February In Review – What Can I Learn From My Visitors?

This post isn’t exactly about genetic genealogy. Rather, it is about what I can learn from my visitors in order to make The Genetic Genealogist a better place to visit. By analyzing statistics at the end of each month, I hope to continue to refine the direction of the blog to create and present the best content possible. Here are a few of the things I learned from my visitors this month:

The Top Ten Most Visited Posts:

  1. The Family Tree of Blue Eyed Individuals
  2. Where Was My Y-DNA and mtDNA in 1808?
  3. Family Tree DNA Launches DNATraints, A New DNA Testing Company
  4. 23andMe Revisited
  5. African American Lives 2 (February 2008)
  6. African American Lives 2 (A preview from April 2007)
  7. Buick And Ancestry DNA Team Up For a DNA Contest
  8. Genetic Genealogy is SO Mainstream – More Black History Month Events
  9. Famous DNA Review Part III – Niall of the Nine Hostages
  10. The First Personal Genomic Sequencing Test Offered for $985

What did I learn from this list? Well, here are a few interesting facts about these posts:

  • Only 5 of the top 10 articles were actually written in February 2008! This tells me that previously-written content is important, and that I should consider reviewing and updating popular older posts.
  • Four of the top 10 articles were about genetic genealogy and Black History Month. In addition to older content, new content about current topics (such as Black History Month) is equally as important.
  • The first two posts were popular among StumbleUpon readers. I’m not surprised by the first article, as it has obvious popular appeal – but I was surprised by the second article. You can never be sure what posts will be picked up and popularized by social media.

Top 15 Keywords in February 2008:

What can I learn from the keywords used by readers to find my blog?

  1. african american lives 2
  2. dna articles
  3. 23andme
  4. navigenetics
  5. genetic genealogy
  6. articles on dna
  7. genetic genealogist
  8. sorenson genomics
  9. africandna.com
  10. buick ancestry
  11. famous dna
  12. dnatraits
  13. genetic genealogy blog
  14. genealogy test
  15. megan smolenyak

Analytics allows me to track other information about these keywords, including (1) how many pages were viewed by people who came to the site via a particular keyword; and (2) the bounce rate of visitors who came via a keyword. Bounce rate is the percentage of people who exit a site from the first page they visit. So, for instance, for my first keyword “african american lives 2″, the average pages read was 2.4, and the bounce rate was 59% (which are both right around my average). What did I learn from my keywords?

  • Again, timely searches are important, as keywords #1, #9, #10, and #12 are all associated with Black History Month or the February launch of a new company (DNATraits).
  • Not surprisingly, TGG is not what people are looking for when they search “genealogy test”, as the page rate was 1 and the bounce rate was 93%. Nothing too surprising there, as I do not sell genealogy tests at TGG.
  • Very surprisingly, the keyword “genetic genealogy blog” had a page rate of 1.1 and a bounce rate of 87%! What are you people looking for? This is one of the only genetic genealogy blogs on the planet! This is a very interesting result that requires further analysis – do I make it clear ‘above the fold’ that this blog is about genetic genealogy? In sharp contrast, the term “genetic genealogist” had a very high page rate at 3.3, and a very low bounce rate at 46%.
  • The highest page rate (3.6) and lowest bounce rate (29%) belonged to the keyword “buick ancestry” from Buick And Ancestry DNA Team Up For a DNA Contest.

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007