You’ve sweated out the words, located or created great visuals, and the new page has been posted. Was it worth the effort? Here a few ways to measure your results.
Why did you create the page?
First we need to look at why you created a new page. To capture new organic search traffic? Introduce a new product line? Answer a question your customer service people are getting sick of hearing? Provide more information to someone earlier or later into the buying cycle? Encourage other sites to link to your page?
Let’s assume you wrote a new landing page. This is a page you can expect visitors to land upon from an organic search, a link in an email campaign, a social media link, or an ad. Success could be measured in any of these ways:
- Number of conversions (sales, signups, contributions, etc.) made by visitors to that page. All good analytics programs will show this, although you have to tell it what you mean by a conversion.
- Bounce rate for page. If this number is higher than for other landing pages, investigate the reason. Did the page match the promise of the ad? Are the keywords leading to the page appropriate to the searcher’s context? Are the links I have on the page engaging enough to lead the reader further into the site?
(My personal blog gets traffic for the word caruncle which I use in reference to the rooster’s comb, but I know that visitors could be coming to learn about urethral caruncles, the red portion of the corner of the eye, or even the fleshy structure attached to the seed. I expect a high bounce rate for organic search referrals to that page.)
- Number of new or returning visitors to the page. If you’ve written a page to pull in new traffic and to reach people early in the buying cycle or education phase, then you want high numbers of new visitors. If you created a page directed at current customers/clients/readers, or to people later in the buying cycle, then you want to see a higher number of returning visitors viewing the page.
- Search engine optimization. Let’s look at a few analytics reports. These are all from Google Analytics. Google Analytics has two reports you want to look at to see if you are successfully making it to the first page of search results and if your landing page is attracting hits. (Remember that your search ranking is also influence by the searcher’s geography, past history, and social network.)
- Let’s look first at the Queries report where we’ll see if your site is doing well for various keywords. This report will be most helpful if your new page introduces a new keyword to your site.
This site isn’t showing up well for the keywords “cowboy boots,” but is doing better for “black and white cowboy boots.” This is a longer tail keyword which tend to perform better since they have less competition. Even though its average position is 15, it isn’t attracting any visitors. The click-through rate (CTR) is zero. That probably means that the page title and meta description for the landing page should be rewritten in an attempt to get those searchers to click on my site’s search result listing.
In the landing page report we see that the page is doing a little better than we would have assumed by just looking at the query report. It is getting some traffic. It’s showing up deep within Google search results with an average position of 180. More investigation will show that the page is getting traffic from other long tail keywords like “girls in cowboy boots and shorts.” To attract more traffic I’d want to introduce or repeat those keywords into the page title, headings, image descriptions, and the general text. But only it they were relevant to my goals for the page.
A better custom report can be created like this one below. It looks at your pages and tells you if you made money or met your goals with the page. In this example, my real goal was to get my friends to encourage my boot purchases, but the goal completions reflected here are visitors who came to a page and then visited at least two more pages (my site-wide goal).
Not a landing page
Not all pages are landing pages. Perhaps you created a new page showing your certifications/awards/testimonials, a page for employee bios and photos, an axillary research report, an explanation about shipping charges, or a new 404 error page. Your goals for the page might not be more traffic. It might be to support your customer service staff by providing a resource they can direct callers to, for example. It might be a legal page like your privacy notice. It might even be a page to satisfy a CEO’s vanity.
Exclude the page from search. For these types of pages you want to check to see that they are not getting search traffic. Be sure that pages like your privacy statement have been excluded in your robots.txt file so the search engines don’t index the page. You might not want to exclude the page from your own site’s search, however, if it has one. Other pages might warrant remaining available for global searches.
Pageviews. You still want to look at your statistics for these pages. For the employee bio page, you might discover that one of your employee’s name is getting search traffic. Maybe that person has a social media following you didn’t know about. For the privacy page, a spike in visits might mean that there’s something negative in the media about your company/organization or about privacy concerns in general that you should know about.
Conversions. It’s important to know which of your web pages are the power hitters and which are critical. A page without much search traffic can still be an important page in moving your visitor along to taking an action you want them to take.
Look at the stats like these on right. You’ll discover if your new page shows up in the path of those visitors who turn into conversions. Maybe that new page about shipping will give more visitors the confidence to make a purchase.
In the example below, we see that a fairly old blog post lead directly to a request for a price quote. It’s time to review that post and learn from it how to make newer ones perform that well. Or update it and repost it social media sites.
Make sure your pages are performing. One of the great things about the Web is that you can quickly learn if you have a failure. You can keep testing a page until it performs at its highest level.