So, I think every “SEO” company hits a point where they get sick of driving rankings only, we hit that point in about 2005. We all know that it takes a LOT more than rankings to make a business successful online. Today I’m thrilled to share the interview-style format blog post on why we’re launching SEER’s analytics division, who’s behind it, and what we plan on doing. To be honest, we’ve always cared about Revenue over Rankings, yet we only looked at our impact on “search conversions” knowing darn well there were other channels (email, social, webinars) that our clients invest in, and have an impact on the business that doesn’t show up as “search traffic”. Today that changes, we want to help our clients better understand the customer journey across all channels, no matter where they originate.
SEER: Wil, you’ve been in search as long as Google. Why did you decide to create an Analytics Division at SEER now?
Wil: For the past ten years, we have worked really hard and smart to make sure our clients have awesome rankings and get a lot of traffic through search. On the SEO side, it starts with having clients that truly engage with their audiences and that create exciting content. We call this doing Real Company Stuff (check out #RCS on Twitter). And while search is sexier than ever, it’s only part of the equation in delivering value for the client. It is important to know whether or not your online marketing efforts are working and delivering results. Our Analytics group will be able to help people really understand what’s happening on their websites and why, to connect the dots, and answer the questions that matter.
S: What can our clients expect from the Analytics Division?
W: We know that different clients will need different levels of insight, training, and service, which is why we decided to make our analytics offerings customizable to the client. Across the board, though, our goal with the Analytics group is to help clients gain an understanding of what parts of their marketing plan are working and what parts aren’t. It comes down to accountability, which has always been a priority at SEER and which we think should be priority for the whole industry.
Rachael: We’ve been doing this for our clients for a while, so we already know that it works. An example: We were working with a client who had just completed a site redesign. Their analytics showed that they had a 4% bounce rate, which they thought meant that the redesign was overwhelmingly successful (it had previously been 30%). It turns out that they had two copies of their Google Analytics code on their new homepage. Misinformation or a lack of information can lead to wrong decisions being made.
S: Is there anything that might surprise clients about the SEER approach to Analytics?
W: For those that know us well, no. For others, they may be surprised that our Analytics service will be very proactive. They’ll be alerted when there is a change or a trend that matters to their websites and businesses. They may also be surprised at how dedicated we are to clients that do RCS and to accountability.
R: I would add that people may be surprised at what they learn when SEER helps them take a good, hard look and actually understand their analytics. They might find that a lot of the assumptions that informed their business decisions for years were wrong. For instance, we were working with a client whose website wasn’t optimized for the Chrome browser. They didn’t think that Chrome mattered and didn’t want to make the investment to update their site. Until we showed them that 25% of their traffic came from Chrome users. Given their average conversion rate, they were losing a LOT of money by ignoring this traffic. On the other hand, there will also be clients who say, “I have always felt in my gut that X was working, and it feels great to see the data that back it up.”
S: Who will make up the Analytics team?
W: I believe in building around talent, which is why Rachael Gerson will be leading the Analytics Division. In her five years at SEER, I have seen Rachael’s success in delivering innovative SEO and analytics ideas and services. Rachael has spoken on analytics at major conferences all over the country, and everyone (including me) has been impressed with her insight and approach. The team is very much a homegrown team with a ton of strength, but we’re also actively looking for the best people to add to it, we have 3 people who are Google Analytics certified.
S: The marketing industry has long been famous for not being able to measure ROI. How do you think analytics will change this?
W: I think it was John Wanamaker who said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” There’s a big gap between not knowing what is working at all and knowing how every dollar is performing. SEER isn’t here to make something perfect; we are here to make it better than the current state of affairs. If a client doesn’t understand the ROI on 50% of their marketing spend, we want to get that number down to 20% or 10%.
R: Back in Wanamaker’s day, there were basically two types of marketing: convention advertising and in-store promotions. Today, it’s much more complicated. There has been in increase in focus on integration between SEO, PPC, ads, public relations, and social. Analytics helps companies determine which of these have worked and how they should spend their dollars moving forward. It’s about making better, more data-driven decisions and being able to proactively deliver accountability across the board.
We’re looking forward to the next steps and helping our clients get more from their investments in marketing, branding, PR, and…search.