Posts in Google Analytics
AlgoSleuth Updated for Panda 25

It's been a little over a month now since the launch of our free SEO tool, AlgoSleuth. AlgoSleuth utilizes the power of the Google Analytics API to provide a powerful analysis of your site's organic traffic and highlights all major Google Algorithm updates that may have affected you over the past several years. AlgoSleuth was recently updated so that it now includes traffic data spanning Google's most recent Panda 25 algorithm update. We will continue to update it well into the future as new algorithm updates are pushed out by Google. The next planned update will also include some new features we've been working on. If you haven't tried out AlgoSleuth yet, just click below to grab a copy and test it on your site!


AlgoSleuth -  Now Updated for Panda 25

3 Advanced Segments You've Probably Never Used

So, it's been a while since we last talked about Advanced Segments in Google Analytics. Over the past 18 months, Google has added even more value and depth to their Analytics offering, enough to easily overwhelm your average user. Advanced Segments allow you to quickly compare certain groups of visitors against one another, and these segments can also be combined with custom reports and filtering for even greater in-depth analysis. Here are three segments we highly recommend that you can quickly add (and tweak) to get even more out of Analytics.

1. Visitors who Abandoned a Goal

Conversion rates are the bread and butter of what keeps an e-commerce business ticking. Though it heavily depends on the industry, the average conversion rate for e-commerce sites is around 2-3%, at best. Having said that, wouldn't you love to have better insight on your site visitors who DON'T convert? Having an advanced segment for visitors who start but do NOT finish a goal is invaluable. As illustrated below, this segment will allow you to track these visitors and try to narrow down the reason(s) why they dropped out of the funnel. Download it here. (Must Be Logged Into Google Account)

Advanced Segment - Abandoned A Goal

2. Separate Segments for AdWords Text Ads, PLAs, Remarketing & Display

With the recent addition of enhanced campaigns, it's clear that Google is varying the ways it allows advertisers to reach their target audience. That being said, if you have a large account that uses more than just basic text ads it's crucial to be able to see how they contrast with one another. If your account has PLAs, Display ads and Remarketing ads, why not have an Advanced Segment for each? This way, you can divide that traffic out and see how each is performing across ALL of the reports in Google Analytics. If your naming conventions are in proper order, this can be easily done by using our Advanced Segment (download it here - Note:Must Be Logged Into Google Account) and modifying it by using a simple "Include Campaign Containing" for "Remarketing", "Display", and "PLAs". Create one advanced segment for each of those. Then, for the text ads, you simply set a filter to "Exclude Campaigns Containing" those same three, separated by "AND" statements. If your AdWords account doesn't have each of these broken out into their own campaigns then you should definitely knock that out first.

Advanced Segment - AdWords Breakdown

3. Using the Service Provider Report for B2B Lead Gen

My last advanced segment comes straight from the LunaMetrics blog. I feel that this report has the potential to deliver a lot of value for B2B lead generation, as well as marketing agencies. With this advanced segment a large majority of the "legitimate" Internet Service Providers are filtered out so that when you go to the Network report under Audience > Technology > Network, you then should be able to scroll through this list and pick out companies that are large enough to show as their own "service provider". Just to show the proof of concept, our Chattanooga neighbor Smart Furniture shows up on our list. Feel free to tinker around with this segment to try and see what more it might offer. Download it here(Must Be Logged Into Google Account)

Advanced Segment - B2B Lead Generation

Reporting TRUE AdWords Assisted Conversion Values

Great, Multi-Channel Expectations

When Google Analytics Multi-Channel funnels first came out, we were AWED and AMAZED. The metrics I latched onto first were the assisted transaction and revenue attributions. At last! Now those lower-converting AdWords campaigns could show their value. I knew they had to be doing something, but I didn’t have the tools to prove it before.

A Sad Discovery

I quickly came to discover, however, that these Assisted attributions are not in addition to the Last-Interaction conversions but rather include any conversion that involves an AdWords click along the conversion path, even if the Last-Interaction conversion was through AdWords as well. This means that we were reporting overlapping attribution on our AdWords transactions and revenue values! Basically, we couldn’t get anywhere near accurate revenue values for Assisted and Last-Interaction Conversions when combining their values together.

