What the recruiter left behind
If you've taken the step to create a personal web site or blog to increase your visibility, you should be getting visitors who find you through some sort of search. The next question is, how are they finding you? The boring answer is that they're searching for you by name. Don't get me wrong—it's good if a search on your name leads to your own web site, but it's more interesting (and useful) when people find you by searching for some other subject, such as your professional specialty.
Once you have a web site or blog, you'll want to set it up to gather statistics on your visitors. I use StatCounter, which has a free version that keeps a limited amount of information. With my free account, I can learn things like:
- Search terms lead people to my site
- Search engines people use to find me
- My most popular pages and blog posts
- Internet domains people are coming from
- Number of visitors (listed last, but everyone's first question)
Now, first, if you're getting concerned that I'm somehow gathering personal information on everyone who visits my sites, these systems do not identify individuals. There's no personal information involved, so don't worry.
How does this stuff help in a job search? At its most basic level, it tells me if anyone is reading what I put online. I get a rough idea of what's interesting to people by what they search for and which pages get the most visitors. And I sometimes get an indication of which companies are looking at my sites (and what they looked at). Especially during the hiring process, it's interesting to know when the company you're talking to reads your blog (but it still doesn't tell you who is reading by name). When they look at your web site before the first screening call, the stats can alert you to the call you're about to receive.
Web stats are great for keeping track of visitors to your web site, which can give you useful information. Remember that your online presence is more than your web page, and make sure you're using the right keywords everywhere you want to be found.