Sometimes when using Google Analytics I feel like I’m a passenger of a jet plane thrust into the pilot seat. So many switches and knobs and nothing clearly marked. I know I am at the seat of something powerful but getting it to do anything I want seems like a chore (and potentially dangerous).
Luckily since Analytics is just reporting on data from a website, damaging anything is nearly impossible which means playing with the switches and knobs is absolutely okay, but what happens when the playing is done? Getting meaningful, actionable information from Analytics requires some very specific switch flipping and knob twisting. In the following sections I’m going to demonstrate to you one of the many very specific ways you can customize Google Analytics to get specific information from all that data.
For the following techniques to work, you will need to update your Analytics code on your website so it is using the Universal Analytics code (ua in front of the long number instead of ga) and enable the demographics and interests reports by adding a few lines of code to the script on your website.
Once that is done, you can get started with building custom segments in Analytics.
Just as we finally were able to wrap our minds around SEO and the proper non-spammy/scammy ways to optimize our websites for search engines and our readers, we get hit with the concept of Negative SEO. See, when Google made the ‘link’ a positive element, a vote, everyone went out to get as many links as they possibly could. They got links by hooks and by crooks. They bought links, they put their links on random directories, and really every site they could no matter how much of a wretched hive of scum and villainy it was.
Google came along and saw this mess and started penalizing sites for having links pointing to it from these low quality sources. On one hand it seemed like the best thing to do. Sites engaged in scraping the bottom of the barrel for links probably deserved to be penalized, not just have those links not help it in ranking. This turn of events helped usher in the current era where competitors can perform Negative SEO. Negative SEO does have an ominous sound to it and it is a great marketing term to bring up to clients, but what it really is when you drill down is someone doing all the old SEO tricks they used to do to help their sites rank to force other sites to tank.
The tools they once used to make their sites rank by generating a few hundred links from random porn sites they now use on our sites to make Google think we are engaging in spammy-scammy tactics and have Google tank our website. In the world of hyper-competition, Negative SEO is the Jeff Gillooly to our Nancy Kerrigan.
If they can’t beat us with quality, they’ll try to ruin us through sleazy tactics.
I work on a website generating leads across the country and when I go into Google Webmaster tools and check out search queries, I have over 4,000 keyword phrases to dig through.
In general I don’t find this to be too much of an issue, but sometimes I need to dig around in the data to find some answers and displaying 500 queries at a time without being able to filter them is a bit difficult.
Luckily Google Webmaster Tools allows you to export the data to a spreadsheet which makes working with the information a bit easier. I exported the search queries into a spreadsheet then removed the change columns and the click-through rate column since I can calculate that easily enough myself. What I was left with is the search term someone used in Google, the number of times the term brought up the site, the number of times someone clicked on the site, and the average position the site has in the search engine.
During the 2014 Searchmetrics Visibility conference in Chicago, several tools for digital marketers were mentioned by a few of the presenters. I took the liberty of collecting all the one’s mentioned to me and putting them together in this list with a brief description of how and why to use them.
It seems as though the number of tools available for digital marketers keeps growing yet I find when I attend functions and talk with people in the industry, the actual tools used seems consistent.
Recently on LinkedIn one of the individuals I follow posted a humorous video from Digital Third Coast regarding SEO. In the video, random people in Chicago are asked the question “what is SEO?” They attempt to give their answers but really demonstrate people don’t know what SEO is.
I’ve found even within technical savvy circles, there isn’t a lot of consensus of what SEO is, the value it may or may not give to a website, and what it actually means to perform SEO on a website. I laughed at the video and went on with my day only to return to the question over and over. What is SEO? Continue reading “What is SEO?”