Tag Archives: publishing

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Ranker: How to make a Google algorithm-proof website

Any SEO or webmaster who has ever had a website affected by a Google algorithm change – or feared being affected by one – has probably wished that they could find a way to make their website “algorithm-proof”.

Still, surely there’s no such thing as a website that’s never impacted by Google algorithms, right? As long as your site is indexed by Google, it’s at the mercy of the algorithms that Google uses to determine website ranking, all the more so if you happen to rely heavily on organic search traffic for your business.

The art – or science – of search engine optimization is about determining as best you can what those algorithms are looking for, and giving it to them.

Yet one website believes it has found the formula for making its content “Google algorithm-proof”. Ranker is a website made up of dynamic, crowdsourced lists that users can vote on, about everything from pop culture to geography, history to sports, celebrities to science.

And according to its CEO, Clark Benson, Ranker has never suffered a negative effect from a Google algorithm change, growing its traffic steadily without interruption over the course of eight and a half years.

Search Engine Watch caught up with Benson to find out Ranker’s secret to success, and whether there is a formula for creating an algorithm-proof website.

Rankings, not review sites

So what is Ranker, exactly?

“Ranker’s primary reason for being is to crowdsource anything that makes sense to rank,” says Benson. “Any topic that people are really interested in.

“The unique angle that we’ve pursued is that instead of having this being one 23-year-old blogger’s opinion of the best new TV shows of the year, or whatever it happens to be, we would have a dynamic list that visitors could vote on, potentially add items to, and re-rank.

“The end result is a very wisdom-of-crowds-based answer which is always changing and dynamically moving along as tastes change, and as more people vote on things.”

Voting on a list of ‘Historical events you most want to go back and see’ on Ranker

Lists have been a time-honored draw for magazines and other print media over the years, but it was when the internet came along that they really exploded – spawning dozens of list-oriented viral websites and the much-mocked listicle, which became a staple of online journalism. However, Benson – a self-described “lifelong list nerd” – was frustrated by the fact that these lists only ever represented one person’s opinion.

In a similar vein, he found review websites unhelpful, as user-generated reviews represented a single person’s subjective opinion in a format that wasn’t conducive to making a decision.

“Part of the reason to build Ranker was my frustration with review sites, because when I’m looking for an answer to something, like which TV show to watch, I don’t want to read a lot of text reviews.

“I also feel that in typical five-star rating systems, everything tends to be clustered around three and a half to four stars, so you don’t get any true granularity on what is best.”

In a world increasingly “cluttered with choices”, therefore, Benson was convinced that rankings were “the simplest way to dissect a choice in a category, without losing the credibility of the answer”. And so he built Ranker as a website where the wisdom of the crowd could determine the ultimate ranking for any list of items, on any topic.

The secret to Ranker’s SEO success: Content freshness

Since Ranker’s launch in 2009, the site has amassed more than 100,000 rankings across dozens of broad categories, encompassing almost any topic that people could have a passion for.

When the website first launched, however, it had very few resources, and Benson explains that he had to learn SEO from scratch in order to give the website a strong foundation.

Luckily, earning traffic was never a problem for the site, because the type of content published on Ranker was uniquely suited to catering to Google’s algorithms.

“We’ve never been hit by any algorithm changes – we’ve always grown our organic search traffic year over year over year, steadily, for the eight and a half years we’ve been live.

“You never exactly know what works in SEO, because Google doesn’t tell you what works, but I’ve always believed that the best intelligence on what to do comes from the public statements Google makes – their best practices.

“And one of the key factors that Google says is in their index is freshness of content. Content has a lifespan. In our case, because our rankings are dynamic and always changing – people are adding things to them, voting things up and down – this makes for perpetually fresh content.

“We have a lot of content that is six, seven, even eight years old that is still doing as well as it was years ago, and in some cases it’s even growing in traffic.”

Ranker: How to make a Google algorithm-proof website

One of Ranker’s most evergreen pieces of content is a list ranking the ‘Best Movies of All Time’ – which is more than 5,000 items long.

“Obviously that’s a topic that there’s a lot of passion and a lot of competition for [in search rankings]. And in the last few years, we’ve been on the top three or so results on Google for that term.

