referred Source / Keywords

We can now move on to looking at ‘Referred Source’ and the ‘Keywords Used’. These are essentially two different sections of your Analytics that provide you with information about how people get to your website.

We will start with ‘Referred Source’ which is quite straight forward; Where did the website visitor come from? How did they find your website? Which site referred them to you? The three main categories are Direct, Search and Referred.

Some people pick up your business card or flyer and just type in your web address to access your website, this is Direct Traffic. Usually the majority of traffic will come from someone typing in a search phrase which takes them to your website, which is Search Traffic. If the visitor has been on another website and clicked a link that has taken them to your website, it is called Referred Traffic and Other covers such things as specific advertising campaigns.

As engaging with new prospects is most likely via Search Engines and for most people Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a key part of a successful online strategy, then you will want to see more traffic coming through Search Engines and that this data is increasing as work on your SEO increases. When we look at Referred Source and Search Engine Traffic, we can also break them down into visitors from both Pay-Per-Click and Natural Listings.

When we look at referrals from other sites, we start to understand the value in link building with other quality relevant websites. If you are reading about a product or service on a website and find links that provide more detailed evidence, reviews, legislation etc. it is valuable. It is enhancing your experience by not putting too much on the page, but allowing you to click and find out more about the parts you have a specific interest in. When we start looking at the Search Engine module, you’ll see how to increase your Link Strategy to help your visitors and increase visitors via referred sites.

As we start to build up a picture of where people are coming from, we can make informed choices about how and where to direct attention and make improvements. If you want more Direct Traffic, you need to up your presence at exhibitions, networking groups and other events, or focus on a leafleting campaign. If you’re not getting enough Search Engine Traffic, your potential area for growth lies with a focus on Search Engine Optimisation. If you look at your Search Engine Traffic and it is all weighted towards Natural Optimisation rather than Pay-Per-Click, then that might be another opportunity for you. For more referred traffic, you may boost your activity on social media or sign up to relevant online directories.

In not only reading the data provided by Google Analytics, but then taking informed action you can get a good spread of routes that visitors take to reach your website. So, why is it necessary to have a good spread? Does it matter if the majority of your traffic is coming from one area?

Let’s say that all of your weighting is all on Pay-Per-Click. Another company then comes in and bids a price for the Pay-Per-Click that you just can’t match. In a minute you could lose the vast majority of that traffic to a competitor. Or if all of your Traffic is coming from natural Optimisation and suddenly there’s a big algorithm change that places your website further down the rankings? If you are solely reliant on this stream of traffic, then the result will be detrimental, but if you have a good balance, you can put other strategies in place and the effects will be minimised.

Don’t worry too much about these details as we’re going to cover them in the next module. I just want you to understand the concept for now. What if all of your traffic comes from one source which then gets taken out? Suddenly, you will see a big dip in what you’re doing. This is why Referred Source can be a good area of focus.

So, what about the Keywords Used? Of course, Keywords all relate to the Search Engine Traffic. That might be paid or natural, but what it tells you is the words that people typed into the search engine that led them to your website. Why is this relevant? If you understand how to look at Keywords Used and what effect that’s having on your site, it gives you greater focus for the promotional work that you do and informs changes to the keywords that your website pages are optimised for.

If you’ve got people coming through to your site and then leaving straight away (which ties in with Bounce Rate which is coming up next) and they’re using keywords that seem logical, but are creating a lot of bounce, then you need to reconsider the key phrases you use on campaigns and your web pages. If you are setting up a Pay Per Click campaign, you can add these phrases to what’s called Negative Keywords, so you are not paying for clicks which are unlikely to generate results. An insight into the words they’re using may also be also a positive thing as visitors may be using phrases that you haven’t considered optimising your website for, but which bring significant traffic.