Tag Archives: analytics

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Snapchat Gives Creators Access to Audience Analytics by @MattGSouthern

Select creators on Snapchat are getting access to analytics data. This includes insights such as story views, engagement, and demographics.

The post Snapchat Gives Creators Access to Audience Analytics by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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3 Data-Driven Approaches to Find the Most Effective Content Ideas by @semrush

Here are three approaches that can help you find content ideas based on data and analytics.

The post 3 Data-Driven Approaches to Find the Most Effective Content Ideas by @semrush appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Even though most web professionals and marketers know about Google Analytics, not many understand how they can fully unlock all the power of this free analytics software.

If you have an ecommerce website, you can harness Google Analytics to track your transactions, see online traffic sources, and provide detailed analytical data to help establish the path to maximum ROI.

All it takes is a few simple steps to get started. This guide will help you to get set up with tracking your ecommerce site in Google Analytics.

Getting started with Google Analytics

First, start by setting up a primary Google account. You can create a Gmail ID that is unconnected to your personal email accounts if you don’t already have one. Always remember that keeping personal and business accounts separate makes managing them easier in the long run.

Alternatively, you can make use of a Google Analytics Demo account.

Done creating a new Gmail account? Now, it’s time to connect it to the Analytics account.

  • Visit Google Analytics and press the Sign In button. Instantly, a three-step registration guideline will show up on your screen
  • Follow the mentioned instructions carefully
  • Add the property to track. In this case, it will be your ecommerce site
  • Now, mention the name of your ecommerce account, the URL, the name of your site, your preferred time zone, and the industry to which your website belongs
  • Choose the Data sharing settings with Analytics. Now, click the Get Tracking ID button.

Remember it is possible to set up 100 different accounts on Google Analytics using a single Google account. List 50 separate properties, including blogs, pages, apps, and websites – all related to your ecommerce site – under a single Google Analytics account.

Worried about messing up during your initial try or want to set up something temporary? Google has you covered! You can shift properties easily between accounts, which bodes well for your marketing efforts.

Set up the tracking code

Complete the setup process and then click on Get Tracking ID. You will immediately notice a pop up featuring the terms and conditions. Read them and agree to them so you can proceed to the next step – receiving the code for Google Analytics.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Install this code on every single page of your ecommerce website. Without the tracking code, do not expect Analytics to read the information present on the page and supply necessary data.

Keep in mind that the installation process tends to vary from one platform to another. No technical knowledge, however, is necessary to ensure proper application of the code. Simply copy the given code and then paste it in front of the ending head tag of your ecommerce site’s HTML code.

Add the secondary user

Speak to someone who’s managed Google Analytics for many years, and they will tell you that they’ve had issues with account access at some point. Mostly they experience trouble due to problems with their primary account or email.

To avoid such a thing from happening, it is always recommended that you add a secondary user with a different Google account who can provide another point of access. So, overcome problems, such as the loss of your password or hacking attempts by having a backup at all times.

To set up the secondary account, click the Admin option present on the top of your screen. Choose the option marked User Management from the Account menu.

Find the field marked Add Permissions For, and enter the relevant Gmail ID. Choose every option that grants the permissions necessary for the second account to gain access to your Google Analytics profile.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Select your goals wisely

Next on the agenda is figuring out the right way to add goals to Google Analytics. Search under the View column for the Admin link from where you can choose goals. These goals are necessary to inform the Analytics program about important occurrences on your site.

Since you’re able to set a maximum of 20 separate goals, select the ones for your ecommerce site carefully. The majority of businesses tend to set goals for lead form subscriptions, email list subscriptions, and other definitive actions.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Begin by clicking the Next Goal button and selecting custom or existing options depending on your requirements. Once you’re done, tap the Next button. Make sure you set a name that you can easily recall and then click on the Destination button before you head to the following step.

In the destination field, enter the Thank You or confirmation page URL. Then, in the drop down list, select the Begin With option. Now, toggle the preferred value and select the amount for conversion. When completed, simply click the Create Goal option.

