Web Analytics – Unanswered Questions

I have many unanswered questions after looking at the web usage on our server. For many of these questions, I’m not sure it’s possible to find an answer.

  • How many times are we in the top 10 or 20 on a Google search when the person doesn’t click on our link? We can tell if they click on us, I’d like to know when we are on the search results page, but we don’t get the click.
  • Is there things we can do to improve the click through rate from Google? One possibility is to change the Meta Description information as found in the article “Improve snippets with a meta description makeover.” Would this help?
  • What words are people searching for, where we have information, but don’t show up on the first page of the Google search results? What words should we be targeting?
  • Of the 20,000 visits that see our home page first, how many of them are ISU Extension staff members accessing our site outside the ISU network. For example, a staff member takes their laptop home, and starts up Firefox or IE, and the ISU Extension is the default home page. This would give an off campus visit to the ISU Extension home page, however, this hit should be filtered out when considering how the public sees our page. I don’t know how set up this filter.
  • Does it help our Google rating that a number of people are using graphics from our server on their pages?
  • A large number of visits into our site had “No Referrer”. Why? Are these actual people, or spiders/robots, etc.? This needs more evaluation.
  • How much time is appropriate to look at web usage data? How much time does your organizations spend on this? I think ISU Extension would benefit by making this a higher priority, maybe even to the point that it is someones primary job.

I’ve learned a lot about our web site by taking a more in depth look our log files, however, there are a lot of unanswered questions.


4 comments so far

  1. Lynette Spicer on

    You’ve hit one of my ‘hot buttons’. In Dreamweaver, I tried pretty religiously to put in a meta description as described in the Google link you provided. I don’t know if they were well-done descriptions, but I did them. This Google article would help me learn more.

    I have no idea how or if it is possible to do in the CMS. And that truly frustrates me.

    I would like to see a core group of people look at Web metrics regularly and that probably means people from several teams so we can get more people interested in the data. It could be someone picks a topic and leads the discussion once a month or we decide topics and people who want to come learn do. Maybe there’s some lunch and learn to this.

    Can we try something? This really is an exciting idea to pursue.

  2. John Dorner on


    Would the “No referrers” be the people who have ISU as their home page, type a url in directly or use a bookmark? I wonder if there would be a way to tell the difference.

    Good series – THANKS!

  3. Brian Webster on


    Finally getting back to the blog. I’m working on another post that will talk more about what shows up on the Google search results page. Hopefully it will be posted later this week. We should meet after that.

  4. Brian Webster on


    Thanks, this was a fun series to write.

    I think you are right about the “No Referrer” visits. Another source would be e-mail messages, either in the body or the footer of the message. With the tools that I have now, I don’t know of an easy way to get more information about them. Is this something that Google Analytics can do?

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