How to check website traffic in Google

how to check website traffic on google and how to find out a website's traffic visitors and hits
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ErrolFord,France,Professional
Published Date:03-08-2017
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Trafc S fi ources Understanding where your site visitors are coming from—not geographically, but from where on the Web—can help you target users to bring even more trafc fi to your site. But to do that you have to know basics such as how many of your visitors came directly to your site and how many were referred by outside sources, search engines, or advertisements. The reports included in the Trafc fi section give you all that information. Then you can use that data to draw (or drive) additional trafc fi to your site. And that’s hugely important because the more people who see your site, the more likely you are to achieve the goal conversions you’re trying to reach. (Remember that goal conversions mean that transactions are completed, whatever those transac- tions might be for you.) What Trafc fi Analysis Can Tell You Where does your web-site trafc fi come from? Do you know? Do you know why you should know? Where your web-site trafc fi comes from is one of the most basic analytics measurements, but that doesn’t make it less valuable. It’s important to know where your site trafc fi originates because this helps you to know where to target advertising dollars and marketing efforts. 293 294 Part IVn The Reports Here’s an example. Say you have a web site that’s been around for a while. Every week you have an overview of your traffic sources sent to you from Google Analytics and after a while you begin to notice a pattern: nearly 25 percent of your trafc fi is coming from one web site that you haven’t done busi- ness with in years. So you follow the links in the report and learn that what’s driving that trafc fi is an old advertisement that you placed on a related web site about five years earlier. Wait just a minute A v fi e-year-old advertisement that’s not costing you a dime is pushing 25 percent of your site trafc fi ? Now that’s something you can work with. Maybe you decide to update the advertisement on the referring site. Maybe you choose to write an article and offer it to the site. Or maybe you purchase additional advertising on the site. Whatever action you take because of that information, you can rest assured that it will likely increase your site trafc fi . And the reason you can be so sure about that is that you have some very compelling evidence in the analytics of the value of a single ad. This isn’t really a “what if” situation. It’s a situation that Jerri faced with her web site. When she began using Google Analytics, she learned that a link from a web site she hadn’t even visited in years was driving a sizable portion of her trafc fi . And that is what analyzing your trafc fi sources can show you—patterns of visitors’ behavior that you would never have guessed otherwise. Trafc S fi ources Overview When you click into the Trafc fi Sources reports (from the navigation menu on the left), the first thing you see is the Trafc fi Sources Overview report, shown in Figure 16-1. The graph still shows the number of visits to your site, but if you look imme- diately below it you’ll see percentages for the source of your trafc fi . In the case of the example shown in Figure 16-1, 8.83 percent of the trafc fi was direct traf- c fi , meaning the visitor typed the URL for the web site that’s being monitored directly into the browser’s address bar. The majority of trafc fi (83.62 percent) came from referring sites, or other web sites that included a link back to the web site that’s being monitored, and 7.56 percent of the trafc c fi ame from search engine results. You can click through any of these links to see a detailed report, but we’ll be covering those reports later in this chapter, so I won’t go into them here. The analytics contained in this report are all just quick overviews of the other reports in this section. However, you can click any of the links to be taken to a full view of that report. Chapter 16n Traffic Sources 295 Figure 16-1: The Traffic Sources Overview is a quick snapshot of your site traffic. For example, at the bottom of the overview screen is a section labeled Top Trafc fi Sources . In this section is a list of the top sources and the top keywords. Click any one of the links in the source list and you’ll be taken to a correspond- ing report for that link, whether it’s a search engine, direct trafc fi , or referral trafc fi . Click any of the links in the keyword section and you’ll be taken to the keyword report for that specic fi keyword (which is one level below the Keyword report). The one frustration with these overview pages is that you cannot change them to reflect the metrics that are most important to you in a section. You can, however, export the Overview in PDF, XML, CSV, CSV for Excel, or TSV formats. To access this function, click the Export button right above the report title, as shown in Figure 16-2. When you click the Export button, the file options to which you can export the report appear. Select the file type and the report is automatically opened in that application. So if you select PDF, the file opens in Adobe Reader. If you select CSV for Excel, the file opens in Excel. The purpose behind exporting reports is to share your analytics with others without giving them access to your Google Analytics account. Export and save or print files to distribute to management and project or team leaders, or even to include as visual aids in a presentation. 