Yesterday, I met with a client who had a drop in contact requests for his product over the last month. We took a look at the website analytics, compared conversions, and indeed his numbers were down from the same month last year. We could assume economic shifts, weather changes, or voodoo curses may have caused this event. But, in order to get the real nitty gritty, I pulled out my toolbox of useful metric resources.
Here are a few resources we used to see whether the change is “just him”, the industry, or some type of Black Swan:
I look at top keywords, and how they are performing in Google Trends compared with last year/month. Google Insights, is another useful resource, where you can drill-down by geographic information, and compare terms.
Take a look at the search results. Google sometimes shifts its algorithm, and you may lose the top spot to a site like Mahalo, or another site with new, updated and current information. Google’s Webmasters Tools gives a decent indication, but nothing beats a signed-out, cache-cleared search.
Take a look at your own analytics. Check your traffic sources, search keywords, and look for significant changes. If you go up to change the date, you will be offered the option of increasing the timeline. I will sometimes look across multiple years to see the growth and trend for a particular site.
Use a site like Compete to compare your site with other competitors’ sites. Alexa does some CI as well.
One place where I like to keep a pulse of the market is inside my Google Adwords account. If you use the keyword research tool under the tab “Opportunities,” you can get a measure for the average CPC bid, global/local searches, and approximately how much it is to enter the advertising market – which in turn will tell you how much your competitors are currently spending on advertising in the same industry. This tool provides a ton of information, I highly suggest keeping a good eye on it.