Importance of Tracking Quality Traffic
Posted by Elmer in Digital on May 11, 2009

While it is good to see in our web analytics tool that our website attracts a good number of visitors, it is not enough. We may notice a general improvement in the number of people who visit our site using a variety of channels but if it does not bring us to our ultimate goals (convert to a purchase or become sales leads), we are attracting high volume, low quality traffic. Worse, large volume of traffic could cost us more through excessive bandwidth usage and could render our site useless.

 First, let’s define quality traffic. Quality traffic is traffic referred from a certain source (direct traffic, search engine or referring site) that successfully made conversions on our website. Conversions can exist in many forms such as downloads, purchases or sign ups.

We can use Google Analytics to check where our website visitors come from. The importance of doing so is to identify which websites, keywords or campaigns delivered our objectives most. To accomplish this task, we need to setup goals first (instructions here).

To spot which website links are referring visitors that actually convert to our goals, choose the Traffic Sources menu at the left-hand navigation. In the same report menu, we’ll see the submenus under Traffic Sources. Click on "Referring Sites" and a list of referring domains are displayed. These are websites that provided link to our website that were subsequently clicked.

Clicking on each domain reveals a more detailed URL where links to our page are embedded. Some domains refer more visitors than others but it’s more important to check whether the these are converting visitors. So we click on the Goal Conversion tab and sort the table according to Conversion Rate or Per Visit Goal Value. Sites on top exhibit the highest conversion rates while those at the bottom probably didn’t have any visitor who made any conversion. It is also possible to find no referrer actually made converting visitors. So we can try other traffic sources: direct traffic, search engines and keywords. The same approach can also be used to identify which keyword referrer delivered good results.

Upon knowing which websites or keywords delivered quality traffic to our site, we are able to focus on them to sustain conversions. For example, if we found out that visitors from Wikipedia links to our website are likely to make conversions, we then prioritize building links from Wikipedia.

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