If you’ve ever wondered how people find your website or how to generate more traffic, then this article tells you more about your visitors. Knowing where they come from, what posts they like, how long they stay, and other site metrics are all valuable information to have as a blogger. You would expect to pay for such a deep look into the underbelly of your blog, but Google wants to give it to you for free. Why for free? The better your site does, the more likely you are to pay for AdWords or use other Google tools. The Google Analytics online statistics application is a delicious carrot to encourage content rich sites and better ad revenue for everyone involved. You also want people to find your blog when they perform a search about your topic. The painful truth is that search engines have to find your blog first before it will show up in their results. There are thousands of new blogs being created everyday. If you want people to be able to find your blog in the increasingly crowded blogosphere, optimizing your blog for search engines will improve the odds.
Improving Your Blog with Google Analytics
Analytics gives you an overwhelming amount of data to use for measuring the success of your sites, and ads. Once you’ve had time to analyze that data, you will want to take action to improve the performance of your blog, and ads. We’ll now look at how Analytics can help you make decisions about the design, and content of your site.
The Navigation section of the Content Overview report reveals how your visitors actually navigate your blog. Visitors move around a site in ways we can’t predict. Seeing how they actually navigate a site and where they entered the site are powerful tools we can use to diagnose where we need to improve our blog.
Exploring the Navigation Summary
The Navigation Summary shows you the path people take through your site, including how they get there and where they go. We can see from the following graphical representation that our visitors entered the site through the main page of the blog most of the time. After reaching that page, over half the time, they went to other pages within the site.
We can see the path, the visitors take to enter our blog using the Entrance Paths report. It will show us from where they entered our site, which pages they looked at, and the last page they viewed before exiting. Visitors don’t always enter by the main page of a site, especially if they find the site using search engines or trackbacks.
The following screenshot displays a typical entrance path. The visitor comes to the site home page, and then goes to the full page of one of the posts. It looks like our visitors are highly attracted to the recipe posts. Georgia may want to feature more posts about recipes that tie in with her available inventory.
Optimizing your Landing Page
The Landing Page reports tell you where your visitors are coming from, and if they have used keywords to find you. You have a choice between viewing the source visitors used to get to your blog, or the keywords. Knowing the sources will give you guidance on the areas you should focus your marketing or advertising efforts on.
Examining Entrance Sources
You can quickly see how visitors are finding your site, whether through a direct link, or a search engine, locally from Blogger, or from social networking applications such as Twitter.com. In the Entrance Sources graph shown in the following screenshot, we can see that the largest among the number of people are coming to the blog using a direct link. Blogger is also responsible for a large share of our visitors, which is over 37%. There is even a visitor drawn to the blog from Twitter.com, where Georgia has an account.
Discovering Entrance Keywords
When visitors arrive at your site using keywords, the words they use will show up on the report. If they are using words in a pattern that do not match your site content, you may see a high bounce rate. You can use this report to redesign your landing page to better represent the purpose of your site by the words, and phrases that you use.
Interpreting Click Patterns
When visitors visit your site they show their attraction to links, and interactive content by clicking on them. Click Patterns are the representation of all those mouse clicks over a set time period. Using the Site Overlay reporting feature, you can visually see the mouse clicks represented in a graphical pattern. Much like collared pins stuck on a wall chart they will quickly reveal to you, which areas of your site visitors clicked on the most, and which links they avoided.
Understanding Site Overlay
Site Overlay shows the number of clicks for your site by laying them transparently in a graphical format on top of your site. Details with the number of clicks, and goal tracking information pop up in a little box when you hover over a click graphic with your mouse.
At the top of the screen are options that control the display of the Site Overlay. Clicking the Hide Overlay link will hide the overlay from view. The Displaying drop-down list lets you choose how to view mouse Clicks on the page, or goals. The date range is the last item displayed.
The graphical bars shown on top of the page content indicate where visitors clicked, and how many of them did so. You can quickly see what areas of the page interest your visitors the most.
Based on the page clicks you see, you will have an idea of the content, and advertising that is most interesting to your visitors. Yes, Site Overlay will show the content areas of the page the visitors clicked on, and the advertisement areas. It will also help you see which links are tied to goals, and whether they are enticing your visitors to click.
Optimizing Your Blog for Search Engines
We are going to take our earlier checklists and use them as guides on where to make changes to our blog. When the changes are complete, the blog will be more attractive to search engines and visitors. We will start with changes we can make “On-site”, and then progress to ways we can improve search engine results with “Off-site” improvements.
The most crucial improvements we identified earlier were around the blog settings, template, and content. We will start with the easiest fixes, then dive into the template to correct validation issues. Let’s begin with the settings in our Blogger blog.
Seeding the Blog Title and Description with Keywords
When you created your blog, did you take a moment to think about what words potential visitors were likely to type in when searching for your blog? Using keywords in the title and description of your blog gives potential visitors a preview and explanation of the topics they can expect to encounter in your blog. This information is what will also display in search results when potential visitors perform a search.
Updating the Blog Title and Description
It’s never too late to seed your blog title and description with keywords. We will edit the blog title and description to optimize them for search engines.
- Login to your blog and navigate to Settings | Basic. We are going to replace the current title text with a phrase that more closely fits the blog. Type Organic Fruit for All into the Title field.
- Now, we are going to change the description of the blog. Type Organic Fruit Recipes, seasonal tips, and guides to healthy living into the description field.
- Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click the Save Settings button.
Y ou can enter up to 500 characters of descriptive text.
What Just Happened?
When we changed the title and description of our blog in the Basic Settings section, Blogger saved the changes and updated the template information as well. Now, when search engines crawl our blog, they will see richer descriptions of our blog in the blog title and blog description. The next optimization task is to verify that search engines can index our blog.