Website Traffic Analysis for Effective Search Engine Optimization

There are a lot of tools that you can use to analyze website traffic. There are Google Analytics, StatCounter, etc. which are great tools that can provide detailed website analytics reports. However, most webmasters only know the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using these tools. The data itself is not useful unless it is analyzed; it needs to be analyzed before it can be called “information.” Read on to learn how and why to perform this analysis.

This information is what will be useful to webmasters, because it offers a lot of clues about the status of the website when it comes to search engine optimization. It can also be used to implement actions to improve the site and further increase website traffic.

This tutorial will explore the analysis of website analytics data provided by Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. The objective is to derive as much useful information from the data provided as possible.

The Website Analytics Data Table

Let’s start the analysis with this data table:

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This table contains actual data gathered from Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and the Google search engine. In the example data table above, there are seven domains.

These domains are all well-optimized in terms of onsite factors, content, etc. They are hosted in different locations and target different niches. The content is all original, and they have different owners.

Note, however, that they differ in their age, indexed pages and back links.

The “index pages” column is the total number of indexed pages for your website in Google.

The “number of words per indexed pages” is the estimated number of words per indexed URL. You can compute these by going through the following steps:

1. Take five random URLs indexed by Google. The higher the number of URL samples, the more accurate the estimate. It depends on your resources and time available to gather this data. But five is reasonable for small- to medium-sized websites.

2. Click the “Cached” link of that URL, and then click “Text-only version.”

3. Select the indexable text of that URL, except for the “This is the Google cache of …” message. Copy  and then paste the text into a text editor, such as notepad.

4. After pasting the text into notepad, go to this URL: http://allworldphone.com/count-words-characters.htm and paste the text from notepad into the “Word count calculator form” text box. Click “Calculate words.”

5. Gather the data for the remaining URLs and take the average.

The “Total Words of Entire Content” is computed by multiplying the “Index pages” by the “Number of Words per indexed pages.” This is the total number of words for all of the URLs indexed in Google.

The “Ranking Keywords” and “Traffic sent from search engines” data were taken from Google Analytics. You can get it for your site if you do the following:

1. Log in to your Google Analytics account, and then click “View Reports.”

2. Go to “Traffic Sources” -> “Search Engines” -> and click “Google.”

If the heading says: "Google sent 9,964 total visits via 6,354 keywords," then your Ranking keywords data is 6354, and traffic sent from search engines is 9964. These are monthly figures.

The “ranking keywords” are the total number of keywords that are ranking in Google for all of your indexed URLs.

The “traffic sent from search engines” is the total monthly traffic from Google organic search only.

The “%Ranking Keywords” is computed by dividing the “Ranking keywords” data with “Estimated Total Words of Entire Content.”

This is the percentage of all of the indexed keywords (of all of your site’s indexed URLs) which are ranking in Google and sending traffic.

The “Total Link Count” is taken from Google Webmaster Tools, like this:

1. After logging in, click the domain link under “Home.”

2. Expand “Your site on the web” and then click “Links to your site.”

3. You will then see the total links to your site under “Overview.”

The “Visitors per keyword” is computed by dividing “Traffic sent from search engines” to “Ranking keywords.”

The following is the useful information you can get from the data table:

1. High “total link count” figures do not mean you will get more traffic from search engines.

Look at Domain 6. It has around 3,064 total back links as counted by Google Webmaster Tools, yet its traffic is below Domain 1′s traffic — and Domain 1′s total link count is an order of magnitude less than Domain 6′s.

2. A high amount of original content in the website does not mean you will get a high amount of “ranking keywords” that translate to high search engine traffic.

Domain 6 has around 147,588 indexed words in Google, yet only 190 of them are ranking in Google.

3. Regardless of the website, the “visitors per keyword” value is similar or comparable across different sites.

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4. The biggest factor to influence “Traffic sent from search engines” is the “%ranking keywords.”  A high percentage of ranking keywords means high efficiency in converting website content to ranking keywords.

Domain 1 has 2.02% of its indexed words ranking in Google; Domain 2 boasts 1.68% and Domain 3 beats both of them, with 2.51%.

The other websites have very low values for their percentage of ranking keywords. Look at the numbers for Domain 6 and Domain 7, for example.

What improvements can you implement based on the information?

The two most common actions that can be implemented are the following:

  • Add more high quality content on a periodic basis.
  • Get more high quality and related links to the website.

Ideally, these two should be done together. But looking at the information provided in the previous section, we can consider three things.

First, Domain 1, Domain 2, and Domain 3 have much higher percentages of ranking keywords. So these websites can see many positive results in increasing website traffic by adding more quality content on their sites. Since these websites are ranking fairly well in Google, getting organic links from satisfied readers (content acting as a “link bait”) will be easier than for those sites that are not receiving substantial traffic (Domain 6 and Domain 7 for example).

Adding more content translates to an increase in ranking keywords that also increases long tail traffic to the website.

Suppose you double the indexable content on Domain 1; what will be the expected/estimated traffic sent from search engines?

Data:
Current indexable words= 314760
Doubling the indexable content (the size of the website doubles) = 2* 314760 = 629520 words

Computing the new ranking keywords value:
New ranking keywords value = %Ranking keywords (assumed to be constant) * New Indexable content

New ranking keywords value = 2.02% * 629520 = 12716 ranking keywords

Finally, you can estimate the new traffic sent from search engines by:

New Traffic sent from search engines = New ranking keywords value * Visitors per keyword (assumed to be constant)

New traffic sent from search engines = 12716 * 1.57 = 19964 visitors per month

Doubling the website’s entire content increases the traffic from 9,964 monthly visitors to 19,964 visitors per month.

The second point is that Domain 6 and Domain 7 won’t benefit much from adding more content.

Suppose you double the content of Domain 6. It will only increase traffic from 307 visitors per month to 621 visitors per month.

Doubling all of the content (doubling the size of the website) takes much hard work and resources, yet the reward is only an increase of 321 (621-300) visitors in website traffic per month.

A more efficient solution is to increase the percentage of ranking keywords value for these sites. Since these domains do not have any issue with onsite optimization, content and number of links (as stated in the first section of this article);,the only remaining factor that the webmaster can improve is to get high quality, related and authoritative links to the website. This will increase the percentage of ranking keywords for the website.

These are NOT links you can get from forum posting, blog comments, directories, article submission directories, etc., but real, editorial-based organic links from related and authoritative domains. Bear in mind that the link count itself is not a factor, as shown in the data, but you should get some trusted links. Even a few powerful links from great/related websites can have a significant effect on your site by helping it to become an authority and increasing its percentage of ranking keywords.

Third, Domains 4 and 5 falls somewhere in the middle. Adding more content can substantially increase website traffic in the long run, because their percentages of ranking keywords are not so low. But they can also get quality links to further boost their rankings and increase their percentages of ranking keywords.

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