If you work in SEO, you know how quickly new tools that significantly influence your day-to-day work are released.
You may have felt that chill in the air recently, and while Game of Thrones fanboys and fangirls will tell you that it’s because Winter is Coming, SEOs know better:
It’s got a lot more to do with Penguins. One of them, in particular.
The last time you logged into Google Analytics, you may have been prompted to “upgrade” to the platform’s newest feature: Universal Analytics. Ultimately, you’re going to have to make the switch, because Google’s sending everyone to Universal Analytics (presumably, once functionality on the platform increases) eventually. But why should your brand become an early adopter of this new feature?
Here are some reasons why you should make the switch:
- Customizability – The platform allows for more specific customized dimension-metric reporting, for tailored campaign and session lengths and filtered referral traffic for more accurate attribution.
- Think Big (as in Data) – Universal Analytics is about what your CMO has been trying to quantify for a long time: the value of all brand interaction and engagement. The platform promises to integrate web engagement with call center touches, in-store purchases, social media interaction, app traffic, event tracking and more. If you’re a retailer with web and storefront properties, a B2B with a call center and an app platform, or a media outlet with a web, print and app presence, you absolutely need UA.
- It’s easy! – Really, it is. Remember how you only needed to add a small snippet of code to your site to set up Google Analytics? Setting up UA is the same thing – code, new profile in analytics, and you’re off!
Then there are the cases against trying it right away:
- No continuity with data – Because Google Analytics and Universal Analytics are run from different snippets of code, a new profile must be created in order to add UA to your site – this means that you won’t be able to look at historical data, but it also doubles as a reason that you should get started sooner than later
- It’s still in beta – A lot of the great, cross-platform functionality that UA promises isn’t there yet.
- You don’t have the resources to utilize it – Once fully functional, UA is going to tie in with your SalesForce, Marketo or other CRM environments to deliver stronger data, making it easy to see where your brand is winning and where it’s behind competition, and also making case studies a breeze. So if you don’t have the resources to utilize UA, now’s the time to find them.
It’s clear that Universal Analytics is going to be a powerful part of your marketing team’s efforts in the days ahead. As with any new tool, the more practice you can get with it, the better you’ll be able to utilize its offerings.
When will you make the switch?
Gone are the days of sending out press releases via “snail mail” and physically cutting newspaper articles out with scissors and pasting them into a clip book. No one uses a rolodex to look up contacts or land lines to check into the office. While the essence of public relations has remained the same over the years – to protect, manage and improve a brand or company’s reputation – the introduction of the web and social media has drastically transformed the way PR professionals operate.
In order for our PR efforts to continue to be successful in the changing market, PR professionals now have to change who we pitch and how we pitch depending on the media outlet. While pitching to newspapers, magazines and broadcast is still a crucial component to the PR industry, the web has introduced another extremely valuable media channel: the blog. Blogs allow PR professionals to locate and target niche markets for nearly every topic imaginable which gives insight into trending topics and online influencers.
The introduction of blogs has changed the way PR professionals write their press releases today. As pointed out in the book, The New Rules of PR by David Meerman Scott, in the past, press releases were only pitched to press. They were only written when major news occurred and were only made public if a journalist chose to make the news into a story. Today, however, press releases are created to reach consumers directly, include links to other sources of valuable information and are sent out much more frequently.
Frequent and “digitized” press releases are the most successful in today’s world, suggests the PRSA in a recent post. Digitized releases include links and social media outlets so readers can easily share news. Digitized press releases, as PRSA explains, also incorporate carefully chosen keywords to improve search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is a key element of a press release that PR professionals never had to think about just a few years ago. However, having a keyword-rich copy is crucial today since a great press release is useless if the right people can’t find it. To further increase the chances of a press release being found, the PRSA explains that the new wave of PR professionals turn to social media to tweet their releases and post their releases on Facebook for optimum exposure. But sharing news is just one of the many ways PR professionals employ social media on a day-to-day basis.
Social media has allowed PR professionals to join the conversation with key consumers in real-time. In the past, groundbreaking news meant something that happened yesterday. With the introduction of social media, groundbreaking news has to be instantaneous – or real-time – to be newsworthy and to garner media attention.
For example, when the Superbowl dome lost power, Oreo took full advantage of the situation and the power of social media and tweeted, “You can still dunk in the dark” just moments after the blackout occurred. Oreo’s real-time tweet generated over 10,000 retweets in less than an hour, showing us just how important it is to think on your feet and react instantly in the PR industry today.
