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Pages Per Visit Overlooked and Vitally Important

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Pages per visit

Pages per visit is one of the most overlooked and under-discussed metrics in website analytics.

Most discussions about analytics focus on unique visitors, visits and page views.

Unique visitors attract attention because it is considered the metric that best measures total audience. But it’s also a faulty metric because, among other reasons:

  • Someone who clears cookies will be measured twice.
  • People who visit a site from work and then again from home will be measured twice.
  • A family of four or five people living in a single house with one computer will be measured once.

The visit number is arguably the most important metric for measuring online audience (even Google emphasizes it more than others) because it is the most accurate way of tracking total audience.

Page views have less weight but are important for sites with advertising. The higher the page views, the more ad inventory is available for revenue.

Pages per visit is a simple calculation that divides pages view by visits. A high PPV number says a great deal about site visitors.

Why Pages Per Visit Metric is So Important

Pages per visit measures or at least indicates quite a few attributes of a site:

  • Navigation
  • Speed
  • Depth and quality of content
  • Relevance of content
  • In general, user experience

Sites with thoughtful and easy to use navigation will have a higher PPV number because people will click on more pages.

Likewise, people click on more pages when they are on a fast site. This is especially true with mobile, which tends to load more slowly than desktop.

A site with more content obviously has more reasons for people to click around. If the quality is good and relevant, then visitors also have a motivation to stay on the site.

Putting all of these attributes together leads to a better user experience, more clicks and a higher pages per visit total.

PPV Impacts Other Metrics

Pages per visit also directly impacts two other important metrics: bounce rate and time on site.

It is a way of predicting return visits and brand loyalty for a simple reason.

A high pages per visit number indicates that the people who have come to the site have  good reasons to stay with it. They are more likely to explore more pages than just the one that attracted them on search engine results.

People who go to a single page and leave — also known as bounce rate — are saying quite clearly that what they found isn’t good enough to stick around.

A person who hits a landing page and clicks around from there clearly is finding a reason to stay.

Finally, a high pages per visit number also directly impacts ad inventory and revenue. The more pages people click, the more ad inventory the site delivers.

5 Ways to Increase Pages Per Visit

Tracking the pages per visit number forces the site manager to think about reasons why the number if high or low and what steps to take to improve it.

1) Track the number at least monthly if not weekly. Site management is a data-intensive process. Without the data, there is no focus.

2) Measure clicks on site navigation bars and lists to see which ones are performing best and which ones should be removed. Likewise, experiment with colors and fonts to see if navigation simply isn’t prominent enough.

3) Ensure that pages download quickly and don’t have too many scripts, ads and graphics. A giant, slow-loading page is a sure way to chase off visitors.

4) Place links within articles. Make the links relevant and prominent. But don’t overdo it.

5) Use external marketing to match inbound link text with appropriate landing pages. Someone who clicks into the site expecting one thing and getting another will more likely leave after one page.

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