Thursday, January 3, 2008

Seeing where your readers come from...

I've had several people ask in the comments of my Thursday Thirteen post today about how to find the search results that bring people to your blog.

There are a few different ways, but the way that I use is Google Analytics, which is a handy little tool that gives you a lot of different information about your users, where they come from, what sites are sending traffic to you, and which of your posts/pages are the most popular.

By the way, this is not an affiliate or paid post in any way - I just wanted to pass this information along since so many of you were interested! :)

It's very easy to set up Google Analytics - and Jordan over at MamaBlogga created a great guide that explains exactly how to do it. This is what I used when I set it up here. Once you have it configured so that it's obtaining the information from your site, you can create a lot of different reports, charts and maps to start analyzing it all. You can track information over different time periods, get averages, and look at your statistics in a lot of different ways.

I used the 'Keywords' report to find the search terms that I used in my T13 post. You can add this report to your Google Analytics dashboard very easily - Jordan's handy guide tells you exactly how. The keywords are words (or combinations of words) that people typed into the search bar in Google, that brought up results which included one (or more) of my blog post pages. For example, I wrote a post a while back on having had "Fifth Disease" and I see a lot of search results on my Keywords report from people who are searching for information about that disease.

The first thing that I did was to choose (in my Google Analytics dashboard) the time period that I wanted to see - I did my first 'Fun with Google search' post back in September, so this time I choose to see what people were searching for in October, November and December:

Then, I looked at the snapshot of the keyword report that appears on my dashboard:

Obviously, none of these are very interesting, and they're all pretty logical things to search on if you're looking specifically for my site. To see more keywords (and find the funny unique ones), you have to click on 'view report' and look at the full keyword report:

Analytics3

There's a few different things you can do from here. If you want to look for specific keywords, you can search using the 'Find Keyword' box on the bottom. Or, if you just want to scan through all of them, you can change the 'Show rows:' to something bigger than 10 or navigate through all of the pages using the little arrow buttons at the bottom right. I've got 784 unique keywords (or combinations) where someone searched and my site came up - from the time period that I selected earlier (October 1 through December 31). I just looked through them and chose the 13 that I thought were the most hilarious best.

So there you go! It's very easy to do and you can learn a lot about how people are finding or linking to your site, and where your visitors are coming from. Have fun with it! :)

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4 wonderful people said...:

M said...

I also use google anlytics and I love to see how people come to my site.

Anna said...

This reminds me - I never did thank you for explaining this to me when I asked back in September. It really is fun to see, and I ought to do a list like this one of these days. I know it's not nearly as funny as yours, though!

Corey~living and loving said...

Great post. I too use that tool, and I was looking yesterday at the Photos that lead people to my site. I baffles me how somehow google puts tags on the photos and puts them on their image site. I saw serveral hits to my photo hunter~pink thread, that has me a tad worried. It is one of Sugar in a swimsuit. I was unable to figure out what people are searching to find that photo. Any ideas?

storyteller said...

Thanks for your thorough response. I appreciate the information. I've read it twice and bookmarked it so I can return to read and play with it as time permits until I figure it out for myself. I appreciate the associated links also. I'm really new to all of this as I started blogging in late October, but I'm learning as I go thanks to the generosity of bloggers like yourself who are willing to point the way and help out.
Hugs and blessings,