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SES 2007 – Web Analytics and Measuring Success

  • By calcoastwebdesign
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  • 21 Aug 2007

Day 2
10:30-noon
Web Analytics and Measuring Success – this was a great session on analyzing your data and creating measurable goals for your website. In the grand scheme of SEO, analytics is one of the areas that is changing and evolving the most. One thing the panelists and people in the room agreed upon was that we need BETTER analytics and MORE support for our analytics systems. Google’s pretty good, but there’s much more to come in the future, so keep you eyes out!

Definition of Analytics: Objective tracking, collection, measurement, reporting and analysis of quantitative internet data to optimize websites and web marketing initiatives. Ei-yi-yi….I know……. read it again, analytics are important.

3 Speakers:

Matthew Bailey, Site Logic
Lionel Largaespada, Fathom Online
Laura Thieme, Bizresearch

Matt Bailey with Site Logic spoke first. First off, website owner beware: Define your expectations or people like us will charge gobs of $$$ to help you define them!!! Serious! After defining your goals, how do you know if you are achieving them? Traditional methods to see if your site measured up were page views, path analysis, hits, visitors, top 10 entry pages, top 10 keyword phrases…these methods are now old and obsolete. The data means nothing unless you compare it to your goals and expectations. So…what goals should you make for your website? Here’s a few:

1. Entry page goals
2. Products pages goals
3. Detail pages goals
4. “Closing” pages goals
5. Conversion (thank you) pages goals – a big whoop whoop for the conversions!

In the funnel of traffic comparison (see below) its interesting to note that people often come to you from blogs, articles, and other news and trusted resources. A smaller segment comes from topical search, and social news is at the bottom of the conversion rate funnel.

Matthew went over how important segmentation was, and how you need to ask “what are the factors that lead to this?” Know your conversion rate for ALL of your segments of traffic. Ask yourself: “Where are you losing people?”. If you need to give a detailed synapses then ask the 3 C’s:

1. Context – associate your numbers so they make sense, and create big “buckets” of user groups. Clicktracks can help you segment your keywords if you need help.
2. Comparison – look at page by segment, keyword group segments, and put things into perspective while comparing and contrasting them
3. Contrast – check trends – anything that’s moved up or down 10% needs attention whether you admit it or not.

That’s a lot to do…how should you order the plan? By profitability of course!

The next speaker was Lionel Largaespada, who did a great job as a sub. He said the company told him at 4pm the day before…way to stress out your help dude!!! Lionel’s focus was based on the fact that 82% of people admit that they don’t understand their analytics system. Why are analytics sooo confusing? Well, because there is just too much data to sort through! You need to consider search, mobile, social, SEO, adservers, site analytics and CRM when you are doing solid analytics. That’s a lot, and its only the tip of the iceburg, because each of those “buckets” have multiple lead systems associated with them.

In addition, its important to check your cross marketing and consider what happens in your call center, sales room, print marketing, networking groups, and radio. With all that data required, its obvious you need to use a 3rd party…. or you will be paying a numbers person out the nose in-house. A few good systems Lionel recommended were Google, Atlas and Doubleclick. How should you read these analytics once you get the data?

1. Set campaign objectives and not just metrics (so… 30 seconds on the homepage, or 5% less abandonment on the homepage, more repeat visitors)
2. Identify data that is and is not available (early on, or you will drive everyone crazy)
3. Set a plan for regular reporting and analysis (big props to KELLY with Google who taught us how to do this for our clients today @ Google dance…nope we weren’t just dancing we are always thinking about our clients :))
4. Regularly reevaluate and interact with your client (this goes for us as SEO’s and YOU as our customer, talking to your own customer. If you look back to your order form with CCWD, this is what “test, tune, and improve means”)

I really liked the “full circle” slide about monitoring, reporting, and analyzing traffic, which is not online yet. I know reading my text is boring; I am trying to put a lot of visuals too. Full circle goes beyond click through to flexible solutions. It’s also so important to consider IT development and cross channel integration to really know your full circle.

Laura Thieme, fellow Midwesterner, was up next. She was full of good info as always. Laura discussed some of the basic paid search KPI. There was some more talk about measurements, with advanced sites working CPO, CPA, gross provit vs net profit, ROI vs ROA, etc. It gets so geeky with big companies.

Laura recommended to add Web Position Gold detail and competitor and ranking reports to the mix. As our SEO clients already know, we run your WPG reports monthly. We take out the detail and competitor tabs so as not to confuse our small businesses. Should we start adding this data in your reports? I already feel like you guys don’t read them. If any clients read this (riiiiiight) comment please, because we can easily add info to your reports!

Laura’s favorite analytics tools were NetTracker, Google, and ClickTracks Pro. Most of our clients are currently using Google. She encouraged us to set conversion goals and monitor those in Google analytics, and AGAIN thanks to Kelly at Google for showing us the best way to do this for our clients. You rock Kelly.

Also important is your bounce rate, the LOWER this number is the better. If you have a 100% bounce rate on your homepage you’re not doing any business, it means everyone is abandoning your homepage after seeing it. Make sure to analyze your bounce rates by keyword, it will give you clues which keywords are closer to the buy. Laura stressed the importance of not getting caught up in the data, because there is just so much of it. You need to integrate this data and trends and goals into your marketing plan or its absolutely worthless.

What does this mean for our clients? It means we need some more of your time. We NEED to sit down and discuss your clients and ideal clients with you (more frequently), and how we can tune your website so they hear what its saying. The days are over of people throwing $$ our way for better placement; it’s a conversion world now. In order to convert, we need to CONSULT, together. Angela and I have always wanted our clients to play a bigger part in strategizing, and we are looking forward to expanding your business with our ideas, data, and implementation. We promise it will be productive 🙂

COMMENTS
Matt makes a good point when he warns website owners to Define their expectations so that companies don’t charge them huge chunks of cash to do it for them. A website should be treated with the same care as your main or home base office. Before you build a business you have to define your expectations and set goals. Every website owner should do the same with their online endeavor. His set of goals for a website where very nice. Goals for different pages within the site is a smart way to go and it emphasizes that not just your homepage is important!

I agree with Lionel too about people not understanding their analytics. I’ve been dealing with analytics for a long time and there have been times where they get confusing for me as well. I was kind of surprised though that 82% of people don’t understand them. He goes on to say that owners should reevaluate their sites performance often and set new or reset goals. Good advice as most site owners just pay someone else to manage their site and then forget they have one. I liked Lionel’s systems (his four steps) for this.

I’d never heard of a bounce rate and I’m glad I have now. That seems really important. Knowing how long people are on your pages is good knowledge to have and I agree without planning on incorporating this data into your goals it’s worthless information.