I’ve just started reading Avinash Kaushik’s book: Web Analytics 2.0. Avinash is well known for his insights into the complex world of Web Analytics and his ability to distill complex topics into simple concepts. At the end of Chapter 3 of his book, Avinash lists a couple of questions that all businesses should be able to answer about their web site. The first question “How many visitors are coming to my website?” is pretty straightforward so I won’t spend much time on that one. Investigation into the second question “Where are your visitors coming from?” yielded some cool insights that I will share below.
When I first considered this question, I figured that I already knew the answer. WebEnso gets the majority of it’s traffic from organic traffic (87% over the last 12 months). The keywords are a hodge podge mix of topics and mostly long tail. None of this was new to me. However one rather hugely annoying fact that I did not know, is that a staggering 62% (almost two thirds of my organic search traffic!) of my keywords are hidden from me because they fall into the (not provided) bucket.
For those of you that don’t know about the (not provided) issue (in Omniture it is classified as keyword unavailable), let me provide a brief explanation. Over a year ago Google blocked the passing of the referrer information for all users that were logged into a Google account, ostensibly to protect the user’s privacy. However what that means is that I no longer have access to the keywords that users logged into a Google account used to find my site. Danny Sullivan’s article on “Dark Google” has more information on this rather lamentable topic.
So moving on to data that is actually available to me, I explored my Google Analytics Referral Traffic. And found some cool insights.
To find Referrals in Google Analytics: Select Traffic Sources -> Referrals and you will get a list of the websites that have sent you traffic.
One thing I would suggest, especially if you don’t get a lot of referral traffic like me – is to set a long date range, try 12 months.
I was surprised to find that I was getting traffic from seomoz.org and wordpress.org among other sites. It turns out that people had posted answers to these sites’ forums citing articles from WebEnso. This was pretty cool and validates what many people say about blogging. Which is: Create compelling content and the traffic and links will come. Now I just need to even more compelling content – and of course a little promotion of it would help too.
How did I find this out? Here is how you find the actual URL of the referring page that has the link to your site on it in Google Analytics.
Google Analytics can be such a gold mine of information, and with some of old standbys going away (keyword data), it pays to dig more into other metrics. It takes just a moment to look into your Referrals in Google Analytics, go ahead and do it now. What did you find?
Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.