Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

How Can I Know If My Website Is Working

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

How Can I Know If My Website Is Working

Article excerpt

SEVERAL MONTHS AGO, I interviewed Scott Gonnello, who is an expert on search engine-optimization.

Scott has been a repeat guest on my nationally syndicated podcast series, Been There, Done That! with Dennis Zink, available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, score.org, Manasota.score.org and other distribution channels.

I interviewed Scott on website performance analytics / Google analytics.

Q. How do you analyze website performance?

A. There are many ways to analyze a website. No. 1, if sales are going through the roof, if phone calls are coming in, if there are a lot of email requests, those are all ways to verify that a site is working. To get more technical, drill down into Google Analytics. There's a wealth of data Google tracks that provides pertinent information on how a website is performing.

Q. What is Google Analytics?

A. It's tracking software. Incoming website traffic provides data regarding visitor site duration, number of users, the bounce rate and pages viewed per session. This information can be used to play detective, so to speak, to see what's working and what's not working on the site.

Q. What is a bounce rate?

A. A bounce occurs when a visitor hits the site, sees one page and leaves. Now, that bounce rate ties in with the time on the site and number of sessions per user. A high bounce rate and a low session time on the site means something's not right. Visitors come and go quickly. This could occur for several reasons, such as: spam sites hitting; it's not the page visitors were looking for; it's not the company they were looking for; or they're not impressed with that one page and they leave.

Q. Is having Google Analytics the same as SEO?

A. The answer is absolutely yes and no. Having a library card in your wallet doesn't make you smarter unless you actually read books. Companies may think they're doing SEO by having analytics but the reality is, unless someone is looking at those numbers and doing something with them, it's not SEO.

Q. How are analytics used to help SEO?

A. View incoming traffic and the number of users per month. Is that number going up or down? These metrics delineate traffic patterns and trends, what's working and what's not. For example, a site may have a high bounce rate. This may indicate people don't like the site, unless of course the phone is ringing off the hook from that bounce rate. You have to understand how to interpret the numbers and trends.

Q. How can the phone ring off the hook with a high bounce rate?

A. If there are online sales, visitors may search for a page online, find one page, make the call or place the order. In this case, that's not a bad bounce rate.

Q. What should the average website owner view in Google Analytics?

A. When I talk to clients around the world, they don't really understand the analytics. …

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