Value of Referrer Data?

QUESTION: If you knew the source of the traffic that helped deliver traffic to your articles listed with EzineArticles, what specifically would you do with that data?

ie: If we invest the ability to provide the data behind the source of traffic for every article you have listed with us, what actions might you do with that data?

I’m not talking about the keyword and keyphrase data; I’m talking about which sources of traffic brought visitors to your article including both internal (email alerts, RSS, widgets, etc) and external (search engines, social media sites, blogs/sites that link back, etc.) sources.

I’m not convinced our members will do anything positive (submit more articles, increase the quality of your articles, refer more of your friends to EzineArticles) with the traffic referral data but I’m open to your arguments for why we should provide this data?

35 Comments »


1
Jeff Herring writes:

Hi Chris

I think you are a wise steward of your resources to ask this question before you just offer this service to subscribers because it sounds good.

That’s good market research.

I know that teaching my students and members about the “articleby” strategy and the “EzineArticles + Twitter” strategy that more of them are submitting more articles.

I believe that the same result would come from knowing from what sources the EzineArticles traffic is coming.

I look forward to how other folks respond to this discussion.

Jeff

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 10:56 AM

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2
Brian Rooney writes:

I believe it would help me target my articles more efficiently by knowing how people are searching.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 11:03 AM

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3

Ok, let me throw you a bone for this discussion:

What good is knowing how many referrals came from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Ask, AOL, etc?

Or should we exclude search engines from the referral logs and only provide non-search engine referral data?

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 11:07 AM

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4
Cindy King writes:

I would definitely target my articles according to external links from blogs/websites. And I would find this valuable.

I must humbly admit to not understanding how to use the extra information on which search engines were used. And if there was any gain for me, I’m not sure I would spend the time to use it.

The non-search engine referral data sounds very interesting.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 11:26 AM

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5
Tayo writes:

Hello Chris,

I think you are right, providing this info will not make much of a difference. The reason is that most members have to first of all learn more about getting maximum value from the traffic they are receiving via ezine as it stands…

Once members begin to understand how to get the most value from writing and submitting articles, they will be more motivated to write more and thats when having that info will be worth its weight in gold!

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 11:31 AM

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6

Hi Chris!

I believe that everyone prefers the traffic that comes from search engines than from other sites.

If I knew where exactly the traffic to my articles came from I would write more articles like the ones that attracted people searching for what I offer. This focus would benefit EzineArticles too, of course.

We always want to see what attracts people that don’t know us, but look for what we offer, and how we can beat all the competition against us.

I’m sure that if my articles were not so good I would never be able to beat all the competition I have to face in my two main fields: Depression and Neurosis Cure, and Dream Interpretation!

Article writing is my main source of traffic. Without it I would be totally ignored, besides being in the internet for two years now.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 11:37 AM

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7

What a great question!

I think this information would be very helpful. I track similar information on my website and thus know how productive my efforts are and where to focus my energies, and I tweak my products (including my articles) accordingly.

Many thanks!

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 11:56 AM

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8

Hi chris, This sounds great.

We have known EzineArticles as a great traffic resource, but a break-up & analysis of the traffic stats would definitely boost us to submit more articles and improve on the quality. (not that we are compromising on quality now).

Because I’m researching on strategies to improve friendly networking among bloggers, this sounds a great opportunity to connect with people who refer our articles.

A complete analysis inclusive of search engines, would be amazing, if tats possible.

I feel that the data will be very useful to authors. I’d appreciate all efforts taken by EzineArticles to provide us with such valuable data. Thx.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 12:16 PM

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9
Dan Goodwin writes:

Hi all,

I’m not sure there’s much value in this info either. If we as article authors know that our articles on EzineArticles got more traffic via Yahoo than Google, I don’t know what we COULD do with that info, it kind of feels out of our hands.

The way people are accessing our articles could be far more useful.

For example if we found that 100 people subscribe to our new article email alerts, but only 10 people to our RSS feed for new articles, then this would give us a better profile of our clients.

We could focus then other areas of our marketing more on email than RSS, and seek to educate our readers more in the benefits of using RSS…

Same with things like Twitter.