Doing so will enable you to monitor essential conversions on your ecommerce site. Selecting the proper goals can mean all the difference between tracking the necessary processes or user actions.

Begin ecommerce tracking

Ecommerce owners can now proceed to start ecommerce tracking through their Analytics account. There are two ways to track ecommerce actions in Analytics, and they include:

  • Basic ecommerce tracking
  • Enhanced ecommerce tracking

Simply adding code to your website will already track these options. Enabling these options will help you check tracking reports.

For basic tracking, you need to open the Admin panel and click on the Account tab. Then go to Property and View. Click what you wish to track, and then move on to Ecommerce settings. Set the Ecommerce Status to On.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

For Enhanced tracking, find the option marked Enhanced Ecommerce settings. Click on the same and navigate to the Enhance Ecommerce Reporting tab. Toggle it On and then choose the Submit button.

Turn on website search tracking

When you have an ecommerce site, you want to know all you can about your customers’ interests and purchase behavior. And tracking the searches performed by visitors is a good way to do so.

Enable site search tracking to find out which services or items are most popular among your visitors. Simply visit the Admin menu and then click on the View column. Go to Site Settings and turn it On. Check out different query parameters in search results. Enter Q or S in the field and then choose Save.

Concluding remarks

Follow the steps above, and you should be able to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics with ease. Once you’re able to get the process up and running, it becomes easier to monitor your ecommerce campaigns.

Considering how Statista mentions that global retail ecommerce sales will hit the $4.5 trillion mark by 2021, it makes sense to monitor your progress so you know you’re not missing out on the action.

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How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Even though most web professionals and marketers know about Google Analytics, not many understand how they can fully unlock all the power of this free analytics software.

If you have an ecommerce website, you can harness Google Analytics to track your transactions, see online traffic sources, and provide detailed analytical data to help establish the path to maximum ROI.

All it takes is a few simple steps to get started. This guide will help you to get set up with tracking your ecommerce site in Google Analytics.

Getting started with Google Analytics

First, start by setting up a primary Google account. You can create a Gmail ID that is unconnected to your personal email accounts if you don’t already have one. Always remember that keeping personal and business accounts separate makes managing them easier in the long run.

Alternatively, you can make use of a Google Analytics Demo account.

Done creating a new Gmail account? Now, it’s time to connect it to the Analytics account.

  • Visit Google Analytics and press the Sign In button. Instantly, a three-step registration guideline will show up on your screen
  • Follow the mentioned instructions carefully
  • Add the property to track. In this case, it will be your ecommerce site
  • Now, mention the name of your ecommerce account, the URL, the name of your site, your preferred time zone, and the industry to which your website belongs
  • Choose the Data sharing settings with Analytics. Now, click the Get Tracking ID button.

Remember it is possible to set up 100 different accounts on Google Analytics using a single Google account. List 50 separate properties, including blogs, pages, apps, and websites – all related to your ecommerce site – under a single Google Analytics account.

Worried about messing up during your initial try or want to set up something temporary? Google has you covered! You can shift properties easily between accounts, which bodes well for your marketing efforts.

Set up the tracking code

Complete the setup process and then click on Get Tracking ID. You will immediately notice a pop up featuring the terms and conditions. Read them and agree to them so you can proceed to the next step – receiving the code for Google Analytics.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Install this code on every single page of your ecommerce website. Without the tracking code, do not expect Analytics to read the information present on the page and supply necessary data.

Keep in mind that the installation process tends to vary from one platform to another. No technical knowledge, however, is necessary to ensure proper application of the code. Simply copy the given code and then paste it in front of the ending head tag of your ecommerce site’s HTML code.

Add the secondary user

Speak to someone who’s managed Google Analytics for many years, and they will tell you that they’ve had issues with account access at some point. Mostly they experience trouble due to problems with their primary account or email.

To avoid such a thing from happening, it is always recommended that you add a secondary user with a different Google account who can provide another point of access. So, overcome problems, such as the loss of your password or hacking attempts by having a backup at all times.