296 Part IVn The Reports Click to open Export options. Figure 16-2: Export reports in various formats to share with management and colleagues. n o t e The Export capability is available in all the reports in Google Analytics, except the Site Overlay. You can export any report to share with others in the same way. One other reminder about your reports. You can schedule automatic e-mail delivery of any report in Google Analytics (except the Site Overlay) by clicking the Email button above the report name. Or if you’re not really into sharing but you want to have this information available from your main Analytics dashboard, you can click the Add to Dashboard tab to place the report on your dashboard. Direct Trafc fi Direct trafc fi is those visitors who come directly to your site by selecting your site address from a favorites list or typing your URL directly into the address bar of their browsers. The Direct Trafc fi report, shown in Figure 16-3, is a measure of how many of your site visitors qualify as coming directly to your site and not through some outside source. Direct trafc fi can be an indicator for a couple of factors about your web site. First, direct trafc fi can point to the popularity (or lack of popularity) of your brand. A brand is the image that users have of your company, which is associ- ated with a general topic. For example, when you think of software, you probably automatically think Microsoft. And when you think of search capabilities, you probably think Google. That’s because Microsoft and Google are more than just company names. They are also brands. Chapter 16n Traffic Sources 297 Figure 16-3: Direct Traffic shows how well the public knows your site or brand. If your brand is well established, then when people think of a topic related to you, your name should come immediately to mind. And at that point, users who want to access your web site will first try typing www.yourname.com into the address bar of their web browsers. That’s direct trafc fi . Direct trafc fi can also indicate the effectiveness of your marketing or adver- tising efforts. If these efforts are reaching the right audience, then you’re likely to see a boost in the number of direct-trafc fi visitors to your site. Glancing at a Direct Trafc fi metric just once isn’t going to give you a clear picture of the trending for direct trafc fi , however. This is a measurement that is best used over time. Ideally you want your direct-trafc fi visitors to rise over time, because you want to create a community of loyal users who come to your site directly because they are comfortable with your brand. However, you’ll find there will be bumps—times when the direct trafc fi jumps considerably only to fall back to a more normal level. These bumps will tell you how you’re doing in your efforts to increase direct-trafc fi numbers. Referring Sites Among the big questions about web sites are, “Where do users come from?” and “Who refers them?” Knowing where your trafc fi comes from makes it easier to target marketing efforts. It also lets you know if your current marketing efforts are working. 298 Part IVn The Reports So where does trafc fi come from? There’s always the direct route. But then there are links that you’ve paid to have placed on other sites and links from banners, as well as newsletters and other marketing efforts. And then you also have the web searches by which people stumble onto your site. These are all lumped together as referring sites. People come to your site from all manner of sources. To see what those sources are, there’s the Referring Sites report, shown in Figure 16-4. Figure 16-4: See where your site traffic originates in the Referring Sites report. This report lays out the referral sites for your visitors and then illustrates how those visits translate into goal conversions and e-commerce data. Do the visitors who come from your newsletter buy more than the visitors who come from your AdWords campaigns? Or do the visitors who come from a high-end referral link spend more than visitors from a less costly referral link? The only way you’ll ever know is to look at this report. Of course, the report comes with all the standard tools. Each link in the report takes you further into the details of that referring site. And you can see how your data applies to goal conversions and e-commerce considerations by using the tabs. You can also further segment your data using the Dimension or Advanced Segments drop-down menus. Chapter 16n Traffic Sources 299 As previously mentioned, you can use this report to help build on the poten- tial that you might be missing, but even more important, the report also makes it obvious where something is not right. If you expect that products featured on your front page should generate more trafc fi or revenue than they actually do, you can easily see there’s a problem that needs to be addressed. Using this report you can also see