colorado web development

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:

https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=wd7C1dObSgCOSpEEQsiWXg

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

 

The Mysterious Google Update – November 2013 Summary of Search

NOVEMBER 2013 SUMMARY OF SEARCH

The Mysterious Google Update

Around November 14th, there was a mysterious update to Google’s search algorithm. SEOs and webmasters have been speculating about what the change may have been. Higher authority sites seem to be displacing lower authority sites.

2014 – Investing in the Future

Here are the five technologies and trends Google is rewarding, for now and the long term:

1. Mobile-Friendly Websites
This is a great time to move toward mobile-friendly web design.

2. Rich Snippets
Rich snippets like schema.org help Google understand the content and context of your website and content. If you haven’t implemented these, there is no time like the present!

3. Grow Your Site
Google doesn’t want sites that are always replacing their content: They want sites growing their content. Not enough businesses are investing in new content. This is a great time to “get ahead” in the niche.

4. Social Media and Google Plus
Google has been making “social signals” part of their formula for some time, but these signals have not yet overtaken links in importance. Still, Google is moving in the direction of more dependence on their own network for gauging authority. Right now, other social networks might be where the people are – but Google plus is where the algorithm is looking.

5. Content Marketing Link Building
(Especially guest blogging and infographics.)
Link building has changed tremendously in the last 2 years and the best approach is about spreading brand awareness and free content to other sites. What is your audience looking to solve? Where are they on the web? Those two questions are good places to start when thinking about links in 2014. And will ring true into the future.

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!

Summary of Search, October 2013

(Not provided)
Google recently started encrypting all searches, and is now showing “(Not provided)” in Google Analytics for most organic traffic. Some referral traffic will show up from Google.com, and is also organic traffic (But analytics cannot tell if the browser is being ultra-secure). There is no easy solution, but at the next Boulder SEO MeetUp we will be leading a presentation and discussion of alternatives.

 

Penguin Update
Around October 4th, there was an update to Google’s search algorithms. It’s being called Penguin 2.1 (or sometimes Penguin 5) and is a major update. The Penguin updates penalize “over-optimization” and “web spam”, both on websites and looking at website links.

 

What is “over-optimization?”
  • Using keywords too much in title tags and content
  • Links with anchor-text (the blue underline) focused around too few phrases
  • Anything with your site’s link profile that does not show a narural amount of diversity (duplicate pages titles, inbound links only from press release sites, etc).

 

What is “Web Spam”?
  • Link networks / schemes
  • Links from de-indexed and banned websites, including old directories, blogs & article sites.

 

While the impact is supposed to be 1% of English queries, the effect is very large considering the number of Google keyword searches!

 

The approach we recommend is:
1. Protect
Authority link building is the only protection against both negative SEO and Penguin penalties in general. Authority links are gained primarily from great content, promotion and involvement. One authority link can beat hundreds of spammy links in the algorithm of “the new Google”.

 

2. Defend
Find and remove as many unnatural links as you can manually before disavowing the rest. Watch for “Negative SEO” campaigns where an unscrupulous competitor might be creating links to your site just to penalize you!

 

3. Build
Over the long term, these strategies will also help protect from Google penalties, and are, of course, great marketing initiatives:
  • Great content: Copy writing has gone through an evolution and cheap content is not going to cut it. Could it ever though?
  • Promotion & Outreach for Social Media Marketing & Inbound Links: Since the web’s inception, much content has been posted with little regard to promotion. Social, link building, and other outreach initiatives are vital to maximize dollars spent on premium content.
  • Brand Name Searches: Google knows big brands are searched. Their “buzz” is a signal of authority, although not yet on par with link building.
  • User Engagement: Once a visitor is onsite, engage them. Keep their interest and involvement. Good design and excellent content have never been so important. Google has been watching this for some time.
  • Multi-tiered approaches: Spread marketing dollars broadly across many initiatives. It creates a variety of signals to Google that you are legit.

 

Bing
While Google+ is trying to understand social connections & influence from it’s own network, Bing is leveraging Klout. Bing has announced deeper integration with Klout and more control regarding how profiles show up.

 

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!

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