Installing Google Tag Manager on your WordPress site is a great idea. It helps consolidate all of your scripts and tags into one place. You install… and manage any tag your need on your website from Google Analytics to Google AdWords conversion tracking. This video will take you through the simple steps on how to setup Google Tag Manager and install Google Analytics through it in just a few short minutes.
Whether you are doing your own SEO or hire someone to do it for you, sometimes it can be difficult to measure performance in Google Analytics. In the beginning of a SEO campaign, it is very difficult to measure performance because SEO is a long-term strategy that can take anywhere from 3-6 months to start seeing real results. Nonetheless, it is important for you to track and measure performance over the duration of the campaign; however, before you can do that, you need to know how to Segment your data for SEO in Google Analytics properly.
How to View Segments in Google Analytics
A segment is a subset of your Analytics data. For example, you see that 1,000 people visited your website last month, but you want to see specifically how many of them came from Google organic search. The combination of source, Google, and medium, organic, is a subset of your data, thus allowing you to create a Segment to gain insight from that online channel.
When you first login to your Google Analytics account, the first view you see is from All Sessions. This set of data includes all of your site visitors. If you click on the All Sessions tab, you will notice that a large menu with a list of segments drops down.
You may not see some of the segments I have in my account in your account because I’ve created Advanced (custom) segments that I use for specific goals I’m trying to reach in a campaign.
Using Filters Vs. Segments
Before you can start segmenting data for SEO in Google Analytics, you have to first understand which traffic sources are relevant to SEO. You can first start by which Medium to use for our SEO analysis. Generally, the two primary mediums one would use for SEO are:
If you have access to a Google Analytics account, you can view a breakdown of your traffic by source and medium by navigating to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium. Your screen will look similar to the screen shot below:
The Source/Medium dimension column lists a breakdown of every source and medium driving traffic to your website. If we only want to view the three mediums that were listed above, you can change the Primary dimension by clicking the blue medium link listed above the data table.
Once the primary dimension has been changed to medium, you can create a filter that excludes all mediums except the ones you want to view. To do this, click the advanced link next to the search bar on the top right of the data table and exclude every medium you see in the table except for organic and referral.
After you press Apply, you should see a view like this:
Now you see that organic traffic to the website I’m analyzing drove 6,942 visits and website/social referrals drove 4,490 visits. That’s pretty cool, but now what if you want to see more?
Using filters allows you to view specific dimension values and see metrics like Sessions, % New sessions, New Users, Bounce Rate, etc… but it limits you from being able to view your data in other dimensions. So, instead of using a filter every time you want to view your organic traffic and limiting yourself to one dimension at a time, you use a Segment.
Dimensions describe characteristics of your users, their sessions and actions. A few examples of a dimension include City, Source/Medium, Age, Gender, Interests, etc.
How to View the Organic Traffic Segment
Viewing the Organic Traffic segment is easy. Fortunately, Google already provides you with that segment by default. To select the Organic Traffic segment, simply click where it says All Sessions again to view the drop down menu listing your segments.
Next, deselect the All Sessions box and scroll down until you see Organic Traffic. Now, select Organic Traffic and press Apply.
Once you have done this, you will see that the data has changed. Now, go back to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium, and you will notice that the list of dimension values have changed as well.
Now you can view other dimensions. Let’s test it out:
- Expand audience menu and click Mobile.
- Select Overview.
Now you can see a breakdown of the Device Categories used to find your website through organic search.
This is the first step to using Segments for SEO, but simply viewing organic traffic isn’t enough. The Organic Traffic segment doesn’t include referral traffic, so in this case you will want to create an Advanced Segment. An advanced segment is simply a custom segment that you create.
Creating an Advanced Segment
Creating advanced segments can get pretty complicated and deep, but the one you will create for SEO doesn’t require much customization.
First start by opening the list of segments again.
Click the red New Segment button.
Name your segment Organic and Referral Traffic. Using specific naming conventions will help you tremendously down the line.
