blog post to get started with better analytics and figure out which option is best for you.


Make sure to check out my post that follows this one. The link is in the author box at the top of this article. It contains some great tips on improving your conversion rate.

Jared Newmark is a well-known SEO expert and author of the popular blog SEO Book. He's respected by the online marketing community for his inside tips on how to improve your search engine rankings. Jared also writes for Search Engine Land, Internet Marketing Ninjas, and ClickZ. His work has been featured in WIRED Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, The Motley Fool, MSN Money, Investor’s Business Daily, AOL Small Business Resource Center and other national publications.

Jared loves to teach other people about search engine optimization; he has presented at conferences including Pubcon Las Vegas and Pubcon New Orleans as well as local seminars around the country .

MarketingSherpa has named Jared a marketing industry expert and the SEO Book website is listed as one of the top 50 SEO sites on the web by Google.

Jared also founded Online Marketing Summit, a three-day online conference covering various topics related to organic search, social media and Internet marketing strategy. The first event was held in June 2010 in St. Louis, MO. The second Online Marketing Summit was held in Washington D.C. in October 2010. The third Online Marketing Summit was held on November 2-4, 2011 and featured over 20 speakers presenting content on everything from SEO to mobile marketing .

Jared is an active blogger whose insights are well respected by the marketing community. He writes about many topics including: SEO, social media , search engine optimization , content creation, viral marketing , and online marketing . You can read more of his thoughts on Search Engine Land.

You can find Jared at:


You have the tools to measure your online marketing efforts and you can use this knowledge to identify areas in which you can improve. Thanks to Google Analytics, you won't have to rely on your gut any longer.

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- Jared Newmark .

Paid search is a source of traffic but also money for websites.

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