Top Services for Website Traffic Analysis in 2023
What traffic sources generate more targeted visitors and conversions? What is the percentage of new visitors, and how many of them return? How much time do visitors spend on the website, and what pages are more popular?
The answers to these questions are provided by website traffic statistics.
1. What Is Website Traffic?
The popular definition for “website traffic” is the number of visitors and visits to a website. Every time a user clicks on a website, a visit is recorded.
Another important concept is “session.” One visit may entail viewing several pages or performing several actions (sending a form, adding an item to the cart, payment). A set of such actions is referred to as a session.
1.1. Search (organic) traffic
There are several types of traffic, and we’ll first discuss search traffic.
These are visitors who found the website using specific queries in a search engine. For example, you could find this article by typing “how to check site traffic” into Google.
Google generates the largest share of search traffic, processing 3.5 billion queries daily, which is 76% of all search queries. Despite this dominance, people in some regions use other search engines.
Organic traffic is the most popular for any business and depends on the website’s visibility by search engines. To increase organic traffic, companies optimize individual web pages, work with new content, and try to get more links to their content. All this tireless work is time-consuming, but it fully pays off later.
1.2. Paid traffic
When visitors get to the website through Facebook ads, Google Ads, media ads, or any other ads, it’s paid traffic. Its obvious disadvantage is the need to pay for ad impressions and conversions to the site, but there are advantages as well.
Using paid traffic, companies can fully control the flow of visitors to the website. For example, they can set specific search queries for conversions, manage the location of ad impressions, or set the desired age and gender of visitors.
1.3. Direct traffic
Direct traffic is conversions to a site via typing a site URL into a browser address bar or via a bookmark. From the standpoint of analytics systems, it is traffic without a source or data. The share of direct traffic is not that big in the total number of visits, but it may indicate brand awareness or customer loyalty.
Sometimes, analytics systems in direct traffic erroneously count clicks from different documents (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF files), messengers (Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger), and SMS. You should consider this point when analyzing site traffic.
1.4. Referral traffic
When a user clicks a link posted on other resources, you receive referral traffic. Links can be posted in press releases published on news and information resources, on review websites, in comments, in user signatures on forums and emails, etc.
Backlinks not only drive referral traffic to the site, but they also serve the same role of search engines as product reviews on a website. The bigger their number and the more quality they are, the more trust the site will get from the search engine and users.
2. How to Analyze Your Website?
There are dozens of services on the web that allow you to check the website traffic. The most popular are Yandex.Webmaster and Google Search Console. In addition to their popularity, both systems combine the need to confirm your rights to website ownership.
Yandex.Webmaster is an indispensable tool for companies working with the Russian market and the Yandex search engine. This search engine accounts for over 60% of all search traffic in Russia and serves over 85 million users a month.
To start working with Yandex.Webmaster, you should create an account on the service and add a website whose traffic statistics you want to monitor. If the site has an active SSL security certificate, you should specify the URL of the site with https:// when adding the site address to the Yandex service, as shown in the image below.
Next, the service will ask you to confirm the rights to manage the website. You can do this in one of three ways:
- By creating an HTML file.
- By adding a special meta tag to the code of the main website page.
- By adding the TXT record in the DNS domain of the website.
All methods are described in detail in the instructions that appear when you add a website. The easiest way is using an HTML file.
For its implementation, you should:
- Create a text file in Notepad.
- Add to it the text specified in the instructions.
- Rename the file as specified in the instructions.
- Using the web interface on the hosting or client’s FTP, place this file on the hosting at the root of the site.
- Run a check in Yandex.Webmaster.
If the site was created on one of the three dozen popular CMSs (WordPress, Wix, Bitrix24, Tilda.cc, etc.), you can find detailed instructions on how to validate the rights to the site on this page, taking into account the characteristics of CMS.
Yandex.Webmaster has many useful tools, which you can use to:
- Check the site for SEO errors.
- Evaluate the site quality index (SQI) that determines (according to Yandex) the degree of usefulness of the site for users and takes into account various behavioral factors of site visitors.
- Diagnose site security and its indexation degree.
One of the most important sections is Search Query Statistics. It contains the queries by which the site pages were displayed in search results. The data can be sorted by region, device, date, and various indicators.
Working with this section will help improve the site’s position in search results, process popular queries better, get more organic traffic, and expand website keywords.
2.2. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a set of tools that will allow you to evaluate the ranking of your website by the most popular search engine.
