Search Engine Analytics: Understanding the Metrics
Happy New Year small business owners. Prior to the holiday we focused on constructing paid search campaigns designed to drive traffic to your website. This week we’ll continue the conversation, this time taking it in the direction of search engine analytics, focusing on analyzing the traffic coming to your site. We boldly confirmed that as small business owners we know that:
1) we need to use the internet as a vehicle to promote our products and services 2) we need to use our internet marketing dollars wisely, stretching them as far as they can go. Let’s add a third morsel of knowledge now: we know that getting traffic to our site is a good thing.
But is all traffic good traffic? How do we determine what constitutes quality traffic, and furthermore; how do we encourage quality traffic while eliminating irrelevant traffic?
Did you like it better when you were only focused on just driving traffic to your site, not concerned with where it was coming from, what intent was behind it, whether or not it was paid traffic, etc etc? It would be easy to get caught up in analysis paralysis but you can’t afford to not pay attention to the search engine analytics generated by your website and campaigns, as there’s always a story behind the numbers. It might not be the easiest story to interpret, but once you know what to look for, you will be well-equipped to figure out what the numbers are telling you and to respond accordingly.
First of all, don’t be afraid of the metrics. There are many many metrics floating around the world wide web, and you don’t need to pay attention to all of them. Some that do matter (and matter a lot) are:
• Impressions/ page views – signify the number of times your ad/ website has been seen
• Clicks/ visits – signify the number of times your ad/ page on your site has been clicked on
• Bounce rate – indicates the percentage of people who visit your site and leave immediately instead of sticking around to see what you have to offer. A high bounce rate serves as an indication that you need to make some changes to your site; make it a touch more welcoming, so your visitors actually sit down and stay for a while.
• Click rate – indicates the percentage of people who see your ad and click on it to be taken to your site, versus the people who see your ad but take no further action
• Cost per click – measure of the cost incurred when someone clicks on your paid search ad. CPC’s vary widely due to market demand surrounding your individual keywords, historical performance, seasonality, and other relevance factors but basically, you want to get your average cost per click as low as possible without sacrificing your campaign’s visibility or efficiency.
• Average position/page rank – measure of where your paid or natural search listing appears on the search results page when triggered by a keyword search (hint hint – this one’s particularly important, since it provides an immediate illustration of how you stack up against the competition)
Now that we’re hopefully ok with the metrics download provided above, lets dive in…to the keywords. In order to analyze the search engine analytics attributed to your site, you can’t be content to just look at top line numbers – total impressions, total clicks, overall click rate etc.
These numbers are of course important, but if you’re willing to look for it, you’ll be able to find data that you can use to inform your marketing strategy going forward. The story that ‘lies behind the numbers’ that I was telling you about before? You’ll find that story in the keywords.
Check back later in the week when we dive into keyword analysis.