What is SEO Analytics?

By Nathan Janitz, Natual Search Supervisor, Content Solutions

Business is about making money, right? Then why do a lot of SEOs brag about position 1 and not about driving more revenue? Sure, first position drives more traffic and thus more revenue potential, but how do businesses actually know that the theory is true? What if the second position actually drove more profitable results? Even more importantly, how do you as an SEO show and even, dare I say, forecast value? Welcome to SEO Analytics, A perfect blend of multiple data points that allows great optimizers to report, optimize, and forecast natural search beyond the traditional rankings.

Often natural search departments have to blend concepts that stretch across mediums which can include universal search, social media, video, mobile, and of course website architecture and design. Throw in an unknown algorithm, the competitiveness of natural search, and some integration with advertising and…..well you get the point - trying to show value of our efforts can be just plain confusing.

But it doesn’t have to be if you come up with a plan. Yes, ranking should be at the heart of every SEO strategy because if you don’t have traffic you can’t create revenue. But let’s go through some data points that straight ranking reports leave out.

Web Analytics:

The amount of data one can gain from web analytics is astounding. If you setup your platform correctly you can tie keywords, per engine, back to conversion. A simple V-Lookup in an excel file and all of a sudden that ranking report turns into a gap analysis. Segment data into buckets of information like high traffic and high revenue driving and you can start to build strategies around improving performance (be it rankings, site performance, or ideally both). And that is just the start. Begin building multivariate testing and corresponding revenue outputs into the report and you have just turned SEO reporting into something that actually will get upper management’s attention.

Social Media and Video:

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Facebook Insights

But why stop at just integrating Web Analytics? Facebook, YouTube, and Yelp all offer web analytics platforms for their products (basic as they are, they do exist). As you can see from the Intellect Interactive Facebook profile, you can gain a series of reports as well as some demographic information. Most Web Analytics platforms will allow you to track onsite behavior coming from certain sites, which means you can cross reference Facebook traffic with your site traffic to see conversion rates. Congratulations, you just started the process in tying ROI to your social networking strategy. (Advanced SEO Analytics Reco: tag your Facebook links with campaign tracking for even more reporting integration.)

Omniture actually launched products that allow you to track videos and Twitter chats. One of the many things I love about Omniture is its ability to integrate data (as long as you know how to tell Omniture how to integrate the data). While not perfect, you can now start to monitor spikes in Twitter and cross-reference them with spikes in sales. Closing the loop in an un-tractable world…amazing those people over at Omniture.

Business is about making money, and SEO is about everything including rankings. As the Search World grows and starts to include more avenues, more integration of data, expanded reporting and deeper analysis, the industry’s conversation about success needs to be focused on how SEO can generate and forecast revenue growth. If we don’t, we become an expansive hobby for our clients; not a necessary marketing channel.

I encourage you to review how you look at your SEO program and review how you report on it. Rankings are important, but they are not the end-all-be-all of SEO. You can check out some very basic reporting tips at Intellect Interactive as well as more in-depth conversation about all of the above topics.


Anonymous said...

great article, nice to see someone explain more about seo analytics and how it is better and more powerful than just pure seo...

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