The fact that Oreo could instantaneously see the media attention, retweets and comments, brings up another significant change in PR over the last few years: the ability to measure the success of PR efforts. In addition to counting retweets or “likes” on Facebook, a post on Marketing Land explains that websites and programs such as Klout, Google Analytics and Technorati, allow website click-throughs and social media followers to be tracked, monitored and managed. It has finally become possible to show the ROI of public relations and social media campaigns.
As PR success becomes easier to illustrate, it’s no doubt that the role of public relations within organizations will continue to grow in coming years. In the past decade alone, the industry has changed so much that common PR operations in the ‘90s are almost unrecognizable today. The changes in the industry have allowed PR professionals to reach wider audiences and communicate directly with consumers. As technology continues to advance it seems that pubic relations will also continue to evolve with it.
How do you think the industry will change over the next 5 years? How about over the next 10 years?
This infographic created by InkHouse Media + Marketing looks deeper into the ways PR has evolved over the years:
*Written by PR Intern Shelby Hickox. Shelby is a senior at Boston University, graduating in 2013 with a degree in Public Relations.
Ah the dreaded (not provided). Implemented by Google back in October of 2011, this little piece of (seemingly) useless data has grown from a small nuisance to the bane of my existence as an SEO. In fact a new study has shown that 39% of search related traffic from Google to websites now has search terms withheld. Keep in mind that at its inception, Google predicted it would make up less than 10%. For those that report to clients regularly, trying to explain away a piece of data that has grown to such heights has become tougher and tougher.
For those who need a little background: the designation (not provided) has been showing up in Google Analytics keyword reports for over a year now. Essentially, when a user is logged into his or her Google account (via Gmail, Google+ etc) any keywords they use in Google searches get obfuscated by Google via a Secure Session. Without getting too technical. Google is blocking analytics from seeing which keyword a logged in user typed in to visit your site. The ramifications for brands and SEO’s alike are detrimental. How can we optimize our pages if we don’t know what user typed in to reach that page? Moreover, how can we improve conversions if we don’t know what words are actually driving the conversion
Many SEO experts, including the ones here at 451 Marketing have tried to make sense of the data and come up with a clever way of teasing out the keywords for (not provided) visits.
Thanks to some testing, some after work conversations with other SEO’s and a great article from Search Engine Land, we have a workable solution for determining (most of) the keywords hidden by (not provided).
When analyzing keyword data in analytics we are used to seeing something like this:
However there is a great Google Analytics custom filter that allows you to see a great deal of the (not provided) data. While you still will not be able to see the keyword that provided the click, you will be able to see the landing page. Using the example above, this particular site received 13,573 visits from organic search in January. Of those visits, 2,196 were attributed (not provided). That is just over 16% of the keyword data lost.
After implementing custom filter in a separate profile we set up (more on setting that up in a bit) we are now able to see, within the keyword data, the top landing pages of the logged in searcher.
The newly filtered (not provided) information can still be found within the keywords and marked with an “np-landing page”. I simply sorted data to show the top (not provided) data for the purpose of this exercise.
In the case of this site, 523 visits (about 25% of (not provided) data) were to the home page. From this I can say quite confidently that branded traffic is most likely responsible. Again, it is not 100% guaranteed, but we are a lot closer to providing analysis using the filter than we were when we first started the exercise.
If your category , subcategory and product pages have optimized URL’s the rest of the list should give you an idea of the keywords that drove the visit. Again, it’s not 100%, but it’s a deeper view than you had before.
Setting Up Filter Not Provided Profile
Once you have set up a new profile in analytics you are ready to create the filter that will give you this juicy data to analyze. I aptly name this new profile “Not Provided”.
Once you’ve set up the new profile, you can immediately create your advanced filter. Click on the “Filters” Tab and click the “New Filter” button.
You’re going to create a New Custom Filter that looks just like this:
Depending on the amount of (not provided) data you receive month to month, there are advanced segments within custom report sharing that eliminates all (not provided) data from the results. This is only recommended for those sites seeing low single-digit site impact (2-3%). This is not an option for us as the majority of clients we deal with have been seeing 12-20% impact per site.
So there you have it, a sure way to alter (not provided) into useful, actionable data. There is also a method for doing this that uses Google Webmaster tools, Google Analytics and some pivot tables. It’s more advanced so we wanted to start with showing you how to use GA only. We’ll post the tutorial for using the advanced method in an upcoming blog feature.
Do you have a better way to tease out the (not provided) data? Let us know!