Nothing is more frustrating than waiting, especially when you don't know how long the wait will be. To ease that pain on Google Analytics we are adding a visual indicator that will report the progress of loading your report.
Load reports only once
When navigating through Google Analytics, each report takes some time to calculate. Today, we're turning that loading time on its head. Now, the data behind most of your reports will cache on your computer as long as you have the Google Analytics interface open. If your most recent data does update, we'll keep you in sync. Look for this at the bottom of your reports to know if they've been cached:
Control your report calculation
One way we speed up the serving of data is through what we call “fast-access mode”, which applies to reports generated from large data sets. In the coming weeks, we will be peeling back the curtain on how “fast-access mode” works and letting you control the number of visits used to calculate reports.
Out with the old: fast-access mode
If a report requires calculation on more than 250,000 visits, we select a statistically random sample of 250,000 visits and estimate the report results based on that data. This makes reports faster to load, and our testing indicates that the data returned is highly accurate.
In with the new: control your report calculation Now you will have the ability to control the number of visits used to calculate your reports, and we inform you of exactly how many visits are used in report calculation.
Google’s Panda update was a direct attack on bad content, which comes in many different flavours, including duplicate, weak, thin and template.
Panda acts like a domain wide penalty, so your whole site is affected and your good pages are dragged down by your bad pages.
This is a guide on how to find and fix Google's Panda algorithm update, based on our Panda fighting experience at SEOgadget in 2011.
- Panda is about dealing with bad content, not bad links. Bad content comes in different flavours: duplicate, weak, thin and template
- Panda acts like a domain wide penalty: your whole site is affected and your good stuff is dragged down by your bad stuff
- Web crawler accessibility issues affect how search engines see, and therefore assess, your content.
Often, badly designed Information Architectures compound the problems with already weak content
Large sites that have many pages, templated content and lots of sub-categories are the most at risk. If you haven’t been monitoring and fixing your accessibility issues, as highlighted in Google Webmaster Tools, you are at risk...
During a panel at SMX Advanced 2011 in Seattle, I remember hearing a question about Schema.org tags. More specifically, I remember Greg Boser remarking about how search engines have come full circle.
First, they gave us meta data. Then they took it away (as a ranking factor). Now, search engines are once again asking us for meta data. His tone did not indicate any type of excitement about the Schema.org announcement or the use of the tags as an SEO strategy.
Other panelists commented on how the Schema.org tags could lead to additional code bloat, and in the end, none of the panelists recommended re-coding your entire site with the new Schema.org tags, as there was very little empirical evidence to support using Schema.org tags as an SEO strategy.
That’s a lot like where we are right now with HTML5. While people have been writing about HTML5 for several years, no one is out there providing evidence about the effects of HTML5 on organic traffic or really even SEO in general.
In fact, none of the well-known SEO blogs or writers are even discussing HTML5 very often, and those writing about HTML5 are all saying the same thing.
What HTML5 Can Offer
Brings several improvements in usability and user experience Has several new tags that will help developers classify important content Is awesome for sites rich in media (audio & video) Is an amazing alternative to Flash and Silverlight Is SEO-friendly when it comes to website crawling and indexing Is going to be heavily used for mobile apps and games
So, survey says: HTML5 will someday make everything better. But that someday is not here just yet.
Most bloggers/writers fail to mention an important point: to date, none of the popular Internet browsers fully support all of the features and codes in HTML5. To be clear, today’s browsers will render HTML5, but there are still many aspects of HTML5 that are not fully supported by or compatible with all Internet browsers.
Google Analytics is about to get a whole lot more visual, thanks to the launch of a new feature, Flow Visualizations.
The new feature was announced by Google SVP of ads Susan Wojcicki at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. It will launch later today for all Google Analytics users.
Flow Visualizations is a dynamic way to view and experience your Google Analytics data. It utilizes the lens of a Sankey diagram, a specific type of flow diagram. Flow Visualizations allow sites to drill into user behavior based on location, browser, user type and many other variables.
The key to Flow Visualizations, though, is its ability to analyze how visitors are using a website. These visualizations allow website administrators to figure out where people are visiting, how many people stay on their site, how many people visit a site’s shopping cart and more.
