Search & Analytics provides readers with tips and techniques for utilizing web search analytics and measurement tools to define and manage success metrics from (organic and paid) search driven traffic. Columnists write about the basics of implementing analytics software, covering tagging and tracking search traffic to more advanced issues and topics such as ROI and conversion tracking, as well as how to gain greater insight and develop actionable strategies from your search analytics data.

How A PPC Fraud Ring Impersonated 300+ Advertisers In May 2014

ppc-featured Did you know that your paid search ads are susceptible to the same type of fraud that affects other forms of digital advertising? And we're not just talking about click fraud here.  The fraudulent tactic affecting PPC the most dramatically these days is a fairly insidious one that can be hard to detect. It's called PPC ad impersonation and occurs when an impostor advertiser takes a known URL, like JossAndMain.com, and uses it as the Display URL of their own advertisement. When you first hear about PPC fraud rings, you tend to think of click fraud where an automated system, not a real pe [...]


Prioritizing SEO Strategies In 2014: Where To Focus

SEO-girl Although there may not be a one-size-fits-all SEO strategy -- due to the fact that ideal strategies will vary greatly between industries, company capabilities and business models -- one thing remains true for everyone regardless of the size of the search team: ruthless prioritization of SEO efforts remains a critical component of SEO planning tasks. Still, prioritizing SEO efforts often presents itself as a common challenge, especially for those that lack direct experience managing both SEO and analytics regularly enough to gauge the impact of potential SEO changes. Proficiency in SEO pr [...]


The Bright Side Of Not Provided

runningshoesminimalist-600x356 It’s been a few weeks since Google rocked our worlds and stripped keyword-level data from the referrer, so it’s time to examine the fallout and see what’s changed in the world of search marketing. Surprisingly, not much. Keywords were beacons of insight – fantastic beacons – but keywords were a double-edged sword leading us to create content that unnecessarily repeated specific terms for an ideal keyword density. Writing for a bot rather than for the user is not optimizing for user experience, so Google did something about it. Google head spam-fighter Matt Cutts said it himself [...]


A Call To The SEO Industry: Stand Together For Useful Reporting

Arnie-MarketingLand-Content-Curation-Tools-Hashtags-and-Keywords Want to measure organic traffic? Just take the number of Google Webmaster Tools clicks, average out the CTR by position across all of them, then take the broad match volume of all those terms (because that’s the only volume Google will give you), and then take your position and divide it by CTR and volume. And viola! There’s your traffic by keyword. Sound kinda crazy? It is. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Find out more about the sad current state of SEO analytics, along with my proposal for change, in my latest Marketing Land Analytics & Marketing column.   [...]


Dashboard Series: Update An Entire Excel Dashboard With One Radio Button

OfficelogoOrange_Web In this month's installment of my Excel dashboard series, I'm going to show you a trick that will give you the ability to control an entire dashboard with one menu -- in this example, a radio button menu. For my example, I've put "months" in the menu at the top of the dashboard, but you could put anything in there to segment your charts and tables: countries marketing channels departments in a company sales staff traffic source affiliates etc. For more, including a sample file and a video, check out the full column on Marketing Land. [...]


How To Use The New AdWords Estimated Cross-Device Conversions

column-set-600x497 A couple of months after the paid search world had to transition to AdWords Enhanced Campaigns in the name of simplified and more relevant cross-device ad management, we are finally getting some initial food for thought with regard to cross-device performance. I called it the "next frontier for online marketers" in a previous post, and we are now officially getting there! In AdWords, a new column called "Est. total conv." (aka Estimated Total Conversions) was made available for some beta accounts recently.  How should marketers be looking at this newly-available data? Find out w [...]


Measuring The Effect Of Semantic Markup On Your Search Traffic

There’s a lot of buzz these days around the wonderful world of Schema, semantic markup, and rich snippets -- much of it centered around the increased click-through rates from SERPs and other amazing SEO benefits such markup provides. But, once you've added the markup to your website, how do you measure the results? The ability to do this has been rather limited to date, though annotations make it much easier than it ever was. (If you’re not using annotations on a regular basis, get yourself in the habit -- you'll thank me later.) Before you build any report, think about what informatio [...]


Dashboard Series: Creating Combination Charts In Excel

I’m starting a series on dashboards because I think creating sexy dashboards is a critical skill every marketer needs to know. It’s going to be a long series -- but by the time we’re finished, you’ll be able to create dashboards that excel in both form and function. (Editor's note: This popular series continues on Marketing Land with Creating Sexy Charts In Excel!) Why Use Combination Charts? The first skill we’re going to focus on to that end is how to create a combination chart. When I took MarketMotive’s analytics certification course, in my dissertation, Google Analytics evan [...]


Smart Geographic Segmentation & Bidding With Enhanced Campaigns

New PPC Best Practices In An Enhanced Campaign World was one of SMX Advanced Seattle's most engaging sessions; and, as a speaker, I have received a great deal of feedback and questions about those bid location modifiers. As it turns out, location bid modifiers are one of the (only) benefits of upgrading to enhanced campaigns, as they can be applied by location in a very granular and simple way. I thought I'd recap a couple of thoughts about geo-segmentation and location bid modifiers. Segmenting Your Paid Search Account By Geography The segmentation tips below can help improve the perform [...]


Tips To Ensure The Validity Of Your Day Parting

One of the most classic and beneficial analyses conducted for paid traffic acquisition channels is day parting. Not all visits are equal, and the time of day/day of week of the visit usually has a strong correlation with user qualification and likelihood to convert. That said, day parting is one of the most commonly misconstrued analyses as it's very easy to manipulate and misread the results when segmenting data into very small buckets such as hour of week. This post is intended to walk through some basic recommendations for ensuring the validity of a day part analysis, showcasing some [...]


