How To Find the Sources of Your Web Traffic
There are three major search engines battling for 95% of search engine traffic out there: Google, Yahoo and MSN. Of these three, Google has the majority market share, with figures ranging from 50% all the way to 90% of all traffic received. This means that if you're receiving more traffic from MSN or Yahoo, that you might be using techniques on your site that make it difficult for Google to index your pages. Losing out on traffic from Google can translate to a loss in real sales and conversions.
In this article, I'm going to describe briefly how to monitor the traffic you are getting from search engine traffic - particularly Google, and what you can do to increase your chances of being indexed and indexed well.
How To Find Out How Much Search Engine Traffic is Coming From Google
There is software available - typically called "statistics packages", which grab information from your web logs and translate it into a readable, very usable format. Your web logs contain a lot of useful information like where people came from to get to your site, what pages they visited and for how long, what search engines they used to get there, and what search phrases they used.
The software reads this information and stores the key metrics in a database, so when you visit the statistics page, it will pull the aggregate information from the database and will display it on the page.
How to Improve Search Engine Traffic
Various statistics packages are usually included with a web hosting package.By using a statistics package for your web site (such as AWStats, which you can find at http://awstats.sourceforge.net/), you can determine just how much of your traffic is coming from which search engines. If you use AWStats, for instance, there is an area on the statistics page labeled "Links from an Internet Search Engine", which will list just how much traffic is coming from each search engine. It's very handy!
How To Improve Your Search Engine Traffic From Google
If you're not getting most of your search engine traffic from Google, then you might need to make some adjustments to your web pages in order to attract more of Google's attention. I've noticed from experience that Google works a little differently than MSN or Yahoo. For instance, Google seems to be more choosy about which sites it indexes. MSN and Yahoo are a little less scrupulous, so your web site might show up in their SERP's (Search Engine Result Pages) before Googlebot - Google's search engine spider - even visits your web site.
If Your Web Site Hasn't Been Indexed By Google
If your site isn't showing up at all in Google's search engine result pages, then the best thing you can do is find some inbound links to your web site. These links are considered an indicator to Google of your web site being worth indexing, so they will likely follow the link and land on your site.
If Your Web Site Has Been Indexed, But You Don't Get Much Search Engine Traffic From Google
You can check this by typing the following into Google's search form: "site:www.mydomain.com". This will show you what pages have been indexed by Google. If there's any, then Google has indexed at least a part of the site, meaning that you're on the map.
If not all of your pages show up as being indexed, then you need to make sure that you have an internal linking strategy in place. The only way Google can find pages on your web site is through hyperlinks. If there are no hyperlinks form one page to another within your site, then some of your pages will be hidden.
A good strategy here is to add several random links on each page to other pages in your site. This way, the search engine spiders will eventually find all the pages in your site. You can also add a web site map with hyperlinks to all of your pages on a single page. Add a link to the site map on every page and viola! Google's googlebot is only two links away from any page on your site to any other page on your site.
A Few SEO Tips From Experience
Okay, All My Pages Have Been Indexed, But Still no Search Engine Traffic From Google!
If you've gotten all your web pages indexed by Google, but aren't showing up in the SERP's, then it's time to do a little footwork and make sure your pages are search engine optimized. Here's a few simple things you can do to improve your chances with the Google search engine:
SEO Tip 1: Check Your Hyperlinks For Important Keywords
Search engines pay a lot of attention to the text in hyperlinks, especially Google. Make sure incoming links are using your target keywords in the text. Also make sure to include keywords in internal linking as well.
SEO Tip 2: Google Looks at Keywords in the Title, Headings and Paragraphs
Google actually suggests that you use keywords throughout your web pages in order to make it clear to search engines - and to visitors - what your page is about. Search engines pay attention the the "semantics" - the meaningful structure - of your web page in order to determine what the web page is about. They look in particular at the title, the headings and the content in paragraphs. Each of these elements should include the same keywords.
Be careful not to go overboard with the keywords, however, or your content could be considered spam.
SEO Tip 3: Reduce the Amount Of Code a Search Engine Would Have to Index
Also try to put your important content towards the top of the page, so that if Google's search engine spider peters out partway though the indexing process, at least the important stuff has been indexed.
Google is particularly fickle when it comes to what web sites it sends it's search engine spiders to. The bad news is that if your web site is lacking in search engine friendliness, then your site might not show up in Google's SERP's. The good news is that by SEO-ing your web site for Google, you will also be improving your search engine indexability in MSN and Yahoo as well.