An increase in site visits and pageviews is a signal of a great marketing strategy. But, while it’s true to an extent, the quality of traffic to your site is more valuable than quantity. Whereas high-volume traffic raises brand awareness and visibility, traffic quality is what gets you conversions and sales.
Measuring the quality of your site traffic is essential to understanding your visitors and how they engage with your content. But, before we get any further, let’s just put it out here: your business goals are unique to you, so are the metrics to measure your success. It can be anything from leads generated, engagement, and sales to name a few.
To get a better understanding of what is considered high-quality traffic, we’re looking into various metrics to help you analyse your site visitors’ behaviour and create a solid SEO strategy.
What is High-Quality Website Traffic in SEO?
High-quality site traffic refers to site visitors who are genuinely interested in your business—the products and services you are providing. They resonate with the buyer persona you are trying to target and are:
- interested in your content
- more likely to convert
- actively or will be looking for your products/services
Traffic quality is determined by a number of factors, but there are three primary ones that we focus on most: intent, engagement, and relevance.
The first factor to consider when measuring the quality of traffic is intent. Intent can be defined as the visitor’s reason for visiting your site. Is he or she looking for information, ready to buy, or just browsing?
There are four types of intent:
- Information seekers – These are visitors who are looking for specific information related to your product or service. They are aware of their challenges and are looking for a solution.
- Research buyers – These buyers are in the early stages of the buying process. These are the ones who may have yet to know what they want, but are looking for information to help them decide.
- Ready to buy – These buyers are ready to buy your product or service right now.
- Browsers – These visitors are just exploring and have no immediate intention of buying anything.
The type of intent will affect the way visitors interact with your site. Information seekers and research buyers are more likely to read blog posts, browse through product pages, and download ebooks or whitepapers. Ready-to-buy visitors, on the other hand, are more likely to add items to their cart or fill out a contact form.
Engagement is the second factor to consider when measuring traffic quality. Engaged visitors are ones who interact with your content. They may not be ready to buy, but they’re interested in what you have to say.
There are three types of engagement:
- Visits – This is the number of visits a particular page receives.
- Time on page – This is the amount of time a visitor spends on a particular page.
- Bounce rate – This is the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page.
The higher the number of visits, time on the page, and unique pageviews, the more engaged the visitor is. A high bounce rate means that the visitor wasn’t interested in what he or she saw. It can be either they weren’t able to find your content relevant to what they’re looking for, your website design seems a bit distracting, or there’s very little content to understand what you’re offering.
The third factor to consider is relevance. Relevant visitors are those who are interested in your product or service and have a need for it. They are not just randomly browsing the internet and coming across your site by accident.
There are two types of relevance:
- Topical relevance – This is the degree to which a page is about a particular topic.
- Interest relevance – This is the degree to which a visitor is interested in a particular topic.
Pages that are highly relevant and topic/niche-specific will be more interesting to your website visitors than pages that are not. Interest relevance is determined by how much a visitor is interested in a particular topic. The more interested a visitor is, the more relevant your content will be to him or her.
How to Measure Quality in terms of Your Website Traffic
While there is no single answer to the question, in a support forum for Google Analytics, about 30% is the ideal acquisition percentage of your site’s returning visitors. Anything lower than 30% is considered below average. On the contrary, having it around 50% is considered to be good.
When your website is receiving high volumes of traffic but not enough leads or leads that are not converting to sales, then the problem could be poor-quality traffic. For example, when your traffic is high but also has a high bounce rate and exit rate, then the traffic you are attracting to your site is of low quality.
This shows that despite having many visitors, they’re not spending as much time on your site as you want them to—and it’s most likely because they lost interest quickly or your site doesn’t meet their needs. From average time spent to bounce rate, exit rate, and conversion rates, below are some of the metrics to monitor and measure the quality of your site traffic.
Average Time Spent
How long are visitors staying on your site? When they are engaged with your site and are taking the time to browse through your pages, they are most probably interested in what you have to offer.
Using Google Analytics, you can get insights into how site visitors move from page to page. You can also see how long they spend on each page. To measure the quality of your website traffic, you’ll want to keep an eye on how much time your visitors spend browsing your site on average. If it’s low, then you need to work on improving the engagement of your content.
Bounce Rate and Exit Rate
Bounce rate measures the number of users to your site that exit without visiting any other page. Meanwhile, the exit rate tells you how many users leave your site from a specific page. For most digital marketers, a bounce rate in the range of 26-40% is excellent while anything over 70% is concerning. It’s because a high bounce rate indicates that your site is not meeting the user’s expectations and they are probably not interested in your content. You should consider what page site users are leaving your site from – does this page meet the user’s needs or does it need further optimisation?
The conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as clicking a phone number, using your contact form, or making a purchase. To measure the quality of your website traffic, you’ll want to look at how your conversion rates differ for different sources of traffic.
A good conversion rate is at about 1-5%. It measures your accomplished goals, whether that be phone calls, form submissions, or eCommerce sales. If yours is anything below that, then you have to work on getting better traffic. Similarly, you can improve conversions by growing your organic traffic, using persuasive call-to-action, and making the right offer at the right time—often when visitors are about to leave your site.
Returning visitors are a good sign that your site is meeting a visitor’s needs. They have found what they are looking for and are coming back for more.
The difference between the time it takes for users to discover your site and make a purchase varies. For some, conversions can take less than a day, but it’s also possible to take a few weeks or longer. Returning visitors can be very telling, it shows the effectiveness of your inbound marketing efforts. Whether they are returning to gather more information or are ready to make an investment, a good returning visitor rate is 30% on average.
