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Beware of people quoting hits... rather than visitors - Marketing tips from THE BIKER GUIDE

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What is the difference between hits and visitors?
 

It is a common mistake and in some cases, one which is used to misguide you into thinking that a website has more actual people looking on the web-site than there actually is.
 
There is a lot of terminologies that are quoted by the SEO Professional and sales people, trying to get you to place a listing on their website, and some unscrupulous people (and goodness knows, there's plenty of those around!) will be quite happy to take advantage of your ignorance of the terms they are using.
 
A clever (and dishonest) sales person or SEO specialist will proudly proclaim, "We will get you a thousand hits per day," trusting that you are unaware of what that actually means. A non-savvy website owner will think to himself, "Wow! A thousand visitors per day! That's a lot!"

But here's the trick. Let's say your home page has a header image, 5 menu images, a couple other pictures somewhere on the page, plus a style sheet that gets called by the page. That works out to a total of 10 hits per page: the page itself, the style sheet, and eight images.

Now let's suppose that your site is interesting and well designed, so every visitor who comes to it sticks around long enough to read five pages. That's a total of 50 hits per visitor.

So when the SEO company brags that they're going to get your 1000 hits per day, they really mean that they're going to give you 20 visitors per day.

All of a sudden their promises don't seem so golden, do they?
 
What is important

Simple... The number of visitors to the site, and to be pedantic, not just the visitor, but the  unique visitor.
 
What is a Hit, Visitor and the Unique Visitor?
 
A "hit" is counted every single time your website sends a page or graphic to a visitor. So, if one visitor looks at your homepage, that counts as one hit. If your homepage links to nine graphics - logos, photographs etc. - that counts as nine more "hits", giving a total of 10 hits overall. If your visitor leaves your site at this point without looking at any more pages, they have still registered 10 "hits" - this means that hits alone don't give you a very clear idea about how popular your website is. 

A visitor is every time a person (computer terminal) visits your website.
 
A unique visitor is how many times that person (computer terminal) visits your website.
 
Counters

The problem with using counters to track visitors is they are set up to measure page views, not unique visitors. Every time someone views your page, whether it's the first time or the twentieth, that visitor is counted. And if the page times out for some reason and they "Reload," it counts them again. And if someone just wants to have fun with your counter, they can exit and enter the site several times and are counted as a visitor each time... even if they never look at product.

So if you cannot count hits and you cannot use a counter, how do you track the traffic on your site?
 
Install visitor tracking code on your website, such as Google Analytics (see link in Resources at the bottom).
 
A web traffic analysis program will give you vital information about the traffic coming to your site, including where visitors are coming from, including which keywords they used, which search engines, what countries they are situated in, what paths your visitors are taking whilst on the website and which pages are the main exit points of your site... In fact it is full of all sorts of information... and for Google Analytics it is free.
 
This information is private and only available to you, the account owner. It is best to install the tracking code as soon as possible to start building history. If you are using Google Adwords (you pay to advertise your website) or Google Adsense (you place advertising on your website for profit) then you may already have access to Google Analytics.
 
How do I find out how many visitors a website gets if I am not the owner?
 
There are many cases where you may not be the website owner, but want to find out how well another website performs. However, since you do not own the site then you will not be able to see the full-blown traffic stats displayed by Google Analytics. Now it is time to do some investigation...
 
You may be curious about how much traffic any website generates, or you want to find out how well your competitor's website is performing.

Alexa is the top web information authority which is also free (see link in Resources at the bottom). Search for a website address and see how a website ranks compared to all other websites in the world. 

You can search for any website address that you are interested in finding its traffic rank. Alexa also provides other neat graphs and handy info. Although it does not show you the exact number of visitors, you can get a general idea of the website's performance. By comparing the traffic rank of your website to your competitor's website, you can estimate who gets more traffic. For example, YouTube.com ranks higher than Weather.com. Please note, although this is another great tools to use they are sometimes a bit behind with keywords and the amount of links, linked in.
 
THE BIKER GUIDE summing up...
 
We hope this article will help understand the difference between hits and visitors and hopefully to help you choose wisely where you place any advertising or your business on the World Wide Web!
 
If you would like any further advise of hits, visitors and anything else included in this information, do not hesitate to ask.
 
If you already knew all of the above, please accept our apologies and welcoming you to our world of seo geekness!

Resources

THE BIKER GUIDE
 

Bringing the Biker Community together!
 
www.thebikerguide.co.uk
 
 PS: Did you know when someone is quoting a site ranking of 1 that is 1 out of 10!

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