It used to be a bit of chore to install and configure server-based log analytics, such as AWStats. Now, script-based analytics can easily be added to any site and do not require access to server logs. They have been one of the great recent advancements in web management.
So your web strategy includes good analytics, such as Google Analytics, right? They provide a wealth of detail about your site or campaign. But do you know what they are telling you, and are you acting on it?
There are the standard useful metrics: page views, unique visits, refererring sites, and search terms. But especially insightful are patterns in your site’s page views. Is your key content being viewed more frequently than secondary content? Are your ‘call to action’ pages getting high traffic? Are most visitors viewing your index page and leaving? The standard metrics will reveal if visitors value your content as you expect.
Some analytics tools will provide page rank details that are indispensible for search engine optimization. Knowing how search engines view your site is key to improving rankings: is content the weak point, or incoming links (or both)? Is ‘social popularity’ lacking? Yes, Google and Bing rank pages based in part on social buzz.
Of course, if you are tracking campaign landing pages, your metrics will provide crucial details on conversions. Fine-grain tracking is more complex but also more insightful. The temptation may be to spend resources on ad impressions, not analyzing and adjusting your campaign. But if your analytics tell you the campaign is not hitting the spot, not knowing will prove costly.
If you are not reviewing your analytics data at least monthly, you are missing an opportunity to increase traffic and improve search engine rankings. Make analytics a key part of your long-term strategy.
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