Posts Tagged ‘analytics’
Monday, December 2nd, 2013
With so many changes happening at the search engine level, this is a trying time for many online marketers. That’s especially true where SEO is concerned because it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to measure results. Google no longer provides a free keyword research tool for non-PPC customers and they no longer provide keyword data to webmasters who are trying to measure the traffic to your websites and where that traffic is coming from.
Absence of data means webmasters have to go elsewhere for the information they need – if they get it at all.
Besides these big changes, you add personalized search to the mix, undisclosed social signals, and inbound links being discounted left and right, it might seem like SEO is broken. But it’s not.
Google still ranks web pages by keyword. They just don’t report the data that webmasters used to rely on to measure ranking success. The challenge for webmasters today is not in performing SEO but in tracking SEO results. That doesn’t mean you should give up on SEO.
Webmasters have to learn to get a little more crafty in finding the metrics that mean something to them. There are two things to consider here:
- The possibility that you might be measuring the wrong data;
- and The possibility that you might be measuring the right data the wrong way
Metrics is a necessary part of SEO. If you can’t measure it, you can’t change it. Google seems to be making it harder for marketers to measure their results, but it’s not impossible. It’s time to get creative.
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
I’m not suggesting you should give up on Google Analytics, especially now that they are in the process of rolling out Universal Analytics, but if you do decide to look around for other analytics services, here are five free alternatives to Google Analytics you might consider.
- Clicky – Clicky is one of the more popular Google Analytics alternatives. The free version provides basic features like content, search, and referral tracking. For the best features you’ll have to upgrade.
- Mixpanel – Mixpanel offers analytics for events management. Instead of just gauging traffic visits, Mixpanel gives you a picture of what people actually do on your website.
- Piwik – Piwik is a robust alternative to Google Analytics that you install on your own servers and you can track unlimited websites. They also offer a WordPress plug-in for tracking your WordPress website metrics.
- Inspectlet - You get 100 session recordings for free and a visitor-oriented analytics package/
- Open Web Analytics – Another open source analytics package that you upload to your server. You can track mouse movements, conversion statistics, and see heatmaps. Plus, it supports WordPress.
More and more webmasters are moving away from Google Analytics even as Google improves its analytics performance. If you’re one of them, try one of these alternatives – or try them all and let us know which one you like the most.
Thursday, September 26th, 2013
The Internet is abuzz since Google quit providing keyword data to site owners three days ago. Since then, SEOs and veteran Internet marketers have offered their advice on culling actionable data from multiple sources so that website owners can keep growing their businesses.
One SEO even called Google out on anti-competitive practices.
I’ll leave that for others to discuss. What I want to draw your attention to is a tool that webmasters have had at their disposal for a long time. You may consult it occasionally, or every day, but you should consult it now more often. It’s called Webmaster Tools.
If you look inside your Webmaster Tools account, you’ll find a link to Search Traffic reports on the left side of your screen. Click that and then click on “Search Queries.” While this isn’t perfect, you can use this tool to determine the most popular keywords searchers use to find your website. What’s beautiful about this tool is it will tell you how many impressions that keyword has received and how many clicks it received during your time frame. Also note the average position of that query phrase in search results.
Is this information perfect? No. Is it usable? Yes. You can use this information to plan your keyword SEO campaigns and to judge the value of your keywords for searchers. Combined with other data tools, you should still be able to make fair judgments about the effectiveness of your SEO campaigns.
Thursday, August 15th, 2013
There are lots of ways to predict the future. One way is to use the past. That is, take data from history and use it to predict what the future might hold. It’s called predictive analytics.
Retail businesses have been doing this for years. If you have a particular product that does better in July than at any other time of year, then you can use that information to plan for your next July. Stock up on that product, merchandise it well in your stores, and make the necessary arrangements for the rest of your inventory while you’re at it.
Predictive analytics can be used for Web businesses too. Even service businesses.
It can also be used for other areas of your business, not just sales.
Let’s say, for instance, that you get a back-to-school spike in August every year that requires you to add new store staff. That’s important information. Knowing that, you can start preparing in June and July for interviewing potential employees and beefing up your staff for the August surge.
There’s no limit to what predictive analytics can be used for in your business. You can use it to predict payroll expenses, sales spikes, traffic spikes on your website, maintenance expenditures, or any part of your business that you want to track and measure. And you can use it to streamline your business processes, making your business more profitable.
Friday, June 14th, 2013
Twitter has been trying desperately to figure out a way to make money for two or three years now. Last year they rolled out a new advertising program. Recently, they made public an analytics tool that is wrapped up in their advertising platform. It’s actually pretty useful, though I suspect it’s very incomplete.
So what kind of data does Twitter Analytics offer? Glad you asked. Here is a list of basic features.
- Number of faves per tweet
- Number of retweets per tweet
- Number of replies per tweet
- Number of @mentions per day for the past 30 days
- Number of new followers per day for the past 30 days
- Number of unfollows per day for the past 30 days
- How many times each link has been clicked
In addition, if you have a link that has done exceptionally well, then you’ll get a notice that says something to the effect … “15x NORMAL REACH.”
