Grow Smart Business


Search Articles

Posts Tagged ‘Google Analytics’

Social Media 101: Put Together a Strategy in 6 Easy Steps

July 26th, 2012 ::

Social Media 101

If you are just getting started with social media for your small business, putting together a strategy can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to put together a basic social media strategy:

1. Decide what your goals are.

The best way to stay motivated and not get discouraged is by deciding what your goals are. Are you going to use social media to increase sales, generate leads, build brand awareness, become a thought leader in your industry, or a combination of all four?  Your answer doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that you know why you want to use social media in the first place.

2. Determine keywords.

If you want to get found online – including on social media – you need to use the words and phrases your potential customers use when conducting a search. You can easily find that information with keyword discovery tool WordTracker.  Once you choose the best terms for you, incorporate them in all content, headlines, status updates and tweets.

3. Find your audience.

While you may think you have to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest, you won’t know what social media platforms you need to use until you find out where your audience is spending time. To find them – and find out what they’re talking about – you’ll want to use social listening tools like Flowtown, SocialMention or ViralHeat.

4. Choose a social conversation tool.

Save time and make your life easier by setting up an account with a social media conversation tool like Hootsuite, Jugnoo, Postling or Sprout Social. You’ll be able to respond to comments and questions, actively engage with people in real-time, and even assign conversations to other people at your business.

5. Put together a list of topics.

Since you already know what your audience is talking about online, putting together a list of topics to post will be easier.  Here’s what you’ll want to share:

  • Curated relevant industry news
  • Company news that will affect your customers
  • Links to your blog posts, white papers, ebooks and other marketing collateral on the topics you already know your audience is interested in
  • Photos and videos from everyday work life and events
  • Answers to FAQs

Remember to mix up the content to keep things interesting, let your personality shine through, and always be positive, even if you are dealing with an irate customer who is lambasting you with angry tweets.

6. Analyze and tweak.

If you owned a restaurant and there were two dishes customers never ordered off your menu, you would remove them, right?  Same with your social media strategy.  If something is not working, tweak what you’re doing. Use social media analytics tools like Crowd Booster, Google Analytics or Swix to make sure you’re using the right social media platforms and sharing the information your audience cares about.


Did I leave anything out of this post that you are curious about how to do?  Leave a comment below so I can address your questions in future posts.

Image courtesy of socialmarcom.com

Your Guide to the Newly Updated Google Analytics

July 9th, 2012 ::

Google Analytics

Whether or not you like it, part of marketing means tracking – as in, tracking how your marketing strategy is working.  One of any marketer’s go-to tools is Google Analytics, which was recently updated.  Of course, it delivers the best insight when coupled with Google+, but it is also highly useful no matter what social media platforms you use.

The following guide is an overview of 5 new Google Analytics social reporting features that can help you evaluate and measure your social media marketing efforts.

Social Visitors Flow

What it is: Visual presentation of how visitors from social media sites explore your website

Why it’s great: Easier way to get a quick snapshot of which social media sites are sending you traffic. You’ll also be able to see if the visitors are qualified, since you can see their first five interactions on your site and therefore understand what information they are looking for/at.

Social Data Hub

What it is: Report that provides insight into what content is driving the most social engagement

Why it’s great: You can see how your content is being consumed on a bunch of partner sites like Blogger, Disqus, Meetup, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, and more

Activity Stream

What it is: Real-time reporting and monitoring tool that lets you view individual post/page analytics

Why it’s great: Works with smaller social media platforms like Digg, Read It Later, Echo, Delicious, and others

Social Value

What it is: Overview of how social traffic helps drive website conversions or events

Why it’s great: You can define what you want to track, like landing page visits, visit duration, pages visited, and events (downloading an ebook or watching a video)

Multi-Channel Funnel Report

What it is: A report that helps you better measure online behavior

Why it’s great: You can see which social media platforms are driving conversions

Image courtesy of mywifequitherjob.com

3 Easy Ways to Measure Online Marketing ROI

September 21st, 2011 ::

Measuring Tape

If you’re not measuring your online marketing results, you really have no idea what kind of impact you are having – are you making an impression, finding new customers, getting some sort of ROI?

The best approach is to connect old and new measurement tools to ensure you are competitively promoting your business.  Try out the following three simple strategies:

1. Measure conversion sources and click-throughs.

Sales leads have been the standard measurement of marketing efforts for a long time, but the development of new technologies and the growth of the Web are making it easier to get a more holistic view of what kind of impact you are really having.

Use Google Analytics and Omniture to keep track of conversion sources and click-throughs  – two very important metrics to track.  They’ll help you understand where your Web visitors are coming from and what links and landing pages they are using the most.

