Google Analytics and SEO
Tailoring analytics to your business needs is a proven way to enhance ROI from marketing and IT investments. Developing well-stewarded web analytics properties tends to enable a number of important new business realities, including:
- Greatly enhanced visitor, lead and customer attribution data
- Powerful data integration opportunities
- Conversion rate optimization
- User experience optimization
- New product development
At a base level, data accuracy is also a broad concern. As an example, Google Analytics properties are often wrought with false “spam” data (sometimes 5, 10, and even 20% or more of the data can be found to be false!). This is just one of many examples of data collecting and analysis mismanagement, which ultimately leads to so-called “analysis paralysis”.
MORE ON WEB ANALYTICS
Web analytics can be a confusing landscape for some, but in fact the data collected and presented is usually comprised of just two primary types: metrics (a number, like how many visitors) and dimensions (an attribute, like the country of the visits).
Another key nuance is that every metric and dimension pertains to a particular scope of reference. For example, here are the most common scopes found in Google Analytics:
- User – Data on a user, across multiple website sessions
- Session – Data on an individual user session (AKA visit)
- Hit – Data pertaining to an individual view of a web page, or any other kind of single “event” that may need to be tracked.
- Ecommerce – Data on product interactions
Once these key principles are understood, analytics becomes less of an arcane art form, and more of a strategic exercise.
GRADUATING TO PROPER GOOGLE ANALYTICS USAGE
Google Analytics (GA) is a powerful tool that can deliver great business value when used properly. Though access to the tool (the GUI and APIs) is free, setting up and using it properly is not. It takes a conscious, budgeted investment to draw out its latent value. This can be accomplished in several stages: first (a) complete the proper basic Google Analytics account setup steps (with light outside support), then employ more focused consulting to (b) build a strategically tailored measurement strategy, (c) execute the more advanced implementation steps, and (d) retain an ongoing web analytics partner to aid in analysis to help make discoveries and recommendations based on the new, richer dataset, as well as (e) explore data integration applications (e.g., a focused data warehousing program) to help approach a “360 degree” view of business and level-up your product development, content strategy, and overall marketing execution abilities.
Basic Priorities for any corporation using Google Analytics:
- COMPLETE PROPER BASIC GOOGLE ANALYTICS ACCOUNT SETUP
- BUILD A TAILORED MEASUREMENT STRATEGY WITH TOGETHER WITH AN EXPERIENCED ANALYTICS PARTNER
Once the very basics are complete, the next level of analytics setup should be specified and introduced immediately. This is likely to include:
- Advanced Segments
- Custom Reports
- Custom Dimensions and Metrics
- Content Grouping
- Micro-Conversions / Other Event tracking
- Google Tag Manager implementation
- Adding additional analytics tracking snippets via Google Tag Manager (e.g., Linkedin, Twitter, etc.)
- Building relevant dashboards
- Other advanced implementations as warranted
- EXECUTE TAILORED WEB ANALYTICS IMPLEMENTATIONS
- LEVERAGE OTHER WEB-BASED TOOLS / DATA SOURCES
Include data from available free and paid third party online tools; acquire these directly and/or leverage an agency who uses a reliable toolset. Then, integrate this additional data into the data warehousing program. It is important to note that these metrics are not available from Google Analytics. One particular advantage is benchmarking third party data against competitors over time.
Some of the data sources include those from vendors which have been used in the creation of this Audit and Playbook—e.g., Moz.com, Ahrefs.com, SEOProfiler, Google, etc. Another tool of interest is SimilarWeb.com, which helps determine competitors’ sources of web traffic. These tools can provide amazing insights. If personnel are not present internally, their use by proxy via a consulting service is recommended. A hybrid approach is to receive training and supplement advanced usage via consultants
- BUILD (OR FURTHER DEVELOP) DATA INTEGRATION ASSETS VIA A FOCUSED DATA WAREHOUSING PROGRAM THAT INCLUDES WEB ANALYTICS DATA
Integrating first party operational data, second party CPC data, web analytics data, and third party data is extremely powerful—when embraced has a tendency to produce significant “lunges” forward in marketing and product development.
The truth is, data warehousing doesn’t have to be “big”, or expensive. A data warehousing “program” is comprised of individual, but ultimately interconnected “projects”—each project is designed to provide its own value, but becomes more valuable as additional projects are completed. The order and pace at which projects are completed are completely open; the important thing is delivering value quickly to prove ROI, then incrementally adding additional value as is warranted—rather than commissioning a “million dollar”, monolithic BIDW program.
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