This blog was originally published on Cupcakes & Websites website here: The Largest Canadian Google Analytics Study Ever Done
For this study we wanted to compare data from 2015 to 2016. Over those, only 57 qualified (had enough traffic over a two year period) to make the cut. If the website wasn’t setup until after 2015 we didn’t include the data as it is incomplete. Next years study (or later this year, we’ll see) will be even bigger!
What did we find?
Average number of visits to a website:
2016 – 14,267
2015 – 15,700
A decrease of 10%
A decrease in average traffic would indicate you can’t have the “build it and it will come” attitude. You have to be doing something on your website that gets people to come back again and again. No you don’t need SEO (search engine optimization) if you’re creating amazing content for your intended audience.
Monitor you traffic. One past almost client (they never said yes) asked if they could talk to us about their “new” website and why they lost 80% of their traffic. Get a monthly report from your website provider at the very least just to ensure someone is reading what you publish!
Average number of visits from search (traffic from Google):
2016 – 7,513
2015 – 6,150
An increase of 18%
Ever since we’ve been measuring websites in Google Analytics it’s always been an anomaly about how much traffic comes from search. And not just our website, EVERYONE’S, yes yours too! You just need to understand better what Google is looking for. Search in powerful, if someone if looking for what you sell, the odds are they will search for it eventually. Make sure when your potential customers search for what you provide, you come up!
Everyone needs a Google Strategy.
The average growth (loss) of traffic:
Total traffic – (10%)
Organic traffic – 18%
Facebook traffic – (.08%)
Traffic fluctuates. Google gives you some tools on seeing what the average search volume is for specific terms over the twelve months of the year to see when search peak.
SEO is an ugly topic. Lots of hearsay floating around with little evidence based opinion. Many assumptions, rarely facts that you can trust. It’s not my intention to tell you how to do SEO, no no, like they say, there are many ways to skin a cat! This is simply my findings over the past five years.
First of all we’re going to simplify what you’re doing with your website. Set one goal, one page must be more important than every other page. Pick three keyword phrases in your industry, those are your first three goals. Then develop your outreach strategy (how other websites will link back to your websites). Determine what you’ll update your website will ongoing forever and ever amen, and you got yourself a perfect little search engine optimization strategy.
- Set one main goal
- Pick three main phrases you want to come up for in Google search
- Why will people want to link to your website?
- Update your website weekly
- Measure relentlessly
If it isn’t as easy as described above than come along for the ride, you aren’t alone!
First, you don’t need traditional SEO if you are;
- A major corporation, simply changing how your website is structured will do wonders!
- If you have an amazing social media presence (e’hem, Wheel House, The Riders, Hard Pressed do NOT need SEO help)
- If you publish content (stories, photos, videos) weekly to your website you most likely have no use for SEO
For everyone else here are a few starting points to give you enough information to piss off your I.T. manager at the office.
Every website on the Internet has a Domain Authority, yes yours does too.
Domain Authority is one of the most effective website measurements because you can benchmark against your competitors, see the impact of your SEO efforts, and set future goals based on a quantitative outcome. We use Domain Authority to measure the websites we manage. It’s an objective indicator for how your website will perform in the future. You want to see your Domain Authority increase over time.
If you start with all the qualitative malarky (focusing on design and feel and making it “pop”) sooner or later you’re going to be fired. That’s a certainty. If you really want to impress the boss start with some substantial quantitative metrics. Hook up Google Analytics and you’re off to the races. If you want to get more technical you’ll have to consider using a company like Raven or Moz (the company we use).
When dealing with website measurement, Moz is pretty much the bees knees. Out of Seattle Washington, they’re like a small vigilante group of online special forces who ensure your website is firing on all cylinders.
What is Domain Authority?
Domain Authority is Moz’s best prediction at how well your website will rank in search engines. This is a number calculated from many different data points from all over the internet. Every page on the internet has a page authority, also a number out of 100, this would be that specific pages’ ranking potential.
