Understanding traffic on your site

As a publisher, there are several best practices for you to better understand the traffic to your sites. In this section, we’ll discuss how Google Webmaster Tools can give you insight into that traffic. In addition, we’ll outline how you can use analytics tools, like Google Analytics, to segment your traffic to see what your traffic sources are and how the sources are performing relative to one another.

Google Webmaster Tools

Some of the best strategies you can use to drive users to your site and improve the visibility of your pages can be found within Google's Webmaster Tools.

Google Webmaster Tools enables you to submit all of your pages to the Google index. Once you've submitted your URLs, you will be able to view the common words that link to your pages and that are in turn recognized by Google. This allows you to see trends in your site's content, and can help you determine your ranking for particular keywords. You can also see which page has the highest PageRank by month. Knowing this information can help you determine where to best prioritize time when optimizing ads on your site.

In addition, Google Webmaster Tools allows you to learn which Google queries create clickthroughs to your site and where you’re positioned in the search results for that query. You can segment your traffic and view data for individual properties and countries as well. For instance, you can see which user queries from Google Images searches in the United States returned your site in the results. For more information, please see the Segmenting Your Traffic section below.

Segmenting your traffic

It’s a good idea for you to use site analytics programs, such as Google Analytics, to track and review traffic on your sites. These programs will allow you to understand what type of visitors are viewing your pages, what they do on your site, and if they are engaging with your ads and content.

Segmenting your traffic allows you to set up your ad units and custom channels in a way that enables you to explicitly see your different traffic sources, and monitor how each channel performs. Whether you're new to the AdSense world or you're a long time publisher, these insights are highly beneficial. Custom channels let you track the performance of specific groups of ad units. More specifically, setting up granular traffic segmentation will allow you, at any given time, to see what your traffic sources are and how they are performing with respect to one another. Using this data, you can determine how users are reaching your site, and whether you can optimize your traffic sources. You can also integrate your AdSense account with Analytics to get more insight into how to tailor your content and ads to your site's users.

Moreover, segmenting your traffic can help you identify potential invalid activity quickly and make appropriate changes to keep your account in good standing. Proactively monitoring how your traffic sources are performing allows you to make educated decisions and stop working with sources that appear to be sending bad traffic. Be on the lookout for any suspicious user behavior. Ask questions like “Where do my users come from, either geographically or on the Web?” “Which pages do they view on my site?” We encourage all publishers to identify anomalies in the data, monitor how different sources are performing, and understand the actions necessary (e.g., discontinue working with bad traffic sources) to ensure that they are staying compliant with the AdSense program policies.

To learn more about how to set up channels, please review this Help Center article.