Well over a year ago now, I found myself in a bit of a situation. A new client who had been on Webtrends had decided to switch to Google Analytics and had lost all their previous data. That, in and of itself would be bad enough, but I was faced with taking the data that was available (about eight months worth) and figuring out what the top pages were and what keywords brought those visitors in through Google's organic listings.
No problem, right? That's what I thought, too – until I started diving down into Google Analytics standard data sets and realized that what I needed to see just wasn't there.
The only related metrics I was able to view were pageviews. Those are a far cry from visitor numbers, so I learned that one way you circumvent this is through Google Analytics Custom Reporting.
A reference of major Google updates we think marketers involved in SEO, Pay Per Click or Social media need to know about.
Each day Google makes many changes and updates to its different tools and it does a great job of announcing them through all its blogs and feeds, but it can be difficult to keep on top of what matters and what doesn’t, particularly if you’re a generalist marketer or digital marketer rather than a search marketing specialists...
SEOMoz have recently updated their search engine ranking factors compilation which they publish every 2 years. We think this is essential reading for everyone in digital marketing, not just SEO specialists since it shows how to best get success in SEO and what to target your agency on. In 2009 the top 5 ranking factors were:
1 - Keyword focussed anchor text from external links 2 - External link popularity 3 - Diversity of external link sources 4 - Keyword use anywhere in title tags 5 - Trustworthiness of Domain based on Link Distance from Trusted Domains
The picture-driven social media tool Pinterest made Internet history by rocketing to 10 million subscribers in just under two years, and already surpasses YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn for referral traffic.
We've seen a lot of changes in the SEO world over the last six months, with content marketing in particular becoming a hotter topic almost by the day.
But if you really think about what a good SEO campaign should look like, it's pretty obvious that link manipulation and over-optimisation is never what Google was looking for when reviewing quality in sites.
In fact, in the words of Google themselves; creating quality content is the single biggest thing you can do!
Don't chase the algorithm!
In many ways, for those who were doing SEO the right way, nothing has changed at all. They probably enjoyed Google's algorithm changes over the last six months the most. It's those who were chasing the algorithm and looking for quick win SEO tactics that lost out.
At a conference back in April, just after Google had rolled out the penguin update, I got asked by the CEO of a property company why his website had dropped for key terms such as "Florida real estate".
He told me how he went to all the leading search conferences and events, followed all of the advice and benefited from great rankings for years. So why has Google now decided to penalise him?
Having thought about what he said, my reply was that the answer was in the question! He's been taking advantage of all of the SEO tactics for a long time, benefiting from this knowledge of the Google algorithm in order to boost his own results into positions where they really shouldn't have been ranking.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong in that, and this time last year that would have looked like great SEO! He was getting some great results - all while his competitors were completely unaware of SEO and were missing out on great opportunities of generating organic traffic.
But now things have changed! Those clueless competitor brands who just went about their business unaware of SEO are now benefiting. All because they were doing things in a natural way. And now it means they don't have to do link cleanups, they haven't over-optimised their content - but they have focused on building their business and brand.
And if you look at the sites that are winning right now, they have one thing in common - they've been building brands and focusing on good PR and marketing, not short-term SEO wins.
So to be a good SEO, in many ways you need to look like you don't exist. And by this, I don't mean you shouldn't do anything. As much as Google will want to be able to find the best content on the web, they have always needed SEOs to help make this content more accessible and easier to find and value.
Those that won out of the panda and penguin updates were often the sites who weren't concerned about SEO tactics, or even SEO at all. It's so important these days that you don't over-do it. That's just likely to cause more problems further down the line.
So I've listed a few tips on the type of things you should be focusing on instead.
1) Get your SEO basics and fundamentals in place
Ensure your title tags and headings are optimised around key phrases, meta descriptions are written for users and clickthrough rates in mind, internal linking is kept sensible etc...
This way you're still keeping SEO in mind but it's using natural language around those important keywords that are relevant to a specific page. It's not just trying to optimise for keywords in places where it might not fit.
Asos.com is a good example of this, you can tell SEO has been considered within the site content, but it's not at the expense of the user experience and journey.
2) Get your website architecture and URL right
Here you should focus on users and how they interact with your site and its navigation, there's no need to worry too much about keywords. Just make sure you are using sensible and natural language to describe your content.
So clean-up your URL structure and pay attention to Google Webmaster Tools, fixing any crawl errors you find, submit XML sitemaps etc. Basically everything that you would normally do in a technical SEO review, the goal is to make sure that you're making Google's job as easy as possible in order to find your best content. They're likely to reward you for that!