To set up the secondary account, click the Admin option present on the top of your screen. Choose the option marked User Management from the Account menu.

Find the field marked Add Permissions For, and enter the relevant Gmail ID. Choose every option that grants the permissions necessary for the second account to gain access to your Google Analytics profile.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Select your goals wisely

Next on the agenda is figuring out the right way to add goals to Google Analytics. Search under the View column for the Admin link from where you can choose goals. These goals are necessary to inform the Analytics program about important occurrences on your site.

Since you’re able to set a maximum of 20 separate goals, select the ones for your ecommerce site carefully. The majority of businesses tend to set goals for lead form subscriptions, email list subscriptions, and other definitive actions.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Begin by clicking the Next Goal button and selecting custom or existing options depending on your requirements. Once you’re done, tap the Next button. Make sure you set a name that you can easily recall and then click on the Destination button before you head to the following step.

In the destination field, enter the Thank You or confirmation page URL. Then, in the drop down list, select the Begin With option. Now, toggle the preferred value and select the amount for conversion. When completed, simply click the Create Goal option.

Doing so will enable you to monitor essential conversions on your ecommerce site. Selecting the proper goals can mean all the difference between tracking the necessary processes or user actions.

Begin ecommerce tracking

Ecommerce owners can now proceed to start ecommerce tracking through their Analytics account. There are two ways to track ecommerce actions in Analytics, and they include:

  • Basic ecommerce tracking
  • Enhanced ecommerce tracking

Simply adding code to your website will already track these options. Enabling these options will help you check tracking reports.

For basic tracking, you need to open the Admin panel and click on the Account tab. Then go to Property and View. Click what you wish to track, and then move on to Ecommerce settings. Set the Ecommerce Status to On.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

For Enhanced tracking, find the option marked Enhanced Ecommerce settings. Click on the same and navigate to the Enhance Ecommerce Reporting tab. Toggle it On and then choose the Submit button.

Turn on website search tracking

When you have an ecommerce site, you want to know all you can about your customers’ interests and purchase behavior. And tracking the searches performed by visitors is a good way to do so.

Enable site search tracking to find out which services or items are most popular among your visitors. Simply visit the Admin menu and then click on the View column. Go to Site Settings and turn it On. Check out different query parameters in search results. Enter Q or S in the field and then choose Save.

Concluding remarks

Follow the steps above, and you should be able to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics with ease. Once you’re able to get the process up and running, it becomes easier to monitor your ecommerce campaigns.

Considering how Statista mentions that global retail ecommerce sales will hit the $4.5 trillion mark by 2021, it makes sense to monitor your progress so you know you’re not missing out on the action.

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8 key Google Analytics reports for SEO

Any stellar SEO strategy should be meticulously tracked and heavily data-driven.

Gut feel is great when deciding on which new pair of shoes to buy, but it’s not the best foundation to base your SEO work upon.

Google Analytics is a treasure trove of insightful data. And it’s free! However, with so much data available at our fingertips, it can be a bit of a minefield, and most people only scratch the surface.

Keyword rankings are great for stroking your ego and making your client smile and nod, but they don’t tap into the bigger picture.

In order to continually build on and improve your campaign, you need to pay close attention to the nitty-gritty of your data. There’s a lot to take into account, but in this post we’ll provide an overview of the key Google Analytics reports and views to bolster your SEO campaigns.

Many of these reports can be created as custom reports, which is handy for tailoring your reporting to specific business needs and sharing with clients.

Read on and we’ll help you to track and measure your SEO efforts like the analytical guru you are.

1. Organic search

Where to find it: ‘Acquisition’ > ‘Overview’ > Click through to ‘Organic Search’

It’s an obvious one but a good place to start. Head to the ‘Overview’ tab under ‘Acquisition’ for a base level indication of your website’s primary traffic channels. This provides an immediate summary of your top channels and how each is performing in terms of traffic volume, behavior and conversions.

