Everyone wants their website to be successful, and most, after the initial design is chosen, look to outside marketing to make the site a success. This can be in form of offsite SEO, direct marketing, traditional print media, etc – but even if those techniques successfully drive traffic, you should constantly review your onsite performance to make the most of it. Ensuring visitors interact with your site once they arrive not only makes good business sense, but also helps to push the site’s ranks higher and thus complement any offsite SEO efforts.
The first thing you should do once a site is launched is make use of Google’s free analytics plug-in so you can track your site’s performance and see how your visitors interact with your site. Simply search Google – “Google Analytics”, sign up your website, cut and paste the code, and it will give you access to your online data. Knowing how customers interact with your site allows you to get the greatest benefit from your visitors.
We often have clients approach us asking why their site is not ranking, with the typical comment “My site looks much better than my competitors’, but they always rank higher”. It can of course be for a number of reasons, but one thing Google does not take into account is how a site looks; it instead considers how a site performs. The way it does that is by viewing the data of visitors and how they interact with the site. Google assumes the more interaction, the more relevance a site has for that visitor, so that site ranks more highly. Google’s algorithm does this by reviewing the same data Google Analytics shows, so failure to track this data and then optimise the site accordingly to improve it means you are ignoring a critical part of improving your site’s performance.
As soon as you login, you will immediately see a summary of your site’s performance, demonstrating visitors per day and how they interact with your site.
Obviously, most website owners focus on visitor numbers, but the other data shown is just as important. There are strong indicators of site performance, with one of the most important being Bounce rate.
This statistic refers to how many visitors come to the page and then leave without exploring further. The higher the value of this number, the worse the performance of the website. For example, if your bounce rate is 60%, that means six out of ten visitors to your site did not find what they were looking for. Google will compare this statistic with other sites in the niche to help it determine your site’s worth for certain terms.
Even discounting Google’s use of this statistic, you obviously want to ensure this value is as low as possible to get the most value out of your website’s visitors. The bounce rate shown on the front page is a site average. Google Analytics offers ways of tracking visitor flow, allowing you to determine which pages are not performing, and which are – and using this data, you can fine tune your site to get the most out of your visitors.
A well rounded SEO program needs to look at many facets of a website’s performance; frequently, looking inward to a site’s performance and making small changes can yield big results, not only in ranks, but also more sales. Your local SEO expert should be able to help you navigate your way through the Google Analytics maze to help you get the best result for your website.