Archive for 2007

May 16
2007

I promised to share what we learned at eMetrics with the consultant community and those of you that read our blog. I’ll start today and will do more in the next little while, but it has been extremely busy and it seems that when you leave the office for 3 days and you come back, you are 6 days behind. I am not sure how this happens every time :-) .

One thing I’ll start off with is the important of the analysis. When it comes to web analytics, a lot of the time we tend to focus on reporting and we kid ourselves by calling it analysis. No matter what tool you use, be it Urchin reports, Google Analytics, ClickTracks, or whatever, they key thing is not to print a fancy report about the top visited pages and brag to the customer about how many visitors we drove to these pages. Rather, you’d want to look at the top visited pages and see how many of these pages are leading to conversion. What good is it if we drive 10 000 visitors to a page and that page has a 95% bounce rate! (i.e. 9 500 visitors left the site without visiting other pages)

So as marketing consultants, we know the goals of our clients and the goals of their websites, so we drive traffic to their websites. The next logical thing is to analyze what takes place on the site, analyze the traffic source, and then improve the overall user experience which will naturally lead to achieving the objectives of the site owner.
In June, I’ll be covering more on analysis at the Web Analytics Webinar Series on www.e-nor.com. Be sure to tune in, and if you have any specific questions, a scenario, or a general comment, I’d love to hear from you. Just post your comment here or e-mail me directly.
For those of you in or close to Dublin, Ireland, I’ll be doing my Ambassador Training Workshop on May 24 and 25, and plan to focus on analytics. So sign up today I’d love to see you there!

May 08
2007

I am attending a web analytics conference in San Francisco (www.eMetrics.org), the leading conference in web analytics, and Google just announced their new analytics software. They have also announced it on their analytics blogs, analytics.blogspot.com.

We have seen the software and once again the guys & gals at Google have done an amazing job. The new software provides advanced segmentation and reporting that will help us better analyze the data instead of spending all our time on reporting the data.

I will be sharing my newfound knowledge with the IC community once Emetrics is over.

Apr 10
2007

A colleague of mine recently mentioned that he wasn’t able to get his Business Edge (DNN) based site to be indexed by search engines. The concern was that since pages are written virtually within the database and no real pages exist in the file structure, search engines would be prevented from indexing your site.

Actually this is a very common misconception. Business Edge builds URL’s that are virtual in nature and not representative of the underlying file structure. This is common amongst many Content Management Systems and doesn’t present any problems from a search engine perspective.

Whether you use the default friendly URL convention (static, but long and confusing) or the the much more elegant “human friendly” URL convention, the search engines should have no problem with virtual URL schemes.

Search engines see your Business Edge site (or any other site for that matter) in the same way that normal users see it – as a set of links and structured content – the rest is just presentation which the search engine doesn’t care about. The search engine has zero visibility into the underlying file structure and literally has no way of knowing whether the URL being shown to the search engine is real or virtual. It only cares that it works or doesn’t (in other words, is a page visible or not). Technically speaking, if a search engine gets back a status code of “200 OK” when it requests a page then the page is as real as a static html page.

In most cases though, you might have difficulty getting internal pages (pages that aren’t on the top level navigation menu) to be indexed by Google (or other search engines) for a couple of reasons:

  • the top level pages are indexed because they are direct links from your home page. As search engines come to your site, they see these links on your home page and “crawls” to them, resulting in those pages being indexed.
  • pages that exist in the site drop-down menu or what you refer to as “inside pages” aren’t being indexed because they aren’t main links off the home page. They are in the drop-down menu, but this menu is built using javascript which the search engine can’t interpret. Due to this, it is unable to navigate to those pages and thinks they don’t exist.

To get around this problem, there are a couple of possibilities:

  • One very easy method is to create a SiteMap link on the home page. This allows the search engine to “see” the link to the sitemap on the home page, which in turn brings all the inside pages into the search engine’s view. We’ve done this on www.noblelimo.com (see the top right corner).
  • Another method is to replace the out-of-box dropdown menu in Business Edge with a search engine friendly CSS based menu. A CSS menu will look and feel the same as a javascript menu, but is built using code that a search engine can parse and interpret, resulting in inside pages being visible. We are in the process of implementing this solution on several sites. Send me an email (shiraz at e-nor.com) and I’ll be happy to provide more information.

Hope that helps!    My thanks to Rehan Asif, one of my colleagues here at E-Nor, for the SEO knowledge that went into this post.

