Archive for the ‘Google Analytics’ Category

Top Five Tools for Website Analysis

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Every SEO will, at one point or another, be confronted with the task of doing some in-depth website analysis.  Sometimes you need to get an idea of the health of on-page elements, at others you want to do comparative analysis.  Often you may simple need a “bigger picture” view of what is going on with a site.   When posed with questions such as – Why has my traffic dropped this month?  To – What areas do I need to focus on for improvement in SERP rankings?  A search engine optimizer will need to sift through some data to better understand the exact circumstances of a website’s performance in order to make accurate and educated recommendations.

SEO Tools for Website Analysis - Page 1 Solutions

There are a number of tools on the market that help with the SEO analysis process, some free, some paid.  What are the programs that can help the most, or are easiest to use and understand?  The following are five of my all-time favorite SEO Tools to use for site analysis and research:

  1. Raven -  Raven Tools offers a paid set of marketing tools – their SEO Software is currently one of my favorite go-to programs for reporting.  Not only does it offer an immense amount of details and a wide range of reporting options, Raven Tools also makes it easy to incorporate your branding on reports.  It used to take me five or six open browser tabs to accomplish what Raven Tools can do with just one click.  It grabs the data, adds it to an easy to use reporting interface and makes accessing that data a snap with color graphics and clickable data links for delving further into the data it has retrieved.  A great tool and a huge time saver.  A busy SEOs dream.
  2. Google – Of course Google Analytics had to make my ‘top five’ list.  Any SEO who is not using Google Analytics is missing out on a boatload of valuable data.  You know the old saying that humans only use 20% of their brains?  Well, I kind of feel  the same way when I’m knee deep in numbers, digging through a client’s dashboard trying to figure out a current statistical anomaly.  It’s times like those when  I realize that most SEOs (including myself) only use a fraction of what Google Analytics can offer – there is just so much information to digest!   A girl (or boy) can get lost in there.  A word of advice – if you are using GA regularly, get certified by taking the  Google Analytics IQ Test and make sure you are using this tool to its greatest potential.   For research and statistics, it is second to none.  For reporting integration – it leaves something to be desired.  But to be fair, it’s not trying to be a branding tool like Raven Tools is – and for a FREE tool, it is one powerful vehicle.
  3. The Hubspot Marketing Grader – HubSpot’s Marketing Grader is a tool that analyzes your website and provides actionable insights to improve your online marketing tactics – for FREE!  It gives you insight into your on-page SEO (meta tag usage, headers, internal linking) as well as off site indicators like social media, blogging, and backlinks.  This is a one stop snapshot of how your site is doing, instantly!  A great place to start your research if you are not sure where to begin.
  4. Webmaster Tools (Bing  and Google ) – Often overlooked, Bing and Google webmaster tools are positioned to be one of the more info heavy (and reliable) of the data providers outside of Google Analytics.  While Bing may actually offer a bit more in the arena of data, both tools offer keywords, links, queries, and site issues so you can maintain a healthy web presence if you take the time to review the information within.  The tools are free, and super intuitive to use (unlike Google Analytics) so finding information fast is very doable from either of these interfaces.
  5. - This is another set of analysis software that is incredibly user friendly.  MySEOTool shows keyword rank, social media monitoring, and backlink statistics all from a very visually appealing interface.  Reports are easy to export in pdf format.  This tool is my favorite for showing local rank.  It has become a go-to favorite in my SEO toolbox.  Google webmaster tools is integrated in their newest release, so you get two great tools in one!
To learn more about SEO, website analysis, or if you need help with your internet marketing, contact one of our experienced digital marketers at Page 1 Solutions or call 800-368-9910!  We can help with any of your online marketing and SEO questions.
by Tammy Smith SEO Analyst, Page 1 Solutions, LLC

Tracking the SEO Effects of the Google + 1 Button

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

With the recent release of Google +1, there has obviously been much discussion about how the new social media sharing button may affect a site’s rankings and overall optimization. Given the nature of social media sharing, there obviously will be some weight given to sites that are +1’d (thanks for the new verb, Google) frequently or consistently enough. Facebook Likes and Shares, Tweets and other social media sharing techniques have consistently proven to help improve rankings and positioning for given topics, and Google and Bing have even flat out said that “social signals” are used in determining ranking.

I’m not here to argue whether Google’s +1 will have an impact on a site’s SEO. It’s hard to imagine that the world’s biggest search engine would create a social media presence that wouldn’t “help” them in their ranking algorithm. Google says that “+1’s from friends and contacts can be a useful signal to Google when determining the relevance of your page to a user’s query.” And then they follow with the old adage of “This is just one of many signals….” blah blah blah. But the important part is that it IS a signal in their algorithm. Also, in the manner that Google is showing +1’s in the SERPs, whether they are from those in your inner Circles or a total sum of +1’s from all Google Plus users, the +1 button can definitely affect click through rates and goal conversions.

