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10/20/21, 12:26 PM Key Elements of Web Analytics

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Key Elements of Web Analytics

In order to test the success of your website, you need to remember the TAO of

conversion optimization: track, analyze, optimize.

A number is just a number until you can interpret it. Typically, it is not the raw figures that

you will be looking at, but what they tell you about how your users are interacting with

your website. Because your web analytics package will never be able to provide you with

completely accurate results, you need to analyze trends and changes over time to

understand your brand’s performance.

Avinash Kaushik, author of Web Analytics: An Hour a Day, recommends a three-pronged

approach to web analytics (2007):

1. Analyzing data about behavior infers the intent of a website’s visitors. Why are

people visiting the website?

2. Analyzing outcomes metrics shows how many visitors performed the goal actions on

a website. Are visitors completing the goals we want them to?

3. A wide range of data tells us about the user experience. What are the patterns of

user behavior? How can we influence them so that we achieve our objectives?


Web users’ behavior can indicate a lot about their intent. Looking at referral URLs and

search terms used to find the website can tell you a great deal about what problems

visitors are expecting your site to solve.

Some methods to gauge the intent of your visitors include the following:

click density analysis—Looking at a heatmap to see where people are clicking on the

site and if there are any noteworthy clumps of clicks (such as many people clicking

on a page element that is not actually a button or link).

segmentation—Selecting a smaller group of visitors to analyze based on a shared

characteristic (for example, only new visitors, only visitors from France, or only

visitors who arrived on the site by clicking on a display advert). This lets you see if

particular types of visitors behave differently.

behavior and content metrics—Analyzing data around user behaviors (e.g., time

spent on site, number of pages viewed) can give a lot of insight into how engaging

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and valuable your website is. Looking at content metrics will show you which pages

are the most popular, which pages users leave from most often and more. This data

provides excellent insight for your content marketing strategy and helps uncover

what your audience is really interested in.

A crucial, often-overlooked part of this analysis is internal search. Internal search refers to

the searches of the website’s content that users perform on the website. While a great

deal of time is spent analyzing and optimizing external search—using search engines to

reach the website in question—analyzing internal search goes a long way to exposing

weaknesses in site navigation, determining how effectively a website is delivering

solutions to visitors, and finding gaps in inventory on which a website can capitalize.

For example, consider the keywords a user may use when searching for a hotel website,

and keywords they may use when on the website. Keywords to search for a hotel website

may be Cape Town hotel or bed and breakfast Cape Town. Once on the website, the user

may use the site search function to find out more. Keywords they may use include Table

Mountain, pets, or babysitting service. Analytics tools can show what keywords users

search for, what pages they visit after searching, and, of course, whether they search

again or convert.


At the end of the day, you want people who visit your website to perform an action that

increases your revenue. Analyzing goals and key performance indicators (KPIs)

demonstrates where there is room for improvement. Look at user intent to establish if

your website meets the users’ goals and if these match with the website goals. Look at

user experience to determine how outcomes can be influenced.

Website Performance

Reviewing conversion paths can give you insight into

improving your website.

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In the figure above, after performing a search, one hundred visitors land on the homepage

of a website. From there, 80 visitors visit the first page toward the goal. This event has an

80 percent conversion rate. Twenty visitors take the next step. This event has a 25

percent conversion rate. Ten visitors convert into paying customers. This event has a 50

percent conversion rate. The conversion rate of all visitors who performed the search is

10 percent, but breaking this up into events lets us analyze and improve the conversion

rate of each event.

User experience

In order to determine the factors that influence user experience, you must test and

determine the patterns of user behavior. Understanding why users behave in a certain

way on your website will show you how that behavior can be influenced to improve your



Kaushik, A. (2007). Web analytics: An hour a day. San Francisco, CA: Sybex.

Licenses and Attributions

Chapter 18: Data Analytics


rketing_textbook_download.pdf) from eMarketing: The Essential Guide to Marketing in

a Digital World, 5th Edition by Rob Stokes and the Minds of Quirk is available under

a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

( license. © 2008, 2009, 2010,

2011, 2013 Quirk Education Pty (Ltd). UMGC has modified this work and it is available

under the original license.

© 2021 University of Maryland Global Campus

All links to external sites were verified at the time of publication. UMGC is not responsible for the validity or integrity

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