As with the Yandex service, you also have to add a site and confirm the rights to use it to work with Search Console.
If you add a site via the Domain option, the confirmation method will be available only by adding a new record in the DNS settings. If you use the URL prefix option, you have access to the same methods of verifying rights to the site as with Yandex.Webmaster, as well as through other Google services – Tag Manager or Analytics. The system will need time to collect data; the first data will only appear after 24 hours.
The functionality of Google Search Console is more modest than that of its Yandex counterpart, but it allows you to:
- Track the indexing of the site by Google.
- Detect problems with the site.
- Check what links lead to the site.
- Evaluate the correctness of the presentation of various snippets like how-to, events, faq, etc. in Google SERPs (example on the chart below).
To assess the position of the site in SERPs, use the Search Results section, where you can check:
- The number of impressions of the site in search results.
- The number of clicks received from the search.
- The average position of the site in search results for the specified period.
- Average CTR – the percentage of impressions that resulted in a visit to the site.
Here’s an example of a report for a web page where the average position in search results was 9.3 for the last 3 months, which is a pretty good result.
Similar reports in Google Search Console can be created for:
- Individual search queries
- Search regions
- Different types of devices (desktop, smartphone, tablet)
- Date ranges
As with Yandex.Webmaster, this is valuable information for optimizing and improving your site’s position in search results as well as attracting organic traffic.
3. How to Check the Traffic of a Competitor’s Website?
When developing a new website, its promotion strategy, or marketing activities, you often encounter the task of conducting a competitive analysis. It implies analyzing the web resources of the main market players, including checking the traffic of their websites.
Why is it necessary, and what does such analysis provide?
- To make a more accurate portrait of the product’s target audience by locations of site visitors ( it is also useful to effectively launch advertising).
- Identify the sources of traffic and understand which communication channels the company’s marketing activities are aimed at.
- Find mistakes in SEO optimization of the website and take them into account when developing your website.
- Identify the market share of competitors, which most often correlates with website traffic.
- Evaluate the quality of a competitor’s position in search results and find their lost queries.
If everything is ok with your website, you may prove the rights to manage the resource, activate Google Search Console or Yandex.Webmaster, and then check the website traffic, the visibility of pages in search, and other parameters. But what about your competitors? After all, you do not have direct access to their sites to such tools. In this case, plenty of free and paid services can help, which allow you to peek behind the scenes of other people’s sites and find out about site traffic online.
4. What Should You Pay Attention to When Analyzing a Competitor’s Website?
Before we list the best services for learning about your competitor’s site traffic online, let’s identify the most valuable parameters for competitive analysis.
4.1. Unique visitors
It is the number of people who visited a website one or more times in a given period. It is considered an essential indicator of engagement and will allow you to analyze:
- The degree of influence of the competitors’ content.
- The reach of advertising campaigns.
- The reach of the brand and the overall online activity of the site.
4.2. Page views
During one visit to the site (session), a user can visit the same page several times. If the page was reloaded or refreshed between views, a few views will be counted. If the page was opened in a browser tab to which the visitor returned multiple times, the analytics system will record only one visit.
This parameter can be useful when analyzing visitor activity on a competitor’s site and comparing data with your own site’s parameters.
4.3. Organic search traffic
An analysis of organic traffic by one or a group of queries allows you to find out which competitors you have to deal with to gain the top positions in search results.
A high rate of your competitor’s organic traffic may indicate good website optimization. But you should keep in mind that this indicator does not always reflect the true value of traffic.
4.4. Average duration of visits
It is calculated as the ratio of the total duration of all visits to the site to sessions. It is important to note that sessions during which a person visited only one page are not taken into account, and their duration is assumed to be zero.
Along with other parameters, the average duration of visits can indicate the degree of attraction of visitors to the site. If the competitor’s site loads fast enough, the navigation is clear, and people spend more time on the site than on other similar pages, you can find something to learn from it.
4.5. Bounce rate
It refers to the percentage of website visitors who left the site without any interaction (no video viewing, no button clicking, etc.), that is, they left the site from the same page they opened initially.
The failure rate is highly dependent on the website’s niche, and its normal value can range from 26% to 70%. For e-commerce websites, it is lower, and for information resources, where a person immediately finds the answer to their question, it may be higher.
5. TOP Services for Checking and Monitoring Website Positions and Traffic
Here is a list of the most popular services that will help learn about the website traffic and the results of its visibility by search engines.