Data-Driven Redemption

That is, until we built a User-Defined Conversion Segment. We call our heroine “Exclude AdWords Last Interaction.” She looks a little something like this:

Exclude AdWords Last Interaction

Turn on this segment in the AdWords section of the Multi-Channel Funnels Assisted Conversions tab and it’ll set all of your Last-Interaction values to zero in addition to excluding any overlapping Last-Interaction revenue attributions from your Assisted conversion metrics. These are the REAL sidekicks -- none posing as the breadwinner.

True Assisted Conversion Value

These reports now show overall revenue numbers that I can pass on to clients and not feel like they’re being quite so duped by the illusions of attribution as I once was.

If you need help setting up this segment or any similar to it, we’re here to help. Just let us know.

Set Up Analytics Alerts During Product Listing Ad Transition

Since Google Shopping completely falls under the umbrella of paid search as of October, some retailers are on edge about smoothly making this transition with little to no loss of product listing shoppers. This is especially important going into the holiday season when shoppers are clicking the mess out of those pretty pictures on their Google SERPs. Now that these campaigns are becoming staples for positive PPC ROI, you’ll absolutely need to know whenever any anomalies occur. This is where custom alerts come in. Inside Google Analytics, you can set up a custom alert specifically for product listing ad campaigns and ad groups to monitor any online metrics on your site through these sources. To make sure your traffic isn’t dropping off, we recommend you set up an alert for any day when visitors from these sources significantly drop compared to the same day of the previous week. This way, you won’t have to lose days of revenue simply because you weren’t aware of a glitch that threw off or limited the eligibility of product ads.

Product Listing Ad Custom Alert

There are numerous other alerts you might want to set up for product ads, so think of what you’ll need to know in order to monitor this traffic and its conversions. For example, some product landing pages from these ads might have high bounce rates. You’ll be able to monitor these with alerts as well and begin looking into optimizing those particular pages. Take a few minutes to strategize and set up as many of these alerts preemptively as you can before you have to find out about an issue too late.

(Not Provided) Keyword Data to Rise

On May 7th, the Mozilla Privacy Blog announced that Google Secure Search has become the default standard in the Aurora build of Firefox. Aurora is step 2 of 4 in the development cycle of the Firefox browser. This feature was announced weeks ago, but at the time was only in the Nightly development version of Firefox, a place where experimental changes are often tested and discarded. The move to the next development stage signals that Mozilla does intend to roll out this change in a future version of Firefox. You can read more about that, but the short version is, we can expect this to be the default search in the stable version of Firefox in 12-18 weeks

What does this mean for site owners and SEO's? It will almost certainly mean a dramatic spike in (not provided) keyword data as Firefox is one of the most popular browsers in the world, with 35-38% of usage share in the US.

Many site owners are already seeing 15 or 20% of the search referral data as the dreaded (not provided) "keyword". It is difficult to guess, but this number could be as high as 50-60% on some sites, when combining (not provided) data from logged in Google users as well as anyone using Firefox.

When the (not provided) referral data was introduced in October 2011 some site owners and SEO's suggested that Google might be motivated purely by profits because all PPC keyword data can still be accessed anyone using Google Adwords. With the news that Google is paying the Mozilla Foundation $300 million a year to be the default search engine in Firefox, some people are questioning the Mozilla Foundation's real motives with this move.

Feb. 14th, 2013 Update: Just as many analysts predicted, Google Chrome was not far behind in moving searches to SSL. iOS6 also jumped on the bandwagon now bringing the global averages for (not provided) keyword data to almost 30% of all organic traffic.

What The Wire Can Teach Us About SEM - Part 2 of 2

(In case you missed it: Part 1 of 2)

“All in the game, yo. All in the game.” - Omar Little

Omar Little - All in the Game, Yo

At the end of the day, SEO is a kind of game. It’s a very serious game with billions of dollars riding on it, sure, but it’s a game nonetheless. There are rules and strategies that work - that have been proven to work for years. Even when the rules change (aka Google gets a big idea), smart players simply work to familiarize themselves with and exploit the new playing field.

There will be bumps in the road (there may also be a few boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios and bags of cash dropped from on high), but dogged and intelligent pursuit of organic power using the rules that search engines created and SEOs have trail-blazed is a surefire route to success.