“We’ve watched that page just grow in rankings over the span of seven or eight years. I can only guess it’s because the page is always changing.”

User-curated content

At the time of writing this article, Ranker’s front page is currently spotlighting a list of best-dressed celebs at the 2018 Oscars, a best TV episode names ranking, and a list of possible game-changing deep space observations to be made by the Webb Telescope.

Anyone can add an item to a list on Ranker, although Ranker’s content is not purely user-generated. Ranker has an editorial team which is made up of people who, in Benson’s words, “have a mind for cataloging things” rather than people who specialize in writing a lot of prose.

Lists are typically started off by one of Ranker’s editors, and when a user wants to add a new item to a list, it’s cross-referenced with Ranker’s database, a huge data set made up of more than 28 million people, places and things. If the item isn’t found in the database, it’s added to a moderation queue.

Rather than UGC (user-generated content), therefore, Benson thinks of Ranker’s lists as something he terms UCC – user-curated content.

Ranker: How to make a Google algorithm-proof website

How did Ranker build such a huge data set? Beginning in 2007, a company called Metaweb ran an open source, collaborative knowledge base called Freebase, which contained data harvested from sources such as Wikipedia, the Notable Names Database, Fashion Model Directory and MusicBrainz, along with user-submitted wiki contributions.

This knowledge base made up a large part of Ranker’s data set. What’s interesting is that Freebase was later acquired by none other than Google – and is the foundation of Google’s Knowledge Graph.

Additionally, not every list on Ranker is crowdsourced or voted on. Some lists, such as Everyone Who Has Been Fired Or Resigned From The Trump Administration So Far, don’t make sense to have users voting on them, but are kept fresh with the addition of new items whenever the topic is in the news.

Can other websites do ‘Ranker SEO’?

Benson acknowledges that Ranker’s setup is fairly unique, and so it isn’t necessarily possible to emulate its success with SEO by trying to do the same thing – unless you just happen to have your own crowdsourced, user-curated list website, of course.

With that said, there are still some practical lessons that website owners, particularly publishers, can take away from Ranker’s success and apply to their own SEO strategy.

First and foremost: content freshness is king

As you’ve no doubt gathered by now, the freshness of Ranker’s content is probably the biggest contributing factor to its success in search. “We’re convinced that the dynamism of our content is what really lets it just grow and grow and grow in search traffic,” says Benson.

“While our approach is somewhat unique to the way Ranker works – we have a bespoke CMS that makes lists out of datasets – I’m positive that there are other ways to apply this kind of thinking.”

To put content freshness front and center of your content marketing efforts, make sure that your publication or blog is well-stocked with evergreen content. For those articles or posts that are more time-sensitive, you can still publish a refreshed version, or look for an up-to-date spin to put on the old content, for example linking it in with current events.

According to research by Moz, other factors which can contribute to a positive “freshness” score for your website as a whole include:

  • Changes made to the core content of your website (as opposed to peripheral elements like JavaScript, comments, ads and navigation)
  • Frequency of new page creation
  • Rate of new link growth (an increase in links pointing back to your site or page)
  • Links from other fresh websites, which have the ability to transfer their “fresh value” (Justin Briggs dubbed this quality “FreshRank” in 2011)

Internal links trump external links

Other than content freshness, Benson attributes Ranker’s SEO success to one other big factor: its intricate network of internal links, which Benson believes are far more valuable to SEO than an impressive backlink profile.

“I think a lot of people who are new to SEO focus too much on trying to get outside links, versus optimizing their own internal infrastructure,” he says.

“We have a very broad site with millions of pages – not just lists, but a page for every item that’s included in a list on Ranker, showing you where it ranks on all of our different lists.”

Ranker: How to make a Google algorithm-proof website

The Ranker page for Leonardo da Vinci

“We made the mistake early on of leaving all of those pages open to Google’s index, and we learned over time that some of them are very thin, content-wise. New links are added to them, but they’re thin pages. So we quickly adopted a strategy of noindexing the thinner pages on our site – so they have utility, but they don’t necessarily have search utility.

“We’ve really focused a lot on internal link structure and on interlinking our content in a very intelligent and vertical-driven, page-optimized way. We’ve put a lot of engineering and product resources towards building a robust internal link structure that can also change as pages become more valuable in search.

