Google Analytics Basics: How to Find Keywords that Drive Traffic to Your Site

Getting statistics that tell you what your site visitors are searching for is like finding a goldmine. For quite some time Google provided this in Google Analytics. However back in October of 2011, Google announced, that they were starting to encrypt individual visit data to protect users that were logged into any Google product such as Gmail, Google+ etc. and they’ve since extended that to many other searches as well.

Now when you go to Google Analytics and click on “Acquisition > Keywords > Organic” you will see a large number of (not provided) keywords. In other words: Google knows what these users searched but they are not sharing this data with you. Bummer, right?

keywords

Well, good news. Even though it is not possible to see keyword traffic data in Google Analytics you can still find some of this data in 30 day snapshots in Google Webmaster tools. Here’s how:

Step 1: Open Google Webmaster Tools. https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ and select the site you would like to get Keyword stats for. If you haven’t set this up yet – do it!!

Step 2: Click “Search Traffic” then “Search Queries” in the left side navigation.

webmaster tools

Step 3: On this page you will be able to see what keywords led people to your site as well as what keywords triggered impressions. It’s not quite the same data as you would get in Google Analytics, and you can’t manipulate it the way you could if it were there, but it’s still valuable insight into what keywords people are using to reach your site.

more keywords

Want to learn more about Google Analytics? See my previous post on where your visitors are coming from, and stay tuned for more great tips next month as we delve into some Advanced Analytics topics!

Prefer an in person session? Join us in person at TKG’s Google Analytics Basics Breakfast Bootcamp on August 21st (that’s tomorrow!) . Click here to register for this FREE session! I look forward to meeting you!

Don’t Overlook Great Content in your Website Plans

content_highlighted credit HubSpotSo you are setting out to build your new website or really ramp up your web marketing efforts. What about the content?

At the end of the day, it’s not all about how great the site looks (though, of course, that is great) but it’s more about what the site says and how it says it that equates to online success.

Content writing is an art. Trust me, as I attempt to craft this blog post, I realize that it is a skill that I do not possess. However, we have that talent at TKG in spades – and they tell me it’s like a fine wine that takes practice to perfect.

Simply put, content writing sounds much easier to do than the execution of it can be.

Often, our clients aren’t able to create their own content in-house. Or they start off thinking they can, but end up with material that isn’t well-written or strategized – and that leads us back to pretty websites that don’t produce.

Even worse is what happens when desperate folks think they can grab content from another online source or supplier with the same info. But what happens is this creates duplicate content – a big no-no in the online marketing world.

Not only is it unethical, it often does not read well or suit your audience. And even worse, the Google gods will frown upon you and blow your site off the rankings radar for just about everything. No one wants that.

So what to do? Find a partner (like TKG) that has an awesome copy writing staff in house. Our staff will get to know you and your business and work toward how to best showcase you in the digital space. All while knowing the right way to say it.

You will always know your business the best. It is a pro copywriter’s job to interview and learn your business and the voice you wish to present to your customers online. They will take the pressure off you to create the all of the powerful content that your website and your online web marketing strategy cannot live without! And don’t forget the added benefit of knowing that the content created is original and optimized to specifically target your audience and online goals.

So my advice it to save those content writing skills for thank you notes or a letter to your mom (she’ll appreciate that!). Leave the copy writing to the pros. Your online presence will thank you for it!

Image Credit

Facebook Still Drives Traffic

We have discussed Facebook’s organic reach decline on TKGenius for the last several months. At the risk of angering big and small brands alike, Facebook slowly reduced the organic reach for business pages over the last year, resulting in some brands leaving for other platforms such as Twitter and Google+.

Was this a good decision on the part of the brands saying “Adios”? Probably not. As new traffic numbers are released by Shareaholic for the second quarter, the infographic below shows that Facebook is still by and large the biggest driver of traffic.

shareaholic

As you can see, referrals began to climb from March to June, but really took off in the second quarter, with Facebook driving 23.39% of ALL referral traffic in June, with Pinterest coming in a distant second. This is an increase of more than 150% from last June, allowing Facebook to continue to be the dominant force in social media.

Pinterest, the darling of the web, also saw a dramatic increase over last year. Image as content is getting more and more love from users – proved by the more than 69% in growth since last year.

Coming up third in referrals is Twitter. While Twitter remains very popular among users, it doesn’t have the reach that Facebook continues to garner. Most brands use it for branding alone as opposed to trying to actually drive traffic.

What does all of this data mean to you? Basically, Facebook, even with the organic reach nosedive, performs. It will still provide the best ROI of any of the social media platforms out there. Facebook changes just enough to keep users interested. The newsfeed changes constantly, creating an environment where users can’t help but to read, click, share, like and save. It still provides an enormous amount of interaction for brands and the traffic numbers speak for themselves.