Every page on your website has a page authority and together those combine to make up your Domain Authority. It’s a relative metric in that your competition will have a similar number and whether it be higher or lower, generally you can explain why one website is ranking better than another based on Domain Authority. It doesn’t always mean a higher domain authority will always out-rank a lower domain authority, but higher domain authorities always have a better chance of ranking higher in search engines.
Why do we use it?
It’s a standard metric that can be compared to all of your competition. It’s the number you can use to test your hypothesis’s of what works and doesn’t work when it comes to your online strategy. If you increase Domain Authority, you increase your organic traffic.
The coolest part? You can look up your websites Domain Authority by using this tool called Open Site Explorer.
The other day, Brandon and I went to a Campbell entrepreneurship class taught by Jordan McFarlen. Mr. McFarlen invited us to talk about how we started Strategy Lab and the entrepreneurial experience. The way Mr. McFarlen teaches the class is he divides them in two groups and they have to start companies which over the semester they will run like an actual company (last years company actually imported iPhone cases from China, pretty awesome). Mr. McFarlen is one in a million and the Campbell Business program is very lucky to have him. The passion and excitement for learning he has is such a bright light in our ever troubled education system.
Instead of talking about ourselves for an hour, we decided to do something different.
In the first 15 minutes we talked about as a company what we believe in, our 10 values, and the story of how Brandon and I met.
Then Brandon went to work.
This first thing Brandon did was made each company decide on a domain name and he bought for them. Then he set each website up on WordPress and give them the login. There’s a lot of technical work that Brandon didn’t do (like 18 hours worth of work he’d do on a regular website) but the students will figure that out, they can learn how to hack WordPress to get it to do what they want.
It was amazing to see the looks on their faces. Something that most people think takes days, weeks or even months, Brandon created in front of their very eyes. It was amazing to witness. A website doesn’t have to take months to create, you can have one in an hour, it won’t look great but you’ll have your very own online publishing platform.
Websites don’t take that long to build. Yes there is a lot of technical and design elements that you should trust a professional on but for the most part people spend an insanely long time on design. Why? Because they’re trying to appease everyone. But when need to build a bridge, you don’t ask a committee or a board, you hire the best dam bridge builder around. Something to think about the next time you want to “re-design” your website.
I’m really excited to see what the students at Campbell will end up doing with the websites. The last thing we said on our way out was, experiment, try new things, and try to break the website. Get Creative.
Hopefully they teach us an entirely different way that websites should look and feel.
Your search results are wrong. Well not exactly, but kind of. Google personalizes your search results based on your search history and location. To get a true look at the top search results in Google you have to turn off your cookies or use a service like Moz (the company we use).
Before we get into the 20 top Regina keyword searches we need to define a few terms for you.
From Moz (formerly known as SEO Moz): “Domain Authority represents Moz’s best prediction for how a website will perform in search engine rankings.”
- Based on 40 different signals Moz measures, including linking root domains, number of total links, MozRank, MozTrust, etc.
- It’s a logarithmic scale so going from 10 to 20 is significantly easier than going from 60 to 70.
- It’s a relative measurement for predicting Google search results. It’s better to compare Domain Authority to other websites than simply using it to track a single websites’ success.
From Moz: “Page Authority is Moz’s calculated metric for how well a given webpage is likely to rank in Google.com’s search results.”
- Based on 100 measured variables Moz tracks
- Also a logarithmic scale, going from 10 to 20 will be easier than going from 50 to 60.
- Page Authority differs from Domain authority as the former measures how well a single page will rank in Google and the later predicts the overall performance of your website in Google.
External Linking Domains
External Linking Domain are hyperlinks on websites pointing back towards your website.
- Top SEOs believe that external links are the most important source of Google ranking power.
- Links to your website act as votes to search engines. The more votes you get, the more valuable your website appears to Google
Here are 20 of the most difficult “Regina” keywords to rank for in Google. It’s interesting to compare these keywords to the same for Vancouver, San Francisco and Palo Alto. It’s obviously not as difficult to rank here in Regina, but looking at other centres to see what the future of search engine optimization holds is always a good idea.