As well as showing a general overview of organic traffic, you can also dig deeper into the data by clicking on ‘Organic Search’ in the table and playing around with the filters. Consider the most popular organic landing pages, an overview of keywords, search engines sending the most traffic, exit pages, bounce rates, and more.

On the topic of bounce rates, it’s a good idea to pay particular attention to this metric with regards to individual pages. Identify those pages with a bounce rate that is below the average for your site. Take some time to review these pages and work out why that might be, subsequently applying any UX/UI or targeting amendments.

This is all very well but wouldn’t it be handy if you could view only your organic traffic across the whole of your Google Analytics? It’s easier than you think. Simply click  to ‘Add Segment’ and check the box for organic traffic.

Leave the ‘All Users’ segment for a handy comparison, or remove this segment for a view of only your organic traffic.

2. Landing page and page titles

Where to find it: ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Content’ > ‘Landing Pages’ > Add secondary dimension ‘Page Titles’

One of the most frustrating aspects of Google Analytics organic reports is the dreaded ‘(not provided)’ result which features under ‘Keyword’.

This unfortunate occurrence is the result of searches which have been carried out securely. In other words, if the URL of the search engine features HTTPS or if they are logged into a Google account and therefore protected by data privacy policies. In these scenarios, the search term deployed by the user will not be provided.

But how wonderful would it be to see a list of all the search terms people used to find your site? Unfortunately I’m not a magician and I can’t abracadabra these search phrases from the Google abyss. But I can offer an alternative solution that will at least give you an overview.

View your organic traffic via landing page and page title, as this will show which pages are performing best in terms of organic search. By including the page title, you can then look at which keywords those pages are optimised for and get a pretty good idea of the search phrases users are deploying and those which are performing best in terms of traffic and bounce rate.

8 key Google Analytics reports for SEO

This can also help you identify the pages which are not performing well in terms of organic traffic. You can then review whether the keywords need refining, the onsite optimization needs an overhaul, or the content needs revamping.

3. Conversion goals

Where to find it: ‘Conversions’ > ‘Goals’ > ‘Overview’

It’s all very well having a high volume of organic traffic but if it isn’t converting then there’s really not much point. To test the quality of your organic traffic, you need to be tracking conversions. There are two levels to this.

The first is your conversion goals. You can filter these with regards to traffic and understand what percentage of a website’s conversions are resulting from organic traffic.

To further improve this data, add monetary value to your conversions to better demonstrate the value that your SEO efforts are bringing. Some clients care only about keyword rankings, some care only about the dollar signs. Either way, it’s worth spending some time with your client to work out how much each conversion is worth and the data that they are most interested in.

For example, let’s say you sell kitchens. If you know the average cost of a sale and the percentage of kitchen brochure downloads which convert to a sale, then you can work out an approximate value for each conversion.

4. Assisted conversions

Where to find it: ‘Conversions’ > ‘Multi-Channel Funnels’ > ‘Assisted Conversions’

Although useful, conversion goals only give a surface view of conversions. What if someone initially found your website via Google and didn’t convert, but then later returned to your website by typing in the URL direct and then converted?

It’s very common for users not to convert on their first visit to a website, especially if they are only in the awareness or consideration phase of the sales funnel. When returning the next time around to make a purchase, they are more likely to go direct, or perhaps they see a reminder via social media.

This is where assisted conversions can save the day. Find these by clicking on ‘Multi-Channel Funnels’ under ‘Conversions’, and then ‘Assisted Conversions’.

With this data, you can identify whether each channel featured on the conversion path of a user, therefore providing more accurate data in terms of the quality of your organic traffic.

8 key Google Analytics reports for SEO

Pay attention to any drops or surges in organic traffic in this section. If, for example, you have noticed a drop in organic assisted conversions yet your organic traffic has remained consistent, then it may indicate that the leads are no longer as qualified. This should prompt a review of your keyword and content strategy.

