Do You Really Understand Web Analytics?

Unless web analytics is already your area of expertise, you will probably think that it is a very difficult subject to understand. Put in very simple terms, it is all about finding out how visitors find their way to your website, what they do while they are there and what they like. With the answers, it is then possible to make their experience even better.

The technical explanation as per the Web Analytics Association (WAA) is:

“The measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimising web usage”

The WAA was formed to assist anyone involved with web analytics, in whatever capacity, by implementing certification opportunities and standardising definitions, terminology and ‘best practices’ through out the sector. Their website: www.webanalyticsassociation.org is an excellent source of information.

Often, marketing and analytics are put under the same ‘umbrella’ as far as employers are concerned, but they are actually two quite different concepts and it is rare for a good marketer to understand enough about analytics to make the best use of them. In the worst case scenario, they are completely ignored and not done at all.

One of the most difficult things to grasp is the amount of jargon and ‘techno-babble’ that surrounds web analytics, which can prove very daunting to anyone who does not have some sort of technical understanding of how websites and search engine algorithms interact.

For e-commerce websites analytics are even more important because the primary objective is to make sales! Analysing visitor behaviour is the key for e-commerce SEO. For example, analytics will highlight if an e-commerce site is suffering from an excessively high Shopping Cart ‘abandonment’ rate or if visitors are ‘bouncing’ straight off a specific landing page.

Other valuable analytics functions particularly relevant to e-commerce include:

• Conversion Rate – how many visitors actually purchased or took up a call to action
• Entry and Exit Pages – where visitors arrive and where they leave can indicate that certain pages are better than others in terms of relevancy, content or products
• Search Queries vs. Keywords – establish how visitors are finding your website and which keywords are working the best

There are numerous other ‘glossary’ terms related specifically to web analytics and although it helps to read them all through, they will not necessarily make sense out of context, which brings us on to analytics tools.

The best way to get a feel for analytics is to try out some different tools and find out which you feel comfortable using and which give you the figures you need or that are particularly relevant to your business.

There are literally hundreds to choose from online, so a good place to begin is perhaps with a comparison or review website. Tools vary from free-to-use open source software (quite basic but good for beginners), through to some which are incredibly complex and costly.

No matter which you ultimately choose, once you have begun to analyse, you will never look back. This is a fundamental part of any E-commerce SEO strategy as it provides all the information that you need to structure your strategy appropriately.

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