Articles in the Benchmarking & Measuring Success Category

April 30 2009

How to track a site using domain aliases in Google Analytics, and AdSense Integration

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Two things to talk about today – Domain Aliases and Google’s new announcement of officially releasing AdSense integration with your Google Analytics Account!

Part 1 of this post: Domain Aliases

“Domain Aliases” is consistently one of the top 10 searched terms on the Google Analytics Help Website. You can definitely track domain aliases properly so that Google Analytics reports cleanly, and cookie integrity holds up. The question then becomes “How do I do that?”

There are two possible ways to do this, but it depends on the type of web server – Apache or IIS – that you’re running. Following the steps outlined in this article will ensure that visitor tracking with Google Analytics is getting set under the primary domain and that all visitors are tracked consistently. Basically, you’ll want to redirect any domain aliases to the primary domain – this actually helps out with cookie integrity.

Redirecting Aliases in Apache:

Create two VirtualHost entries – the first for your primary domain (normal configuration), and the second for all aliases re-directing to the primary:

#---primary virtualhost

Servername www.mysite.com
Serveralias mysite.com
...

#---second virtualhost

Servername mysite.org
Serveralias www.mysite.org mysite.net www.mysite.net
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule ^(.*) http://www.mysite.com$1 [R=301]

Redirecting Aliases in IIS:

With Microsoft IIS webservers, you can create two websites in the IIS configuration – the first being the primary domain and the second will be for all other aliases redirecting to the primary.

Follow these steps to create a 301 redirect:

  1. Log in as an Administrator and open the Internet Services Manager by going to Start >> Programs >> Administrative Tools >> Internet Services Manager.
  2. Choose the server which is hosting your primary domain.
  3. In the folder, click the primary domain with your right mouse button and select Properties.
  4. Click the ‘Home Directory’ tab.
  5. In the “Redirect to:” field, enter the domain you want to redirect to. For example, if you want to redirect to mysite.org, enter http://mysite.org in this field.
  6. Under the “The Client will be sent to” section, select “A permanent redirection for this resource.” This will create a 301 redirect from your primary domain to mysite.org.

Read the rest of this article to find out how to use a 302 redirect instead of using a 301 redirect.

Part 2: Google AdSense + Google Analytics Integration

It is now official – you can sync your Google AdSense Account with your Google Analytics Account! When you do this, a brand new “AdSense” report section appears within your Content section of reports. There, you will find four reports:

1. Overview – This gives you a top-level breakdown of how much money the pages on your website have made for you. You’ll see brand new and exciting metrics such as AdSense Revenue, Revenue per 1,000 Visits, AdSense Click-Through Rate, Unit Impressions, Page Impressions per Visit, and other awesome analytical statistics.
2. Top AdSense Content – This allows you to see specific details about each page of your website to analyze AdSense performance. See which pages lead to AdSense clicks, and which ones don’t.
3. Top AdSense Referrers – Which sources of traffic are contributing to your AdSense bottom line? This report should answer that question for you.
4. AdSense Trending – View this histogram to see which days and what times of day visitors are clicking on the AdSense Ads on the pages of your website.

Isn’t this very exciting? But wait, there’s something else – you will now notice a new “AdSense” tab in several reports throughout Google Analytics, which allows you to analyze AdSense performance in several different report sections.

Linking your AdSense Account with your Google Analytics account is not that difficult – so ask your Administrator to set this up for you, and enjoy the new report section!

…and enjoy your properly redirected domain aliases, too :).

March 25 2009

VERY URGENT: INCREASE YOUR ECOMMERCE REVENUE BY 100,000%!!!

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Dear Sir / Madam,

You may be very surprised on receiving this letter from me, since we have never met before. My name is barrister Joe Teixeira, a Malaysian national and personal representative to my client, Google Analytics.

The reason that I write to you is of the utmost importance. I need your help in securing the funds that your website can bring to you, before the National Bank of Malaysia closes the account. The funds in my client’s account are estimated to be valued at ONE HUNDRED FORTY MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS, which have been deposited in your name as the next of kin, provided you agree to the terms outlined below.

The bank has issued me a third and final notice to contact the next of kin (you), or the Google Analytics account will be declared unserviceable and the funds will be dispersed to the treasury department. All efforts to get a hold of someone else have failed – you are the last person I could find to contact.

