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By JOHN-PAUL PAGANINI 06 Nov, 2017
If you're a small business, particular in retail or selling services locally or regionally then you may have been wondering what strategies you can use to get the word out there to reach your clientele. One option open to you is using the Google Adwords platform run entirely online by Google. In all likelihood there is a very good chance you have heard of Google Adwords and this form of online advertising is also known as paid search or pay per click.

Some of the advantages of using Google Adwords are that it can be set up very quickly and you can get your message out fast and with a wide reach or to targeted areas you desire. By default, a lot of the settings are automatic to help you get started but once you have selected which network you want to run the ad on it's advisable to select the 'All features' option. This allows you to make futher refinements in terms of bidding (what your willing to pay) for your ad as well as in what locations you want it to appear in - you can target right down to individual postcodes or select a distance radius around your shop or restaurant to attract local clients.

A word about networks. Google Adwords offers a range of networks as it calls it to target on. The search network is essentially targeting your ads towards prospects who search online via Google. The Google Display network on the other hand are things like YouTube and partner sites where your ads will be shown. This may be more appropriate if you are trying to expand your reach and develop brand awareness however its important to bear in mind the user's search intent and if they're likely to convert.

Other features of Google Adwords are allowing you to add "extensions". These are small snippets of additional information such as price, reviews, location, contact number and descriptive text about promotions for example to help your ad convert better. Google Adwords takes into consideration the quality of your ad and the sorts of user experience your landing pages create in determining where you ad will be placed on the page. The positions are towards the top of bottom the page for search ads, and you may actually pay less than your competitors for a better position if the "quality score" is deemed high by Google. The quality score is calculated on the presence of relevant keywords, ad make-up and landing page experience on your website.

Probably one of the best things about Google Adwords is you do not pay anything unless your ad is clicked on. So your ad could get served up and seen by a prospect but if it's not clicked on then you won't pay anything. The main downside to Google Adwords are potential exhausted budgets if accounts are not monitored properly, use of default settings as opposed to custom and inapproporiate selection of bidding strategies ie. what you are willing to pay for your ad to show for keywords or keyphrases you define. However, you do have the option of setting a daily budget or limit in terms of what you are willing to spend and if you are in a competitive space this could exhaust quite quickly and your ads would not show as a result of that until the next day when your limit would reapply.
By JOHN-PAUL PAGANINI 09 Sep, 2017
If you have a Wordpress site, you can select and activate the search widget under the Appearance tab and have yourself a search box incorporated onto your website. This is useful if you have lots of content or posts in certain categories, but there is another useful and vital function the search box can perform if you tie it into your Google Analytics set-up.

You can capture the search queries used by visitors on your site in Google Analytics and this in turn can inform your content strategy, product strategy or blog post strategy giving you valuable insight into what visitors are searching for. It's great feedback which can complement other tools such as Google Search console to see what keywords or keyphrases visitors are searching for. Additionally, it can inform your adwords strategy too - giving you keyword ideas should you be running Google Adwords.

Once you've installed your searchbox on your Wordpress site, go to your Google Analytics set-up and go to Admin.

From here, go to View, then click on View settings. Scrolldown to Site Search settings and slide the site search tracking button to 'ON'.

Within the query parameter box enter lowercase 's' and tick the checkbox "Strip query parameters out of URL' - this means the results will return clean search query strings.

And there you have it. Your Google Analytics will collect internal website search queries to inform your content and adwords strategies. To view these visitor queries, go the Behavior tab in Google Analytics and select Site Search. Voila.
By JOHN-PAUL PAGANINI 05 Aug, 2017
You may be looking at your Google Analytics and seeing the following terms appear in your reports such as 'Direct / None' and 'Not set' and wondering - what's that all about?

Google Analytics attributes traffic to 'sources' and 'mediums'. A source identifies the origin of your traffic which could be a search engine such as  Google, or a website domain.

Medium is simply a category for source or if you prefer, categorisation of traffic sources.

Mediums can include  "organic" ie. unpaid search, "cpc" - cost per click ie. paid search, or "referral", and even custom names such as those you have defined in tagging of your email marketing links.

An example of a referral is where a visitor arrives at your site by clicking on a link from another site.

In the case of Direct / None appearing in your Google Analytics, this occurs when no prior data can be found on the user, and when information about the referring website ie. where the traffic comes from cannot be read.

A Google definition of direct traffic is for which the referrer is unknown and for which no prior campaign data could be found for the cookie (user).

In what cases could Direct / None occur?

  • A user types in a url
  • A user clicks on a bookmark
  • A user clicks on a link in an email from Outlook or other
  • A user clicks on a link from a pdf or other type of document
  • A user clicks on a link from a mobile app
  • A user clicks on a link from a secure site to a non-secure site ie. going from https:// to http://
  • A user clicks through via a url shortener
  • A user clicks on a link from some other desktop software
So, we can see there are a range of use-cases where direct / none could be returned in your Google Analytics.

