GSC is finally back up after being down for almost a week. From their Twitter account, you might think it was only down for a couple days (Sept. 21-23) based on when they posted tweets about it.
I once saw 110 hours from when GSC was last updated once, so it was definitely longer than 2-3 days. Some SEOs reported their last day of data was Sept. 17th and that was mine too during the outage. No data was lost though, it just wasn't showing on the front end of GSC.
Since I don't have weekly SEO reports I need to deliver, it wasn't too concerning for me. And if there was a week of data that was lost, no big deal. I can only imagine how SEOs with client reports needing to be delivered were feeling though.
That's just one of the things we live with though in the affiliate/niche site world. We're at the mercy of Google when it comes to organic traffic. Many people talk about building audiences and brands, so you're not reliant on Google. I believe that too.
Treat your niche site as a brand, in the sense that you want people to remember your site and want to come back directly to look for information. Or at least feel that the site and content is reputable, so they'll stay on the site for that session and visit multiple pages.
Building a site/brand is not an easy thing to do by any means, but there are two main aspects to it. There's the design aspect that gives users a first impression and overall feel to the site. Then there's the more important meat of the site - the content.
How can you tell what visitors think about the content though?
There are lots of metrics that tell different parts of the story. You can look at direct traffic, external link clicks, time on page, natural backlinks, social media referrals, etc. They can all add up to give you a picture of how users interact with your site.
One thing I also like to look at is how people navigate the site and if they're clicking through to other posts. Do they feel that the page they landed on was good enough info that they want to stay on your site to look up more information?
Google Analytics offers this up in the "Behavior Flow" report in the "Behavior" section of GA. It should look like the image above. Each column is an "interaction," a click to another page on your site. The default view is 3 interactions, but if you click the "+ Step" link on the right, it'll add more columns until there are no more.
Once someone leaves your site, it's considered a "drop-off." Drop-offs will tell you the last page (aka Exit Page) that the user was reading before they left your site.
The behavior flow can tell you how visitors interacted with your content and what topics they are interested in. If you spend some time on it, the data can help inform what internal links you add to individual pages. You can even start directing the flow of your visitors.
For example, if you have a food and cooking site, you might have "best [cooking appliance]" articles, as well as recipes. Are visitors going from the "best of" posts to the recipes? That tells me that they thought your review of the products had good insights and that you know what you're talking about when it comes to cooking. So they want to see how you make dishes.
If they're reading a recipe, do they click to another recipe? If yes, that tells me that they think that the first recipe was good, and they want to see what else you've been cooking. If the first recipe was bad, I doubt they'd want to see another recipe from you.
In the end, it's about how much time and effort you want to spend on optimizing your sites. Every little bit counts.
Niche sites aren't something you should throw together haphazardly. Don't overlook the details.
Put in the work and you'll reap the rewards.
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