How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or loose. Bill Gates, Business @ The Speed Of Thought.
For most people when they think of search engine optimization they think only of bringing visitors to their site and then hopefully getting a newsletter sign-up or a sale. But part of any SEO process involves taking the information gathered from your SEO campaign and applying it to future SEO efforts to constantly improve your search results.
Knowing what visitors are doing while on your website is crucial. Can you answer the following questions about your website:
- How many visitors came to your site yesterday?
- How long did they stay and what did they look at?
- Are any of your site’s pages under performing?
- Is your sales page actually bringing in the sales, if not why not?
If you cannot answer these simple questions about your website then your ability to respond to your visitors needs is severely diminished. How much would you pay if you could know every fact about your website and could intelligently deal with the information & feedback that it provides in a timely and cost effective manner?
By far the most popular (and free) website analytics package available at the moment is Google Analytics. The setup process is straight forward, you need a Google Account which most people already have in the form of their Gmail Account. Once you have registered with Google Analytics you will be given a piece of HTML code called a Tracking Code. You need to paste this piece of code into every page of your site that you want to track. Once Google has verified that the code is in place you will start to receive information from your site within 24 hours. Using Google Analytics you can obtain the following information:
- Site Visitors
- Page Views
- Bounce Rate
- Average Time on Site
- % of New Visits
- Traffic Sources
- Content Overview
Within each of these sections you can further drill down through the information to get even more detailed results. One of my favorite features is the map overlay function which allows you to see where users are clicking on your website.
Obviously having the above information at your fingertips would allow you to make fast, informed decisions about your website, transforming it from a static brochure into a finely tuned sales tool.
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