Traffic you actually want: 5 site metrics you should be paying attention to.

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Everyone hates traffic, except when it comes to your website. But the number of visitors to your site is just the tip of the iceberg. What you really want to understand is the quality of your site and how users are engaging within each page. To increase conversions and start building an exceptional site experience, you need to take a look at key metrics.

Bounce Rate by Users

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When you log in to scope your site analytics, the first number that calls out at you is your bounce rate. Yes, the number that haunts you, showing you that users took one look and left. But don’t let a number define your site, it’s only the surface and it’s important to break down what exactly is going on. One way to look at bounce rate is segmented by returning and new users. You want to know if returning users have high bounce rates, you want to keep your current users engaged. The same goes for new users coming to your site, especially if you want to grow your audience. Once you identify user behavior you can dive even deeper into content, sessions, exit pages, and loading times to see where you need to optimize.

Engagement by Landing Pages

Taking a look at individual landing pages is key when it comes to improving SEO and relevancy. With Google Analytics you can drill down to pages and how users interact. Identify which pages are exit pages, individual bounce rates, average session durations, and traffic to the landing page. It can be a rabbit hole with endless combinations, so keep your goal in mind. For example, if your goal is to retain customers and drive repeat traffic, segment your landing page view by type of users and really take a look at those exit pages, as well as pages with high engagement. You’ll want to adjust your content to reflect pages that keep people engaged.

Behavior by Device

While content is king, there is still a major component to site traffic that could make or break your site and that’s user experience by device. When in doubt, go mobile! Google Analytics, for example, really breaks down engagement by device. Most likely you’ll find that mobile users make up most of your traffic. Analyzing by device lets you get a glimpse of how your website is tailored to devices. If you see desktop users are way more engaged than mobile and tablet users, you may want to consider the formatting of your site. Is your site responsive? Are loading speeds optimized? Is content too heavy for mobile and tablet view?

Speed Time

Your SEO is on point, your site formatting for mobile is optimized and then you find that it takes 5 seconds for your page to load. Speed time analysis gives you a behind-the-scenes look at how your site is running on the backend. Things that could be affecting speed time include large jpgs (consider pngs instead), too many redirects to a page, site compression. The good news is there are tools and techniques to increase speed time for a better site experience. A rule of thumb is to try and keep your loading speed under 4 seconds. A Financial Times case study revealed that “the first-second delay resulted in a 4.9% drop in the number of articles a visitor read.” So imagine more than five seconds!

Organic Traffic

We often analyze how paid ads are performing because it’s an investment for the business. We want to make sure digital ads are increasing site traffic and leading to conversions. But one of the most critical forms of traffic you need to be paying attention to is organic traffic. Why? Because it is a direct lead from someone who is searching for your exact type of content. It is someone Googling “the best restaurant in Miami” and being taken directly to your site for a solution. People driven to your site by organic traffic are usually quality leads with higher conversion rates and engagement.

Best of all organic traffic is free, but it will cost you…time. It takes quite a bit of effort to stay relevant, but it is the best investment of your resources you’ll ever make. To increase organic traffic you need work on rankings this means taking a look at every metric we talked about, including speed times, device experience, keywords and metadata, and most importantly, that your content is relevant to audiences. Google updates its algorithm so that audiences get what they are looking for within the first three lines of a search.

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