In order to find out if search engines are doing anything for your website, the least you will need to know is:

  1. how many unique visitors that you get each week.
  2. which search engines are sending you traffic.
  3. how many hits each search engine is sending you.
  4. which keywords people use to find your site.
  5. what your ranks are for certain keywords.
  6. sales/week.


Once you’ve got statistics what do you do with them? You do not have to be a statistician to understand if you are reaching your goals.

Here is where I need to stress some important points.

  1. Logs and tools not going to be perfectly accurate due to the nature of domains, servers, hosts, browsers, etc. However, these numbers are useful to give you a general idea of trends that you will see in your traffic over time. The most accurate method are the tools that place code directly on each webpage.
  2. Your primary goal in SE promotion is to increase traffic.
  3. Your secondary goal in SE promotion may be to increase sales or get some sales leads, you may also have other non-sales related goals.
  4. Don’t expect to get every page ranked in every engine.
  5. When you start getting a good amount of traffic (500 uniques a week) you will start to get a feeling that the keyword phrases that people type into the engines are wide and varied. If you optimize for many keywords (say 10 phrases), you will notice that you’re getting traffic from search engines on phrases that you never thought of. The essence of a good SE promotion campaign is that you see a nice spread of traffic from ALL engines and directories and that you see a nice spread of keywords.
  6. A promotion campaign for search engines (and directories) can be any of the following:
    • Getting a listing in a directory
    • Getting a good rank for a specific keyword in a specific search engine
    • A full-scale campaign to increase ranks in all major search engines
    Generally, you will see an increase in a comprehensive campaign over a period of weeks. For more specific campaigns, you may see an immediate increase (especially campaigns involving directories).

Real Life Example

The best way I can explain how to analyze traffic is to provide a real-life example. I wanted to figure out if getting a listing on Yahoo generated an increase in traffic, and if so, what the approximate percentage of increase it was.

First, I generated the following data (using WPG):

Unique visitors before listing/ four weeks = 5589
Unique visitors after listing/ four weeks = 7263

Then I use the following equations:

7263 – 5589 = 1674
What percent of 7263 = 1674 ?
1674 / 7263 = .23 or 23%

So, I determined that there was approximately a 23% increase in traffic after the listing on Yahoo. That doesn’t necessarily mean it was due to the Yahoo listing.

I also wanted to figure out more accurately the percentage of search engine/directory traffic that Yahoo was now accounting for.

2006 = total hits from search engines/directories before listing
2883 = total hits after listing
568 = total hits only from Yahoo listing

What percent of 2883 = 568 ?
568 / 2883 = approximately .20 = 20%

Now, since I was not doing any other search engine promotion during the 4 weeks prior to the Yahoo listing and the 4 weeks after the Yahoo listing, I’m also thinking that perhaps the Yahoo listing is affecting our ranks in other search engines. This can be true because many of the search engines will collect links from the directories. So, I wanted to know:

2883 – 2006 = 877
What percent of 2883 = 877?
877 / 2883 = 30%

What do all these percentages tell me? That the Yahoo listing has increased our traffic APPROXIMATELY 20-30%

What Do I Do If There Is No Increase In Traffic?

Now, what if the reverse is happening? What if you’ve optimized and you’ve gathered your data and found that your optimization has not improved your traffic? Do the following:

  1. examine your keywords, do you have a nice spread of words bringing hits throughout all engines? Do those words accurately reflect your site?
  2. think about link popularity.
  3. are you even in the search engines? Meaning, are you in the database?
  4. It is important to be in all databases.

Traffic is all well and good. However, what it really comes down to is SALES. Are your SE promotion efforts increasing your sales? If your sales increase due to a promotion campaign, then your promotion campaign has worked. However, the percent of sale to visitor is also important to recognize. This will help you determine which promotion campaigns work better and what you should concentrate on in the future.

If you have 50 sales and 1,000 visitors, your percent of Sale / Visitor = 5 percent. That’s pretty good! I’ve seen people quote averages anywhere from .1 percent to 10 percent. I’ve heard and tend to agree that anything over 1 percent is fair and average.

What does this mean? It means you gotta get a TON of traffic in order to sell anything.

How do I analyze and optimize a specific page for a specific engine?

  1. Go to the specifics page and pick an engine to optimize your chosen page for.
  2. Decide what keywords you are going to use. Make them very specific, choose only a few phrases. Don’t try configuring for many different phrases. Use one-three.
  3. Read all the details associated with the engine you are rewriting your page for. Write them down on a paper if you have to.
  4. Go to your page and rewrite the title, description and keywords tag appropriately for that engine.
  5. Write your text according to the specifics of that engine. Keyword frequency in the text is the most important element.
  6. Check your keyword frequency.
  7. Also, go to your competitors page and get a general feel for how they are using keywords. For instance, if your phrase is “educational toys”, is your competitor using the entire phrase “educational toys” (what is the percentage that they use this phrase)? Or are they using “educational” separate from “toys” (what is the percentage use of the individual words)? Write this information down so that you can refer back to it when you are rewriting.
  8. Try to rewrite your keyword frequency for individual words similar to a competitor which ranks high in that specific engine. (WARNING: Do not copy a competitors page verbatum. This is not a good thing and will only generate bad publicity.)
  9. Follow the other tips in Rewrite Content.
  10. Resubmit your page to the search engine you’ve optimized for.vvvv