colorado social media

Speed is Everything

Page loading speed has great importance with Google these days. From mobile visitors to Googlebots, every visitor will appreciate a speedy experience. Here are some ideas to keep in mind:

1. Rise of mobile

The importance of mobile can be seen in Google’s announcements the last few years. Mobile users are more impatient than ever, and Google provided stats last week regarding just how impatient mobile users are:

– The average mobile page takes 22 seconds to load, but 53% of users leave after 3 seconds!

– Even mobile landing pages in AdWords were found to take 10 seconds loading time.

There are many easy changes available for sites to make, as the answer isn’t always in purchasing a faster web server. Google’s own analysis found that simply compressing images and text can be a “game changer”—30% of pages could save more than 250KB that way.

2. Ranking factor

A few years back, Google made page speed a small ranking factor – or at least they were finally explicit about it being a ranking factor. Since page speed issues aren’t given the exposure of crawl errors and other items in Google Search Console, it can be easy to put them on the “long list” of items to fix. Its addition as a ranking factor is a great signal that this needs to be prioritized.

3. Bounce rate

Nice try, loading up your site with images that take forever to load. Unfortunately, that doesn’t increase the duration of site visits. It just makes people angry. According to Google’s analysis, every second of loading time, from 1 to 7 seconds, increases the chance of a bounce by 113%! Many SEOs believe that “engagement metrics” such as bounce rate could also be a ranking factor. And it makes sense: When Google sees a rise in organic bounce rate, they know human visitors are judging the content. How could Google not take this data into account?

4. Crawl rate

In one recent test, increasing page speed across a site dramatically increased the site’s crawl budget. Slower sites can be overwhelmed by crawl activity. But if you ever feel the need to put a crawl delay in your robots.txt, take that as a warning sign. After all, even reasonably fast sites can often need more crawl budget.

Tools and Fixes

Luckily there are remedies. Some can be quite easy, such as adding compression to your web server. Others might require a trip to Photoshop for your site’s images. However, some items will not be worth fixing. Try to concentrate on the easiest tasks first. Run an analysis of your site through these two tools and see what you need to fix:

Google’s newest tool:

Test how mobile-friendly your site is. features include a “waterfall” showing which page items load at which stage, history, monitoring, and more.

Good luck and enjoy optimizing the speed of your site!

Google Analytics Doesn’t Provide all of the Answers

Google analytics has become a great source of data about visitors to your website – assuming your configuration is correct. Sometimes configuration issues inadvertently block your view of what is really happening. Common issues can include…

1. Not having your analytics snippet in the correct place. 

 There are many legacy variations of the analytics snippets. In addition, what was the correct installation a couple of years ago may have dramatically changed, depending on if you have an asynchronous snippet, etc. We still run into snippets calling for urchin.js for their Google Analytics, which are quite a few years old. The best place  – currently – to have your analytics code is inside the <head> tag, and right before it ends with the </head> tag. This will prevent interference with other scripts, which we have seen mess with bounce rates, conversion tracking, ROI, sleep schedules, general happiness, and more

2. Filters

Your filters could have been created years ago and for long forgotten purposes. In Google Analytics, check your Admin area (under view, on the right halfway down) to see if you are filtering traffic. Look at the filters – do you know who created them and why they are present? Some have complicated REGEX rules and it can be difficult to decipher. Everyone should have at least one profile with no filters. We usually name this profile with RAW in the name. This system allows anyone to easily see if a filter has “gone rogue” and is filtering out good traffic.

There are also these problems with getting good data, and you did not even cause them:

1. Incomplete data / views

Most businesses are using the free version of Google Analytics, and sometimes experience “sampling” in important reports.

Sampling in Google Analytics (or in any analytics software) refers to the practice of selecting a subset of data from your traffic and reporting on the trends detected in that sample set. Sampling is widely used in statistical analysis because analyzing a subset of data gives similar results to an analysis of a complete data set, while returning these results to you more quickly due to reduced processing time.

In Analytics, sampling can occur in your reports, during your data collection, or in both place.

