Tag Archive: Google Analytics

  1. Should I Start a Google AdWords Campaign? What You Need to Know Before You Start Your Campaign

    Appearing in the number one spot on Google by simply shelling out some cash may sound like a no-brainer, but there are a few items to consider before you start re-allocating your marketing dollars. Just like any campaign, Google AdWords requires (you guessed it) strategy–and lots of it.

    Should I Start a Google AdWords Campaign? The Good, Bad & Ugly of This SEO Tool

    AdWords allows for rapid visibility. Unlike organic search, you don’t have to rely on slow increases in search rankings after months of accumulating links to your site, crafting valuable content, utilizing proper title tags, etc. This type of campaign allows you to bid on keywords, target specific locations to reach your audience and show up as one of the top results in the search listings. Alternatively, display ads and retargeting can be used on specific websites to meet your audience where they are.

    These quick results come with a price tag, however. It can be costly to ensure you outbid the competitors and actually show up in position one to three on the search listings. In addition, it is time consuming to maintain ads the proper way. After the initial setup, someone with sufficient AdWords experience should be dedicated to reviewing and making tweaks to the campaigns nearly every day. Rather than a slow-cooker-esque, “set it and forget it” strategy, proper planning is recommended for an ad campaign to work effectively, including putting thought into the ad copy and imagery (if applicable), keywords and landing page that the user is sent to.

    So You Want to Start an AdWords Campaign

    Your End Goal

    Because there’s an entire painter’s palette of ads to choose from, it’s important to identify the goal of the specific campaign. Whether your goal is to increase leads, sign-ups, or brand awareness, the type of ad used, as well as the landing page, should reflect and service the given goal.

    Search vs. Display Ads

    • Search Ads: These are the ads that appear at the top or side of the search listings, which are typically the ads people are most familiar with when they hear the term “Google AdWords.” This type of ad is best for the “active searcher.” Namely, someone who is on a mission to find a particular thing (think: plumbers, locksmiths, etc).
    • Display Ads: These ads display on a particular website, typically on the sidebar, header or footer of the site. These work best to familiarize people with your brand or if your product requires a lengthy sales process or has major visual appeal that you want to showcase.
    • Retargeting: Have you ever abandoned your cart on a particular website, only to be “followed” by an ad for that same product when you visit Facebook? A little creepy, right? This form of modern-day, digital haunting is also known as retargeting, and it’s an effective sales tool for companies with longer sales cycles.

    Be Specific

    It’s important to include specific keywords, ad copy and landing pages that all come together like the pieces of some kind of sales-driving jigsaw puzzle to complete your campaign’s goals. Create a landing page with a call-to-action and content that is specific to the targeted keyword rather than sending a user from an AdWords listing to your homepage with no action step. Negative keywords can also be targeted to steer an unwanted audience away from your ads. For example, if you are creating a campaign around VIP ticket sales to an event, you may want to target “cheap” as a negative keyword so that your ads are not served to those whose search query includes that word.

    Set Expectations

    Understand that every new campaign includes a test period–we’ve all had to work through our awkward phases, after all. It’s best to target an array of keywords, use different sets of ad copy and/or imagery, as well as landing pages to see what resonates best with your audience and adjust your campaign in response.

    Depending on your goals, AdWords can be an effective tool when you utilize the right ad type and create a specific and well-monitored campaign. For the greatest chance at success, we recommend this simply as a tool in your toolbox of an overall strategy that includes other tactics to support it, such as organic SEO, content marketing, email marketing, public relations and social media. There’s no quick solution for long-lasting SEO success, but taking the time to adopt the best practices and learn tools of the trade can go a long way toward getting your site seen.  

  2. The Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics: Frequently Asked Questions and Facts to Know

    Google Analytics is an incredibly valuable tool that is also incredibly intimidating to many of our clients. If you log into your account and immediately become overwhelmed with the array of data, what it all means and what you need to know, then this blog post is for you. Of course, the data that matters most to you and your business is based on your individual goals, industry and target audience. We always recommend working with a professional (shameless plug) to analyze your data and provide reports and recommendations that are customized to your goals, but if you’re looking for an introduction to the world of Google Analytics, you’ve come to the right place.

    The Audience > Overview Dashboard

    Google Analytics

    When you log into your Google Analytics account and select your website/property, you will automatically be taken to the Audience Overview dashboard, and with good reason. This is a great place to get a quick snapshot of how much traffic your site has garnered over a specific time period. Speaking of time periods, note that you can always adjust the period of time that you are analyzing. Google Analytics, by default, will show you the previous month’s worth of data, but feel free to change that up as you see fit. A day, a week, or even a year — the choice is yours.

    Google Analytics

    Now, once you have the date range set and you’re looking at the Audience Overview dashboard, thinking, “but what does it all mean!?” take a few deep breaths and let us help you make sense of the common questions that come up while looking at this page.

    Sessions, Users, Pageviews: What’s the Difference?

    • Sessions: A session is essentially a visit to your website. Sessions have expiration limits, so when I leave a tab open for 30 minutes with no activity, my session expires. If I come back to that tab later on, a new session begins.
    • Users: A user is the amount of unique visits your website receives. While I may have multiple sessions on your site during the time frame, I am only counted once as a user.
    • Pageviews: The total amount of pages viewed on your site during the set timeframe.

    What is Average Session Duration?

    The hours, minutes and seconds a user spends on your site on average.

    What is Bounce Rate?

