Search Engine Land: Top Stories & Stats, Jan. 10, 2007

Back again with a daily stats and traffic review for Search Engine Land. When I did the first one yesterday, I warned this wouldn’t be a daily activity. But we had another record traffic day, including making the Delicious home page. That’s going to make for some nice comparison to Digg traffic for a future post. In the meantime, here’s are the top stories yesterday on Search Engine Land and what drove traffic to them, as well as some tips on Google Analytics and analytics from FeedBurner.

Before I dive into the stories, just a quick tip on what I’m doing, which may be helpful to other Google Analytics users. I’m reviewing the Content By Titles option. I pick a particular day from the calendar (yesterday, in this case), then "Content By Titles" under the "Content Performance" menu.

There’s also a Top Content option that’s a waste of time. That doesn’t show the titles of your articles, so it’s hard to know what exactly was doing well at a glance. Content By Titles is basically the same report — just with page titles! It would be nice if those page titles were also links to your articles, one of my many wish list features.

For each article, there’s a little red button next to the rank number of the article. Click on that, then Cross Segment Performance from the next menu that pops up, then select the Source [Medium] option, like this:

Google Analytics Drill Down 1

That will show you all the ways that people found that particular article, such as with this report:

Google Analytics Drill Down 2

25 Tips To Optimize Your Blog For Readers & Search Engines from Jennifer Slegg was our top article with about 2,600 unique views. It was the number three article the day before, and I’d mentioned how it made Digg but wasn’t worthy of front page status. Well, the community respectively disagrees. It made it to the Delicious popular page at first, then moved to be the number one item on the main Delicious home page, around 3pm Eastern time. It stayed on that page for some time. In fact, I had a chuckle when later on, I saw us sitting on the front page along Aaron Wall’s SEO Book. Someone bookmarked one of his SEO tools. I don’t remember what exactly which one, and sadly Delicious doesn’t seem to let you go back to see what hit the home page over time.

Delicious sent us about 800 visitors. But then there’s an entire Delicious effect that rolled forward from that. Hitting the Delicious home page meant we made the home page of Popurls, which is a great site that shows the top stories on Digg, Delicious, Reddit and a number of other meme and news sites. That sent over another 300 people. Doggdot does a similar thing and sent 40 people.

Steve Rubel at Micro Persuasion saw the story, linked and was the third largest referral source sending 80 visitors. Jennifer Laycock at Search Engine Guide linked and sent another 50. Along with this, our feed generated traffic via places like the Google Personalized Home Page, Bloglines and Netvibes. Direct Navigation was another 500 visitors.

I doubt all those people actually directly navigated to this story. Instead, that probably represents some Delicious people who have browsers set not to pass along referrer information plus perhaps people already on Search Engine Land that clicked from the home page to read.

Google Named Fortune’s Best Place To Work, But Rich Early Employees Checking Out was the top article two days ago but still hung in there to be number two yesterday and drove about 370 views. This seemed to be mainly people searching for google on Google News, where the story must have continued to come up, though dropping lower in the rankings on Google News as it became more dated.

Stay Master Of Your Feed Domain was the third most popular article, with 200 views. There was no strong referral source for it. No one really linked over, sniff sniff. But it’s a case where the existing audience can make a difference. That traffic came mostly from feed readers. Web Pro News mentioned the story and gave us 6 views, not a ton on its own but pretty high when you compare to Google for that day. We picked up another three views via being on the home page of Spam Abuse.

Google Blog Search’s People Search Spam Problem came in fourth with 180 views. Feed readers were again the big driver, though Google sent about 35 visitors via search related traffic — Google News search, actually, as FeedBurner helped me know. More on this below.

Yahoo Acquires MyBlogLog & More On How It Works was the fourth most popular story two days ago and slipped to fifth, driving 165 visitors. Delicious was a top driver here, generating 22 views. Search Engine Roundtable sent another 14 and Google Blogoscoped remained a driver, sending us another 11.

I said it was a new record day, at least excluding the days when we’ve hit Digg. We had about 9,000 page views and 5,700 visitors. Overall, top sources were:

  • Direct Navigation: 1,431 visits
  • Delicious: 808
  • Google Organic/Keyword Driven: 693 visits
  • Google Home Page/Reader Referrals: 409 visits
  • Popurls: 281

Finally, you may have heard that FeedBurner started offering site statistics last week. I’m now running those. We already use FeedFlares from FeedBurner, which I’ll talk about in a future post. That means the tracking code needed for stats was already running, so why not try it?

One plus is that FeedBurner stats are far more recent than Google Analytics, which can often be six hours behind. I always want to know what’s happening right now! The Google Analytics delay is one reason why Rand Fishkin over at SEOmoz tells me he goes with the fee-based Indextools service. I might play around with that in the future, plus I’ve always loved ClickTracks and may get back to using them as well. You’ve also got Rand to thank for me doing these break downs. Hey, the guy inspired me with his competitive intelligence project last year, so now I’m hip on the let’s be open and share our stats stuff :)

FeedBurner was nice, because I could see Delicious as a driver much earlier than Google Analytics was telling me. That meant I could get over and see exactly how Delicious was driving traffic before things changed. Often, you’ll turn up on a site and discover you’ve moved off the home page or some other place, so it’s guesswork as to what was the traffic generator.

Interestingly, the FeedBurner and Google Analytics page view stats were pretty much the same. Sometimes stats programs can be wildly different. But the other plus with FeedBurner is that when drilling down on a page, I can see the entire referral string and breakout on subdomains. That’s important with Google traffic. As I noted in my monthly review, some of the consolidation Google Analytics does makes it hard to know if you have traffic from Google News, Google Blog Search, Google regular search and so on. But look here:

FeedBurner Site Stats

See how in the drill down I’m shown the entire URL for traffic? That lets me know that Google News, for the Google Blog Search’s People Search Spam Problem story, was sending me traffic for "google people search" via Google News. You can see those words embedded in the URL. Alternatively, if you click on that row of the table, you drill down further where you can click through to see the results actually on Google. We’re still there for the moment, though that will change over time.

My main hope is that FeedBurner makes the links they are showing in the overview report live. It’s a pain to have to drill down if you want to click through. I can see the URL there — make it live so I can pop open a window and check on it.

Related Topics: About Search Engine Land: Daily Stats | Channel: Analytics | SEM Tools: Web Analytics


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • ★ ★ SearcH EngineS WeB ★ ★

    These stats are impressive, and illustrate how versatile Social sites have changed the landscape of the traditional dependancy on Search Engines. :-)

    It is a good idea to show the stats daily – both the good days,the bad and the mediocre.
    This is a learning experience, so all information is quality information.

    But, one major flaw with the stats packages referenced, is they do NOT show the TIME a particular visitor spent on that landing page nor the OUTCLICKS.

    Sitemeter DOES do this, which is why it is an alternative worth sharing for true transparancy.

    Analyzing the time and the overall ‘average’ time spent, illustrates how entertaining the topics were – and the OUTCLICKS illustrate whether they were intrigued to explore other pages, or if they did a cursory glance and clicked the back button to go back.

    (sometimes getting many replies can be a hint, but usually the piece has to be controversial)

    Also, it would be intriguing to find out what percentages are returning visitors.

  • AndyBeard

    You are running MyBlogLog on the site and their stats are live as well. They also provide clickable links.

    One thing I would like is for them to provide a list sorted by most recent activity, but you can certainly spot traffic coming in as it happens for any larger spike.

    The Pro service isn’t that expensive for what it give you, and we all know running an analytics service is a heavy drain on servers.

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