How Does Website Ranking Affect Your Website Traffic
While ranking higher for relevant search terms can improve your site’s traffic, site traffic does not directly influence your search rankings. It does have a say in where your pages appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs). It means while low-quality traffic will not directly affect your rankings, it still has some consequences.
One example is the Panda update, which targets sites with low-quality content. This means that if your site has a high bounce rate, low average time spent on site, and a high exit rate, it could be penalised by Google and lose its ranking.
When your site starts receiving high volumes of low-quality traffic, it’s bound to affect your conversions, average time spent, bounce rate, etc. This would then send signals to search engines that users are not liking your site, thus pushing down your rankings.
Poor quality website traffic can be detrimental to your site’s success. From bounce rate and exit rate to conversion rates, it’s important to keep an eye on the metrics that indicate the quality of your traffic. Luckily, there are many things you can do to improve your site’s traffic and engagement.
How to Increase Website Ranking and Traffic
High-quality, relevant, and engaging content is the primary driver of your website rankings, and there’s no substitute for it. When done right, it’s bound to attract your target audiences and as a result, boost your site traffic, build your site’s authority, and increase traffic.
As you fine-tune your digital marketing efforts, make sure to put effort into getting quality traffic as well. You can achieve this by analysing what’s happening on your site through Google Analytics. Here, we are concluding with some tips on how to improve your site’s rankings and ultimately the quality of your traffic.
1. Identify traffic sources
Whether your traffic sources are search engines, paid search, social media, or a combination of them all, it’s essential to identify which channels send your business the most site visitors, and what each does while on your site. You can use Google Analytics Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels report to get this data.
2. Determine what drives conversions
You will also want to understand which channels drive the most conversions. To do this, use the Google Analytics Acquisition > Goal Conversion > Channels report. This will show you which channels are resulting in the most conversion goals. This way, you can better optimise these channels to make it easier for users to convert again in the future.
3. Discover which keywords drive traffic
How well your site is ranking in SERPs for relevant keywords determines the quality of your traffic. You can find this data in Google Analytics under Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries. This report will show you the top keywords that are bringing users to your site, as well as how often your pages appear in SERPs.
When you know what keywords generate the most traffic to your site, you can focus your efforts on search terms that can maximise your potential to reach a wider audience.
4. Manage your backlinks
Backlinks are crucial as they determine the popularity of your site, which is a major ranking factor. You can check the quality and quantity of your backlinks in Google Analytics under Acquisition > Campaigns > All Traffic > Referrals. This report will show you the sites that are linking to yours, as well as the number of clicks each referral generates.
When sites link to you, it’s a vote for your page being a quality, relevant, and reliable source of content. However, when low-quality directories or irrelevant sites link to you regularly, this could affect your site’s visibility in SERPs. This is why it’s important to monitor your backlink profile to ensure only quality sites are linking to your business.
So now that you know how website ranking and traffic affect each other, it’s important to focus on improving both. Keep in mind that good quality website traffic is key to achieving these goals. Focus on creating high-quality, relevant, and engaging content, and the rest will follow.
July of 2023 saw Google sunset the Universal Analytics user data collection, which meant we all had to move to Google Analytics 4. The “behind the scenes” of data collection in GA4 is also slightly different compared to UA and not all goal types are directly comparable.
Compound that with the increase in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the many updates Google’s algorithm goes through, website traffic analysis can feel like a substantial task.
So what does this look like going forward?
In 2023, measuring the quality of site traffic has become more sophisticated than ever, thanks to Google’s continuous algorithm updates and the growing integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into search engines. Traditional metrics like page views and bounce rates still hold significance, but they are now supplemented by more nuanced indicators. One crucial aspect is user engagement, which AI algorithms now assess comprehensively. Beyond just the duration of a visit, they consider the depth of interaction, which includes actions such as the number of pages viewed, forms filled, or videos watched. This shift reflects Google’s commitment to delivering user-centric results and rewards websites that genuinely engage and inform their visitors.
Furthermore, AI-driven algorithms are increasingly capable of understanding user intent and context, allowing them to assess the relevance of your site’s content in real time. As a result, monitoring the click-through rates (CTR) on the SERPs is essential. A high click-through rate suggests that your site is not only visible but also enticing to users.
And, as we’ve already mentioned, measuring the quality of site traffic in 2023 and beyond still extends to tracking the sources of your traffic. Google’s algorithm updates emphasise the importance of diversified traffic channels, favouring websites that draw visitors from various sources, such as organic search, social media, and referral links. In this dynamic landscape, staying attuned to Google’s evolving criteria and harnessing AI-powered analytics tools will be key to gauging the true quality of your site traffic in the modern digital ecosystem.
Adapting to User Behaviour
User behaviours have shifted towards seeking more personalised and immediate experiences. Google’s algorithm updates take into account these shifts by evaluating how well a website tailors its content to individual preferences. Factors like personalization, responsive design, and mobile-friendliness are crucial in catering to the modern user’s expectations.
Moreover, user behaviours are now characterised by shorter attention spans and a preference for multimedia content. This means that metrics related to video views, interactive features, and time spent on multimedia elements are increasingly vital in assessing site traffic quality. Websites that adapt to these shifting behaviours by incorporating engaging visuals and interactive elements will be better positioned to capture and retain the attention of users. Being able to understand the change in user behaviours and adapting to it will also help you measure the quality of site traffic effectively.
The quality of traffic to your site is primarily measured based on how long a visitor stays, how many pages they visit, and whether they get in touch with you or make a purchase. There are many other metrics you’ll encounter to measure the quality of your site traffic, but then again, that depends on your business goals. Which metrics matter most to your business? What steps have you taken to boost the quality of your site’s traffic? Learn more about our SEO services or get in touch for a free consultation. We’ll guide you on your journey to online success.