Blog Post

Why you don't understand your Google analytics data


We get calls from SEO reseller program members every day that are frantic. They just got a call from a client who is not happy and they turn to us for support. This is great. That's what HubShout is here for. We support our SEO resellers, especially when they are dealing with impatient or confused customers... From where I sit, this is when you need your reseller partner to step-up and really help you educate the customer. 9 times out of 10, we are able to calm nervous reseller clients by focusing on two things: 1) The work being done and 2) Non-branded organic traffic. Here is exactly how you do that...

The work being done

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. SEO is not magic. The steps required to promote your website and get the attention of both end-users and the search engines are NOT that complicated. As our SEO reseller team knows, we believe in transparency and accountability. This is why we are willing to tell you exactly what we do and when we do it. And this is the first tool to use when the impatient client calls you in a panic about their search engine rankings. Show them the workflow screen in your portal.

When most rational people see the amount of work you are doing for them, and ask a few probing questions about why you are doing these tasks, they start to relax. Tell them that this process has worked hundreds of times before for improving search engine rankings.

Now help your client understand their Google analytics

Now that you have the client calmed a bit, and in a more productive mind-set, it's time for some math lessons. Believe or not, many people don't know how to read or interpret their Google analytics reports. Traffic to your website is a complex topic, full of jargon. Your job as an SEO reseller is to help them understand better. You need to train them how to interpret the ocean of data that Google analytics gives us for free. Here is a concrete example:

Overall traffic from Google Analytics is not the entire story

At first glance, the overall traffic pattern in the picture below does not look that great. It's flat! I mean, where is the growth? We have received client calls from people with graphs like this (or from the SEO reseller who sold them the work). From ten thousand feet, it does look bad...

But notice what happens to the graph once we isolate organic traffic from non-organic traffic.

Okay, that's a little better. The traffic is at least not falling. "But I'm still not happy" says the impatient client. So let's keep digging. We next take the client to the SEO tab in our private label portal. This graph has a TON of data, but it is a little complex for the uninitiated. But go there anyway. You are starting to get to the heart of the matter.

Isolate the non-branded organic traffic

Using this complex graph in the HubShout private label portal you now need to isolate non-branded organic traffic from branded organic search engine traffic. Every SEO reseller needs to know how to do this as it is the strongest defense from negative customer service calls. Looks what happens when I remove the branded traffic and isolate the non-branded, organic traffic from Google analytics:

Wait! That graph looks great... This campaign is actually AWESOME! How did that happen? I know, I'm a math stat geek, but I really like this little story. It outlines how a trend that looks really bad at the ten thousand foot level is actually really good once you know how to dig into the Google analytics data and sort through the noise. Said another way, these are kick-ass search engine optimization results, but that was lost on the customer who did not know how to read their Google analytics data.