Apr 06
2007

I was traveling last week at my Ambassador Training Session and super swamped this week catching up, so I missed few days of reading my blogs and forums and it seems that I am two years behind! :-)

One the most important announcements this week from Google is the availability of Google Website Optimizer (GWO) to all AdWords users. The folks at Google did a fine job with this tool.

We were beta testing the GWO on a few of our accounts and the results were pretty amazing. I read somewhere today that this is like free money! The tool allows you to test various combinations of copy & images on your landing pages, manage all the combination juggling and crunching for you, and finally announce the winning combination when the experiment ends. We ran a quick experiment for one of our clients and achieved 129% improvement in conversion rate. This is just the beginning and it is on top of an already high performance landing page.

If you have a client that is investing money in Adwords, GWO is a must. You’ll improve their conversion rate and they’ll reward you for the improved Return on Investment (ROI). We offer Google Website Optimizer services to anyone that is interested. We’ll be more than glad to help you!

Apr 06
2007

Over the last few months it seems that a good percentage of the business we are getting is of the consulting or audit nature. Instead of clients asking us to implement PPC, they are actually complaining about PPC and how they are not realizing the anticipated ROI.

I once heard that “PPC is so easy to learn but it takes a lifetime to master”. That is so true! It only takes minutes to set up a campaign but few people invest the time to do the job right.

One of the most common mistakes we find when we audit an existing PPC account is the lack of meaningful account structure. The advertiser will create one campaign and then throw in all types of keywords in to one ad group. After turning the traffic on, they wonder why they are not seeing a good ROI!

It takes work and effort and creativity to implement a high performance PPC campaign. A recent post in the Inside Adwords blog addresses this issue of PPC Account Structure. Take look and re-examine how you set up your Adwords campaigns and see improvement & ease of management almost immediately.

We would love to hear your questions or comments!

Apr 06
2007

If a client has PPC campaigns in Google, Yahoo, and MSN, we want to make sure they are all tagged in such a way that Google Analytics can make the most sense out of all your marketing campaigns. In fact, this applies to e-mail and banner campaigns too.

For Google, you just need the auto tagging of URLs feature turned on inside of AdWords (and it should be turned on by default). For others like Yahoo, MSN, and e-mails, you need to go to Google URL builder. . Let us walk through one example of using this tool.

Let’s say your landing page is http://www.domain.com/landingpage1.htm and you are running a Yahoo PPC campaign for T1 internet services to it. Let’s also say that the keyword that triggers this ad is “t1″ without the quotes.

  1. Stick the landing page URL into the Website URL box.
  2. Campaign Source will be yahoo (note the lower case spelling).
  3. Campaign Medium will be cpc.
  4. Campaign Term will be different for every keyword inside your campaign. We are building a URL for the keyword of t1 so Campaign Term will be t1.
  5. Campaign Content would be left blank in this case but in another campaign such as e-mail you would use this field to differentiate between parts of your e-mail.
  6. Campaign Name would be whatever the campaign name was in Yahoo PPC. We add ysm_ as a prefix so we know it was a Yahoo campaign in any analytics reports we read later. So let’s put in ysm_T1_InternetServices.

Click on Generate URL and you get:
http://www.domain.com/landingpage1.htm?utm_source=yahoo
&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=t1&utm_campaign=ysm_T1_InternetServices

You have to disable auto tagging of URLs in Yahoo and instead manually give it these generated URLs. Now whenever someone clicks on that Yahoo ad to come to your landing page, Google Analytics will decipher all the utm variables in the landing page URL and sort the data appropriately.

For editing a large number of URLs it may make sense to use a spreadsheet like the one provided by our friends at epikone.com

Mar 06
2007

There are times when it makes sense to capture the click event as a goal inside of a web analytics solution like Google Analytics. Here are some scenarios where this makes sense:

  1. You submit a form on a Contact Us page and the URL does not change when you get to the next page.
  2. Determining if an e-mail address on a Contact Us page ever gets clicked.
  3. Tracking downloads of a white paper in PDF format.

