google launched google analytics a while ago, now new account signup is suspended due to high demand. it’s a web site traffic analysis service, free of charge, known as Urchin before it’s bought by google. Urchin had been popular, useful traffic tracking and analyzing software for long time, but rather expensive if i recall correctly. now google bought over urchin and make it free to all webmasters.
Simply paste the Google Analytics tracking code into each of your website pages and tracking begins immediately.
Learn how visitors interact with your website and identify the navigational bottlenecks that keep them from completing your conversion goals. Find out how profitable your keywords are across search engines and campaigns. Pinpoint where your best customers come from and which markets are most profitable to you. Google Analytics gives you this and more through easy-to-understand visually enhanced reports.
that’s great, a sophisticated, comprehensive, complete, traffic analysis tool, for free, and from a trusted source. if you’ve leant e-commerce ABC, you should have known how important these information is to the site owner, therefore appreciate google analytics very much.
but wait a minute.
i signed up for the account once they launched however i have not inserted the tracking code, maybe will never do so.
lets go back to the basics. what’s the ultimate purpose of all search engines? the answer is, return most useful, relevant web pages to the surfers. no matter how google, yahoo, msn, and all other search engines change their algorithm, this would remain true, for a long time, if not forever.
so how do search engines decide which web page is the most useful relevant result that should be ranked at no. 1 spot? there’re tons of articles, totorials, blog posts, forum posts, ebooks, email courses… discussing what are the elements that search engines look for and how they calculate rankings, therefore how web site owners should optimize their sites.
we can devide these SEO techniques into 2 groups, onsite and offsite.
onsite factors includes site structure, navigation, link structure, copywriting, title tags, meta tags, , keyword desity, keyword position, font face, font size, heading, size of web page, size of web site, outgoing links… in short, elements that are in site owner’s control, stuffs on the web site itself.
offsite factors includes number of incoming links, anchor text of links, where is the link from, how relevant is the linking page, surrounding text, page rank… elements are that are on other people’s site and not under site owner’s control.
from another point of view, we can consider onsite SEO as “what the site owner says about the site”. if your providing SEO service, natually you optimize your site for this keyword.
likewise, offsite elements can be considered as “what other web site owners say about your web site”. the more people think your important and relevant, the more people would link to your site from their sites, the higher your ranking.
but, one thing is mssing so far, one critical thing.
“what visitors say about your site?”
do surfers or visitors think your site is actually relevant, helpful? this is the missing piece search engines are trying hard to get but getting little success. they have tried toolbar (is it interesting that all big three, google, yahoo, msn has one?), local search, personalized search, providing free email services, desktop search, etc. all these aim to collect user information.
how many pages surfers visit, which pages, how long they stay on the site, on each page, what’s their navigation pattern, do they go to order page, do they complete order process… these information tells a lots about your web site, but difficult to get for all search engines.
now, by using google analytics on your web site, google would have full access to all these critical information.