I feel like I’ve gotten an early holiday gift.
If you missed me whining about having to complete a lengthy Google Analytics survey, good. If you caught me whining, I take it back.
It may look like it’s mostly written in Klingon to you but, to me, it looks like a ton of valuable new ways to monitor and track site performance. I’m especially thrilled with the custom alerts and the ability to add more conversions (goals).
Below is the notification from Google with the new implementations from what appear to be the survey results:
Hello Google Analytics user,
We recently added powerful new features to your Google Analytics account. With these seven new features you’ll be able to get quicker insights, create deeper customizations, do more advanced analysis and track more mobile marketing!
Read on to learn more and then sign in to your account to try these features.
Analytics Intelligence with Custom Alerts
Using an algorithmic driven Intelligence engine, Analytics Intelligence monitors data patterns over daily, weekly and monthly periods. Significant changes in data trends and insights you may not have noticed are surfaced directly in your account. You can also create your own Custom Alerts that monitor your selection of dimensions and metrics that can be sent by email or displayed in the Intelligence reports.
Expanded Goals and New Engagement Goals
You can now track even more conversions by creating up to 20 goals per profile. Measure user engagement and branding success on your site with Time on Site and Pages per Visit goals. Set up your first Engagement goal in minutes.
Expanded Mobile Reporting
Google Analytics has expanded support for mobile websites and tracking for iPhone and Android mobile applications tracking. Adding server side code to your PHP, JSP, PERL, or ASPX mobile websites enables you to track non-Java-Script enabled phones. For mobile application developers, access the SDK and technical implementation details here. You’ll also be able to see breakout data on mobile devices and carriers in the new Mobile reports in the Visitors section.
Unique Visitors Metric
Include the Unique Visitors metric in your Custom Report or Advanced Segments to see how many actual visitors (unique cookies) visit your website. You can select Unique Visitors as a metric against any dimensions in Google Analytics.
Advanced Analysis Features
Share Advanced Segments and Custom Report Templates
Share the URL link for an Advanced Segment or Custom Report with anyone who has an Analytics account. Sharing the link will automatically import the pre-formatted template into the person’s account. Also available now is the ability to share or hide your Advanced Segments and Custom Reports by profile.
Multiple Custom Variables
Custom variables provide the power and flexibility to customize Google Analytics to collect the unique site usage data most important to your business. Define and track visitors according to visitor attributes (member vs. non-member), session attributes (signed in or signed out), and by page-level attributes (viewed Sports section). Use custom variables to classify any number of interactions and behaviors on your site. Start learning more about them now.
Google Analytics Team
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Project Development and Marketing Coordinator
*originally posted 12/03/2009
How strong is your domain name? You’ve spent a lot of time branding your domain. It’s on letterhead, products, emails, and already indexed in search engines. Are you getting the most out of your domain?
What’s in a name?
It is very important to have a domain that represents your company and ideally contain a keyword or two. I have several domains that we use for promoting services. Our parent domain (Totera.com) is what we brand on our letterhead and emails. We also use keyword-rich domains (PortTownsendWebDesign.com, Seattle-Web-Design-Firms.com) to attract search engines as well as direct visitors to a particular line of business (Seattle-SEO-Marketing.com) and generate quality leads.
Securing several targeted domain names is an affordable way to help new customers find your site. So make sure your domain is part of your overall SEO strategy.
To learn more about other ways Totera can help market your online presence, check out our SEO and Internet Marketing information.
*originally posted 05/02/2009
I recently attended a Google Webinar on Google’s improved Site Search feature.
Site Search is a tool which can be implemented on a Web site allowing site visitors to use a search field to access information and products specific to the site they’re on. This is great for potential customers, registrants, etc to find exactly what they’re looking for on your Web site. There is an even better bonus for the site owners, though: all search information input is tracked and calculated and, along with Google Analytics and Webmaster tools, compile a complete overview of visitors’ viewing and purchasing patterns.
Along with integrating the search field, specific search term and synonyms thereof can be set. For example, your site sells movies but customers may not just enter the term “movies,” they may enter “Blu-ray,” “DVDs,” “DVD,” etc. You can set the field to direct clients to “movies” if they enter any of those terms or related products.
Site owners or their Webmasters can then use the collected information to determine many things valuable to increasing completed transactions:
1. New search synonyms.
2. Related products or services clients are looking for which you could choose to incorporate or sell.
3. What search terms are used, did the potential customer view the product(s), how far into the product did they get and what percentage completed the transaction or where they left product.
Another bonus of using Google Site Search is increased search engine optimization (SEO). Google offers deeper indexing of site pages and products for clients opting to use the improved site search product. This allows for higher rankings on products and services the site offers and increased site traffic.
Below is a list of improved Google Site Search features:
With Google Site Search, you can create a search engine for your organization’s websites in just a few minutes. Key features include:
Enhanced Index Coverage
Enhanced Index Coverage ensures comprehensive search results on any website by crawling and indexing more content, even for pages deep within a site.
