Surf the Dream A discourse of links and articles from Justin Avery

Tag Archive: Google Analytics

  1. Google Search Console Updates – Content Keywords & Site Grouping

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    If you manage a website the chances are that you’ve heard of and use the Google Search Console, the artist formally known as Webmaster Tools.

    If you’re sitting there scratching your head and wondering what I’m talking about then go and check out this article from Moz and get yourself started.

    The console is always changing and you should be dipping in there once a week to make sure that all your pages are still being indeed and there’s no issues with your website (from Googles point of view at least). If this seems like a lot of effort go and check out your Google Analytics under Acquisition > Overview and see how much of your traffic comes from Organic Search.

    For me that number sits at a whopping 86% so it’s a benefit to me to make sure that there’s no unknown issues on the console. Bing also has a Web Master Console that you should take the time to set up, but for me and the majority of everyone I know most of their traffic comes through Google so that’s the best starting point.

    Okay, so what are the updates?

    Content Keywords go bye bye

    I’ve never spent any time checking out this section in the Google Search Console so I have to say that I’m not going to miss it at all. The idea behind this page is that is shows the most commonly used keywords on your site as you can see in the image.

    Google Search Console Contnet Keywords list

    These are the most common keywords from https://responsivedesign.is… unsurprisingly the terms responsive and design are incredibly high up there. There are also a few terms that are used in the footer which rank highly because they’re on every single page, terms like Justin & Avery. I also do a lot of podcasts and transcriptions and you might be a feeling for my Australian talking style as you can see yeah also ranks highly.

    The keywords can be reviewed further taking you to a list of pages that most often use that particular term. As you can see from the image all of the top ranking pages for the term responsive are the podcast pages that have been transcribed. That’s because there’s between 40 minutes and an hour worth of conversation about responsive design.

    Google Search Console Content Keywords page uses

    Where it does come in handy is if you’ve been hacked.

    A common form of hacking is to find a website that has a good page rank and lots of traffic and then incorporate content/pages into that site without the owners knowledge. You then list a whole bunch of targeted keywords that you want to rank highly for and have them directed to your site. You see this in WordPress comments a LOT.

    The content keywords would allow you to pick up any anomalies and fix before any damage is done to your reputation, and more importantly your ranking in search results.

    Google have asked that anyone that uses this feature for a good reason to speak up now or forever hold their peace, but I can’t see them changing their mind.

    Why do I need to group sites?

    When you set up a site in Google Search Console you need to be very specific. Each of these sites would be considered a different property in the console:

    • http://responsivedesign.is
    • http://www.responsivedesign.is
    • https://responsivedesign.is
    • https://www.responsivedesign.is

    For me I actually redirect all traffic to the https://responsivedesign.is site, but that’s not necessarily true for everyone. Now days you probably won’t have a m. site but equally you might, and while wordpress have approached AMP pages with /amp at the end or the url others will use amp.mydomain.com as the url. Essentially we want to see all the details about these sites in one dashboard — not several.

    Google Search Console - Grouping sites

    At the moment it seems as though Sets haven’t been rolled out to all Search Consoles or at least mine is missing the option. If you’re keen to do this check out the help article from google.

  2. Delete Google Analytics Properties

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    Over the past few years I’ve picked up more than my fair share of domain names, and along with them Google Accounts. It’s recently got so bad that I can’t actually add any more GA accounts any more.

    Now I can breathe easy as Google have recently announced that you can now delete old properties.

    Google Analytics Delete Property
    Google Analytics now provides you a delete option

    There are some caveats around this and it’s important to understand the consequences of losing the data you’ve gained on these properties.

  3. Are you monitoring your website with Google Analytics?

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    Last week i received an email from a friend of mine telling me that they were opening a new business and needed a website.

    A few years ago a website was an after thought yet today things have changed. These days getting a website ready is what you do before you open for buiness.

    Once the website is set too often it is never thought of or reviewed again. That’s like planting a tree in the backyard and never going back to check to see if it’s growing. Does it need more water, less sun, some fertiliser?

    Websites are created to achieve particular actions/goals. What you need is a way monitor and track those goals to ensure that, just like an employee, your website is doing what it’s been paid to do.

    If you currently have a website can you answer the following:

    • How many people visit your site each week?
    • What is the ratio of new vs. returning visitors?
    • How do your visitors find your website?
    • What is the most popular page on your site?
    • What is your worse performing page on your site?
    • At what point do your customer abandon the buying process?

    The answers to those questions provide valuable insights into understanding if your website is doing its job and are available through Google Analytics.

    Google Analytics is a free product that tracks every action and event on your website. It provides information about your visitors including Location (City/Country), search terms used to find your page, time spent on your site, how the clicked through your site, plus much more. It also provides real-time/live tracking too.

    To get started all you need to do is sign up for a free account at http://analytics.google.com. Follow the simple setup steps, add the tracking code to your website to start measuring your site today.

    This only just scratches the surface of how Google Analytics can provide help your business so signup and get tracking.

  4. How to track external links on google analytics

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    Last Friday I set up a single page website for Facebook Influence members to keep track of all the tips, tricks and resources available on the site.