So, did you decide to just muddle through Facebook’s organic reach decline, or did you choose to abandon ship and spend your online marketing dollars elsewhere? If you left, we’d love to hear what you’ve been doing instead of Facebook.

Photo Credit

Advertising Agencies Are Not Web Experts

There seems to be some confusion out there in our industry. Oh, the pain.

Is it any wonder that businesses looking for a new website are sometimes confused or frustrated by the process? And rightfully so, after what I’ve been hearing about what some advertising agencies are doing to their clients.

Agencies Are Struggling to Adapt

It is no secret that the advertising world has changed. Back in the day when print was king, advertising agencies ruled with fantastic design, creative ideas and expertise in branding through use of different print channels. But times have changed; and now, the traditional agencies are trying to reinvent themselves by claiming to be experts in web development and web marketing. How do I know this? I often deal with the aftermath of the havoc that some have brought upon their unsuspecting victims (er, clients).

Agencies aren’t usually adequately staffed to build and support websites. If they need to build a site for a client, they typically rely on resources outside of their agency for website programming, coding of pages and maybe even design. What tends to happen with this lack of a team approach, though a beautiful-looking website may come out of it, is that it can quickly become disjointed with no web marketing strategy to support it. There’s no real plan with substance, you know?

And if there needs to be complicated programming, will the advertising agency that is great at print, billboards and bus wraps be able to find the skillset to deliver the technical know-how? It’s a coin toss.

TKG has a unique approach to the web that allows our clients to stand out in the digital space with a beautiful, functional and well-strategized website – and we’ll be here to support it long after launch.

tkg difference

More Questions: Traffic and Hosting?

How will search traffic be impacted when your new website replaces the old site? Will your traditional advertising agency know how to preserve search engine rankings (e.g. web traffic) so that your business does not suffer the consequences? And who will host the site? Some third party company, no doubt.
If your business or organization has a website, that means you are looking for traffic, and most importantly, leads/sales from it. If that is not the key motive behind every decision in creating a new site, it’s a safe bet your site may look good but do nothing for your business.

Account Manager Offer: Can We Help You?

Often we are solicited to help companies with web marketing and web development after they have had their website built and launched by an advertising agency. We can improve your website to best speak to its audience, present the most important information, grow traffic and boost leads/sales.

Do you have a beautiful website that isn’t producing results? We can fix it! Give me a call and tell me about what isn’t working on your current site.

Google Analytics Basics: Where Do Your Visitors Come From?

Analyzing where your visitors are coming from is a very important piece to understanding your audience – and we don’t just mean where they are in the world (although that’s important too!) You can tell how well your website is being marketed by how your visitors find you – directly by typing the URL into their browser, through a search engine, via social media, from an email campaign or by clicking on a link to your site from some other place.

Here’s how to find out:

1: Open up your Google Analytics Account and then click on the “Acquisition” tab in the left hand navigation. Then click the “Overview” tab that is directly under “Acquisition”.

acquisition

When you click Overview this page will appear.

acquisition overviewacquisition overview2

Step 2: Select Your “Primary Dimension” from the Primary Dimension dropdown just above the pie chart. Your Options are; Top Channels, Top Sources/Mediums, Top Sources, Top Mediums. Below we will look at Sources & Mediums.

sources mediums

Top Mediums:
Mediums are broad categories of traffic sources. They include organic, direct, social, referral, email etc. By looking at the Top Mediums section you can see a broad overview of where your visitors are coming from. If you would like to dig a little deeper into the data, you can see all of the mediums that are sending traffic to your site by clicking the “To see all channels click here”, at the bottom left of the page.

Top Sources:
Sources are more detailed categories of traffic. A source could be Google which is an Organic traffic source or Facebook which is a social traffic source. This section you will be able to see the top 10 sources/mediums for traffic to your site. To look deeper you can click “To see all Sources click here”, at the bottom left of the page.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, if you’re investing a lot of time in social media, for example, but social isn’t sending any traffic to your site – well, now you know, and can adjust your strategy. Maybe you’re not reaching your audience via social or maybe you’re not linking back to your site with a strong call to action. The same analysis can happen for other mediums also. Are you getting the organic traffic you’d expect? What about referrals? These reports give you access to the information that can help you make smart decisions on how to spend your marketing dollars.

Want to learn more about Google Analytics? See my previous post on device data, and stay tuned for more great tips! Prefer an in person session? Join us in person at TKG’s Google Analytics Basics Breakfast Bootcamp on August 21st . Click here to register for this FREE session! I look forward to meeting you!