But let’s not focus on that right now. Let’ discuss the ways that you may track these signals and determine for yourself what impact +1 had on your own site and within your competitive industry. The following are a few ideas that may help you along the way; however please share additional tracking methods in the comments below if you know of other techniques or ideas.

Google Webmaster Tools

Once you have verified your site within Webmaster Tools, you will be able to access a new section called “+1 Metrics” from the Dashboard. This includes tabs titled “Search Impact,” “Activity” and “Audience.”

The Search Impact data allows you to compare click through rate, total impressions and total clicks from before and after you added the +1 button to your site.  This can be measured for each individual page as well. This is pretty accommodating; however as with any data, you will need to have enough impressions both with and without the +1 button to make a meaningful comparison.

The Activity tab will show the total number of +1’s received by pages within your site, and the Audience tab will display a plethora of information about users that have +1’d your pages, including total unique users, their location, age and gender. (Makes me think twice before +1ing everything on the web, huh?). Read more about the Google +1 Analytics from the post by search engine land.

Google Analytics Event Tracking

You can also record a +1 and track it as an event in Google Analytics. Using the Advanced Options in Google’s +1 button creation tool, add callback=”plusone_vote” and then edit the script tag you used to add the +1 counter to your site. Visit the timely and awesome post from Joost de Valk of Yoast to see how to directly edit the script tag to record the +1’s as events in Analytics.

These are simply a few techniques that we have come across. Has anyone had any luck with either option, or alternative tracking methods? Let us know about the accuracy of your data and anything else you may have noticed since the implementation of Google +1.

Are you ready for the new Google Analytics user interface?

Monday, March 28th, 2011

At the Google Analytics user conference in San Francisco (GAUGE), Google announced a major update to Google Analytics. Early reports indicated that the beta version would be rolling out to user accounts over the next few months and gave an overwhelmingly positive review of the changes. Now that I’ve had a chance to poke around in it myself, I have some pretty strong opinions about it. While there are some good points, there are also plenty of bad ones, and I’m not holding back on what I think of them.

Do you have it yet?

When you log into your Google Analytics account, look at the account settings at the upper right.

When you click on this link, you’ll be taken from this:

to this:

Welcome to the new Google Analytics!


Stephen Colbert wants “Tall Women Carrying Heavy Things” in his SERPs

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

This week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt visited The Colbert Report, and Stephen Colbert asked Schmidt why nothing comes up when he searches for “tall women carrying heavy things”.

My first thought was that someone should buy that domain, bid on the phrase in AdWords and give Mr. Colbert his fantasy. Seriously, how many people tried that search once he mentioned it? I know I did…

It turns out that this is not the first time Colbert has mentioned his unusual fetish. was registered in April 2007. A guy named Alex posted a long rambling page describing his apparently lonely and somewhat sad life and how he came to purchase the domain after seeing it listed as Colbert’s third most checked website.

“My name is Alex. I currently have no girlfriend, in a few days I will have no job, and I just got back from watching a movie that was considerably out-of-focus at the local theatre. I come home to my sister’s dog welcoming us back and still constipated (sadly he has been ill all day).”

Poor guy.

I was somewhat disappointed that someone had gotten to it three years ahead of me. But then I started poking around a little bit and got to thinking about it, and man, this guy is missing out on some major opportunities here! The site name alone is wonderful link bait, given that it was mentioned in front of Eric Schmidt on The Colbert Report. So here are my suggestions for Alex:

1. Convert it to a WordPress site. Easy to do, lots of theming possibilities that don’t look like something off of Geocities circa 1997. Use it to post pictures of, well, tall women carrying heavy things! Something about this whole concept reminds me of another old Comedy Central gem, The Man Show, and how they always ended the show with totally gratuitous video of hot girls jumping on trampolines. Run with the concept!

2. Toss some AdSense on this puppy. As SEOs we sometimes tend to eschew AdSense on the notion that it somehow devalues the site’s authority, but let’s face it, this is an extremely niche-y site that doesn’t need a lot of page rank. It’s a gimmick, really. Might as well make some cash on it.

3. Set up AdWords. I have a sneaking suspicion that “tall women carrying heavy things” is not going to be all that expensive to bid on. The only ad that shows right now is for The Colbert Report, and they’re essentially advertising your website for you.

4. Set up Google Analytics. While I’m pretty sure it’s a no brainer that your top referring keyword will be “tall women carrying heavy things”, wouldn’t it be interesting to see how many of hits are referred from Or even just how many people search it every time the show mentions it?

