It's incredible that 10 years have passed since Google Analytics came to be. It's something which I look at daily and for some time and so it was interesting to read about which features people used more than others.
I guess there are no huge surprises for me but it is always interesting to see what others are doing and see if I am missing something.
More than two-thirds of Google Analytics users have set up custom reports.
There’s really no excuse not to try these out for yourself, given the amount of templates out in the wild for you to make use of, and the fast insight that Custom Reports can give you.
What else? Event Tracking and Advanced Segments are popular, but the rest of these features are only used by a minority of users.
Content Experiments is a major laggard, though it seems that this might be less to do with the adoption of A/B testing and more linked to the difficulties in implementing Google’s kit.
The way Google Analytics is configured makes it tricky for marketing professionals to set up Content Experiments without the help of the tech team.
By contrast, other testing tools, such as Optimizely, are way easier to configure and continue to gain a lot of traction.
Other Google Analytics features such as Intelligence Events, Data Import and Enhanced Ecommerce are in need of more love, with fewer than one in five users bothering to make use of them.
There is a full article on this at Search Engine Watch
Here is an interesting article from E Consultancy featuring a survey about how many google visitors click on ppc adverts without realising it.
Headline stats We ran two parallel studies, with completely separate audiences, to validate our results.
Both survey pools were UK internet users, the first pool was 1,004 users; the second pool was 1,000 users.
Study A results:
Google Adwords have announced some new advertising policies which are due to come in September 2014.
The aim is too simplify the policies and for most current advertisers their adverts are likely to be unaffected.
However Google recommend that you take a look at the new policies as detailed here.
These latest figures are pretty static based on last month - showing as follows:
These COMscore figures are global or US figures and from my experience do not reflect the UK market which I find is skewed even more in favour of Google.
The changes to Google algorithms are well publicised but the bet way of showing this is to show how search results are being shown to reflect the effect of Hummingbird.
There is an interesting post in Moz which puts together a great visual and an explanation of how different elements have changed.
What does it mean for businesses? Well the requirement to invest in a combination of great content and great user experience has never been greater. Search Optimisation, Content Optimisation and Conversion Rate Optimisation makes up the three headed monster which we need to manage.
Enjoy the post.
Local SERP features(A) Local Carousel – 1.0% (0.3%)There are two types of carousels—local and knowledge graph—but only one on any give SERP. I've chosen to show a local carousel, since they seem to impact more competitive queries and are reshaping the local SEO landscape.
(G) Local Knowledge Panel – 6.3% (3.4%)Some organic results are blended with a local listing and map pin, and clicking on them pulls up a Knowledge Graph panel (previously called an "authoritative one-box"). These results don't always appear in the #1 position, but they seem to be more common on higher authority sites.
(J) Local "Pack" Results – 7.3% (8.4%)Blended packs are the most familiar local results, and mix Google Maps data with organic listing that have local relevance..he 7-pack accounting for 81% of the local packs in our data set. Packs range from two to seven local results, and we've seen them in any position from #1 to #9, but they tend to be more common in the top half of the SERP.
(M) Local "Near" Results – 5.1% (4.1%)The "near" box is a pure local pack, pulling data directly from Google Maps. These packs max out at three results. Near boxes are usually called out with a header in the form of "[Query] near [Location]".
(Y) Google Map + Pins – 11.3% (10.1%)Results with "pinned" listings (such as local packs) almost always trigger a map, although the location, size, and even presence of the map has started to vary quite a bit. Except for traffic maps, all maps we've seen appear in the right-hand column.
Advertising and paid resultsAdvertising includes both the traditional AdWords blocks and the newer, paid inclusion results. Keep in mind that the presence of advertising is highly variable and depends on factors like competition, time of day, seasonality, etc. The numbers below should only be taken as rough estimates.
(C) AdWords Ads (Top) – 72.2% (72.8%)The top-left AdWords block (above organic results) is easily the most common, and it ranges from one to three results. Ad formats are becoming much richer, as you can see from the Mega-SERP example, which includes both photos and site-links.
