I have a compulsion every morning; I have to check my Google Analytics. I absolutely love reviewing my daily data and seeing who’s visited, how they got there and what was popular. In truth, I’m a bit compulsive about it. For me I guess it allows to me to identify what is gaining TRACTION and then consider the WHY and HOW so that I can consider these lessons as I plan for future content.
This week, was spring break and my family life took over for a while. While I was able to schedule tweets, blogging really wasn’t in the cards. I decided it would be a good opportunity to sit back and watch my data for a week. I actually learned a lot more than I thought. When I started this my hypothesis was that my traffic would basically die off and fizzle, but here are a few lessons I gained over seven days.
Specifically I wanted to gain insight into understanding my visitors more, who are they, where are they coming from, how are they finding me, what are they navigating to, what are they connecting with and then make some decisions about what that all means.
I decided to download all the search phrases and key terms that have been used to reach my site. I had a list of about 120 various phrases. It took some time, but I organized them into the general categories. What I found out surprised me. Here is the break down out of 100% of my visitors this is what they were interested. What surprised me was that 24% of those that found my website were interested in Bar Codes.
analyzing web data
I had written one article about bar codes since the launch of my site, and it was posted April 11, 2011 and I pulled my data ten days later on April 21, 2011. In the scheme of things, that’s actually quite significant. So I decided to dig a bit further to identify what did I set as my meta data and then secondly how did these people arrive at this article, specifically what were their search phrases and key words.

MY meta data:
TITLE: What ARE those weird square bar codes? – Social Media Rochester, NY Consulting Management Training – The Digital Pixie
DESCRIPTION: Those weird square bar codes, are known as QR (Quick Response) codes that are readable by any smart phone. And they’re quickly becoming the latest advertising tool. The code can contain various types of information.
KEYWORDS: qr, quick response, bar code, advertising, marketing

Unedited Search phrases people typed into capturing my site:
square bar code, what are those weird barcodes, barcode in my sunday ads for iphone, barcode scanner rochester, create one of those square barcodes, create qr code, dighital code square, easy explanation of qr code,how do i read those square bar codes, how do you read those weird barcodes with your, how do you read those wierd square codes, how to create the new square barcodes, how to read square scan me barcodes, how to scan those square barcodes in magazines, how to use quick response with my droid, i want to generate qr code for my product descriptions, new square bar code, new square bar codes, qr code consulting and management, qr code t-shirt, qrstuff, scan the digital square, scan weird squares, social media bar codes, square barcodes, those digital square, weird digital squares, weird qr codes, what app do you use for those weird looking barcodes?, what app scans those square barcodes, what are those barcode squares, what are those barcodes i see in magazines?, what are those barcodes in magazines, what are those barcodes in magizines, what are those odd looking squares, what are those square barcodes, what are those square barcodes called, what are those square barcodes for, what are those square barcodes you scan with your phone?, what are those weird square barcodes called?, what do u do with those barcodes in magazines?, what is the square code against my address, what is the square digital bar code, whats with those bar codes

It was evident to me that these visitors that arrived at my site were what I would call “Googlers”. I will loosely define this as a person(s) who when they don’t know something, they look it up. Admittedly, I am a “Googler”.
My last step was to really look at this article, did I get any comments? How long did people read it? Where did they go to after? What I found out is the following:

161 Pageviews
136 Unique Views
00:05:57 Time on Page
72.22% Bounce Rate
78.26% % Exit

In addition I had 2 comments from various visitors.

So what should I take away from this data review:
1. When I write articles about the how, why, where, what I will attract “Googlers” people like me who are information seekers.
2. My content was interesting enough that people read the article (it’s only a 5 minute read)
3. I need to dig further and understand where people are navigating to after.
4. An article that has good SEO settings that are more organic in nature (meaning phrased through the lens of the person seeking the information) can be and is an effective strategy.
5. It would be good to have another post in a different format (example a video) on the use of the QR codes as a consumer and business owner.
6. I should review the articles that I thought would have more traction and revisit them, why didn’t they, should they be rewritten? Delivered differently? Have changes in their SEO settings?

I’m curious to know, what do you look at when you are reviewing data, do you ever find a “surprise” that makes you want to dig deeper? How do you let your data inform your practice?