SiteMeter Doesn’t Count For Traffic

I manage a few different sites. Over the years of blogging and setting up other websites, I have been introduced to many different types of trackers to monitor the amount of people visiting a website. I have standardized on Google Analytics for everything only because the data is accurate and it shows me really what’s going on with my site.

Not all analytic tools are created equal

I have come across many sites that use SiteMeter for their analytics. These same sites brag extensively on getting 2000 – 3000 visitors a day. SiteMeter is nothing more than a hit counter and though they have some fancy graphs and technodribble, they really do not provide real data on unique visitors.

https://i0.wp.com/easycaptures.com/fs/uploaded/135/thumbs/0365843014_b.jpg?w=800

SiteMeter makes no attempt at hiding this and says so on their own blog: “SiteMeter does not currently track Unique Visits/Visitors. Our measurement is defined as a Visit. The basis of this measurement is calculated on a 30 minute time period, from the last page viewed.

Now for the uninformed, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but I’ll explain. There seem to be a lot of implausible blog traffic numbers floating around lately. Part of the problem is confusion between “visits” and “visitors.” If I visit the Contra Costa Times 10 times on a given day (which is not unusual), that counts as ten visits but I’m still only one visitor.

Many blogs run with that same mentality and actually brag about high traffic numbers when in reality these are just the same dozen people visiting the site over and over again. Some blogs get an influx of 10-20 comments after a new post is made and in order to see new comments, you need to refresh the page which using SiteMeter counts as another “visit”. There are some sites that I’ll hit refresh on 30-50 times a day to see what new thread has been created on any given topic, that doesn’t mean that 30-50 people have come to the site.

The reason I post this is simple. If as a blog owner you are going to brag about the 3000 hits a day you get to your site, make sure you know what you are talking about. If you are a site owner and know this, you are lying to your readers. Use a tool that will show you true metrics of unique visitors. Google can, SiteMeter cannot.



Koka Sexton

Koka Sexton is a renowned expert in social selling. Some would say Koka Sexton is the reason social selling exists, he would say that social selling existed once buyers went online. A recognized expert in social selling that has produced revenue for B2B companies, Koka continues to make generating new business the focus of social media. Finding creative ways to plan, develop and execute content marketing campaigns that break through the noise and provide value to buyers in excess of what they expect.

4 thoughts on “SiteMeter Doesn’t Count For Traffic

  • February 5, 2009 at 8:35 am
    Permalink

    “Now for the uninformed, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but I’ll explain. There seem to be a lot of implausible blog traffic numbers floating around lately. Part of the problem is confusion between “visits” and “visitors.” If I visit the Contra Costa Times 10 times on a given day (which is not unusual), that counts as ten visits but I’m still only one visitor.”

    I use Site Meter on my blog and watch my traffic like a hawk. This isn’t the case on my blog, those 10 times you visit my blog would ONLY could as 10 different visits if they were at least 30 mins apart. If you visited 20 times in 20 minutes, that’s just one visit.

    Also, you said this:

    “Some blogs get an influx of 10-20 comments after a new post is made and in order to see new comments, you need to refresh the page which using SiteMeter counts as another “visit”. There are some sites that I’ll hit refresh on 30-50 times a day to see what new thread has been created on any given topic, that doesn’t mean that 30-50 people have come to the site.”

    Not sure what you are talking about here either, unless when you say ‘visit’, you mean ‘page view’. Now if you keep a page open and reload it say once an hour for 10 hours (with an hour in between loads) then yes, that will show up as 10 visits according to SiteMeter(it will also show up as 10 pageviews). But if you reload a page within 30 mins of last viewing it, then you aren’t counted as a ‘new’ visitor.

    Again, my blog uses Site Meter, and I’m not seeing the results you claim. BTW I also use Google Analytics for my blog (mostly use SiteMeter to show me referral sources in real-time), and GA usually reports lower traffic numbers than SiteMeter by about 5-10%. But not always, sometimes GA reports HIGHER traffic than SM does.

    Anyway just thought I’d throw in my 2 cents since I use both SM and GA on my blog.

  • February 5, 2009 at 10:57 am
    Permalink

    Well sitemeter says that there is a 30 minute window for ‘visits’ but also says that this data can be skewed based on how often your database reloads. The explicitly say that sitemeter CAN NOT give an accurate representation of unique visits to your site which is really what matters to many blogs.

    So if you have 300 people refreshing your site 3 times a day with an hour in-between then as you acknowledged, that would count for 900 visits to the site.

    Sitemeter also doesn’t give a clear definition of how many database entries it stores for regular users but gives this explanation on thier blog related to new visits.

    “So, for a site with very high levels of Visit traffic it’s possible that a DB limited to approx 100 records would not contain enough entries to hold new visits and current visitor activity. In some cases this could result in current visits being dropped from the DB and then counted as new visits.”

    In that case, using the 300 visitor analogy from before, you could actually be registering exponentially higher traffic.

    I used to use sitemeter and when this was brought to my attention, I made the shift to GA. Yes it was sad to see my numbers lower than I was used to but the numbers were accurate.

  • February 5, 2009 at 11:37 am
    Permalink

    Honestly, I can find problems with both SM and GA. For example, take yesterday. My blog’s traffic had about 200 visitors more than usual, and by closely tracking Twitter search and referrals via SiteMeter, I can tell that thanks to RTs, I got a ton of ‘extra’ traffic from Twitter. But GA only counted 44 referrals from Twitter yesterday, and I am sure it was actually 3-5 times that.

    So neither is perfect. For me, SiteMeter works better in tracking real-time traffic and referrals, GA works better for giving me an overall picture. And I think that for well-trafficked blogs, even if SM over-reports actual traffic, it isn’t going to be by a huge amount. Occasionally, GA reports higher traffic than SM does for my blog.

  • February 5, 2009 at 11:43 am
    Permalink

    Mack, agreed. There is not one ‘killer app’ for analytics. I just wanted to point out the discrepancies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: