(Not Provided) Now Showing Up in Google Analytics Organic Keyword Reports

As I posted on Tuesday, Google decided to stop providing organic keyword data for webmasters to track in Google Analytics or any other analytics tools for that matter only to replace the keyword phrases with “(not provided)”, which of course is simply asinine. They claim that since it will only happen for users logged into Google accounts, that the new changes will only impact a “single % of searches” so basically stop whining about it. And since the changes were apparently pushed live yesterday, I have noticed the “(not provided)” queries slowly creeping up in the Google Analytics keyword report. For one client who gets 500+ organic visits a day, it is already the SECOND MOST POPULAR KEYWORD PHRASE behind the company name!

This is all just so frustrating. What benefit is there to anybody BESIDES Google to hide this keyword data or perhaps more importantly, what’s the harm in providing more and more data? More data = good. Less data = bad. This is not only infuriating for me but this assbackwards move is going to severely impact huge analytics firms like Omniture along with their huge corporate clients who are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to get as much data as possible in order to make necessary decisions to constantly improve the user experiences on their sites.

I honestly think that this is one move that Google will eventually back down from after getting pressured from pretty much everybody who runs a website and of course the other huge analytics firms… and as I said earlier, this could be seen as anti-competitive behavior that could entice the government to step in and force them to revert back. At least, I really really hope so.

 

Google Starts Encrypting Organic Keyword Searches for All Web Analytics Tools

Google just announced today that “they care so much about privacy” that they are going to start encrypting searches for logged-in users and will no longer pass the actual keyword searched to the website itself to track in Google Analytics or any other web analytics tool. This is a huge step backwards for several reasons:

1. All or None – If Google was truly concerned about users’ privacy, they would encrypt ALL queries from ALL users regardless of whether they are logged in or click a Google AdWords PPC ad. That’s right, Google is only going to encrypt organic queries for logged in users. If a user clicks on a Google AdWords ad, then that search query will still be able to be tracked in Google Analytics or any other web analytics tool. This is utter hypocrisy.

2. No Reason – Google Analytics already does not allow websites to tie individual queries to individual searches. In fact, Google Analytics does not allow you to view a user’s IP address, something of which most other web analytics tools have been doing for years. Just because a user is logged into a Google account, there has never been a way to somehow get their personal data via Google Analytics. There is no difference in the kinds of queries that would be considered personal information between logged in users and non logged in users.  So this step of encrypting organic queries on the basis of privacy is straight up bunk.

3. Google Still Sees Keyword Data - Again, Google is claiming this entire move is to benefit consumers’ privacy. However, if that’s all they really cared about, they would encrypt the keyword queries that users are searching for as well. But nope, Google still will be able to track and store all search queries done on its sites to “constantly improve the user experience”. They just don’t want to give that invaluable data to webmasters or third party web analytics firms to better their own users’ experiences. Unless, of course, it’s from Google AdWords!

4. Anti-Trust? – Google has every right to reveal or hide any kind of their own data as they please, even if third party web analytics firms are going to be adversely affected. But it starts getting into anti-competitive territory if eventually, one day down the line, Google Analytics Premium offers the only way to track its organic queries at the hefty price tag of $150,000 a year.

This just sucks!

 

Google Analytics Real Time Web Analytics Launches

Google Analytics Real Time Web Analytics Launches

Google Analytics announced today a new feature called Real-Time to let you track visitors on your website in, you guessed it, real time! I’ve always been a big fan of web analytics and am a big advocate of Google Analytics but one of their biggest downsides was that their data could take up to 24 hours to be updated. While this isn’t a problem for analyzing long-term trends, it is kind of annoying that it did not offer a real-time tracking feature to keep track of short term traffic bursts that you could potentially take advantage of by optimizing your site for conversions or stability. I’m excited about this new feature and I was just granted access as a beta user to Google Analytics Real-Time Stats tracking.

