Avoid the Rabbit Hole of Search Engine Analytics

As you gain more experience using search engine analytics, you'll want to begin linking your insights with your marketing activities. Similar to last week, some metrics (and how they are reported) can lead you down a rabbit hole, and I'm not talking about the Easter Bunny, Alice.

In order to get a true picture of your site's activity, remember these 3 things before you take action on your search engine marketing strategy: 

  1. You are your biggest fan - With online website building platforms, you can make updates yourself, which is pretty useful. However, analytics programs will count your visits and falsely inflate report numbers unless you create filters that screen out visits from your I.P. address (and others who make updates). Keep in mind that if you work from home, your i.p. address may sometimes change due to resets of your cable box or cable company router. Check your i.p. address regularly, especially if you see sudden increases in your traffic.

  2. Keywords - what are they finding you for? - A certain percentage of your organic search traffic comes from people searching for the name of your business, or even from them typing your url into the search window. These are really more like direct sources and not true organic search results. See how many of the keywords that lead people to your site are actually related to what you want them to find you for. In the picture at the right, we have 3 visits from the organic search "edge marketing nyc" (or some variation of that). While it's nice to get the visits, it's not really what they were looking for. In this case, these aren't high quality visits, but not much can be done to prevent them. Overall, keep your organic search results real by checking the actual keywords that led visitors to your site. And the "(not provided)" keywords can be seen in Google Webmaster Tools if you are using them.

  3. Focus on trends, not daily changes - One of the most important keys to analytics is paying attention to trends, not daily numbers. In the pictures below, you can see the steady growth of visits from month to month. But if you look at the same time period on a daily basis, you might be overly worried one day and extremely happy or relieved the next day. This causes unnecessary action that may actually harm what you are trying to accomplish.

What is the trend over a long period of time?Daily changes in visits are often the cause of unnecessary indigestion!

More posts coming about what to do with the marketing insights gained through analytics, but first and foremost, create unique and helpful content for your visitors. That ensures they will return and share it with others. The analytics can just help you spend your precious time more wisely as your site becomes more popular. How do you use analytics in your business? Are you afraid of them? Do you love them? Share your thoughts in the comments below!