Understanding Google analytics

When it comes to making the most of your online marketing campaign, it is important that you make use of all the tools that are available to you so that you can target the right sort of customer. Google Analytics is one of those tools and if you can understand how to use it and how to use the information you get from it, you will be well on your way.

Everything from how to setup your account to maximize your results, to what are the most important reports to pay attention to, and a number of advanced tactics as well. If you’re interested in Google Analytics you won’t want to miss it!

Traffic reports are required reading for any business looking to generate leads or make sales online. A good analytics program can quickly tell you what’s working and what’s not in your Web marketing campaign. Here at flyte we love Google Analytics, a free, powerful reporting tool.

What This Article Is…and Isn’t

This article is about how to read and utilize your Google Analytic (GA) reports.

This isn’t an installation guide, nor do we have the space to delve into every report GA can generate. However, if you’re looking to get comfortable with GA and gain a better understanding of how your prospects and customers are using your Web site, you’ve come to the right place.

Logging In

Visit http://www.google.com/analytics and login with your username and password. You’ll see a list of any Web site or blog you’re tracking as Google allows tracking of multiple sites within an account. Click on “View Reports” next to the site you wish to review and you’ll be taken to the Dashboard.

Exploring The Dashboard

Once you log in you’ll see the dashboard, which contains snapshots of several reports generated by GA. (All images can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

Google Analytics Dashboard

These reports may include visitors, traffic sources, map overlay and content. You can move them around, add new reports to the dashboard, or remove ones you don’t like with drag and drop simplicity.

Near the top you’ll see a section called Site Usage. It includes the following metrics:

  • Visits: The number of visits to your site during a given time period.
  • Pageviews: The number of pages these visitors viewed.
  • Pages/Visit: The average visit in terms of page views.
  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of people who only visited one page on your site before they “bounced” somewhere else. (This can often seem deceptively high, but many people will get to your site and realize that it wasn’t what they were looking for, or you may have a popular image indexed by Google’s Image Search that generates a lot of “drive-by” traffic and skews your numbers. Alternatively, it may represent that your site is difficult to navigate or understand for new visitors.)
  • Avg. Time on Site: The average amount of time a visitor spends at your site.
  • % of New Visits: The percentage of new visitors to your site as compared to all visitors. Some businesses might want lots of new traffic, while others might want generate repeat visits, driving down this percentage.

By default, Google shows you the last 30 days of activity. However, you can change this setting, or even compare two different date ranges, for example August 2008 versus August 2007. Click here to continue

Further information

Seminars for success

The small business guide to Google analytics

Understanding how search engines work

The search engines are very important in ensuring that your website is found by your target audience so that you can conduct your business. Attracting the search engines is key to being listed and if you follow our blog, you will know that there are many ways of doing this. Understanding how the search engines work is essential to getting your site listed and keeping it in the listings. So, here is some help in getting to grips with how the search engines work.

Let’s take a simple look at a search engine. There are three pieces of software that together make up a search engine: the spider software, the index software and the query software.

If you understand what these three do, then you have the foundation for getting your website to the top of the search engines.

Here’s what the three types of software do:

The spider software ‘crawls the web looking for new pages to collect and add to the search engine indices’.

This is a metaphor. In reality, the spider doesn’t do any ‘crawling’ and doesn’t ‘visit’ any web pages. It requests pages from a website in the same way as Microsoft Explorer, or Firefox or whichever browser you use requests pages to display on your screen.

The difference is that the spider doesn’t collect images or formatting – it is only interested in text and links AND the URL, (for example, http://www.Unique-Resource-Locator.html) from which they come. it doesn’t display anything and it gets as much information as it can is the shortest time possible.

Since the spider doesn’t collect images, it doesn’t take notice of Flash intros or colorful pictures. So, make sure your images, logo or videos are identified by a text ‘alt tag,’ or the spider will ignore them and they will not have value in the search engines.

The index software catches everything the spider can throw at it (yes, that’s another metaphor). The index makes sense of the mass of text, links and URLs using what is called an algorithm – a complex mathematical formula that indexes the words, the pairs of words and so on.

Essentially, an algorithm analyzes the pages and links for word combinations to figure out what the web pages are all about – in other words, what topics are being covered. Then, scores are assigned that allow the search engine to measure how relevant or important the web pages (and URLs) might be to the person who is searching. While each of the major search engines (like Google, Yahoo or Bing) has their own secret algorithm for scoring, they are all using the information a spider collects.