How can we overcome this? There is something we can do and that is tag the links under our ownership. This could be links in email campaigns we send out, links in a marketing brochureware or links on third-party sites. We can use Google URL builder tool to specify attributes which will present as labels for us in our Google Analytics reporting, and in turn, better identify that traffic.

(not set) is a value for a 'keyword' dimension in Google Analytics. This happens where the visitor has missing referrer information, or has arrived via a referring website other than by paid search links in search engine results. The keyword dimension is usually offered in cases of organic and paid search traffic but not for referral or direct traffic traffic.

A useful guide to help troubleshoot (not set) and (not provided) can be found on the Lunametrics blog
http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2015/06/25/11-places-google-analytics-not-set/
By JOHN-PAUL PAGANINI 20 Jul, 2017
Are you confused by Google Analytics? You've heard it's free to use but don't understand some of the reports, or you just don't trust the data it is presenting? Let passion-net training make sense of Google Analytics for small businesses. Google Analytics is a free analytics application run by Google and available online. You first need to create an account to sign-up for free. Google Analytics is a powerful tool but it's important to define in advance what metrics are important to your business to measure, as well as having a certain level of trust in what the data is telling you. You need to get your Google Analytics implementation right so it's wise to filter out 'internal traffic' from your reports, as well as 'bot traffic' and 'ghost spam' to clean up the data. It's also important to have the tracking code implemented correctly, and implemented in the correct places on your website. It's wise to cultivate a critical sense of the data contained in Google Analytics as you'll find over time through your own use you'll develop a better grasp of its finer points and when to place your trust or otherwise into the data. The sorts of insights you draw from Google Analytics can help you become more efficient with your online marketing spend and online strategy - saving you money, driving leads and delivering better results for your small business. To book a 1-2-1 Google Analytics training session for your small business get in touch or call me on 07540430027.
By JOHN-PAUL PAGANINI 20 Jul, 2017
At some point you may want to track certain custom actions or events on your website using your Google Analytics set-up. A useful and free tool to help you do this is 'Google Tag Manager'. This can be found online, and is a free tool offered by Google. You may wish to use Google Tag Manager to track how many times your document or pdf was downloaded, what specific links were clicked on, or prescribe a value or category to some event along the path to conversion. Google Tag Manager allows you to create these tracking 'tags' for free. Tags are pieces of script or code, typically written in 'javascript' language. Depending on the type of event or action you wish your Google Analytics to track, you can select the appropriate option in Google Tag Manager and go through the steps. Tagging can be a more advanced concept, and technically more demanding to implement - so you actually may want to refer to a website developer to help you do this. passion-net training's Google Analytics course contains a discussion around tagging however actual usage of Google Tag Manager is beyond its scope - as it is more advanced. Once you have created the tag or script / code snippet, this needs to be inserted on the relevant page typically in the <head> section of the html code on the page but first needs testing. In Google Tag Manager, it is possible to preview the tag on your site as if the code had already been appended. In preview mode, you can carry out the desired action on your site to test if the tag will 'fire'. You can also look in the real-time analytics section of Google Analytics to see if the event or action gets recorded. Once satisfied, you can use Google Tag Manager to 'publish' the tag live to your site. Implementing action or event tracking gives you richer information than the standard Google Analytics set-up and can help provide further insight into your most important metrics, and therefore inform your marketing strategy. There are plenty of free developer resources available online if you want to find out more. In the meantime, if you wish to book a 1-day 1-2-1 Google Analytics training course and workshop to help give you the information you need for your online marketing then get in touch or call me on 075404 30027.

passion-net training blog

By JOHN-PAUL PAGANINI 06 Nov, 2017
If you're a small business, particular in retail or selling services locally or regionally then you may have been wondering what strategies you can use to get the word out there to reach your clientele. One option open to you is using the Google Adwords platform run entirely online by Google. In all likelihood there is a very good chance you have heard of Google Adwords and this form of online advertising is also known as paid search or pay per click.

Some of the advantages of using Google Adwords are that it can be set up very quickly and you can get your message out fast and with a wide reach or to targeted areas you desire. By default, a lot of the settings are automatic to help you get started but once you have selected which network you want to run the ad on it's advisable to select the 'All features' option. This allows you to make futher refinements in terms of bidding (what your willing to pay) for your ad as well as in what locations you want it to appear in - you can target right down to individual postcodes or select a distance radius around your shop or restaurant to attract local clients.

