Every business owner should arm themselves with the basic tools available to know if and how their website generates traffic. Every single person in Australia starts their buying journey online. They might look on social media to see what their friends are using or doing, but most likely they will start with a search on Google. It will be very generic to start with and then get more specific as they narrow down their search.
For a business this is the primary way of getting exposure for your products or services other than local advertising, word of mouth referrals and of course your existing customers. I am surprised how many business owners have no idea if they even get traffic. So below I explain the two main sources of information that you can use to get the critical information you need.
This can be used to make an assessment of a website you built for yourself or whether the agency or freelancer you are paying are doing their job well or not. With free tools from Google you can get the information about your business to help you make data driven decisions.
1. The organic search ranking on Google are you achieving
Google Search Console provides deep insights and data about how your website is ranking.
The buzzword for a lot of business owners is ranking on the 1st page of a Google Search. Although what exactly are you ranking for, how many different keywords or phrases & is this even relevant to your business? Don’t fall into the trap of typing your own name and seeing it pop up at the top, while that is great, that’s only useful for people that know you. What about all the other potential customers that have never heard of you?
Google Search Console can report every piece of data that shows you what it ‘thinks’ of your website, how it is performing online & essentially what is happening before someone decides to visit your website. You can quickly see high level data such as;
- How much potential search traffic your site generates.
The site is being found but what is the average position on search pages, what phrases or words & how is it trending? The volume of impressions are shown, position and clicks depending on the time period you choose. You can narrow this down by filtering to a word or phrase.
- What volume of people are clicking to visit your site.
Getting impressions is great, you have to start somewhere right? Although you then have to look at the average position & the % of people clicking to your site. For important phrases or keywords you want to see anything that is above 5% to feel confident things are working well, especially for phrases that don’t mention your own name. If it is high then it means they aren’t seeing you at all or it isn’t convincing when they do see one of your pages shown.
- 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 product names or types 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. So for example someone might be looking for ‘beach styled rings’ so you can see if your website shows up for that or not.
- 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. You can adjust the relativity of this information by looking at just Australian searches so that it is more relevant to your location.
- Website data submission errors.
The other reports can help show you whether Google is able to read the pages on your website & if there are any errors. Sure, your site might be functioning, but if you have maybe 40 pages and 20 of them have errors then it effects your ability to rank well with Google. Errors can make or break whether a website is even found by people, broken links, pages not in a sitemap or not loading quickly. Google looks at technical set up, speed & mobile optimisation as just some of the factors to measure or compare websites.
2. How many visitors you are actually getting 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 your website visitors are coming from
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. You can see the time of day, country and device they are using
Google Analytics can also track the location 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 arrive how do they move around your website?
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 problems I uncover with websites
I find problems that prevent getting more customers
My digital marketing analysis busted an agency that cost $20,000
The agency charged money & created false traffic
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.
How this business increased organic search by 7X & sales by 84%
I cleaned up their toxic backlinks and proved the results
Here is another example that demonstrates the importance of engaging a digital marketing expert. The owner of this eCommerce store had a great looking website, lots of products and had spent a lot of energy getting it all set up. She used an agency that her husband had used for their corporate business. The agency built the website then referred her to a freelance SEO consultant. So she was excited & ready to grow her business.
Although – nothing happened.
She had to keep spending money on Google Ads to make any sales, but her Google Analytics data was showing thousands of visitors per month to her website. Sounds strange right? She engaged me to conduct a digital marketing audit and this is what I uncovered.
- The website did not have unique, deep, meaningful content, so would always be hard to win search rankings.
- The pages and products lacked basic SEO on page set up even though she had paid a freelancer.
- There was more than 6,000 backlinks going to the site from very poor quality websites.
- When following the backlinks they led to pages with no content for the brand or product.
- The conversion rates from the Google Ads and the ‘Direct’ traffic from the backlinks was very poor
- The reporting that was being provided to the business owner didn’t come from Google, it was a reporting App & word document.
By putting different pieces of data together you can make fairly educated decisions and uncover what is happening with your website. I helped craft all the reports so the business owner could present them to the agency.