How Responsive Design Can Impact Online Marketing Efforts – in a Good Way!

this-is-the-webBy now, you have likely heard about responsive design.

Responsive design allows users on any device – desktop, smartphone or tablet – to have a good online experience regardless of screen size.

So, the question is, how does responsive design impact online marketing efforts? As marketers, we sometimes focus only on specific tasks, such as creating content, developing email campaigns and updating social media networks. The fact is that if you do not have responsive design in place, all of the online marketing strategies you want to implement will not garner your full potential results.

How much impact does mobile play into content, email, search and social media marketing today? The answer in short – a lot! Here are just a few examples:

  • 51% of emails are now opened on mobile devices
  • 60% of internet access is made on a mobile device
  • 70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within one hour
  • 60% of social media time is spent on mobile platforms as opposed to desktop browsers

These results mean that mobile has a growing impact on online marketing efforts. People are reading content, opening emails, performing searches and engaging with brands on social media – all from their mobile devices.

Responsive design greatly affects the user experience, ultimately meaning it will support your online marketing efforts in the following ways:

  • Email Marketing – As many users are reading your emails on a mobile device, naturally you want them to be able to follow the links in your email and have no issues browsing your site on that same device.
  • Content Marketing – users will be able to read the content from their mobile device, and also be able to use the social sharing buttons to easily share the content.
  • Social Media Marketing – when users click on a promoted offer on their mobile devices, they’ll be able to purchase the promoted item just as they would on a desktop browser.
  • Search Marketing – when a user clicks on a link to your website from search results, they will be able to get to your page and consume the information they need, just as they would on a desktop.

If it isn’t already a part of your online marketing strategy, a responsively designed website should be a significant consideration moving forward. Website visitors will be able to learn about your products and services, buy your products and consume your content on any device without issues.

So adding responsive design will not only make your website visitors happy, but it will help you get more results with your online marketing efforts. That’s a win-win in my book.

Do you have a responsive design success story? Share it in the comments!

Google Analytics Basics: What Devices Are Your Site Visitors Using?

Knowing whether your visitors are using a smartphone or desktop computer to browse your site is an extremely important piece of information. Analyzing device data in Google Analytics can provide you with helpful insight regarding how you should lay content out on your site as well as how it should be developed.

Want to know how to get this data? Follow these quick steps!

  1. Login to your Google Analytics account and go to the profile you’re interested in viewing.
  2. Click on the “Audience > Mobile > Overview” tab in the left hand column. This overview tab will tell you whether your visitors are using a desktop computer, mobile phone or a tablet.

If you want to dig deeper, click on the “Audience > Mobile > Devices tab in the left hand column. This devices tab will break down the mobile traffic down by specific device, i.e. iPhone vs. Droid.

analytics

Once you know what devices visitors are using to access your site, you can make smarter decisions about what kind of information might be important to them and how to best lay it out. TKG believes that all sites should be designed responsively, so that no matter what screen size or device someone is using, they will have the best possible experience on your site – and this data can help you figure out what that best experience is.

Want to learn more about Google Analytics? See my previous post on Sessions vs. Pageviews, and stay tuned for more great tips! Prefer an in person session? Join us in person at TKG’s Google Analytics Basics Breakfast Bootcamp on August 21st . Click here to register for this FREE session! I look forward to meeting you!

Google Update: Executing and Rendering Javascript

In terms of annoyance, JavaScript may have ranked right up there with animated gifs, or <blink> dancing hamsters back in the mid-90s to early 2000’s.

A developer’s stance on pure JavaScript centered on the differences between engines and browsers, or possibly security concerns since the code is executed by the client instead of the server and it could expose their machine for malicious purposes. End users wanting to accomplish something on a webpage might have been greeted with butterflies floating across the screen, endless popup boxes or pages that simply didn’t work in their browser.

Overall, JavaScript had a horrible reputation and (in my opinion) needed a few saviors to keep it from the technology graveyard. Enter frameworks, AJAX and standards.

Over the last few years, JQuery, Mootools, Dojo, Node and a host of other frameworks have distanced developers from the pain of IE vs. Chrome vs. FireFox by adding a consistent layer of methods and properties that deal with the browser differences under the hood. Taking browser differences away allows developers to focus on maturing the use of JavaScript – and gone are the butterflies and Rick-Roll popups. Form field validation, handling responsive design for different devices and parsing AJAX now compliment the end user experience instead of hindering it.

Standards have also been added into these browsers so there are less and less differences in the interpretation of JavaScript. It has now turned into a speed contest between browsers to tout how fast their rendering engine is. All of this is pure benefit to the end user. It creates consistency and allows users to choose what browser they like the best instead of the webpage forcing them to use a particular one.

