Web Analytics For (SEM) Dummies Part 3, And More

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 3: online resources to learn more, a free tool to double-check your Google Analytics implementation” and this week’s free tips and tools.

News from the search engines

Google AdWords: Conversion tracking site stats logo is now optional

As reported on the Inside AdWords Blog:

Conversion tracking users are no longer required to display the “Google Site Stats” logo on the conversion pages of their web sites. Previously, a small but visible text block that read “Google Site Stats” automatically appeared on the page where the conversion tracking code was placed on your web site. The logo would appear only after a conversion occurred via your AdWords ad, and it provided converting visitors links to information about AdWords conversion tracking and instructions on how to block the tracking.

This was obviously a huge pain point for advertisers. Yes, we want to track their conversions with AdWords and take advantage of all of the benefits and tools the platform provided, but showing that logo to site visitors was red flag to privacy worriers. I’m sure it was a great piece of branding for Google and that they’re sorry to see it go. My rep once explained to me that because Google was tracking user actions, they felt it was important to let users know that for their own security. However, in the post, Google also notes to “please inform users about the tracking methods you employ on your site by modifying your site’s privacy policy.” if you take down the logo.

Hmmm… Out of my own curiosity, I wonder what finally happened that got this change pushed through?

Yahoo Search Marketing: Yahoo’s top 5 frequently asked questions

At the Yahoo! Search Marketing help site there’s a list of the most frequent questions that people ask. I thought they might be a good review for those of you just getting started in search marketing:

Microsoft: adCenter desktop current known issues

At the adCenter Community site are a list of the some of the common problems found with the relatively new adCenter Desktop which is a Google AdWords editor type product for use with Microsoft’s platform. This too has been a godsend for those of us who have to upload campaigns to Microsoft, but as with any new software, it will have its growing pains. Still, the progress in this area has been commendable.

The issues/solutions noted in the post include:

Incompatibility with 64-bit operating systems Solution: Install adCenter Desktop only on a PC running a 32-bit version of Windows.

Support and compatibility with web browsers other than Internet Explorer Solution: Install adCenter Desktop using versions of Firefox 2.0 or later by using the FFClickOnce 0.7 add-in.

Support for Microsoft Excel 2007 files (.xlsx) Solution: Microsoft Office Excel 2007 files can be imported by first saving the data as either a comma-separated (CSV) file (.csv file extension) or as an Excel 97-2003 workbook file (.xls file extension). Future upgrades to Desktop will ensure compatibility with Excel 2007

During downloads of accounts that have more than 500,000 keywords, you notice slow performance or receive this error message: “Account download failed” Solution: For optimal performance, limit your accounts to 500,000 keywords during the beta phase.

In depth: Web analytics for (SEM) dummies part 3: online resources to learn more

In my last two posts about Web analytics for (SEM) dummies (Part 1 & Part 2) on this topic, I outlined why web analytics competency is so important for all online marketers. Search engine marketers, especially, should be well versed in performing at least the basic analyses to gain insights to properly optimize their accounts. I gave the examples of watching bounce rates (the percent of users who leave after just a one page visit) on high volume terms and analyzing user click paths to help understand which keywords engage users more. In part 1, I presented some of the basic analytics definitions provided by the Standards Committee of the Web Analytics Association (WAA) and part 2 showed how segmenting user visits into smaller groups can be promote the discovery of insightful trends to fuel optimizations.

Here is a list some of the online resources that can help push your analytics knowledge. The focus of In the Trenches< after all is search engine marketing, but for those of you who would like to take your knowledge to the next level, check out the following links:

Must read analytics blogs

Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik Web Metrics Guru by Marshall Sponder Unofficial Google Analytics Blogby Shawn Purtell Web Analytics Demystified Blogs (various authors) Web Analytics World by Manoj Jasra

Useful web analytics sites

Web Analytics Association – highly recommended (yes, I’m a member) Web Analytics Demystified by Eric T. Peterson Web Trends Educational Guides on Web Analytics Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) – yes they can a resource for analytics…especially for SEM pros. 20 Resources For Google Analytics by Manoj Jasra on Search Engine Guide Web Analytics Resource Center – found this while doing research for this post. Great links here!

Analytics Books

Web Analytics Demystified By Eric T. Peterson (or as my team calls it, “Josh’s Red Bible”) Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik Google Analytics 2.0 by Mary E. Tyler and Jerri Ledford Web Metrics: Proven Methods for Measuring Web Site Success by Jim Sterne Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results by Bryan Eisenberg, Jeffrey Eisenberg, and Lisa T. Davis

Select web analytics vendors (good source of research, white papers, etc)

Google Analytics (free) Omniture Web Trends Unica Coremetrics

Free tool of the week: Checking your Google Analytics implementation

At the time of writing this article, Epik One’s SiteScan tool had scanned over 36 million web pages for accurate Google Analytics implementation. As they note on their home page:

SiteScan is a Google Analytics Diagnostic tool designed to provide you with a complete audit of your Google Analytics setup. SiteScan is a free way to ensure that your Google Analytics is configured properly on your website.

SiteScan checks the following on websites with new tracking code (ga.js):

  • Every page tagged with new tracking code

  • Every page calling the pageTracker._trackPageview(); method
  • Every page declaring a Google Analytics Account
  • No old tracking code found
  • Query parameters check to determine if a filter is required

All you need to do is input your site’s URL and an email to be sent a link to the results. Simple enough, eh? I use this tool for each GA implementation and, I’m happy to report that it hasn’t found many issues yet. However, for those of you who are on your first few tagging executions, EpikOne’s tool may be a good QA backup for you.

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.

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