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Google Analytics Reports, SEO and you!

Have you heard the expression “smiling in the dark’? In its most basic interpretation, it refers to doing something good that no-one knows about because the ‘good’ can’t be seen. Well, the same applies when you have something great to share with your customers or stakeholders and you don’t tell them about it.

As we’re all so reliant on using the internet to communicate with pretty much everyone about everything these days, we’ve also become reliant on using it to run our businesses. And as most of the communications transactions are not ‘face to face’ anymore (excluding Zoom), with no physical town cryer, town square or market place, it can be tricky knowing if the target market has received the messages we’re sending them. This is where we’ve started relying on using tools like Google Analytics and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to learn if our message is reaching the right people, and to help it get there if it isn’t.

Search Engine Optimisation

“SEO stands for 'Search Engine Optimization', which is the process of getting traffic from free, organic, editorial, or natural search results in search engines. It aims to improve your website's position in search results pages. Remember, the higher the website is listed, the more people will see it.” Source Google

Search engine optimisation is greatly improved if your website is regularly updated. SEO bots trawl websites looking for changes to content and it’s these changes that increase your website’s position in the rankings. If nothing changes on your website, your ranking will slide down the list quite quickly.

However, SEO is just one part of the picture. It’s quite common practice for an organisation to invest in an agency, freelancer or web developer to help them to raise their rankings with the search engines, and they usually get good results. The problem is that it can be hard to maintain a high ranking - Google’s relentless and never-ending algorithm indexes and updates frequently, and suddenly you’ve slipped down in their ranking.

At this point many people turn to Google Ads to reach their market.

Google Ads

“Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google, where advertisers bid to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, or videos to web users. It can place ads both in the results of search engines like Google Search and on non-search websites, mobile apps, and videos.”

Source Wikipedia

Google Ads accounts are managed online which means it’s easy to change, edit or update, but they come at a cost; the average Google AdWords cost between $1 and $2 per click on the search network, however the most expensive keywords in Adwords can cost $50 or more per click.

One way to help off-set this cost is to display Google Ads on your own website using AdSense. Google pays you for clicks or impressions on your site, which probably sounds pretty good, but it comes with its own cost - the damage it will do to your brand. You’re in effect selling real estate on your website for a pittance, whilst annoying your customers/visitors, and distracting visitors from your key messages. Unintended consequences for sure.

Hosting ads for third party organisations tends to occur more on blogging sites, news and retail sites; best to leave it to them, I think.

Google Analytics

“Google Analytics includes features that can help users identify trends and patterns in how visitors engage with their websites. Features enable data collection, analysis, monitoring, visualization, reporting and integration with other applications.

“The report includes key KPIs like: Sessions and users (users, page views, bounce rate, page per session, session duration and more), Landing page (landing page sessions, conversion rate, revenue metrics, bounce rate, page load time), Browser (browser, operating system).

“With Google Analytics, you can uncover valuable data about your audience to determine which channels drive most of the traffic to your website. The Audience section provides a lot of information about the people who visit your website like their age, gender, interests, devices, and location.” Source Google

Many people and organisations now rely on Google Analytics to see what’s happening on their websites and we hear grumbles from time to time that the reports aren’t providing the info the website owners are seeking regarding traffic to their sites. Everyone wants to see any changes (good or bad) that have occurred between reports.

Expert integrates Google Analytics into the website templates we build, and individual pages are optimised for search engines.

Users tend to generate Google Analytics reports monthly or quarterly. The most common concern from clients using Google Analytics is that things don’t seem to change much when comparing new reports with previous ones, and they’re quick to assume that there’s something wrong with the reporting function or their website.

However, there’s a very easy explanation for this and it’s not that the reports have lost their accuracy, as some people tend to think. It’s usually down to the fact that nothing much has happened on their website in between reports.

There’s an old saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well, that’s pretty much what is happening here. If your website hasn’t been updated for a while then there is little reason for people to visit it. And if they do visit and everything looks the same (or has become date-stressed), they’ll probably leave it pretty quickly.

If your organisation is doing a promotion, for example a sale or upcoming event such as a conference, and using your website to market it (alongside emails and your other marketing tools) Google Analytics will show you how effective your campaign is in getting you in front of your potential customers.

So, the obvious advice is – keep making changes to your website if you want to see growth in traffic and changes in your Google reports.

If there isn’t much happening in your organisation, maybe having GA reports generated too frequently is a waste of time, and money, if you’re paying someone to generate and analyse them for you. Not to mention the disappointment if there are no changes evident to report on. You might want to look at the frequency of your reports and perhaps just get them done when you’re marketing those large events or important notices.


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