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Google Releases Analytics v5

Here's a peek at the latest version of Google Analytics - v5. To give it a test-drive for your own site, just click on the 'New Version' button at the top of your dashboard.

And if you're really keen, here's a brief Google video on the making of Analytics v5.

Keep an eye out for details of the new CAM Diploma in Analytics and Metrics that we will be running shortly!

Related links

The Making of Analytics v5


5 Free Google Tools Your Site Should Have In Place

You've built the website and worked out what the objective of your site is. But, have you made sure that you have put these 5 elements in place?

1. Site Verification Google

If you haven't does so already, you should open upp a Google account to neatly arrange all your Google activity. Verification of a website means proving to Google that you own a site. This, in turn means you can have access to a wealth of tools, like site crawl stats, diagnostics, sitelinks and much more. This can be found within Google Webmaster Tools.

2. Google Sitemap

Make sure that you, or your web developer, have generated a Sitemap for your site. This will help Google identify pages that it may otherwise have missed.  If you have a website that generates a fair bit of news, you may want to generate a Google News Sitemap.

3. Google Sitelinks

Google Sitelinks can often be found beneath the main search engine listing for a company. If you're not happy with the Sitelinks that Google generates for your site, you can ask them to block them and the search engine will look for new links. These can be very useful for directing visitors to the most relevant page on your site. They can be found within Webmaster Tools.

4. Google Places

Do you run a local business? A business with a fixed location. Like a shop, restaurant, retail unit, hotel, swimming pool, bar, pub, café, office, garage, or any one of the hundreds of thousands of local business out there. If so, then you need to ensure that you have a Google Places listing. These listings are generated when you type in the place name and business type (such as "swansea hotels"). Some websites reckon that Google Places drives more traffic than Google Organic (33% compared to 25%).

5. Google Analytics

You surely MUST have this added to your website. I would ask how can a company be involved in digital marketing and not have Google Analytics set up. As a company you need to know who is arriving at your site, where did they come from, what keyword did they use to arrive there, what pages are they looking at, how long do they spend on the site, what are they searching for, and much, much more. Used correctly Google Analytics can give you key insights into how your site and business performs on the Internet.

Each of these tools performs a different task but used collectively they can help to gain you a better presence, create more traffic, display your services better, help Google understand your site better and give you insights into how well your site is performing. Avoid them at your peril!


The Wayback Machine – For Those Who Have Wondered How Websites Used To Look

Have you ever wondered what websites used to look like? How have they evolved over time? Or how long have they been about? Unless a company or organisation has kept a record of old website designs or a web developer has maintained an archive of client work it can be difficult, if not impossible to find this out.  Well, there is a resource out there called the Wayback Machine (and it has been around for many years) that allows you to type your URL into its search box and discover what the web pages from this site used to look like in the past.

I must say that I often use it to check the date of a website or to see how a website has evolved over time.

This is what Google used to look like in 1998:

In 2000 the BBC website looked like this:

The Wayback Machine also visually shows you not just how far a site goes but also how often it has been crawled by the Wayback engine:


Google AdWords Goes For Longer Headline Options

Have you noticed some recent changes to Google AdWords listings? Well, last week Google started to roll out longer headlines on their ads. Instead of having your customary 25 characters for the headlines, it is now starting to deliver up to 60 characters for the headline. The secret here, though is to make sure that you use the right punctuation on the second line (question mark or full stop/period). And, in true Blue Peter fashion, here's one I created earlier!

Related Articles
Longer headlines for select ads on Google
Longer AdWords Headlines: Google Blurring The Lines of Paid, Organic Results?
Top AdWords Get Longer, Leaner Look


Smart Google Analytics On Your Mobile

If you need to check your site analytics on a regular basis and can't bear to be without it for any length of time, then BAM Analytics's iPhone app may just be the tool for you. I must admit that I like to keep an eye on how my organic and ppc listings are faring and often get frustrated that neither my iPad or iPhone can render the information in the way that I want. That's why I was so pleased to see an endorsement coming from Google Analytics' blog for BAM Analytics's iPhone app. The app has around 60 analytics reports, allows you to create custom reports and even compare with past date ranges. For £1.19 it seems like a great tool that will help you monitor your analytics through a mobile device. Here are some screenshots that I just downloaded.


