No matter how many links you lay down on the Web, people are always going to come to your blog through roundabout ways you aren’t even aware of. It’s like taking a trip to the grocery store.
Most people will follow the main roads, but some will come through a back alley or cut through the neighbor’s yard.
Your blog referral statistics are a useful SEO tool that can help you find those hidden paths and turn them into main thoroughfares.
Google Analytics is a good place to start, but most web hosts also offer a stats page that lets you see the keywords people are using when they land on your blog. And some of those keywords are going to be quite surprising.
For example, a couple of years ago I wrote an ordinary post about blogging and used the name of a celebrity in one of the examples I gave readers.
About a month later, that celebrity was at the top of the news for some reason and my blog post started getting hits like crazy.
My post had nothing to do with that celebrity, but the search engines saw his name in my post and since it already had a high page rank, they listed it at the top of the index.
Now, if I’d had a reason to write another post using that same celebrity’s name, I could have pulled in even more traffic.
However, since celebrities have little in common with blogging tips, it wouldn’t have been a relevant post. From this, we can take two lessons:
Monitor your stats to minimize your bounce rate: The boost in traffic was great but it didn’t increase conversions. All those visitors were looking for information about that celebrity – not blogging tips. All they did was land on the page and leave again, which only increases your bounce rate. The search engines look at your bounce rate when they’re gauging your rankings.
Monitor your referral statistics to create more of the same: That celebrity wasn’t the only surprise. Every day people arrive on this blog using keywords I’d never imagined and you can only see this information if you monitor your referral stats. It’s a safe bet that if one person is looking for something specific, others are, too.
Use Your Referral Stats To Increase Your Page Views
Popular Search Widget: Use a Popular Searches Widget in your sidebar to draw attention to that content that’s suddenly become so popular.
Strengthen Internal Linking Structure: Surprisingly, some of those posts they’re landing on have been buried in your archives for months or years and you’ve probably forgotten all about them. Now that you know they’re still relevant, make sure you’re linking to them from your newer content.
Create MORE! If it’s an older post they’re coming to, chances are you know more about that topic now than you did then. Time to write a more comprehensive post that shows off your expertise.
If you’re a new blogger – beware.
It’s easy to fall into the Stat-Checking Trap and you can easily find yourself wasting hours every day studying your stats.
Check your referral statistics once or twice a month until you start getting a strong, steady flow of traffic.