Let me share something you could not have possibly known: if I had put the word “gamification” in the title of this post the views would have jumped to 3 times as many as normal. When I look at the numbers, the highest views are of gamification posts. If all I wanted to do was increase views of blog posts, the obvious thing to do might be put that word in as many titles as I could come up with:
- 10 ways to add gamification to your SEO!
- 3 gamification mistakes to avoid!
- Add gamification and win big!
- And a whole lot of more gamification where that came from…
The problem is, my business isn’t about gamification. It’s about internet marketing, and gamification is a very small part of that dynamic.
Analytics Has To Have A Goal In Mind
The process of analytics is basically filtering data in various ways to assess what that data is actually representing. The goal of analytics has to be kept in mind or this filtering becomes a random number crunching instead of a thoughtful process. Online marketing strategy starts with a target, a goal that you want to reach. One step in reaching the goal could be increased views of blog posts, but the steps toward the target all should be working together to get there.
Mike Arnesen just did a good job of elaborating on this idea on the Moz Blog with his article on Semantic Analysis. His look at semantic markup and structured data starts out with an admission. He says that the rich snippets that show up in search are so much fun that he stopped there for a bit. But then he realized the ROI could be much, much higher if he had a better goal than just rich snippets.
Just like the increased views in those gamification titles, the process can’t stop at a single factor. You have to keep the big picture in view with analytics or those numbers obscure what’s actually happening.