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Why website URL structure matters to Google Analytics

Many website content management systems by default show page URLs using "query string data" - i.e. the name of the your website domain followed by a question mark and some data indicating a particular page. For example www.mysite.com/?page_id=57.

Beyond analytics there are a number of advantages of having a "friendlier" URL structure. Some of the key advantages include:

1. A logical hierarchy using words rather than data in your URLs can convey information and help people understand where they are in your site content.

2. Page URLs that use query string data can be harder for people to remember.

3. There are advantages for SEO - see the Google SEO Starter Guide

4. URLs appear in search results - if a relevant word matching a search term appears in your URL it will shown in bold making your entry stand out a little more. This could potentially increase the chances of someone clicking through to your site.

An often forgotten advantage of a well thought out URL hierarchy is the impact on working with Google Analytics.

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Social Media Analytics - Launch of New Service

Social media now forms an integral part of many companies online digital marketing strategies. With future use set only to grow and companies investing heavily in this area the need to understand the value of this investment is becoming increasingly important.

Thinking strategically before the launch of a campaign is essential. You'll get the best results by having a framework for measurement in place at the outset. It's also important to think about what you measure. If your followers are growing and you received fifty new likes last month what does this really tell you?

Demonstrating ROI (in a financial sense) from social media activity can sometimes be difficult - nevertheless it is possible to track a range of metrics that collectively demonstrate impact.

To this end we're pleased to announce that we'll be launching a new social media analytics service in September building upon our experience with social for a wide range of clients. Further details will be published shortly.

Twitter Opens Up Analytics Dashboard to Everyone

A new Twitter Analytics dashboard which launched to advertisers and verified users in July has now been opened up to everyone.

The dashboard displays Tweet data and is designed to help you optimise your performance on Twitter allowing you to gain insight into ongoing strategy for both paid and organic Tweets and content. To view statistics for your account go to https://analytics.twitter.com/.

For an overview of the features available and commonly asked questions visit the Twitter activity dashboard help page. An in depth article is also available on Tech Crunch

Google Tag Manager Concepts - Tags, Containers, Macros and More...

In a previous post we talked about some of the benefits of working with Google Tag Manager.

In case you were left wondering what a container or a tag is or how you set up a tag for Google Analytics this post looks at some of the key concepts you need to be familiar with when working with Google Tag Manager.

To start off with let’s look at the structure of Google Tag Manager. This contains three main components - the Account, the Container and Tags.

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Tracking Website Search Terms with Google Analytics

Tracking what people search for on your site via Google Analytics has a number of advantages beyond simply capturing an additional interaction with your website.

Configuring your account to track "on site search" is relatively straightforward requiring a tweak to your Google Analytics view settings. A separate post will explain how to set this up. Note that you can also configure your account to capture search categories to provide additional insight (for example think of a search on an e-commerce site where you can choose DVDs or Books as a product category).

Once set up you'll find the reports within the Behaviour section of your account (see Behaviour / Site Search).

Search Terms

Google describes words or phrases used to search your website as "search terms" - as opposed to "keywords" - the terms used in search engines to find your site via organic search.

Search terms can be helpful in understanding the motivation behind visits to your site, can show topics of interest to your audience and the levels of interest in such content. Search Terms can also suggest ideas for new content - potentially to feed into an ongoing content marketing strategy as part of an SEO campaign.

Check first to see the extent to which site search is being used. The Site Search / Overview report will show you the percentage of people performing searches on your site.

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