Google Analytics is a Combination of an Online Tool and a Shared Service

This post concludes our current series on Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Google Analytics is a combination of a highly configurable online tool and a shared service. Using this web site traffic measurement tool successfully amounts to keeping both points in mind at all times. Some features will be immediately available while others will require a day, or more to work. Google Adwords advertisers can use Adwords customer service to help if features take too long to load.

Most views and custom reports for Google Analytics can be added immediately with a web browser, preferably Google Chrome. Be prepared for a difficult task finding documentation to add reports. We like the Google Analytics Visitor Flow View, but have not been able to successfully configure it to expose information about specific pages on a web site.

Linking Analytics to an Adwords account takes between 24 and 48 hours. If a problem arises, don’t expect an alert. We recently linked Analytics to an Adwords account for one of our clients. An incorrectly configured Analytics filter broke the linking procedure. The problem cost our client 5 days of traffic data, which cannot be retrieved. We found out about the problem by notifying Adwords customer service. A couple of days after notifying them we received an email from the Analytics support team identifying the filter as the problem with a recommendation that we remove it. Once we removed the filter traffic measurement returned to normal very quickly.

If it makes sense to expose an Adwords campaign to Google’s display network, then Analytics can be used to manage the display network domains. We recommend keeping a running list of “excluded domains” for display network sites that produce clicks with high bounce rates. Why pay $5.00 or $6.00 for a click that produces just a bounce off of a landing page?

Google doesn’t provide data about specific keywords for the display network. But the “content targeting” information that is provided, along with a review of specific ads can be used to fine tune campaigns for these sites. Curiously, opting to expose our client’s Adwords campaign to the display network provided us with some unexpected competitive information for our client. It turned out that several sites in the display network were either vendor sites for complementary products in our client’s market, or owned by industry partners.

Mastering Analytics and Adwords is certainly something worth doing for marketing teams supporting Independent Software Vendors (ISVs).

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved


Keyword Selection is the Most Important Activity for Successful Search Engine Marketing

Selecting the right keywords is the most important activity for successful Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Web page content should be built around keywords. Structuring content to support keywords lends structure to web sites. Tools like Google’s keyword tool should be used to identify keywords worth studying.

The first step in researching keywords is to pick a set that is directly relevant to:

  • your product or service
  • and the most promising application that your product services for your market

Here’s an example, a software training business researches its customers and finds that most customers use its services, but do not make the purchase decision. This business decides to promote products and services online. The SEM expert selects keywords relevant to training and software. But the SEM expert goes a step further and includes keywords specific to the business case for purchasing the software. This extra step opens an opportunity for group orders for the software training business.

Continuing with this example, the SEM expert produces web page content to support the set of keywords selected for the campaign. Search engines will index the text content, thereby providing an organic basis for inbound traffic based on the targeted set of keywords.

To accelerate the process of capturing useful incoming traffic, the SEM expert produces a click ad campaign. The keywords in the campaign are all included in the set of keywords that the SEM expert used to build the web page content. Bids are placed that promise the software training business ad placements on the first page of search results. A budget is established to control the cost of the campaign.

A program built around this example will produce inbound traffic to a web site at comparatively low cost. Once the traffic reaches the web site, the on-page “calls to action” that we discussed in the prior post to this blog should be included to offer visitors a way to engage, while the content should provide them with a reason to engage.

In the next post to this blog we will discuss Google Analytics at greater length.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved


Goals and Events can be Used with Google Analytics to Pinpoint Problems with Web Site Content

ISVs interested in online marketing can use goals and events with Google Analytics to identify problems with web site content. Google Analytics is a free tool with a lot of features and capability, including goals and events. It isn’t easy to successfully set up Google Analytics goals and events, but we think it is worth the effort. The information collected by these tools can shed light on where, and why web site visitors drop off.

Conceptually, Google Analytics goals and events are two versions of the same tool. By building goals or events, online marketers create a method of tracking visitor activity through a web site. Different visitors drop off of web sites at different times, and for different reasons. Therefore, it is useful to collect information about visitor activity within a web site.

Goals are usually mentioned in the context of conversions. A conversion in Google Analytics is a measurable action taken by a website visitor. What makes the action measurable, is that the online marketer has exposed the action as an option for site visitors. Examples of actions include an opportunity to fill out a registration form on a web site, or to place an order for an item with an online shopping cart, or even to download what we refer to as “level two” content, meaning a white paper, case study, success story, or even a product brochure.

Events are very similar to goals. The same measurable activities can be set up in Google Analytics as events. Online marketers should set up events for visitor actions that take place on complex web pages. To understand what constitutes a complex web page, think about a web page where a “thank you” message appears once a visitor fills out a registration form and sends it for processing. In comparison, on a simple web page, the visitor would be served a “thank you” web page after completing the registration form.

Online marketers should offer web site visitors activities, strategically, meaning at points in a web site where historical information indicates that visitors have dropped off. By collecting data about the rate at which site visitors either choose to perform an action, or not, it should become clear, over time, whether web site content is working as planned.

Simply making changes without data doesn’t make sense when a measurement tool like Google Analytics is available at no charge.

In the next post to this blog we will look closer at events and goals in Google Analytics.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved