Is it Really Search?

When you check your analytics, you can quickly see how much of your traffic comes from search — or can you?

Not every visitor who arrives through Google or Bing is actually searching. Look at the example at left.

At first glance, it looks as though 38 people have typed a line from a poem into the search box at Google and ended up at our lab site. If we look more closely, though, we can see that this keyword has 0% new visits.

This is a visitor who types into the search bar, not the address bar, the query that got him or her to the site. Imagine: you searched for “turkey recipe” and found the one you wanted. Next time, you type in “turkey recipe” again rather than remembering or bookmarking the site, confident that you’ll see the same options you found the time before.

If we click through and check more data about this visitor, we can see that this was someone from Pakistan visiting over a period of a week or two. Looking further still, I learned that this visitor accessed the site from the Oriental College of Lahore, and also from a government office in Pakpattan. We can deduce that someone was doing some literature study over there in Lahore.

In this particular case, all we’ve learned is that the line of poetry is not a popular search term that we should focus on in future. However, if this were a business site, we’d also know that someone from this location was interested in us.

We often see, for business clients, that there have been multiple visits from a particular company or organization. This information allows us to tailor a message in the blog for that visitor. Seeing many different people arriving with a particular keyword tells us that the keyword in question could be an important one, for which we should optimize content.

Two different messages with two different actions — and more evidence that it makes sense to look closely at your analytics.


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