no analytics

No Analytics? Now What?

We recently built a new website for a company that had a well-established website. They had not installed analytics, so they didn’t know how many visitors they had. We installed Google Analytics for them, as we always do when we build a website. They went from no analytics to all kinds of new data.

Suddenly, they wondered what kind of traffic they had previously had. They wanted to know whether the new site was getting more traffic than the old one. Good question!

However, since they previously had no analytics, there was no quick and easy way to get an answer to that question.

Before we share what we came up with for them, I’ll take a minute to tell you: if you don’t have analytics installed, your information will not be collected. Though in theory Google could collect the data for everyone by default and then you could ask them about the past, in practice they don’t violate your privacy in this way. If you don’t have analytics, nobody is really tracking your website for you.

So where can you get an estimate if you have no analytics from the past?


Spyfu offers a lot of useful information. They will show you the “SEO clicks” it estimates you’ve had for up to 5 years. We checked this for the client and saw that their SEO clicks had indeed increased nicely after we launched their new site.

But what does “SEO clicks” mean, how accurate is their estimate, and what can you do with that information?

Well, we can show you an embarrassing example in the screenshot below.

This is data for our lab site, This is our public service for educators, but it’s also the place where we get information to share with you without being indiscreet. The embarrassing part is the roller coaster it shows, from 2019, when we were so busy that we completely ignored FreshPlans, to the pandemic, when we had enough time to write some posts there, to 2023, when we got busy again and began ignoring the site again.

We went from few clicks to 4,000+ clicks a month and then back down to 1,490 clicks. If you sometimes ignore your business website, you should not be surprised to see this kind of results.

Now, what is an “SEO click”? Spyfu explains that it is the estimated number of clicks the site gets from the keywords they list for the website. We find that these estimates are usually right around 1/3 of the total traffic of a website. 2/3 of the traffic apparently comes through keywords that Spy did not rank, social media, direct traffic, referrals, and whatnot. So don’t imagine that this really takes the place of analytics, but it does give you an indication of whether your traffic has increased or decreased.

This is certainly useful for us. It shows what we need to do if we want to increase traffic. It also confirms that adding fresh content on a regular basis is as important as we thought it was.


Similarweb is another online tool. They give an estimate of traffic which is pretty accurate. Once again, our lab site is the data source for the screenshot below.

There are some real limitations, at least in the free tools. First, you can only see three months. With a paid version, you can see 37 months — just about three years. Second, if you have fewer than 5,000 visits, and many local businesses do, you just get “<5,000.” That’s fairly useless. Third, you only get the estimated total, so you can’t see change over time  unless you check multiple months and compare them with one another.

Again, Similarweb gives you quite a bit of other information. It’s worth exploring, even if you have analytics.

Other tools

There are many other tools of this kind. We haven’t seen any others that were better than the two we’ve already described, but please feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments.

Our top recommendation? Install analytics right away. We often install analytics before we begin working on a website. You can usually get an idea of where the site is in a couple of weeks. Some websites have seasonal traffic variations, but two weeks of data before you make your changes should allow you to get an idea of your ROI. Track everything you can (for example, sales and other KPIs as well as traffic) for two weeks before the change and two weeks after the change. Bear in mind that some changes take place immediately and some require time to bear fruit. In those cases (for SEO, for example), you should give your changes time to make a difference, and then track for two weeks. Compare the two fortnights of data to see what your changes accomplished.

If you need help installing or interpreting analytics, we’ll be happy to help. Contact us to begin the conversation.







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