3) Focus on content, not links
By building great content and telling interesting stories about your brand online, the links will come. But this way it's far more natural and defensibile, because these links will have been added by choice and as a by-product of having great content with people talking about this online.
The best links you can get for your site are naturally acquired, so think more about the audience you are targeting and the people you want to link to you, as opposed to the sites that you want to get links from.
So analyse your content and focus on creating great content for your audience that can naturally generate social attention and links:
4) Consider user generated content
We all know Google loves unique content and UGC is generally ranking very well post-panda/penguin. This makes sense, it's naturally relevant content that is written around a specific topic - but it's not over-optimised and is unique. So think of ways you can incorporate that into your brands online strategy.
Sometimes it even makes for great content in it's own right!
While the SEO game has changed drastically over the past months, one thing has remained fairly consistent: It’s been driven by keywords — keywords in your URL structure, your META tagging, your content, your links. Whatever way you slice it, keywords are everywhere in SEO.
Even among Google’s most recent algorithm updates — Panda, Search Plus Your World and Venice, to name a few — keywords remained relatively unscathed. But the upcoming update to move Google to semantic search technology, according to top Google Search executive Amit Singhal, is adding a whole new element to the game: the human element.
What Is Semantic Search?
Semantic search uses artificial intelligence in order to understand the searcher’s intent and the meaning of the query rather than parsing through keywords like a dictionary. When you search now, Google gives you results based solely on the text and the keywords that you put in that search. Essentially, Google gives you its best guess.
When you use semantic search, Google will dive into the relationship between those words, how they work together, and attempt to understand what those words mean. Google will understand that “their” and “they’re” has two different meanings and when “New” and “York” are placed together, it changes the meaning.
Semantic search isn’t a new concept. As early as 2008, search engines were popping up that focus on natural language over keywords. But we’re really only taking notice now because of Google. And Google is really only taking notice because of Siri and Google’s response to Siri, Google Assistant, which will be out on Android devices later this year.
The Knowledge Graph
The support system of this semantic search will be Google’s Knowledge Graph, a conglomerate of information aimed to answer possible queries that people will be searching for. Not only will Google understand what is being searched, Knowledge Graph will aim to give you more contextual information about it, not just a list of 10 other websites that could answer that question for you.
What Does It Mean for SEO?
Keywords are easy to manipulate; intent, not so much. In order to rank well in semantic search, you don’t just have to put your keywords in the right places, you have to figure out the actual meaning behind those keywords and create content around that specifically. That puts more emphasis on your keyword research.
When people search, they aim to answer a question. They just search in the truncated version of that question. Keyword research is largely data-driven around the popularity of the terms in their question. Keyword research in semantic search will have to focus on what that person actually means when searching for that keyword.
The possibilities are endless. When you’re framing your content in a semantic search world, it has to be around answering the specific questions people have as it relates to that keyword. With every sentence you write, ask yourself: How does this answer the searcher’s question? You will have to focus on the natural language even if those users are still focusing on keywords.
With Knowledge Graph, Google will now be answering questions itself, instead of relying on another website to provide the information. (You’re probably already seeing some of this in action.) So, not only will you have to be competing with companies for ranking, exposure and clicks in Google, but you’re competing against Google itself. And users aren’t going to leave something familiar like a result page to go to a website they’ve never heard of before.
Since the days of Google Buzz, the +1 button has been a mystery to users and content producers alike. It’s different from Facebook’s “Like” button, in that it doesn’t directly share content to a user’s social stream. But the cultivation of a social graph has long been the goal of Google, and its connection to search was likely inevitable.
Google defines the +1 as a feature to help people discover and share relevant content from the people they already know and trust. Users can +1 different types of content, including Google search results, websites, and advertisements. Once users +1 a piece of content, it can be seen on the +1 tab in their Google+ profile, in Google search results, and on websites with a +1 button.
The plot thickened last month when Google launched Search plus Your World. Jack Menzel, director of product management for Google Search, explained that now Google+ users would be able to “search across information that is private and only shared to you, not just the public web.” According to Ian Lurie from the blog Conversation Marketing, in Search plus Your World, search results that received a lot of +1s tend to show up higher in results.
Google has come out and described the purpose of a +1, but hasn’t necessarily explained the direct effect a +1 has on search ranking. Here’s a breakdown of what we currently know.