5. Site speed

Where to find it: ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Speed’ > ‘Overview’

Site speed is important, we all know that. There are a number of tools we can use to find out the overall speed of a website: Google Page Insights, Pingdom, GTmetrix. However, these don’t tend to drill down into specific pages. The site speed report via Google Analytics can help you to identify any pages which are proving particularly slow.

You are likely to see a correlation between the time taken to load and the exit pages, you can also layer in bounce rate metrics.

Using this information regarding individual pages, you can then approach your development team with the cold hard evidence that they need to resolve that page speed issue.

6. Site search

Where to find it: ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Search’ > ‘Search Terms’

If you have a site search function on your website then this report is super useful for a number of reasons. Firstly, it can indicate where the user experience may not be particularly strong on your website. If a page is proving difficult to find without having to search for it then it may hint at a wider site navigation issue.

In addition, it can also help identify any keywords or search terms which you may need to create a new page for if one does not already exist. The site search report is ideal for unearthing these gaps in your website’s offering.

7. Mobile

Where to find it: ‘Audience’ > ‘Mobile’ > ‘Overview’

Comparing the traffic of mobile users to that of desktop and tablet is a handy way of identifying whether your site may have some mobile optimization issues. For example, if the bounce rate of mobile sessions is significantly higher than that of your desktop sessions, then you may need to carry out a mobile site audit.

It’s also worth considering the conversion rate of the different devices, as this can indicate which device traffic is the most valuable.

Given that over half of website traffic is now on mobile, you should see similar results reflected in your own analytics. Although it’s worth bearing in mind that some businesses are more likely to be more prevalent on mobile than others.

For example, a local business should feature in a lot of mobile searches, whereas a business to business service is more likely to be searched for on desktop by people sitting in an office.

8. Customize your dashboard

Where to find it: ‘Customization’ > ‘Dashboards’

Finally, for a quick overview of reporting, it pays to design a tailored dashboard for your client. We often find that clients don’t appreciate too much text or complex tables in reports, as they can be overwhelming at an initial glance.

Sure, you may be a Google Analytics whizz, but the chances are that your client isn’t. Therefore presenting the data in a way that is digestible and manageable is key to convincing them of your SEO prowess.

Create a dashboard that your client will understand. Use digestible charts, like bar graphs, pie charts and simplified tables. This will help the client visualize all of the data in one easy-to-view report. This can also be emailed to your client each week so they get regular updates.

Dashboards are created using customizable widgets. Begin by selecting the type of widget: this could be a simple metric, a timeline, a geomap, a table, or a pie or bar chart. With some widgets, you can also select whether to show a specified date range or whether to show data in real-time.

Once you have chosen your widget, you can configure the finer details, such as dimensions and other options depending on the type. Widgets can be edited, cloned or deleted, allowing flexibility in refining your dashboard as both you and your client see fit. For further information on creating a custom dashboard, have a read of Google’s handy guide.

There are a whole myriad of other reports and views available within Google Analytics; it takes time to become familiar with all the different types of data and formats. Hopefully this list has provided a solid starting point for genuinely valuable and insightful SEO reporting.

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Inside Google’s new Search Console: What’s new, what’s the same, and what’s still to come?

Earlier this month, Google rolled out the beta version of its new and improved Search Console to all verified users.

Google has been testing the new Search Console for some months now, with a select number of users given early access to the beta. We’ve had sneak peeks at the slick, clean interface, and heard about some of the notable additions, such as the much-vaunted 16 months of historical search data now available to SEOs.

The new Search Console is still in beta, and Google says that it will continue to port features from the old Search Console to the new over the course of the coming year. Webmasters and SEOs will be able to use both versions of Search Console side-by-side until the transition is complete.

So now that the new Search Console is finally here, what shiny new features does it boast, what is more or less the same, and what functionality are we still awaiting with bated breath? Let’s take a look.

What’s new

Search performance report

The most powerful new functionality in the revamped Search Console centers around the Search Analytics section, now known as Search Performance.