Tips for Analyzing The Impact Of Your Marketing Activities In Google Analytics

I work with a wide variety of clients across a wide variety of industries, and one of the most common issues I come across is what I call analytics forgetfulness. What typically happens is that a company will devise a plan to improve their online marketing and will implement various changes as a result -- but then, nobody remembers to measure the impact of these changes or otherwise conduct any sort of followup down the road. Email marketing pieces, AdWords changes, even new landing pages are added to a marketing campaign; yet the "when," "how" and "who" are lost in the ether. Below are [...]


5 Excel Skills Every Marketer Should Know

analytics-data-excel-featured [caption id="attachment_160723" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo from marfis75[/caption] One question I get asked a lot is this: what Excel skills are most important for marketers to learn? I have whittled that interminable list down to five skills that I believe are absolutely essential for marketers to know, presented below in order of importance. Table Formatting I believe that table formatting is the baseline skill that every marketer needs to know how to use, and I wrote a post here on Search Engine Land on how to use table formatting with some discussion on why it’s so he [...]


Analyzing Competitiveness In Your Paid Search Account

The auction-based industry we work in involves a number of metrics which help search marketers identify where they are doing better or worse than the competition. Just to name a few, the most common metrics search marketers usually look at are the Quality Score (QS), the average cost-per-click (CPC), the impression share (IS), and the 'Relative CTR' on the Google Display Network. While the Quality Score indicates whether your keywords/ads/landing pages are relevant against the competition, it does not tell much about the actual competitiveness of the market. Instead, the average cost-per-cl [...]


Web Analytics Software Comparison: Identifying The Right Web Analytics Tools For Your Business

If you’re considering using an analytics platform other than, or in addition to, Google Analytics, it can be a bit difficult to determine what the best alternative will be. Search Engine Land compiled a great buyers guide to enterprise web analytics tools, but what if you’re in the market for a free to mid-level tool, or don’t even know yet exactly what type of software you need? Analytics Software Solutions Below is a brief overview of 25 analytics software options (and one add-on) that should give you an idea of what each tool costs and what functionality each offers. Before you chec [...]


Managing The Bounds Of Profitability: iCPA & iCPC

In my previous post, From 3rd Party To 1st Party: The Evolution Of The Google Advertising Toolset, I wrote about the evolution of AdWords data and how recent changes have constricted the incremental value presented by third-party paid search tools. I wrote in loose terms about using internal analytics to calculate average profit per conversion to use in AdWords Conversion Optimizer. In this post, I will detail the logic behind and process of incorporating margins into bidding at the CPA and CPC level, in case you prefer manual bid management to cost-per-acquisition based management. Depe [...]


Using Advanced Segments & Scroll Depth To Test Content Types In Analytics

sel_advanced_segment_10 Last month, I gave readers some tips on measuring engagement using Google Analytics and WordPress. This month, I want to dig deeper into how you can use content scroll depth to help craft a strategy for your future content curating efforts. Creating a website that attracts visitors via search engine optimization is one part of the equation; engaging the users to read your content, search and come back for more is another facet of online marketing. As I explained last week, I do think how well people engage with your content may be, or may become, a type of ranking factor. It would at least [...]


Deduplicate Your Google Analytics Reports in Excel

One of the steps in my last post on finding 404 pages worth saving involved determining if any of your404 pages received traffic in the past year. This can be accomplished by pulling a landing page report and using VLOOKUPs in Excel to see any of your broken pages used to receive traffic. However, Google Analytics (GA) content reports are case sensitive, so you might have multiple versions of what should be a single line item because of this. For example, /default.aspx and /Default.aspx are considered two different pages in Google Analytics. If you're used to exporting your content or landi [...]


How To Determine Your Hourly Bid Multipliers In AdWords

Since I received some solid feedback on my last column detailing how to determine mobile & geo bid multipliers for enhanced campaigns, I thought I’d share some more actionable stuff this time around. While hourly bid multipliers aren't new, they remain a crucial tactic for optimizing your AdWords campaigns. They work by reducing your ad spend at poor-performing times of the week and increasing your exposure at the best times of the week. Here, I'm going to share the steps you can take (along with a helpful spreadsheet) to determine your hourly bid multipliers for better campaign opt [...]


From 3rd Party To 1st Party: The Evolution Of The Google Advertising Toolset

A year ago, I was firmly anti-Google. Not in the sense that I disliked Google -- I just felt that Google did not provide the best tools in the business to analyze and make decisions on their own advertising placements. When asked if an advertiser should consider a 3rd party technology to help manage ad spend, I would undoubtedly say "yes" because Google Analytics, AdWords, and Merchant Center were (and remain) imperfectly bound systems requiring a lot of proprietary work to merge and make informed decisions. Much has changed in the last year. Google has made some significant changes (PLA [...]


How To Measure Content Engagement And Effectiveness With Analytics & WordPress

For many of us that own blogs and generate excellent relatable content, engagement seems to linger just beyond our reach. We write well, there's praise, tweets, shares, +1's – but just how much of your content is being read? Going beyond the search and keyword into how those keywords bring the visitor into content they either read or don't read, is the next step beyond basic Google Analytics. Many in the industry believe a fast bounce from your page back to the search results is a negative in Google's eyes. That user is basically voting your content down, saying "this isn't what I wanted [...]


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