Google Sitemaps and web analytics/
March 11, 2006
I’ve been pushing all my customers to validate their sites with Google Sitemaps, especially now that the initial buzz is over and there’s no waiting list. Since this is a long post, I’m going to skip all the great ways Google Sitemaps shows you whether they are reading all your pages, and just talk about the analytics provided once you’ve validated that you’re the site owner or webmaster.
Lots of people don’t have web analytics but need them. I can’t tell you how many customer engagements start with me asking the customer to please install web analytics so that we can actually achieve something. Once you establish yourself and your site with Google Sitemaps (and they are so good about walking you through the validation step by step that I won’t do that here), you get some immediate analytics. They call them stats. There are two sets of stats that are very interesting, Query Stats and Page Analysis.
Query stats. Sitemaps includes two kinds of query stats: 1) Which search terms most often brought up your site in the Search Engine Response Pages, and 2) Which search terms both brought up your site and people clicked on them. For both of those metrics, they tell you where you rank on the page. So this is a mini tool for Search Engine Optimization, and the most interesting part about it is what is not there. For example, if I didn’t have web analytics and I weren’t using Google SiteMap, I might think that my site ranks well in Google for website conversion rate, the way it does in MSN and Yahoo! In fact, I’m still buried for that term in Google.
Page Analysis is incredibly interesting. It shows keyword density for your entire site. For example, here are the “Common Words” for my company’s website:
They don’t say that the words are in order of density, but it seems to be that way. And if so, I just learned something really important – we don’t use the word “analytics” enough. BTW, there are a number of free tools that do this kind of analysis, too, but you don’t get to do the entire site with one swoop.
Page Analysis also shows how words are used in the links to one’s site. Here are mine:
This is important information to me because I want to know whether my links use more than just my company name. I’ll get more “credit” in the search engines for the word conversion if it’s in a link. Sure, I get credit for the word LunaMetrics when it’s in the link, but my site will always come up #1 for a search on “LunaMetrics.”
Robbin Steif, CEO