Did Mobilegeddon Really Happen?

Google wasn’t bluffing about changing organic search results on mobile devices to favor responsive websites. This is the actual change in average mobile device search ranking over the past 90 days for a client of mine. In this chart, the line moving down means search rankings have moved farther away from position #1:

google-mobile-ranking-change

In actual numbers, the overall average ranked dropped by two points, although rank dropped less than that for many terms that the site ranked highly for. As I speculated in a my previous blog post about Mobilegeddon, rank drop wasn’t going to happen in a vacuum – if your major competitors’ sites aren’t responsive either, Google will ding you all equally.

While this decline is alarming, it hasn’t had a huge impact on their site since their traffic is still overwhelmingly desktop. On the other hand, non-responsive sites with heavy mobile traffic are probably hurting right now.

 

 

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Should you freak out about Google’s Mobilegeddon?

now-panic-freak-out1

Today, you might be hearing about Google’s supposed Mobilegeddon in which Google’s organic search algorithm is going to start favoring mobile-friendly websites over sites that are not mobile-friendly but — and this is very important — only for searches conducted on mobile devices such as iPhones and Android phones. Is your site mobile-friendly? You can test it here. If your site is not mobile-friendly, you’re not alone. According to a USA Today article, it’s estimated that 40% of top websites aren’t mobile friendly!

Even if your site is not currently mobile-friendly, not currently being mobile-friendly might not a be a big issue for you. It depends upon how much of your site’s traffic currently comes from mobile devices. Fortunately, most web analytics programs provide a summary breakdown of your site’s traffic into mobile and desktop/laptop visits. Here’s how to find this information using Google Analytics:

  1. Choose “Audience”
  2. Under Audience, choose “Mobile”
  3. Under Mobile, choose “Overview”
  4. Your website’s traffic will be broken out into three categories: Desktop, Tablet, and Mobile.

Is less than 20% of your site’s traffic mobile? Then you can breathe a little easier. The algo change by Google isn’t going to hurt much now. Beyond how much traffic your site currently gets from mobile devices, there are many other factors that could impact your site’s mobile search rankings including but not limited to:

  • Mobile-friendliness of competitive websites
  • How much of your site’s traffic comes from organic search. For example, your site might get more traffic from direct visits and referred visits.
  • Your site’s focus. For example, sites focused on providing customer or serving a captive audience such as universities probably won’t lose much, if any, traffic.

Even if your site’s mobile is currently less than 20%, the mobile share will almost certainly as smartphone’s continue to increase market share, so it’s a good idea to make your site mobile-friendly as soon as possible.

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Who’s more popular in Columbus – Lebron or Braxton?

Recently, Deadspin ran a report on the most popular athlete in each state, based on Google monthly search volume. Not surprisingly, Lebron James was the most most-searched athlete in Ohio, as well as in several other states. But when Google’s search data is dug into more deeply, Columbus’ love for Ohio State football shows that Buckeye QB Braxton Miller is more searched for than Lebron – at least during certain months of the year. Go Bucks!


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Crimson Cup Coffee grows with the help of strategic partnerships

Here’s a nice blog post by Crimson Cup founder and president Greg Ubert, a Columbus-based coffee roaster founded in 1991. Crimson Cup has developed a success formula for helping independent coffee houses grow and flourish – a proven alternative to coffee franchises.

Greg has learned the value of partnerships, both local and global, and shares his insights here.

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Using Filters in Google Analytics to move Yahoo secure search from referrals to organic search

Whew, that’s the longest blog post title that I’ve ever written, but it’s 100% accurate.

Starting in early February, Yahoo decided to follow Google’s lead and encrypt search. Instead of going into the technical details of how this works, I’m focusing on the result:

Visitors who found your site via Yahoo search now show in your reports as referred visits coming from r.search.yahoo.com instead of as organic search visits. Clearly, this miscategorization skews your data. I’m going to show you a simple method to use filters in Google Analytics to switch these visits from referrals to organic search. There are three filters – After some experimentation, I discovered that the proper results are achieved when using the filters in the following order:

Filter 1: Set keywords as “not provided” – since they aren’t!

ga-filter-1Filter 2: Change the medium from referral to organic

ga-filter-2Filter 3: Change the source from r.search.yahoo.com to yahoo

ga-filter-3Be sure to first test these filters on your test profile before adding them to your master profile. If aren’t currently using at least three Google Analytics profiles, read this.

 

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Educating clients about the purpose of advertising

The next time one of your clients complains that online advertising didn’t increase sales, quote advertising legend David Ogilvy:

“Advertisements should not be blamed for sales; the purpose of advertisements is to generate enquiries.”

Unless you have direct control of the website too, the responsibility for website conversions (i.e., sales) lies with the client.

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Why You Need Three Google Analytics Profiles

Google Analytics is a powerful tool. But like all powerful tools, it needs to used in the most appropriate manner. To get the most useful and accurate data possible from Google Analytics, every account must have these three profiles, at a minimum:

  • All Data
  • Test
  • Reporting

Why do you need three profiles? Because of how Google Analytics filters work. Google Analytics does not store raw data about your website traffic, unlike old-fashioned log file analyzers. By the time data is displayed in your Google Analytics account, it has gone through a multi-step process:

  • The Google Analytics tracking code captures visitor data  and sends it to Google Analytics’ Servers.
  • Google Analytics’ servers compile the visitor data from your site.
  • About every three hours, Google Analytics processes your data using your settings. Site search keywords are captured, filters applied, conversions counted, and so on.
  • Once the data is processed, it’s stored so you can access it through your Google Analytics account.

As soon as you apply filter to a profile, that filter immediately changes what data is shown in your Google Analytics profiles – data that you can never get back. Thus, filters must be  TESTED thoroughly before applying them to your Reporting profile.

To avoid such potential issues with a new filter, there are three primary profiles that you’ll need when using Google Analytics.

All Data

This profile does exactly what you think it would, it houses all of the data for your website with no filtering. There’s no goals, no filters, no custom reports, nothing – except maybe site search is turned on. The purpose of this profile is to provide a fail safe in case any of your other profiles become corrupted. If you lose all your other data, you’ll still be able to pull reports from this profile. In some cases, you might regularly pull reports from this to view data that’s filtered from the other profiles.

Simply set up a profile, name it All Data, and never add filters or change any settings.

With Filters: Test

This is the profile where you’ll test all settings changes, new filters, and new goals to ensure that data won’t become lost or corrupted.

Before applying goals, filters, or anything else to your other profiles, test them here first. You can watch the data for several days and see how your reports are impacted. If you’re in a hurry, use the Real-Time tab in Google Analytics to see your changes in action immediately. Once you’re sure that everything is working as it should, apply the same setting to the With Filters: Production profile.

With Filters: Reporting

This is the official profile – data from here should be considered the most accurate and should the basis for business insights and decisions. This is where all tested filters are applied, goals and custom reports are set up, and site search is enabled.

Once you have the Reporting profile set up, you’ll generally want to leave it alone unless there’s a compelling reason to add/change any filters or settings. If you’re going to apply new settings or filters, or tweak existing ones, always run them on the Test Profile first.

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Is now the time to ditch your website?

If you’ve got a consultant telling you “forget your website, focus on Facebook” (or, Google +, Pinterest, etc.), fire them. The long-term path for Internet success is simple: don’t be lured into placing most or all of your online equity into a single platform -particularly one that you don’t control. Continue to embrace a platform neutral approach, and your brand will thrive wherever your customers find you. That’s a Total Internet Presence.

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