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However, if you are publishing content on external sites that link to you, visitors from these sites may be more valuable than those from search engines, since they already know about your products or services, maybe have read something that you've written, and are more ready to do business with you.
Comparing Short / Long Visits
Looking at amount of time spent on your site can give clues as to how well it's meeting visitor expectations and engaging their interest.
Use ClickTracks "Create Labels" tool, and select "had a certain session length" combined with "at most 5 seconds" as your criteria to track people who left your site almost immediately. Then, create another label using same criteria, but select "at least 60 seconds" (or your preference) to identify all visitors who spent some significant time on your site.
Now you can investigate:
Which are your best performing keywords and referrers:
* Which keywords and referring sites result in long visits?
* Which result in short visits?
If you have a lot of traffic from certain keywords, but these result in very short visit lengths, check landing pages for those searches (see Part 3 of this series for more on this topic). It may be that first page that visitors see is not meeting their expectations, and should be modified.
If you have keywords that are very successful in generating visitors who stay on your site, check that you've optimized them for as many search engines as possible.
Which pages do people who stay on your site (long visits) see:
* Which pages engage your visitors most? (check time spent on page from Navigation report). Then ensure that you have appropriate calls to action on these pages to drive your traffic to next step, so that visitors are not leaving from these points.
* Are these pages attracting enough traffic?
If you have pages which are clearly successful once you've got visitors to them, are there ways to increase number of people who see them? Is navigation to these pages sufficiently attractive from other parts of your site? Should they be better positioned?
For help in using ClickTracks to evaluate your "must-see" pages, see Part 3 of this series.
Part 3: Evaluating Critical Pages
It's important to know exact pages of your site that various search engines link to for each of your major keywords and phrases. These are called "landing pages", and are first pages that visitors see when they click on search results.
Landing pages are critical for initial impressions and credibility, especially for people who are not familiar with your business. It's also important to ensure that these pages fulfill visitors' expectations based on their search terms.
Use ClickTracks "Create Labels" tool, and select "used a certain search engine query" combined with keyword or phrase as your criteria to track people who came to your site with that search.
Now you can investigate:
What are Top Entry Pages (i.e. "Landing Pages") for this search term:
* Is search term included in page content? Often, visitors will be looking for their keywords to confirm that they're in right place. If your page doesn't seem relevant to them, they'll leave.
Combine landing page information with Top Exit Pages or Short Visits for this term for clues as to whether your landing page is sufficiently engaging.
Does Landing Page drive visitors into rest of your site:
* If you do have relevant content on page, but visitors still leave, could there be other reasons for their lack of engagement?
Landing pages are also those that you link to in your e-mail marketing messages - and again, are first thing that reader sees when they click through from one of your campaigns.
Often, site owners assume that every visitor sees their home page, which is primary means of navigation. Your landing pages are first that visitors will see, so they need to act as mini-home pages too.
Use this information about what visitors are seeking when they arrive at your site and what their expectations may be to direct them to other pages that will meet their needs.
Goal or "Must-See" Pages
The key pages on your site where people make decisions to buy a product, download a sample, subscribe to your newsletter, etc are known as "goal" or "must-see" pages. These are places to which you drive your traffic to in order to achieve your site objectives.
Use ClickTracks "Create Labels" tool, and select "visited a certain page" combined with your goal page name as your criteria to track people who visited that page.
Now you can investigate:
Is this page hard to find?
* Do visitors take a long time to reach this page? (check average time to page from Navigation report)
* Are there other "must-see" pages that are critical on path to this page? (check "Previous Page" information in Navigation report)
These findings can give you ideas for improving navigation to, and positioning of your "Goal Page".
Does how visitor found your site affect success of "Goal Page"?
* Are there critical keyword searches or referring URL's that generate better traffic in reaching your goal?
Combine this information with your most effective keywords data to ensure that you're paying for best return on investment in generating quality traffic.
(c) Philippa Gamse. All rights reserved.
Philippa Gamse, CyberSpeaker, is a Web strategy consultant and professional speaker. To shed more light on your own web traffic contact Philippa at (831) 465-0317 or at pgamse@CyberSpeaker.com and visit her Web site at http://www.CyberSpeaker.com for more articles and resources.