We favor analytics over search engine optimization (SEO) because trying to get your site in the first page (or even the first few pages) of search results can require an extraordinary amount of time and potential investment with limited guarantees of success.
Don't get us wrong - focusing on search engine optimization on your site is a good thing and can bring great results for some organic searches. But think about these facts:
- There are just under ONE BILLION websites active today, and EVERYONE wants the front page.
- Factors other than content affect the way search engines (particularly Google) index sites:
- The length of time the site has been active
- The number of years for which the domain name is registered
- Site traffic and ranking performance over time, which favors large established sites that can show up in results even in your specific area
- There are paid services including paying for keyword ranking, paying for directory listings, etc. - services which you and every competitor are using
- The internal mechanics of search engine ranking algorithms change frequently (Google changes it's algorithm as often as once a day!) which can confound efforts to rise in rankings
Put all of this together and do the math and you will realize that many SEO providers out there make promises that you'll be among the top listings when they simply can not guarantee that result. Some of them even "exempt" themselves from that guarantee in the fine print.
Getting people to the site is only half the battle. What happens when they get there?
- Do they look at the home page for 3 seconds and then leave?
- Where were they coming from, and where do they go next?
- Did they click the ad banner or promotional item you wanted them to click?
- What page(s) attract the most attention?
- Where do they spend most of their time on your site, and how much time is that exactly?
- When you make changes to the site, how does it impact these user behaviors? Better results? Worse?
You could have the number one spot in search engine listings without having any end-user engagement. An extreme example, but possible. How frustrating would that be? Why aren't people following through on your call-to-action?
Analytics can provide quantifiable answers to those questions, and help you figure out what is working to catch user attention and what isn't. That kind of information can fuel concrete strategies to improve "user conversion" (meaning they follow through with some action you've set as a goal - clicking a banner, retrieving a coupon, making a purchase), and you can see specific results of the strategy! No mumbo-jumbo and SEO voodoo, just useful information.
As with all things, you only get out what you put in, and it takes some work to set up analytics - but once you've got it going, you will have a serious window into what happens when users arrive at your site, whichever way they got there.