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February 6, 2008

Analytics – The Missing Piece

The ultimate goal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to drive traffic to your site. Many people don’t know why, but they aren’t achieving this goal.

The key is staying current and evolving with the times.

Way back in the good old days, SEO was a lot easier and we saw results quickly. What do I mean “we saw results”? We ran a ranking report and we were able to see what words held what positions in the various engines. And admit it now, when you received your ranking reports, you promptly pulled up Google or Yahoo and did a search, waiting with baited breath to see your results right there in the top 20. Ahhh, the good old days.

Now, you get a ranking report and you don’t see all those wonderful rankings you have seen in the past. Competition is fierce and even though your site deserves to be on top, it may take a while to work its way up there. So, what do you do? You call your SEO Firm, you complain, you work on a strategy to get the results you want.

The missing piece here is called Analytics. A well optimized site will bring traffic from many engines, for various keywords that are related to your site. Those keywords may not be on your “approved keyword list” – however they are words people are looking for and they are driving traffic to your site. Many people don’t give credit to their SEO company for these words – however they are mistaken. The fact that your site was properly optimized and content was added is what made the site get noticed by the engines, so the optimization is directly responsible for these “bonus” keywords that are driving traffic to your site.

Because most people don’t understand this, and they don’t give credit to their SEO Firm, many SEO Firms don’t bother looking at or sharing Analytics information with their clients. They simply care about rankings for the keyword list.

At EcomBuffet we understand the value of Analytics information and as a result have added these “bonus” keywords to our ranking reports to show our clients how they are being found.

“Yeah, you point out how great you are and the “bonus” keywords – but how does that really help us – the client” is something we heard when we started sharing this information.

It’s true, it is a feather in our cap – it makes us feel good that we have created more exposure for our clients – but it’s more than that. The information we share tells them what words people are using to find them – it gives them insight into how their prospective clients think and search. That information can then be used to improve and really target your marketing efforts.

In addition to the value of the “bonus” keywords – the other thing we do is look at the other information in your web stats. We can figure out what pages people are spending time on, what pages people are leaving quickly, we can see what interest’s people and what drives people away.

Having someone prepare that information for you and deliver it to you in any easy to comprehend manner is invaluable.

That information becomes your blueprint for web site improvement which means increased conversions, which means more sales, which means more money, which means you are one happy camper!

Imagine, rather than guessing at what to tweak on your site to improve results you can take our analysis and suggested changes and use that as a guide to improving your traffic and conversions. Then you monitor the response to your tweaks to ensure your traffic and conversions are growing because the competition isn’t sitting idle and what worked yesterday doesn’t necessarily work tomorrow.

Web stats or Analytics isn’t new – it’s been around forever. However most people don’t know how to interpret their stats, they often don’t have time to gather the data and SEO Firms typically do not tie this information into a SEO campaign.

Our focus is on results. We can deliver the traffic and use Analytics; to get that traffic to take the action you want – whether it is more sales, more people opting in to your site, or calling you. Whatever “results” means to you – we can deliver them.

Case Study: One of our sites has:

  • Top rankings for the phrases “phoenix homes” (generic phrase) and “historical homes in phoenix” (specific phrase) Analytics tells us:
  • “phoenix homes” brings traffic but has only a 0.82% conversion rate.
  • “historical homes in phoenix” brings less traffic but has a 6.67% conversion rate.

The Lesson Learned:

  • Add up the traffic from all your “minor” specific phrases — all with high conversions and compare it to the major traffic and low conversions from your generic phrases – you can learn where to focus your attention — on the phrases that convert! (Note: We wouldn’t even know about the specific phrase without Analytics)
  • We can add content for the phrase that converts higher, and drive more traffic from that phrase. We can also use that information to guide us in creating marketing material.

Author:  Jennifer Horowitz is the Director of Marketing and co-owner of http://www.EcomBuffet.com . Since 1998, her expertise in online marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has helped clients increase revenue and achieve their business goals. Jennifer has written a downloadable book on Search Engine Optimization and has been published in many SEO and marketing publications. Jennifer can be reached at Jennifer@ecombuffet.com

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