I am asking you for your due diligence, and advise you to perform the following actions on your website to increase your Ecommerce Revenue by ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PERCENT:

1. Design a clear “Call-To-Action” on your website’s homepage, and pay-per-click landing pages,
2. Continually refine, test, and optimize your landing page, your CPC ads, your keywords, you keyword’s match types, and any other settings possible,
3. Use Google Website Optimizer to conduct A/B or Multivariate experiments to boost conversions and increase revenue,
4. Test out different selling propositions, conversion incentives, ad titles, and anything else outlined in this blog post,
5. Install Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking Code, and perform Traffic Source, Campaign, and Keyword-level analysis, focusing on revenue, average order value, and conversion rate,
6. Offer a clean, easy-to-use and friendly Ecommerce Shopping Cart, with flexible payment options, clear pricing sub-totals and grand totals, and smooth page-to-page transitions,
7. Provide discount coupons and promotional codes for all return customers,
8. Work to provide fast, reliable, secure shipping and delivery confirmation of purchased products.

When these elements are achieved, and a culture of testing and optimization has been successfully instilled in your company, we will share the funds on a mutually agreed percentage, as my client outlined in his will.

All the legal documentations to back up your claims to your State Department will be provided to you by me. You may also view the Google Analytics Terms of Service for additional privacy policy information. I simply require your honest co-operation to enable us to achieve this transaction.

The intended transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any infraction of laws. Please accept my sincere apology if this proposition offends your moral ethics. Please kindly get back to me if you wish to achieve this goal with me.

Kindest Regards,

Barrister Joe Teixeira, Esq.
Google Analytics Authorized Consultants
+01 561 620 9682

March 23 2009

So, what’s wrong with Google Analytics?

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MoreVisibility - Google Analytics Authorized ConsultantIf you’ve been to our website recently, or have just seen our site’s footer, you’ll notice that MoreVisibility is a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant (GAAC), making us one proud company. We love everything Google Analytics, which means you’ll read a lot of GA-oriented material on this blog. We really feel that Google Analytics can help every company, every business, every ONE, regardless of size, number of employees, or complexity of needs / wants.

With all that being said, this doesn’t exclude Google Analytics from suffering a few bugs, glitches, breaks, and flat-out inaccuracies – this is life on the World Wide Web. A lot of posts and emails have come across my eyes over the last few weeks about some of the troubles with certain elements in Google Analytics. So, below, I have a few of the biggest current bugs / issues with GA. Rest assured, each and every one of these items is currently being looked into or being worked on as you read this. They may not be able to turn things around in 24 hours – but give them a break; they are very busy people with a lot on their plate!

1. Column Sorting
Clicking on any column heading within any table in GA Reports will not properly sort that column by the metric you clicked on. It’s definitely a frustrating bug. In the meantime, what you can do is you can download the report in a CSV file, which is available towards the top-left of Google Analytics, and do any kind of sorting locally, if you absolutely must.

2. Site Overlay “Gray Screen”
This is an issue that has received a lot of attention, especially lately. At random times, Site Overlay will fail to load successfully, causing a gray overlay over your website’s homepage. You can still see your website, but none of the overlay bars or metrics will appear. If this happens to you, try closing your browser and re-open it (not just the tab where you have GA open – the entire browser).

3. AdWords “Clicks vs. Visits” Discrepancies
There are have been some issues in some accounts with the importing of AdWords data into the AdWords Campaigns reports in Google Analytics, found underneath the “Clicks” tab. Even though Visits are not the same thing as Clicks, they should be “somewhat close”. There have been accounts that have not had all of their AdWords data properly imported over, causing huge data discrepancies for some accounts. If this pertains to you, simply use the actual Google AdWords interface for the time being until this bug can be sorted out.

4. Inability to halt automatic reports
Some users are currently affected by a bug that continues to send them automatic reports from the Google Analytics Email Scheduler, despite being removed from the email (or despite the email being deleted). The workaround to this temporary problem is to set up a rule to automatically delete the email in your email client, or, click on the “Unsubscribe” link towards the bottom of the email.

5. Ecommerce Data “way off”…
This is something that has been mis-reported as a bug, when in fact it is just the way it works. The reports pertaining to Ecommerce in Google Analytics are on a different schedule in terms of viewing the data, separate from the rest of the GA Reports. It takes anywhere from 24-48 hours for complete Ecommerce data to appear in Google Analytics, which is different from all other data, which takes anywhere from a few hours to 24 hours. The solution? You will need to wait a day or two in order to view full Ecommerce data for your website.

6. Absolute Unique Visitors shows “N/A”
In almost every account, having an advanced segment turned on will show “N/A” for the Absolute Unique Visitors metric / report. This is not necessarily an error, but due to the way Google Analytics uses Advanced Segmentation, Absolute Unique Visitors is a metric / report that cannot be displayed.

I’m experiencing other technical issues / bugs with my GA Account, or I have a suggestion for Google Analytics – is there a way to tell them about this?
Yes, there is. You can use the Google Analytics Contact Us for, located here:

https://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/request.py?cf_question=qc_5_1&no_support=1&contact_type=login

You can also keep track of known issues with GA from this page:

http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/request.py?contact_type=knownissues

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