“Outside links are very important, but they’re increasingly difficult to get. If you have good, unique content, and a strong internal link structure, I think you can get by with far fewer backlinks. Ranker has a lot of backlinks – we’re a big site – but we’ve never tactically gone out to build backlinks. And we get more than 30 million organic search visits per month.”

Ranker: How to make a Google algorithm-proof website

Think about how your content will appear to searchers

Benson emphasizes the importance of paying attention to basic on-site optimization like crafting good title tags and meta descriptions. These elements dictate how your website appears in the SERP to users when they search, and so will form the first impressions of your content.

“When it comes to creating new content, our editorial team definitely focuses on best practice with regards to title tags and meta descriptions – the basic stuff still applies,” says Benson. “Anyone doing editorial still needs to think about your content from the lens of the searcher.”

Optimizing for Google’s rich results and using Schema.org markup are additional ways that website owners can make sure that their website listing appears as attractive as possible to a searcher encountering it on the SERP.

The future is psychographic

What plans does Benson have for the future of Ranker? Up to now, the site has been concentrating mostly on search and social distribution (Facebook is another big source of organic traffic), but are now beginning to focus more on ad sales, media tie-ins and getting the brand name out there.

“We’re always focused on growing traffic, and we’re certainly investing a lot more into our brand,” says Benson.

However, the most exciting future project for Ranker is something called Ranker Insights – a psychographic interests platform which makes use of Ranker’s thousands of data points on what people are interested in and like to vote on.

Ranker: How to make a Google algorithm-proof website

Drawing connections between people’s interests on Ranker Insights

Big data on anything is extremely valuable in marketing, but big data on the things that people like is near enough invaluable – particularly in a world where psychographics (classifying people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other aspects of their psychology) are increasingly more important than demographics (classifying people according to things like age, gender, race and nationality).

“The marketing world in general is steering a lot more towards psychographics rather than demographics,” says Benson. “Netflix doesn’t care what country you live in – when it comes to marketing or even recommendations, all they care about is your tastes. They stopped using demographics entirely years ago – and clearly they’re doing something right.

“We feel that in an interconnected world, what you like says at least as much about you as your age or your gender.

“And in a world where what you like tells people how to market to you and how to reach you, we have very, very granular, deep data on that front. There’s a lot of different applications for insights like this in a very data-driven world.”

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Facebook kills off news: Publishers panic, try to remember how to do SEO

By now you’ve no doubt heard the news that’s been shaking up the internet since late last week.

But in case you just came back online after a week-long internet blackout, here’s what’s happening: on Thursday 11th January, Facebook announced a major change to the way posts are ranked in News Feed.

In order to promote more “meaningful” interaction with friends and family, Facebook said that it would “prioritize posts from friends and family over public content … including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses”.

In general, brands have not tended to rely on Facebook for traffic since it dramatically reduced the organic reach of branded content a little over three years ago, forcing brands to pay for reach or go elsewhere for traffic. However, publishers have long been the exception to that rule, with Facebook acting as a huge – and vital – source of referral traffic to publishers’ websites.

This has led many publishers to plan their strategy and output directly around Facebook (see: the much-derided media “pivot to video”, which was driven in large part by Facebook). But Facebook’s announcement of Thursday has put paid to all of that – or at least, put a big dent in the potential traffic that publishers can earn from its platform.

Deprived of referral traffic from Facebook, will publishers be turning en masse back to SEO to restore their fortunes? Let’s look at some of the broader industry shifts underpinning this change, and what it means for the importance of search for publishers.

Trading places: Google is back on top for referral traffic

The truth is that Facebook’s referral traffic to publishers has been in decline for some time now. According to data from digital analytics company Parse.ly, the percentage of external traffic that Facebook provides to publishers decreased from 40% to 26% between January 2017 and January 2018, while Google’s rose from 34% to 44% over the same period.

This means that in a direct reversal of 2015, when Facebook rocked the industry by overtaking Google as a source of referral traffic for publishers, Google is now back in the number one spot. And this all happened before Facebook’s News Feed announcement even took place.

