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PAWS by the numbers (February 2013)

I’m the web guy for PAWS New England, an amazing all-breed dog rescue that my wife and I adopted from.

Last June, I took a look at how traffic to their site had changed in a year. There was a clear and rapid growth in mobile traffic:

All Traffic Mobile
May 2011 5,229 468 (~9%)
May 2012 8,559 2,035 (~23%)

Mobile is still growing

Here’s what that table looks like updated with data from January 2013:

All Traffic Mobile
May 2011 5,229 468 (~9%)
May 2012 8,559 2,035 (~23%)
January 2013 21,697 7,894 (~36%)

In just eight months, traffic to the site has more than doubled (those 20k visits weren’t a fluke - the number has been steadily rising by a few thousand a month).

Mobile growth is outpacing overall growth, and now accounts for over a third of all traffic to the site.

How do people get there?

A couple of a years ago, a lot of folks were coming to the PAWS site directly or through PetFinder (that’s how my wife and I found them), with a decent amount of search traffic, too.

Today, Google is by-and-large their number one source of traffic, and the search terms people use to get there are all things you’d want to see as a dog rescue:

  1. animal shelters in ma
  2. rescue dogs ct
  3. rescue dogs ma
  4. dog rescue ct
  5. dog rescue ma
  6. dogs for adoption in ma

Interestingly, the most popular search term is “paws new england” itself.

Back in 2010, the search terms were not as specific or task oriented. Most of the top ten results were variations of “paws new england.”

I’m not a fan of over-managing SEO, but it’s clear that having clean code, useful keywords in your content, and helpful metadata are all still very important.

Let's get social

It’s worth noting that social media is a growing source of traffic as well, with our Facebook page now accounting for 9% of all traffic (up from 6% in May of 2012).

The team who runs that account has built an amazing community that continues to grow.


For me, there’s two key takeaways:

  1. Mobile traffic is only going up. Our site is responsively designed. I’m not sure if there’s causation or just correlation there. Either way, RWD is important.
  2. Social media marketing doesn’t have to be self-obsessed to be successful. The PAWS Facebook page is about about something bigger than just our organization: Celebrating dogs.