clearly how well your marketing and advertising efforts are generating revenue. You do need to tag the marketing links to persuade the report to track them, but by now you should be pretty comfortable with the process of tagging these links. Search Engines The topic of search engines—or more accurately search engine optimization—is highly important when it comes to creating trafc fi for your site. Some people spend virtually all their time learning which search engines bring the most trafc fi and how to target those search engines in order to rank higher in search results. It’s no wonder there is a report that shows specic fi analytics for the search engines that refer visitors to your site. The Search Engines report, shown in Figure 16-5, lists the search engines that referred visitors to your site and how many visitors came from each. Figure 16-5: The Search Engines report shows how search engines affect site traffic. 300 Part IVn The Reports The default view for this report is all trafc fi . In other words, when you click on this report you see all the trafc fi that was pushed to your site by search engines, no matter whether the occurrences of that trafc fi were the result of organic search engine rankings or paid search engine rankings. However, you can change that view using the “paid” and “non-paid” links to look at only the specie fi d segment of search engine trafc fi . This is an excellent way to tell how well your organic ranking efforts are work- ing, and how effective your paid listings are. Organic ranking efforts are design elements that you include in your site to ensure that it appears as far up in search rankings as possible. For example, many people use keywords in the HTML of their site design to ensure that search engine crawlers will list the site correctly in search engine rankings. Even the links that you have on your site can have a bearing on the ranking you get. So if you’re looking at this report and your non-paid referrals are high, you know that your organic ranking efforts are paying off (because, of course, organic means you’re not paying for the ranking). If, on the other hand, your paid rankings are higher, then you can tell how effective those paid rankings are. If they’re low, you might consider changing the rankings or even not using them at all. But if they’re higher, then you know your targeting is right on. Some people (sometimes called SEOs, or search engine optimization special- ists) spend all their time manipulating sites to take advantage of both paid and unpaid search rankings. You may not want to put that much time into it, but having a report that shows you how many site visitors were referred by search engines and whether those were organic or paid referrals can go a long way in helping to determine if your efforts to draw visitors to your site through search engines are working. All Trafc fi Sources A way to tell how one type of trafc fi to your site compares to another type is to use the All Trafc S fi ources report, shown in Figure 16-6. This report shows you both the source of your trafc fi and the medium that pushed the measured trafc fi to your site. A source is the web site or search engine that leads users to your site. The medium is the type of marketing cam- paign that leads users to your site. When you’re looking at the All Trafc fi Sources report, you’re viewing trafc fi by both source and medium. However, you can separate that trafc fi into those two categories by using the drop-down Show menu that’s directly below the bold statement about the number of visitors from the number of sources and mediums. Chapter 16n Traffic Sources 301 Figure 16-6: The All Traffic Sources report shows where all your site traffic originates. When you choose the Source option in that menu you’re taken to a report that shows only the sources for your trafc fi , as shown in Figure 16-7. Using the tabs on this report you can also look at those sources in the context of Goal Conversion (how many goal conversions each source contributed) and Ecommerce (how valuable the visits from each source were). You can drill even deeper into the data to learn just what media were respon- sible for which sources, as shown in Figure 16-8. All you have to do is click the link for one of the sources. The information included in the detail page will help you understand how that particular source affected areas such as the average time users spent on your site and the number of pages per visit for that source. This information can be very valuable when you’re trying to draw new cus- tomers to your site, and even for keeping track of what returning visitors are doing while they’re visiting you. If the source or medium that draws users to your site is highly effective, you’ll see that in these reports. 