Have You Tried Out Google’s In-Page Analytics?

Last week Google rolled out a new tool within the Google Analytics dashboard. Called In-Page Analytics and currently in beta-mode, it is meant to be an improvement on the Web Overlay option that used to appear in this dashboard. The idea is that is adds an extra layer to your website, whilst you navigate around it to give you a better visualisation of how visitors move around your site and what they click on. This is a screenshot of what the Marketing Tom website looks like with this layer added. Notice how it indicates what percentages of visitors clicked on certain links. What's pretty neat about this new tool is that you get added data in a panel on the left as you navigate around the site. I also quite like the bar which indicates what percentage of people clicked before the fold (or as the fold appears on your pc).

Related Articles

Introducing In-Page Analytics: Visual context for your Analytics data (Google Analytics Blog)
Google Adds "visual context to Analytics (Econsultancy)
Google In Page Analytics Provides Visual Context For Traffic Data (Mashable)
Google Analytics: Goodbye Site Overlay, Hello In-Page Analytics (Search Engine Land)


Does Google Instant Mess Up Your SEO Strategy?

You've probably noticed by now the latest changes to the world's favourite search engine, Google. As you start to type words into Google the organic results, and PPC ads, start to change in accordance with the keywords you're typing. This can save you time in that you can get straight to the results you are looking for. It can be useful as it means you can do away with typing in those long search strings. However, herein lies another problem.

If you have taken time to research your keywords and haven't gone for those popular search phrases, then you could get punished. The reason is that many searchers will take the first results that appear on Google and won't bother to drill down to the end of the long tail. For those of you asking, 'what is the Long Tail?', here is an overview:

Long-tail
The long tail suggests that more people are likely to buy a product (or search for one) at the head of the tail than at the end of it. As Wikipedia says: "the majority of occurrences (more than half, and where the Pareto principle applies, 80%) are accounted for by the first 20% of items in the distribution". The internet lends itself so well to products at the end of the tail as powerful search engines (like Google) allow you to find pretty much anything that you are looking to buy - if it's a niche or hard-to-find product you may have to go a little further down the tail.

This brings me to the issue that I have with Google Instant. I run the CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing and at the moment I only run this particular qualification, though other centres run a range of CAM qualifications - some of them run the Digital Diploma. Up until now I have tried to ensure that my web pages(s) for keyword searches on CAM Diploma In Digital Marketing  appear fairly high up - and have succeeded. But Google Instant has now created a problem for me by prompting people to stop their keyword searches when they get as far as CAM Diploma; it also means that some people are seeing the words CAM Diploma In Managing Digital Media - which I don't offer but other centres do!

Cam-diploma-instant

The way around it is to now focus my keyword searches on terms which are further up the tail - which are not a perfect match for my courses but mean that I can try and get ahead of the competition. I do think that Google by trying to match the social media/real-time mood of the internet has created problems for website owners and for itself. Smaller websites may well find that their entry to potential markets and customers will be held back; whilst Google may also see revenue from smaller advertisers (through AdWords) reduce markedly.

To conclude, Google Instant can be seen as useful in terms of throwing up suggestions that you may not have considered. The negative side is that firms that rely on traffic from searches further down the tail, may have to focus towards the head of the tail to generate their traffic from now on.


Are You Paying Attention To Your Mobile Traffic?

I was just doing some work on for a Google AdWords client and on trying to reconcile AdWords and Analytics traffic and conversions came across this interesting stat. You will be able to find it in the following location:

Dashboard > Visitors > Mobile > Mobile Devices

Google Analytics
The client is in the Travel industry and the time frame is the last 30 days. I find it interesting that the iPhone, iPod and iPad (which is a new entrant) dominate the listings. For me this stat throws up all sorts of questions:

  • Have we considered the ability for these devices to view the content - I'm thinking video and Flash - on our website?
  • How do people actually find us?
  • Are our Google AdWords optimised - e.g. in terms of calls to action - for these devices?
  • Do we need to consider Mobile sites?
  • Have we thought about how quickly we help people navigate around our site?

So, have you checked out your Analytics stats and considered what are their implications to your online presence?