Do Analytics Programs Offer Insight or Just A Lot of Statistics?

You probably have heard someone talk about site analytics, most likely Google Analytics, as a way to track the success of your SEO. But do you really know what it is and what it does?

An analytics program is used to analyze data about the visitors to your web site. Where they are located, what they searched for and what type of technology they are using are just a few of the many elements that can be explored. All this information is provided to the analytics program by the user’s computer and most people are unaware that they are even giving away this info.

To collect the data, you need to install a tracking code provided by the analytics program on all pages of your site. When a visitor hits any of those pages, a small bit of code called a cookie is generated. The cookie stays on the user’s computer for a set period of time and allows the analytics program to gather all the info it needs. Users can set their browsers to prevent cookies from being created, but most don’t. This is because cookies are used by web sites for other serve purposes such as remembering your shopping cart, preferences or username.

The program will now collect data and organize it for you in almost any way you want. It can tell you how many visitors you had over a time period, day or even hour. You can see how many visitors are using mobile devices and what browser they are using or how many visitors converted to sales and what campaign brought them to your site. Even the keywords users are typing into the browser to find your site are available and ,if they clicked though from another site, what site that is. Almost anything you want to know about your site users when they are on your site is available. You can even combine different elements to get even more specific, like how many mobile users in Canada using Internet Explorer searched under a specific keyword. The thing it won’t tell you, though, is any identifying information about the users like an e-mail address.

An analytics program can give you an enormous amount of information about your site users and how they are using your site. It can be a little overwhelming. But by focusing on the information that is relevant to your site and what it offers you will have the information you need to fine tune your SEO and marketing.