2. Focus on exposure.

Google yourself and your business. Where is your content appearing in search engine results when someone enters keywords? How can you promote your website to get higher and higher listings?

As a small business owner, it is in your best interest to develop new ways to expose your ideas before you even get to the actual sales cycle – you want to get potential customers hooked before you get into their pocket. Your ultimate goal is to make your ideas and content more visible to the public.

3. Measure reach from month to month.

It’s easy to get lost in a jungle of information metrics; don’t ignore important data and let it become a confusing burden instead of a gold mine of information that will help you improve your marketing strategy.

Avoid making this mistake by focusing on a few key basics. Track the number of people reading your blog posts and your performance in search engines. Keep an eye on your Twitter following and Facebook page, measuring your improvement month-to-month. All of these tools are easy ways to determine your reach and how it is growing (or shrinking).

Use these strategies to measure what matters, and you’ll soon find yourself with more business than you can handle.

Image by Flickr user Havar og Solveig (Creative Commons)

Great FREE SEO Tools for Your Small Business

February 26th, 2010 ::

As we come to the end of this month, what better way to wrap up this month’s theme of “Getting Your Business Found” than giving away free stuff. Well, free advice and content at least. A few months ago I came across this article of great SEO tools that are free written by Mark Thompson over at Web Analytics World. You can use them for link research, SEO, social media and analytics.

Here is the article list:

1. SEO Toolbar

This is by far the best SEO tool out there. No matter what client or industry I am researching, I always start with the data provided by the SEO Toolbar. It will give you a snapshot of a site, by providing high level information search engines analyze when ranking websites. Even though the toolbar will give you lots of different data points, there are only certain things I look at. I look at the follow data to get a basic overview of the site.

  • Domain Age
  • Inbound Links
  • PageRank
  • Pages Indexed
  • SEO X-ray (nofollow links, H tags, meta data)

2. Xenu

There was a great post written by Ann Smarty that talks about the different things you can do with the Xenu tool.

Basically this tool will allow you to scan and analyze a site to help find potential problems.

  • Broken Links
  • Depth of the Site (crawling issues)
  • Potential Duplicate Content Issues
  • Orphan Pages
  • 404 Error Pages

3. Website Grader

This web-based tool, allows you to enter a url and it will analyze the site, then it creates a user-friendly SEO report. This can be an easy report to generate for a potential client. However, sometimes it can be overwhelming for people because of all of the information it returns.

  • Overall SEO Score (out of 100)
  • Basic On-Page SEO (Meta data, Alt tags, H tags)
  • Basic Off-Site SEO (Domain Age, Pages Indexed, Inbound Links)
  • Blog Analysis
  • Social Media Analysis

4. SEO for Firefox

SEO for Firefox is a plugin that will pull in data about the site within the Google search results. I will use this to see how fierce the competition is and to help determine how much effort and time it will take to optimize a potential clients site. The nice thing about SEO for Firefox is the flexibility to only add data into the results that you want to see. These are the data points I pull in:

  • PageRank
  • Inbound Links
  • Domain Age
  • Google and Yahoo Rankings

5. Rank Checker

Rank Checker is a stand alone firefox plugin (also on the SEO Toolbar) that allows you to check the rankings of a site for specific keywords/phrases. One nice feature about Rank Checker is you can check not only US search engines, but foreign versions of Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Data I pull from this tool include:

  • Baseline Rankings
  • Ranking Improvements
  • What URL is Ranking

6. AuditMyPC: Sitemap Generator

There are a lot of sitemap generator tools out there, however I feel that this is the best…plus its free.

  • Generate a XML Sitemap
  • Generate a HTML Sitemap
  • Analyze Website Pages & Structure

7. Reverse IP Lookup

This tool allows you to see what other domains are on the same server. It is not often, but sometimes if a site that has been penalized by Google is hosted on the same server as your site, it can penalize ALL that are on the shared hosting server. This is another reason why being on your own dedicated server can help your SEO.

8. Yahoo! Site Explorer

There are a number of link analysis tools like Link DiagnosisBackLink Watch, andLink Assistant, however Yahoo! Site Explorer I feel still does the best job of not only finding backlinks, but ordering them in place of importance. Here are the main things I will look at when analyzing SiteExplorer links.

