search marketing

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.)

 

After Keyword Research – What do I do with these keywords?! [Summary of Search]

Getting a keyword research report is just the first step in enhancing your on site SEO. Once the research is complete, it is important to use those words to build out new pages – or improve tagging on existing pages.

Domains
Buying a keyword rich domain name is not as lucrative as it once was, but there are still good opportunities. See last month’s article: Do Minisites still work?

Naming
Savvy business owners may use words and phrases found in their keyword research to name products, services, and even companies. There is no better way to show your audience that you have their solution than to name it (or the whole company!) appropriately.

Social Destinations
Social sites can rank for your keywords and act as informational channels. While your best prospects are not likely searching Pintrest or YouTube for solutions, certain keyword searches might be good content channels. Even in the long buying cycles of business to business sales, social media content will help inform and qualify prospects. Consider which of these channels might work well for your keywords:
– Pintrest boardshyper-dog-media-keyword-research-report
– YouTube channels
– LinkedIn groups
– SlideShare presentations

Consider that a keyword-focused social destination may not be appropriate for your entire brand: You may want a brand focused YouTube channel and a campaign channel focused on a specific keyword phrase.

Blogging Topics
Ranking at the top of search engine results for any competitive keyword phrase requires you to be “all about that phrase.” To be relevant for the many topics and categories of your targeted phrase, you will need many different pieces of content around that phrase. Consider online tools such as HubSpot’s blog topic generator to help inspire your next article:
http://www.hubspot.com/blog-topic-generator to generate “clickable” blogging ideas – be sure to check that the blogging titles themselves have search volume. That’s a nice bonus you don’t want to pass up!

Content Formats
Some key phrases give away hints as to what kind of content would be best to produce. “How to” searches may lend themselves to tutorials and videos. Other topics are worthy of any entire channel or perhaps a white paper. For any keyword phrase you may want to target, taking the searchers’ needs into account is always the best approach: Consider what content your audience is looking for with each query.

A keyword research report is the beginning of any good SEO campaign. Depending on the site, audience and available resources any number of tactics could be deployed. For each of the above methods, however, focus should always come back to your target audience.

PSST! Need a Free Link? 

Get a free link for your agency: 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!

 

Do Minisites still work? [Summary of Search]

Minisites used to be a good technique, but is getting harder to make them work. Here are 3 challenges for the “Minisite Approach”:minisite

  1. Google doesn’t value new websites.
  2. Google doesn’t value 2-3 page websites.

It’s rare for small sites to have the depth of content that Google values. If this site cannot go into depth on a topic, it might not be seen as valuable – to Google bot, or to human visitors. You can overcome that with link authority, but it’s tough.

  1. Google doesn’t have a powerful “exact match bonus.”

Google used to give easy rankings to “exact match domains,” but lessened that 2-3 years ago. If someone was typing “iPhone ringtones” into Google, it was simple for iphoneringtones.com to rank at the top. In the newer version of Google’s algorithm, exact match domains do not necessarily mean top rankings for little effort – although it is still helpful:

  1. Keywords will be bolded in the URL in some search engines. That can be very tempting to prospective visitors.
  2. Inbound links that use the domain as anchor text will experience a bonus for that keyword targeting. Anchor text is still powerful in Google’s algorithm.

Here are some tips to make the most of your Minisite:

– The content must be unique

Minisites are often created to be a tangential offering of a brand, but shouldn’t just be a copy/paste of the existing content from a site. Instead, the content should be created especially for the Minisite, with some thought given for how this audience might be unique.

– The URLs need to not look spammy to your audience. So many keyword rich URLs can look that way these days. Test with PPC and see if your prospects want to click. No more than a single dash in the URL, only use .com, and two word phrases. For example, this is not a clickable URL:

http://solve-your-sales-problems.biz

But this is:

http://salesmanship.com

– The keyword phrase should have good search volume.

Keyword phrases that do not show search volume in Google’s Keyword Planner may not be worth investing in. One of the main advantages of a minisite on a custom domain is the “exact match domain” that should exactly match your prospects’ query. Without search volume, that’s one less compelling reason to do a minisite.

– Don’t rely on type in traffic. Prospects using Internet explorer when it was the dominant browser would type in “sales management” and be taken to salesmanagement.com. A few years ago, 12% of search traffic could arrive like that. Chrome is now dominant and it searches Google for what you type in. So that type in traffic isn’t as prevalent as it was.

– Buy keyword focused domains if there is good search volume. Test them with PPC (for both click through rate and conversion), and then build out larger sites of 20 pages, blog weekly on the site, have videos, get some good links etc.

But this technique is not the easy road it once was. There are many fewer shortcuts in today’s Google.

 

PSST! Need a Free Link? 

Get a free link for your agency: 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!