Google Analytics is a powerful tool that’s unprecedented in its ability to measure your website’s performance. The data it gathers is invaluable to you as a marketer. They can give you a clear view of what decisions you need to make to benefit your brand. Data, however, are just numbers and graphs. On their own, they cannot tell a story. It’s your job as a marketer to deduce that story through sound and unbiased analysis and not fall for Google Analytics myths.
If Google Analytics terms and data confuse you more than they enlighten you, this article will help you understand four Google Analytics and SEO-related myths you need to avoid.
How do I use Google Analytics?
Business owners use Google Analytics (GA) to see what they’re doing right, in terms of getting quality traffic to their sites. If you’re a business owner hoping to expand your presence in online spheres, you’ll need analytics to measure your success.
With the use of metrics, Google Analytics tracks who visits your site, how long they stay, what device they’re using, and what link brought them there. With these data, you can discover how to improve your online marketing and SEO strategies.
Google Analytics basics
At first, it may seem like Google Analytics is serving you raw data that are too complicated to digest. Learning to speak the analytics language, though, it is easier than you think. Below are some basic terms to help you better understand the data reported by Google Analytics:
Pageviews are the total number of times a page on your site that users have viewed. This includes instances in which users refresh the page or when they jump to another page and promptly go back to the page they had just left. This underlines what pages are most popular.
Sessions are measured by how much time users spend on your website, regardless if they spend it navigating only one or multiple pages. Sessions are limited to a 30-minute window. This means that if users stay on the site for 30 minutes but remain inactive and non-interactive with the page throughout, the session ends. If they leave the site and go back within 30 minutes, though, it gets counted as a session.
Average session duration refers to the average time users spent on your site. Pages per session, on the other hand, is the average number of pages that users view on your site within a single session.
Time on Page
This refers to the average time users spend on a page on your site. This can help you determine which pages users typically check out longer. This starts the second a pageview is counted until the subsequent pageview ends it.
Traffic refers to the number of people accessing your website. This comes from a traffic source or any place where users come from before they are led to your pages.
Traffic is classified into direct and referral. Direct traffic comes from pageviews triggered by specifically typing the whole URL or when a user is given a URL directly without searching for it. Referral traffic is directed from links on other sites, like search results or social media.
Unique pageviews are reported when your page is viewed once by users in a single session. These don’t count the times users navigated back to that page in the same session. For example, a user navigates the whole site in one session and navigates back to the original page three times; the Unique Pageview count is still at one, and not three.
Hits are interactions or requests made to a site. This includes page views, events, and transactions. A group of hits is measured as a session, used to determine a user’s engagement with the website.
Clicks are measured by the number of clicks you get from search engine results. Click-through rate (CTR) is the total amount of clicks divided by impressions or times you are part of the user’s search results. If CTR is dropping, consider writing titles and meta descriptions that capture your users’ attention better.
Events are actions users take on a particular site. This includes clicking buttons to see other pages or download files. You are looking at what kind of content encourages users to interact with the page, thereby triggering an event.
Bounce rate refers to users’ single-page sessions wherein they click on a page and exits quickly without interacting with a single element on the page. A high bounce rate can mean either that a user has swiftly found what they were looking for or that they did not think the content on the page was interesting enough to stay longer and engage.
You can input goals in your Google Analytics account to track user interactions on your site. These interactions include submitting a report, subscribing to your newsletter, or downloading files. If the user performs an event that you’ve identified as a goal, Analytics counts this as a conversion.
Four common Google Analytics myths debunked
Now that you have an overview of Google Analytics terms, below are five common misconceptions surrounding those terms and how to avoid these as a marketer.
1. The more traffic that goes to your site, the better
Generally, you’d want more people to visit your site. These huge amounts of visits, though, won’t matter if they don’t turn into conversions. Even if thousands of people flock to your webpages each day, if they don’t take the desired actions your SEO campaign is aiming for, these visits won’t provide any benefit for your site.
A good SEO strategy is built upon making sure that once you’ve garnered a pageview, the quality of your content drives the user to the desired action such as subscribing to a newsletter, for example.