“I want my corners.” - Avon Barksdale

Stringer Bell believed in a new kind of game - the game beyond the game as he memorably put it - and he stopped believing in the importance of territory. It was a classic case of vision becoming unmoored from reality. Yes, in a perfect world Stringer’s strategy might have worked, but in the real world it was always going to be a flop. Owning the corners was a fundamental building block of the drug trade in Baltimore - you couldn’t divorce them from the rest of your strategy. The same idea can be applied to SEM; you’ll never get anywhere unless you execute on fundamentals. You’ve got to have your corners.

There are dozens of aspects of SEM that all contribute to a better organized and optimized web presence. There are a hundred ways to make your online presence more visible, more effective, and more profitable. But there are a few rock solid fundamentals that absolutely every SEM effort will fail without.

  • Content
    • Without it, you don’t exist to search engines.
  • Site Structure and Speed
    • Without it, you don’t exist to Google.
  • Analytics
    • Without it, you are flying completely blind.

Without those basic building blocks in place, nothing else you do is going to work the way it should, or the way you want it to. There is a game beyond the game, there surely is - but you’ve gotta have your corners.

“‘Failure to properly identify myself as a police officer.’ Sounds like what I was guilty of most of my career, actually.” - Detective Roland Pryzbylewski

Prez was not natural police. He got on the force because his father-in-law was a higher up in the department, he was unable to control his fear in the field, and he consistently failed to take his situation as seriously as he should. He just wasn’t a good cop - he wasn’t cut out for it.

But he was a fantastic teacher. After being drummed out of the force he ended up working in Baltimore public schools and making a real difference. It was a match for his skill set - it was his calling.

We see this happen a lot with e-commerce sites. They can get carried away chasing rankings and traffic for terms that aren’t their real strengths. If you’re a company that makes vacuum cleaners, then focus on selling vacuum cleaners! Don’t waste time and money trying to rank for other items that are insignificant in the larger scheme of things, and which are inferior products to your main offerings. Know thyself, and do what you do when you do what you do.

“A man got to have a code.” - Omar Little/Bunk Moreland

Perhaps the most quoted line from The Wire. It expresses the moral center of the entire show - that a man must have a personal code of conduct that transcends the law, and any traditional or makeshift authority or set of rules. It’s an acknowledgement from Omar that there is indeed a “game beyond the game” - but it’s not about what Stringer thought it was. It’s about integrity.

We would argue that’s the primary value of an SEO company as well.

At Delegator we don’t do black hat SEO - while it may pay off in short term results, we know it’s a losing strategy in the long game and a threat to the businesses of our clients.

We track and keep our clients apprised of their organic and PPC results at all times - good or bad. That keeps us accountable.

We assign an account manger for each client so that communication never breaks down, and there’s always someone looking out for your best interests with skin in the game.

We believe in comprehensive packages that keep us flexible, rather than monthly draws on your bank account for services you might not need anymore or that may have become less important to your business.

It’s all in the game, yo. All in the game.

What the Wire Can Teach Us About SEM - Part 1 of 2

The Wire is everyone's favorite show for a reason. A deep well of characters, a sprawling narrative that felt intimate and alive, a searing critique of the drug war and a top to bottom post-mortem on the heart of a once-great city. It could only be described as, well, "Dickensian." Sorry, Gus! The Wire was one of those shows that kept you on the hook with long-developing plot lines (investigations, mergers, a series of major news reports) that typically extended over an entire season. It also delivered incredible quotes and moments of drama and comedy on a weekly basis - sometimes both in the same scene. It's what gave the show its weekly entertainment punch to go along with its historical level of sophistication and "reporting."

Here at Delegator we're big fans, and we even started using some of those quotes around the office to reference some of the things we were doing for clients related to AdWords, SEO, Analytics, and more. With a recent upswing in attention on the show (thanks Grantland!) we thought now might be a good time to share with our clients and readers what we've been talking about for years. Search Engine Marketing - As Explained by the Cast of The Wire. Sheeeeeeee...

“When you take a shot at the King, you best not miss.” - Omar Little

Omar Little

Taking aim at the number one Google ranking is a formidable task. That’s especially true when you happen to be going up against another entity that a) has a clearly more relevant relationship to the keyword than you do or b) can spend you under the table. Unfortunately for most companies, it’s not a realistic goal.

