In the UK last week Brand Republic reported that UK spend on search engine marketing would reach £2.75bn this year.
However, just a tiny fraction of that cash – £330m – was spent on the art of SEO or search engine optimisation. The lion’s share of web site owner’s budget went on paid search solutions like Google AdWords or Microsoft adCenter.
SEO is an essential and vital route to improving usability and search engine visibility of web sites. So with what appears to be a disproportionate amount of time and money being allocated to this fine discipline, it made me wonder how much was being invested in web analytics.
When I say investment, I mean investment in people. Although many web analytics tools cost money to run, some are now free but you still need people to make sense of the data they provide. At Microsoft we have full time analysts pouring over dashboards of data, setting benchmarks and looking out for actionable insight. Some might say that having dedicated resource is a luxury a large company like Microsoft can afford – and they might be right!
But that doesn’t prevent company leaders from coaching their marketing manager or webmaster to spend an hour a day keeping an eye on what traffic trends might be exploited.
Investment doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of cash.
A few hundred dollars on a training course at a conference for someone in your company who’s interested in data could result in thousands of dollars made or saved. Paid search is an incredibly valuable lead generator and marketing channel, but in order to build a better web experience for users we need to better understand their behaviour and then act – that means investing a little more time and energy into web analytics and SEO.