5. Put @BobbyGeorgina to good use. Use that poor, underutilized Twitter account of yours to promote your new blog of photos of tall women carrying heavy things. Tweet them at @StephenAtHome in fact! And while we’re on social media, set up a Facebook fan page for your site. Post about it on the fan page for The Colbert Report. By the way, congrats on curing that pesky “no girlfriend” situation, but you’re following six Twitter accounts, and none of them are Stephen Colbert? Really??

Please, Mr. Alex Kirkland, you’ve got first mover advantage here. Please do something awesome with this site!

Friday Link Love for 9/10/10: The Shaken, Not Stirred Edition

Friday, September 10th, 2010

It seems like the entire Internet world has changed this week. SEOmoz introduced us to a keyword/content relevancy tool which has many in the SEO and IR communities in an uproar and turned “LDA” into an SEO buzz word. Google Instant rolled out, possibly upending several search marketing conventions. And here at the secret ninja lair, we’ve watched breathlessly as our blog traffic skyrocketed unexpectedly and everyone is getting new cubicle and office assignments. Internally and externally, everything has been shaken up – and hopefully for the better! Here’s the weekly round up of our favorite posts.

Becky’s Links:
It’s impossible for me not to talk about SEOmoz’s new LDA tool. Heck, we did our own post about it here after it was announced at the Mozinar in Seattle, and another one here after we realized what a controversy it was turning out to be. Rand Fishkin explains it quite well in his article, Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) and Google’s Rankings are Remarkably Well Correlated. While there has been a lot of heated debate over nearly every aspect of the tool (which is still just in Labs), including methodology, the meaning of “well correlated” and the tool’s user-friendliness or lack thereof, we’re excited about having a new tool in our arsenal.

I’m also going to throw some love at two other posts: Scott Brinker’s thoughts about effective microsites, a strategy we rather like for many of our clients with more diversified services, and David Kauzlaric’s article, Google Analytics + Heat Map Analytics + Good Designer = Sexy Conversions. I love heatmapping, and combining it with analytics data just pushes me over the edge!

Debby’s Link:
Google Instant- What Now
Much needed advice in the time of  confusion. I agree with the writer – we need to wait and get more information about the  effects of Google Instant.

John’s Link:
As conversion rate optimization becomes more and more a plurality with SEO, I would like to give a nod to SEOmoz’s Dr. Pete with his post “Priceless CRO Advice for $224.” I really like the first two options, which allow for cheap yet effective analysis of your company’s or client’s website. Review things like brand recognition, goal conversion and all sorts of visitor behavior.

Friday SEO Link Love – May 14 Edition

Friday, May 14th, 2010

We’re introducing a new feature here on White Hat, Black Belt: A weekly link wrap up where each optimizer shares their favorite articles from the week! Let’s get started…

Patti: I follow former co-worker Everett Sizemore because I like his style and he’s an invaluable resource here still at Page 1 Solutions. He posted this yesterday about how long-tail keywords generate better conversions. He shows a case study of a client who was trying to show for big keywords that were pretty much already cornered by a huge competitor. By targeting the long-tail keywords that are more specific to his client’s business, he now owns that area of the SERPs, and their page views have skyrocketed. Let the data speak for itself!

Tara: One hindrance of web analytics is that we are too often given data that is specific to a given client, leaving us without the ability to scale our data and compare across clients. This blog entry by Rich Devine of ZAAZ breaks the mold a little by showing us a way to compare Demand against Delivery across several sites… and with a simple formula to boot!

Debby: As always, I’m a fan of the White Board Friday post by Rand Fishkin at SEOMoz. This week, he talks about Google’s May Day update where a lot of us saw a drop off in the traffic from long-tail keywords from Google. The best lesson to take away: Breathe deeply and relax!

Becky: My favorite blog post this week has to be Local SEO Planning Tip – Determine the Geo Limits of a Search, posted just today by Mike over at Blumenthals. I used it to take a look at a client’s Google boundaries this afternoon during a discussion about whether or not to target Santa Clarita. (His office is in L.A.) Understanding the geographic limitations of any given search is a HUGE advantage. Big, big kudos and love to Mike for this one!

Mike, Kristen, and John aren’t around today, but I’ll wrangle their opinions next week! Have a great weekend, everyone!

5 Lessons from the Road: Address Your Audience!

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Whew! Just got back from a whirlwind wedding, honeymoon and road trip combo – and of course, being the web junkie that I am, I couldn’t help but think about work. (Bad Tara, bad!) Here are some lessons from the road on how to address your online audience!

