I couldn’t believe it when i saw it, but here it was.

A national retailer sent me the analytics reports that their SEO company was giving them.

In exchange for paying this SEO company thousands of dollars per month for SEO and analytics, this retailer was getting nothing more than screenshots of Google Analytics; screenshots that showed Unique Visitors, Page Views, Time on Site and Top Content.

I never thought I would still be seeing this, but I can’t believe how prevalent it is, and how much customers accept this artificial substitute for real business-based analysis. On top of that, to simply deliver screen captures and deliver no analysis of what the numbers mean is simply unacceptable.

Business owners want accountability and ROI for the money they spend. Search Marketing companies that do no more than generate “cut-and-paste” analytics reports do themselves and the industry a disservice by calling this “analytics.”

Where is the business case?
Where is the ROI?

When did these standards stop being the measurement of success?

Any business can improve the quality of their reports in a matter of minutes.
If the report they receive from their agency or their analysts does not contain clear action-based analysis that shows how to make more money – then stop accepting it.

A clear report should show (at a minimum):

  • Where did the revenue come from?
  • What channels create the most revenue?
  • What search terms create the most revenue?
  • What actions should be taken as a result?

Beyond just these simple business-based questions are more in-depth questions that could be asked that would clarify an online business strategy;

What is the most profitable product/content/campaign?
What creates the best lifetime value?

Do you notice what isn’t in these questions? Unique visitors. Time on site. Visitors from other countries, etc. Those are all numbers that mean nothing without context. Simplify your strategy and grow your business by getting analytics reports that focus on revenue and value – not visitors.

It’s time to evolve.