(D) Shopping Results (Left) – 18.2%* (19.0%)Paid shopping results usually appear as a horizontal block of product images and links, but Google is testing variations. Shopping results can appear in either the left or right column, and are typically at the top. Our system currently only tracks total shopping results, and doesn't separate the data for left vs. right.
(R) AdWords Ads (Bottom) – 16.5% (14.9%)The bottom AdWords block is very similar to the top block, and can contain up to three results.
(T) Shopping Results (Right)Most shopping results on the right look the same as results on the left, but there are some noticeable exceptions, such as paid product placement for a single product. Those variations are still the minority of cases, but expect Google to experiment a lot in the near future.
(W) AdWords Ads (Right) – 42.4% (41.6%)The right-hand column block of ads has the highest count, and can contain up to eight AdWords ads. These ads typically have very few enhancements or added features. AdWords ads always seem to start at the top and then either flow into the right column or bottom section (never both, at least in our data).
Knowledge Graph featuresMany people call the informational box in the right-hand column the "knowledge graph," but the knowledge graph is a complex combination of data sources and algorithms that is starting to manifest across the SERP. Following are a few common entities that seem to be connected to the knowledge graph.
(B) List CarouselGoogle recently (September 27th) launched a new form of white-backgrounded carousel (Mega-SERP query was "taco songs"), which currently seems to appear for certain music-related searches. Clicking on any song takes you to a new SERP and a prominent YouTube box at the top of the page.
(E) Answer Box – 1.4% (1.3%)There are many, many shapes and sizes of answer boxes (see my post exploring 101 answer boxes), but they almost always appear as a gray-outlined box at the top of the left-hand column. Some of this data comes directly from third-party sources, but much of it seems to be tied to the knowledge graph.
(U) Knowledge Graph (Info) – 26.2%* (32.6%)This is what most people think of when they hear "knowledge graph"—a block of information about a subject, in this case nutritional information. Informational knowledge graph boxes have many variants. Our data tracks all knowledge graph entities (except answer boxes) under one number, so the 26.5% represents the entire world of knowledge graph boxes.
(V) Knowledge Graph (Brand)While technically still a knowledge graph box, brand boxes seem to be connected to Google+, allowing you to follow a brands G+ page and recent activity.
(X) Disambiguation BoxThe disambiguation box occurs when Google thinks that a searcher's intent is ambiguous and wants to provide options. In the Mega-SERP example, a search for "taco shell" brought up options for tortilla or Taco Bell. Clicking on one of these links triggers a new search.
Vertical search resultsSo-called "vertical" results used to be very cleanly separated in Google and not counted as organic listings, but that line is beginning to blur. For example, many video results now seem to be integrated directly as organic (as in the Mega-SERP example). I'm treating the new "In-depth articles" as a vertical result, because of its close relationship to news results.
(F) Image Mega-blockThe mega-block of images is rare, and seems to only occur at the top in 7-result SERPs. The Mega-SERP example comes from the search "pictures of tacos", and these images almost always appear for searches starting with "pictures of…", "photos of…", etc.
(I) Video Results – 18.5% (22.0%)Currently, video results are integrated into organic results, with the exception that they show a thumbnail of the video and sometimes a publication date. Video results can appear at any position in the SERP.
(N) Image Results – 24.6% (27.5%)Image results are still a "true" vertical and are tied directly to Google Image search. Standard image results appear as a horizontal block of images in the left-hand column, and their position varies. These results link directly to Google Images.
(O) News Results – 19.6% (29.8%)News results are another true vertical, and also occur as a distinct block in the left-hand column. The news block can have up to three links, and the first link is often enhanced with a thumbnail image.
(Q) In-depth Articles – 5.2% (9.9%)Launched in August of 2013, "In-depth articles" are one of the biggest new features of the year. The in-depth block is a fairly large set of three articles (which can all have thumbnails, currently). Google seems to reserve this block for content that is evergreen and literally "in-depth," and most of these links come from major publications like The New York Times. Unlike news results, these links may be months or even years old and are not updated regularly.
