Technically, a page view means that an HTML page was rendered by a web browser. That’s a good thing, right? Well, not always. Here are a few other things that a page view could mean.
- Confusing navigation: If your site is built in a way that makes it hard for visitors to find what they’re looking for, each page view could represent a level of user frustration.
- Poor search: If your site’s search engine doesn’t work well, then some page views represent lists of unsuccessful search results.
- Pagination: If your articles are split into multiple web pages, then each part of the article counts as a page view.
- Media files: Is each picture or video on your site served on its own page? That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just keep that in mind when analyzing your traffic.
- Hack: Two years ago, one of my blog posts received an undeserved spike of 12,000 page views when a URL-shortening service was hacked. Admittedly, you probably won’t run into this problem.
Please read Page views: bad metric #3 by Dana Chinn for a much more thorough explanation of the problems with the page view metric.