Keyword research can help make sure that you use the right terms to get you a higher ranking on SERPs. The material on your site, however, is also crucial in satisfying your users’ queries, enough to get a conversion.
2. Users need to spend more time on webpages
Users spending a few quick seconds on your page is not entirely bad. This may mean that these users are looking for quick, precise answers. Quality SEO delivers this to them through well-placed keywords and concise content. Hence, if they quickly get the answers they need, they tend to leave the site immediately.
Quality SEO content ensures that your material is written in such a way that it invites users to learn more about the subject, which can be seen when they are led to another page on your site. This leads them one step closer to taking the desired action on your site.
3. The amount of unique visitors is an accurate metric to measure audience traffic
The upsurge of unique visitors on your page doesn’t necessarily mean that the amount of your audience is blowing up. Unique visitors are measured by cookies used by Google to determine if it’s a user’s first time on a site. The same user accessing the same page through a different browser or a browser whose cookies have been cleared is counted as a unique visitor too.
If you’re looking to study your audience, it’s not enough to look at how many of them go to your page. You can refer to the Audience > Demographics tab and see who are navigating your site and from what marketing links they were directed from. With this information, you can determine what types of content gather the most traffic and from what avenues this traffic comes from such as SERPs or social media posts, for example.
4. Traffic reports are enough to tell if your campaign is successful
Looking at traffic reports alone is not enough to determine whether your SEO campaign is successful, or that your keyword research paid off. Although at first, it seems as though heavy traffic signals an effective online marketing strategy, it only counts the quantitative aspect of your campaign and dismisses the qualitative side.
Maximize all the reports on GA. All these are correlated with how your campaign is going. Reports are valuable in comprehensively addressing issues instead of nitpicking on a single aspect of a campaign because, for instance, a report suggests it’s not doing its job.
These points will help you clear the air when it comes to Google Analytics and help you correctly derive insights.
Ad blockers are a constant of the internet, but what does that mean for us? After comparing two different sources for one KPI, I noticed a significant difference. This piece covers the observations made about the Google Analytics glitch.
A strange disparity
Whilst collecting our monthly KPIs I came across an interesting error.
One of our KPIs, demo requests, which we track in two ways – with Google Analytics events and through a custom Zapier integration that inserts the prospects’ details into a Google Sheet and our internal Attio account.
After comparing the two datasets, I noticed a significant difference in the month’s numbers. The number of requested demos on our Google Sheet was 22% higher than the number of recorded demo requests on Google Analytics.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to tell which demo requests weren’t recorded due to the Google Analytics glitch but we can say for certain that a significant proportion of this month’s demo requesters were somehow subverting Google Analytics.
What can disrupt a websites’ tracking, is used by a considerable number of people, and is applied to websites indiscriminately?
Like almost the entire population of the internet, I hate ads. Especially the in-your-face, unskippable, make-me-hate-your-website ads. So I use an ad blocker. I’ll happily disable ads on websites that serve unobtrusive and relevant ads but as a general rule of thumb, I’ll be loading a site with ads blocked. My behavior pattern is certainly common. And consequential. Since the most common permissions for ad blockers is to opt-out, rather than in, then visitors to your website will be automatically blocking ads.
It’s not until delving into this problem that I realized that it’s not just ads that your average ad blocker is blocking. Almost anything that can track or identify you is being blocked. Google Analytics included.
Our customers vs the general public
I found a variety of studies that put the percentage of internet users using an ad blocker at 20-27%. Since it’s reasonable to assume that if you use an ad blocker you’re more technologically-savvy than the average internet user, and as a power-user centric, Web 3.0, SaaS application, you’d expect our prospects to exhibit a higher percentage of ad blocker usage.
However, the similarity in our 22% dataset disparity and ~24% of global internet users blocking ads suggests that the potential customers landing on our website are no more likely to be using an ad blocker than a random selection of internet users.
It would be an interesting extension to see if the ad blocker usage changed when browsing in a professional setting.
A cause for concern
From a data analysis standpoint, it might seem like the issue of ad blockers and blocked analytics tracking would be a problem, a misrepresentation of actual events is never good surely?
