Website analytics can provide very useful information to bioscience companies. It can be used to assess the effectiveness of your marketing messages, optimize your site navigation, and track external marketing campaigns. At it’s most basic, and without spending too much time on the matter, most companies want to know one thing: how much traffic are we getting? For most purposes, however, this isn’t the question they should be asking.
By “traffic”, most people are referring to visits – how many people viewed their website over a given period of time. Alone, that doesn’t really tell us much. Another measure of traffic is pageviews – how many pages on a website were viewed over a given period of time. Again, that doesn’t really tell us much on its own. Where you get to some rich metrics is in the pages per visit and the bounce rate. Pages per visit is exactly what it sounds like – how many pages the average visitor is viewing. A “bounce” is when a visitor views a page and then leaves the site without viewing any other pages. Having high pages per visit and a low bounce rate is indicative of quality visits. It is an indication that your content is relevant to the people that are finding your site, and you are successfully engaging those people with your content.
Another good thing to focus on is your search engine optimization as measured via search rankings for relevant search terms. While you can’t get your search rankings via Google Analytics or similar free analytics tools, there are tools on the internet for determining your search rankings. Our favorite is Rank Checker from SEO Book. It’s a plugin that operates in the Firefox web browser and can tell you your rank for up to 100 different terms at a time in Google, Yahoo, and Bing search engines, save searches and output results into .csv files which can be opened in Excel. Knowing where you stand in search rankings, and keeping track to see if you’re moving up or down in key search terms, is key for driving relevant (and free!) search traffic. This information can be analysed in conjunction with search traffic data from Google Analytics to determine if you’re optimizing for the right terms. If you’re very high in the search rankings for a particular term, but you’re not getting much traffic from searches for that term, then it’s likely that few people are searching for that term in the first place and you should consider how you can re-optimize for a more popular but still relevant term.
If you dig just a little deeper into your analytics instead of just looking at raw traffic, you can learn a lot more useful information.