302 Part IVn The Reports Switch among Source, Medium, or Source/Medium (both). Figure 16-7: Learn what sources drive traffic to your web site in this report. Figure 16-8: The Source/Medium detail report shows how these are connected. Chapter 16n Traffic Sources 303 Of course, that doesn’t really explain the medium. The medium is the type of marketing campaign that leads users to your site. If you’re running a marketing campaign and you have your web pages tagged accordingly, then by using these reports you’ll be able to tell quickly which campaigns are responsible for what percentage of site trafc fi and what percentage of goal conversions, as well as the e-commerce value of the visitors the campaign is pushing to the web site. A medium can also be organic, as is the case with the report shown in Figure 16-8. The source (Google, in this case) organically pushed 372 visits to the web site being monitored. Organic traffic , as you probably already know, is trafc fi that comes to your site naturally, through your marketing efforts and not through page sources. All of this is valuable information. If you’re looking to improve your site trafc fi and begin building a base of loyal users, this report will point you in the right direction. It also helps you to quickly discern which marketing efforts are effective for what types of sources. n o t e Source and medium are two of the five dimensions of tracking mar- keting/advertising campaigns. The other three elements are term, content, and campaign. The term is the keyword or phrase users type into a search engine. Content is the version of an advertisement that users clicked through. And the campaign differentiates product-specific promotions, such as Free Day with 5-Day Rental or Buy One Get One Shoes. These campaign labels are tagged in your site/advertising code, as explained in Chapters 3 and 6. AdWords If you have a web site, you know it’s not all that difc fi ult to get your site listed in search engines such as Google or Yahoo For the most part, especially if your web-site URL and title are the same, all you have to do is put the site up and wait. In many cases, within a few days a potential visitor can type the name of your web site into a search engine and it will appear in the search listings, albeit probably deep in the rankings. Give it a little more time and you might even make it to the first page of the results, if your site is well-designed and properly targeted. That’s the only easy part of search engine marketing. If you have a service or product that you want to market by search engine, landing good placement in search engine results is like catching electric eels by hand. Not only is it slippery and unpredictable, but if you do manage to do it, there’s a very good possibility that you’re going to get a serious shock. 304 Part IVn The Reports To help combat the difc fi ulties of creating web pages that actually land on a relevant search-term result, an entire discipline of marketing is targeted at optimizing search engine results. It’s called search engine optimization. At the heart of this marketing strategy are keywords and keyword marketing. Lumped together, this all adds up to search engine marketing—the art of gaining prominent placement in search engine results. And if you’re trying to improve your search engine results, you’re probably using some kind of keyword marketing. Keeping up with the results of that marketing can be a difc fi ult task that leaves you wishing you had a clone or maybe six of them. It’s a difc fi ult, time- consuming process. Or at least it was. Now that Google Analytics offers metrics for search engine marketing, all you really have to do is tag your keyword campaigns properly and Analytics will provide your tracking reports. AdWords Campaigns Google AdWords is a keyword marketing service offered by Google. The basics of AdWords are that you can bid on keywords to use in your advertising. The keywords are bid on by others as well, and the person with the highest bid and the best-quality rating is the one who gets the best ad placement for that keyword. So, for example, if you’re bidding on the keyword “cell phone,” then you’re competing with every other person or company that also wants to use that keyword in search engine advertising. The more people bidding on a keyword, the more expensive it is likely to be. Therefore, many web-site owners try to use keywords that are completely rel- evant, but that might not be the same terms every other person in that industry is interested in. Once you’ve won the right to use a keyword, then advertise- ments for your business (you create these short bits of text) are displayed on related web sites and when someone searches for related content. How often your keyword advertisement is displayed determines how much trafc fi the keyword leads to your site. The AdWords Campaigns report shows how your AdWords campaigns per- form. You probably remember from Chapter 13 how and why AdWords inte- grates with Google Analytics. This report is the proof of that integration, so to speak. When you click into the AdWords Campaigns report you’re taken to the Site Usage tab, as shown in Figure 16-9. From this tab you can learn how your AdWords campaigns performed in terms of site visits—how many pages were visited, how long the visitor spent on each page on average, and how many visitors were new visitors or bounces. The truly useful information in this report, however, comes from the Clicks tab. If you select that tab, the report shown in Figure 16-10 is displayed. Chapter 16n Traffic Sources 305 Figure 16-9: The AdWords Campaigns report tells you how campaigns perform. Figure 16-10: The most telling data about AdWords campaigns is on the Clicks tab. 306 Part IVn The Reports This information includes: n■ Visits: The number of visits to your site as the result of clicks through an AdWords advertisement n■ Impressions: The number of times your ad was shown to search engine users n■ Clicks: The number of times visitors clicked through an AdWords ad to get to your site n■ Cost: The cost of the AdWords clicks received n■ CTR (click-through rate): The percentage of impressions that resulted in visitors clicking your AdWords ad n■ CPC (cost per click): The average cost of each click earned through an AdWords ad n■ RPC (revenue per click): The average revenue per click on AdWords ads. Revenue can be either the value of e-commerce sales or goal value as defined by you. n■ ROI (return on investment): What are you making from your AdWords campaigns versus what you are spending on them? This measurement tells you. n■ Margin: What percentage is your margin? In other words, how much are you making on your products when you consider how much you’re spending on them? Each AdWords campaign listed on this report is a link to a more detailed report about that specific campaign. For example if you click the Newbie Campaign link in the report you’re taken to the AdWords Ad Groups report, shown in Figure 16-11. This report shows you the same information that was shown in the AdWords Campaigns report; however, it is specic fi to a single AdWords campaign, rather than to all the campaigns you’re running. Within each AdWords campaign it’s possible to run more than one keyword. When you click into the AdWords Ad Groups report you’ll see a list of the key- words being used in that campaign. If you click one of the keywords in the Ad Groups report, you’re taken a level deeper into the report to learn more about that specic fi keyword, as shown in Figure 16-12. Finally, you can click one level deeper into this report to see how each individ- ual keyword performed. This report, shown in Figure 16-13, gives you another way to look at the data for that specic fi keyword. Chapter 16n Traffic Sources 307 Figure 16-11: The AdWords Ad Groups report shows specifics for a single campaign. Figure 16-12: Click a keyword in the Ad Groups report to go deeper into the data. 308 Part IVn The Reports Figure 16-13: The AdWords Keyword report lets you look at data in yet another way. So what does all of this mean? What can you do with it? If you’ve used AdWords, then you already know how valuable this information is. If you haven’t, this is a great time to try it. The information shown in these reports helps you to see quickly which of your AdWords campaigns are performing well and which are not. You can then use the information to determine what campaigns need to be changed or discontinued and which ones might be worth investing more in. Keyword Positions How often have you wondered where your AdWords ads appear? Obviously you can’t see every single time an ad is shown on the Google search results page, so you’re left to wonder how often and where that ad is shown. Ads can appear in two places on the Google search results page—either the top of the page, above the search results, or on the side of the page, to the right of the advertisements. The Keyword Positions report shows you where, and how often, your keyword ads appear on the Google search results page, as shown in Figure 16-14. Chapter 16n Traffic Sources 309 Figure 16-14: In the Keyword Positions report you can see where your keyword ads appear. The most useful part of this report is the actual graphical representation of where your keyword ads appear on the Google search results page. On the lower right side of the report each ad position is shown, along with the position number and the number of times that your ad was placed in that position. Of course, if you don’t have ad placements in one of the two positions, nothing is shown there. Once you can graphically see where your keyword advertisements appear on the Google search results page, then you can begin to correlate your keyword performance with the keyword placement. Do you want to know why your keyword doesn’t draw more than 94 visits even though there were more than 600,000 impressions for that keyword? It could have something to do with the fact that your keyword ad appears only on the side of the page, and most of the time it’s in a lower position because you’re not investing enough in that keyword to warrant better positioning. Of course, that may not be the only reason your keywords aren’t performing as well as expected, but it’s certainly an indication that you might need to reconsider your keyword advertisements. Again, none of the data collected in these reports is meant to be used alone. Sure, you can look at a single report and learn from it, but the truly useful infor- mation is in the combination of the analytics from several different reports. 