Publishers have also been seeing more traffic from Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) than Facebook equivalent Instant Articles, another situation that reversed itself over the last year. According to Parse.ly, publisher traffic from AMP increased from 4.72% in January 2017 to 11.78% in November 2017, while Instant Articles declined from 10.31% of publisher traffic in January down to 8.54% in November.

Facebook kills off news: Publishers panic, try to remember how to do SEO

When Facebook overtook Google for referral traffic back in 2015, this seemed to herald the dawn – or perhaps the zenith – of a new age of social sharing and publishing, in which social media was the new search.

At a Content Marketing Association Digital Breakfast in June 2016, veteran digital journalist Adam Tinworth remarked that social networks had taken over the search engine’s traditional role of “finding something to read” online. As a result, Google and other search engines moved into more of an “answer engine” role, moving away from search towards a single, definitive answer to users’ queries.

So with Google back on top for referral traffic, are we seeing a return to the status quo?

The Google-Facebook merry-go-round

In fact, Google and Facebook’s continual back-and-forth is the status quo. They have been chasing each other around in circles for years now, each taking it in turns to try their hand at the other’s specialist area.

Google experimented with social networking; Facebook became the go-to place to find content. Both launched lightning-fast takes on the mobile web – Accelerated Mobile Pages and Instant Articles – in 2015 with a global roll-out in 2016. Now, Facebook is returning to its “roots” of showing you what your family and friends are up to, while the latest updates to Google’s smart assistant indicate that Google is moving back into surfacing content.

Facebook kills off news: Publishers panic, try to remember how to do SEO

Google and Facebook: Destined to chase each other in circles for eternity
(Image by monstreh, available via CC0)

In other words, this is just the most recent step in a dance that has been going on for more than 10 years. Facebook might have ceded some ground to Google in the realm of referral traffic to publishers, partly in a bid to rid itself of the fake news scandal that has dogged it since mid to late 2016.

However, the two continue to vie for dominance in countless other areas, such as artificial intelligence, smart home hubs, digital assistants, and advertising. Facebook continues to drive its investment in online video, encroaching on Google-owned YouTube’s territory, while Google recently announced a new foray into social publishing with Google Stamp.

At the height of the fake news controversy, Google and Facebook’s names frequently appeared side-by-side, with both companies accused of peddling false information to their users and perpetrating the “filter bubble” that allows fake news to thrive.

As a result, some have speculated that Google might now follow in Facebook’s footsteps and take steps to distance itself from publishers.

However, Google is already taking action – or at least appearing to take action – against fake news on its search engine by implementing ‘fact-checking’ labels, partnering with the International Fact-Checking Network to combat misinformation, and purging questionable overseas websites that mask their country of origin from Google News.

Unless there is another significant wave of backlash over fake news to force Google’s hand, it seems likely that Google will take the “win” over Facebook and avoid jeopardizing its relationship with publishers – particularly given its recent moves to become more publisher-friendly by supporting paywalled content.

Meanwhile, publishers need to work out how to reconfigure their online strategy with Facebook much less in the picture. Will we be seeing a newfound reliance on SEO and search marketing?

Publishers: time to learn from SEO

Publishers are about to find themselves in the very same position that brand marketers found themselves at the end of 2014, when Facebook announced that it was killing off organic reach for brand Pages. Just like publisher referral traffic now, brand Page reach had been in steady decline for some time, and the Facebook announcement only confirmed what many already suspected was coming.

At the time, brands were forced to abandon a marketing model that relied on free promotion from Facebook pages with hundreds of thousands of Likes, and instead pay for advertising or go elsewhere for their traffic. Sound familiar?

The situation with publishers is therefore nothing new, but is still a huge blow for media organizations who have developed a “social-first” strategy over the years and rely on Facebook as a primary source of traffic.

Following the news that Google had overtaken Facebook as a source of referral traffic, Adam Tinworth blogged: “Business models dependent on Facebook growth are dead in the water, unless you can afford to buy that growth.

“Publishers will need a renewed focus on SEO — especially those that have been social-first.”

Writing for The Drum, founder and managing director of 93digital, Alex Price, observed that Facebook was following Google in “placing its long-term bet on quality [content]”, singling out Facebook-driven publications like 9GAG, Unilad and The Lad Bible as most likely to suffer from the change.

“If I were them, I would be thinking hard about the teams of people I employ to churn out social media content and how sustainable that now is.”