(Image of sampling)

2. Organic keywords

Years back, Google Analytics allowed you to see the query typed in by visitors. It was so powerful! It allowed you to see quite a bit of information about your prospects – perhaps too much. It has now become standard that search engines, browsers, and analytics itself is restricting this information. If you are new to analytics, you probably have not missed what you do not have. However, if you have been doing this a while, take a second to reflect on what was lost. We are right there with you. Hmph.


3. Referral spam, organic keyword spam, language spam

In addition to losing out on good data, there is often too much noise in otherwise good data. Using fake browsers – bots that can run analytics code, all sorts of things are being inserted into your analytics. Some of the offenders might put

– “Vitally was here” in the list of languages your visitors use

– or make it look like visitors are coming in droves from some site you’ve never heard of (which is either selling SEO or hosting malware).

Spam is analytics has become a major nuisance and we constantly have to deal with it while compiling reports. We see the same offenders across multiple accounts, and create a custom analytics segment to filter them from reports.

Want to try our segment? Click this link and scrub your own view of your account:

(There are other great segments on the Internet too, but we have customized this one for our clients.)


Two announcements that may alter your online marketing strategy. January 2014 Summary of Search


There were a couple of announcements from Google’s Matt Cutts this month that shook the world of digital marketing.

1. Guest blogging out?
In calling out spammy guest blogging practices, Matt Cutts wrote about “the decay of a once-authentic way to reach people.” Guest blogging and multiple author blogs tend to do many things right, but Matt pointed out that some SEOs using guest blogging have gone to the dark side recently.

Where they have gone wrong:
  • Automation – Where online marketing practice becomes easy to automate, it becomes easy to abuse. Any gaming of Google’s algorithm is really where abuse begins.
  • Lack of relevance – Many guest bloggers were targeting any old blog, and spamming instead of outreaching. If high numbers are part of your guest blogging outreach, consider you may be spamming instead of trying to connect authentically. Good outreach means trying to build relationships, not creating large quantities.
  • Doing it “just for the links” – Google doesn’t have any problems with the marketing of quality content through outreach, content promotion, etc. When the content is high quality, it makes sense for it to be offered, shared, distributed. This test is key: Is the resource or practice helpful even when it doesn’t provide links?
Going forward, content marketing should be about the content, and should be about the marketing. See what I did there? Spread good content to relevant people and you’ll never go wrong in Google’s eyes. Probably.
(See more


2. Does social media effect rankings on Google? 
The short answer is “no”.

It’s long been assumed that “social signals” referred to popularity and activity on sites like twitter and facebook. It turns out that is incorrect(in 2014). For some people, Matt Cutts dropped a bombshell when he announced that twitter and facebook were treated like any other site.

Before you close your facebook account though, consider what this means:
  • Of course, you should continue using social media. If you were involved before just to increase your rankings, you were offtrack. There are many reasons to use social media for connecting with prospects, partners, and content. Similarly, your email does not improve rankings, but you should still use it.
  • In being treated like any other site, having a large number of pages on the site linking to yours can help bolster the authority of your own page. Let’s call these other pages linking to your page “followers” or “follows”, “friends” or even “retweets”. That network of links can convey authority on any site. Unfortunately, facebook and twitter are blocking Google’s crawling in many ways. Some might not even be necessary. So it will be interesting what information we uncover in the future.
  • Google+ does not block Googlebot, of course. And the internal links from your circles and overall activity are indeed likely to be used in a future Google algorithm. Matt Cutts gave help debunking a study last summer that assumed a relationship between Google+ shares and higher rankings. The study redo concluded that both shares and rankings were correlations, and there wasn’t a relationship of causation there.
In the future, authority from inbound links may be replaced by Google+ social signals, authorship, etc. Google says maybe 10 years into the future, but that’s 3 years in internet time. 🙂
See more in Matt’s video at:

Hyper Dog Media Summary of Search January 2014

Get a free link for your business: Would you like our monthly take on the changing world of SEO delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to the Hyper Dog Media SEO Newsletter HERE! When you subscribe, each newsletter will contain a link idea for your business!