In actual fact, it’s not an issue at all.
Whilst it’s true that the demo request events aren’t tracked, neither are the page view, demo form open, or demo form close events. Holistically, our dataset in Google Analytics is exactly the same, on a relative basis, as if the blocked events were also tracked.
Now you could look into differences in user actions based on their usage of an ad blocker but the likelihood of finding any meaningful correlation is close to nil. If someone installs an ad blocker, are they more likely to request a demo for a SaaS product? Potentially, but I doubt it.
The only downside to ~24% of your visitors using ad blocking software is that it reduces the absolute value of our KPIs. When comparing year-on-year growth or conversion rates this doesn’t matter, but when presenting absolute values to potential investors it would certainly be nicer to have them 22% higher.
Alex Vale leads the growth efforts at Attio, the next generation of intelligent relationship workspace.
Effectively (and quickly) analyzing your data is critical when it comes to PPC performance. This article covers secondary dimensions, advanced filters, and pivot views to help you better segment and view your performance.
Read more at PPCHero.com
This year, we’re adding 3 brand new half-day workshops in addition to the Excel & Agency Growth workshops. The new workshops cover Analytics, Social, & CRO.
Read more at PPCHero.com
Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most popular traffic analytics tools for websites, but it can have serious drawbacks for anyone looking to measure content performance.
The problem is systemic: Analytics was built to track traffic for ecommerce and content sites, with the structure of its reports built around pageviews. It can provide some sophisticated data around those views – what kinds of audience members are behind them, how they might have arrived, what they did next, and other such questions – but today’s content marketers need the ability to measure and understand much more than that.
How do people interact with your content when they’re viewing an individual landing page? How do they feel about your brand after having been exposed to it on other media channels? Where are they running into conversion roadblocks? What are the content assets across touchpoints that people are consuming most on their paths to conversion? What assets are most compelling to your most qualified individual leads?
GA can hint at some of the answers to these types of questions, but to truly understand these aspects of your content marketing performance, you’ll need to turn elsewhere.
Here are a few of the biggest ways that Google Analytics can’t measure your content performance properly, along with some tips for overcoming these shortcomings.
1. On-page behavior
Google Analytics only tracks page views and movement within your site. Unless you manually add layers of event tracking, it can’t reveal what people do within specific pages. You’ll never know if visitors get two lines into your content and then get distracted by an interesting link.
This is the value of heatmaps, which are remarkably effective at showing user behavior. They map out which areas of the page get the most view time and the most clicks, and where the mouse rests.
A heatmap shows areas that get the most attention in red, shading to blue for those that get the least. It reveals whether the visitor engaged and interacted with the page, or left it open and unread for hours. With a heatmap, you can discover the most popular parts of your pages, the navigation links people click on most, and whether key elements below the fold are going unseen.
To get started experimenting with heatmaps, you can try using Hotjar, Lucky Orange or CrazyEgg.
2. Brand sentiment lift
Google Analytics is limited to tracking page views on your own website. It can’t tell you anything about the impact of your content on earned or shared media channels, where you don’t have the ability to install its tracking pixel. And even if you could use it track content views on all channels, you still wouldn’t know much about the impact that the content has on brand sentiment, or your share of voice in the general market.
Instead, use a social listening tool to track what people think about your brand. Social listening tools track social media shares, comments, reactions and mentions. This information has many key use cases, one of which is gaining a holistic view of brand sentiment.
The better platforms track far more than the number of brand mentions on social media, using semantic text analysis to reveal the emotions behind the posts and comparing these signals to those of your competitors. Merge these trends with your timeline of content marketing achievements, and correlations will start to emerge.
To get started experimenting with social listening for brand sentiment tracking, you can try using Awario, Mention or Talkwalker.
3. Friction points on forms
If a visitor tries to complete an online form and gives up in frustration, Google Analytics will never let you know. The best it can do is to show you how much time all visitors spent on the page. (Even this information can be extremely misleading since GA measures page view durations starting from the moment given page loads to the moment the next internal page loads. If your visitor stays for 10 minutes, reads your article from top to bottom, shares it, and then closes the tab without browsing any further within your site, GA will register ‘zero’ time on page.)
