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7 Ways to Analyze Natural Search Web Analytics Data
Monday, April 06, 2009
Each month, search marketers and website owners spend hours looking at their analytics data. Yet as we have all seen numbers can mean different things to different people. Numbers can be interpreted in a different manner and as a result, a lot of time can be wasted trying to gain insight into the performance of your online marketing campaigns.

I often wonder how much time is spent each month by companies analyzing data from a natural search perspective? I mean after all, it is difficult enough just trying to identify key performance indicators or the metrics that matter let alone analyze their impact on your organic search efforts. (Just a reminder that organic and natural search are one in the same.) With all of the data being presented, one can easily become overwhelmed with numbers and lose sight of what you should be tracking and measuring. The fact is, while numbers can quickly becoming complex, analyzing the web analytics data doesn't have to. There are a number of simple ways to filter through the numbers each month when you are measuring the success of your natural search campaigns.

7 Ways to Analyze Natural Search Web Analytics Data
  1. Compare Your Current Month to the Previous Month - want a quick snapshot as to how your site is doing from an organic search perspective? Simply compare this months data to last months. Of course if your business is seasonal you'll want to look at a longer time segment.

  2. Examine Data from the Past Quarter - the majority of businesses will look at revenue and other metrics on a quarterly basis. Do the same for your search metrics as this can provide greater insight from the normal month to month comparisons that you should also be evaluating.

  3. Compare Monthly YOY Data - seems so simple doesn't it? Comparing April 2009 data to April 2008 data can illustrate some emerging trends (good or bad) that your site is experiencing. From here you can see how external factors such as the economy or a recent negative story about your business can impact various metrics including traffic and conversions from organic search efforts.

  4. Review Year-To-Date (YTD) data - to identify interesting and meaningful trends that are more recent. If your fiscal business year is from October to October, perhaps in April, you will want to have a look at the YTD data inclusive to see how close you are to reaching your organic search goals as well as your reenue projections that you have set out for your natural search efforts.

  5. Compare YOY Data - similar to item number three except that you compare an entire years worth of data. this is great for impact measurement. For example measuring the impact of a new product or solution in terms of the result that it has had on your organic search traffic and activity.

  6. Look for Discrepancy in Trends - an easy way to monitor your natural search campaign is to look for discrepancies in trended data. This can provide some quick insight into items such as organic traffic to your site, or search engine activity after an algorithm update. Identifying a weird spike or unlikely dip can help you adjust your online efforts if you so choose to do so.

  7. Pick a Favorite Metric and Do Spot Checks - this is something that I like to do as it allows me to keep on top of metrics that are important from a Search perspective but are metrics that clients may not be tracking religiously. I like to take a look at bounce rates for key pages or the number of pages indexed in Google after a recent website redesign and identify progress that is being made.
Analyzing your Web analytics data can be time consuming and at times frustrating. However identifying key methodologies and avenues to monitor your metrics that matter can provide a more rewarding experience. Take the time to understand what you are looking at and set up your dashboards to communicate this efficiently and clearly.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, April 06, 2009  
1 Comments:
  • At 9:15 AM, Blogger fritz said…

    Does anyone know of affordable web analytics tools that can report on a fiscal year? I use AWStats, which allows monthly or calendar year reports, but I need to report on June of one year to July of the next year. HELP! and thanks

     
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