5 Analytics Metrics Every Blogger Should Watch
Welcome back to another week of SEO Boot Camp bloggers! If you have been doing the work so far your blog should be looking very healthy and should be well on its way to becoming an SEO powerhouse.
But how do you know?
If you have set up Google analytics for your blog (and there is no reason you have not by now) you will want to track how people are coming to your blog, what they are doing once there and what, if anything, are causing them to leave. Google analytics can tell you all of this but blog metrics (and all metrics, to be honest) can be very confusing. Following, I am going to give you five analytics metrics that will give you a good idea of how your blog is performing.
1. Referring Websites Understanding how your readers are getting to your blog is by far the most important thing you can learn from analytics. When you know where your blog readers are coming from it will give you insights into what they are interested in, which in turn, will provide you insights into the type of content you should be providing them in the future. Did they come in from a banner ad you paid for or from a friendly link form another blogger? Knowing your referring websites will also allow you to reach out to these referrers and build relationships for more growth. To get to your referral traffic from the side bar in analytics click on TRAFFIC SOURCES à Sources àReferrals.
2. Keywords Since this series of blog posts is about search engine optimization referring keywords is of course, vitally important. Your organic keywords will tell you what people are typing in to find your blog via Google or any other search engine. Not only will your organic keywords tell you what people are typing in, it will also tell you whether those terms are general or branded (or, how well known is your blog name and how many people are coming in with these types of searches?). Both can be important and tell you how good you are doing on your SEO campaign. To find out what organic searches are leading people to your blog click on TRAFFIC SOURCES à Sources àSearch à Organic. **BONUS: to add an extra layer of goodness, add a secondary dimension of “Source” from above the keywords to determine which engine your readers are coming in form.
3. Bounce Rate Getting visitors to your blog is great; if they are not sticking around though, what good is it? Bounce rate will tell you when people are coming to your blog and leaving right away without digging any deeper into your website. While bounce rate isn’t exactly the same for a blog as an ecommerce site, it can still tell you if the content you are producing is relevant to the readers you are trying to get for your blog. Bounce rate can be found a number of ways (through keywords or landing pages) and should be looked at from all aspects. Below I am showing you Bounce rate from the keywords perspective.
4. New vs Returning Visitors How loyal are your blog readers? Is your content enticing enough to keep people coming back for more? The New vs Returning Visitors report will let you know how many people are visiting your blog for the very first time and how many have visited at least once before. This is a great metric to watch because it gives you an idea of what kind of loyalty you are building for your blog. Two things to consider: 1. For a new blog you will want to have a large percentage of new visitors and this number should start to level out with returning visitors as your blog grows in age. To find the New vs Returning Visitors report click on AUDIENCE à Behavior à New vs Returning.
5. Pages What are the most important pages on your blog? Which pages are generating the most traffic? Did a particular page have a spike in traffic due to a lot of sharing? These are just a few of the questions that can be found on the Pages report. From this report you can see which pages on your blog generated the most traffic, how many unique page views those pages got (reader loyalty), how much time your readers are spending on these pages, whether your readers are exiting right away (bounce rate) and how many visitors are leaving after viewing (exit rate). Basically, the Pages report will tell you how your readers are interacting with your blog and which pages are working or not working. To see the Pages report click on CONTENT à Site Content à Pages.
While the previous metrics are by no means all-inclusive, they will provide you with a good idea of how your blog is performing when you are just starting out. Take these metrics and compare them against previous time periods to learn how your blog improves as you move forward.
One more thing before we end this week’s SEO Boot Camp. You will never get used to analytics until you dive in. Click around your analytics profile and see what it has to offer. It can be intimidating, but once you spend some time inside of it and read a little about what the metrics mean and do you can start combining your metrics to really start getting into the nitty-gritty of it all. Thanks again for visiting and I hope this week’s installment of SEO Boot Camp for Bloggers has been helpful. Tune in next week when I will be digging a little deeper into analytics for bloggers and talking about goals!
Until then, bloggers.
Jeff Loquist is a search engine marketer with more than seven years’ experience creating search-friendly content and optimizing websites for the search engines. He runs Zen Search Marketing, a Baton Rouge SEO Consulting, PPC management and content development company. Outside of search, Jeff enjoys making soap (yeah, you heard right…soap) and writing poetry and short fiction. Mostly, Jeff enjoys a good Scotch, a fine cigar and great conversation; pretty much in that order.