Measure Web Traffic Analysis Statistics

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Keys to Website Traffic Analysis Statistics

Unlocking the Keys to Your Web Site Traffic Analysis
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 business elsewhere!)

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 your links.

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 placed.

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 per month.

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 on it.

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: Philippa can be reached at (831) 465-0317 or

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