Understanding Pages/Session & Session Duration Metrics

Every business should use tracking software for their website. Good tracking provides seemingly endless value. You can learn more about your audience, track improvements, and take a researched approach to generate website content. Website content is extremely valuable to your SEO. Understanding what content is working and what content isn’t is also highly valuable. This is why one of the first things SEO agencies do for their clients is to install tracking software. Google Analytics is by far the most commonly used. It is almost ubiquitous across the web. But to get the most out of Google Analytics you need to understand their metrics.

Understanding Google Analytics Metrics

There are a variety of metrics Google Analytics uses. The main metrics are sessions, users, new users, sessions/user, pageviews, pages/session, session duration, and bounce rate. We have written a few articles on some of these topics in the past including bounce rate and the difference between users and sessions. But today we want to look at traffic health. Many people focus too much on traffic quantity or how many people visit your website. But the quality of your traffic is also important. Traffic quality can be determined by bounce rate, pages/session, and session duration.

How To Measure Quality Traffic

When you look at a comparison report on Google, whether it is month vs month or quarter to quarter, Google will usually indicate improvements with green percentages and issues with red percentages. However, these can be misleading. When we look at sessions or users on a website an increase is generally always good. More people on a website usually means more potential customers. However, if your sessions increase but your conversions don’t increase (or even decrease) you are potentially getting traffic that is not valuable (or you are not tracking the right conversions). How we determine quality traffic is by looking at how people interact with your website. How long are they on the website and how many pages they view. Google, always indicates improvements in these metrics when users spend more time on the site and visit more pages, however, that might not actually be an improvement.

Why Decreasing Pages/Session & Session Duration is Sometimes Good

Contrary to popular belief and even Google’s red/green percentages, seeing a decrease in pages/session or in session duration is not always a bad thing. If you improve your website speed, your user interface & user experience (UI & UX), and make improve your content, you may see drops in these stats but increases in conversions. Generally, when traffic increases, it is not uncommon to see decreases in these metrics, this is especially true if you have strong blog content on your website. As you add content to pages and organize your content it may be easier for users to get the information they are looking for in fewer clicks which decrease pages/session but increase conversions. Or if you move your contact forms and contact information into the footer of every page this will decrease the pages visited because users will no longer need to go to a “contact us” page.

Get Help Organizing Your Website

If you have issues with your website’s organizational structure or would like help making your content more user friendly, the team at Boston Web Marketing would be happy to assist. Reach out to us to get a free website audit.

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