When it comes to lead capture forms, contact forms, and sales checkout forms, it can be hard to tell how many fields you’re best off including. The fewer fields your forms have, the lesser friction people will have opting in, which makes for more conversions.
On the other hand, the more fields you include, the more data you’ll have to work with when people do complete and submit forms, which is useful for identifying personas when executing segmented nurture sequences. You’ll also learn more about your audience, and you’ll be in the best possible position for determining the relevance of your leads. And there’s something to be said for asking a lot of your audience, as it helps to filter out people who are “just curious” about your lead magnet and will never actually do business with you.
To really understand the extent to which form fields are serving as roadblocks on the path to conversion, turn to your form builder tool’s analytics. The better platforms will reveal partial submissions, and how far a user gets through a form before abandoning it, so you can see if any single field is too long or question too confusing.
To get started experimenting with form conversion optimization, I recommend Formstack, Formismo or Jotform.
4. The identity of every visitor
One of GA’s biggest weaknesses is its inability to give context to visitor behavior. It can’t show you much about the identity of your visitors – at best, you can segment data about your entire pool of visitors according to their physical locations, devices, referrers, rough demographics and points of entry to your site.
What’s more, Google Analytics only uses a sample of your visitors, so that even if you tinker with your report settings to reveal the IP addresses of individual sessions, you can’t rely on this information as a comprehensive source of individual user insights.
Instead of GA, use audience intelligence tools that provide information about the interests, behavior, personal data (in a GDPR-compliant manner, of course.) and historic activity of every user, so that you can gain a deeper understanding of your visitors. This allows you to fine-tune your content to appeal to your audience, and it also reveals opportunities for account-based marketing.
To get started with audience intelligence, try Albacross, LinkedIn Website Demographics or Visitor Queue.
5. Funnel analytics
It is possible to use Google Analytics to track users through your funnel and measure its effectiveness. However, setting this all up can be highly complicated. You have to build a confusing series of filters and a dedicated URL structure that allows GA to correlate content pages with each stage of the funnel.
It’s much better to use a single tool that follows users through your funnel. Pick one that logs abandonment points and the cumulative impact of your various key funnel touchpoints. You’ll also need a good way to track the activity of returning visitors, which is another weak point for GA, thanks to uncertainty about cookies, lack of reliability when tracking visitors across devices, and the aforementioned notorious data sampling issue.
And if you integrate a funnel analytics tool with your CRM, logging each lead’s engagement activity on your website, you’ll be in great shape to set up a smart lead scoring system for identifying sales-readiness levels.
To get started with funnel analytics, check out Kissmetrics, Woopra or Yandex Metrica.
6. Off-site interactions
Google Analytics only measures interactions with the content on your own site. It’s not something you can use to measure the impact of content on shared, paid or earned media. So that guest post you recently published on someone else’s blog, or your LinkedIn Publisher articles, for example, will be blind spots for you.
GA can show you information about some of the visits you acquired via clickthroughs from these media presences, but that’s about it.
You’ll get better results from a multi-channel dashboard tool that pulls together user analytics from all channels, including email marketing, advertising tools, and social media. This type of solution can’t show you how people found your content on these properties, nor where they went next if they didn’t end up on your website, but it will help you consolidate all your metrics into one centralized dashboard for a more holistic analysis.
What’s more, if you combine data relating to engagement on all touchpoints into one timeline, you’ll start to see correlations between spikes on certain channels and website conversions, which can point you in the right direction for further drill-downs
To get started with multi-channel dashboards, try Klipfolio, Databox or Geckoboard.
Google Analytics isn’t a magic button
Google Analytics is hugely popular, but it can’t do everything, especially if you’re concerned about content performance. Fortunately, there are other tools that fill the gaps GA leaves behind, giving you a much clearer understanding of your content marketing success.