Now follow these steps:
- Change the dropdown selection from Ad Content to Medium. Then, type in organic.
- Once you have it set to Medium contains Organic, press OR on the right.
- Once you see the second row for your next condition, change the selection to Medium again and type referral in the empty field.
Your screen should look like this:
Click the blue Save button and now you are done.
This is the first step to using Google Analytics for SEO. Now you know how to view Segments and create custom segments. Part 2 of this series will go over more advanced audience segmentation and analysis to help you understand how to better measure the performance of your SEO campaign and make data-driven decisions.
Jeff James started a cool Father’s Day campaign called #DadInspires. All you have to do is record a video of yourself holding a sign with one or two words conveying how your dad inspired you. Once you record the clip (up to 30 seconds), just post it on twitter or facebook with #dadinspires.
Check mine out!
— Joshua Belland (@JoshBelland) June 15, 2015
When building out a new web page, you need to be thinking about how your users receive the message and how Google reads it. The fact is that you want to engage your readers by making it simple and interesting to read, but at the same time, keywords still do matter… No matter what the “SEO is Dead” protestors say.
Keyword optimization has changed
In the past, Keyword Optimization was a calculated approach to finding the right densities to get your content to rank higher. As Google continued to come out with algorithm updates, this changed drastically bringing many more factors into play. So now, in 2015, it’s important to understand how Google reads your content. Simply put, your target keywords hold much less value than the related keywords (semantic keywords).
Based on some simple testing with a free tool I like to use called LSIKeywords.com, I’ll show you how I came to this conclusion.
The first step is doing some basic keyword research to find your main high traffic keywords. In this case, I’m working with a dental client who wants to be found for porcelain veneers Houston. So, to get an idea of the search volume, I will either use SEMRush (Paid) or Google Keyword Planner (Free). For this demonstration, I’m going to use SEMRush because it also gives me an idea of who my competitors are.
Now it’s time to analyze the results in the Phrase Match Report.
As you can see, the search volume isn’t super impressive and SEMrush only yields two results in the Phrase Match Report. We will now direct our attention to the Related Keywords Report. You will need to view the full report to see all of them, but for this example I will show the top 10.
SEMrush provides keyword search volumes for the entire U.S. While this particular campaign is going to be local, these metrics still provide a list of the most prominent related keywords. By integrating these keywords with the website content, the primary keyword rankings can be improved.
Pro Tip: Keep in mind, that keyword phrases can be spread out in a variety of ways. Use Google’s universal search results to your advantage by implementing these keywords in image alt tags and file names for image search, video titles and descriptions (self-hosted using a video xml sitemap) for video results, and of course- titles, meta descriptions, headings, anchor text, and website copy for organic search.
Using LSIkeywords.com for semantic search strategies
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is an indexing and retrieval method that uses a mathematical technique called singular value decomposition (SVD) to identify patterns in the relationships between the terms and concepts contained in an unstructured collection of text.
LSIKeywords.com is effective because it shows you the keyword densities of top ranking competitors for your primary keyword. I have personally had success ranking webpages by simply mimicking keyword patterns collected from top ranking competitors. This doesn’t always get you instant success due to other factors like backlink profiles and website architecture, but it certainly can give your rankings a boost.
Give this strategy a shot and let me know how it works. Read the top three ranking competitor’s copy all of the way through to get a better idea of where they are placing their keywords. Then, once you’ve implemented them, wait a week and see if you notice any improvements.
There are a lot of questions regarding how Google tracks backlinks. When a website has a number of links coming from the same IP address even with different referring domains, it does not look natural. In fact, it looks very spammy and fabricated. Google figured that out a long time ago. What else is Google looking at?
1. Total Number of Inbound Links
Looking at all of the competitors in this matrix, we can see that some of them have massive amounts of links. This information is completely useless. I’ve seen spammy blog networks hit websites with 100k backlinks and take their traffic down by 30%. What is more important is the referring domains.
