Google launched one more basic course for anyone who wants to roll up their sleeves and get into analytics. If you want to become an awesome data driven developer/growth hacker, then I would strongly recommend this course. It really opens up your eyes to using the platform not only for web analytics but also as a data storage and analysis tool for mobile and offline events.
This time around I was a bit more serious about the course, and gave it a decent shot. The test is fairly simple, however going through all the video provided is strongly recommended! I found some of them very useful.
If you are a frequent visitor of Avinash Kaushik or Justin Cutroni’s blog, then you would breeze through this course and enjoy it. If not, then boy do I have this awesome course for you to attend!!
Google Analytics blog came out with a brilliant new post which every marketer should read. This at the same time when they launched their new course and a shiny new infographic to go alongside. I have included the infographic on this blog, however do follow the link, it should convince you to sign-up for this course.
For students or career seekers, these courses are a god send since they also provide you with a certificate. Do not miss these courses folks!!
Google launched a course last month on Digital Analytics Fundamentals. It’s a great course for all people who are interested in learning the basics of Digital Analytics. If you are interested in web and love data analysis, then I would recommend that you sign up for this course and go through the simple set of videos.
The course also had a assessment test with a Certification of Completion (yes, I graduated .. yayy!). The test is fairly simple if you go through the course or have been working with Google Analytics. However when you have a busy work week, you often tend to procrastinate these things … such as I did for the last day!!
However, this is a great starting point for anyone who wants to learn Web Analytics.
And, here’s my certificate of clearing the course! Unfortunately, this is linked to the Google Account that gives the test, so it’s not available to view for the public!
This month, Google rolled out a new help feature in their Webmasters tool. If you have been working on your site’s SEO, then probably you know most of this, however, its good to see how Google has nicely summarised this in one helpful page.
If you are not completely confident about your SEO fundamentals, then this is one thing that you should do immediately!
Google Analytics is a tool which often amazes me. It contains so many features packed into it that it would take years simply to understand and appreciate all of them! One such feature which I do not see being used as much as it should be is the Annotations tool within Google Analytics.
What are Annotations?
Annotations are comments which you can put for a particular date. So in this picture above, I have indicated at what dates did I publish a post on my blog. I have been busy in the months of April and June!
You can see the annotations bar in the Audience Overview of your Google Analytics profile, there is a small expandable div which you need to click on first.
The thing with Annotations like most of the Google Analytics features is that in order to retain flexibility, it is an open framework. Meaning you can use it as you see fit. Which could be one reason why its not used as often as it should be!
Why should you use Annotations?
Annotations are a simple way to Attribute certain action that you did to a rise in traffic.
In the figure above, there are two trends which I want to explain using annotations.
One is a clear spike in traffic which fetched me around 350 hits in a day. This I am attributing to commenting on a popular gaming blog with my link (I cross referenced that with the referral traffic coming to that site and they match)
The other is an increase in the site traffic, this I am attributing to the increased frequency of posts that I am publishing on this blog
So, How does one use Annotations?
Well there are multiple scenarios how you could use annotations –
If you are a team working together on a site, then you can decide on a format for annotations such as Dev. Post, SEM. Having this communicated across the team helps ensure that too many annotations do not clutter your dashboard and confuse you or your team members.
If you are a blogger like me, then simply noting the time of the day you blog will help you maintain some regularity on the blog, with a clear sight on how this is impacting your traffic.
If you are a marketing manager of a site and handle additional campaigns, say a product launch or a TV Commercial, then you can correlate the increase in traffic and goals on the site to that particular campaign. Remember the first step in attribution is measurement!
Cyclicality and Seasonality can be tracked and predicted in the future using annotations. A simple example of this in action is when I had written about the Sunday Dip.
Enough of ideas on how one can use annotations, did you use annotations before and how did you use them?
Once you launch a site, the work is not done … in fact the work of a webmaster has just begun! One clear metric for the success of your site (especially early on) is site traffic. Over a period of time as your site matures and you get a better sense of what drives your site, you will tend to discard this metric, but initially it is always traffic.
Search as a major component of Traffic
One good component of traffic is search, traffic that comes searching for content relevant to your subject. Yes! There are people out there who are actively searching for things about which you want to write!! Right from narrow niches such as Pathare Prabhu Recipes to broad gulches such as Being Awesome in Excel.
For content rich websites, Search is a major component contributing to the site’s traffic. For example, 70% of my site’s traffic comes from Google Search! This is actually higher than what I wanted it to be and I try to bring it down by driving traffic via other sources, however I will always want a good fat 40-50% traffic coming to my site via search.
In fact when I started working on my site on a regular basis around 6 months back (as part of my new year resolution), I hardly realized that it would make such a big difference to the traffic split.
If you want to acquire organic traffic, then write good content … write about things that move you, about things which you are passionate about. Write from the heart, and forget about those grammatical mistakes. If you have a friend who is a grammar nazi, get him/her to review your post later on.
Ranking that Content higher on Google
So now that you have a stream of content on your site, how to ensure that people who are searching for your subject matter actually end up finding your website?
This is where your friends and social circle comes in!
Sharing your content with friends and getting them like/+1 the content is a social signal that search engines read. This acts like a testimonial for your site in the eyes of the search engine.
See this for yourself, take one article on your site and like this on Google+. Then search for this article via your friend’s Google id … note the before +1 Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP) and the after SERP.
Google+, you have my attention
Here is a list of things that you need to get setup on with Google+ –
Setup Authorship on Google – This will link your Google+ profile to the content you create. It also ensures that your Google+ profile pic is displayed besides the content you write and this gets shown when someone is searching for the content that you have written. Stats provided by Google on this suggest that linking Authorship will get you a 30% boost in your organic click-through rates
Be active on Google+ – Make this a part of your daily routine. Google+ is good for content discovery, try and meet new people on Google+, focus on increasing the number of people who are in your circles and who have you in their circles. This will increase the visibility of your content on Google for at least those people. In case if you have had some interaction with them, then chances are they would want to read what you have to say about the subject that they are currently searching!
Get those Google+ Shares – To initially start off, ask your friends to share your site on Google+. This works. It does wear down on your personal equity, but what are friends for if not to help you out :-D
Don’t simply take my word for this. Even Moz (erstwhile SEOMoz) says that there is correlation between Google +1s and Higher SERPs. In layman’s terms what this means is that the more +1s on Google+ your article gets, the higher will it rank on Google.
So get on this network and start using Google+! Instead of wasting time liking lolcats on Facebook, try and use your spare time