Tag Archives: Google Analytics

A Look At Page Views

Last time we talked about traffic and visits, and this time we’re going to take a look at page view statistics.

I tend to think of page view statistics as more important to how people feel about my content than the traffic, which is really more to help impress those who might want to advertise on my site. Page views show just what people are looking at, and how long they’re looking at it.

Doing it like last time, we’ll start with my web host statistics on page views. My hosting company, 1and1.com, only gives me two statistics on page views. One is the total number of page views I receive per day, which is a statistic that does nothing for me, and the other is the total number of visits each of my articles has received for the month. Since that’s one I can compare with Google Analytics, we’re going to start there.

One odd thing about web host statistics is that they seem to track plugin activity as a page on your site, which Analytics wouldn’t do. It’s important that I mention this up front because, per my host, my most visited page each month is my Broken Link Checker plugin, which of course no one else would see. Also in the top five are the admin panel, threaded comments, and robots.txt. So, I’m ignoring those and only going for actual articles.

A quick reminder; the words in this color, except for these two, are links to articles within my site. I remind folks of that from time to time. The navy is just for highlights.

In looking at what 1&1 believes are my most popular articles, this is what we have:

January

My Big RSS Subscriber Contest – 386
Page Rank SEO – A Short Blogging Research Project – 251
About page – 249
My Favorite Eighteen Blog Posts Of 2008 – 233

February

Why Don’t More People Comment On Blogs – 251
Top 100 Singers Of All Time – 219
My Favorite Eighteen Blog Posts Of 2008 – 203
The Ads On This Blog – 195

March

The Keys – 353
Visa Black Card – 302
About page – 294
Blogging Tips – 271

According to Google Analytics, these are my top articles for the same time periods:

January

My Big RSS Subscriber Contest – 116
Page Rank SEO – A Short Blogging Research Project – 70
How Do You Twitter – 45
December Statistics Report – Everything – 41

February

Top 100 Singers Of All Time – 85
Upgrade To WordPress 2.7.1; How – 81
Nine Best Blogs Of 2009 – My List – 54
At Least Be Professional In Your Writing – 54

March

The Keys – 140
Visa Black Card – 137
Top 100 Singers Of All Time – 110
Nine Best Blogs Of 2009 My List – 69

One thing I like is how some of my articles show up two months in a row; that always feels good, knowing you’ve touched enough people that an article has more life than some others.

Now, I’ve said page views is the most important thing to me, but the main statistic for page views has to do with length of time someone stays on the site. The longer people stay, the more you know they’re reading your article, or articles, and that means you’ve captured someone’s attention, and that they’re not only popping by, looking at a few words, leaving a comment based on a couple of lines, and moving on. At least you hope that’s not what they’re doing.

Hosting companies don’t track this, which is why it’s great having Google Analytics. For these same three months, here are top times for my articles, with at least 10 visits:

March – the average was 3 minutes and 27 seconds:

Keys To Leadership – 8:55
Is The Dream A Fraud – 7:59
Upgrade To WordPress 2.7.1; How? – 7:58

February – the average was 4 minutes and 21 seconds:

At Least Be Professional In Your Writing – 9:07
The Art Of Hype – 7:41
My Big RSS Subscriber Contest – 6:45

January – the average was 3 minutes and 2 seconds:

The Psychology Of Gambling – 9:03
SEO & Multiple Web Pages – 7:19
Page Rank SEO – A Short Blogging Research Project – 7:05

To me, for the number of visits I had each month, and the length of some of my articles, knowing that the average time people spend here means to me that people are actually reading the content, and that makes me feel pretty good, better than the traffic numbers indicate. It’s probably the people who know me and keep coming back who are the ones actually reading, but that still feels nice.

It’s also interesting to see that the articles that people stayed around the longest to read differentiate from the articles that had the most page views. Just so you know, if you’re looking at these stats, you could decide to pull together a combination of both the main article itself and the comments page, which Analytics also keeps statistics on, but I left that one alone for now.

So, that’s the two part study on traffic and page views, the two most important things for your blogs or websites. There is one last brief study, but I’m saving that one to add to my little SEO project, rain or shine. Stay tuned.
 

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Is Alexa Relevant Again?

Earlier this evening, while doing some research, I discovered that my primary business is listed at number one on Alexa for business training site against racism. I was feeling pretty good until one of my friends wrote and burst the bubble, saying I’m the only person she ever hears talking about Alexa anymore.

After kind of a snarky response on my part, I decided it was time to investigate Alexa again. Sure, in the world of SEO, Alexa ratings took a major hit years ago, and has been pretty much maligned ever since because they placed so much emphasis on people downloading the Alexa toolbar, which many people really didn’t want to do. Even Firefox came up with a plugin that supposedly could help your sites with it, but I know I wasn’t interested. I’ve talked about Alexa before, once when I was pretty much trashing Compete Rank, but at other times saying that even if people beat up on Alexa, it’s better to have some kind of ranking than nothing at all, and of course the better the ranking, especially without the toolbar, the better your site is performing.

First, a quick “what is Alexa” moment. Alexa is a system that ranks traffic, plain and simple. Traffic equates mainly to visits from others to your site, but it’s really about hits to anything that your site offers elsewhere. This means that if someone is searching for something and your site comes up, it might be counted as a hit, even if they didn’t make it to your page. Also, search engine bots are considered hits, even though a person didn’t actually come to your site. However, since bots only keep going to sites that have new content, it means if your site is ranked low on Alexa that you probably haven’t done anything new to get more traffic coming.

Anyway, it seems that even Alexa realized finally that waiting for people to download their toolbar to try to get accurate stats wasn’t getting it done, and they were falling way out of favor with people who they hoped they could do other business with at some point. So, they changed up how they were going to come up with their ratings by adding multiple other sources for tracking the traffic of all websites. They didn’t tell us who they’re tracking, but it seems that, for the most part, they’ve regained at least a little bit more respect than they had in the past. What resulted was interesting, in that many people with the Alexa toolbar suddenly noticed their rankings dropped, and along with those people were many people who were using the Entrecard program, which supposedly gave false ratings of traffic that Alexa somehow learned how to filter out. Some folks jumped nicely, while others dropped even further.

Two other things also happened. One, Alexa started ranking way more websites than they had been ranking before, so many websites whose sites used to show nothing were suddenly showing up with 8-digit rankings, which was unheard of in the past. Two, many overseas sites suddenly dropped dramatically because now they had to compete with the rest of the world on a more equal footing, and unfortunately there are still more sites in the United States than anywhere else in the world.

I decided to take a quick look at this site on Alexa, and I have to say that the traffic numbers pretty closely mirror what Google Analytics and my own ISP stats are telling me. I’m not sure how it’s done, but I’m believing it’s close to how Cool Blog Links and Winning The Web and other sites like them are tracking numbers of websites, only on a much larger scale.

Finally, I went looking for any new posts or articles on Alexa, to see if anyone was saying that Alexa wasn’t relevant anymore. Seems the last time anyone said something like what was last July, at least from what I could find, and anyone else who’s written on the topic has gone in a totally different direction than the constant derision Alexa has been getting for awhile.

Still, let’s have a little bit of common sense to all of this. As with all the other rating services, don’t go crazy in trying to make more out of the numbers than what they are. Right now this blog is sitting at 127,242, and that’s a fairly nice number. Unless you’re sitting in the top 50,000, it really means little, except you’re probably doing pretty well in optimizing your site. For me, I’m hoping that this new experiment with the robots.txt file works wonders over the next month or so; when does Google do their next little number anyway? No matter; it’s all fun and games overall, except for one thing,… I’m number one! 😀

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