As with the old Search Analytics report, you can overlay total clicks, total impressions, average CTR and average position data on top of each other with a simple click. But where webmasters have previously forced to choose between filtering by search type, query, page, country, and device, with only one option available to select at once, now you can filter by multiple variables at a time.

So, as in the screenshot above, you can compare total impression data with average CTR from web searches for “search engine” from the United States over the past three months, if that’s something that takes your fancy.

You unfortunately can’t layer multiple comparisons on top of each other – so if you want to compare desktop and mobile data side-by-side, you can’t also compare data from the U.S. and the U.K. at the same time – but the new options still allow SEOs and webmasters to get highly specific with performance data for their website.

And, of course, website owners now have access to much wider date ranges for their historical search data, making it easier to analyze longer-term trends and perform year-over-year comparisons. Google notes that, “Over the years, users have been consistent in asking us for more data in Search Analytics” than the three months that website owners were previously limited to.

Well, with the new Search Console, Google has exceeded all expectations, more than quadrupling the maximum date range that webmasters have access to. Now, you can choose between three-month, six-month and 12-month date ranges, or opt for the “Full duration”, which is a whopping 16 months.

Inside Google’s new Search Console: What’s new, what’s the same, and what’s still to come?

Index coverage report

The Index Coverage section of Google’s new Search Console is a combination of the old Index Status and Crawl Errors reports. It allows site owners to see how well Google is indexing their website, as well as identify and fix errors where there are any.

You can view data by pages with errors, valid pages with warnings, valid pages that have been indexed, and excluded pages, and also overlay impression data on top. The table underneath then gives more detail as to the types of issues detected, allowing webmasters to click through and inspect the affected URLs.

Inside Google’s new Search Console: What’s new, what’s the same, and what’s still to come?

Another fantastically useful feature that’s new with the revamped Search Console is the ability to request Google update its index after you’ve resolved an issue.

If you’ve gone in and fixed a HTTP 500 error, for example, rather than waiting for Google to recrawl your site and discover the fix, you can proactively request that Google update its index. According to Google’s Webmaster Central blog, it will “then crawl and reprocess the affected URLs with a higher priority, helping your site to get back on track faster than ever.”

Search enhancements: Accelerated Mobile Pages and Job Postings

Google’s updated AMP status report also allows website owners to validate newly-fixed AMP URLs. In the old version of Search Console, Google would provide a list of AMP URLs with errors and recommend a fix, but there wasn’t any way to request that Google reprocess the amended URLs.

Now, you can request that Search Console validate a fix across multiple pages, and Google will again process those with a higher priority.

Google’s blog post introducing the new Search Console grouped AMP under the heading of “Search Enhancements” together with another new report: job postings. Webmasters with job listings on their site can mark them up with Job Posting structured data to be eligible for Google Jobs – Google’s relatively new foray into the world of job listings that was announced at last year’s Google I/O.

As with AMP, the Job Posting report in Search Console will display stats around your job listing results and pinpoint any indexing issues, allowing you to fix and validate them.

Inside Google’s new Search Console: What’s new, what’s the same, and what’s still to come?

Image: Search Engine Land

What’s the same

Nothing in the revamped Search Console is exactly the same as the old version, but as I’ve mentioned, there are some rough equivalents.

The new Search Performance report features much of the same data as the old Search Analytics report, and the Index Coverage report includes data that appears in the Index Status and Crawl Errors sections of the old Search Console.

The sitemap submission process is also much the same in the new Search Console, though the handy “Test” button which allowed webmasters to check their sitemap before submission is missing in the new version.

Inside Google’s new Search Console: What’s new, what’s the same, and what’s still to come?

The old Search Console allows webmasters to test their sitemap before submission

Sitemaps also work in conjunction with the Index Coverage report: when site owners submit a sitemap file, they can use the sitemap filter over the Index Coverage data to focus on an exact list of URLs.