He added that publishers would need to focus on retention and repeat visits to drive long-term value, and optimize the experience of their website, particularly on mobile, in order to build a sustainable source of revenue in the post-Facebook age.

Publish quality content, increase engagement, optimize for mobile… if you’re in SEO, this list will be starting to sound very familiar. It’s a mantra that the search industry has been repeating for years.

High-quality publishers are likely doing most of these things already, so their task will be to ramp up those efforts while diversifying their sources of traffic beyond Facebook. This will stand them in good stead on the search engine results page and beyond.

For lower-quality social publishers, things might not be so easy. After all, these publications evolved specifically to cater to a social sharing environment, which will soon no longer exist.

Much like the brand Pages of yore with hugely inflated Like counts, publishers will need to figure out how to deliver a message of real value to consumers, or risk disappearing altogether.

Google Finally Updates The SEO Starter Guide After Several Years

Google has finally updated their SEO starter guide after first publishing it several years ago and only updating it once in 2012. Google did recently say the old one is still relevant but promised to update the guide for mobile and markup details…

Google Finally Updates The SEO Starter Guide After Several Years

Google has finally updated their SEO starter guide after first publishing it several years ago and only updating it once in 2012. Google did recently say the old one is still relevant but promised to update the guide for mobile and markup details…

How indie publishers can monetize in the shadow of Facebook and Google

With multinational technological companies Google and Facebook conquering the field of online advertising revenue, many smaller companies and indie publishers are left wondering where they’ll end up in the digital world – if they’ll end up anywhere at all.

According to data recently released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, digital advertising revenue in the U.S. increased by 20% in the past year. This puts the American digital ad revenue at a record of $72.5 billion.

Unfortunately for smaller companies, the vast majority of online advertising revenue is coming from tech giants Google and Facebook.

The duopoly of the digital advertising industry

Because the specific ad-only revenues of Facebook and Google aren’t disclosed, the exact calculations of revenue aren’t available. However, Jason Kint of Digital Content Next, a publishing industry trade group, reported in June 2016 that Google and Facebook accounted for a grand total of 89% of the digital ad growth.

Additional calculations made by Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser indicate that the percentage of digital ad growth consumed by Google and Facebook may very well be closer to 99%.

In either case, Google and Facebook together are proving to be a concern for the U.S. digital ad market. With Google and Facebook out of the picture of beneficial growth, Wieser said, “the average growth rate for every other company in the sector was close to 0.”

“The big point is that if Google and Facebook are the primary interfaces to buyers, over the long-run they own the relationships and the related data. Every partner they work with is subservient.”

The digital advertising industry controls much of what Internet users see online, which is what helped spur what’s been called the fake news crisis. Both Facebook and Google were allegedly used by a propaganda group called Internet Research Agency based in St. Petersburg to place various fake news articles around Facebook news feeds and above YouTube channel videos.

The power these two tech giants have is reflected in the fact that many marketing agencies are still reluctant to pull their advertising from Facebook and Google despite questions of brand safety, credibility, and ad placement.

“The entire advertising world is very anxious,” said Mike Paul, an independent expert, to NBC News. “But few will admit publicly that the negative news is affecting Facebook because it is the 800-pound gorilla globally for ad and media buyers.”

Regardless of the high rates of success in digital ad revenue, Facebook CFO David Wehner has warned that the company’s own ad revenue growth will slow in the second half of this year. This is because, Wehner says, Facebook will eventually run out of places to set digital advertisements in its online feed.

However, any significant decrease in online advertising revenue is unlikely.

Facebook has been investing recently in video content for both Facebook and Instagram. The company has also been working to increase revenue based on its messaging apps, which are currently the most popular messaging platforms internationally with WhatsApp hosting up to 1 billion users every day and Facebook Messenger hosting 1.2 billion users every month.

What’s more is that Facebook’s ad spots have been increasing in price despite the lack of ad placement options. “As Facebook’s ad inventory becomes more constrained,” said Jan Dawson, a principal analyst at Jackdaw Research, “the price of ad slots on Facebook is going up.”

