WEBSITE TRAFFIC

        Web traffic is the amount of data sent and received by visitors to a web site. This necessarily does not include the traffic generated by bots. Since the mid-1990s, web traffic has been the largest portion of Internet traffic. This is determined by the number of visitors and the number of pages they visit. Sites monitor the incoming and outgoing traffic to see which parts or pages of their site are popular and if there are any apparent trends, such as one specific page being viewed mostly by people in a particular country. There are many ways to monitor this traffic and the gathered data is used to help structure sites, highlight security problems or indicate a potential lack of bandwidth.

        Not all web traffic is welcomed. Some companies offer advertising schemes that, in return for increased web traffic (visitors), pay for screen space on the site. Sites also often aim to increase their web traffic through inclusion on search engines and through search engine optimization.

Analysis

         Web analytics is the measurement of the behavior of visitors to a website. In a commercial context, it especially refers to the measurement of which aspects of the website work towards the business objectives of Internet marketing initiatives; for example, which landing pages encourage people to make a purchase. Notable vendors of web analytics software and services include Google Analytics, IBM Digital Analytics (formerly Coremetrics) and Adobe Omniture.

Control

        The amount of traffic seen by a web site is a measure of its popularity. By analysing the statistics of visitors it is possible to see shortcomings of the site and look to improve those areas. It is also possible to increase the popularity of a site and the number of people that visit it.

From search engines

        The majority of website traffic is driven by the search engines. Millions of people use search engines everyday to research various topics, buy products, and go about their daily surfing activities. Search engines use keywords to help users find relevant information and each of the major search engines has developed a unique algorithm to determine where websites are placed within the search results. When a user clicks on one of the listings in the search results, they are directed to the corresponding website and data is transferred from the website’s server, thus counting the visitors towards the overall flow of traffic to that website.

        Search engine optimization (SEO), is the ongoing practice of optimizing a website to help improve its rankings in the search engines. Several internal and external factors are involved which can help improve a site’s listing within the search engines. The higher a site ranks within the search engines for a particular keyword, the more traffic they will receive.

Increasing traffic

        Web traffic can be increased by placement of a site in search engines and purchase of advertising, including bulk e-mail, pop-up ads, and in-page advertisements. Web traffic can also be increased by purchasing through web traffic providers or non-internet based advertising.

        Web traffic can be increased not only by attracting more visitors to a site, but also by encouraging individual visitors to “linger” on the site, viewing many pages in a visit. (see Outbrain for an example of this practice)

        If a web page is not listed in the first pages of any search, the odds of someone finding it diminishes greatly (especially if there is other competition on the first page). Very few people go past the first page, and the percentage that go to subsequent pages is substantially lower. Consequently, getting proper placement on search engines, a practice known as SEO, is as important as the web site itself.



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