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July 18 2011

Search Engine Optimization and Analytics: Your Competition’s Worst Nightmare

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In the last five years, website owners and marketers have become more and more in-tune with the many, many things that visitors do on their websites, and all of the interesting statistics and data points that web analytics measurement tools anonymously collect from said visitors.

The web analytics industry has grown tremendously in a relatively a short amount of time behind the leadership of vendors like Omniture (Adobe), WebTrends, CoreMetrics, Yahoo! Web Analytics, and, of course, Google Analytics. Throughout that time, and well before the emergence of the measurement industry, stood the practice of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that is still the most critical element in improving your website and increasing your website’s performance to this very day. Without a solid SEO strategy, website owners often find their competition ranking higher than they are for important, business-critical key phrases and search queries, costing them valuable leads and possibly sales.

Successful webmasters have been using Google Webmaster Tools to discover key insights into their SEO / natural / organic traffic, such as the search terms potential visitors are typing in to Google and the volume of impressions (displays) of website search engine listings. Today, in 2011, webmasters can link their Google Webmaster Tools account with their Google Analytics account to combine the knowledge of SEO efforts with the advanced visualizations and filtering capabilities of Google’s robust data platform.

At the time of this writing, Google Webmaster Tools to Google Analytics integration is in a limited, closed pilot, but soon enough you’ll be able to link these two accounts together. When you do, you’ll notice a new Search Engine Optimization report link within the Traffic Sources section of your Google Analytics account (In fact, that report link may already be there for your account, but you won’t see any data until you have the opportunity to link Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics).

Within the Search Engine Optimization sub-section, you’ll find three reports:

– Summary: A 30,000-foot view of your Google search result performance (see screen shot below). You’ll find the number of impressions (the number of times your search listings appeared within a Google.com search result page), the number of clicks on your search listings, and the click-through rate (Clicks / Impressions, *100) for all of your Google.com search listings. Within the Summary report, you can toggle the view of the report by Google Property, to see a breakdown of how much volume Google.com, Image Search, Mobile Search, and other Google web properties generated.

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– Queries: This report showcases the actual search terms that generated impressions and clicks on your Google.com search listings. In the Queries report, you’ll also see the Average Position that your search listings appeared when a searcher used a particular search query. A high average position number for a search query you’re trying to optimize for can give you an indication that some additional work or adjustment needs to be made on your SEO strategy for that query (The higher the position number, the lower / further back your search listings appear in a search result; a position of 1 is the highest on-search result page position a listing can have).

– Landing Pages: What a searcher types in to the Google.com search bar, and how the Google ranking algorithm evaluates a page on your website in relation to that searcher’s query will influence which page a searcher starts their visit within your website. This Landing Pages report highlights the top entry points into your website, helping you tie-in Average Position and Click-Through Rate metrics to give you an understanding on your webpage performance from an SEO standpoint. Pages with high Click-Through Rates and low Average Positions are most likely the pages that are the solid contributors to your bottom line (leads and / or sales).

When Google Webmaster Tools becomes available to link to your Google Analytics account, the website owners who jump on it as soon as possible will be the ones who may very well surge past their competitors and gain the competitive edge that could make the difference for the remainder of the 2011 calendar year.

Do subscribe to our Analytics & Site Intelligence blog to stay up to date on when Google Webmaster Tools will be available for your Google Analytics account, as well as updates and great information on the web analytics industry!

July 5 2011

How socially engaged is your audience? Find out with Google Analytics!

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Phew! Have you been having a hard time following all of the recent Google announcements the past few months? Yeah, you’re not the only one feeling that way. It seems that every time you check the Google blog, your feed reader, or your mobile device, you hear about a new feature or product offering from the search giant.

In the last few months alone, Google has introduced:

A few days ago, Google made yet another big announcement by introducing an improved way to track social interactions from your website within Google Analytics.

With some quick and easy customizations to the Google Analytics tracking JavaScript, you can now track Facebook likes, Twitter shares, and other social media bookmarklets that live on your site in this new social reporting section.

It’s even easier to view interactions for websites using the Google +1 button, because Google Analytics can automatically track +1’s on your site!

The next time you log-in to your Google Analytics account, you will find within the Visitors section a link to Social. Inside of the Social link, you’ll see three new reports:

Social >> Engagement: A breakdown of what social interactions your website visitors have performed, including Google +1’s and any custom interactions, like Facebook likes. Visitors who don’t interact socially on your website will be defined as “Not Socially Engaged”.

– Social >> Action: The source and the action performed by a socially-engaged visitor. Likes, shares, follows, and more will appear in this report. You’ll also see metrics like Unique Social Actions and Actions per Social Visit to help you analyze on-site performance by socially engaged visitors.

– Social >> Pages: Each social action can be tied back to a specific page on your website that a visitor’s social interaction took place from. This way, you can assign additional value to pages that lead to high volumes of social interactions, or improve upon pages that don’t.

While this section is a great way to obtain deep insights on your social visitors, you should still tag your shortened URLs for Google Analytics, to track the interactions on shared items on social media websites that lead visitors back to your website.

Social reporting is available to all Google Analytics users, so get engaged with social today!

June 23 2011

Improvements to your mobile analytics data

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The Google Analytics team has had their hands full this year, and we’re not even half-way through 2011! So far this year, you’ve been witnessto ground-breaking improvements in our industry, such as:

And that’s just a taste of what you’ve seen so far this year!

Today, we’re going to continue to enhance your analytics palette. The mobile reporting section within Google Analytics is being super-sized to accommodate the rapid mobile device adoption rates that we’ve all seen in our professional and personal lives. Mobile – formerly found within the Technology sub-section inside the Visitors navigation menu – is now its own stand-alone sub-section within the main Visitors report section on the left-hand side on the navigation menu.

The Mobile section will now have two reports: A new Overview report (for top-level summary data) and a new Devices report (for granular, report-level data). Within the Devices report, you can expect to find the following dimensions to segment your mobile data by:

  • Mobile Device Info: This will show you the mobile device (phone or tablet) that your visitors used to access your website. You will also see a small camera icon next to each device name – clicking on that icon will bring up images of the mobile device.
  • Mobile Device Branding: This will show you the company that made the device. For example, you will see a listing for Apple (which can be clicked so that you can see a breakdown between the iPhone, iPad, and iPod), as well as listings for all other mobile device manufacturers that have resulted in at least one visit to your website during your selected date-range.
  • Service Provider: This will show you the internet service provider that a mobile visitor is using to get online and access your website.
  • Mobile Input Selector: This shows you if your visitor’s mobile devices use touchscreens, clickwheels, joysticks, or stylus’s.
  • Operating System: Each mobile device has its own operating system, just like your traditional desktop computer, and this dimension will provide that breakdown for you.
  • Screen Resolution: The pixel-by-pixel dimensions of your visitor’s mobile device screen sizes.

As a Google Analytics Certified Partner, we can safely report to you that these enhancements are only the beginning – these great updates to your mobile analytics data are only the first step in a series of developments that you can expect to see coming down the pike during the rest of the year.

We hope you enjoy your new and improved mobile data, and we look forward to sharing more updates with you as they come about!

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