Unlocking the Keys to Your Web Site Traffic
by Philippa Gamse
It is estimated that up to 60% of new traffic to your Web site
will come from search engines. This means that unless you are
already so well known that people will be using your name to search
for your site, you need a search engine strategy. Thousands of
new Web sites are created daily, so the axiom "Build it, and they
will come" does not apply.
Effective Web site promotion requires a serious and continuing
investment of time and resources, whether you do it yourself,
or hire a professional. It is not a one-shot deal, but an ongoing
process, meaning you should evaluate the return on your investment.
You can collect a vast amount of crucial information about your
traffic, and make strategic business development decisions, in
ways that are unprecedented in the real world.
Setting your goals
We've all met the person who boasts of "thousands of hits a
day" on his Web site, and maybe we felt a little envious. But
let's debunk the hype . . . .
It's important to distinguish between individual visitors, and
"hits". The latter refers to every piece of your site that is
downloaded, and this includes all graphics files separately. Thus,
one visitor viewing your home page, which contains text and four
images, will generate five "hits". If that visitor explores your
site further, he or she will generate more hits, but it's still
the same user.
You want to ask yourself whether you want every visitor that
you can get - which could be thousands of indiscriminate, unqualified
people, or whether you would prefer 20 highly qualified decision
makers per day, looking for exactly what you provide?
There are no right or wrong answers, but you should have goals
for the volume and quality of traffic that you would like, so
you can measure results (more on this later!)
Traffic analysis - evaluating results
Once your site is promoted and starts appearing in the search
engines, you can evaluate your traffic. Your Internet Service
Provider (ISP) should provide your site's usage logs, which give
you incredibly useful information. (And if they don't, take your
You will need a good analysis tool to break down this data (some
ISP's and / or professional Web site marketers provide this service
as well). I currently use Hitbox, which is excellent.
The report will show you how many individual visitors came to
your site, as well as the hit count. You can see which pages of
the site are the most popular, and which pages draw little traffic.
Maybe this is because you haven't made them enticing enough in
Armed with this analysis, you can intelligently review your
site structure and content. For the purposes of this discussion
on search engine promotion, look at the sections on search engines
and keywords (you can find these by using the navigation links
in the left-hand frame of the report):
"Top Referring Sites" "Top Referring URL's" "Top Search Engines"
"Top Search Phrases" "Top Search Keywords"
These charts and tables show you which search engines (or other
Web sites that link to you) are driving the most traffic to your
site, and what keywords and phrases people are using to find you,
broken down both by individual search engine and overall. Here's
where you start getting some great feedback. You may have been
fairly sure that you knew the keywords that your markets would
use to find your site, but you could be wrong! With this information,
you can adjust the titles, keywords and descriptions in your pages,
and then resubmit the site. This ongoing process helps to improve
your position in the search engines where you may not be so well
This also provides wonderful market research on your audience.
Rita Risser's company, Fair Measures, provides legal training
for managers in the area of employment law. Her Web site is an
extensive information resource, attracting over 6,000 visitors
Rita told me that her logs showed that many visitors were searching
for a specific topic that was a total surprise to her. But there
was such demand for this subject that she decided to write a book
If you view the Webtrends report while online, you can click
on the most popular search strings and perform that actual search.
This will show you how your site appears, and also what other
pages are being returned. So if your competition is ahead of you,
it may be possible to look at their promotional techniques and
work out how they do it!
Take your Web marketing seriously. The Web affords you the opportunity
to track the results of your marketing investment in ways that
you never could with traditional advertising. You can learn something
about literally every visitor to your site.
Get serious about your Web site marketing; set your goals, invest
in an ongoing strategy, and then become even more successful!
Copyright, Philippa Gamse, 2000
About the author:
Philippa Gamse, CyberSpeaker, is an internationally recognized
e-business strategist. Check out her free tipsheet "Beyond the
Search Engines" for 17 ideas to promote your Website: http://www.CyberSpeaker.com/tipsheet.html
Philippa can be reached at (831) 465-0317 or mailto:pgamse@CyberSpeaker.com
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