310 Part IVn The Reports TV Campaigns Never one to be outdone, Google is always improving and adding new features to all its products, including Google Analytics. The linking of your Google Analytics account to your Google AdWords and AdSense accounts is just another step in the process of making all of Google’s products more useful (and in helping them all work together). If you are an AdWords user you probably already know that in the recent past Google has been adding some offline-to-online capabilities. For example, it’s now possible to tap into television advertisements through Google AdWords, if you have the desire and the budget to do so. So it goes without saying that Google would be remiss if it didn’t add the ability to track metrics for the dif- ferent ad types in Google Analytics. Never one to be remiss, Google Analytics has just such capabilities. Tracking abilities for AdWords TV campaigns are available in Analytics, even if they are limited at this time. Over time, and as use of this service increases, Google Analytics capabilities for the report will likely grow. For now, however, you can find the basic metrics that show how your television ads are performing. The TV Campaigns report, shown in Figure 16-15, gives you an overview of how the TV campaigns you’re running through AdWords are performing. Figure 16-15: The TV Campaigns report lets you see how your AdWords TV campaigns are faring. Chapter 16n Traffic Sources 311 Included in the metrics that you can see in this report are the total TV impres- sions, the number of times the ad was aired (Ad Plays), how many people viewed the entire ad, what percentage of your original audience was retained, the cost of the campaign, and the CPM (cost per thousand impressions). There are some important details about how these numbers are arrived at that you probably should know. First, Google measures these ads through set-top cable boxes. In other words, people who have a cable converter box through their cable company are counted. This means that those people who are not using set-top boxes (i.e., those who use a direct cable line) are not counted. Furthermore, Google counts as an impression anyone who stayed on a chan- nel for at least v fi e seconds of the ad in question. This can be the first v fi e seconds of the ad, the last five seconds of the ad, or any five seconds in between. That’s where the metrics for the Viewed Entire Ad and % Initial Audience Retained numbers come in. The difference between the number of visitors who viewed the whole ad and those who viewed less than the whole ad (including those who viewed only v fi e seconds) can be pulled out of these stats. Also, the percent of the initial audience (those watching when the ad started) lets you know who stayed through the whole thing from beginning to end. As with all of Google’s reports, you can click a specic fi campaign to drill down into results for specic c fi ampaigns. Keywords The Keywords report is similar in structure to the All Trafc fi Sources report. The report, shown in Figure 16-16, shows you the metrics for all keywords, both organic (or unpaid) and paid. And as with the other reports, you have the option of viewing this information in the context of goal conversions and e-commerce value. If you use the Show links you can also change your view to analyze just paid or just unpaid keyword results. And, of course, you also have the segment drop-down menu to further segment the keyword data by campaign details, geographical location, or technological capabilities. But how do you use the information? To start with, use it to see what key- words are most effective at drawing visitors to your site. You may find, as you analyze the data, that an unpaid keyword is outperforming your paid keywords. Or you could find that a paid keyword is not performing at all. You can then use this information to tweak the keywords that you invest in. You can also use it to find out where the highest number of goal conver- sions is coming from and the visit value for each keyword. A high number of conversions that results in low sales tells you that the visitors drawn by that particular keyword may not be as valuable as conversions that come from a different keyword that might have a higher sale value. 312 Part IVn The Reports Figure 16-16: The Keywords report shows what keywords are drawing visitors to a site. Don’t look just at the most valuable keywords; look at the least valuable ones, too. These are keywords that indicate you either need to make changes to the advertisement driven by them or eliminate them altogether. Keywords used in pay-per-click advertising are usually purchased through either a flat fee or a fee per click. But in the case of very popular keywords, you have the opportunity to bid within the confines of the daily budget that you’ve set. If you find that a keyword is performing poorly, you can remove that word from your list and return its cost to your budget. In turn, that addi- tional budget can be used to purchase higher-priced, more frequently convert- ing keywords. Another hint you may get from this report is what keywords (that you’re not already using) you should consider including. If you find that a specic fi keyword or set of keywords seems to be performing well, you can test similar keywords to see how well they perform. Finally, if you find that a keyword or set of keywords has activity but that this activity is lacking either conversions or visit value, you know that something within your site probably needs to change. Maybe you need to modify the pages that users land on when they click a keyword. For example, if you find that the keyword “pomegranate” has a lot of hits but a low conversion rate, you should consider changing the page that this keyword