I’ve certainly realised in the last 15 months of having a social network on Ning that a sizeable chunk of my time is well invested in educating my readers/clients in how to use social media and other new online technology, when many of them are not familiar with how easy and powerful it can make the whole online experience, regardless of what our specific niche actually is.

If you can help people more easily connect with others who are into the same stuff they’re into, they’re very grateful for you providing those channels and that guidance.

Dan

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 12:47 PM

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10

Hi Dan!

The traffic that comes from Google and Yahoo is more important, because these are the search engines that most internet users prefer!

We could write more articles that usually attract these users if we knew which articles attracted them.

Your traffic’s source is very important! This way you know what to write about, where to really focus, what the readers really prefer, etc. This way you write more articles about what the readers you want to reach desire.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 1:26 PM

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11
Dan Goodwin writes:

Hey Christina,

Yes I understand the value of Google, Yahoo and the other search engines, I meant what is the value of knowing that for example our articles got twice as many visits from Google searches than Yahoo searches?

How could we use that information to improve how we write our articles? I’m not sure we could…

Dan

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 1:36 PM

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12

We can see which their preferences are and follow them. There are articles preferred by certain kind of audience, which are not preferred by another kind of audience.

Many times one of my articles has a great success on EzineArticles, but not so much success when I post it to other sites. Other times, articles despised by readers who come from EzineArticles, are very admired by readers who come from other sites. They give me stars, leave comments, etc., while in my EzineArticles author page I have only a few clicks.

Each site and each search engine attract different types of readers.

We can focus on writing articles similar to the ones that attract the visitors who came from the strongest search engines. Yahoo and Google are about the same, but other search engines are not as important as they are. So, we will write mainly for readers who come from Yahoo and Google.

We may even prefer the readers that come from Yahoo, since it seems that it is stronger than Google. So, we’ll focus on writing the kind of articles that Yahoo readers prefer.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 2:19 PM

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13
Alyice Edrich writes:

If the information is private and results in knowing who actually places the articles on what websites and blogs, then it would be beneficial in helping me write articles that are more beneficial and pull in more overall traffic. It would help me weed out articles that do not results in link backs and that do not result in traffic. It would help improve the quality of the articles I write for other publications as well as myself.

It would also help me know who is using the articles as spam so that I can take proper action. There is nothing like writing a quality article only to have it misused or used without proper credit and Google Alerts doesn’t always do a good job of notifying us.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 3:07 PM

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14
Alyice Edrich writes:

Oh by the way, drop the search engine logs. I don’t care if AOL or Yahoo picks up the article. I care about which publications pick up the article.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 3:09 PM

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15

Some of you have mentioned that if you thought YAHOO or GOOGLE (for example) was driving more traffic to your article, you might produce more articles aimed for that audience. Seriously?

What exactly is a GOOGLE or YAHOO search engine audience like?

I see only downside with sharing search engine referral data because we’ll be answering endless questions about why one article is getting search engine love vs. another that isn’t when the reality is that we may never know why a particular search engine liked one article over another.

In addition, the reasons why one article performs better than another in this or that search engine may have nothing to do with anything that you have control over as the author of the articles… ie: There are a lot of forces at work beyond all of our abilities to truly know the real answers.

One other fear I have with sharing all of this traffic referral data is that you’ll use it to become too efficient with writing for a search engine audience. Whenever that happens, we see it far too often that the quality of the article goes down the toilet…laced with keyword density metrics and overused keyword phrases that no normal writer would ever dream of writing.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 5:11 PM

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16
Dan Goodwin writes:

Chris, aside from the data that’s obviously useful to you guys at EzineArticles, what info do you currently track that you personally think might be of benefit to us as Expert Authors?

Dan

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 5:27 PM

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17

Dan,

I’ll be able to answer your question in a few weeks… For now, I won’t be able to elaborate until the new features are ready to be beta tested… Most likely in October.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 5:28 PM

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18

We may ignore the reasons why certain article attracts more readers from one place or the other, but we can observe this phenomenon and try to write articles for the audience we want to reach. We can try to discover the reasons by observing previous results.

