Pursuing a website marketing strategy without properly monitoring your efforts can be a futile effort, costing your company hard-earned dollars and missed opportunities. Keeping an eye on the wealth of digital marketing data available to you will help you make decisions about future activities and predict changes that will lead to desired results. We recommend preparing a monthly marketing report that addresses your strategy, goals, and the key metrics that make sense for your business. As you get deeper into your marketing strategy, the report helps you to see progress you’ve made toward goals and anticipate seasonal spikes and dips in traffic.
While the marketing metrics that matter most may vary based on the business, there are some basic numbers that we find useful for all of our clients. The website traffic metrics we monitor fall into a few categories:
- Overall traffic (how much traffic did the site receive?)
- Traffic sources (how did people find your site?)
- Content (what content is attracting the most attention?)
- Queries (what are people typing into search engines when they find your site?)
Website page views
As the name states, website page views shows the total number of page views a website receives during the given time period. For different organizations, this number may have significant value to track as it can be an indicator of increased brand awareness. If your website makes money from ads or traffic, page views will be a critical marketing metric to monitor.
Unique page views
Unique page views refer to the number of visitors who have viewed a certain page. This number will always be lower than the total website page views. For instance, if one visitor views the same page ten times, there will be ten website page views, but only one unique page view. Unique page views are a beneficial metric to monitor because they can provide a more accurate view of how many people are looking at your website.
A user is a visitor who has initiated a session on the website. Through the magic of cookies, users can be broken down into new and returning visitors. We monitor users to see how many people are coming to the website in total, and whether they are new to the site or are a returning user coming back for additional content.
Website traffic sources
Organic traffic consists of visitors who find your website through a search engine. Organic traffic is a key metric to monitor when evaluating your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. The higher your website is ranked by search engines for relevant queries, the more searchers you can expect to become visitors. Monitoring organic traffic can help to show whether your SEO efforts are paying off, but beware of having too high of expectations early on in any SEO project.
Direct traffic includes visitors who type your exact URL into their browsers (rather than finding your site via a link on another site). If a high percentage of your traffic is direct, it could mean that you haven’t properly set up tracking for other sources, such as your email marketing or social media channels. When pursuing an SEO strategy, you’ll generally see direct’s overall percentage of traffic drop over time.
Just as it sounds, social traffic comes from social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Depending on your approach, social traffic to your website can be an indicator of the success of your social media marketing efforts. If you are spending significant time and resources on social media marketing AND are trying to send traffic off of the social platforms, you will want to closely monitor website traffic that’s coming from social media.
Referral traffic comes when a user finds a link to your website on another website (but not a search engine). Some common sources of referral traffic include blogs linking to your product or services, media outlets mentioning your company, marketplaces that link back to your site, or really anyone else on the web that has a reason to include a link to your content. Referral traffic is a beneficial marketing metric to monitor if backlinks are a critical piece of your SEO strategy. It can also help you to monitor the various places your business is showing up online; while you may sometimes see link farms show up in referral traffic, do what you can to ensure that most referrals come from reputable sites.
Paid traffic includes visitors who have come to the website through a paid advertisement on a search engine (often referred to as pay per click, or PPC, advertising). Paid search traffic doesn’t include paid ads on social media platforms. If your company is running PPC ads with the goal of increasing traffic, you will want to keep a close eye on this marketing metric.
Popular content will show what pages have been viewed most frequently in the given time period. You can break this down by page types, such as blog, landing page, or staff profiles. Regularly reviewing popular content traffic numbers will help you understand the blogs or landing pages that are surfacing the most across your various traffic sources. You can investigate deeper into whether the traffic that’s coming to those pages is the type of traffic you want to receive, and also determine whether there are future content opportunities to further engage those visitors.
Organic search landing pages
The organic search landing pages metric is a little different from popular content in that it’s a ranking of the pages driving the most organic traffic. Useful marketing metrics within this category include search impressions (number of times that page appeared in someone’s search), clicks (number of times a searcher clicked the link), click-through rate (clicks divided by impressions), and average position (where your page appeared relative to other sites ranking for the same search query. If you’re putting a lot of effort into your SEO marketing strategy, you’ll want to have a strong grasp of the pages that are delivering the most organic traffic.
Organic Search Queries
Organic search queries are the actual words or phrases users type into a search engine box. If you think of social media as the place where people want to show themselves in the best possible light, organic search queries represent the opposite side of the psyche. People tend to be blatantly honest in their search engine queries, offering a glimpse into what people are really looking for when it comes to the problem you solve for them. Use query data to determine whether you’re getting the right kind of traffic and how you can continue to serve your site visitors.
We recommend reviewing your website marketing metrics on a monthly basis to see what’s working well, what needs to change, and how past trends can inform future activity. Part of this effort will also require you to track all inbound leads. If your website is just squeaking by, it’s time to nail down a strategy and evaluate your efforts against targets using key performance indicators. We would be delighted to discuss your business’s website needs. Send us a message to schedule a consultation.
Digital marketing efforts not yielding the results you want?
Use our Digital Marketing Strategy Questions to help you develop a strategic plan to reach and engage your audience online.