In a study announced on March 8, 2004, OneStat.com reports that almost 55% of all internet users who visit a web site view 1 -2 pages per visit and 16.56% view 2 – 3 pages per visit.

Most visitors view only 1 - 2 pages per web site according to OneStat.com

The research, based on a sample of 2 million visitors from 100 countries each day, compiled the following results for the average number of page views per visit during the first week of March:

  • 1 page view 9.52%
  • 1 – 2 page views 54.60%
  • 2 – 3 page views 16.56%
  • 3 – 4 page views 8.75%
  • 4 – 5 page views 4.43%
  • 6 – 7 page views 1.41%
  • 7 – 8 page views 0.85%
  • 8 – 9 page views 0.68%
  • 9 – 10 page views 0.51%
  • more than 10 page views 2.69%

What this research does not tell us

This research does not tell us how much time the visitors have spent interracting with the web pages and how much time they’ve spent on browsing the web site navigation in search for information.

More importantly, this research does not mention how deep in the hierarchy of the web site are the pages visited. For example, the visitors who browsed 1-2 pages could have viewed the home page and another page connected from it, or they could have browsed two interconnected pages deep in the information architecture of the site. The difference is significance because it can give us hints into how the visitors arrived at the initial page to start with.

Those arriving at the front page might have landed there by directly typing the URL (web address) or by following a link or by using a search engine.

Those arriving at a inner page would have arrived via a specific link or via a search engine query — fewer people link to a specific inner page than to a home page of a popular site. Inner page visitors are more likely to have found exactly what they were looking for, simply because an inner page would rank for a specific search keyword phrase and not a generic one as home pages tend to be optimized for.

Information architecture helps with user satisfaction

Since nobody on the web (and not only) has enough time to research thoroughly topics or web sites, people tend to scan, grab and go. If they find the information immediately or if the site gives them enough clues that they’ve arrived at the right place, they might stay for longer time and navigate deeper. Of course, it all depends on the nature of the site — informational sites would tend to have longer sessions and transactional sites shorter ones.

Either way, having intuitive navigation would make any web site more user friendly and ultimately successful in converting visitors into buyers.

Web site optimization vs. page optimization

Most web marketers talk about site optimization and in an ideal world, the optimization campaign would approach the web site as a whole entity. In reality, a web site is a set of web pages each one of which can and should be optimized for its own keyword phrases. The interraction of these pages following a common theme can influence the overall success of the site as a whole but separate pages and not sites is what a search engine ranks.

Traffic delivered by search engines is more focused

A well optimized web site has all of its pages ranked separately for the corresponding keyword phrase. A page attracts visitors through a search engine, it provides specific answer to the request for information as detailed in the keyword phrase. Thus the traffic delivered by search engines is more focused than the traffic coming to the home page and followed by browsing through the site navigation. For a web optimized web site, there is less need for the visitors to scan more than one or two pages because they land at the desired page. This saves the visitors time and improves the chances of conversion from visitors to buyers or subscribers or whatever the intended action of the web site might be.