Both client-side and server-side tracking systems give you much more informa-
tion about your site visitors than basic server log analysis or built-in PPC tracking will
provide. What paths your users took, where they lingered, where they exited your
site—the options are almost endless. Client-side systems provide the additional advan-
tage that your part of the setup generally doesn’t require heavy-duty IT involvement. If
you know simple HTML, you may be able to do this part yourself.
Got time on your hands? It takes a serious time commitment to review
and act upon the data you receive using this method. But consider implementing an
advanced tracking system even if you don’t see yourself cozying up with the data on a
weekly basis. It’s possible to review data on a monthly, even quarterly, basis and glean
some fascinating and helpful information.
Client-side tracking also brings about the same security issues that PPC conversion
tracking does. If data security is a major issue at your organization, server-side tracking
will be the better option for you.
Another limitation is that both tracking methods are likely to undercount your visitors
(small pieces of text that are saved temporarily on the user’s computer) that these tech-
niques rely on.
You’ve Gotta Love Google Analytics
In 2005, Google pounced on the conversion tracking scene with Google Analytics. Previously a fee-
based service called Urchin, Google Analytics can track
clicks, both PPC and nonpaid.The Web-
based interface offers all the tools a small or medium business needs for SEO tracking and more.
And, it’s free!
Like many must-haves (Remember Cabbage Patch Kids? No? Well, then…remember the years-
long beta phase of Gmail?), demand for Google Analytics significantly exceeded supply during its
first few months of existence, causing Google to turn away many enthusiastic site owners. Growing
pains notwithstanding, we predict that Google Analytics will change the face of conversion track-
ing for small businesses. Options that previously cost a bundle or required heavy hitting from in-
house techies will be available to all small businesses for free.With enough businesses using it,
Google Analytics could give organic SEO some of the accountability—and budget—that PPC
already enjoys.We’re looking forward to it!
c08. 8:08 213