9. SocialMention

To see what is being said about a potential or current client, I will use a variety of real-time search engines. I usually will start at SocialMention because it will scour the web including Blogs, Q&A, Forums, Mircoblogs, Social Bookmarks, Events, Video, and News sites for mentionings of your brand or keyword you enter. I can get a better understanding of:

  • Brand Perception
  • Brand Reach
  • Industry Position
  • Influencers in the Industry
  • Types of Communication/Discussions

10. Google Analytics

Of course if you have access to a clients Google Analytics you can find out a wealth of knowledge that you wouldn’t be able to gather with free tools anyone can use. When I first look at a sites analyics I will look at certain data including:

  • Daily Traffic
  • Traffic Sources
  • Keywords
  • Geo-Location
  • User Engagement
  • Conversions

With all of these free tools you can learn a lot about a potential/current client and your competitors. You are able to cover a wide spectrum of information including on-page/off-page factors, social media, reputation management, and user engagement. Feel free to try one or all of these tools the next time you perform some research on a site.

Want to Learn More about Search Marketing?

Here at Network Solutions we have put together some great tools and services for search marketing, local search visibility and pay-per-click advertising. Check them out and if you need some help getting your site optimized, reach out via phone, e-mail or twitter.

Tracking and Improving SEO results with Google Analytics

February 24th, 2010 ::

Although I am not a “Quant Jock” who loves to play with spreadsheets and graphs, I have to profess my love for Google Analytics. This tool originally developed by Adaptive Path was sold to Google a few years ago and has evolved and continues to evolve into a solid web analytics package. Sure, there are some killer, super-sophisticated analytics packages out there (e.g. Omniture) but for many sites, especially ones just starting out, Google Analytics is a perfect entry point.

The sign up process requires a Google account (any email address will do) and a web site that you want to monitor. To get the web site monitored, you tell Google Analytics the web address and insert the code on the page you want to monitor. Every site I work with or build these days has a Google Analytics plugin which can make things easier. While this is not a post in configuration and tuning, it is good to make you aware.

You can learn all kinds of things about your site, how many visitors, page views, geographic data, popular pages, time on site, etc. You can also integrate your Google Advertising account into this so you can track campaign effectiveness which is quite powerful.

Getting your site found and up and running is the most basic thing with Google Analytics but what it can really help you with is tracking and improving your SEO results.

André Scholten over at Yoast has some great advanced tips on doing just that. Check it out:

A ranking tool can tell you over and over again that a certain keyword is around position 15 in Google while Google Analytics claims he is on page 1 (position 1 to 10). This effect can come from ‘personalized search’ or ‘local results’ that can influence the Google rankings dramatically. People see other results than you see with your ranking tools. And therefore you need Google Analytics to do the real ranking.

Setup the filter

To get the rankings in your Google Analytics reports you have to create a new filter:

analytics google ranking

The title of the filter contains a 3, that’s because filter 1 and 2 take care of filtering out everything else than Google Organic traffic. So yes: you also have to create a new profile to apply these filters on to be sure you don’t screw up your main profile.

This filter only works for Google. if you want it to work for Yahoo and Live Search also, make sure you change the filters 1 and 2 so they accept Organic from all three of them. Then setup the filter like this:

analytics ranking

The ranking results

After a while the “User Defined” report will look like this (ignore the language):

rankings example

What you see are not the actual rankings, but the number of the first result of the page the keyword was on. So when you see 20, it means the keyword was on the third page, and a 50 means the sixth page. (Yahoo and Live Search will report 21 and 51 in stead of 20 and 50).

When you don’t see a number but only “(page: ): it means the keyword was on the first page. So perhaps it is better to change “page:” to “minimal position;”, I leave that up to you.

If you want to filter the list of keywords on keywords with at least a page 2 position you can use “(page: d{2,3})” in the filter field below the list. The d stands for digits, and the 2,3 for the amount of digits you’re looking for.

The new reports

If you have implemented everything correct you should see this in the “Visitors -> User Defined” report:


A list of keywords with the position the keyword was on when a visitor clicked it. Now you’re able to see the exact positions, more precise than any ranking tool that is out there. There’s 1 minor drawback: business listings next to the little maps are counted as a position also:


Very interesting: the sitelinks positions are also tracked, and in a more intelligent way than the maps results. If you click on a sitelink, the actual position of that sitelink is passed on. For example, this sitelink has position 4:


If you want to get better insights about your sitelinks you should create an extra profile with the first 3 filters mentioned above. Then add this extra filter to only track those keywords where people clicked on the (full or oneline) sitelinks:

Filter name: "Ranking 5"
Filter type: "Custom filter - Include"
Filter field: "Referral"
Filter pattern: "oi=(oneline_sitelinks|smap)"

The positions you will see are pure sitelinks positions, and you will get an idea about which sitelink is popular and which isn’t.