[Note: I wrote this about five days ago, and I'm just now getting around to posting it.]
Okay, all the other search bloggers are sharing stats, so here goes. All this comes courtesy of Google Analytics. If you want to sign up and analyze your website visitors with around zero work, I highly recommend it. And it’s free.
With a few days left in 2006, looks like about 1.7M visits and about 2.9M pageviews:
That number of visits (~1.7M) helps explain why I try to avoid site-specific comments and try to stick to general topics. The spikes in my traffic graph were (I think) talking about international webspam and two or three posts that got dugg. The diggage happened during the week that my wife was out of town and I had a lot of free time to blog. I have a fair number of repeat visitors from all over the world. About 1/4th of people come directly to my site and about 1/3rd reach it through Google. Those digg spikes look impressive, but digg only accounted for about 2% of my traffic throughout the year.
Top Requested Pages:
Let’s see which posts were the most popular this year.
Looking down the list, lots of people check my blog page or the root page of my domain. Over 18% of my traffic is from non-English browsers (!), so it’s not a surprise that international spam is a popular topic. If you want only Google-related posts and no cat posts, http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/type/googleseo is the best url to use. Looking at that url up above, it seems a fair amount of people use that ability to view only the Google/SEO category. For feedreaders, http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/type/googleseo/feed/ is the best url to get a Google/SEO-only RSS feed of my blog.
The vast majority of people find me through some variation of my name. Other than that, the top phrases were
I could probably do some more in-depth keyword analysis to determine what keywords to use to reach new webmasters/SEOs/site owners. I do have a long tail of referrals. My post about setting a default printer for Linux and Firefox, for example, got referrals such as
firefox default printer
default printer firefox
changing the default printer for firefox on linux
linux default printer
changing the default printer firefox
default printer linux
cups set default printer
linux set default printer
mozilla default printer
cups default printer
firefox “default printer”
That serves as a good reminder that people usually don’t type the same phrase to find information. If you’re an SEO or site owner, don’t just chase after a “trophy phrase”; think about the long tail of queries, too. You should think of the words that people will type and make sure you include the right ones in your article in a natural way. Including the right/relevant words on the page in the first place is something that a lot of people forget. Read my post about writing useful articles with good SEO practices if you want to hear more.
I write a techie-heavy blog that talks about Google issues, so I wouldn’t expect to see much (any?) traffic from other search engines. But the sheer number of different sites that sent traffic is pretty wild. I got more referral traffic from Bloglines (22636 visits) than from Yahoo (17591), which makes sense given that a ton of people skip the site and read my full-text feed. But other sources were surprising drivers of traffic. The Search Engine Watch blog drove more traffic (15916 visits) than MSN (13554). Ask sent 820 visits, which was a tie with Steve Bryant over at eWeek’s Google Watch site. And that in turn was a little more than Oilman (789 visits) and a little less than cre8asiteforums.com at 1253 visits.
What this says to me is that there’s a lot of traffic beyond search engines, and I’m not just talking about social media optimization such as submitting stories to Slashdot/TailRank/Reddit/Digg/SearchMob. Just getting out there, talking on the web, and getting your name known in an industry can make a big difference.
Over the last 18 months or so, being a webmaster myself and writing a blog has taught me a lot. I understand more of the issues that site owners run into, and I sympathize with the frustrations of running a site. I think that using AdWords would also be an eye-opening and useful experience. I’m torn though, because I only have a limited amount of time in my day. If anything, I need to be spending less time blogging and more time with my family. I’ve also avoided AdSense, other types of advertising, and even “subscribe to my feed, tag this post, digg this page, share me on facebook” stuff because I wanted my site to be purely informational. But the net effect is that the blog is pretty austere (spartan? plain? ugly?).
Vanessa Fox and Adam Lasnik have done an amazing job this year on both the Google webmaster blog and the Google Discussion Group for webmasters. This year I posted on a wide range of SEO topics, and advanced topics are more fun to talk about, but going forward I think it would be a good idea to cover more intro-level material.
I think within Google there’s solid awareness that blogging can be hugely helpful to discuss issues informally, answer questions, and dispel misconceptions. I’d like to encourage even more Googlers to blog. The issue is how to build trust that a Googler can talk about issues with finesse. I’m lucky because as an old-timer Googler, I made my public mistakes back when hardly anyone was watching (remind me to tell my Paul Boutin/Wired story sometime). I think we need more Googlers blogging and checking the blogosphere for mentions of their respective products. I’m not 100% sure how to get there, but I think it needs to happen.
I also wish I had more stats on my feeds. I should probably sign up for something like FeedBurner, but I hate the idea of losing control of my feed urls.
[Added before posting: I signed up for FeedBurner last night; we'll see how it works. I'm already curious about one thing. I'm using the officially-recommended Feedburner Feed Replacement plug-in for WordPress, which is supposed to send all feed requests over to FeedBurner. It seems to work fine for my main RSS and Atom feeds, but I notice that category feeds like the http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/type/googleseo/feed/ url I mentioned above don't seem to be getting redirected to FeedBurner. Anyone know how to fix this? Also, let me know if you see any other feed-related issues/bugs.]
Update: In the comments, Sergey S. Kostyliov asked for geo-location stats. Here ya go, Sergey. When I said 18% of my traffic was non-English, I believe that was referring to the browser language. Where people are coming from shows even more diversity:
To make the graph more readable, I left out the percentage labels for the Netherlands (2.24%) and Spain (1.91%). Sergey, the Russian Federation is listed at 9955 visits. With 1,695,129 total visits for the year, that’s about .6% from the Russian Federation. Also, I got exactly one visit from Samoa. They must have decided they didn’t like me, and decided not to come back.
Update 2: Doh! I completely forgot the videos I made in 2006! I got 189,923 views of my videos during 2006. Even my 3 second video of my cat Ozzie jumping that I uploaded as a test video got 2,106 views.
Also, I got some initial data from FeedBurner: 11,950 subscribers and 5,149 reach (that’s people who clicked or viewed the content of my feed). Bloglines’ web interface has pegged me at 1,216 subscribers but Feedburner claims that I have 3,409 Bloglines readers. I’m not sure how to reconcile that. I was getting discouraged that Bloglines kept saying 1,100 to 1,200 subscribers for most of 2006 in its web interface, and I really felt like I had more than that. Anyone have guesses about what’s causing the Bloglines/Feedburner disparity? Gary Price, want to ask around?