Here is how you would ask your implementation or support staff to deal with each scenario:

  1. If the original form code was something like this:
    <form name=”ContactUs” ” action=”ContactUs.asp” method=”post”>
    Then it would get updated to look like this:
    <form name=”ContactUs” action=”ContactUs.asp” method=”post” onSubmit=”javascript:urchinTracker
    (‘/contact_us_form_submitted’);”>
    The onSubmit function has been added and it features code that tells Google Analytics that a certain page (whether it exists or not) has been viewed. Then you would set your goal URL to be /contact_us_form_submitted.
    A more advanced application of this technique is if you have several forms leading to one thank you page, then you can determine which forms caused what number of conversions.
  2. If the original e-mail code was something like this:
    <a href=”mailto:sales@domain.com”>sales@domain.com</a>
    Then it would get updated to look like this:
    <a href=”mailto:sales@domain.com” onClick=”javascript:urchinTracker
    (‘/email_click.htm’);”>sales@domain.com</a>
    The onClick function has been added and it features code that tells Google Analytics that a certain page (again, it does not matter if it exists) has been viewed. Then you can set one of your unused goals to /email_click.htm.
    A more advanced application of this technique would allow you to determine what e-mail address was clicked on (support@domain.com rather than sales@domain.com) and also which page the click occured on.
  3. If the original link to download the PDF was something like this:
    <a href=”http://www.domain.com/whitepapers/research-2007-03-31.pdf”>Research Summary for March 31, 2007</a>
    Then it would get updated to look like this:
    <a xhref=”http://www.domain.com/whitepapers/research-2007-03-31.pdf” onClick=”javascript:urchinTracker
    (‘/pdf_download.htm’);”>Research Summary for March 31, 2007</a>
    The onClick function has been added and it features code that tells Google Analytics that a certain page (once more, it does not matter at all if it actually exists) has been viewed. Then you can set of your unused goals to /pdf_download.htm.
    A more advanced application of this technique would allow you to determine what pdf was downloaded and also which page the click occured on.

Have any more questions about turning click actions into goals? Want to know more about the advanced techniques mentioned for each scenario? Contact E-Nor today with all your web analytics questions!

Jan 08
2007

NOTE: There is an updated version of this technique.

Do you ever wonder what searchers are exactly searching for and what actual keyword phrases are driving PPC traffic to your site? Using web analytics, you can examine your PPC traffic and configure the analytics program to provide you with “your PPC keywords vs. what searchers actually typed”. This data would help you refine your list of keywords by adding more targeted keywords or including unwanted keywords in your list of negative keywords.

For example, if you are marketing a limousine service for your client and you have “limousine service” as a keyword, the analytics PPC keyword filter might show you that people are typing “limo” or “limo service”. You can then add these two keywords and to your list of keywords. You also might find out that people are typing “cheap limo”, and let’s say your limousine service client doesn’t compete on price and doesn’t want to get traffic that is related to “cheap limo”, then you would add this “cheap limo” to your list of negative keywords.

Our friends at GA Experts came up with a way to get detailed PPC keyword data from Google Analytics. In case you need some extra help to configure this filter for www.domain.com, follow the instructions below.

  1. Go to the GA Account for domain.com.
  2. Click on Filter Manager.
  3. Click on Add Filter.
  4. For Filter Name, use something like Data Filter – PPC Keywords 1
  5. Filter Type is Customer filter.
  6. Choose Advanced.
  7. For Field A -> Extract A, choose Referral and enter in (\?|&)(q|p)=([^&]*)
  8. For Field B -> Extract B, choose Campaign Medium and enter in cpc|ppc
  9. For Output To -> Constructor, choose Custom Field 1 and enter in $A3
  10. The next 3 options should be yes followed by no for case sensitive.
  11. Hit Save Changes.
  12. Click on Add Filter.
  13. For Filter Name, use something like Data Filter – PPC Keywords 2
  14. Filter Type is Customer filter.
  15. Choose Advanced.
  16. For Field A -> Extract A, choose Custom Field 1 and enter in (.*)
  17. For Field B -> Extract B, choose Campaign Term and enter in (.*)
  18. For Output To -> Constructor, choose Campaign Term and enter in $B1, ($A1)
  19. The next 3 options should be yes followed by no for case sensitive.
  20. Hit Save Changes.
  21. Almost done! Click on the link that says Analytics Settings, then click on +Add Website Profile.
  22. Choose “Add a Profile for an existing domain”, make sure your domain is chosen, and enter in PPC Keywords for the Profile Name. Click on Finish.
  23. Click on Edit besides the PPC Keywords profile. Configure Main Website Profile Information, Conversion Goals and Funnel, and Users with Access to Profile just like it was configured for the other profile.
  24. Click on +Add Filter, choose “Apply existing Filter to Profile”, choose you’re other filters (if applicable) along with the two new filters you just created. Make sure Filter – PPC Keywords 1 comes in the list before Filter – PPC Keywords 2. In fact, these should probably be the top two filters. Hit Finish.
  25. Click on Analytics Settings. Your new profile will have data in it within hours or days depending on website traffic.