This is Part 5 of Web page ranking and search engine optimization : SEO
Updated 2019 04 22, to make addendum.
Click-Through Rate (CTR) vs Page Views per Visit – The first is high on Google’s priority list, the second apparently not so much, leading to Google ignoring 94 percent of the traffic to dads&things, or does it? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google Search Console (GSC) help with sorting some of that out.
Click-through rate (CTR) is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement. It is commonly used to measure the success of an online advertising campaign for a particular website as well as the effectiveness of email campaigns.
The Wikipedia article discusses the CTR in the context of advertising. An individual click-through is when someone clicks on the anchor text of a link at an originating location of a link to the target location, visits the web page that the link leads to, and then clicks on another link at the target page. Obviously, some (perhaps many) visitors to a given page will leave the page again without doing, or without going to, anything else that the target page leads to. If the page does not interest the visitor, he will not do what he should and leave the web page (thereby leave the web site, and that is not a click-through).
The CTR can pertain to a specific advertising campaign, or a key word or phrase, in relation to a target page, a sub domain on a website, or all web pages at a given website. Arguably, the number of pages viewed per visit on a website divided by the number of visits to the website for a given interval of time should essentially be the same as the CTR for the website for the selected interval. If it is not, it could be possible that what CTR measures is incorrect or at best incomplete.
CTRs are expressed in percent. The number of pages viewed per visit are expressed in terms of numbers, including decimal fractions.
Curiously, CTRs for websites differ enormously from the number of pages viewed per visit on websites. They are related and should have at least some correlation but do not. That is apparently because the number of page views indicated by analytical tools, such as Google Analytics or blog software, take into account only traffic directed by search engines that had visitors whom clicked on a given page. On the other hand, the volume of all traffic to a website is substantially larger than just the portion that comprises search-engine-directed traffic. Look, for instance, at the differences over time for dads&things, between total monthly page views and page views counted by analytical tools:
This is what happened during the last two months of that interval:
All of the trend lines for page views in that graph show values for the very same stream of traffic to dads&things. Of the analytical tools indicated, only GSC (Google Search Console – I activated that on 2019 04 05) provides information on CTRs. GSC shows a CTR of 2.3% for the interval, versus the total number of visits to the site having a CTR of 64.9%.
There is little doubt that the visitors who came to dads&things through direct links, through any means other than being directed through search engines, were far more interested in the information at the blog than those who came by means of search engines. Is Google’s analysis of traffic that goes to a website objective? How can it be? In the case of dads&things, it ignores 94 percent or more of the traffic that goes to the website. That leaves the issue of web rank.
The preceding graph shows a trend line for web rank (data produced by Alexa.com). Those figures relate to the whole domain of Fathers for Life, of which dads&things is a subdomain. Therefore, that trend line is not quite accurate (no need to go into the details for that, here). Still, it is more accurate than the page ranks or web rank assigned by Google to dads&things. Earlier this year, Google down-ranked the web rank for dads&things from about 4 down to 0 (zero), over night, in spite of dads&things having experienced a 93% annual rate of growth in volume of traffic during the last two years.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very complex issue. It grew into a multi-billion dollar industry during the past decade or so. I will not attempt to become an expert at SEO and am happy with what little I know and do about it.
Others are far better at it than I could hope to become during the few years that may remain of my life. You may wish to learn about the pros and cons of the latest Google search-and-ranking algorithms. Their exact impacts on the rank of anyone’s website are important and noticeable. Have a look at what an SEO expert, one of the best, wrote about that, but it is long:
There is no doubt in my mind that neither the Google web rank nor the Alexa.com web rank bear much relationship to either reach or popularity of dads&things. Nevertheless, after being systematically and intensively involved with SEO for dads&things for almost two years, I am absolutely certain that SEO is a good thing. It has done a lot to vastly improve the quality and attractiveness of the blog.
Why should I care about how important the results are that I experienced on account of doing a lot of hard, time-consuming work in relation to ad-revenues? I have no financial interests relating to that. Much information is not, hardly or even only shoddily covered by the main-stream media and social researchers. Many people like to learn more than what the MSM permits them to see, to learn about the objective truth. No one can be free of bias. Is my bias or that of any other conservative writer worse or greater than that of the media? The readers of what I write about will gain at worst an alternative view point. In matters of life and death, it is always worthwhile to get a second opinion. That is my motivation for doing SEO.
If I spend time to offer my opinions to someone, I may as well make sure that I make good use of the time and effort doing it. SEO makes it possible to reach more people, four times as many people than I managed to reach two years ago.
There is one more thing about SEO and using the tools available that help making a good job of it. I wish I had paid more attention to making use of Google Search Console. I am using it now, found a few problems that I had not known about and fixed them. More need to be fixed. Some will take a bit of time, but the fixing is largely for the good, not just for Google and any other search engine provider, but for improving the quality and attractiveness of dads&things.
The conclusion that Marcus Tandler presents in his article is correct:
“Most importantly, don’t worry about visibility. The more efficient your site is, the better.”
That means that web rank is somewhat overrated. Still, I am not at all convinced that the high CTR on non-search-engine-directed traffic should be ignored. Google Search Console results and the results by many other analysis tools ignore it. I had a suspicion that there had to be a good reason for the traffic to dads&things having increased so enormously, especially during the past year. GSC results do not state anything about that. The odds are 64.9 against 2.3 in favour of GSC being incorrect with ignoring 94 percent of the traffic going to dads&things.
The next installment for this article series will be made in about June. I will then recount the impressions I gained after having used GSC for a while.
Addendum 2019 04 22: Perhaps the next installment will attempt to come to terms with the illusion that the much-touted web ranks for individual web sites have any realistic meaning with respect to the relative popularity of web sites. Consider:
There is a URL that permits comparisons between websites, in terms of a number of parameters. That is Easy Counter (essentially based on what alexa.com makes available).
Here is a comparison of website stats based on what is available through Easy Counter (essentially based on what alexa.com makes available) and on what is available to me through the host server for fathersforlife.org and dads&things:
I don’t want to beat this to death, but what is publicly available for such comparisons is a farce and cannot be relied upon.
- Internet censorship affects all, censors and censored
- Conundrum : SEO rising Traffic falling Web Rank
- Web Pages : Page Rank vs Page Reach – SEO
- Google Analytics web stats : Fraudulent or just seriously wrong
- SEO important web page ranking experiences