Analytics, stats and numbers are wonderful. In simple terms, it is these numbers that provide marketers with all kinds of information on the traffic, visitors, and sales. From visitor demographics, segregation, referral traffic, conversion rate, and other advertisement, conversion and social media analytics, these stats are the heart and soul of any website.
Combined with tools such as Adwords or Adsense, analytics could potentially become the most powerful weapon in your sales and online marketing arsenal!
Google Analytics is one of the most well-known and highly-regarded Analytics package out there, with a very powerful statistics and insights mechanism, accompanied with an equally powerful dashboard. It is being used by half of the top one million websites of the world! Plus there are a lot of GA tutorials out there that can help you out.
Importance of Analytics in SEO
Analytics, for me, is the cornerstone to any and all internet marketing and SEO efforts, regardless of whether you are a small business owner, a casual blogger, an internet marketer or the webmaster of a corporate website.
Being able to measure every aspect of your website, from methods used to results delivered, is vital. Measuring sales and traffic and tailoring your marketing and SEO efforts in accordance with it could just be the difference between success and failure.
I’m still surprised when I come across people on a daily basis who fail to look at stats beyond the rather simple ‘website visitor’ numbers. That is perhaps the biggest mistake one could make when it comes to analytics.
Why Analytics is Essential
Here is my list of 6 reasons why Analytics is extremely important:
- The Basics – This is basic info, like the number of visitors you get in a specific period of time. It is important to look at these trends, especially for comparative purposes, so that you are able to see how well your website has grown in the past quarter or year. You will also have an idea of on- and off-season periods, which will allow you to alter your strategies (such as inventory and sales) for both. Basic numbers are important, as they give you a lot of information at first glance, however bear in mind that looking at just these numbers is always a mistake.
- Ability to Measure Traffic – or more importantly, targeted traffic! Getting traffic is one thing, but IM’ers and SEOs would know the importance of getting targeted traffic. With analytics, you have the power to see where your traffic comes from (and where it doesn’t), allowing you to concentrate on those areas from where you could potentially get the most targeted traffic to your website. It also helps you measure the CTR, and bounce and exit rates of your website. People who leave almost immediately, or within minutes of visiting your website as probably the ones you shouldn’t be targeting in the first place. If you are getting targeted traffic but your bounce rate is still high, maybe your visitors are not finding what they want on your blog.
- Assessing Website and Page Popularity – if your website has multiple pages, you can check which pages get the most traffic, where this inbound traffic comes from, and what keywords do people search for, which direct them to your website and any of its pages. Furthermore, you can also check page rankings and popularity.
- Keyword Information – lists keywords which brought you the most traffic, in a descending order. Why looking at the top keywords that bring you the most traffic (and those which you want to rank for, but don’t get your as much traffic) would be important is quite obvious. You can quickly look up where your website ranks for these keywords, and if these keywords are (or aren’t) a part of your SEO, you can also gauge the effectiveness of your SEO. And then alter your SEO to rank higher for the keywords that are (and once again, aren’t) bringing visitors to your website.
- Visitor Response – when you’re running a SEO or marketing campaign aimed at getting targeted traffic, you should know how responsive they are or in monetary terms, how profitable this traffic has been for you. More ROI would automatically mean success for your campaign. A low conversion rate or a high bounce and exit rate means your campaign is probably not doing well, certainly not as well as intended, and traffic that doesn’t convert is pretty much useless. Use demographics such as geographical location, age range and gender of your conversions and target those people, whilst improving where your conversions aren’t up to par.
- Referrers and Inbound Traffic Sources – the ability to check and see which sources you get your traffic from is essential. Mostly due to the fact that you’ll know which sources your website gets the most traffic from, and how you should alter your marketing strategy according to these sources. For instance your website could be getting traffic from Google for specific keywords; it would be a good idea to implement these keywords in your SEO strategy. Alternatively, your website could be getting traffic from another website, which would give you an idea of which niche of website you should target for more inbound or referral traffic.
These 6 aspects, for me, are the most important when it comes to any analytics package.
There are tons of analytics package available out there, all of which offer free and/or paid-for solutions. Google Analytics perhaps provides the most well known solution. But is it really the best? Actually, my favorite web analytics service is Clicky. It has a much easier to use interface than Google Analytics and it gives me all the data I really want. It’s really quite cool and I suggest you give it a try.