Forget about “Not Provided” in Analytics. Infer your keywords by looking at landing pages

I had a look in Google Analytics today at what keywords had been driving traffic to my site. What I found was that (Not Provided) was most of my traffic. I wasn’t surprised, this blog isn’t hugely popular, not updated frequently and is a part-time hobby.

A table of Top 10 keywords in Google Analytics

Top 10 keywords in Google Analytics

But I still wanted to know how people reached my site. So here’s where I infer my keywords, by looking at what page they landed on.

A table of Top 10 landing pages in Google Analytics

Top 10 landing pages in Google Analytics

Inferring approximate keywords is pretty easy, you look at the page title and main heading. You then bear in mind that these two elements are a very good indicator of what your page is about. Google, in it’s most basic form, is trying to match a user search query with page titles and the main header tag.

A good idea would be to create a segment based on landing page to see site behaviour, if you need to decide to work more on improving and creating related content.

This method doesn’t scale 100%, big sites will have long tail search queries that hit the homepage.

Also, you can find very approximate keyword data in Google Webmaster Tools, but unfortunately you can’t segment site performance on that.

Approximate keyword data in Google Webmaster Tools

A table of approximate keyword data in Google Webmaster Tools

But you’ve got to make do with what you have. A bit from Analytics, Webmaster Tools and anywhere else! Something is better than nothing!

Got something to say? Leave it in the comments!

PPC – Take a step back once in a while

In the day to day management of paid search campaigns, you can get so engrossed in the fine tuning, that you forget to take a step back and look at the overall picture.

Earlier today I was looking at a geo-targeted account of a clients in the Adwords interface and I thought to myself “cost per acquisition is a little higher than average”.

What I had forgot to do, was check how many phone calls the campaigns resulted in. I was too busy in a single reporting interface. I needed to take a step back, look at things on the whole to see if there really was a problem.

Turns out that the call through rate for this account was significantly higher than other accounts. People liked to pick up the phone more, the sites are virtually identical in call to actions, but the residents of the are just seemed more inclined to pick up the phone and speak to a real person.

It was only after taking a top level view, that I managed to better evaluate how the campaigns were performing. Turns out that they are performing better than expected!

So, lesson is to step back once in a while. Think “what data am I not looking at which may influence a decision”.

Aiming for a perfect blog post is impossible

I have wrote numerous blog posts that never get published because I “hate” them.

I hate that they’re not perfect.

Sentences need reflowing, my points may not be 100% valid, it doesn’t have a start middle and end, theres no purpose, i run out of steam, its been done before, I may be completely wrong or it’s just not good enough.

I like having purpose when speaking. I don’t like to rattle on about nothing and waste peoples and effort of getting to my site and reading my drivel. Please pardon this post for irony of the previous sentence in context to the post.

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. Well, there you go, I’ve just admitted I have an addiction to hitting delete on my drafts as I fear people, as do I, will hate them and call me bad things on the Internet :P

So, fingers crossed I can stop hitting the delete drafts button.

Watch this space!

Daily PPC management – An easy way of keeping up

Managing multiple PPC accounts can be a real pain sometimes. You make a change, and another, and another. And before you know it, it’s a week later and you can’t remember what to check up on! Sure, you can check the change history (if the platform has it), figure out your rationale and then check up on what happened since. But that’s not perfect, your rationale could be different from last week, or it may be more than just one week…

Post it notes - Nope!

What you need to do is after you’ve made a change, schedule in a task to check up on what effect it has had. But the question is where to do all of this!

  • Outlook – Nope! The clutter will obstruct any meetings you may have
  • Post it notes – Nope! Haven’t you seen Bruce Almighty?
  • Notepad – Nope! Too hard to manage and you’ll fill it up quick
  • Project Management Software – Nope! Too much for a simple need of scheduling.

The solution that works for me
Remember the Milk LogoWhat I’ve found works is the simple reminder web tool called Remember the Milk (RTM for short).

The interface is clean and simple and once you get into the groove of using it, you’ll wonder how you managed before.

To summarise, these are the features I’ve found great.

  • Lists - To organise your tasks. I do these by or areas of work (Web, admin, ppc, seo, etc). But you can do it by client
  • Priorities - You can mark each task as different priority, to push it up the list.
  • Repeating tasks – Useful for marking when to create regular client reports
  • Shared Tasks/Lists – So you can collaborate with others, or give viewing permissions to higher up people
  • Sending tasks to others – If you are away, you can send tasks to your colleagues to complete
  • Many ways to access your lists – There’s an iphone, android and ipad app and integration for calendar software.
  • Notifications – The day a task is due, you receive a summary email detailing what you need to do.
  • Quick and Easy to use – When creating a task, you can just enter “Next week” or “every 7 days” instead of choosing from a dropdown, date picker or another restrictive method.