The post Six key content performance aspects that Google Analytics can’t measure appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Moz is known and loved by many in the SEO community not only for their tools, but also for the ways they’ve contributed to SEO education via their blog, Whiteboard Fridays, Search Ranking Factors study, and more.
We caught up with Moz’s Sarah Bird and Rob Bucci to learn about what they’ve been working on and trends they’re seeing in SEO. Sarah is CEO of Moz and has been at the company since joining as the eighth employee in 2007. She’s helped grow the company from a few hundred customers to now more than 37,000. Sarah holds a J.D. and previously worked as an attorney before getting into the startup space.
Rob is VP of R&D at Moz. He previously was CEO of STAT Search Analytics, which he helped build since 2011 and which was acquired by Moz in October 2018.
Their company is headquartered in Seattle, where Sarah is based, and they also have a large office in Vancouver, where Rob is based.
In this conversation, we focus mostly on Moz’s interest in and work on local search, as well as better understanding queries the way that Google understands them.
SEW: Tell us about what you’ve been working on lately around local search?
Sarah: We’re really excited — we think this is the golden age of search. More people are searching than ever before, and they have more devices and opportunities to use when searching. That’s come also with changes at Google of not wanting to just be a portal or a gateway to websites, but to actually allow users to transact and interact right there on Google property. Google is more of a destination now and not just a gateway.
What we’ve noticed is that while we may have more searches than ever before, not all those searches are created equal. Some searches are simply not commercizable anymore for anyone but Google. But we think you still have some great opportunities, particularly in the local space.
Research coming out from Google, others, and our own internal research is really showing that local intent searches lead to a purchase much more quickly.
And it’s hyper-local. You can get a different search result on one street corner, then walk four blocks and get a different search result on that corner. It means that more people can actually play the search game. There’s much more SEO opportunity in local.l
A big theme at Moz right now is focusing on making local search more understood and easier to do for SEOs.
Rob: In today’s Google, there’s really, for the vast majority of queries, no such thing as a national SERP anymore. Everything is local. Google gets a lot of local signals, especially from mobile devices. And the mobile device doesn’t say “I’m searching from the U.S.,” it says “I’m searching from the corner of 5th avenue and Tucker Street.” Google takes that information and uses it to create a SERP that has all sorts of content relevant to that specific local area.
We’ve been helping our users adapt to that reality by building out a set of functionality that we call Local Market Analytics. It allows users to get actual, on-the-ground reality that a searcher would see in the area where they’re searching.
Part of how we do that is by sampling within a given market. Let’s say a market is Toronto, San Francisco, or Seattle. Local Market Analytics would sample from several different zip codes within that market to pull out an average rank or average appearance on that SERP. So truly, this is the actual appearance in that market.
We have studies that have shown that even for sites that don’t have brick-and-mortar locations, their performance varies dramatically depending on where their searcher or their customer is searching from.
We hope that this functionality better allows our users to adapt to this new reality and make sure they can have the right data to build the foundation of their strategies.
Moz Local vs Local Market Analytics
Sarah: We at Moz are dedicated to local search because we know it’s so commercializable and because we know there’s so much organic opportunity. Because it’s so hyper-local and focused, there are some really interesting ways of thinking when you view local search.
We’ve relaunched our Moz Local product. The new Moz Local allows you to do even more than the prior version. We’re enabling, even more, review management which is super important for search right now, as well as more Google posts and more subtle GMB management. Moz Local is separate from Local Market Analytics, and there’s a good reason for that.
With the new Moz Local, you really need to have a physical location in order for it to be valuable.
But Local Market Analytics doesn’t require you to have a physical location. It just requires that the kind of queries that you care about will vary by location.
Rob: For local SEOs, the spectrum of things that they care about is varied. On one hand, they’ll care about the appearance of their business’s local listings — the accuracy of that data, review management, and having the right distribution partners for those listings. Moz Local, especially the new version that we’ve launched, handles that side of the equation very well.
Where we believe the market has been traditionally underserved has to do with the performance of a website itself in organic search results. As those organic search results get increasingly hyper-local, we’ve found that local SEOs have been underserved with the quality of data they’ve had in order to build their local strategies.
