Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Google Analytics & Keyword Research Tools

I offer Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services. My services include basic industry research, including online research. I find out what keyword words and phrases your customers use to find a business like yours, and analyze how your direct competitors have optimized their websites. My goal is to have your website perform competitively in organic search engine results.

But what happens if you want more?
And what is "more" anyway?

I once sent a client to my Search Engine Marketing (SEM) partner. My SEM partner gave my client a free-initial consultation and a quote of just under $2,500 (initial fee) and a 6-month maintenance plan at (approx.) $500/month. I was copied with the quote, and my client came to me and said, "the costs sound reasonable ... but the problem is that I'm not exactly sure what she's selling."

My point here is that SEO and SEM is what everybody thinks they want... two very HOT items... but these same customers may not know what these intangible services really are.

Some good questions may be:
  1. What am I really getting for all that money?
  2. Are there any guarantees?
  3. Do I have to pay "monthly maintenance" for ever?
In my opinion and professional experience, there are two next steps that include Google Analytics (and/or your website statistics program) and keyword research tools. But before I outline these tools/steps, I have to warn you about something. If you want to undertake these tasks, you need to be the following type of person.
  • Enjoy sifting through reams and reams of data:
  • Think spreadsheets are the cat's meow;
  • Enjoy looking at pretty graphs (the idea of making pretty graphs works you into a frenzy), and
  • Will seriously analyze the data at regular intervals and incorporate strategic changes, testing and experiments into your online marketing plan.
To say you are detail-oriented is putting it mildly.

So, to summarize this rant, my services include the basic (organic) search engine optimization. And I have had fantastic results and tangible success from my efforts. However, I am NOT this detail-hungry type of person to perform the next steps and charge for it. I have tried for many years to find a partner to outsource these services to - and who would also be a good fit with my business - to no avail.

Now, onto the next Steps!

Step #1: Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free service and you can login with your Gmail account info. I would suggest signing up for Google Analytics, putting the code on your site, and then letting the stats accrue... even if you have no current plans to do anything with them at this time.
  1. First you have to login (or create your login) using your Gmail account.
  2. Then you create a new account (a new website account). It will ask you for your URL, geographical location, timezone, etc.
  3. Finally, it will give you the code to add to the bottom of each of your web pages. If you are not your web designer, you have the option at the bottom to email the code for your website to your web designer.
  4. Add your web designer or someone else as a USER to your Google Analytics account. (A User must have a Gmail account.) Simply make sure you are in your website profile. Look for "User Manager" at the bottom.
  5. Wait for some statistics to be recorded.
The benefits of using a Google statistics tool is that it is connected with Google Adwords (pay-per-click listings), etc., so that if you decide to pay for any listings in the future, you will have the most complete set of statistics for your return on investment. I have heard that Google Analytics is far more complete than any free website statistics that comes with your web hosting. (But don't quote me on that! I haven't personally compared them.)

But this is as far as I go. I bought "Google Analytics for Dummies" or some such book (which I can't locate this second), but it was not a light read. I tried to delegate it, but that didn't work either. So... go buy your own book and good luck!

Step #2: Keyword Research Tools/Services

Stay tuned for Step #2 in my next blog posting!

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