Generally my work flow is as follows:

  1. Make PPC change
  2. Go into RTM, create and schedule a task
  3. Add in any notes, set recurrence, or priority on task
  4. Move onto something else
  5. Get notification from RTM (by email) and follow up.
  6. Rinse and repeat

If you have found other methods of keeping up with your daily management of ppc, please mention them in the comments! Always good to learn other ways of keeping on top of things.

Google news logo

Google News hiding other social share buttons

Today I’ve noticed that on Google news, the +1 button is shown as default.
Screenshot of Google News

But it only shows you other social shares when you expand a post.
Screenshot of Google news with other social buttons

Needless to say, Google News is a Google product, so they can do what they like to it. But users who have no idea what +1 is may miss out on sharing. It’d be nice to see the other icons as default.

Graze.com homepage split into sections

Website Optimisation – Identifying what to test

If you want your website to be successful, conversion rate optimisation is crucial to success. Just half a percent increase can make a huge difference in the volume of leads your site generates, and more importantly – your ROAS. The effort-reward ratio certainly means you should put aside some time to test. I’ll be referring to multi-variate testing throughout the post. An A/B test if for when 2 pages are very different, rather than small changes on a page.

Identifying areas to test
Start off by splitting a page into sections. Each section usually has a goal such as explaining the product, how a visitor gets the product, what benefits / features a product has.

We’ll take the homepage of Graze.com as an example. Take a look at their website, try split it up in your mind and figure out what the aim of each section is.

Graze.com homepage split into sections

Fingers crossed you and I have split the homepage into 6 sections. Each are designed specifically to answer a question, or drive the visitor onto the conversion path.

  • Cyan – Points to the main areas of the site. Make note of the ‘FIRST BOX HALF PRICE’.
  • Blue – What the product does. Eat natural/healthy and have less biscuits.
  • Green – Selling points of the product. Quality, quantity, information and delivery.
  • Yellow – Call to actions. Pointing the user to essential information. What and how.
  • Red – Direct benefits of having the product.
  • Orange – Testimonials from big brands

Creating variations
Graze.com have obviously ran experiments to improve their homepage. I cannot see any sections standing out that are wishy-washy or in need of attention. But by identifying the purpose of each section, it’s easier to figure out what they have tested and what to try to test. Here are a few things you could test.

  • Cyan – Different wording like ’50% off first box’ could be tested.
  • Green – A new image about choice in your box. Choose nut-free, favourite foods, etc.
  • Yellow – As above, a different offer message could be tested. or change ‘get started now’ to ‘pick your box’
  • Red – Rotating different benefits could help.
  • Orange – The types of brands in this section could be rotated. For example, if health brands all give testimony, the product may appeal to ‘health buffs’. Or if the themes were big tech companies, it might appeal to ‘tech buffs’.

Don’t test more than your site can handle
We’ve identified the sections of a page, and what we can change. Now we need to decide how much to test at once.

The complexity of your testing will depend on how many visitors your site receives. For low volume sites, it’s best to test less variations, as it will take a while for meaningful data to accumulate. For high volume sites (greater than 1,000 visitors a day), you can happily test many aspects of a page, as within a few days you might find a winning combination.

So, what are you waiting for?

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to use the comment box!

Google AdWords: Stop the short tail from ranking over your long tail

Bidding on both Broad and exact match keywords of the same product can be a bit of a problem with the broad keywords overlapping the long tail keywords.

The situation
You have widgets broad match at £5 max CPC. You run a search query report and notice that [blue widgets] has less competition and performs well. You decide that it should be split out into a new adgroup.

You then split it out into its own adgroup, with a few variants. And because there’s less competition, the actual CPC was £2, so you’ve set the new adgroup bid to £3, thinking you’ll increase your position and hopefuly get you more conversions.

You wait a few days, and the new adgroup hasn’t performed! You run an ad diagnosis on [blue widgets] and notice that widgets is showing for the search. Historical performance and a high bid means that it has won nearly every ad auction!

The solution – Add in negatives
Add blue as a negative keyword in your initial adgroup. This’ll stop widgets from appearing in your new blue adgroup.

Feel like your missing out?
If you think that a pure exact match only adgroup isn’t giving you the keyword reach you desire, it’s time to start using Google’s Broad match modifier.

All you have to do, is add +blue +widgets into your adgroup. It’s in between phrase and broad match, but the terms can be in any order, and the actual queries have to be very close to what you’ve stated.

Google AdWord Match Types. Source: http://support.google.com/adwords/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=175280

If you find this post useful, or you have related comments, please leave a comment :)