I’m getting settled into my new position as a search analyst, and in the process of doing so I’ve been given the opportunity to work with a market leading web analytics tool.
Coming from a grassroots and startup environment, most of my experience in parsing logs and analyzing data has come from simple applications that never cost more than fifty dollars. While I had experience in working with massive suites like Webtrends before, I’ve never been tasked with using these suites as the sole source of analytics.
With the help of my colleagues, today was my first full on day of using and training on a massive, market leading application that uses web beacon technology. Overall, I’m very impressed and frankly surprised at the flexibility and customizations available.
One of the issues that I’ve come across though is the ability to review search engine behaviors. There’s a distinct give and take relationship here, and I’m currently sitting on the fence hoping to come across some level of a happy medium.
With web beacon apps you get a web based interface that gives you the ability to customize, program and review data. Some data. See, these applications do an excellent job in providing information on site users, but not all site visitors.
Understanding user behaviors and characteristics is a gold mine, especially if you’re role is one where you must increase conversions or sales and improve the processes involved. With that in mind, these applications serve a wonderful purpose and make the lives of marketing managers more enjoyable.
In a world though where search engine marketing is more closely monitored, how does an SEO get by on these reports? So far, my immediate answer is that they can not.
Again, I’m new in the process and still have a lot to learn. In the back of my mind though I cannot help but see a glaring issue in reviewing search engine behavior and the behaviors of other automated (yet surprisingly important) browsers and agents.
In the end though, direct access to log files will undoubtedly provide the information I’m after. There still seems to be a growing issue and requirement for developers to answer though, that there is a distinct need for an effective web analytics suite that serves massive networks, employs web beacon deployment, is managed with a web based interface — yet still provides the gritty access that dedicated SEO’s need to feel comfortable with.