Miscellaneous featuresFinally, we have the SERP features that just don't belong to any one group. Sorry, miscellaneous features—we still love you.
(H) Site-links (6-pack) – 19.4% (19.9%)The #1 organic listing may be rewarded with expanded site-links—anywhere from one to six, depending on the site. There is a perfect correlation, at least in our data, between site-links and 7-result SERPs (i.e. if a result has site-links, it's a 7-result SERP). Google is experimenting with 10-packs of site-links, but only for domain queries (currently), like "tacobell.com".
(K) Authorship Mark-up – 21.9% (20.9%)If Google can connect a resource to a Google+ entity, that result may get authorship mark-up, which adds a thumbnail of the author, his/her name, and some basic G+ stats. Also, there's apparently such a thing as "taco journalism."
(L) Review Mark-up – 24.0% (24.6%)Products, recipes, and other appropriate entities may show review data, including stars. In the Mega-SERP example, the recipe listing is also showing a thumbnail image.
(P) Social ResultsSocial results have evolved a lot in the past year or so, and the current incarnation looks a lot like authorship mark-up, but there's one big difference—these results are 100% personalized. My friend Dan is only showing up here because we're in each other's G+ circles.
(S) Related SearchesThis aspect of the SERP has almost become so ubiquitous that I hesitate to even call it a feature. The vast majority of searches (sorry, we don't have exact numbers on this one) have links at the bottom to related topics.
Google's latest announcement that they are no longer going to share keyword traffic information is a blow for anyone involved in trying to provide users with better content which is covering the issues that they want covered.
Whereas before you would be able to identify these terms in Google Analytics, this is no longer the case - which in effect takes away the ability of small business owners to manage their SEO.
Now they will need to invest much more time in complex referencing and cross referencing with ranking reports, Google webmaster tools and landing page stats to have any idea about what is and what is not working.
As a digital marketing company in Kent I can see the new challenge ahead - and whilst frustrating to have to do it, at least I have the tools and understanding of what to do. What chance is there for a small business owner - even a really savvy one.
Time will defeat most business managers which means that they will need to use people who do know how.
Anyone who uses Google Merchant centre will or should be aware of the changes which Google have introduced to improve the end user experience. In essence this means categorising products properly, ensuring that brand names are listed as well as supplier code and ideally barcodes.
For most this has been a painful process but having gone through this with a client I can see that there are huge benefits to be had from doing this. There is a real opportunity to get ahead of your competition if you take the time to do it. And if you don't have time then find someone who does because if you get this right it could be a source of high converting free traffic which we all try so hard to obtain through a multitude of other approaches.
It was interesting to note the growth of Android as can be seen in a recent article on Clickz. This is welcome news because it will eventually translate into more traffic to my client's websites and with the larger format phones that will also mean more sales (for ecommerce sites). At the moment from the analytics I am looking at, the iphone is miles ahead.
The number of U.S. smartphones running on Googles's Android operating system continued to grow in the three months ending April 2011, and outpaced the number installed with Apple's iOS platform.
According to data from comScore, 74.6 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during that period, up 13 percent from the three-month period ending in January 2011. Android grew its market share by 5.2 percentage points in that time, reaching a total of 36.4 percent of U.S. smartphones. The number running Apple's iOS, meanwhile, grew by 1.3 percentage points, representing 26 percent of handsets.
BlackBerry manufacturer RIM saw its own share of devices decline further, dipping 4.7 percentage points to reach 25.7 percent of the market.
See more here
Along with every other SEO we are all learning about how the Google Panda roll out is affecting client sites. Google have put together a useful checklist for website owners to consider with regard to their content.
Google lists the following as “questions that one could use to assess the ‘quality’ of a page or an article”
My name is Chris Parker. Based in Kent, we provide digital marketing
services for businesses across Kent and beyond. You can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google +.