It’s been forever (okay, about four months) since I’ve done a mailbag, but there are a few questions in my IN box that are waiting to be turned into a blog post. I’ll start with this one from a reader who asked not to have me post his/her full name; the first initial is “M,” if you need to know.
It’s actually a few different questions about Google Analytics, and ultimately about how to work with an SEO consultant. Here we go:
My SEO company owns the Google Analytics, and recently allowed me to sign on their account to see my reports. I think it should be in my name and not theirs because the research collection of data becomes their property. Should I tell them I want my own Google Analytics and invite them to see it? Why do they need to see my analytics? Aren’t they just supposed to be working on the optimization of my keywords, or do they just like to see the improvements?
Okay. Sounds like an interesting situation, “M,” and probably not altogether uncommon. It seems to me like there are some issues here that may be undermining the overall relationship between you and your SEO consultant — namely, they apparently didn’t do a very good or complete job of explaining to you what exactly they’re doing, and you seem to not trust them too much (probably because of that).
Let me start with this — Why do they need to see my analytics? Aren’t they just supposed to be working on the optimization of my keywords, or do they just like to see the improvements?
They need to see the analytics because that data is infinitely more valuable and informative to an SEO consultant than any other piece of data. All the links you get, all the content you create, all the SEO work you do on a site, all the rankings — it’s all useless if it doesn’t translate into traffic, conversions, and ROI. And analytics is where you learn about those things.
When I start working with a client, the first thing I request when the campaign begins is access to their analytics. And I usually ask them a million analytics-type questions before I’ll even agree to work with them. I couldn’t imagine working with a client without having access to the web analytics whenever I want or need it.
But, the bigger issue is what you described earlier in the question: My SEO company owns the Google Analytics….
That, to me, is a problem. You, the web site owner, should own the analytics and you should decide who can access it and who can’t. Frankly, I can’t imagine what kind of an SEO consultant would put a client’s analytics under their own account and only let you access it when you ask. Actually, I can imagine what kind of company would do that, and it’s not the kind of company I’d recommend anyone work with.
You asked, Should I tell them I want my own Google Analytics and invite them to see it?
Yes, I would tell them you want your Google Analytics data under a Google account that you own, not one that they own. You can setup the account yourself very easily and even email them the new Analytics tracking code to place on the web site. I don’t know if there’s a way to merge data from two accounts, so you may end up starting from scratch with your own new account, but over the long haul, I think that’s better than having your data be under someone else’s account. It’s like you’re tied to this company, and they’re doing this so that you can’t (or won’t) leave them.
You might be setting yourself up for what could be an ugly scene and a possible unfriendly split from this company. But I’ll say this: Any SEO consultant who objects to you owning your own web site data with an analytics account in your name, not theirs, is not the kind of SEO consultant you want to be working with over the long haul, anyway.
Your turn: Do you agree or disagree with my reply? How would you answer “M”?