I’ve always been a big fan of GetClicky specifically for their real-time analytics functionality so it will be interesting to see how Google Analytics Real-Time matches up and what GetClicky does to innovate. I have no doubt GetClicky will thrive now that more people are aware that real-time analytics exist. There are some other real-time analytics tools out there but I have found Clicky to be my favorite. After all, competition is great for us consumers! :)

Google Analytics Also Launches Google Analytics Premium

Google Analytics also released a Premium version for enterprise websites which will start at $150,000 a year! This is obviously a huge increase from the Free version which costs exactly $0.00 a year but probably priced just about right when compared to the other enterprise level analytics tools such as Omniture, WebTrends, IndexTools and so on. However, it will be interesting to see what kind of additional features Google Analytics Premium will offer that sets it apart from the free version and also justifies that huge $150,000 pricetag. I’d love to work with Google Analytics Premium or any of the other enterprise level analytics tools but as of right now, most of my clients certainly don’t have a budget even close enough to $150,000!

Ecommerce Pay Per Click Strategy with Google AdWords for Online Retail Websites

Ecommerce Pay Per Click Strategy with Google AdWords for Online Retail Websites

We recently picked up a large ecommerce client who needed help with search engine optimization, pay per click management in Google AdWords, and conversion rate optimization. We have worked on other ecommerce websites in the past and have had success, but this new client is a nationally known retail company so the pressure is on us to produce results quickly. We’ve already seen some results in the little time we’ve worked on their site thus far, but we obviously want to kick ass right out of the gate.

One of their biggest challenges was running a Google AdWords Pay Per Click campaign. They previously had been running it in house and were essentially flying blind. So I went in and immediately created new AdWords campaigns specifically targeting only the keywords that are most relevant to their products.

Here are some tips for managing a large Google AdWords pay per click account for an ecommerce client:

1. Create new campaigns for each specific product category - If your website sells musical instruments, create a campaign for electric guitars and then another campaign for harmonicas. Do not just create one campaign and then create a new Ad Group for each product category. This is critical because Google AdWords allows you to add Ad Extensions at the campaign level. This means if your ad for electric guitars has the ad extensions for harmonicas, then the relevancy is completely out of whack. If you set up a new campaign for each product category, then you’re good to go.

2. Use [exact match] keywords at the beginning of a new campaign – This allows you to have complete control over the keywords your ad shows up for. If you find the search volume is not there, then you can also add “phrase match” keywords BUT YOU MUST KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE ACTUAL QUERIES and then add the irrelevant keywords as negative keywords. Never, ever use broad match unless you want to waste your money.

3. Use negative match keywords if you are using “phrase match” keywords – This is absolutely critical. If I found that a client that sells yachts was getting a ton of clicks for the phrase match keyword “50 foot yacht”, then I would I would immediately make sure to add the negative keywords such as “renting” or “leasing” since those visits are obviously not looking to buy.

4. Use Ad Extensions - I mentioned this above, but Google AdWords now allows you to add product links under your AdWords ad. These are highly effective and increase the real estate of your ad. Here’s how we would set up an ad extension for electric guitars:

“$599 White Electric Guitar” – destination URL goes specifically to that product’s landing page
“$785 Diamond Electric Guitar” – destination URL goes specifically to that product’s landing page

5. Send visitors directly to landing page that is relevant to their search - oftentimes, ecommerce websites are broken out into product category pages and individual product pages. If somebody is searching for electric guitars, make sure the destination URL is the category page for electric guitars, not just all guitars, or all musical instruments, or god forbid, the homepage!

6. Use Google Analytics and Google AdWords conversion tracking – if you are running an ecommerce website and using Google AdWords or other pay per click network, then you are probably already aware of what conversion tracking is. Google Analytics can automatically track ecommerce transactions and capture the value of each completed sale, which is extremely helpful. If you are not using any kind of analytics or conversion tracking, then you are likely missing out on tons of valuable data.

Gotta run now but I’ll add onto this list later!

Tracking Yahoo & Bing AdCenter Pay-Per-Click Clicks in Google Analytics

Yahoo and Bing have finally finished the transition of moving all Yahoo! Search Marketing pay-per-click accounts over to Bing’s AdCenter platform. So now if you want to buy PPC ads on Yahoo or Bing, you have to sign up for a Bing AdCenter account and you have to advertise on BOTH Yahoo and Bing whether you want to or not, which kinda sucks. And not only does Bing power Yahoo’s PPC listings, they also power the organic listings. So essentially Yahoo & Bing are now the same search engine with different interfaces and functionality.