2. Referring Domains
When comparing the amount of referring domains to total links, I typically look at the ratio. For instance, dizzyheights.com has 116,714 links coming from 63 referring domains. This means absolutely nothing to Google! If anything, it’s most likely hurting their rankings. It appears spammy and completely fabricated. Going deeper, we step into the referring IPs.
3. Referring IPs
Many websites share IP addresses. When your hosting multiple websites on the same server, in many cases you’re sharing an IP address with the same IP address. You can use a reverse IP domain check to see other websites you’re sharing an IP with. You not only want your links to be coming from different domains, but different IPs as well, otherwise anyone could manually build backlinks which wouldn’t be good for Google.
4. Referring Subnets
To take it a step further, Google checks to see if your backlinks are all on the same subnet. Even with different IP Addresses, they can still be on the same subnet.
5. Deep Link Ratio
When people naturally link to a website, they usually link to a relevant page. If all of your backlinks are pointed to the root domain, chances are that it’s either a bunch of directories or backlinks are being manually fabricated. The higher the deep link ratio, the better.
While there is still a lot of buzz going on about the Hummingbird and Penguin 2.1 algorithm updates, and how it affects ranking. On October 3rd, Barry Schwartz posted a blog about specific dates where there were noticeable ranking changes and conducted a survey asking how SEOs and webmasters were affected. He discusses the results of the change in the video below.
Barry Schwartz Discusses a Poll On How Rankings Were Affected By Penguin 2.1
There were over 1600 responses to the poll. These were the results:
- 63% of the respondents said that their site was hurt bad.
- 21% said that their site had no change at all.
- 8% said that their website recovered from the previous penguin update.
- 6.2% that their rank gained with more traffic.
This shouldn’t be surprising to most of us. When we look at historical SEO tactics, it’s easy to see that yesterday’s white-hat is today’s grey-hat/black-hat. Guest posting used to be one of the most effective ways of manually building links, but even that has become more challenging. So with these new updates, what do I do next? Is SEO dead?
The Guidelines Never Changed
As SEOs we’ve all tried to “manipulate” rankings. I mean… isn’t that part of our job? Some of us have tried riskier tactics than others. Now, it’s just getting to the point where these old tactics aren’t working for us anymore. Sigh… so what do I do now? The same thing that Google has been saying since the very beginning! Create great content and let links build naturally!
Yeah… yeah… yeah… so you’re one of those “link building is dead” guys? No, I love link building. In fact, it’s what I am most passionate about. Link building isn’t dead, just the meaning has changed.
What Link Building Means Today
With today’s link building there are some very specific “Dos” and “Don’ts.” Let’s go over a few, shall we?
Link Building Don’ts
- Keyword Filled Anchor Text- Instead, use your brand in your anchor text.
- Guest post byline links with keyword anchor text. Again, use your brand name or domain name.
- Buying links- This has been the case for a long time now, but people are still doing it.
- Blog Networks- Google is on these like the DEA is on drug cartels. Stay away from them.
- Press Releases and Ezine Articles- You should read John Lincolns article discussing this.
There are a lot of don’ts… in summary think about it like this. If you can buy it or you can manually submit it, then it’s probably going to hurt your rankings or it’s not going to benefit you much.
Link Building Do’s
- Write beautiful, amazing, and compelling content.
- Build an outreach network of people in your industry.
- Focus on building a strong social following.
- Link to other authorities in your industry.
- Don’t be afraid to discuss your opinions.
- Be an innovator, not a follower!
In summary, the guidelines with Google have not changed. When they warned us, we did not head the warnings. Google’s focus and goal has been the same since day 1, and that is to provide it’s user’s with the best experience possible. They are doing a good job at it. So, follow the guidelines, focus on building your content for the users, network like crazy, and be social!
Part of our jobs as SEOs includes gather data for campaigns we’re conducting research on. Most of us have a collection of sources bookmarked or we subscribe to a service to speed up the process. One way of gathering data is by submitting queries to Google to get keyword ranking data, collect information on competitors and collect historical data to help us understand Google’s algorithm changes at a deeper level.
