We all dig about in our sites analytics data to see what's working and what isn't. Analytics, what ever flavour you prefer, is a vital tool used by all SEO's. Some analytics packages, such as Clicky give you data in virtual real time. You can see what visitors searched for, where they came from, which pages they visited and how long they spent on your site, as it happens. So what you might be thinking, the data is all there to view at your leisure anyway, and you wouldn't be wrong.
The thing is, there's something very revealing, refreshing and sobering about actually watching people on your site. It's somehow not as dry as analysing yesterday's data. It's a bit like the difference between a CD and a live gig, a bit rough round the edges but more real. Watching your SEO efforts work, as a sought after key phrase bears fruit, only to lose the searcher within 5 seconds because the page isn't good enough really focusses the mind!
But watching your prized phrases isn't all the voyeuristic SEO can glean from some real-time guerilla work. If you create lot's of content your site will be attracting plenty of long tail traffic. Sometimes the traffic is landing on a long forgotten deep linked page you last looked at a year ago. Seeing it attracting traffic refocuses the mind on that missing call to action or sloppy layout.
I spent about an hour on some real time SEO analysis this week. The end result was some significant improvements to some neglected pages of our site. I'll keep you posted on the fruits of these efforts in a future post.