Enable visitors find documents with related terms without having to issue multiple queries. You can easily upload synonym dictionaries specific to your website. For example, (a search for [car] will now include [cars]). You can easily upload a custom synonym dictionary (a search for [fd] would include [fixed deposits] in search results).
From now on, administrators can influence their search ranking based on the age of the documents (e.g., a recent product datasheet is weighted more heavily than older product documents). This feature can also be disabled and administrators can decide the level of influence for their sites (low, medium, high or maximum).
Top Results Biasing
Google Site Search allows you to target the top search results from specific sections of your website (such as your product catalog).
*originally posted 08/04/2008
Google has turned itself into a verb synonymous with “search.” Just like we ask for a Q-tip or Band-aid in the United States instead of a cotton swab or bandage, we call our Internet searches “Googles.”
Enter the Titanic, because that is only the tip of the iceberg…
Those of us with websites want to be ranked (indexed) high with Google when someone is searching for something we sell. Luckily for us, Google gives us all the tools to figure out how to make this happen–and they give it to us for free! They may change and set fire to the hoops we need to jump through every 1 to 3 months, but they tell us what those hoops are and how to douse the flames so we can be successful in moving our sites up the search rank ladder.
Lately, the buzz is Google’s plan to set higher search rank preferences for URLs containing targeted keywords. That means your company could rank higher if what you are selling is part of your domain name. So, even if Joe’s Gutter Hole has been the top ranked watering hole when searching “fort lauderdale bars,” they might just do better to buy the domain fortftlauderdalebarbarssdrinkscocktailsalcoholbeer.com. This really isn’t anything new, Yahoo! and MSN already do this, but Google is the big daddy and, if it is going to make a difference in how search results rank, we’re about to soon find out.
Graphic designers have been educated to design websites in an “F” fashion–the left menu is the vertical line, the header and content the horizontals. Google sets keyword importance in the order they are hit when a spider or bot crawls a site. And, because they can, Google crawls the site from the upper left corner down meaning, if your site is built using industry standards, your left menu is hit first and it is not where keywords are placed…unless your keywords are “contact us,” “home,” “about us,” etc. Kind of funny because I suppose this means most sites share the same first-searched keywords.
Now fortftlauderdalebarbarsdrinkscocktailsalcoholbeer.com has to move its menu to the right column and shove as many keywords into the first sentence of the site, or better yet, a text box in the upper left corner of their header with linked keywords. The site is looking good, eh? That is if you can differentiate the domain name in the search results and don’t confuse it with ftfortlauderdalebarbersbarberbobshagdohairdo.com.
The fact that Google hands out things we “need” for free (Analytics, and I love my iGoogle homepage, my Gdocs, my Google calendars, and especially my Google sidebar with my Google widgets) is not all out of the goodness of their hearts. In exchange for all this, we have to run our business the way they say or we may just not have any customers. No, this isn’t an episode of The Sopranos…or is it?
I love Mark Cuban’s blog. It’s pretty eclectic and you can tell his mind runs with random ideas (like someone we know *ahem*) and he’s come up with a fun little “what if?” Blog Maverick: Beating Google?
Frank always tells me I get a bit overly excited (okay, “intense” is a term I’ve heard used to describe me on more than a few occasions) about my tech research and conspiracy theories, but I find it fun because the information never grows old. There is always something new to learn and a new way things become linked–working together in interesting ways. I’m also able to comfortably learn to work with the changes–right in the middle is a fun place to be!
Has this gotten everyone freaked out yet? Are you ready to redesign your site to be hideous-yet-highly-ranked? Hold off for just a moment. As much as we all want to rank high, we also want customers to not run screaming from our sites. The basics still outweigh the payoffs to the Googlefather and, for our sites to retain customers, they need to remain aesthetically pleasing, easily navigable and friendly.
We can’t forget the human factor behind these online businesses either. A little good old fashioned customer service and marketing never hurt anyone. If I ordered a shirt and received a note from Joe (remember him from The-Bar-Formerly-Known-as-Joe’s Gutter Hole?) that said, “Thank you so much for ordering our merchandise. We hope you enjoy it and, if you do, it would mean a lot to us to have your return business. Please, use this code for 20% off the next item you order and here is another certificate to give a friend so they can try us out!” I would feel there was more than just a screen taking my credit card. I would feel like a person gained something from my actions and that person actually appreciated that I fed my credit card into that screen!
So, you write your thank you notes; make them personal; appreciate the consumers who choose you over the plethora of sites available on the global shopping mall we call the Internet and know that I’m here obsessing over the market trends and will be keeping you posted on what’s up.
Oh, and I’d like to mention that each and every one of Totera’s customers are very important to us and we cherish your business.
…are you feeling the love?
Project Development and Marketing Coordinator
Totera Web Systems
*originally posted 05/17/2008