With some knowledge of web development, there is an API solution that up until now hasn’t been heard of. It is currently in beta testing and requires you to apply for an API key, but is free to use for the time being if your application is approved. If you are a big data geek like me, you are going to want to check this out.
To give you an example of how this API can be used, I’ll tell you about an application I’m working on. It basically allows you to match multiple keyword queries (up to 10,000 queries per hour) with certain advanced search operators to pull in bulk data. I won’t go too much further into detail but hopefully this gives you an idea of the capabilities the API offers.
Sure, roll your eyes OR check it out for yourself. Happy programming!
Every SEO knows that links are an important factor for ranking. Google algorithm changes have made link acquisition more difficult with every update. At one point in time, article directories, directories, web 2.0, and even paid links were link building tactics that actually worked; however those days are long gone now. With social metrics and Google even cracking down on guest posting, link acquisition has become more about the quality of the content and relationship building. The first step to building a relationship is understanding how to find the right people to build a relationship with. With that in mind, here are 8 ways to use search operators for link building building relationships.
- ‘keyword’ + inurl:write for us While guest posting seems to be a dying breed, there are still effective ways to go about it. One way is by leaving out your author byline and submitting it as an article. Many publishers are more than happy to do this for you in exchange for quality content.
- ‘keyword’ + intitle:write for us This will serve the same purpose as tactic #1, however, sometimes the url doesn’t always have the exact keywords in it, so sometimes you can find more relationship opportunities by using the title as well.
- ‘keyword’ + intitle:Google+ Many people under-utilize Google+ in their link building strategies. This can be one of the most effective ways to find authoritative writers in your industry. Use Google+ to build a strong social following. When you share content, others will share it as well which will not only send your content social signals, but also encourage others to link to it as well.
- ‘keyword’ + site:https://plus.google.com #3 will pull up Google+ profiles and articles written with Google+ in the title, but this method will literally only pull up Google+ profiles (businesses and personal).
- ‘keyword’ + inanchor:”submit site” This is a method for finding niche directories. While you have to be careful with directory submission tactics, niche directories are still valuable to your link building campaign. Just whatever you do, carefully review the site to make sure it is moderated before submitting the link.
- site:.edu “write for us” The oh-so coveted .edu backlink is possible to acquire. Many schools allow students and professors to host their own blogs on the school’s servers. They are looking for people to supply them with content just like any other blogger. Try using different combinations of keywords and search operators to for your .edu link building campaign. You can find tons of opportunities.
- link:competitor.com If you already know of a competitor or authoritative blog in your industry, why not try piggybacking on their strategy? Using the ‘link:’ search operator will should all of the indexed backlinks of the site you follow it with.
- related:website.com After finding a few sites that you are already targeting, you can find related sites by using the ‘related:’ search operator. This may give you a broader view, but you can still find some great link acquisition opportunities this way.
Half the battle of link building is learning how to do the research correctly. Connect with other authors through social media, and share their content. People appreciate that and will return the favor. Organic link building, especially post hummingbird can be tricky and time consuming. However, if you connect with the right people and build those relationships, overtime it will become much easier.
Owning a business is not easy, and I think most would agree that one of the biggest challenges is knowing where to invest marketing dollars. The first step is to understand your market. This is something that every business owner or company executive should know; otherwise the business is being setup for failure. Keeping this in mind, businesses are currently spending billions of dollars on online advertising like Google Adwords, Facebook, etc. However, many small business owners are still resistant to change while they see their old offline marketing return on investment (ROI) quickly shrink. Why is this happening? Here are 5 answers to that question.
1. The Yellow Phone Book Is Dead
In a recent survey performed by Harris Interactive reports that “Nearly 70% of adults in the U.S. “rarely or never” use the phone book.” This survey was conducted on behalf of Whitepages.com to bring more attention to their website, Ban the Phone Book, designed to educate people about the 165,000 tons of waste phone books generate per year.
