There has been a lot of blog chatter about the death of search engine optimization (SEO) and I disagree with most posters attitudes. However, I do believe that SEO as a stand alone service will not provide the same return on investments as it once did.
We need to look at the search horizon to figure out where our customers should position themselves to make the most money possible in the next 6 months to 2 years.
Let me explain: Google has decided to move towards personalized search. What does this mean? It doesn't mean that every search query will return completely different results, no. What it means is that Google is trying to return the most relevant and effective results. They are trying to return the sites that answer the searches questions most often, and they are trying to answer individual questions better based on your profile. So if your shopping for a black handbag, you will be presented with thousands of store options, the store that sells the most black handbags, the store with the best usability, will eventually rank at or near the top. If you are really different than most people and you only buy black handbags made of leather, then a few leather handbag stores may be sprinkled in to the results. So Google is building user satisfaction into their algorithm. You will still need to dot your i's and cross your SEO t's but as you can imagine usability and customer satisfaction will become more and more important.
What does this have to do with analytics? Analytics is the heart of your store, it gives us the answers we need to make business decisions. It helps us make usability and marketing decisions – it helps us improve conversions rates, average order size, and customer satisfaction levels – ultimately analytics forces us to ask the question, how can we improve? And when we action the answers we are ultimately helping our rankings.