Local Market Analytics seeks to solve that part of the problem: performance of their websites in hyper-local organic search.
What kind of feedback have you gotten about the tool so far?
Rob: There’s a ton of excitement. We talked about this at MozCon, and it really resonated with people: this idea that “Yes, I search from my phone all the time and see a lot of local results, even when I’m not looking for a local business, and I see my search change.” Or agencies that have customers in three different areas and they’re asking why the rankings they’re sending aren’t the same as what their clients are seeing, because they’re impacted by local.
I think a lot of people intuitively understand that this is where Google is. Google is by nature right now intensely hyper-local. So there’s a great hunger for this kind of data. Historically, people have thought they just couldn’t get it.
A lot of times people get accustomed to the idea that we can’t get what we need from Google — that the data just isn’t available.
So when we’re able to show them that the data actually is available, and that we’ve built functionality around it, there’s a lot of excitement.
Local Search Volume: New functionality
We also rolled out our new Local Search Volume functionality. It’s a brand-new data point that people traditionally haven’t been able to get.
Most products on the market can tell you “search volume in the U.S. is X and in Germany it’s Y.” That’s very broad — nationwide. But when we care about tracking the market of Toronto or San Fran or Memphis, we want to know what our search volume is in that city. People have traditionally thought that they couldn’t get that data, but we’ve now made it available, and we’re really excited about that.
Right now, we’re doing it on a city basis, and we’ve rolled it out to states. I don’t want to over-promise. I would love to have it be more specific, and that’s certainly something that we’re thinking about.
What’s going to be really cool is when we can get to a place where we help people understand demand per capita in their markets.
Let’s take an example. We might think that Brooklyn is the epicenter of pizza. But when we actually look at New Hampshire and the number of searches there versus how many people are in that market, we might find that the demand per capita for pizza is greater in New Hampshire than in Brooklyn.
Being able to show people if there’s a big untapped opportunity — I’m really looking forward to empowering that kind of analysis.
Sarah: This ties into what I alluded to before – we need to understand queries and types of search results like Google does. Search results vary dramatically nowadays, with all kinds of SERP features. All of this impacts whether there’s a click at all, and certainly the clickthrough rate.
We are doing a bunch of R&D right now to make sure that we can help our audience of SEOs understand queries like Google, and also understand what a search result might look like for a kind of query, and what impact that could have on CTR. This stuff is more in the R&D territory. Local Search Volume is part of that interest and investment on our part.
When it comes to the distribution of clicks between organic, paid, and no-click searches, some people see the rise of paid and no-click searches as disheartening. You sound optimistic. What’s your response to those trends?
Sarah: Absolutely for some part of searches happening, if you’re not Google you can’t take advantage of it. The value stays with Google — that is absolutely true. But the overall number of searches continues to rise — that’s also a trend.
And I believe very strongly that just because there isn’t a click doesn’t mean there isn’t some value created.
We have these old ways of thinking about whether or not you’re successful in SEO. Those ways are deeply entrenched, but we need to let go of them a bit. Traffic to your website is no longer an accurate measure of the value you’re getting from search. It might be a minimum — that’s at least the value you’re getting. But it’s nowhere near the maximum.
I think that brand marketers, who come from different disciplines, have always known that visibility — how you show up and how compelling it is — that those things matter, even if you can’t measure it like old-school SEO or PPC.
There’s a danger in equating an increase in no-click searches with a decrease in the value of SEO.
We should shift our attention to not just “am I showing up” and “am I getting traffic,” but “how am I showing up in search results?”
What does it look like when someone lands on your search result? Are they getting a phone number? Are they getting what they want, the answer they need? Is your search result compelling?
That’s part of what’s driving our interest in thinking more holistically about what a search result looks like and feels like, and how users interact with it. We want to know more about how you’re showing up and how Google thinks about queries.
Those two concepts: How does Google understand queries, and what does a search result look like, feel like, and how does the searcher experience it — those are related.
Rob: There’s still a ton of value out there, especially just for building a sense of credibility and brand authority.