Search Engine Results Page
20. Apartment Regina
19. Dentists Regina Read more
In a tech economy with four major players (Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple), Fast Company’s Farhad Manjoo describes what Google has as “a coherent, long-term strategy to fight the tech war on every front.” While the other three are leaders in a specific area, Google’s strategy can prevail on three different time horizons: today, next year, and the far-off future.
Amazon has become the online shopping leader, Apple’s iPhone garners 3/4 of the world’s mobile phone profits, and Facebook has, by far, the largest social network. Despite this, as Apple fan and blogger John Gruber puts it, “Google is getting better at what Apple does faster than Apple is getting better at what Google does. Google, despite trailing in mobile profits, Google’s Androids account for nearly 70% of mobile units sold worldwide — a total that has sparked competitive action from Apple in the form of the iPad mini release and talks of a cheaper iPhone. What few may realize is that Google has 330% more ebook titles available than Amazon. Finally, Google crushes Facebook in online ad revenue and, despite possessing a smaller network, collects more data from its users.
How can data-dependent app developers compete with Google? How can other search engines improve at a competitive rate? The fact that Google’s mobile advertising game is unmatched is an indication that, in our increasingly data-driven world, if you’re winning data-mining then you’re well on your way to a sustainable competitive advantage; something hard to come by in a turbulent tech world.
What This Means for You:
For the purpose of this post I’m going to focus on business owners. As a business owner, Google’s strength means two things:
Google’s data-mining capabilities are reflected in its Google Analytics tool, allowing you to do what they do in a smaller way. Google Analytics should be the backbone of any company’s marketing plan. Educate yourself before you spend a single dollar.
Use tools like SEO-Moz to evaluate and improve your search engine optimization. Google’s success and our increasingly referral-based world will have your business’s success depending on where you come up on Google and what people are saying about you. It’s as easy as our mantra: Create, Engage, Share, Measure.
Have you ever heard about a company and look up their website to find what looks like a Chimpanzee’s art project in MS Paint? Five years ago you could get by without a website and still do business just fine. Today very few companies can get by without having something resembling their brand online.
Today just having a website doesn’t suffice. If Google can’t find your website you’re not going to acquire search traffic. If you’re not putting anything worth while on your website no one’s going to care (no your newsletter doesn’t count as something people care about).
People buy from people and companies they know, like and trust. Here are six things you can do to make your website stand out and be more trustworthy.
1. Have your contact info (e-mail and phone number) very easy to find on every page. Make it easy for people to ask a question. If it’s difficult to find your contact info it feels like you don’t want me to contact you. Unless of course you in fact don’t want people to contact you ignore this one and move on to two.
2. Give your “About Us” page some love. Of the websites analytics I’ve seen, the About Us page is by far the most popular page other than the home page. Your potential customers want to see who you are before they do business with you. The more the can find out about you before you meet the better. Lots of pictures and video if at all possible.
3. Have blog posts that get comments, Retweets, Likes, Shares, etc. The more social shares and comments a website has, the more you know people actually give a damn about what they’re writing about.
4. Have links to your company/personal Twitter accounts, Facebook Pages, Google+ Pages, Pinterest Pinboards, LinkedIn Pages. But only on the very important caveat of “if thou shall keep a link to a social network on thy website, be certain to stay active on thy social network”.
5. Display badges of associations, affiliated websites, and awards you have won. If you’re a home builder a link to the Home Builder’s Association makes a lot of sense. Being on the AdAge Power 150 or completing a course in Google adds a lot of credibility to your company. As long as it doesn’t seem sleazy or to cheesy, include your Best Employer award, Your Customer Service Award, Your JD Power & Associates, heck if you win a Juno, put er up! If you’re winning awards you must be doing something right, right? If you’re associated with websites that add to your credibility ensure images and links to those sites are visible.
6. Include testimonials either on the home page or one click away. People often hide their testimonials or keep them on a page deep in their website. If you’re as good as you say you are, other people will say really nice things about you. Put what they say on your homepage. There’s no more powerful marketing than a recommendation from someone with authority.