SEOs Compared Notes on Site Performance in #SEOChat Analytics Review
Internet marketers gathered yesterday on Twitter to trade stories about their 2013 content performance and audience behavior during this week’s #SEOchat, hosted by @BruceClayInc. The interactive and candid conversation about content and traffic behavior, grounded in Google Analytics data, led to takeaways that can inform 2014 strategy.
As a group, we determined what was working, when it was working and why it was working. Read on for a recap of the #SEOchat, plus discover takeaways based on participants’ answers. If you’d like to mine your own data, here is a guide for accessing the Google Analytics reports we dove into.
Find out how Internet marketers answered the following questions:
- What area(s) of your website performed best in 2013?
- What piece(s) of content saw the most traffic in 2013? Any particular blog posts?
- What was your top traffic referrer in 2013?
- What social channel brought the most traffic to your site in 2013?
- What month saw the most traffic?
- What hour of the day sees the most traffic?
We asked: Looking at 2013 as a whole, what area(s) of your website performed best?
While content performance and most-trafficked site areas will vary by site type, we wanted to see if there were any overall trends. #SEOchat participants shared that blogs were the most trafficked area of their websites.
In addition to blogs, #SEOchat participants reported seeing their best traffic in:
- Portfolio page
- Contact page
- About page
- Newsletter page
- Events page
- Shopping cart
Takeaway No. 1: No matter your industry, a blog captures traffic. A blog is a place where you can target long-tail keywords and create useful, unique content for people in your niche.
Popular Blog Posts
We asked: What piece(s) of content saw the most traffic in 2013? Any particular blog posts?
While the topics of the posts were different, there was a common thread: the content offered specific “how-to” information:
- How to rank on page one
- How to do SEO
- How to build a green screen yourself
- How to access foreign markets
Takeaway No. 2: Guides and how-tos capture traffic. Consider you audience and determine what they will find useful. If you can figure out what questions they’re asking, you can answer them with content that transfers knowledge.
Top Traffic Referrers
We asked: Let’s shift the conversation to HOW the traffic came in. What was your top traffic referrer in 2013?
#SEOchat participants reported the following sources as top traffic drivers:
Organic traffic from Google and top social networks were significant traffic referrers. However, long-lasting traffic effects can come from strategically placed social content. This was the case for Rudy Lopes,who reported StumbleUpon had been a major traffic referrer since a series of resource links was posted to the social bookmarking site four years ago.
Takeaway No. 3: Every audience is different — for some websites. Provide useful information to a niche social audience and the benefits can be long-lasting.
Top Social Referrers
We asked: What social channel brought the most traffic to your site in 2013?
When asked about their social referrers, #SEOchat participants named:
Takeaway No. 4: Whatever social platform drives the most traffic to your website, make sure you optimize it. Chris Everett reported that his greatest social referrer was LinkedIn. He has optimized his LinkedIn profile and consistently ranks in the top three for “Atlanta SEO consultant.”
Traffic Patterns by Season
We asked: What month saw the most traffic?
There were not patterns for seasonal traffic — every Internet marketer had a different peak. Some of them were able to attribute their traffic spikes to specific reasons:
- Lisa Buyer recognized that her traffic spikes were an outcome of consistent and frequent content.
- Eric Weidner saw traffic gains in March as a result of a particularly successful blog post.
- Bruce Clay, Inc. saw a 27 percent increase in traffic in October which we attribute to our liveblog coverage of SMX and Pubcon.
Takeaway No. 5: Try to pinpoint what led to traffic gains, because if you can identify what activity led to traffic gains, you work to recreate that activity (and traffic).
Traffic Patterns by Hour
We asked: What hour of the day sees the most traffic?
Internet marketers reported various times, which makes sense with differing time zones and markets. Weidner (who saw his best traffic between 7 and 11 a.m. PST) recommended using HootSuite to create a social media schedule that corresponds with the times visitors are known to frequent your site.
Takeaway No. 6: Create a (flexible) social media schedule leveraging traffic data. In addition to Google Analytics, site owners can use apps such as Tweriod, which reports data regarding when your unique group of followers is most likely to be on Twitter.
Join #SEOchat every Thursday at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST . Bruce Clay, Inc. will be there. #SEOchat is a great opportunity to ask questions, get answers and share insights with industry leaders and the engaged digital marketing community. Read more about #SEOchat here.