However, even though the two PPC networks combined forces, it appears there is no way to track visitors who clicked on an ad in Yahoo and visitors who clicked on the same ad in Bing in Google Analytics. This is going to be a problem that needs to be resolved quickly. Even though there is no way to advertise ONLY on Yahoo, I still want to know stuff like if the quality of the traffic from Yahoo is absolutely terrible while the quality of the traffic from Bing is decent so I can evaluate my options. Ideally, I would like to be able to use tracking URLs such as the following:

For all Bing ads:

http://d0x.com/landing-page.php?medium=ppc&source=bing&keyword=query

For all Yahoo ads:

http://d0x.com/landing-page.php?medium=ppc&source=yahoo&keyword=query

However, as it currently stands, there is absolutely no way to segment specific ads, keywords, destination URLs for Yahoo & Bing, and what I think is even more important, there is no way to segment the visitors to track them in Google Analytics. I was happy with the performance of my Bing PPC campaigns but it remains to be seen if the merger ends up drastically changing the performance. If it does, I’ll just pour more money into Google AdWords since their platform is 100x better anyway… not to mention, Google has twice as much traffic as Bing & Yahoo combined!

How Much Does Google Know About Me and You?

How much does Google know about me and you? I think it’s pretty safe to say that Google probably knows more about us than most of your closest friends and family members do and certainly more than any other website on the Internet. Obviously, Google stores its search engine query history in their massive data warehouses for up to 18 months. So while you may have never told another soul, Google doesn’t forget about that mysterious ailment that you were searching for “how to cure embarrassing rash” a year and a half ago. They can easily tie a specific user to a specific query with cookies and/or IP addresses.

And if you think you are out of the clear because you don’t use Google as your primary search engine, chances are that Google still knows pretty much everything about you because you most likely have used these services or come across websites that use these services and thus enables Google to track your activity:

- GMail - As of December 2009, Gmail had 179 Million users log into their site at least once monthly. Even if you don’t use Gmail, I’m willing to bet that you have emailed somebody who does. And thus, your conversation is tracked by Google.

- Google Analytics – By far the most popular website analytics service on the Internet. In fact, I just wrote a separate post about how many websites use Google Analytics about this. It is estimated that Google Analytics tracks 80.4% of websites on the Internet. So unless you only visit the same 20% of the Internet, you can count on the fact that Google Analytics has tracked your usage across several different websites.

- YouTube – Already the world’s second most popular search engine, YouTube is the premier destination for the red hot online video market. In fact, YouTube said they serve OVER 2 BILLION video views each and every day. That is insane!

- Google Maps – It is reported that Google Maps gets 55 Million unique visitors each month in the United States, which is significantly higher than MapQuest’s 38 Million unique visitors.

- Google AdSense – I can’t seem to find any statistics on exactly how many websites use AdSense to monetize their sites, but I think it’s safe to say that if it isn’t the most widely used website advertising network, then it is definitely in the Top 3. Anytime you view a website with Google AdSense and/or banner ads displayed by DoubleClick, you are being tracked by Google.

- Google Chrome – Google Chrome is already the third most popular web browser, behind only Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, with its 7.16% marketshare of the worldwide Internet usage.

- Google Docs – More and more users are moving from desktop software such as Microsoft Office to using cloud-based document software, and Google Docs is the most widely used in this market.

- Google Android – Google’s mobile OS has already taken over the top spot from Apple’s iPhone. And as more and more Android-enabled cell phones continue to flood the market, the more popular Google’s mobile OS will be.

- Google Toolbar, Google Earth, Google AdWords, Blogger, Picasa, and on and on and on…

Basically Google dominates the Internet and most likely your online life as well. And since Google is tracking your online activity, keep in mind that anything you search for or visits to any websites can potentially one day be made public!

How Many Websites Use Google Analytics?