The modern web could not exist without AJAX. This crucial technology allows small requests and responses to happen within a web page without a complete page reload. Maps, chat feeds and news services all rely on this technology to create a fluid user experience. The workhorse for this, however, is JavaScript. The events of the user trigger JavaScript functions to initiate the AJAX request, and it’s up to JavaScript to then change the webpage to do something useful with the response.

So why does any of this matter for your business and marketing strategy? Perhaps the final piece of the puzzle to solidify JavaScript as a key component in websites is that Google announced that they are now executing and rendering JavaScript as they crawl websites. Until recently, Google would look at only the HTML of a page, relying on solid markup and content in that HTML to rank it. Google has recognized that times have changed and now the importance of a site isn’t necessarily limited to that static content. JavaScript and AJAX may be creating a different page for the end user that Google would not see without executing the JavaScript also.

Take a look at the following picture. On the left is what a normal user sees when they visit this certain webpage. On the right shows what that same page looks like when JavaScript isn’t executed. It is quite a difference – and it creates a huge difference in experience and content.

javascript

Google’s execution of JavaScript is a welcome announcement – and I, for one, am thrilled that JavaScript is being recognized by a major search engine as a component of web development that is important enough to include in their crawling and ranking process.

What You Need to Know About Dynamic Sitelinks

Google’s new rollout of dynamic sitelinks for ads will undoubtedly improve click-through rates to your website.

If you haven’t used them before, sitelinks are used as extensions of your ads in AdWords in order to drive users to your website. Located under the main text of the ad, they allow you to customize the text of the link to help customers to quickly find what they are searching for on your site. Since they are custom, the links can be directed to specific landing pages relating to the link’s text. Google AdWords tracks these clicks so you have specific reporting to show how well the sitelinks are performing.

As of 7/24/14, Google officially rolled out dynamic sitelinks. These are automatically generated links that will better match your website content with what people are looking for based on search activity. Added bonus: they’re free! Don’t worry though; any sitelinks you created previously are still there and working. However, they may not show if the dynamic sitelink performs substantially better.

Here’s how they will show up on a laptop and mobile device respectively:

sitelinks

See the text “Schedule a Test Drive at Joe’s Used Cars” at the bottom of the first listing? That is the dynamic sitelink.

Obviously Google is not losing out on this free deal. You will still pay for conversions, and for any clicks on the rest of the ad. The bonus for the AdWords user is that these, like regular sitelinks, can boost your click-through rate by around 10%. This is great news for anyone who did not previously set up sitelinks – your ad has just been further optimized without any effort on your part!

One thing to note is that your ads will be eligible for dynamic sitelinks if the AdWords campaign is set as to include “Search Network”, or “Search and Display.” Realistically, this addition will affect the top three ad results in a Google search, as these are typically the results that would display sitelinks before this new feature was rolled out.

If, for some reason, you do not want to have dynamic sitelinks, the option is present to have them disabled. Be sure to check out AdWords Support where you can find the form for opting out, and some general tips for sitelinks.

My advice, however, would be to absolutely take advantage of these free dynamic sitelinks that Google is offering to improve the click-through rate to your website. Let us know how it works for you!

Photo Credit

Google Analytics Basics: Sessions vs. Pageviews

If you’re just starting to learn about Google Analytics, knowing the difference between pageviews and sessions is important.

analytics

Sessions

  • Sessions were referred to as “Visits” until early April 2014
  • A session is recorded every time a visitor visits your site.
  • Each site user can account for multiple sessions (if they come back, for example, they become another session)
  • Analyzing where sessions originated (direct traffic, a referral or from a search engine) can provide insight into how well your site is performing
  • This data is found under the “Audience > Overview” tab.

Pageviews

  • A pageview is recorded every time someone visits a “page” on the site.
  • Pageviews always report a higher number than sessions because each session can account for multiple pageviews
  • Analyzing pageviews is a good way to see what pages on your site your audience is most interested in, and how well they are able to navigate through your site.
  • Pageview statistics can also be found under the “Audience > Overview” tab.

Users, by the way, refer to the unique visitors to your site. So, in a perfect world, you’ll have a high number of pageviews (people looking at multiple pages on the site), a somewhat lower number of sessions and a somewhat lower numbers of users (because hopefully some of your visitors are repeat visitors! They found enough on your site that it was worth coming back!)

Want to learn more about Google Analytics? Stay tuned to our blog this month. I’ll be bringing you more tips on Google Analytics or join us in person at TKG’s Google Analytics Basics Breakfast Bootcamp on August 21st . Click here to register for this FREE session! I look forward to meeting you!