Ranking has been, and always will be, important.
I mean, ultimately, if no rankings exist (I’m talking about the first page of search engines) for keywords that are searched for (try Google Suggest), you are not using natural, organic results to drive traffic, or you have just started.
You may be employing other strategies for driving traffic, which is good–you should have a blended approach–but you *must* track everything you do, and Google Analytics is most often the starter analytics package of choice. In fact, since it’s easy on your wallet (free), many opt to use this system. It is used on websites from static to dynamic. There are even free WordPress Analytics Plugins, easy to set up. Check out Joost De Valk and his wordpress Google analytics plugin (he’s a great SEO tool builder in the Netherlands; contact him if you are reading from Europe).
Rankings are important. But after ranking and traffic comes the critical (and often underused or misdiagnosed) web analytics. What questions should you ask? What’s important?
Recently, at a publishers convention, I discussed SEO, search marketing trends and tracking (wpa-online.org), and it was apparent that many knew the basics of SEO and had analytics running on their sites, but did not necessarily know what were important metrics to track.
Learn more about page views, user behavior tracking, average time on site, importance of understanding bounce rates, unique visitors, referrer traffic and optimizing landing pages here.
Search Engine Optimization using proper KPI (key performance indicators) analytics is a must-do, don’t-miss situation.
Many SEO firms are now ROI-based (not just rankings anymore), like my new friend and SEO expert Gab Goldberg. I recommend you check him out.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free web-analytics package that offers compelling features and benefits such as keyword comparison, custom dashboards and AdWords integration for everyone from senior executives and advertising and marketing professionals to site owners and content developers.
More information is at Google Conversion University. The informative site talks about:
- Onsite behavioral patterns and analysis,
- Results and conversion goals, and
- A set of additional, useful videos on (Google) analytics.
Also, how about those privacy concerns–where Google might use your data (for/against) in some fashion? Read the industry and benchmarking trends report that recently came out for more on that.
So I recommend you look at these videos in the following order:
Overview Analytics video 1: “A Small Business Approach to Web Analytics: John Marshall” (Ex-ClickTracks);
Google Analytics Video 2: “Google Analytics Interface Tutorial”;
Google Analytics Video 3: “Optimizing Customer Experiences”; and
Google Analytics Video 4: “Bounce Rate: The Simply Powerful Metric” (this guy is a guru in this industry).