How many websites use Google Analytics? As the most popular website traffic statistics software used on the Internet, it is estimated that 57% of the Top 10,000 websites and just under 50% of the Top 1,000,000 websites use Google Analytics. So, it’s safe to say that at least 500,000 websites and most likely A LOT more use Google Analytics to track their website traffic.

And how does Google Analytics compare to other website analytics services? Well according to W3Techs, 80.4% of all websites that use website analytics use Google Analytics. The second most popular traffic analysis tool is LiveInternet, with a measly 5.4%, and then StatCounter coming in at third with 4.6%. And perhaps my favorite website analytics tool, Clicky, only registers at 0.9%! Although these other services may only have 5% of the market, that still translates to tens of thousands of websites that they track.

And even though Google Analytics dominates the website analytics market, it still has its limitations and doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best. I think analytics programs such as Clicky, which offers real-time tracking in a slick looking interface, along with other new startups will gradually chip away at the Google Analytics marketshare, especially as more and more people start to become wary of using Google services for literally everything they do online (which is the topic of my next blog post!).

So there you go, Google Analytics is by far the most popular and widely used website analytics tool on the Internet. What do you guys think? And do you use any other analytics services that I should be aware of?

Google Analytics IP Address Tracking Script with PHP

Google Analytics is by far the most widely used web analytics software, free or enterprise level, but it has several downsides, including lack of IP address tracking. You are able to drill down to the Service Provider names but that does not provide enough detailed data, especially if there are several users that use the same ISP but are in no other way related to each other, which can be a problem when analyzing traffic data.

Google Analytics obviously uses IP address tracking in their system but they choose not to reveal that data to its users for privacy reasons. This really does not make much sense to me since nearly every other web analytics tool allows you to track IP addresses. But luckily there may be a way around that by adding custom tracking variables with PHP (although it may be against Google Analytics TOS, which I am not really sure what will happen if you break the TOS).

So, here is how you can do track IP addresses in Google Analytics with this PHP and JavaScript script:

“javascript:__utmSetVar(‘php echo IP address function’)”>

Now you will be able to look up IP addresses in the User Defined field of the Visitors tab in the Google Analytics dashboard.

Magento Google Analytics Funnel for Tracking Each Step of One Page Checkout

Magento Google Analytics – I have spent the entire afternoon working on a client’s Magento website. As an update to my previous post “Magento One Page Checkout vs. Multipage Checkout“, I needed to set up a Google Analytics funnel to accurately track each step of the One Page Checkout process. Because it obviously only uses one page and AJAX, the default Google Analytics configuration is not able to track each of the six steps of the checkout process to determine where the visitors are abandoning their transactions. Clearly, it is very valuable to have that information available. Luckily for us, we are able to do just that. Here are the steps:

1. Open up the template file /app/design/frontend/default/YOURTEMPLATENAME/template/checkout/onepage.phtml in a text editor or WYSIWYG web editor such as Dreamweaver.

2. Paste the following code to the very bottom of the onepage.phtml file (You may have to replace the quotes in plaintext for it to work, fyi):

<script type=”text/javascript”>
Checkout.prototype.gotoSection = function(section) {
try {
pageTracker._trackPageview(‘<?php echo $this->getUrl(‘checkout/onepage’) ?>’ + section + ‘/’);
} catch(err) { }

section = $(‘opc-’+section);
section.addClassName(‘allow’);
this.accordion.openSection(section);
};
</script>

3. Save and upload the template file and you are done with the hard part and you will now be able to track the views of each of the six steps!

4. Now if you want to set up the Google Analytics conversion tracking and funnel to determine where the users are dropping off, you can do so by creating a new Goal in Google Analytics and by using the following settings:

Goal Type: URL Destination
Match Type: Head Match
Goal URL: /checkout/onepage/success/

Funnel Steps:

Step 1: /checkout/onepage/
Step 2: /checkout/onepage/billing/
Step 3: /checkout/onepage/shipping/
Step 4: /checkout/onepage/shipping_method/
Step 5: /checkout/onepage/payment/
Step 6: /checkout/onepage/review/

And that’s it!