What Your Website Traffic is Telling You About Your UX

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Want an easy way to assess if your website’s user experience needs improvement? Start by analyzing your traffic trends and engagement metrics.

Poor UX often manifests in reduced organic traffic, high bounce rates, and short time on page. In contrast, excellent user experience fuels growth in visitors, engagement, and conversions over time.

So your website analytics paint a clear picture. You just need to know which key metrics and patterns to focus on.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll overview the website traffic insights that can help reveal the good, bad, and ugly of your current UX.

Follow along for a tour of 10 critical website analytics reports and data points. For each one, I’ll explain:

  • How the metric reflects user experience quality
  • Ideal benchmarks and ranges to aim for
  • Signs of trouble that indicate UX issues to investigate

By monitoring these key website traffic indicators, you’ll stay constantly tuned into the performance of your site’s user experience. UX shortcomings and victories will become obvious.

Let’s dive in and start decoding what your traffic is trying to tell you!

Decoding what your traffic is trying to tell you!

#1: Organic Traffic Growth Trends

The best initial litmus test for your overall UX quality is your organic search traffic trend. Is organic visibility growing steadily over months and years? If so, that’s a positive sign!

It means search engines are rewarding your site’s ability to satisfy user intent consistently. Visitors clearly find your content useful when arriving from Google.

Aim for at least 10-20% year-over-year organic traffic growth to confirm solid UX. Faster growth indicates you’re really knocking it out of the park!

However, flat or declining search traffic suggests issues. Maybe your content isn’t resonating with users anymore. Or site speed, mobile optimization, and accessibility need attention.

Audit UX pain points when organic search growth stalls. Getting surpassed by competitors is a wake-up call to up your user experience game.

#2: Pages Per Session

This metric reveals whether your site offers enough substance to engage visitors.

If your pages per session rate is low (like 1-2), visitors likely aren’t finding content that resonates, so they bounce quickly. That’s a UX red flag!

Aim for 2-3+ pages per session minimum. More advanced pages indicate you’re providing strong value to searchers.

Add internal links, Related Posts sections, and Calls to Action to guide users to more helpful content within your site. This improves both user experience and pages per session.

#3: Average Session Duration

Similarly, short average session durations signal poor UX that fails to retain visitors.

Under one minute often means your content is too light or unhelpful to hold attention. Even just 2-3 minutes suggests room for UX improvements to encourage exploration.

Target an average session duration of 3 minutes or longer. Blog posts and guides should aim for 5+ minutes. Extended sessions show you’re captivating audiences.

Review your content’s depth and visual presentation. Add sections to address visitor questions better. Improve legibility through formatting and multimedia to boost time on page.

#4: Bounce Rate

High overall site bounce rates or elevated exits from certain pages also reveal UX issues that drive visitors away quickly.

If your bounce rate is over 50% or abnormally high on key landing pages, your content isn’t resonating right away. Visitors aren’t getting what they want.

Ideally, reduce your overall bounce rate to 30% or lower. For priority landing pages, aim for 20% at most. Low bounce signals your UX hits the mark.

Consider adding more introductions and previews to entice visitors. Also ensure content actually fulfills the promised user intent based on the referring page or search.

#5: 404 Errors

Frequent 404 errors mean visitors are hitting broken pages that disrupt their experience.

Any 404s are UX failures, but volumes of 404s indicate major problems. Visitors struggle to find information. Bots can’t properly crawl your site.

Continually audit and fix broken links and missing pages. Eliminate orphaned legacy URLs through redirects. This improves real UX and search indexability.

#6: Site Search Usage

Low internal site search usage often signals unintuitive site navigation. Visitors resort to search because they can’t easily browse to find answers.

High search usage isn’t necessarily bad. But low search volume combined with high bounce rates suggests your IA should be re-evaluated.

Review analytics to identify popular searches. Optimize your menu structure and architecture to make discovering that content more intuitive.

#7: Exit Pages

Your top exit pages highlight where visitors lose interest and leave your site unsatisfied. Pore over this report!

Are exits concentrated on particular pages or steps in processes? That’s where to focus UX optimizations first.

Common exit points include:

  • Product description pages with limited info
  • Blog posts with skimpy advice
  • Pricing pages with unclear tiers
  • Error pages
  • Registration/checkout flows

Look for quick wins like adding content or media to exit pages. For processes, remove friction points. Each exit prevented boosts conversions.

#8: Site Overlay Reports

Heatmaps, scrollmaps, and clickmaps provided by services like Hotjar provide incredible visual insight into your UX.

You can instantly spot confusing layouts, unnoticed CTAs, hard-to-find menu links, ignored sidebars, and other page elements that aren’t working for users.

Overlays and session recordings should guide all site redesigns. Let actual visitor behavior – not assumptions – shape your UI and navigation.

#9: Form Conversion Funnels

Tracking submissions, drop-offs, and fallouts within multistep forms highlights roadblocks in conversion processes.

Review funnel data and recordings to diagnose where and why visitors bail. Then systematically remove form field friction through:

  • Simplified designs
  • Smart default values
  • Clearer instructions and error messaging
  • Reduced required entries

Smoothing form completion drives more conversions while creating happier, less frustrated users.

#10: Traffic Source Trends

Radical shifts in the sources driving traffic to your site reveal macro UX smells.

A drop in search visibility could indicate your content is falling behind competitors. Losing referral traffic points to poor onboarding or engagement. Lower direct traffic means awareness and loyalty are fading.

Stay alert for any major declines in key sources. Look to competitors gaining share in those areas. Then invest in UX improvements to win visitors back.

Tune into the UX Signals in Your Traffic

Tune into the ux signals in your traffic

Phew, we covered a ton of website analytics reports and metrics! Here are some key takeaways:

  • Falling organic traffic growth, high bounce rates, and short sessions all indicate UX issues.
  • Monitor pages per session, time on site, and bounce rate by page to catch content gaps.
  • Use overlays and recordings to identify UX friction points on specific pages.
  • Review funnels and exits to diagnose where your site loses visitors.
  • Let trends in traffic sources prompt investments in better UX and content.

Don’t get overwhelmed by all the data! Focus on the metrics aligned to your current goals and benchmarks first.

The more you analyze traffic alongside user feedback and research, the better you’ll become at reading the UX tea leaves.

You’ll easily identify shortcomings before they impact conversions and loyalty. User intent signals will shape content strategy and design decisions.

So, keep these reports bookmarked and check them regularly to stay tapped into the user experience story your data is trying to tell.

With practice, you’ll learn to translate analytics insights into actionable UX improvements that boost satisfaction, conversions and organic search visibility in perfect harmony.

Now you just need to put this advice into action for your own website. So pull up your analytics and get sleuthing for UX opportunities! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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Third Party resource: UX and SEO: a New Perspective on Winning at SEO – Conductor