How publishers can survive in the war for online advertising revenue

With Google and Facebook essentially swallowing the vast majority, if not all, of digital ad revenue growth, publishers have to look elsewhere to earn revenue. Fortunately, publishers have a great place to monetize: Organic traffic.

The secret is well known at this point. Many businesses have experienced substantial growth using organic promotion and search engine optimization. Those who wade into this strategy start by creating very high-quality content and onsite optimization. They soon learn that promotion needs major attention. One specific technical aspect of SEO, backlinking, requires extra special effort.  

Getting good backlinks is where many companies hit a brick wall in the SEO process. This is especially true after the Penguin updates of 2013, when many websites saw large drops in rankings as Google “cleaned house” and penalized sites with poor backlink profiles.

The fear of Google’s SEO updates may be valid, and caution is wise, but Google assured us in 2016 that link-devaluing will now be done in “real-time,” guaranteeing that Google won’t build and then destroy a business.

The solution to the “backlinking problem”

The key to growing organic traffic and surviving SEO updates is to promote your website in the most natural way possible. But what does that really mean? Google is notoriously vague on this and issues statements of “intent” in their Webmaster Guidelines. Specifically, your primary intent needs to be providing valuable and informative content to your audience, not manipulating the search engine results.

This means that the quality — and often the quantity — of backlinks are important signals to Google. Google relies on trust. Betraying that trust by taking shortcuts on quality  makes your website appear spammy and unhelpful.

To improve your SEO ranking by earning backlinks, consider Google’s official backlink guidelines. Opt out of tactics like using irrelevant keywords, writing scraped or unoriginal content, and using crafty redirects. Instead, consider making your web page user-friendly with high-quality content and don’t try to trick your users.

Build relationships with high-authority websites that will naturally reference each other when publishing. Position your brand as a go-to resource that people want to share with others. If you do outsource link building, be sure you know what they are doing and they meet your standards.

Conclusion

With Google and Facebook consuming nearly all digital ad revenue in 2016, the pressure being placed on indie publishers to find ways to survive in the digital marketing world is cumbersome. And the idea of using organic strategies to promote a business website in the shadow of Google’s success may seem daunting.

But if indie publishers promote their websites using high-quality strategies as well as by following Google’s guidelines, they will have little fear that Google will bring the hammer down.

Digital ad revenue may not be as high for indie publishers as it is for Google and Facebook, but the chance of survival in the digital world for these publishers isn’t completely lost as long as they heed Google’s guidelines.

Google Gary Illyes: Why Do You Publish On Medium Over Your Own Site?

Medium is a pretty popular online publishing platform where you can write and publish on the Medium domain and property…

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Instagram Now Supports Portrait and Landscape Photo & Video in Galleries by @MattGSouthern

Instagram users are no longer limited to publishing galleries full of square photos and videos.

The post Instagram Now Supports Portrait and Landscape Photo & Video in Galleries by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Google Reportedly Bringing a ‘Snapchat Discover’ Feature to Search by @MattGSouthern

Google is reportedly working on brining a publishing feature similar to Snapchat Discover to the company’s search engine

The post Google Reportedly Bringing a ‘Snapchat Discover’ Feature to Search by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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6 Things You Must Do Before You Ever Accept Guest Posts by @seocompanymiami

Thinking about publishing posts from guest contributors? Here are some tips that will set you up for success.

The post 6 Things You Must Do Before You Ever Accept Guest Posts by @seocompanymiami appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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A guide to setting up Google Analytics for your WordPress site

Of the many tools available for tracking visitor behavior, Google Analytics is one of the most famous ones.

This free tool provides website owners with insightful information about the traffic driven to their website, helping them to determine exactly where each user originated and how they ended up on the site.

So, if you are an enthusiast who is setting up a website or a new blog using WordPress as your CMS, it is highly recommended to install Google Analytics to your WordPress site.

Why Google Analytics?

A lot of visitors and subscribers visit your website daily and hence, it becomes increasingly important to track information about their visit. If you are focused and determined to monitor your website’s traffic statistics, data drawn with the help of Google Analytics can be extremely useful.

This tool helps you track how your visitors are moving ahead and navigating through your website. This information is vital because it will help you identify the key areas of your website which are doing well and the others, that need a little more attention.

After installing Google Analytics on your website, you can learn about the geographical location of your visitors, their browser information, their duration of stay at your website, pages visited and much more.

