Over the last few months we have been working on getting your site listed higher up on the search engine results (SERPs). In a recent article I discussed that nearly every site will rank well for something (even if it’s not what you had in mind), and last time I told you to check your site stats to see how people find you. I was surprised by the number of emails I received asking me what I was talking about – how can you tell HOW somebody found you?
When it comes to SEO, content is king. And not just any content, content people want to read. Your site has the ability to help you figure out what that is, you just have to let it tell you.
For those of us running our sites on WordPress, it couldn’t be easier to find out how people got to our sites and what they looked at. You’ll need to install a couple plugins, and I’ll cover what each can tell you.
WP Stats provides almost all the information you need to measure your site and make informed decisions about future growth. You’ll need to do a bit of configuration at WordPress.com before it will start collecting data, but once you’ve done that the rest is so easy a cave man could do it. The stats are divided into sections they tell you were visitors came from, what they did and where they went.
Each time someone follows a link to your site, they are being “referred”. This information helps you measure the success of your link building efforts. Maybe you left a comment on someone else’s blog, or you had a story submitted to digg. Maybe it’s traffic from your twitter page. If there are sites listed here you don’t recognize, be sure to check them out and make sure it’s a site you want traffic from. If it is, thank them. If not, poliely ask them to stop.
Top Posts and Pages
As this sections name implies, it lists what pages have the most traffic and how many views each has had. Naturally pages with high counts are the most popular, you should consider doing more posts about those subjects.
Search Engine Terms
This is the “fun” stuff. This area of the stats page shows you what people searched for on the search engines to find your site, and how many times a phrase was used. Evaluate this section carefully. You may be surprised at what brings people to your pages. Look for trends, and build your content based on what people want.
Pages listed in the clicks section tell you what outbound links your visitors followed. Providing your visitors the most relevant content possible sometimes means sending them to another site. They will both appriciate and remember it.
Can you guess? Yes, these are pages which link back to yours. Well, actually they are pages that Google says link back to yours. The actual number is probably much higher.
Want more details than the front page gives you, each of these sections can be clicked on for additional details.
This nifty plug-in gives your visitors some advanced searching functions, making it easier to find pages on your site. More importantly, it logs all of the searches so you can see what people are looking for, and hopefully finding. If you notice people searching for content you don’t have – add it.
If you are not running your site on WordPress, don’t despair. Most web hosts provide some form of web stats, and the areas covered above are normally included. Many site owners use Google’s stats tool, it’s free and pretty simple. But, it provides a lot more data than a beginner may need and it’s not as easy to find the basic information as it is in WP Stats. I do reccoment you install it soon though and let it start collecting data so that when you are ready for more information it is all ready available for you.