What’s still to come

A lot of data from the old Search Console has still to make its way over to the new, so we can expect plenty of future updates to Search Console over the coming year. Some notable reports and features that have yet to be added to the new Search Console include:

Structured Data, Rich Cards, and Data Highlighter

Judging by Google’s continued emphasis on rich results and structured data markup, these reports are certain to come to Search Console, though maybe not in exactly the same form as before.

Given that Google has just begun introducing native support of some content types to Google Assistant, it’s possible that the new Search Console will feature additional functionality for integrating with Assistant, perhaps in the form of assessing whether your content is correctly optimized for inclusion in the new Actions Directory.

Google might also find a way to incorporate its new Rich Results Testing Tool directly within Search Console, helping webmasters and SEOs find and fix errors that prevent rich results from displaying.

Internal links and links to your site

One important piece of SEO functionality currently missing from the new Search Console is data on links: both internal links, and links leading back to your site.

In the old Search Console, these are useful reports allowing webmasters to see exactly who is linking to their domain and which pages are the most linked-to – important for monitoring the progress of link-building campaigns as well as backlinks in general.

Inside Google’s new Search Console: What’s new, what’s the same, and what’s still to come?

Similarly, the Internal Links section allows you to assess and improve the level of internal linking within your own site. You can search for individual pages to see where they are linked to across your site, and reverse sort to find out which pages need more internal linking.

Hopefully this will soon be introduced to the new Search Console so that webmasters can benefit from new and improved link reports and data.

International targeting

This report allows webmasters to target an audience based on language and country – a crucial section for international SEO. Webmasters who operate in multiple geographies will be particularly keen to find out what this looks like when it appears in the new Search Console.

Mobile usability

Given Google’s increasing emphasis on a mobile-first approach to website-building, I’m confident that we can expect some souped-up features in the mobile usability report when it appears in the new Search Console.

The Search Console mobile usability report currently assesses how well your site is optimized for mobile usage, and highlights issues such as Flash usage, small font size, touch elements (e.g. buttons) placed too close together, and the use of interstitial pop-ups. With page speed confirmed to be an official ranking factor on mobile from July, I think we can near enough guarantee that speed will be one of the assessments included in the new mobile usability report (or whatever Google decides to call it) when it rolls out.

I think it’s reasonable to predict some sort of tie-in to the mobile-first index, as well. While it’s already possible to compare mobile and desktop search data in Search Performance, Google may well build some additional functionality into the mobile usability report which allows webmasters to detect and correct issues that prevent them from ranking well on mobile.

The current report already detects mobile usability issues on individual pages, so it wouldn’t even be much of a leap to apply that to the mobile-first index, giving website owners more tools to improve their site’s usability on mobile.

What are your thoughts on the revamped Search Console? Which reports are you most excited to see in the new version? Share your views in the comments!

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How the latest Google Analytics updates will benefit marketers

Google has announced a range of significant new updates to its Analytics product, all of which should help marketers to understand their individual customers at a deeper level. Below, we assess the impact each of these four enhancements will have on search marketing analysis. 

The ongoing implementation of machine learning into all Google products has benefited GA, with the addition of Analytics Intelligence a particular highlight from the last 12 months.

Simultaneously, Google wants to provide site owners with insight into the impact of their marketing activities across all channels. This has always been the aim, but it is a challenging one from a tracking perspective. The partnership between GA 360 and Salesforce is a reflection of Google’s willingness to work alongside other companies to achieve this goal and ensure it keeps its dominant position.

The four latest updates to GA all exhibit some elements of these trends, with machine learning and user-level analysis never far from the foreground.

Users in standard reports

The underpinnings of the standard report dashboard have been adapted to include more insight into user-level behavior.

This is a significant shift from the historical focus on sessions, as an individual user could have multiple sessions even within the same day. The implications of this hierarchical system (User>Session>Hit) were discussed in a previous post, where we assessed some common GA misunderstandings.

Marketers will undoubtedly welcome the default option to analyze users alongside sessions and we should expect Google to continue improving the accuracy of user-level data. As it does so, more options for assessment and targeting will follow.