I would never change my style after learning which articles attract more readers from Yahoo and Google, but I would focus on the subjects they prefer, or on the style they prefer.

I write basically for 5 categories and sometimes for many others! too many. If I’ll see that articles about one subject are preferred or that articles where I talk about my personal experiences are preferred for example, I’ll write more that kind of articles.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 5:33 PM

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19
Dan Goodwin writes:

Christina,

You said: “If I’ll see that articles about one subject are preferred or that articles where I talk about my personal experiences are preferred for example, I’ll write more that kind of articles.”

Where do you get that information, that one article is more popular than another? Presumably from the article views and URL clicks stats in your Author Area? How would, for example, knowing how many views came from Google and how many from Yahoo help you? I can’t see how it would.

The most important statistics surely are the article views and URL clicks. When articles perform well in these, we write more articles on a similar topic…

Dan

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 5:50 PM

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20
Jennifer writes:

If you provided this data… I kinda wouldn’t know what to do with it to benefit myself.

Would you also have some sort of article/tutorial/page that shows us how we can use the data to benefit ourselves and EzineArticles?

If not, then I don’t think I’d do anything different and therefore the data is useless to me.

Email alerts… what about these can help me write more/better articles that are viewed more? Does it just show the type of article people are interested in and therefore I should pay attention to that feedback to write more articles that are similar?

RSS feed and widget… on MY site? Not really clear how this does anything? I want to bring people to my site from EzineArticles, not vice-versa. Am I missing something here?

I think a lot of people here are like me… technology-phobes. We’d need more than just the data. I’d need an explanation on how to use it and what exactly to do.

I also think you’re opening EzineArticles up to a lot of support related emails. So you may want a page/article/tutorial/FAQ to point people to so your staff can avoid giving individual replies on something that isn’t your CORE function.

All this logically leads me to wondering how Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers did today? :)

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 5:53 PM

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21

Jennifer,

Brett threw a career high 6 touchdowns today, not that I’m watching.

Aaron Rodgers threw 2 TD’s today, but the team lost to the Bucs, 30-21.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 5:58 PM

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22
Dan Goodwin writes:

Chris,

re Comment 17, that’ll be interesting to hear. At the moment I think most of us on this thread are unsure about the kind of info you’re talking about, so we’re speculating, and getting a bit confused about how any of it can help us as article writers, if at all.

Thanks, look forward to your findings…

Dan

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 6:06 PM

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23
Jennifer writes:

Oh, I didn’t notice… especially the 3 interceptions. ;)

But to stay on the subject, I’d need more than just the data to do anything different. I need to be educated on the uses of the data.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 6:09 PM

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24

I remember that when I started writing and submitting articles to EzineArticles, we didn’t know how many visitors clicked the links at our resource box. Later you provided us this information and it has been very useful.

Now you are going to show us from where exactly come all the clicks in our links. Therefore we’ll know that article number xxx attracted many visitors from Yahoo and Google. The clicks are not from other sites. Or, we’ll learn that these clicks came from Aol.

Nice them! We may discover that our articles are appreciated by certain type of readers that use Aol. So, let’s write for them many articles like article xxx, which was a scientific article, for example. These readers like science. Their clicks are precious too.

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 6:30 PM

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25

One of your best improvements, besides showing us how many clicks go directly to our sites, was the search box. I use it all the time! I feel really happy when you do things that are so helpful for us!

Comment provided September 28, 2008 at 6:49 PM

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26
Angela Booth writes:

If I knew which sites and blogs were actively sending traffic, it would help me to form better relationships, so yes, I’d be interested in that data.

Every little bit of knowledge helps. :-)

Comment provided September 29, 2008 at 2:39 AM

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27

Dan,

I want to be clear here that I’m talking about the traffic referral data for every article you have listed with us.

You’d see the top sources of traffic for each article but much of the data would probably lead you to falsely get a big picture view because much of the traffic we attract isn’t source tracked perfectly… such as traffic from the millions of emails we send monthly for our new article alerts to RSS feed & widget traffic to intra-site traffic.