With so much information available to access, we hope that we have answered your question as to why you even need this tool. In this blog post, we will provide a step-by-step guide to help you use Google Analytics with your WordPress site. So, let’s read on.

Getting started with your Google Analytics account

For the very first step, you are required to create a Google Analytics account by using your Gmail account. A Gmail account is imperative if you want to start using the Google Analytics tool with your WordPress site.

 

  • Visit the signup page for Google Analytics. You will be presented with the Gmail login page. Simply, enter your Gmail account login credentials to move forward with the process.
  • You will be asked to provide information regarding what would you like to track with this service. You can either track statistics for your website or your mobile apps.
  • Since this blog post is about tracking results for your WordPress website; select the ‘Website’ option.
  • Fill in the other relevant information to start tracking with the Google Analytics.

 

A guide to setting up Google Analytics for your WordPress site

  • Enter your website’s name, its URL and the type of industry it is related to.
  • Select your time zone so that the service can accurately track the results as per your requirement.
  • Finally, get your Tracking ID by agreeing to Google’s terms of service usage.

A guide to setting up Google Analytics for your WordPress site

 

  • Once you have your Tracking code, copy it and keep it handy.

Adding Google Analytics to your WordPress site

There are several methods that will help you add Google Analytics to your WordPress website. We will mainly discuss two methods here that are suited to readers with a non-technical approach to blogging.

Using the plugin ‘MonsterInsights’

A very popular plugin with over 13 million downloads, MonsterInsights has proven its worth when it comes to seamlessly integrating Google Analytics with a WordPress site.

With a free and a premium version on the shelf, this Google Analytics plugin works well for even the most basic users. Let’s see how you can use this plugin to add Google Analytics to your WordPress site.

  1. Download the plugin and activate it on your WordPress site.
  2. Once the activation is confirmed, the plugin will add a new label to your admin dashboard by the name, ‘Insights’.
  3. For configuration of the plugin, visit the ‘Settings’ tab under the ‘Insights’ label.  
  4. A tab will be presented to you that will read ‘Authenticate with your Google Account’. Click on it and then you will be asked to enter a Google Code.
  5. Above it will be a tab that will ask you to click on it, in order to receive the code. Click on it and then click on the Next button.
  6. Allow ‘MonsterInsights to access your Google Analytics data’. Finally, provide the plugin with the permission to view and manage your Google Analytics data.
  7. A Success Code popup will follow. You will be required to copy it carefully and paste it on the popup (discussed above) in point number d.)
  8. In a final step, select the profile that you want to track with the Google Analytics plugin.

Whenever you want to view reports regarding your site’s visitors and subscribers, you can simply go to ‘Reports’ tab in the ‘Insights’ label of your Admin dashboard.

Using your WordPress theme

In the process discussed earlier, you received a Tracking ID from Google Analytics signup procedure. To use this method, locate the Theme settings option of your WordPress site’s theme. Then, find the label that leads you to a tab asking you to add a Footer Script.

You can simply paste the Tracking code to this section and you will be good to go. Always save the settings in order to confirm your changes.

Once your settings are done and you are ready to take off with your Google Analytics tools, always wait at least 12 hours to let the tool reflect proper results.

Other alternatives

There are other ways to add Google Analytics to your WordPress site. The ones mentioned above are easy to pursue and are highly recommendable. The following are methods that can involve some technical briefing.

  • You can manually add the tracking code by editing the header.php file
  • If you don’t want to edit your theme file, you can install and activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin to insert the Google Analytics code
  • You can also use the Google Analytics + plugin to access the visitor performance of your WordPress website.

Summing up

Google Analytics is of huge help when you are looking to track results about a recent marketing campaign and are expecting some conversions to take place. This tool will also help you identify the keywords that are relevant to your site’s search engine optimization.

With so much to offer, Google Analytics is a must-use tool for all website owners out there. I sincerely hope that this detailed guide will help you make the right decision without having to expend too much time and energy on the implementation.

If you still have questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below. We are always open to receiving feedback and awesome suggestions.

 

Lucy Barret is a Sr. WordPress Developer at HireWPGeeks, a WordPress Development Company, and a contributor to SEW.