I was recently reading a newsletter from WebProNews where a forum visitor asks,
“Are we in an update on Google?”
One of the responses I found intriguing was,
“Are sales way down? Remember the days of ranking reports on Google are going bye bye. This is the way it will be on Google now, like it or not.
Now if sales are down then yes your website has been affected by the latest Big Daddy changes. The thing that has been most consistent with websites which have been suffering from the update is the lack of new and relevant/quality links. If your website has not been getting any new links from high quality, relevant websites it appears to be hurting your ability to rank well now.” [http://www.webproworld.com/viewtopic.php?t=65567]
I’ve always told my clients they need to make a real effort to find quality websites and pursue a linking plan. Once natural optimization has been placed on their web pages, the second phase of good optimization is acquiring links naturally, regularly, over a long period of time.
But I also saw in the forum member’s comment a need for clients to have a basic understanding of their website statistics. Every website has a statistics package. Some packages are very poor, some can be modified to be better and some are really great. But the need to understand web traffic statistics is growing even greater now that we see the rankings in a search engine like Google can be constantly shifting. I’ve noticed some of my own client’s website rankings drop in the morning and be back up in the afternoon.
I think what the forum member was getting at was that a ranking report is a snap-shot. It shows a website’s rankings in a brief moment of time. Thus, the ranking reports on Google are going bye bye because they don’t tell the whole story about a website’s rankings in Google. If sales are down then that could be a better indication that the website has dropped permanently in Google.
To balance out ranking reports, web statistics tell the story of how many visitors came to the website from Google as well as what keywords brought them, how many pages they viewed, what page they exited on and how many participated with the website. For example, whether they signed up for a newsletter, purchased an item or service or took some other kind of action.
If ranking reports on Google are on the way out, then I know reading, analyzing and understanding the website’s traffic stats is on the way in. And probably for a very long time to come. Reading website visitor activity has been made easier and more detailed in the past 2 years or so through ClickTracks, Google Analytics and other programs. It’s a good thing it has too; Google’s changing algorithm has created a need to understand website traffic like never before.
Warren Taylor – Senior Account Executive