September 4, 2012

What Search Terms Reveal About Visitors to Atheist Blogs

Search termsAlmost anybody who writes about blogging seems to agree that monitoring traffic is essential. It was no accident that the first blogging tip I offered in my series dealt with the importance of collecting traffic data. Of course, the collection is the easy part. Figuring out how best to use the information provided by Google Analytics is another matter.

I like to use Google Analytics to examine the search terms bringing people to Atheist Revolution. I almost always find some surprises. Here were the top 5 search terms for July:
  1. atheist
  2. atheism
  3. athiest
  4. christian god
  5. noelle nikpour

One of the things the numbers showed me is that far more people arrived after searching for "atheist" than "atheism" and that those searching for "atheist" clicked quite a bit more. This was something I never would have guessed without seeing the data. And take a look at the #3 search term. Really? I'm a terrible speller too, so I guess I can't be too critical. I had to look up #5 because I didn't even remember who she is or why I wrote about her.

What can I do with this information? By understanding the sort of content people are searching for, I can write more of it, make it easier for first time visitors to find, or perhaps even get ideas about related content that may be of interest. The crucial point is that it would have been very easy to remain completely unaware of it, and then I wouldn't have been able to use it at all.

Periodically reviewing the search terms that bring visitors to our blogs is a great way to learn about our readers and understand their needs. This allows us to do a better job of meeting these needs, hopefully making our blogs more useful in the process.

To those of you writing blogs, how do you use this sort of information?

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