Web Analytics for (SEM) Dummies Part 1: Basic Terminology and a Free Geocoding Tool

In The Trenches is a weekly spotlight of tips, tricks, and news about the tools search engine marketing professionals use to give them a leg up on the competition. Today: News from the search engines, today’s in-depth look, Web Analytics for (SEM) Dummies Part 1: Basic Terminology, a Free Geocoding Tool and this week’s free tips and tools.

News from the search engines

Google AdWords: AdWords Seminars

From the Inside AdWords blog:

Due to the success of the AdWords Seminars program, we’ve recently added a third level which builds upon the two existing AdWords Seminar levels. To help our attendees find the right session(s) that will best meet their need, we’ve renamed the sessions as AdWords 101, 201, and 301. These new sessions will be held in various cities over the rest of 2008, including Houston, New York City area, Atlanta and Charlotte, NC in the upcoming months.

Currently there are three different levels of AdWords Seminars:

AdWords 101: Beginner – This introductory session is designed for those new to managing an AdWords account. Topics covered include navigating your account, creating a campaign, measuring results, and an introduction to optimization.

AdWords 201: Intermediate – AdWords 201 builds upon the material learned in 101, and dives deeper into tools such as the AdWords Editor, My Client Center, and Website Optimizer. Additionally, bidding options, ad copy best practices, and Google Analytics are discussed in greater detail.

AdWords 301: Advanced – The 301 session is recommended for advertisers who already understand the basic fundamentals of advertising on AdWords. Topics include campaign best practices, advanced optimization techniques, and split testing. There is also a deep dive into the Content Network and advanced bidding strategies. .

Note – These seminars are NOT put on by Google. They are partners of Google. However, my guess is that they’re going to be at least halfway decent if Google is promoting them. You can learn more about the seminars including registration dateshere.

Yahoo Search Marketing: Two Free Calculator Tools

The ROI Calculator – CPC and the ROI Calculator – CPM are not very new, but I thought it might be a good opportunity to highlight them. Found at the Yahoo! Search Marketing Help Center, these two tools can help you make some quick ROI calculations. Just input the high level data into the form and you’ll get some good calculations back. These aren’t anything you couldn’t necessarily do in a spreadsheet, but I keep them bookmarked for quick access.

TheROI Calculator – CPC calculator measures the ROI (return on investment) of a CPM (cost per thousand) impressions advertising model, such as many banner and button buys. The ROI Calculator – CPM calculator measures the ROI (return on investment) of a CPM (cost per thousand) impressions advertising model, such as many banner and button buys.

Microsoft: New Additions to adCenter

As posted at the Microsoft Advertiser, there are some new features in adCenter including:

  • Pay your adCenter balance on demand. Use the Bill Me Now button to pay your remaining balance with your credit card at any time.

  • Easily organize your credit cards and remove unused cards. Simply add new, edit, or remove existing credit cards from your payment methods.
  • Optimize your campaigns with more powerful keyword research data. Use the improved keyword research tools to generate keyword suggestions, view colorful new graphs on performance and demographics, and quickly add new keywords to your ad group.
  • Refresh report data and create new reports with ease. Now, in just a few clicks, you can refresh the data in a recent report or create a new report that is based on a report you’ve recently run.

I’m very interested in the report refreshing as I’ve always felt Microsoft was lacking in this area. Hopefully this helps streamline some things.

In depth: Web analytics for (SEM) dummies part 1 – basic terminology

Let me start by saying that Web Analytics comprehension is vital for all online marketers.

That’s right…I said it. :)

Sometimes SEM pros get so caught up in CPCs, Conversion Rates, Click-Thru-Rates, etc. that we can almost forget the ultimate goal which is the make the most out of the budget given to us; i.e. the most conversions, leads, sales, traffic, impressions…whatever. It is very often even a combination of those goals. Search traffic happens with a click. But not all traffic is equal. Analytics can be the window into why some traffic is better than others. Why certain keywords do better in the mornings than at night. Why keywords work in Boston but not in Phoenix.

Click stream is the path a user takes on your site upon entering. Analyzing the click stream from various segments in your SEM accounts will help you understand what that traffic is doing once it reaches the page. Are users Bouncing out and not going to any other pages? Which landing pages are working the best? Are users returning to your site via Branded terms once they’ve reached you on broader, more “head” terms? This level of insight truly lets you know how your keywords, ads, ad groups, and campaigns are performing.

This is an SEM column, not an Analytics one so this topic will require several postings and I’m starting with the basic terminology. The definitive guide for these definitions were put together by the Standards Committee of the Web Analtyics Association (WAA) (of which I am a part of) and were released August 2007 at the Search Engine Strategies event in San Jose, CA. The document is a concise, thirty-four page PDF that was meant to provide “common ways of looking at data measurement and methodologies—resulting in more meaningful industry benchmarking, comparability of results among different tools, better understanding of the metrics terms we all use.”

