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This Report is WRONG. So How DID That Guy Get To My Website?

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What Search Results Does This Show?

Three days ago, the visitor you see represented above came to Answer Guy Central for the very first time, and went directly to that day’s story on Influency, Google Now, and there being too much information floating around.

Except: he came “directly, or via local bookmark”. Stop and think about that for a moment.

It doesn’t seem possible that someone who’s never been to Answer Guy Central went out of their way to type “http://answerguy.com/2012/12/18/influency-google-now-expand-to-stock-prices/“; realistically, it doesn’t seem possible that anyone would type out that string. And because the visitor viewed only that one page, we know that he didn’t just type http://answerguy.com and then find the day’s story, or get referred to the story from another page.

Since it was “his first visit”, we also know he didn’t have a “local bookmark”.

So what’s the matter with this picture?

The issue is that this wasn’t actually this person’s (or more likely, machine’s) first visit. I know this because this entity visits us immediately, each time something new gets posted to Answer Guy Central. And yet, this reporting tool is looking at the traffic and saying “first visit!“.

We get quite a few new visitors here; chalk that up to our Search Engine Optimization techniques. And as I told you in this piece on Search Engine Optimization, Long Tail Marketing, and Influency, we use a variety of tools to count and track traffic, because getting accurate answers from one doesn’t seem possible. (and if you have a single traffic and analytics tool you trust, please, tell me so)

But Influency is as much art as science, and to manage your online marketing you have to be willing to examine the figures and data, filter out what’s not right about them, and adjust. For example, I’ve told you about the different ways to interpret bounce rate.

So you know what? Very simply, if you visit a web site anonymously or have your browser clear out its records from time to time—or do so manually—then you’re a “new visitor”. Many of the “new visitors” we’re getting aren’t really new. And in order to organize our Influency I need to have a scheme for interpreting what Google’s (and all my other tools, too) say is a 92% new-visitor rate.

By the way: I could choose to ignore that extraordinary figure, and neither react poorly (Wow, nobody returns here!) nor proudly (Oh YEAH we’re great at SEO!)

Mostly, I react with suspicion of whatever I see, and move forward. Can you trust Google? Maybe. Can you spend too much time thinking about it? You bet.

Keep a close eye on the information you trust. Reevaluate those choices often. And of course, if you’d like someone else to do all of that for you, you can reach me here.

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  1. Statistics, Influency, and Traffic From Non-People - […] Optimization matters. Why? Because Google can’t count. And there are lots of ways and lots of tools for creating Influency, …

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