We live in a world, right now at least, where we’ll continue to see Google chipping away at these opportunities. They’re a business and they’re trying to maximize shareholder value. They have a natural inclination to grab as much as they can.
We shouldn’t get despondent because of that. There’s still a lot of value there. Even with no-click SEO, you can still deliver a lot of brand authority.
What are other trends that SEOs should be paying attention to?
Rob: One of the other areas we’re thinking about is how do we better help our customers think about queries in the same way Google thinks about queries?
Google goes a lot deeper than just understanding which words mean what. They look at the intent of the searcher — what are they trying to solve? We’re really interested in helping people think about queries in that way.
We have some really interesting R&D work right now around intent and understanding what Google thinks an intent is. How can our users use that information to adapt their content strategies? That’s an area that’s really ripe and that people in the industry should be paying attention to. It’s not going anywhere. I’m really excited about that.
How do you go about understanding how Google understands intent?
Rob: Without getting too deep into it, there’s a number of ways that one could do it. One might be inclined to look at the NLP (natural language processing) approach — what might these words mean when used together and what might they say about the state of mind of the searcher? That’s a viable approach rooted in NLP and ML (machine learning).
Another approach might be to look at the SERP itself. Google has already decided what it is. I can look at what Google’s decided the signals are to what the intent is. Both of these are approaches one might use.
SEO is an ever-changing industry. What skills should people be focused on developing or learning about in the next few months?
Sarah: From a skills perspective, this is what I’ve always loved about SEO and what makes it challenging to be great at, but something that’s critical nonetheless — it’s a great blend of art and science.
You have to be technical, but you also have to be able to put your mind into the user. Or rather, you have to be able to think about what Google will think about what the user thinks.
What could the ultimate user be trying to accomplish, and how will Google follow that?
You also have to have a strong technical foundation, so you know how to go out and execute. But those aren’t necessarily new skills.
Rob: I think people always look for what’s new, but sometimes we overlook the basic fundamentals which never go out of style. It’s about reaffirming what’s really important.
There are two basic skills I think all SEOs need:
- You need to be able to interpret data. You need to be able to look at a bunch of disparate data points and weave them together into a narrative. What is it telling you? In doing that, people need to get really good at overcoming their own self-serving biases about interpreting data in a way that’s convenient or how they think the world should line up. The ability to interpret data is critical to an SEO who’s going to succeed at finding new opportunities that no one else has spotted.
- Understanding how to talk to people in a way that will get them to do what you want them to do. That really comes down to understanding how your content should be optimized and what you should be saying on your pages. What problem are you trying to solve for them and how are you trying to solve it?
Those are good fundamental skills I think people should continue to focus on, rather than thinking about, “I need to learn Python.” That’s a lot of distraction and it’s very specialized.
Learning Python or R might seem sexy because technical SEO is having a renaissance right now. But at the end of the day, it’s not a basic skill you need to succeed in SEO.
SEO is a broad career and discipline. If you find yourself in a role that requires you to know that stuff, great. But I wouldn’t make that sweeping advice to the entire SEO industry because I think it’s a bit of a distraction.
Thanks so much to Sarah and Rob for talking with us!
Ps — They’re running a pilot program for their Local Market Analytics tool. It’s invite-only but anyone can register interest to be selected. They’re quite excited about it and would love feedback from the industry.
The post Moz Local Search Analytics and industry trends: Q&A with Moz’s Sarah Bird and Rob Bucci appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer have merged. Now Google Website Optimizer, a free A/B and Multi-variate testing tool, is available in Google Analytics via Experiments link under Content Section (see image below).
You can create and manage all your tests within Google Analytics without going to Google Website Optimizer site.
Functionality Difference between Experiments and Google Website Optimizer
- Easy Implementation – Since you already have Google Analytics on your site, now you will need one script to put on the original version, rest of the work will be done by standard Google analytics script.
- No Multivariate Testing Anymore – There is no option to run MVT and only allows A/B testing in the “Experiments”
The last day you’ll be able to access Google Website Optimizer will be August 1st, 2012
We will add more posts as we uncover new functionality in Experiments.