The Rise and Fall of Analytics and Search Engine Optimization

Practically any agency working on websites and online content talks about analytics and search engine optimization (SEO). These two terms are used to describe what people are doing on your website and how easy it is for search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) to index and “find” your site.

These words by themselves mean absolutely nothing.

Analytics will mean absolutely nothing if you’re only tracking where “users” or “visitors” are going on your website, or what they’re doing on the site. “Hits” simply isn’t valuable data. You can see how many people are going to your site, but if you don’t have an understanding of why they’re there, then what value do your analytics provide? Improved conversion rates, site visits or return visits are great (if those are your goals), but only if you understand why and what will cause these results.

First, define what your goals are, and why those are your goals. Before checking analytics, make sure your website is designed and architected to achieve these goals. Then, if your analytics agency is only telling you what people are doing, not why they’re doing it, go to someone who will.

In an online culture where users and visitors are actually people, not numbers, analytics doesn’t explain the emotion, feelings, or desires of the people coming to your site. If you create a compelling why, conversion will go up, site visits will go up, return visits will go up… if those are your goals. It’s easy to see what people are doing; it’s hard to create the why they will want to do it.

The same goes for Search Engine Optimization. If your website is #1 in the search results, people will probably to go to your site. But once they’re there, you have to make sure they feel what you want them to feel so they achieve their goals, which in essence should be your goals. Site traffic and high SEO rankings are only worthwhile if people have a reason to care.

What isn’t as important as why. Volume isn’t as important as engaged, interested people. Make sure your site achieves the why and the who, then you can analyze the what. Just don’t forget to always keep the why and who in mind when addressing ways to improve the what.

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