An insight into where my traffic is coming from

I like stats. I love baseball stats and I like looking at my webstats. I don’t obsess over the gross numbers so much as I like looking at how people find my site and what sort of thing work and don’t work in terms of generating traffic. The second level stuff that most people overlook.

For the purposes of putting some parameters on the discussion, I’m only going to look at my traffic for the six months prior to today, October 12, 2008. I’m also getting all my data from Google Analytics, which might underestimate traffic by some percent. However, so long as the percent is consistent, I’m fine with using it.

Top Line Numbers

Here are the gross stats for the last six months:

* 68,659 Visits
* 51,711 Absolute Unique Visitors
* 146,904 Pageviews
* 2.14 Average Pageviews
* 01:57 Time on Site
* 72.67% Bounce Rate
* 74.63% New Visits

What does this tell me? Most people visit and leave. This is not shocking. I think this is the case with most websites. I view my job as to capture the attention of a small percentage of visitors, a number which is in the low single digits. (it isn’t secret, I just don’t know the actual number) A 72% bounce rate is pretty good considering that the bounce rate for my top traffic referrers are much higher.

Also, you can tell by the graph that the growth trend is up, but with big spikes.

Where does it come from

# Site Visits P/V Time New Bounce
1. google / organic 16,057 2.69 00:02:40 84.77% 70.16%
2. (direct) / (none) 13,759 2.22 00:02:02 48.32% 73.09%
3. / referral 10,851 1.15 00:00:32 87.37% 91.61%
4. 7,373 1.58 00:00:49 97.25% 63.26%
5. 1,938 2.99 00:03:23 78.28% 59.39%
6. yahoo / organic 1,521 2.02 00:02:40 84.16% 69.17%
7. / referral 1,403 2.54 00:02:42 41.20% 60.66%
8. / referral 1,109 3.42 00:04:37 62.22% 54.46%
9. / referral 1,031 1.82 00:00:47 96.41% 78.18%
10. / referral 817 1.24 00:00:48 80.78% 87.39%

This isn’t that well formatted, but you can probably figure it out if you just stare at it. What does this tell me? First, the biggest source of traffic is Google by a more than 2-1 margin over anything else. This has been increasing steadily as I’ve produced more content for Google to find. Second, the best quality traffic comes from links where people know exactly what they are clicking on. In this case, it was a link from PVPonline and They have the best stats across the board. Sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon can bring numbers, but it is fleeting. Google image is starting to make some inroads, but so far only 84 of my 3,600 images on my site are in the index. I’ve put a lot of effort into Google Images, with little to show for it so far.

A closer look at Google
Of the over 16,000 visits from Google, that represented 10,342 different keywords. Talk about a long tail.

1. everything everywhere 771
2. travel blog 771
3. wonders of the philippines 732
4. 7 wonders of the philippines 297
5. seven wonders of the philippines 282
6. 124
7. philippine wonders 115
8. gary arndt 110
9. everything-everywhere 106
10. wells fargo sucks 97
11. link: 94
12. everything everywhere travel blog 84
13. everything+everywhere 79
14. philippines wonders 72
15. tarawa atoll 71
16. 68
17. wonders in the philippines 66
18. wonders of philippines 66
19. nan modal 64
20. green sand beach hawaii 62
21. amature traveler 54
22. 52
23. the seven wonders of the philippines 48
24. solomon islands moon rock 46
25. seven wonders in the philippines 39

Note how quickly the number of visits drops. Almost all my Google traffic is long tail stuff. The #1 keyword had 771 visits, the #10 had 97, the #100 had 17, the #1000 had 2.

Of the things which are on this list it mostly are 1) people searching for my site, and 2) people searching for the wonders of the Philippines. I rank #1 for my name, Everything Everywhere, and Wonders of the Philippines. I don’t know if I rank #1 on many other keywords.

The only keyword I’ve gone out of my way to try to rank high in is “travel blog” and that brought in about as much as a single burst from StumbleUpon or Reddit. Effort spent ranking high would probably have been better spent elsewhere. “Travel Blog” is very competitive, but “wonders of the philippines” is relatively easy. I put no effort into ranking for “wonders of the philippines”. It just happened.

Lesson: #1) focus more on developing the easy keywords. #2) be number one in the SERP for that keyword

RSS and Subscribers

This is what I really care about. I view traffic as just a percentage game to try to get subscribers. I think I do much better than most sites in converting traffic. Many sites have similar levels of traffic, but not as many subscribers. I think that has mostly to do with the “what you are doing is soooo cool” factor, which I get in many of the emails I receive.

My RSS is public, so there isn’t too much to say. Here is a graph showing growth over the last six months. It feels slow, even thought I guess it is growing at good clip.

In the end, this is what I care about. I’d rather have 1 real, regular reader than 100 hit and run visits from StumbleUpon.

Going Forward

What all this data doesn’t show is where I’ve been putting my efforts. I’ve probably put more effort into social networks like Reddit and StumbleUpon than anything else. That probably has to change. The long term bang for the buck is going to be in link building. That is much harder than submitting to social media sites, but the payoff is much greater. Not only do you get ranked higher by Google, but you get direct referral traffic, some of which might end up stumbling you anyhow.

I’ll maybe try to get social media attention a few times a month for my best stuff, but other than that, not bother.

To this end, I’m going to maybe get some real SEO assistance, especially with my images, which I still think is the biggest untapped traffic source I’m sitting on.

By Gary

3 dimples. 7 continents. 130 countries.

3 replies on “An insight into where my traffic is coming from”

I’m pretty proud I’ve got a 30% bounce rate and an average of 4 pages a visit and 4 minutes a visit. I think that has a lot to do with the formatting of a site. Course I’m only getting 3k uniques a month, but hopefully that will change since the blog is only 3 months old.

Thanks for the quality, honest info. It’s hard to find.

You have a much more focused site. People who find you are probably looking for content on Manzanillo because they are going on vacation or something. That means you’ll get less traffic in the long run, but better quality, and better returns on affiliate ads and higher PPC.

Hope so. I don’t really know where to start with affiliate ads. I’ve got adbrite running, but no response yet for anything. Trying to go local with my ads, problem is everything runs on Mexican time here.

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