With some COVID-19 inspired downtime we decided to apply an assessment to our own website to highlight 5 key things every business owner should know about their website. In the past 18 months our Clients have constantly mentioned they don’t know if their website is generating any traffic or if the SEO service they are paying for is working. With free tools from Google you can get the information about your business to help you make data driven decisions.
1. What does your business rank for & how does Google interpret your site.
Google Search Console provides deep insights and data about how your website is ranking.
Google Search Console reports data in relation to what is happening before someone decides to visit your website. You can quickly see high level data such as;
- How much potential search traffic does your site generate.
The site is being found but what is the average position on search pages, what phrases or words & how is it trending?
- What volume of people are clicking to visit your site.
Getting impressions is great, but if the % of people clicking to your site, especially for important phrases or keywords, isn’t high then it means what they are seeing isn’t convincing them to visit your site.
- What keywords or phrases does your site show up in search for.
Yes you should show up on the first page of Google for your own name, after all, it is your business. What is more important is showing up for the service types, category or products you sell. This is more relevant because in the first instance people won’t know your brand or business, but will be looking to solve a problem they have or something they want.
- What is the average ranking per phrase or keyword you are achieving.
Let’s assume you show up in search for the service or product you sell, what is the average position you show up for? Anything higher than 10 means you are on the 2nd page of a Google Search & over 90% of clicks come from the first page.
- Website data submission errors.
Your website might be up and functioning, but it doesn’t mean it is actually working as far as how Google’s search algorithms see it. Errors in this data can make or break whether a website is even found by people.
2. How many visitors do you actually get to your website.
Google Analytics can show you by day how many visitors your website is getting.
- Total users visiting your website;
There are thousands of data points available via Google Analytics to show how well (or badly) your website is performing. The most basic is how many visitors are you getting.
- Bounce rate;
In simple terms this means how many people arrive then leave the site quickly. The lower the % the better typically as it means people are visiting and looking around the site. This can be high due to a number of reasons that data analysis can uncover.
When you look at this information together with other data points (outlined below) you can get an idea of what people are doing when they visit your site and how ‘interested’ they are in what they see. In the example above, visitors are spending nearly 2 minutes on the site in the last 180 days which is a decline on the previous period.
3. Where did those visitors actually come from?
You can dig deeper to know exactly where your visitors actually came from like social media or organic search.
- Traffic from Google Organic Search vs Social Media
Sources could be over 50 locations long depending on where or how your site has content on the internet. This can even include Paid Advertising so that you can compare the volume of visitors from Ads vs Organic Search or Social Media.
- Compare how long they spend on the site.
Sometimes there could be big differences between how long different sources are spending on the site, this can help identify the difference in content or audience you attract. Or other times it could highlight issues with things like page speed, device compatibility or page layouts.
- What traffic source delivers the most goal completions like a contact form completed.
If you are running Paid Advertising, writing lots of content to get backlinks, posting lots of things on social media then eventually you will want to figure out (in a very simple way) which source leads to the most conversions. This could be a contact form completion, quote form or some other priority goal for your business.
4. What time of day, country & device they are using.
Google Analytics can also track the location of the people visiting your website, their device and popular times of day.
If you have a business that serves Customers in Sydney then having traffic from around the world can potentially be of no use to you. We have seen examples of websites where traffic from the USA was more than 50% of their volume (see the Case Studies) It’s also important to know what device they are using and this will vary by industry, but if 80% of your traffic is on a mobile phone then your site has to be extremely mobile friendly.
- The typical days and times people visit.
This can help you understand they type of Customers you have. Although it can also pinpoint problems for example if most of your traffic is 2 in the morning it could indicate a high volume of non-Australian traffic.
- The Country or City they are visiting from.
As mentioned if you are a Sydney based business you want local visitors to find you as they are more likely to purchase from your business. If there is a large volume of overseas traffic it can indicate tactics that your website creator or SEO agency has put in place to create the perception of traffic, but not show you if it is real or not.
- What device they are using.
Some businesses might have 90% of their volume of website visitors on a mobile phone, so the site must be easy to read and use for mobile users to be successful.
5. When people visit your website what are they looking at?
You might have hundreds of pages on your site, but maybe people only look at 10% of them.
So, your website ranks for great keywords, you have visitors arriving from around the world, they are on different devices and from lots of sources – although what are they actually looking at?
Google Analytics can give you even more insight as to what pages are popular, where to people go from and to and combined with some of the data above you can make data driven decisions as to how you should develop your website.
The Top 10 things we commonly uncover about business websites.
We uncover lots of interesting things about websites that their owners don’t know about.
How our data analysis uncovered $20,000 in wasted SEO efforts.
Data can uncover lots of things or at least make it easier to ask questions.
In the example above our Client had spent over 18 months and thousands of dollars on an SEO Agency. Our data analysis uncovered some unusual things which culminated in a 50 page report with some alarming highlights;
- More than 50% of their website traffic was coming from the USA (its an Australian business).
- USA visitors were not real, the Bounce Rate was 96% and they stayed on the site for 2 seconds on average.
- There were over 3,000 backlinks set up to the site from USA directories that were delivering ‘fake’ traffic.
- The monthly reporting the Agency provided the Client didn’t show source of the traffic from the USA.