    The percentage of visitors who leave after viewing one page of your site. This often occurs on a homepage, specific blog posts, and campaign-specific landing pages.

    Is My Bounce Rate Too High?

    This is a difficult question to answer. Typically, you want users to stay on your site for an extended period and look at more than one page. While a general rule of thumb is to maintain a bounce rate under 50%, this benchmark number changes drastically based on your industry, goals, and audience.For example, a restaurant that has the menu and phone number on its homepage will most likely have a higher bounce rate, as people are getting the information they’re looking for right away. They look at the menu, decide that the food looks good, give the restaurant a call to make a reservation and all is well: the restaurant’s goals are met, even with the relatively high bounce rate on the website.

    If your bounce rate seems higher than you think it logically should be, investigate it a bit further by looking at the bounce rate on mobile devices, as well as specific landing pages. To view your bounce rate across mobile, desktop and tablet, go to Audience > Mobile > Overview. This allows you to see not only the bounce rate on each screen size, but also the amount of sessions your site gets on the various screens. If your bounce rate is much higher on mobile or tablet than desktop, then it’s worth taking a good, hard look at your site in mobile and tablet view and thinking as a user: are pages easy to navigate? Are links easy to click on? Is the site responsive? If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, you will likely need to improve your website’s user experience.

    Google Analytics

    Specific landing pages may also be the culprit. To view your top landing pages, go to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages. This allows you to see how your homepage stacks up to other landing pages. Oftentimes, we find that the homepage bounce rate is much lower (below 50%), while a specific blog post or job listing, for example, has a very high bounce rate. Users may be finding exactly what they’re looking for via a Google search, reading your content and leaving, which drives your average bounce rate up. While this is not a necessarily a negative (as the user is getting exactly what they’re looking for), you can entice them to continue reading content on your site by adding a list of relevant blog articles or internal links to learn more about your company culture, for example.

    Where Else Should I Look in Google Analytics?

    There is life (and great data) beyond the Audience > Overview dashboard, and we highly recommend exploring many of the tools and options that await your experimentation. While you could spend days sifting through all of the data Google Analytics provides, below is a list of some of the most useful data to observe and regularly review:

    • Traffic Sources: By going to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels, you can view a breakdown of how users come to your site, whether it’s through search engines like Google (“Organic Search”), typing in your URL directly into their browser (“Direct”), links from other sites (“Referral”), or from social media channels (“Social”). Pro tip: click on the pie chart icon on the right to see a more visual breakdown of the percentages.

    Google Analytics

    • Referrals: Referrals, or other sites linking to your site, have a big impact on rankings and SEO. The quality of these links is what truly matters, so it’s important to review the sites that are linking to your site. To view the referrals, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals.
    • Site Content: Since we already went over how to navigate to your top landing pages, you may be wondering which pages of your site have received the most views, overall. Note: a landing page is the page a user entered the site through, while top “Site Content” refers to the site’s top page views, regardless of the user’s entry point. To view the most viewed pages on your site, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
    • Geography: Curious as to what part of the world, U.S., or even city your site’s visitors are coming from? Luckily for you, Google Analytics is not afraid to be ever-so-helpfully creepy. Navigate to Audience > Geo > Location to view the top countries. From there, you can drill in deeper by clicking on a specific country, and, from there, even a specific state.
    • Social Media: If you’re posting social media links to your site, such as blog posts, career postings, news items and more, then you should be monitoring how much traffic these posts are driving to your site. To do this, go to Acquisition > Social > Overview. From there, you can see a snapshot of all the social media channels that are bringing traffic to your site.

    Google Analytics

    Once you have that down, there is plenty more to discover and track through Google Analytics. To take it to the next level, explore behavior flow, search console and goals and events to help you better understand and track website activity and rankings.

    For now, we’ll leave with you the basic-but-essential Google Analytics tips above. By all means, once you have your bearings straight on these, feel free to poke around into the unknown, do a bit of experimentation and get your hands (digitally) dirty in the countless tools that this fantastic service provides. In our industry (and, honestly, any industry), results and goal setting are vital to measuring success and failure. Google has granted us with a priceless tool to help put real numbers to our virtual storefronts.

  3. Orlando PRSA Links

    I had the chance today to address a large group of public relations professionals at the Orlando chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (www.prsaorlando.org). As part of my talk, I promised to post some links of some of the sites we discussed. Here is a brief run-down:

  4. WordTracker
  5. – a great resource for keyword research

  6. Seth Godin’s Four Things Worth Doing
  7. – Core Web principles to keep in mind

  8. Google Analytics
  9. – powerful analytical tool for marketers

  10. Web 2.0 Wikipedia Entry
  11. – a general description of the concept

  12. Threadless
  13. – an oft-touted Web 2.0 concept in action

  14. Apple iPhone
  15. – likely game-changer in Web mobility

    Thanks again to the group for having me…I genuinely enjoyed the exchange!

  16. Link Rundown

    If you have a minute, check out http://www.bubbl.us. It’s a pretty cool Web-based productivity application for diagrams, brainstorming, etc. This is the type of Web-based app that the world has been warning Microsoft about for some time (i.e. Google Apps).
    Also, check out the new release of Google Analytics, something every marketer/business owner/Web site operator should find the time to do. Google just released a new version and the reviews are starting to come in. Check out reviews by beconfused, Mashable, and Mydeology. All seem to be relatively positive, save a few errors that still remain in the new site.