Articles written in October, 2011

October 27 2011

Google Announcement: Secure Search


Google announced a revision to Secure Search on Tuesday, October 18, 2011. The change went mostly unnoticed by casual Google Analytics users, but swept through the online marketing and analytics communities like wildfire. One week later, we would like to show an example of how the change is affecting Google Analytics reports.

But first, let us answer the question: “What changed?”

A user who is logged into Google, whether Google+, Gmail, or another Google property, conducts a search through the Google Search Engine for “pumpkin carving kit” and lands on a site selling the aforementioned item.

Prior to October 18, 2011, the owner of the landing page (assuming they have Google Analytics properly set-up), could pull the Organic Search Traffic report in Google Analytics (under Traffic Sources, Sources, Search, Organic) and see “pumpkin carving kit” amongst other search queries that delivered organic traffic.

After October 18, 2011, the owner of the landing page could pull the same report, but now, the search query “pumpkin carving kit” would not be present.

Example of Google Analytics Data After Revised Secure Search

The above screen shot clearly shows that the change took affect on October 18, 2011 and that this web property sees “(not provided)” instead of specific search queries.

Where can I read more information?

Read the post from 10/18/2011 on the Official Google Blog, entitled “Making Search More Secure” for technical details and our October Newsletter article entitled “Google Search Change Impacts Analytics Data.”

Posted in: Google Analytics

October 19 2011

Topsy: Google Plus Search


Our last Analytics Blog post, entitled Google Plus: How To See Google Plus Posts, took a look inside Google’s Advanced Search features to find public posts by those using Google Plus in relation to a specific keyword or keyphrase. We would now like to share with you an alternative for searching for Google Plus posts on Google:

Meet Topsy, a social search engine, which has come out with a search engine specifically for Google Plus:

The front page includes a search bar and the top trending social posts of the day. If you click on the hyperlinked title, “To the point I guess” for example, you are taken to the source, in this case the Google Plus post which shows the shares below. Also note that this Google Plus member chose to share her location publically.

If you click on the orange word bubble paired with a number ( ) you are taken to a Topsy page that displays tweets and other posts about the post in question.

Topsy uses pretty standard search operators; you can find the list of operators here.

An example search for “apple iphone” resulted in the following:

A few things to note here:

  1. The default is the Past 1 Day. Similarly to the previous blog post’s mention of Google’s search, you can adjust the time frame.
  2. You may want to select “English” as the language of preference. The first result here is in Russian.
  3. There is a feature here that may go unnoticed, the Experts section under Search.

The Search by Expert section allows you to drill down into exactly who is talking about you, your business, or your product, along with what they are saying and how often they are saying it.

We are always on the lookout of new ways to monitor presence on the web. If you have any suggestions or questions, please contact us or leave a comment.

Posted in: Google Analytics

October 6 2011

Google Plus: How To See Google Plus Posts


You probably have heard of Google+ – Google’s social network that is taking on Facebook — but, you wondered how you could utilize this channel as Google’s official stance is that the network is not open to brands and businesses yet. Furthermore, monitoring platforms have not yet realized updates that include Google+ monitoring capabilities. In the meantime, here’s one way you can monitor your brand’s presence on Google+.

For this example, let’s look at Netflix. They have been creating a lot of buzz recently due to the price increase and option of physical or digital movie distribution.

Step 1: Visit Google and type “ Netflix” — click the Google Search button. (Note: If you have Google Instant turned on, you will need to disable it first.)

Step 2: Review your results. In this case, our search query resulted in 152,000 results. This example also illustrates a benefit of Google’s foray into social media — Rand Fishkin, an SEO expert whom I have in a Circle on Google+, has shared information on Google+ containing the keyword / Brand “Netflix.” His post is indicated with his profile image and the words “shared this” as can be seen below.

Step 3: Consider refining your results as needed – 152,000 is a large number of results to sift through. Click on the words “Advanced search” beneath the blue button with the hourglass icon in the upper right hand of the results page and the below advanced search options page appears. You can click on the Date section to expand it. By refining your search to “past 24 hours” you can reduce the total number of results shown.

Step 4: Review your results. In the past 24 hours, there were 18 publically available posts on Google+ mentioning Netflix. Additionally, Google gives searchers the option of sorting by relevance (default) or sorting by date. Refreshing this page will give you an update of Google+ posts mentioning Netflix as they are shared with the world. Consider what you could learn by reading through the most recent posts talking about your company name, leading brand, or specific product or service.

Unfortunately there is not currently an available function to export these search engine results.

Google+ is still in beta. Many users are just beginning to find their footing, but early adaptors are as prolific in sharing content on Google+ as they are on other social media platforms.

If you have any questions or success stories of how you have monitored Google+ for your business, we would love to hear about it in the comments.

Posted in: Google Plus

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