Whether you have a small business or a big one measuring website traffic is imperative to understand your visitors and how they engage with your website. Analyzing your website metrics or KPIs will help you assess the performance of your website. These metrics will also help you in optimizing your website and converting visitors into customers.
However, one might get confused as there are so many metrics to track. Which is why it is important for marketers to narrow down which metrics align with their business goals so that they can have the data they need. It is also important to note that not all the traffic coming to your website are leads. Useless website traffic will leave as soon as they visit. It is important that you track quality traffic that has a high potential to convert.
If you are just beginning with website analytics or you feel like you are not getting the accurate data you need, here are five key metrics that can help you track quality website traffic.
What is Website Traffic Analytics?
Website traffic analysis is the process of tracking and analyzing the web traffic data on your website. While you may think that the more traffic you gain the better. However, that metric alone is not enough. You would also need to understand if that traffic is engaging with your website’s content and if they have a potential to convert.
Here are some areas that you would analyze:
- Who is visiting your website
- How long the spend on your website
- What do they do on your website
- How they engage with your content
Depending on your business requirements you may track different metrics that are relevant to you. As you start collecting your data and interpret it, you will realize which metrics are more important to you. If you are just getting started with website traffic analytics then here are some metrics you can look into.
Key Metrics To Measure Traffic
Bounce is a single page session on your website. A bounce is measured as a session that triggers only one request to the Analytics server. For example, when a user visits your website and exists without taking any other action. Bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by all sessions.
If you want users to visit more than one page, then a high bounce rate is not ideal for your website’s success. This indicates that people are leaving your website without engaging. However, if you have a single-page site such as a blog or any other type of content where a single session is expected then high bounce rate is normal.
Tip: For single page websites to blog posts, you can get a better picture of engagement by measuring the amount of time spent on the page, scroll depth, and heat-map tracking. Let us know if you need help tracking website interactions beyond bounce rate.
If you want to reduce the bounce rate, then you can examine your bounce rate from different angles. You can optimize your website or test out various site versions to see what makes your website more engaging to the audience.
Unique visitors are first time visitors to your website for a certain period of time. They are counted once even if they have visited your site before. Unique visitors are identified by their IP address along with the cookie on the browser they are using. For example, if a user visits your website 4-5 times in a day it will still be counted as one visit. However, if they visit your site from a different device then that might count as a new visit.
This metric enables you to understand your visitors. It will show you when unique visits are high and when they are slow. For example, if you have a promotion going on chances are the number of unique visitors will be high. Similarly, you will see when they decrease. Using this analysis, you can determine when to run promotions or schedule content in order to engage more unique visitors.
Channels are sources through which users come to your website. You need to monitor different channels to better understand your user behaviour. This also helps you know which marketing efforts are successful in driving traffic to your website. These channels can include organic search, direct, referrals, social media, email, paid search and more. It is important to keep a track of all these sources and look at which ones are contributing more.
For most businesses organic search will be the top channel bringing in the most traffic. Organic search can show you how successful your organic and SEO efforts are. If you are using search ad campaigns, you can see how many users are coming through these ads to your website. It can give you an insight into the success of your advertising or marketing efforts. Monitoring channels can tell you about the behavior of your users and how they end up on your website. If you see some channels doing well you can invest more time or resources in it to get more quality traffic.
Page views per session
Page views per session is the average of the number of pages viewed during a visit on your site. This metric will help you determine how compelling users find your content and accessibility of your site.
Pages per session enables you to keep your users interested and engaged so that they take the desired action. This metric allows you to measure the user’s interest and curiosity in your company.
While measuring this metric you also have to consider the average session duration on site and bounce rate to make an accurate judgement. The reason for this is, sometimes having a high number of pages per session is not necessarily a good thing. This can also indicate that the user is struggling to find the right information. That’s why it is important to compare these three metrics before you make a decision.
Average Session Duration
Average session duration is the total duration of all sessions (in seconds) divided by the number of sessions. Average session duration along with bounce rate and page views per session allows you to find out how long users stay on your site. This is an important metric to determine user engagement and content relevance.
Longer session duration shows that a user is interested in your content. Keep in mind to also look at other metrics to get a better idea.
Goals and Event Completions
Goal completions show you how your website is successfully converting people and encouraging them to take the desired actions. Goals can be filtered that can help you determine which marketing channels and web pages helped your users convert.
Events are user interactions with content that can be calculated independently from a webpage or screen load. Downloads, form submissions, link clicks, video plays are all examples of events. Events have components like category, action, label etc.
Goals and event completions can help you understand which content is relevant and engaging for your users.
Landing page is where a user first comes in contact with your website. You can determine your user behavior by looking at your landing pages. Especially those pages where you want your users to convert. For example, if you search ads for some product that leads the users to a landing page on your website where they can buy it. You need to see if the users are taking the desired action.
If there are no conversions happening or you see a high bounce rate it would mean that something is wrong. Maybe the page is taking time to load, some links might be broken, or the page is confusing. You can analyze what area needs improvement and try to fix it. This can create a better user experience and increase conversions. Keep a track of your top performing landing pages and the ones that need improvement.
Devices reports can show you which device is used by a majority of users to access your website. People use different devices like desktops, mobile phones or tablets to do their online searches. This report helps you see which device is the primary choice for your users.
You should make sure that your website is compatible with all devices. If you have more users that use mobile devices, then you need to focus on improving user experience on these devices too. If your website takes time to load on mobile devices, or the layout is messy and fonts are too small, users might leave your site without interacting.
Monitor your devices report and ensure that you improve your user experience across devices.
How does Google Analytics Measure Website Traffic?
Google Analytics is a great tool for measuring your website traffic. With Google Analytics you can track the traffic flowing to your website or landing pages. Moreover, you can also analyze the channels from where your traffic is coming from. When you track your website traffic, you can also gain insights into your audience's behavior. You can analyze how engaging your content is to your target audience.
With the new Google Analytics 4, Google is introducing broader ways to track your website traffic and engagement. The traffic reports that you find in Universal Analytics can look different in Google Analytics 4.
In Universal Analytics you would go to Acquisition > Overview to see the channels from which all your traffic is coming from.
Then navigate to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages to view your landing pages report. In this report you can analyze metrics like pageviews, unique pageviews, average time on page, bounce rate and more.
In Google Analytics 4, you will follow the path Reports > Engagement > Pages and screens to access your pages report. On this screen you will see two graphs giving you some insights on your top performing pages. Underneath that you will find a table report with metrics like views, users, views per user, average engagement time and more.
To view traffic channels go to Acquisition > Traffic Acquisition. Here you can find traffic coming from various channels like Direct, Organic Search, Paid Search, etc. You can also analyze various metrics like Users, Sessions, Avg Engagement Time Per Session and more.
The way Google Analytics 4 collects data is different from how Universal Analytics collects data. To understand more about the changes in GA4 check out our blog on 5 Key Changes In GA4 You Need To Know About.
The GA4 reports will look different from Universal Analytics reports. For example, in GA4 report you will not find Bounce Rate. With the new update, Google has removed this metric and you can track engagement with other metrics. With GA4, you can use metrics like Engaged Sessions, Engagement Rate or Engaged Sessions Per User to better understand audience engagement on your web pages.
There are many other metrics you will come across to measure your website traffic. It also depends on your business requirements. However, including any of the metrics discussed above will help you measure quality website traffic which has the potential to convert.
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