Which site metric do you think is more important, page views or unique visitors? In an affiliate marketing industry obsessed by SEO questions, the outcome of this argument takes on some pretty serious monetary consequences. There are pros and cons to both metrics and some in the industry don’t think much of either one.

Whether you’re just getting started in the industry or you’ve been around a long time, you owe it to yourself to understand the importance unique visitors and page views and which one matters more.

Definitions

Before getting too far along, it’s worth taking a moment to formally define these terms according the number one authority on the subject, Google.

A pageview is an instance of a page being loaded by a browser.

Unique Visitors represents the number of un-duplicated (counted only once) visitors to your website over the course of a specified time period. A Unique Visitor is determined using cookies.

In the perfect world you’ll have lots of unique visitors racking up lots of page views, but that’s not how things always work. What if you’ve got a surplus of one or the other? There are definitely pros and cons associated with each metric and each one shares different information about your site

More Pageviews Than Visitors

Here’s a nice problem to have, you don’t have very many unique visitors, but your page views are going through the roof. The message you should be receiving here is that your content is great, but your marketing efforts could use a boost.

So how do you get more visitors to your sites? That’s the million dollar question, but a sticky site with good content has a pretty formidable weapon in this fight, dedicated readers.

Domink Kofert,  CEO of PokerStrategy.com, is a man who knows something about pagviews and unique visitors. After all, his site chalked up over half a billion page views last year. In a recent interview with CAP, Kofert shared his strategy for using readers as affiliates.

Our affiliate program is relatively simple. It’s basically a tiered CPA program. You refer a player to PokerStrategy and he gets converted into a real money player, either by making a small deposit or by making one of our free bank rolls…you as an affiliate get a CPA.

More Visitors Than Page Views

If you’re seeing lots of visitors who aren’t staying around long enough to drive page views, you’ve got an all-hands-on-deck emergency on your hands. The clear message here is that your content just isn’t doing the trick. (That said, hats off on what must be a pretty good SEO strategy.)

Creating high quality content pays off in any number of ways, including increased page views and happier readers. There’s no shortage of articles on sites like SEOmoz and CAP that can help you get your content back on track.

You might also want to heed the advice shared by Nikola Zugic in a CAP Webinar titled, Attract 500,000 Monthly Visitors.

I have three words for the viewers: SEO, SEO, SEO. And content, content, content. You have to surround yourself with quality people who know what they’re doing and you have to do your research definitely and see what other websites are doing and try to improve it on your own website.

Whatever you wind up doing you need to do it quickly. Those unique visitors won’t keep coming back if there’s nothing of value on your site.

Which One is More Important?

At the end of the day, Google is going to rank your site on a number of factors, including page views, length of visit and unique visitors. If your visitors aren’t sticking around for very long, your site rankings are going to fall, so it’s a pretty serious matter. (For more on how Google determines these factors, we recommend you take a look at Really Understanding Google Analytics by Kent Clark.)

It Just Doesn’t Matter

At the end of the day, page views and unique visitors play a distant second fiddle to a couple ladies called conversions and sales. In a blog post titled, Profit is More Important than Monthly Unique Visitors on ScoutAnalytics.com, Matt Shanahan argues that webmasters shouldn’t lose track of the value of actual conversions and sales. He states in no uncertain terms:

If profit is the goal, then monthly unique visitors and page views are not relevant performance indicators. What matters most for profit is revenue capacity and contribution from the loyal, profitable audience.

If your conversion rates are where you want them, the battle between page views and unique visitors is kind of moot point.

Which one do you think is more important, page views or unique visitors? Share your thoughts on our SEO Forum.


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