Jennifer,

Yeah, so that’s the issue. I’m not certain what you’d do with the traffic referral data in terms of positive action… hence why this thread exists. It’s very expensive to provide this data at our scale and until I’m convinced it’ll provide you and all of our members with actionable information that will help you add more value to your articles & build your article inventory… this project will sit on the possibility floor.

Comment provided September 29, 2008 at 6:50 AM

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28
Mark Thompson writes:

Chris,

Nice idea BUT the data won’t be that useful and I doubt whether more than 1% of people would use the data.

I’d rather you saved the money and put it towards meaniful reports that would help improve my bottom line.

Where my articles rank in google

More reports like we have in the membership area but site wide.

Reports that would help me to identify catagories that were underused but had lots of eager readers.

The average CTR in each niche

However I appreciate that that won’t happen but I can always dream..

Comment provided September 29, 2008 at 8:02 AM

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29

I want to ask you something too, Chris. Could you change the way your blog works so that we may edit or delete our comments?

Many times I’m doing something else and I stop for a while; I see another comment from your blog coming in the outlook and I may write a comment too, then go back to the page I was before ‚¬€ but later I see that I made a grammatical mistake when I posted my comment on a hurry! I would like to be able to correct it.

Now, about the data you want to provide, if it is too expensive and too difficult for you, never mind, because it is not indispensable.

However, like Angela said, every little bit of knowledge is always helpful.

We are not be able to tell you exactly how we are going to use this information now, we are only guessing – but once we have it (if we’ll really have it), we can learn how to use it, studying and testing many things.

Comment provided September 29, 2008 at 8:40 AM

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30

Sorry, I have no plans on allowing anyone to edit or delete blog comments.

The goal here isn’t to put up a barrier to communication, but to encourage restraint or thoughtful contributions that become part of permanent record. ie: If you know you can’t delete or edit a comment, you’ll be slower to post a comment to make sure it’s what you really intended to say.

I do fix spelling & grammar errors frequently when I catch them in blog comments… but don’t always catch every error.

Comment provided September 29, 2008 at 8:55 AM

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31
Peter Coughlin writes:

Hmmm… my initial reaction was to think ‘great – I could see where readers are coming from’ but after thinking about it, I suspect it would do little more than satisfy my curiosity. I’ve already got access to similar data with other publishing services and I just don’t use it.

However, data on views and click-through rates over time for all categories might well drive me to write more articles, and it would also be a way for EzineArticles to identify and help fill gaps. For example, if there was a high demand for articles in a certain category, but the total number of (recently submitted?) articles in that category was relatively low, there would be an obvious need for more articles on that topic, which writers could then provide…

Comment provided September 29, 2008 at 9:11 AM

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32

Never mind if we cannot correct our comments! I usually think a lot before saying something, but I don’t observe many grammar details when I’m concentrated on the subject I’m talking about! Only later I notice them.

But it’s ok, I’m a foreigner!

Comment provided September 29, 2008 at 11:01 AM

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33
Bruce writes:

I can not see how data like that mentioned will help me do different job or submit more articles. i already know how much traffic is coming to me from EzineArticles.
I would like more data in the reports section and for it to be accurate or to have a section that explained differences in numbers between one section of EzineArticles and the reports section.

Comment provided September 29, 2008 at 12:51 PM

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34
Dan Chapman writes:

Hi Chris, I love the twitter tweet when you post a live article that is great, would love to see you do that with Squidoo too if you could. As an internet marketer anything that helps my articles get ranked higher with Google and Yahoo is of most importance to me.

Thanks, Dan C.

Comment provided October 3, 2008 at 6:40 PM

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35
Dan Goodwin writes:

Dan,

You can do this with Squidoo already. Use an RSS box/element then get your RSS feed from here on EzineArticles and paste in the box on Squidoo.

To get your RSS feed here go to your profile page – http://ezinearticles.com/?expert_bio=Dan_Chapman – then just before the list of articles, click on the red RSS symbol…

Once it’s done it’ll automatically update on Squidoo when you have a new article published here.
Dan

Comment provided October 4, 2008 at 12:01 PM

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