Does a +1 Affect my Site’s Performance in Social Search?
The +1 has an indirect effect on your site’s search rank. This does not mean the more +1’s a link has, the higher rank it achieves in traditional search results. Take this scenario:
When a Google+ user +1’s a piece of content, he gives it his “stamp of approval.” Then, say one of his connections from Google+ searches for the same or related topic. Because of Search plus Your World, his friend is more likely to click on the same link the original user +1’d (when a signed-in user searches, his Google results may include snippets annotated with the names of connections who have +1′d the content). This is because content recommended by friends and acquaintances is often more relevant than content from strangers, according to Google.
This is also true for users who are not signed in to their Google account when they search. When a user searches for the same phrase, the results might display the total number of +1’s a link has received, which is another validation that it’s a relevant link.
How Does This Relate to SEO?
Since the +1′d link has a chance at a higher Click-Through-Rate (CTR), there is a greater potential the link will be shared, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any social network. An experiment by Rand Fishkin, CEO and co-founder of SEOmoz, tested the relationship between Twitter and Facebook shares and search results in Google. He found a positive correlation between the number of retweets and shares a link received and its search ranking. This means, the more the link was passed around on Twitter and Facebook, the higher the search rank of the page...
Discover how to fuel your creativity with the wisdom of insight from Google Analytics, and unlock the true potential of your web design talent. Digital marketing specialist Iain Harper shows us how
Designers are born, not made, but it takes more than raw talent to make a great web designer. What really sorts the wheat from the chaff is an intuitive understanding of how to craft an engaging and usable experience. It's seeing the big picture, having the ability to think like a customer (yes, 'customer' not 'user'), and always remembering that a website must fulfil its commercial purpose.
Understanding develops from objective insight, and when it comes to online customer behaviour Google Analytics is an invaluable source. Here are five essential insights that every web designer can learn from: ...
It is a metric that is well used across the world in research, analysis and reporting but it is time that the technology world stopped leaning so heavily on Internet penetration. The statistic is one of a number that are at a risk of becoming out-dated in today’s multi-platform Internet.
Internet penetration rate denotes the percentage of a (usually) national population that has access to the Internet in their home. The figure is calculated by studying customer figures from fixed-line Internet service providers (ISPs), and – though not 100% accurate – it is a reliable estimate of the reach of fixed, home web access.
Comscore have released an intriguingly titled report Digital Omnivores: How Tablets, Smartphones and Connected Devices are Changing U.S. Digital Media Consumption Habits. This adds to data presented below from earlier on mobile usage of email.
Although the report title references the US, there’s also data from elsewhere in the World too. In fact this is one of the main insights from the report. This is an in-depth report which is worth downloading if you’re working on a mobile marketing strategy.
Search has changed over the years, from results page redesigns to algorithm tweaks. But for digital marketers search remains their most important focus, at least measured by spending, and is a critical tool to drive traffic to marketer websites. Research from SEO services firm Slingshot SEO gives marketers new benchmarks for the click value of high-ranking keywords.
Slingshot SEO found that clickthrough rates dropped from 18.2% in first position to 10.05% in second position to 7.22% in third position, and continued to diminish thereafter. Overall, just over half of search users click on an organic result on the first page, and more than half of those choose the first or second link.
Do tweets still effect rankings? How about Google+? The mystery began on July 3rd when Google Realtime Search went dark. The next day we learned the underlying cause to be Google loosing access to its special Twitter...
Below is a simple matrix of ideas to help you set the KPIs or metrics based on what we’ve used on different projects. We’re not saying “this is the way you must do it” or that you need to use all of these KPIs. Instead, we hope this is a useful framework to help select the best type of KPIs for different markets.
We’ve taken three angles here to illustrate, so we’ve got the full range of measures covered from hard sales vs softer engagement metrics...
Over the last few years (largely thanks to the rise of the Smartphone and texting) mobiles have become a much larger part of everyday living. Their success is in making a lot of tasks easier & providing entertainment / connectivity while on the go.
Predictions of global use of the Mobile Internet such as the one on right all point it to exceeding desktop use by 2015.
But it seems that while businesses have started to “experiment” with mobile marketing there are few who have a clear strategy. Instead, mobile-based marketing tends to be through applications, some recent examples that caught my eye are: