Although public stats are known to be a bit inaccurate, it doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Sites like Alexa can still provide you with a lot of valuable information as long as you look at the whole picture. Here are a few things you can learn about your site and your competition through public data:
Was there ever a time when your traffic dipped drastically? Sometimes these things are flukes and sometimes they aren’t. A good way find out if it wasn’t a fluke is to check sites like Quantcast.com to see if these traffic dips also hit your competitors.
If you want to see how you stack up against your competition you can use services like Compete.com that can visually show you a long-term traffic comparison.
Not only does Compete.com show you how many more visitors you need to catch up to your competition, but they also show you, which competitors are declining in growth and where they are getting their traffic from.
If any of your competitors are publicly revealing their Sitemeter stats, I highly recommend that you take the time to analyze their stats. Some of the things that you should analyze are:
- Visitors by location – this will show you what regions your competition is getting traffic from and if you should be trying to do the same.
- Entry pages – the homepage isn’t always the most popular page. Analyzing your competitor’s entry pages will help you understand what is causing them to receive most of their traffic.
- Hourly traffic – if you can spot trends on the times people visit your competitor’s site, this will help you tune your marketing campaigns. For example if you notice the mornings are better than the afternoons, you can run campaigns during the morning and pause them during the afternoon.
A good way to compare who is getting the most buzz in your industry is to use Twitter’s search feature. Through this feature you can type in your company’s name as well as your competitors and see what people are saying.
On top of this you can go through specific tweets and see if someone is saying anything good or even bad about your competition. This is a great way to build relationships with potential customers.
Who doesn’t want more traffic? Through Google Trends you can see what’s hot and what’s not. And if you happen to write on something that is hot, your chances of getting more traffic will increase.
In addition to that you can also compare your website’s popularity versus your competitors. You can do this by analyzing what news is causing your competition to grow and what cities your competition is dominating you in.
Although public stats are usually inaccurate if you look at them on a site-by-site basis, they can be very accurate when you use them to analyze a whole industry. So instead of ignoring them, start leveraging them!