Now that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn't try, or shouldn’t at least set it as your goal. Sometimes toppling the king is easier than you thought (just ask Marlo). But more often than not, as Wee-Bey found out, you end up eating chicken salad across from Bunk and McNulty. What is realistic for most companies is getting a few corners of their own - corners the big boys  might not know about. The way to do this in SEO is by investigating and then investing in long tail keywords. Maybe Huge Company X has the market cornered on "The Wire Posters," but you could get a real foothold in "Michael K. Williams Posters," "Omar Little Wire Posters," or "Omar Little Season 5 Posters." You won't get quite as much traffic as you would for a generic term, but the traffic you do get will be specific, and motivated to convert.

The only way to achieve a ranking like that for a competitive keyword is perfect preparation, determination in the form of time and money, and luck.

“Look the part, be the part.” - Proposition Joe

Proposition Joe

Joe came in for some ridicule from Avon when he showed up to the annual East/West showdown in full “Pat Riley” suit and tie regalia, but his commitment to looking like a “real” basketball coach helped him coach with more authority and confidence. In other words, getting the look right helped him get the job right. That, and a hired ringer. This is a lesson that can be easily applied to SEM.

Everything starts with your site design. A newcomer to your site should immediately be able to understand what you’re about and trust that you can deliver the goods. Building that initial trust element and creating a homepage that effectively funnels users to the pages you want them to hit is a complicated, multi-faceted process, but it’s a time and design investment well worth making. When you look like a “real” site, you’ll see yourself start to perform like one.

“Our job is to report the news, not manufacture it!” - Gus Haynes

Gus Haynes and Scott Templeton Season 5 of The Wire was about the breakdown of professional ethics within the main character, Detective Jimmy McNulty, as well as the august offices of the Baltimore Sun (where series creator David Simon began his career as a journalist). McNulty, frustrated with the lack of institutional support for his wire investigations, (SPOILER ALERT) fakes the presence of a serial killer by “adjusting” bodies post mortem. Scott Templeton, a hotshot up and comer at the Sun, began his career making up innocuous stories about wheelchair bound children going to Orioles games, but he eventually begins to stretch the truth about the serial killer case - he is the only reporter the “killer” ever contacts.

In the end McNulty loses his badge and Templeton wins a Pulitzer.

When you go with “black hat” SEO - SEO that attempts to get around Google standards and practices through any one of a dozen illicit strategies - you’re taking the same chance. Maybe it will work, you won’t get caught, and your business will go up, up, up. But maybe you’ll get caught, blacklisted, and penalized indefinitely in the organic results, crippling and even killing your business. Is that really a chance you want to take?

At Delegator we only do “white hat” SEO. Be very careful before getting in bed with any firm that doesn’t, and make sure that if you’re running your own SEO operation you don’t cross the line. It’s not worth risking your entire business.

“If Snotboogie always stole the money, then why did you let him play?”

“Got to. This America, man.” - McNulty and Man on Stoop

Anybody can play the AdWords game. Doesn’t matter if they don’t understand it, try to cheat it, or run their accounts into the ground. Because it depends on the quality of your site much less than the value of your dollar, it’s as open as it gets in the land of SEM. The only thing you need to play is money - Google allows you to set up your account and start spending faster than you can run down to your neighborhood game of bones (though your ROI is likely to be higher with Google). You will almost certainly need an expert to guide you through the weeds with no pain and plenty of profit.

Active AdWords management is the best way to navigate the choppy waters of paid search. Active management means going in every day and making changes, re-organizing, raising and lowering bids, and identifying and exploiting new best practices. That's the only proven way to consistently stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the wide open AdWords game.

Come back for more Wire action next week!

Part 2 of 2.