And of course the index software records all of this information and makes it available.

The spider takes the information it has gathered about a web page and sends it to the index software where it is analyzed and stored.

When someone types chocolate into the query box on a search engine page (such as Google), then it’s time for the query software to go to work.

SEO for profit book

The query software is what you see when you go to a search engine – it is the front end of what everybody thinks of as a search engine. It may look simple but the query software presents the results of all the quite remarkable spider and index software that works away invisibly on our behalf. Click here to continue

Further information

So you want your site listed in the search engines

An introduction to SEO

Blogging for business

Most businesses have a blog these days, not only does it give them an opportunity to release company information but also share the lighter side of life. Blogging can be a great way of increasing traffic to your website and you can also use it for SEO purposes. It takes a bit of skill to write good quality blogs that attract the search engines but with a bit of practice, it can be done.

When you are blogging for business, be proactive in getting the most from your blogging efforts. If you blog strategically, your keywords will be a natural part of your writing. Adding a few of these SEO tactics will boost your search engine results – getting you more successes in your social media marketing strategy.

Here are 5 tactics to boost your blog SEO:

  • Target your content
  • Google Adwords
  • Link to other sites
  • Link to internal pages on your site
  • Use alt text 

1. Target your content

Use content themes, and know your target market. By writing about your business, product, industry and customer lifestyles you will be using the keywords your customers are searching for. This increases your search ranking without much additional thought.

2. Google AdWords

Use a keyword finder, such as the keyword tool in Google AdWords, to broaden your keyword scope. This can expand your vocabulary and vernacular.

5 Tips to Increase Blog SEO image XjdEleceiISn1C9qrkX2tmW81SsIYAyHnGRXswN6eQkqHEe6Gu14Smg3bJXF9T7xIhDjia9uo5Rh U54iuohxP 5QwCEEtu8v2VRXgFnOWbdokGkvFG4QSIg2

Be careful to integrate these words naturally. If your sentences seem too contrived, your customers will stop reading your posts.

Additionally, don’t overuse keywords. Keyword stuffing is frowned upon by most search engines, and will produce negative results.

3. Link to other sites

Referencing other blog posts is great for SEO. Google seem to like this.

It can also help to create networking opportunities for your business. Linking to industry related blog posts can be developed into guest blogging opportunities, news leads or even new business partnerships.

Additionally, your readers will appreciate you sharing extra information with them. Click here to continue

Further information

Blogging for business: driving traffic to your blog

Blogging for SEO: a beginner’s guide to WordPress

Are you making the most of Pinterest for your business?

Pinterest has become a very popular medium for sharing pictures of goods and products but is your business making the most of this opportunity? It can be particularly useful for promoting new lines as well as special offers and you can engage your followers as well. Driving traffic to your site is the goal but it needs to be good quality traffic, traffic that will lead to sales so attracting the right audience is key to success.

As a small business owner, you can sometime feel like you’re being pulled in every direction while trying to drive traffic to your ecommerce shop. When it comes to social media, you’ve got to post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, your blog,  and somewhere in there, maintain your online store. While it may seem daunting to take on yet another social network, Pinterest is well worth the effort, especially if you sell a product – which most of you do!

Here are 10 ways you can use Pinterest to drive traffic to your ecommerce online store:

10 Ways to Increase Ecommerce Sales Using Pinterest

1. Pull Back the Curtain

People want to see how things are made, from Kickstarter backers watching a product evolve from prototype to product, to behind the scenes clips from your favorite TV show.
Whether it’s just you working away at your home based business or your employees working together to get your latest shipments out, show your Pinterest followers what’s happening inside your business and the people who make it tick.

2. Reuse Content

Save time by pinning photos and videos you already have. The images you’ve used on your blog, or that you took at your latest craft fair, are sitting on your hard drive waiting to be shared.
Create a brand history board that showcases your business as it grew from hobby to shop and share photos of your past products to illustrate just how much you’ve grown.

3. Get Your Fans Involved

Use your mailing list, customer lists, and social networks to drum up activity on your Pinterest board. If you’re new to social media, remember that you have a personal network of friends and family who would love to support you.
Ask your fans to share photos of your product in action to provide a wider variety of engaging images for your pinboards. Let non-Pinterest using fans know you’d love to highlight their support and if they’ll send you their pictures, you’ll pin them.

