All website owners who take their SEO seriously have some sort of Web analytics script running on their sites to monitor performance. One of the most feature-rich is StatCounter. This free yet powerful service can provide a ton of valuable data that you can use to refine your SEO strategies.
While it’s impossible to describe every feature here, I will highlight some of the most useful ones. First, let’s consider what you need to know to improve your website SEO. You’ll want answers to questions such as:
- Which keywords is my site ranking for?
- Which pages are the most popular?
- How long do visitors stay on my site?
- Who links to my site?
- Where do my visitors come from?
Useful SEO Tools in StatCounter
Now here are some of the features in StatCounter that can help you gather the information you need. Assuming you have created a free account and have set up a project (your website), click your project’s name and look on the menu on the left for a list of statistics.
Keyword Analysis and Recent Keyword Activity
These two types of data show the keywords visitors used to find your site. “Keyword Analysis” tallies the total number of visits and the percentage of visits that arrive by way of which keywords. To see visitor activity for a specific keyword, click the magnifying glass next to it.
In “Recent Keyword Activity,” you will see the latest keyword searches made, the search engine used, the page on your site that was found and your ranking for that keyword.
How to Use This Data: Knowing what keywords you rank for is extremely important. Use the results to refine your page titles, headings and meta data. For example, you might try changing a page title to your top keyword. Also, you can use these keywords as ideas for new content.
This section displays your pages by number of visits. Your most visited page appears at the top. Recorded visits are for a limited period only (anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the amount of traffic you receive– the more traffic, the shorter the period covered). If you want longer coverage, you need to upgrade to a premium StatCounter account. Anyway, this data is important because it tells you which are your “winning” and “losing” page.
How to Use This Data: You can promote your most popular pages even further, or you can try to balance things and get attention to other pages. At some point though, you might want to get rid of your weakest pages. If you get no backlinks, visits or revenue through them, it shouldn’t cause any issues if you deleted them. Just do it gradually. Don’t delete lots of pages at once.
Visit Length and Visitor Paths
“Visit Length” shows you what your average bounce rate is. The lower your bounce rate (that is, the smaller the green slice in the pie in StatCounter), the better. It means visitors stay longer on your site. A bounce rate of about 50% or less is good. 80% or higher is dangerously high. In addition to the bounce rate, you want to look up “Visitor Paths” to find out the navigation path people take through your site. After finding your site, how many pages do they look at? How do they go from one page to another?
How to Use This Data: If you know you have a high bounce rate and visitor paths are short, you need to work on your site design to improve user engagement. This is easier said than done because some niches just have a higher bounce rate on average than others. Things like internal links, multimedia and proper formatting may help.
These are just some of the things you can do with an analytics tool like StatCounter. Remember, SEO is a continuous effort and such a tool will prove to be a big help.