Riding the New Google Analytics Features Roll-Out

With great patience, we’ve all been waiting for Google Analytics to roll out new features on its swanky, contemporary interface. As the resident analyst here at Delegator, I admit I was wary of the new Analytics when it first appeared this past fall. I compulsively clicked  the “Old Version” option in the top navigation bar upon logging in for a couple of weeks, but I gradually (begrudgingly) trained my eye to the new look and feel. And as any good love story goes, distaste slowly transforms into bedazzlement for my new GA beau as each refined feature appears. New Feature Improves Productivity

The first thing that stood out to me on the new interface was how much more user-friendly it is than the old version, which meant it didn’t appear to be quite as analyst-friendly as I desired. It was easier to find the quick hit metrics, but I didn’t initially see how the layout was as conducive to cross-metric analysis. As each new feature is released, however, I find my worries falling away one-by-one. There are a couple of highlights worth noting already, and they haven't even rolled out the custom reporting PDF or email features yet (hint hint)!

1. Multi-Channel Funnels

Most notably, the multi-channel funnel feature has improved my traffic sources-conversion analysis beyond compare. I’ve singularly used this tool to optimize a small AdWords account within the past month, which resulted in truly staggering ROI results. For companies with fewer conversions, having this ability to optimize for assisted conversions adds a level of unprecedented refinement to data analysis that I didn't even think to request.

2. Converting Standard Reports Into Custom Reports

I'm trying not to go too crazy on this one. When I saw the "Customize" option in one of the Standard Reports tabs, I gasped thinking of the endless reports I could build from these standard platforms. However, I do urge caution on this frontier. Building custom reports from scratch may be a pain, but they remain my most valuable reports. I can imagine this customize feature being incredibly useful in instances where you really do just need to add one or two more metric columns to a standard report, but I don't think it should supplement the careful planning that typically goes into a custom report. Customize wisely, my analytical brothers and sisters.

Much to my delight, the new Analytics interface is beautiful and fast. With fresh new buttons, streamlined categorization, and new dashboard building options, it seems Google is finding that sweet spot where Analytics will please both the average user and the analytics guru alike.

Top 5 Custom Advanced Segments for E-commerce Websites

The “Advanced Segments” feature on Google Analytics has been helping companies optimize website analysis for a few years now, and gurus across the globe have designed their favorite custom segments for all brands of websites. We have a few favorites of our own around here at Delegator, especially for our e-commerce clients. If you are looking for more useful, streamlined filters on your own e-commerce account, here are five custom segments we highly recommend.

1. Visits with Add to CartE-commerce Advanced Segments

Google Analytics has a default segment called "Visits with Transactions." Convenient, right? What we discovered is that we not only love having shoppers roll up to the conveyor belt and checkout, but we also want to know who may have added items to her cart but failed to commit to a full-on transaction. Filtered metrics like these can often give you superior insight, both for debugging purposes and, particularly, for content analysis.

2. Specific Product Purchases

One simple fact of e-commerce is that some items generate higher transaction rates than others. You know your company's hottest items. Customizing this filter will take your product analysis beyond the scope of e-commerce’s “Product Performance.” Now you can dig into AdWords under Traffic Sources and identify the types of keywords that commonly lead to a particular item transaction. This same method can be applied to specific product views, as well, revealing similar data on a wider scope.

3. High Revenue Products

Not only do some items produce higher conversion rates, but some produce higher revenue than others. You need to isolate these items for many purposes, including --but definitely not limited to-- identifying potential revenue skews and improving marketing on these items. These high-dollar products are what you’re banking on, so go ahead and give them their own special segment.

4. Low Revenue Products

This segment is as useful as number 3. Ever wonder how many of your conversions are being sucked up by low-revenue items on your website? Set a low ceiling price in this segment and check out how many viewers are only buying your cheapest products. If this number is high, you may consider redirecting your marketing campaign to a wider audience with more promising high-revenue returns. Additionally, you may reconsider the prominence of low-revenue items on your site in order to draw more attention to higher quality products.

5. Social Networks

While we know that most popular social media sites receive a lot of traffic in general, you ultimately need to know how this is reflected in profit for your business. Is your time spent on social media worth the investment? With a social media filter, you can include any or all social mediums utilized. You may find that some networks are more profitable than others, and some, not at all. Social networks guarantee exposure, but as any good business does, you need to check your actual return on investment.

Thanks to Google Analytics, customizing your own advanced segments is a simple process with great returns. Give these five segments a try, and you may find yourself designing even more streamlined segments that fit your business perfectly. If this does happen, feel free to drop by and share!