How marketers can use this feature:

  • Go to Admin > Property Settings in your GA account, then select the option for Enable Users in Reporting.
  • Combine with other (relatively new) features like Cohort Analysis to get a clearer picture of how groups of users arrive at – and interact with – your site.

User Explorer: Lifetime metrics and dimensions

User Explorer, which allows marketers to isolate user behavior down to the session level, has huge potential as an analytical tool. It is already available in all GA accounts and draws its data from the lifetime of a user’s cookie.

Google has recently revamped this feature with the addition of lifetime metrics and dimensions for individual users.

As can be seen in the screenshot below, this is displayed in a dashboard that contains a variety of information about past, present, and predicted future behaviors.

Taken in isolation, this level of granularity may appeal to little more than our curiosity. However, the ability to scale this and identify patterns across a large set of Client Id numbers could reap significant rewards for marketers. Once we group together similar users, we can tailor our marketing activities and messaging, both for prospecting and remarketing.

How the latest Google Analytics updates will benefit marketers

How marketers can use this feature:

  • Identify patterns in the channels that lead valuable clients to arrive at your site. This can be of use when prospecting for new customers who share the same attributes.
  • Maximize the value of current customers with a high projected lifetime value, through remarketing and tailored messaging.

Audience reporting

This is a logical and much-needed update to Analytics, making it a particularly welcome addition. Users can now create audiences within GA and then publish them within the platform for analysis.

Up to now, we have been able to create audiences and publish them to other Google properties, such as AdWords. This has been very useful for remarketing, but it was not possible to create a report for these audiences within GA.

This new feature uses ‘Audience’ as its primary dimension and permits users to compare performance across different segments.

For example, we could create an audience for customers that have purchased more than 5 times in the last 6 months, and compare this group with visitors that consume a lot of our content but do not make purchases.

How the latest Google Analytics updates will benefit marketers

How marketers can use this feature:

  • Create audiences based on the behaviors that matter to your business and monitor their interactions over time. These can then be compared to derive insights about the characteristics of our most valuable customers.
  • Given that these same lists can be uploaded to AdWords, we can draw a more direct line from analysis to action. If we notice trends within specific customer groups that we would like to enhance or reverse in our GA reports, we can do this seamlessly by targeting that same audience group through AdWords.
  • Use audience lists as the basis for conversion rate optimization tests.

Conversion probability

This is perhaps the most exciting of the four updates and has the highest potential to have a positive impact on marketers’ ROI.

By analyzing your site’s historical data and automatically identifying the patterns between variables within sets of high-value customers, Google can identify the recent site visitors with the highest probability of a future conversion.

This has been achievable in the past through a variety of means, notably through the use of Google Analytics Premium data, logistic regression analysis, and Google BigQuery. Many paid media management platforms also employ this type of machine learning to help with bid management, as does Google AdWords.

However, by incorporating this technology into the standard Google Analytics platform, a much wider user base will now have access to predictive analytics about their customers.

Combined with the updates listed above, we can see how this fits into the broader picture. Google uses machine learning to identify future customers, which site owners can then use to create audiences for analysis and remarketing.

This feature is rolling out to all accounts in beta over the next few months, so it is worth looking out for.

How marketers can use this feature:

  • Identify the quality of traffic that is driven by your marketing activities. The ‘Average % Conversion Probability’ metric will reveal this within your Conversion reports.
  • For remarketing, Google offers a few pointers of its own:

The advantages are clear: Marketers can create remarketing lists that target users who have a high likelihood to purchase and then reach those users through either advertising campaigns in AdWords and DoubleClick or site experiments in Optimize.

Viewed together as a group of updates, the key takeaway here is self-evident: Google is at pains to use its machine learning capabilities to create a deeper understanding of individual users. The field of predictive analytics can be a particularly profitable one, especially for a company with targeting technology as effective as Google’s.

The latest enhancements to GA should see these capabilities extended to a much wider audience than ever before.

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