One of the most popular services for website analysis with a handy Chrome extension.
- Website traffic, bounce rate.
- Time spent on the site.
- Traffic analysis, visitor locations, and more.
The free version will be enough for a basic analysis of any website. But keep in mind that the data may not be sufficient to build a report for new sites with low traffic.
It is a platform with plenty of unique tools. In addition to the standard analysis of search results and website traffic, the platform has many other features:
- Audit of competitor activity on social media.
- Monitoring the advertising activity for selected resources.
- Analysis of the website’s link profile and much more.
If you pay a yearly fee, the cost of the service starts at about $100/month.
It is another very famous service that, in addition to the paid version, has a lot of popular free tools. On the service website, you can assess the domain ranking as well as the link profile of the site.
- Defining the organic traffic of a competitor’s site.
- Analysis of website pages with keywords.
- Paid search results analysis: what keywords competitors use for advertising and which pages they drive paid traffic to.
- Keyword research not only in popular search engines but also on YouTube and Amazon.
The cost of the basic package starts at $99, which is reasonable considering what a great set of tools the specialist gets for this money.
A Swiss knife-style service for SEO specialists and monitoring competitors. The cost of the basic subscription is less than the top services (from $69/month), but the functionality is not inferior to them.
- Batch analysis of domains and key phrases.
- Analysis of advertising activity.
- In-depth website analysis.
- Parsing TOP results and keyword clustering.
It is a service confidently claiming a 100% accurate check of website positions.
- Competitor analysis by keywords and ads.
- Comprehensive website audit and backlinks.
- Autoposting in Facebook and Vkontakte, social media metrics analysis.
Payment terms imply either a monthly subscription ($7/month) or pay per check.
One of the oldest but still popular and in-demand SEO tools:
- Website visibility assessment.
- Comparison with competitors.
- Analysis of the link mass of the site.
The service has free features; paid subscription plans start at $38/month.
Unlike mentioned services, this program has a fairly rich SEO functionality for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.
The free version can be downloaded from the application website. The limitations of the free version do not allow you to save projects and set the schedule of tasks, but it is sufficient for analyzing your website or competitors’ resources.
It is a website auditing service with a Chrome extension.
- Step-by-step instructions for website optimization.
- Keyword tracking.
- Backlink monitoring and analysis.
- Possibility to connect Google Analytics and Google Search Console to get more data.
It is another desktop solution for working with SEO tasks and more.
- Allows you to research more than 450 website parameters from 25 different authority sources (including the above services).
- Custom parsing of search results from major search engines with detailed setup by geolocation, language, etc.
- Collection of contact data from websites.
- Analysis of competitor traffic by channels.
None of the above services have such a set of features, so you should take a closer look at the program. There is a free freemium version, with paid packages starting at $26/month.
6. Is the Traffic Data from Different SEO Services Trustworthy?
To answer this question, earlier this year, Mark Webster surveyed 47 website owners and asked them to share the actual data on visits to their websites in May 2021.
These data were checked against the results of Ahrefs, SEMRush, SerpStat, SimilarWeb, Surfer SEO, and UberSuggest SEO services.
Some tools turned out to overestimate traffic. For example, SEMRush overstates traffic figures by 200%, and Serpstat — by 334%. The most objective data was obtained from Ahrefs.
With the variety of services available today, competitor websites can no longer have any secrets. You should monitor and analyze them but not for copying and repeating.
The goal of marketing and SEO specialists today is to create a user-friendly web resource, fill it with relevant information, and do everything according to the requirements of search engines. It is the only way to bypass competitors, take leading positions in search results, and reduce the cost of contextual advertising.
You should remember that information obtained from SEO services must be used carefully. Given the findings of Mark Webster, you should check it from several sources and compare it to the real picture on your resource.
Where can I see website statistics?
When it comes to your website, the best tools are Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrika.
How do I know the competitor’s website traffic?
As for competitor websites, it is better to use one of the resources mentioned in this article. For example, Ahrefs or SimilarWeb if you are only interested in traffic from Google. If you want to estimate traffic from Yandex, you can use Serpstat or PR-CY.
Is it possible to check the traffic of my website for free?
You can use Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrika to check your website traffic — both tools are free.
For competitor websites, you can use most services listed in the review. They have either free versions or trial periods that allow you to check competitor traffic, albeit with some functionality limitations.