Further information

Optimizing Pinterest for ecommerce

Using Pinterest for Ecommerce

Google’ switch from SEO to Content Marketing. Can it really work?

There is much talk about the ‘Death of SEO’ about on the Internet streets these days, a topic that I have dealt with in previous blog posts. One of the latest factors being pointed to as a sign that SEO is on the critical list has been Google’s supposed shift from using traditional SEO factors like the placing / repetition of keywords and the number of links to the actual content of the pages and that of the sites linking to the site.

There are two questions here, one has it really happened and two,  if it has, can Google get it to work? The second part of this has been highlighted in a recent Guardian news item, it covering area and showing that this switch could also cause the big brands to take over the Google listings almost entirely, something that would be bad for all businesses.

For my part, I can tell you that whilst the dreaded Penguin and Panda have had a great effect of those sites that have been following ‘poor’ SEO practices, they have had little of no effect on sites that have been using common sense in the way they implement SEO. I can also tell you that the number of links, even those from low quality sites DO have a positive effect on rankings.

The biggest question however is that raised in the Guardian article, this being “Can Google really tell what is good content or not?” I think that it can, but not by computer power alone. This means that all website owners MUST consider the ‘usefulness’ of the copy on their sites, and that SEO practitioners must also ensure that at least some of the links come from ‘useful’ good quality content. As for how Google do work out the quality of a site, please see our site:-  http://www.serendipity-online-marketing.co.uk/How-Google-Rates-Pages.asp

And here is an excerpt  from the Guardian article:-

SEO is the mathematics of marketing. The science, the algorithms, the numbers, the data… you know where you are with the measurable beauty of SEO. Or at least, that used to be the case. Nowadays, thanks to the irrepressible rise of content marketing, SEO’s cut and dry quantitative approach is evolving to incorporate its opposite number: quality.

Brand websites used to gain SEO brownie points by link building in volume. But links from poor quality sites and content just won’t cut the mustard anymore – these days it’s about quality of links, not quantity of links.

It looks like Google has tired of its old friend SEO and is instead cosying-up to the new kid on the block, content marketing. The introduction of Penguin (which removes link authority from spam sites) and Panda (which dishes out penalties to over optimised and over adsensed sites) certainly implies that SEO is becoming a less gameable practice. To keep in line with Penguin and Panda, SEO now requires a much more varied skill set, something more akin to high quality writing and PR. Despite striking fear into hearts of some less respectable SEO practitioners, Penguin and Panda are no bad things as they ultimately ensure consumers receive better content.

There’s even a case to be made that Google’s love affair with content marketing is leaving not just SEO in the shadows, but also ‘traditional’ online media. Take supermarket brands as an example. The likes of Waitrose and Sainsbury’s have quite an affinity with food-based content, generating everything from recipes, diets and forums through to events. Google and its competitor search engines heavily favour brands – brands are, after all, a source of revenue.

So we are now in a position where content from brands could usurp smaller, niche content from bloggers? Type ‘small business funding’ into Google and Barclays’ content marketing strategy pays off because the brand ranks highly with an advice page. Likewise, type in ‘diets’ and both Sainsbury’s and Tesco appear high in the rankings, creating opportunities to further sell their products and increase brand loyalty.

These scenarios do not herald the ‘death of SEO’. Far from it. The future lies in collaboration. The relationship between content marketing and SEO only reaches its true potential when it’s designed to be symbiotic. This means that brands need to underpin their content with SEO strategies like strong internal navigation. So the user finds a recipe via search term, then purchases all necessary ingredients and equipment, then participates in a social communities around the recipe. The idea is to use varied skills to build hubs around interdependent content and search terms in order to nurture cross-selling potential.

Google is and always has been a smart operator. If it wants to put content marketing on a pedestal, then so be it. The SEO industry will adapt, as it has done in the past. But if prioritising content marketing over SEO marks a seismic shift from quantity to quality, one has to wonder how Google will pull it off. Google is, after all, an algorithm (albeit a very complex, intelligent, successful and vast algorithm). But the question remains – how can the objectivity of algorithms account for the subjectivity of quality?

For the full article please click here