A word about networks. Google Adwords offers a range of networks as it calls it to target on. The search network is essentially targeting your ads towards prospects who search online via Google. The Google Display network on the other hand are things like YouTube and partner sites where your ads will be shown. This may be more appropriate if you are trying to expand your reach and develop brand awareness however its important to bear in mind the user's search intent and if they're likely to convert.

Other features of Google Adwords are allowing you to add "extensions". These are small snippets of additional information such as price, reviews, location, contact number and descriptive text about promotions for example to help your ad convert better. Google Adwords takes into consideration the quality of your ad and the sorts of user experience your landing pages create in determining where you ad will be placed on the page. The positions are towards the top of bottom the page for search ads, and you may actually pay less than your competitors for a better position if the "quality score" is deemed high by Google. The quality score is calculated on the presence of relevant keywords, ad make-up and landing page experience on your website.

Probably one of the best things about Google Adwords is you do not pay anything unless your ad is clicked on. So your ad could get served up and seen by a prospect but if it's not clicked on then you won't pay anything. The main downside to Google Adwords are potential exhausted budgets if accounts are not monitored properly, use of default settings as opposed to custom and inapproporiate selection of bidding strategies ie. what you are willing to pay for your ad to show for keywords or keyphrases you define. However, you do have the option of setting a daily budget or limit in terms of what you are willing to spend and if you are in a competitive space this could exhaust quite quickly and your ads would not show as a result of that until the next day when your limit would reapply.
By JOHN-PAUL PAGANINI 09 Sep, 2017
If you have a Wordpress site, you can select and activate the search widget under the Appearance tab and have yourself a search box incorporated onto your website. This is useful if you have lots of content or posts in certain categories, but there is another useful and vital function the search box can perform if you tie it into your Google Analytics set-up.

You can capture the search queries used by visitors on your site in Google Analytics and this in turn can inform your content strategy, product strategy or blog post strategy giving you valuable insight into what visitors are searching for. It's great feedback which can complement other tools such as Google Search console to see what keywords or keyphrases visitors are searching for. Additionally, it can inform your adwords strategy too - giving you keyword ideas should you be running Google Adwords.

Once you've installed your searchbox on your Wordpress site, go to your Google Analytics set-up and go to Admin.

From here, go to View, then click on View settings. Scrolldown to Site Search settings and slide the site search tracking button to 'ON'.

Within the query parameter box enter lowercase 's' and tick the checkbox "Strip query parameters out of URL' - this means the results will return clean search query strings.

And there you have it. Your Google Analytics will collect internal website search queries to inform your content and adwords strategies. To view these visitor queries, go the Behavior tab in Google Analytics and select Site Search. Voila.
By JOHN-PAUL PAGANINI 05 Aug, 2017
You may be looking at your Google Analytics and seeing the following terms appear in your reports such as 'Direct / None' and 'Not set' and wondering - what's that all about?

Google Analytics attributes traffic to 'sources' and 'mediums'. A source identifies the origin of your traffic which could be a search engine such as  Google, or a website domain.

Medium is simply a category for source or if you prefer, categorisation of traffic sources.

Mediums can include  "organic" ie. unpaid search, "cpc" - cost per click ie. paid search, or "referral", and even custom names such as those you have defined in tagging of your email marketing links.

An example of a referral is where a visitor arrives at your site by clicking on a link from another site.

In the case of Direct / None appearing in your Google Analytics, this occurs when no prior data can be found on the user, and when information about the referring website ie. where the traffic comes from cannot be read.

A Google definition of direct traffic is for which the referrer is unknown and for which no prior campaign data could be found for the cookie (user).

In what cases could Direct / None occur?

  • A user types in a url
  • A user clicks on a bookmark
  • A user clicks on a link in an email from Outlook or other
  • A user clicks on a link from a pdf or other type of document
  • A user clicks on a link from a mobile app
  • A user clicks on a link from a secure site to a non-secure site ie. going from https:// to http://
  • A user clicks through via a url shortener
  • A user clicks on a link from some other desktop software
So, we can see there are a range of use-cases where direct / none could be returned in your Google Analytics.

How can we overcome this? There is something we can do and that is tag the links under our ownership. This could be links in email campaigns we send out, links in a marketing brochureware or links on third-party sites. We can use Google URL builder tool to specify attributes which will present as labels for us in our Google Analytics reporting, and in turn, better identify that traffic.

(not set) is a value for a 'keyword' dimension in Google Analytics. This happens where the visitor has missing referrer information, or has arrived via a referring website other than by paid search links in search engine results. The keyword dimension is usually offered in cases of organic and paid search traffic but not for referral or direct traffic traffic.

A useful guide to help troubleshoot (not set) and (not provided) can be found on the Lunametrics blog
http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2015/06/25/11-places-google-analytics-not-set/
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