2. What About Email Marketing?
It’s no secret that email marketing has become a core component of many businesses’ marketing strategies; however, one must beg the question, which component is producing the best ROI?
It’s no doubt that email marketing is much less expensive than direct mail marketing. There are no printing or postage costs associated with it. While email marketing may be cheaper, does it get as high of a response rate? The data below is from a real case study on a business marketing to their customer loyalty program members. The case study was performed by the Harvard Business Review.
The campaign consisted of 105,000 customers in a database. They were distributed into three groups (35,000 for each group). One group combined Direct mail and email marketing; one was direct mail only; the last was Email only.
So, to figure out the actual ROI, we will first calculate the amount of revenue generated by each group.
We see that the response rate on direct mail is higher, thus generating more revenue; however, the cost for direct mail marketing is about 100 times more.
By doing a simple ROI calculation (ROI = total revenue / total spend), we find that the ROI is literally almost 100 times more than direct mail marketing.
3. Mobile Devices are Taking Over the World
We live in a mobile age. Typically, when someone is searching for a local business to meet whatever need they may have, Google geo-targets (finds where they’re located) their location by using GPS. For instance, if someone is driving around in Pearland, TX looking for Restaurants, they only need to type in the keyword “Restaurants” on their mobile devices. With GPS enabled, Google will show local business results. Notice under each location, there is a ‘Call’ link, ‘Directions’ link, and a ‘Website’ link. This is a significant factor to consider when driving online traffic to your business.
Quick Fact: 48 percent of U.S. mobile users used their devices to access local content in December 2012, up from 42 percent in December 2011.
According to Televox mobile traffic has surpassed desktop and laptop traffic in 2013 and is growing by about 3.5% each month.
4.Track All of Your Leads
You can track all of your online marketing efforts, which give much more transparency than traditional marketing. Knowing where your leads are coming from is a key component of understanding your most profitable marketing efforts.
Online marketing has even made traditional marketing more effective by using coupon codes on print ads that customers can claim on the website. Most business owners are also aware of mobile apps that allow people to scan QR codes to go directly to a page. These can be tracked as well.
Google Analytics is the first step to understanding how your website is performing online. With this tool you can track the amount of visitors that are coming to your site, how they are getting there, what type of devices they are using, and much more. This is an essential part of any type of online marketing campaign.
Taking a step further, one might want to install call tracking on their website. Software such as Marchex, allows one to track and record calls by using different phone numbers for different sources. Additionally, the phone number will automatically change for website visitors that come from paid advertising versus nonpaid search traffic.
Being able to track every lead makes it much easier for a business to figure out its return on investment (ROI) for each type of marketing and optimize their budget to reflect that. It’s important to know what is working and what is not to be successful, thus giving online marketing a competitive advantage when comparing it versus offline strategies.
5. Leveraging Social Media
If your business isn’t using social media, it should be. Today, a majority of online adults are using social media. In a study done by the Pew Research Center they found that 72% of online adults are using social networking sites. Interestingly, women were found to use social networking sites more than men.
Furthermore, the research study found that regardless of income the percentage of online adults using social networking sites is about the same across the board. While income factors stay consistent, the statistics that were found based on age are most likely what everyone expected. The older the individual, the less likely they are going to be using social networking sites.
So while the older population is much less likely to be using social media, it’s important to point out that almost half of senior citizens are using social media (43%). Keeping this in mind, it tells business owners that no matter how old their target market may be, social media should not be discounted as a means for effective marketing.
As of December 2012:
- 15% of online adults say they use Pinterest
- 13% of online adults say they use Instagram
- 6% of online adults say they use Tumblr
- 67% of online adults say they use Facebook
The truth is that the data doesn’t lie. Online marketing is now the dominant resource for expanding a businesses’ reach and achieving the best ROI. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy and every industry varies. Some businesses can solely depend on online marketing, while others may benefit more from a combination of offline and online. Whichever the case may be, every business should embrace the way the market is quickly evolving.