Personally, I’d like to see a reach stat for each tweet. Maybe that is coming down the pike. I don’t know. But I do like that you can see all of your tweets in a handy list and get a quick visibility of your stats for each tweet.
There is also a tab for getting data on your followers, but I clicked it and got a screen that said “Sorry, there is not enough data to display analytics at this time. Try again later.” I guess that information is on the way.
I fully expect to see Twitter Analytics improving in the coming days and weeks. For now, you can try it yourself at https://ads.twitter.com.
Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
Analytics is a very important part of doing business. Small businesses, especially, need to consider how they will reach their audiences effectively and track their movements online. A new tool from Google makes that easier. It’s called Google+ Dashboard.
To use Google+ Dashboard, you have to have a Google+ page. You can’t have a Google+ page for your business unless you have a Google+ personal profile.
This is good evidence that the future of your business online depends a lot on Google+. If you don’t establish a Google+ presence for your business, there is a high chance that you will not be visible online. Right now, if you haven’t established a Google+ presence, then you are certainly behind the competition.
So what are the features of the Google+ Dashboard? According to Googler Pavni Diwanji, the Google+ Dashboard performs the following four functions.
- Allows you to update all business information from a single Overview tab on your page. This includes website URLs, business hours, phone numbers, etc. When you update your information, Google+ will make the changes at Maps, Search, and Google+.
- Monitor all of your Google+ notifications, page managers, Hangouts, photos, and videos in one place.
- Access to all your Offers and Google AdWords campaigns.
- And metrics and tracking information on top searches related to your business, locations from which driving directions are requested, and your Google+ post performance data.
I think this could very well become one of your most important analytics tools, especially if you have a presence on Google+ (and you should).
Thursday, March 28th, 2013
More and more, search marketers are seeing “(not provided)” in their Google analytics associated with keywords they are tracking. This is frustrating for most of us, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your keyword tracking. There are other ways to mine the data that is important to you.
One way you can measure traffic by keyword – though admittedly it isn’t perfect – is to track the traffic for your landing pages instead.
Measuring Landing Page Traffic
If you’ve done a good job of optimizing your website’s landing pages, then each page should be optimized for one or two keywords. But no more than that. So how can you use those landing pages to measure traffic for your keywords?
Let’s say you have four landing pages optimized around five different keywords, like this:
- Landing page 1 is optimized for keywords A and B
- Landing page 2 is optimized for keyword C
- Landing page 3 is optimized for keywords D and E
- Landing page 4 is optimized for keywords C and E
Your task is to find out how much traffic you are getting for each of your keywords based on the traffic you are getting for the landing pages. So how do you do that?
Let’s say each of the landing pages received this much traffic last month: Landing page 1 = 1,000 visitors; landing page 2 = 1,500 visitors; landing page 3 = 500 visitors; landing page 4 = 2,500 visitors.
One way to break down your visitor count per keyword is to split the traffic count evenly for each keyword associated with a single landing page. So, on landing page 4, each keyword would receive half the traffic count – 1,250 visitors. You could then ascertain that keyword C received approximately 2,750 visits last month (1,500 + 1,250).
That’s probably not very accurate, but it could be close. The problem is, the more traffic you receive for each landing page, the less accurate this measurement is going to be.
Historical Keyword Traffic Measurements
Another way is to go back through your history. If you have access to historical records, then you could take a look at the last known traffic numbers for each keyword you are tracking. If you know, for instance, that keyword A had 800 visitors at last count and keyword B had 400 at last count, then the ratio is 2:1 in favor of keyword A. You could assume the same ratio holds and you could split the traffic numbers for landing page 1 accordingly.
Again, this likely isn’t an accurate measurement, but it can give you some idea as to how much traffic you could be getting for each of your keywords. It sure beats flying in the dark.
Friday, March 15th, 2013
There’s a company in Palo Alto, California that is calling itself “Google Analytics for the real world.” The company’s name is Euclid. I think this is a sublime idea.
Euclid collects data for retail businesses using smartphone technology to track consumer movement. Here’s how it works, in a nutshell:
Euclid installs sensors in retailers’ locations that can measure how many people walked by a store, how many walked in and for how long they stayed based on when their smartphones emit a kind of radar searching for wireless Internet signals.
The incredible thing about that is it allows retail store owners an opportunity to use actionable data that, before now, they haven’t had access to. If you know how many people pass by your store without entering, then you can work on ways to draw those people into your store – and track your results. An increase in store traffic after a few merchandising or promotional efforts and you’ll know your marketing campaign is working.
You can do the same thing with in-store traffic. Are people browsing and leaving without purchasing? Maybe you need to run a few store specials to encourage more buying. You can track your results to see if it is working.
This is powerful retail technology and a very clever use of smartphones for tracking purposes. Brick and mortar retail businesses now have access to some of the same tracking technology that online businesses have enjoyed for years.