What I’m listing below are very briefest of definitions from the WAA document. Each definition has caveats, comments, notes, etc… As to not have an angry mob of WAA members with pitchforks and torches at my doorstep tonight, I urge everyone to check out the definition guide at the WAA website. However, I think it’s good to have some brief definitions for the search marketer who doesn’t have their head crammed in an analytics tool all day.

Basic analytics definitions for the online marketer

Building block terms

  • Page- A page is an analyst definable unit of content.

  • Page Views- The number of times a page (an analyst-definable unit of content) was viewed.
  • Visits/Sessions- A visit is an interaction, by an individual, with a website consisting of one or more requests for an analyst-definable unit of content (i.e. “page view”). If an individual has not taken another action (typically additional page views) on the site within a specified time period, the visit session will terminate.
  • Unique Visitors- The number of inferred individual people (filtered for spiders and robots), within a designated reporting timeframe, with activity consisting of one or more visits to a site. Each individual is counted only once in the unique visitor measure for the reporting period.
  • New Visitor- The number of Unique Visitors with activity including a first-ever Visit to a site during a reporting period.
  • Repeat Visitor- The number of Unique Visitors with activity consisting of two or more Visits to a site during a reporting period.
  • Return Visitor- The number of Unique Visitors with activity consisting of a Visit to a site during a reporting period and where the Unique Visitor also Visited the site prior to the reporting period.

Visit characterization

  • Entry Page- The first page of a visit.

  • Landing Page- A page intended to identify the beginning of the user experience resulting from a defined marketing effort.
  • Exit Page- The last page on a site accessed during a visit, signifying the end of a visit/session.
  • Visit Duration- The length of time in a session. Calculation is typically the timestamp of the last activity in the session minus the timestamp of the first activity of the session.
  • Referrer- The referrer is the page URL that originally generated the request for the current page view or object.
  • Internal Referrer- The internal referrer is a page URL that is internal to the website or a web-property within the website as defined by the user.
  • External Referrer- The external referrer is a page URL where the traffic is external or outside of the website or a web-property defined by the user.
  • Search Referrer- The search referrer is an internal or external referrer for which the URL has been generated by a search function.
  • Visit Referrer- The visit referrer is the first referrer in a session, whether internal, external or null.
  • Original Referrer- The original referrer is the first referrer in a visitor’s first session, whether internal, external or null.
  • Click-through- Number of times a link was clicked by a visitor.
  • Click-through Rate/Ratio- The number of click-throughs for a specific link divided by the number of times that link was viewed.
  • Page Views per Visit- The number of page views in a reporting period divided by number of visits in the same reporting period.

Content characterization

  • Page Exit Ratio- Number of exits from a page divided by total number of page views of that page.

  • Single-Page Visits- Visits that consist of one page regardless of the number of times the page was viewed.
  • Single Page View Visits (Bounces) – Visits that consist of one page-view.
  • Bounce Rate- Single page view visits divided by entry pages.

Conversion metrics

  • Event- Any logged or recorded action that has a specific date and time assigned to it by either the browser or server.

  • Conversion- A visitor completing a target action.

Next week, I’ll go into more detail on how these metrics are used and even run through a few real-world situations for which analytics can be applied to search engine marketing.

Free tool of the week: Free Geocoder

My favorite new tool! It’s not the prettiest site, but Batch Geocode really helped my team out this week. We had a list of retail locations for one of our new clients and we wanted to plot them out on a map so we could easily and visible gauge what kind of geotargeting we were going to have to come up with for our search campaigns. This free tool provided us with a great map within seconds of pasting in the zip codes.

So, what is a geocoding? I’ll let the site explain:

To Geocode, is to take a street address and convert it into latitude and longitude coordinates so that it can be displayed on a map. It can also be used to validate address data, or pull back unknown fields such as zip code. It works by finding the associated block face with an address, example: 123 Sesame St, the block would likely be 100-200 Sesame St. When trying to locate the segment the street number, street name, street direction, street type, and the city/state or zip code are all used. Once the segment is found, the location of the address is estimated along the line by using the street address number and the block range (this is the least accurate part of the process.) Simply put: Geocoding makes locating addresses and viewing multiple locations on a map instantly possible.

Great tool! Thank you, Batch Geocode! Next week, Part 2 of the analytics discussion and a free tool that will help in keyword development.

Josh Dreller is the Director of Media Technology for Fuor Digital, an agency concentrated in the research, planning, buying and stewardship of digital media marketing campaigns. Josh can be reached at jdreller@fuor.net. The In The Trenches column appears Fridays at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Search Marketing Toolbox | SEM Tools: Web Analytics


About The Author: has been a search marketer since 2003 with a focus on SEM technology. As a media technologist fluent in the use of leading industry systems, Josh stays abreast of cutting edge digital marketing and measurement tools to maximize the effect of digital media on business goals. He has a deep passion to monitor the constantly evolving intersection between marketing and technology. You can follow him on Twitter at @mediatechguy.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.


Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide