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Google Analytics or Search Engine Optimization

Many business ask what's better Google Analytics or Search Engine Optimization, truth is their's a place for both when analyzing where the traffic to your website is coming from.

Google has certainly raised the bar with it's site Analytics and conversion tracking tools.  Price is free, it's easy to use and they give you a great set of reports to start with.  We can also set this up as part of your Google Adwords Management to track the performance of your AdWords campaign.  

Search Engine Optimization specialists (like ours), dig much deeper than Google Analytics.  They also review content and linking logic.  If you're serious about improving the organic traffic performance of your website, optimizing for search engines is a must.  Analytics tells you where they've come from and why, SEO improves your site for the web crawlers.

Tracking visitors vs tracking spiders

Google Analytics uses JavaScript to tag pages.  Simply when a user visits a page on your site, the JavaScript sends information where the user came from, keywords used, browsers... back to Google with the information from your page and code.  The limitation is that the program is only capable of recording information on browsers that allow JavaScript to execute (some people turn this off).

Automated browser spiders form Google (Googlebot) Yahoo (Yahoo! Slurp) and MSN (MSNBot), do not execute JavaScript in the source code on your page.  So, while Google Analytics does a great job of tracking human visitors, they are not able to tell you about the spider behavior on your page.  This information is helpful to optimize for the free organic traffic you desire.

Use your Site Log Files and other Tools

You should make sure you use or your SEO consultant does more than rely solely on Google Analytics.  Have a look at our Search Engine Optimization page here  to get a feel for the tools and work we'll do to better understand your site.

Analysis tools that rely on log files are using server logs to mine the traffic information from your website. Every request for a page (file) on your site is recorded, along with an IP address of the user, and the referral string. Its certainly more work to analyze the log files, there is specialized software which can help you with the task, the data you get back makes it a necessary evil.  

Log analysis certainly allows th utmost flexibility when it comes to filtering and analyzing the data.   Google Analytics continues to improve it's filtering / reporting options, but you are still tied to how they want you to see the data (which isn't so bad for most people).

Unfortunately Google Analytics will not allow you to download their log files.  More on that next.

Is it your data or Google’s?

Even though it's your site with their code on the site, Google still owns the data generated from this work.  They also design and change the reporting software and reports on Google Analytics, so you kind of get what they give you... the good news is it's pretty darn good.

Using SEO, Log files and the other software of the trade.  You'll retain the power of the data and reports that your site generates.

Recommendations

In the end, Google Analytics has it place as a very useful tool.  Anyone doing serious SEO work will opt for other tools include server log analysis so make sure your consultants make use of these tools.

Google Webmaster tools should be turned on for your website, they provide accurate data for your site and how Google and GoogleBot related to it.

Call to discuss your SEO or AdWords project

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