    I you haven’t already checked out the site, the basic function is that it lists a series of resources in thumbnail form with a title and description associated with them. Each resource is tagged with one or more categories for sorting, and these categories appear as navigation at the top of the page. Clicking on one of the categories re-orders the list of resources to show only those items.

    To get an idea of the most popular categories I set up Event Tracking on the top navigation elements…. and out of interest it seems most people are looking for inspiration.

    I also wanted to understand which of the resources were being clicked on the most, but unfortunately these resources are all external outbound links and therefore are not captured by regular analytics. I applied the same event tracking to these elements but found out that because they were outbound there was not enough time to register the click via the conventional Event Tracking method in Google.

    Tracking External links with google analytic events

    This page is where I got started working out how to track these click events

    Step One

    Include the following code after your Google Analytics code inside the </head> (only if you’re using the Asynchronous Code)
    <script type="text/javascript">
    function recordOutboundLink(link, category, action) {
    _gat._getTrackerByName()._trackEvent(category, action);
    setTimeout('document.location = "' + link.href + '"', 100);
    }
    </script>

    This adds a 100 millisecond delay to the click function which gives the analytics enough time to register the external link has been clicked before the browser reloads.

    Step Two

    Step two is really a step 1.2.  I found that when I implemented my usual tracking code (category, action, opt_label, opt_value) I wasn’t getting any results back from the test clicks.

    If you want to use those additional features you need to make a basic adjustment to the code above and include these options in the function;
    <script type="text/javascript">
    function recordOutboundLink(link, category, action, opt_label, opt_value) {
    _gat._getTrackerByName()._trackEvent(category, action, opt_label, opt_value);
    setTimeout('document.location = "' + link.href + '"', 100);
    }
    </script>

    Step Three

    Now that you have the function in place you need to update the links for all of your external resources and apply an onclick event.  This is when running a CMS makes it much easier to get things done.

    <a href="http://www.example.com" onClick="recordOutboundLink(this, 'Outbound Links', 'example.com', <youropt_label>, <youropt_value>);return false;">

    For me this was

    <a href="http://www.noupe.com/showcases/40-great-examples-of-facebook-fan-pages.html" onclick="recordOutboundLink(this, 'Outbound Links', 'Noupe – Awesome FB pages', 'http://www.noupe.com/showcases/40-great-examples-of-facebook-fan-pages.html', 1);return false;" >

    Conclusion

    As you can see it only takes a few lines of code to get a much better idea about how people are using your website.  This data provides an excellent insight into your cusotmers movements and trends and means that you can plan your content to go along with what your customers trends are at any time.

    As always, if you are looking to get more out of your website through understading the usage patterns a little better get in touch with me to have a chat.

  5. Surfer Magazine

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    SurferM.ag is a wordpress based magazine site that has now been running since 2008. It features news and reviews about everything and anything that happens in the World of Surfing.

    Site: SurferM.ag

    Website Features

    • WordPress Design & Development
    • Google Analytics
    • Google Adwords
    • Google Adsense
    • Facebook Advertising
    • Facebook Fan Pages
    • Cloud Hosting/CDN
    • Performance & Caching
    • Twitter
    • Real Time Analytics

    Since the inception we have developed the initial theme to inclue Full Page Live Streaming, Online Stores, Adsense and Affiliate Advertising.

    We created a Category and Tag based Taxonomy to improve the related content options as well as improve the SEO Performance in a saturated market.

    We ran Facebook and Google Adwords advertising campaigns to improve the user subscription numbers and reviewed the success of the campaigns through integrated Google Analytics.

    The site took on live steaming of ASP Surf Competitions and we wanted to see the affect that had on user interactions in real time. We used GoSquared to monitor this and used the results to improve on the Twitter and Facebook conversations .

    As a global site the performance (site load time) was a concern. We set up a Content Distribution Network (CDN) with Amazone S3 Services so that all file assets (images, CSS, Javascript) were downloaded from a local source. We also worked on a caching strategy to ensure browser caching was fullly untiliise without affecting the currency of the articles.

  6. Paul William Jewellery

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    Paul came to us with a very basic requirement.

    “I need a website”

    We talked about all the things that http://www.paulwilliamdesigns.com/ would eventually contain on the site, however at the beginning we only had enough content for a few pages.

    We decided that we would take single page business card approach and came up with this design.

    CSS3 was used to enable border radius (rounded corners) and give a slight box shadow to the card, and HTML5 was used to include the tag for mobile devices.

    Microformats, in particular the vcard, was used to take advantage of Google Rich Snippets. This essentially allows the internet to understand the semantics of the page content, which I discussed during one of my Darwin Web Standards talks.

    The next steps with Paul will be to discuss improving the content on the site, identifying a good Information Architecture and take the next steps in the Web Design process.

Surf the Dream is a blog that has been running since the mid 2000's when it started on BlogSpot. Over the years it's been rebranded as justinavery.me (now my resume) and JaveryDesign.com (which now redirects back to this site).

I offer consultation services through Simple Things, produce a range of high quality pocket notebooks(including a Solar System Notebook, Space Notebook, and a Guitar Notebook), write about the Universe and run a responsive web design knowledge hub and a RWD Weekly Newsletter.