GaugeCon started on Thursday March 8, 2012. This is their second conference held in San Francisco, CA. They always time it after the eMetrics Conference, which I understand is fabulous. The event kicked off with a fabulous keynote speaker, Dan Siroker the founder of Optimizely which I will get into later. What is most impressive is his past experience as a product manager at Google, then leaving Google to be the Director of Analytics for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.
His keynote speech was Beat the Back Button: How to Optimize for Engagement
The focus was on testing different landing pages he went through a few examples and shared lessons he has learned;
- Lesson #1 Define quantifiable success metrics
One place to start – visitors flow identify the bottle necks in your funnels online
- Lesson #2 Less is more reduce choices you offer online
Less boxes more people will sign up, example as simple as to removed the confirm email box
- Lesson #3 Words Matter – Focus on your call to action
Donate button experiment
Know what your viewers are looking for and use those words as your call to action
Changing “submit” wording to what they are actually doing can make a big difference in engagement
- Lesson #4 – Fail Fast, meaning if you are failing do it quickly make changes and move on
- Lesson #5 Start today – He discussed the following products to help with this processry these products
- Website Optimizer
- Ominture Test and Target
- Optimizely.com can change the website for testing different versions
Needless to say I was wowed by Optimizely and it takes a lot to wow me. But the drag and drop features and the perceived simplicity of making changes was impressive. I would definitely take a good look at his product.
Slides located at: bit.ly/optimizelybestpractices
Watch it live:
Today I am on my way to the Google Developer Conference of the year. The next two days I will be immersed in sessions ranging from Android Development to infinity and beyond. This is the conference of the future and is filled with cutting edge applications and technology. View the Google IO 2011 conference website.
Today as a web developer it is not enough to only understand how to build websites it is important to have knowledge in all aspects of online media. I continue to attend various conferences throughout the year to better understand what my clients may need.
This week Google announced two improvements to the organic search results listings.
- Expanded list of useful related searches
- The addition of longer search result descriptions
The expanded list of useful related searches is at the bottom of the search pages where it gives you suggestions of other searches. Since Yahoo offers it at the top of the page, Google offers the information at the bottom. I guess they figure you have looked through all the listings and did not find what you want, so you might want to try these. This is also good information when you are doing keyword research for website content or blog posts. The example they give is if you search “principles of physics” the Google algorithms understand that “angular momentum”, “special relativity” etc. are related terms that may offer more information. Try it and see what you get.
The second is the addition of longer search result descriptions in the SERPS (Search Engine Ranking Pages). This is interesting, in the code for a web page there are meta tags where a website developer can add descriptions and titles for each page on a website. Now it looks like Google will grab more of that information and list it on the SERP pages. This is for searches with more than three words. This allows the descriptions to give back more information on what you are looking for exactly. I also noticed that some listings may have two lines where others would have four. As people get smarter and more definitive in their searches they will receive better results. This is an opportunity to add more keywords in your web page description.
You may read more about both of these improvements in The Official Google Blog.
Most people, especially small businesses today have a website. Most very proud of their web presence and should be and naturally their websites bring them business. Many times in ways they never thought possible. But what do they REALLY know about their website and what could be done differently? Until you emmerse (much like baptism) your site into search analytics you will never know.
Analytics is one method to get “personal” with your website. Common questions you should ask yourself:
- Who is visiting your website?
- Where did they come from (referer)?
- How long are they staying on your site?
- What pages do they enter and exit your site?
- Are they submitting a contact form or buying a product (converting)?
How do you do this, without spending a lot of money on products that may not work?
I have tried different software packages (which I don’t want to get into here) and some do work, but right now my favorite is Google Analytics. Why? Because it is truly free and has great easy to read information. Google Analytics does take some time to learn and they say you get what you pay for, but I do believe it is worth the effort. I am now a “Google Analytics Junkie”.
Let’s get started with your website:
- First you need a chunk of code to put on “every” page of your website that you wish to track. This is your tracking code. You can get this code by signing up for an AdWords account or if you have a gmail account use that as your user name/password (you don’t have to participate in AdWords). Here is the link to Google Analytics help center http://www.google.com/analytics/indexu.html
- Now you are in your adWords account, this is really confusing. Across the top are tabs click on Analytics and that should get you started. “Create my free Google Analytics account”. Click on the continue>> button
- Follow the directions on this page, submit >> accept the terms >>
- Wallah - cut and past this code into your website right before the </body> tag on EVERY page you wish to track.
- I know your lost, try the help center link above, it is worth your time and I know you can do it.
Now the fun begins watch the information roll in, give it some time. You will want to create what is known as the dashboard, personalize your dashboard.
This can be done by clicking through the information on the left hand navigation. For each category there is a button on the top of the page to either export / email / add to dashboard . Get familiar with these buttons. I have a report sent to me weekly with my dashboard information so that I do not have to login to find out what is going on and it gives me past week comparisons.
Some of my favorite information is:
- site useage
- the map overlay (where in the world are these visitors)
- traffic sources overview (where is all you traffic coming from)
- content overview (what pages are most popular)
- all traffic sources (who is referring to you)
- Visitors overview (clicks per day, who is unique, how many page views…)
- Now my favorite, setting goals and the funnel report
In each category you can get more and more granular, the best part – our friends at Google do it all for FREE!
Before I became a Google Analytics Junkie, I was THE original Google Addict. My SEO addictions don’t appear to be going away. Does anyone know of a good 12 step program? Have fun and beware of the addictions.