Posts Tagged ‘seo resources

07
Mar
11

Before You SEO, Know

Okay, I know you’ve heard about all the things you need to do to optimize your site for search. You’ve probably read list after list after list (including, perhaps, a couple of mine) about what to do when and in what order.  Keywords, meta tags, headlines, titles, content, links, blah, blah, blah.

All of those things are important.

But there is one thing that’s more important than any of them. And it’s not on many lists of SEO techniques. That’s because it has to happen before you SEO.

Call it “intelligence gathering capability.” If you are serious about getting all that juicy free search engine traffic, you have got to have your eyes open. You have got to be listening to the wind, ear to the ground, alert to every sign of danger, hope, or chance.

What if you spend a hundred hours doing SEO stuff, and suddenly see your orders double. Cool, huh. But it would be even cooler, don’t you think, if you knew just what had happened to improve your fortunes—so that you could do it again, do it some more, and make it happen on demand.

Yes, it would be lots cooler.

The way that happens is by applied tracking and analytics. Which is the Very First Thing You Have to Do Before You Start Optimizing. There are a large number of web analytic tracking solutions, ranging from the way-to0-simple visit counters to the way-too-complex enterprise data collection and reporting suites. Although many eCommerce Giants are willing to spend a thousand dollars a month for data mining software that requires a staff of statistical engineers to manage and interpret, you don’t have to.

All you need to know in order to understand your web traffic, your customer demographics, your conversion patterns, and your keyword performance can be had for free. Yup, free like in “free beer.”

There are several free data collection and interpretation packages to choose from, but none are better than the one used by webmeisters everywhere, the first of its kind, the king of traffic analysis, the Goog.

Google Analytics. Since its limited release in 2006, GA has been adopted by roughly half of the top million websites. It works for sites large and small. It works without complex setup or steep learning curve. It provides all sorts of interesting data in simple tables, graphs, and charts. You can easily discover how many  visits came to each page, how many of them were repeat visitors, where they live (country, region, city), what browser they use, what search engine they used to find you, and even the keyword they typed into it. And way, way more.

I’m not saying that Google Analytics is the only way to observe, track, and understand your website’s visit profile. It may or may not be the best for you. But it’s free, easy to use, and pretty damn functional. I’ve used it from the beginning on dozens of websites of my own and recommended it to hundreds of clients. None have every asked me to turn it off.

All you need to do to get started with Google Analytics is open an account, then let GA generate your unique user-id and tracking code, then attach the code to into the <head> of any and pages you’d like to collect information on. The minute you publish those pages, they start sending data. Log into your account after a day or so, and you’ll see all the statistics your little heart could possibly desire.

Believe me, once you get started down the path of search marketing, Google Analytics will become your very best friend.

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