5. If they want X, they’ll probably want Y. One thing that really impressed me about our honeymoon cruise to Ensenada was how well our cruise liner had thought of everything we could possibly want to do (or spend money on). For example, they plan on doing a formal night on the cruise, which is great for fools like me who like to make anything romantic. Then, as you make your way to your formal dinner, feeling dressed to the nines, there’s a staff of professional photographers waiting to take your portrait. I couldn’t turn them down! Even with the $20/print pricetag.

You can take this lesson and apply it to your website by really thinking about which services or products your clients will want in addition to what they’re offering on the page. For example, a cosmetic surgeon’s page on liposuction might be a great place to put a Call-to-Action for brachioplasty (arm lift) or buttock augmentation. This helps your bounce rate, time on site and helps convert visitors to patients.


Conversion Rate Optimization: The Mantra for 2010?

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Whether it’s on blogs or articles or any Internet Marketing related news, the message seems to be that CRO or conversion rate optimization is the  new SEO. SEOMoz’s Rand Fishkin recently declared that conversion optimization is the most underused and highest ROI activity in the marketing department.

So what is CRO?  Is this within the realm of SEO or does this fall more in the  design and web development area? How do we as optimizers conquer this new mountain and get success for our clients.

CRO In broad terms, conversion optimization is the implementation of techniques on a website that enhance a vistor’s experience when they visit the website, so they can  quickly find what they’re looking for,  move without delay through the site and get to the point where they  get converted into potential clients.

Optimizing for Conversion

The first step in improving conversion rates is to define the site’s objective – Is it to sell products or services,  provide information or generate click-throughs ?

Once the  site’s objective is defined, the next step is to develop metrics and carry out regular tests  to identify problems and trends.

Once the data has beeen gathered, immediate action needs to be taken to address problems and enhance the overall site usability.


5 Ways to Track SEO Practices in Google Analytics

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Did you know that you can use web analytics to track different SEO and internet marketing practices? You bet your sweet giraffe you can! Here are five really great ways to track your efforts as an optimizer.

5. Event Tracking. This is a method you can use where, by adding a small snippet of code to select areas of your site, you can very specifically track visitor clicks on certain areas of your site. This is especially handy with things like Calls-To-Action that go to your social media pages (buttons to your Twitter profile, for example). This is also handy in doing things like experimenting with the location of certain links or buttons on a page, to see if they get more clicks. Although you should definitely read Google Code’s guide on Event Tracking, implementing the Event Tracking code is not as difficult as they make it sound.  Simply add this code:

onClick="pageTracker._trackEvent('Category', 'Action', 'Label');"

Within the code of whatever you want to track. For images, this is within the <img> tag, for links this is within the <a> tag. Swap out the “Category, Action, Label” tags with your own custom tags. One example might be, “Twitter” for Category, “Follow” for Action, and “SideNav” for Label. You will start to see hits on these spots in the “Content” section of Google Analytics, under the “Event Tracking” report!

4. Custom URLs. Custom URLs using Google’s URL Builder are a great way to track external content, or content that you send off into the world with a link back to your client’s site. This can be anything from a Press Release, to a Linkbait Article, to a banner ad on an external website.

It won’t track how many views a page gets, but it will track how many times the URL that you create is clicked, and it will add specific labels so that you know where the clicks came from. Our Account Managers wrote a great blog post outlining how to use the Google URL Builder to this purpose.

Once the URL has been set up, you will start to see hits come in the “Traffic Sources” section of Google Analytics, in the “Campaigns” report.

3. Search Engines Report. The value of this report to an optimizer is so self-explanatory that I won’t even bother explaining it. It is also found in the “Traffic Sources” section. Check it out.

2. Referring Sites Report. This is a really simple report, found in the “Traffic Sources” section of Google Analytics, but it can have a treasure trove of information on your link building efforts! This report will show you all the non-search engine websites that send traffic to your site. If one of your link building sites is sending a lot of traffic, then you know it is a valuable resource. Conversely, if you’re spending money on a link resource that never sends you traffic, you might want to reconsider investing in that website…

1. Keywords Report. One use of the keywords report that you might not have considered is that if a keyword has a lot of visits but a really high bounce rate (the % of people who visit your site then leave without viewing any other pages) then it may be that you don’t have a good page for that keyword, or that the page isn’t well optimized. This can be extremely valuable for making sure that your website’s pages are really well targeted towards your chosen keywords. I usually like to complement the Keywords report with Google Insights for Search, to compare keyword popularity across all of Google.

For more information on analyzing data in Google Analytics, you can check out my other recent blog entry, “Quickly and Visually Interpret Data in Google Analytics.”

How do you use Google Analytics to measure your SEO practices? We’d love to hear it! Please feel free to share your knowledge in our comments.