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Google Analytics Adds Real Time Reports, Improves Custom Site Search – Search Engine Watch (#SEW)

 

 

 

 

 

Google Analytics Adds Real Time Reports, Improves Custom Site Search

Google Analytics Adds Real Time Reports, Improves Custom Site Search – Search Engine Watch (#SEW).

, October 3, 20111 Comments

A couple new and noteworthy Google Analytics features were announced last week. First, Google has added real-time reports to monitor visitors actively looking at your site. Also, for sites with their own custom search engine, Google Analytics has made it easier to integrate data into your analytics reports.

Real-Time Google Analytics

Google Analytics Real Time Reporting

For years, Google has lacked a real-time element to its Analytics product. That changed as Google released real-time analytics reports to a limited set of people. While Google Analytics will still process results on their 24-hour lag, a new set of reports will now show activity happening on your site as it happens.

The reports show active, changing graphics, detailing page views per minute and per second. Detailed reports include percentages of active visitors by country, by page currently being viewed, and by the visitor’s source, including custom campaign tags.

While the data is limited, of the best ideas for use so far is to use it to see campaign tracking when unrolling a new campaign. Because of the way data is collected and the delay in its processing, many times a simple typo can make your data go awry and take at least 24 hours or so for you to discover. With the real-time reports, you’ll be able to see anomalies quicker.

The new real-time reports only are available in the new version of Google analytics. Look for it under the Dashboards area this week. When the new Google Analytics interface rolls out this week, you’ll be able to find it under the Home tab. If you can’t see the reports and don’t want to wait, you can request access sooner.

Google Analytics and Custom Site Search

Site search reports have already included more than mere usage and search terms. Now the set up processes are easier.

Essentially, you simply navigate to the Custom Search Engine management page. From there, select a few options, including options specific to Google Analytics, and the Google Custom Search tool will produce your new, analytics-friendly code, ready for copying and pasting into your site.

To be clear, this is really an announcement more concerned with Google’s Site Search product. However, if you use it or were considering using it, know that setting up the Google Analytics reporting components is much easier now.

The new Site Search code enables all the cool tagging and integration for Google Site Search clicks to interact properly with Google Analytics. As part of the process, you’ll need to select which Google Analytics account you intend to use with each individual site search engine you create.

More Google Analytics Changes This Week

The Google Analytics team has been quite busy of late. Just last month, Google Analytics changed the way they counted visitors with modified session data, which led into new multi-channel funnel reporting.

And Google’s not done yet. They’re promising a new Google Analytics layout this week

Infographic: Google’s War Against Spam | WebProNews

Infographic: Google’s War Against Spam | WebProNews.

Top Google Ranking Captures 18.2% of Clicks [Study] – Search Engine Watch (#SEW)

Top Google Ranking Captures 18.2% of Clicks [Study] – Search Engine Watch (#SEW).

Super-Charged PPC Ads – Website Magazine – Website Magazine

Super-Charged PPC Ads – Website Magazine – Website Magazine.

Running a successful pay-per-click advertising campaign can be a challenge for online retailers. In particular, writing great PPC ads can be a real struggle.

With numerous products that have various benefits and varying price points, advertisers often feel overwhelmed when it comes to writing great ads. In this article, we will outline a strategy for online retailers that will help to improve click-through rates, conversion rates and overall engagement of your PPC ads.

Feature the Product Keyword in Your Ad
One of the most important tactics for a successful PPC ad is highlighting the user’s search query directly in your ad. By displaying the keyword in your ad, it will be more relevant and this will result in a higher click-through rate.

In order to display the right keywords in the right ads, you need to structure your campaign so that each ad group contains a very tightly themed group of keywords. For example, if an ad group contains a few variations of the keyword, “organic pet supplements”, then you can write ad copy that highlights this keyword specifically.

To create tightly themed ad groups, you should follow this rule-of-thumb: Each ad group should contain two to four related keywords (and the appropriate match-type variations). With only two to four keywords per ad group, you can write PPC ads that highlight each of your core terms. In other words, you can highlight one product per ad group.

Highlight Benefits, Not Features
This is a common mistake when writing PPC ads. Many ads contain features and not benefits of their products. Your ads should be audience-centric. How will your product or service make the lives of your audience better or easier? What problem or desire does your product satisfy?

For example, if you sell treadmills, your ad shouldn’t mention the product weight, where it was made or the various running speeds. Most people looking for treadmills want to get healthy, have more energy, lose weight and look better. Those are the most desirable benefits of owning a treadmill. You may want to review your current PPC ads to see if they are featureor benefit-focused.

Close with a Call-to-Action – Urgency
This may seem obvious, but it is also worth saying: Tell people what you want them to do. For online retailers, you can use straightforward action verbs like, “Buy Now!” Or you can use a special offer to motivate people, such as, “Get Free Shipping!” or “Buy 1, Get 1 Free!” Or, if your product requires a demo before someone makes a purchase, you can use, “Get a Demo Now!”

Display Price and Discounts
Displaying prices in your PPC ads can give them a boost. You should test different prices to see what appeals best to your audience. Also, you should try mentioning discounts within your ads. Any specials or sales that are active on your website should certainly be mentioned within your ads.

Utilize SiteLinks
Google AdWords has a very helpful feature called SiteLinks. This feature allows you to display up to four additional text links below your PPC ad. I highly suggest that you take advantage of SiteLinks. With this option, you can write additional texts that display other product benefits — and you can send users to other products or pages within your website.

Expand Your Ad with Product Listings
Product listing ads are a powerful feature within AdWords. With this feature, you can display your products directly within search engine results (SERP) on Google. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough space in this article to go into the details of implementation. But, in a nutshell, open a Google Merchant account; upload a product feed from your website to your Merchant account; link your Merchant account to your Ad- Words account. There is a little more to it than this, but if you login into your Google Merchant account, the help section is very informative.

Claim More SERP Real Estate with Location Extensions
If you have a brick-and-mortar location, or multiple locations, you should take advantage of the Location Extensions feature in Google AdWords. With this feature, you can display your company’s location directly on the SERPs within Google. To implement Location Extensions, you will need to link your Google Places list with your Google AdWords account. Trust me, it’s easy!

Get Longer Headlines (hot tip!)
This is a new feature within Google AdWords. You can display longer headlines that will make your ad stand out, which will increase your click-through rate. All you need to do here is to make sure that Line 1 of your ad ends in punctuation (a period, question mark, etc.) — then when your ad appears in the top-ranked positions, line 1 will be bumped up into your headline, and your headline will be longer and more noticeable.

The PPC ad below works because it is using the following tactics from our list: feature the product keyword directly in the ad; display price (this is covered by the product listing); expand your ad with product listings; and get longer headlines.


The PPC ad below utilizes some other tactics from our list, such as: feature the product keyword directly in the ad; close with a call-to-action; highlight benefits, not features; utilize SiteLinks; and get longer headlines.


By implementing this overall strategy, you will be initiating the following thought pattern when someone reads your PPC ad:

1. This ad seems relevant to my search query (highlight the keyword)
2. This sounds like a product that I can use (highlight benefits)
3. It looks like they have a few interesting products (utilize SiteLinks
and product extensions)
4. Wow, this is a great offer (display a great call-to-action and/or deal)
5. I am going to click and I am going to buy!

You may be thinking that users don’t interact with PPC ads this way. But why not? If your PPC ads are good enough, they will. Now, go super-charge your PPC ads for higher click-through rates and conversion rates.

About the Author: Joseph Kerschbaum has been working in PPC advertising, search engine optimization, conversion optimization and social media marketing for the past five years. He is the co-author of PPC Marketing: An Hour a Day and the client services director at Clix Marketing.

Chrome Gains Ground in Browser Wars – Website Magazine – Website Magazine

 

 

 

Chrome Gains Ground in Browser Wars – Website Magazine – Website Magazine.

Chrome Gains Ground in Browser Wars



Google Chrome surpassed 20% of the global internet browser market during the month ofJune 2011 according to Internet statistics firm StatCounter.

Chrome took 20.7% of the global market, up from 2.8% in June 2009. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has fallen from 59% to 44% globally and Firefox dropped slightly from 30% to 28%.

“It is a superb achievement by Google to go from under 3% two years ago to over 20% today,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. “While Google has been highly effective in getting Chrome downloaded the real test is actual browser usage which our stats measure.”

StatCounter Global Stats are based on aggregate data collected on a sample exceeding 15 billion page views per month (4 billion from the US) from the StatCounter network of more than three million websites.

 



Google’s enemy list, a primer

In its rise to Web dominance, Google has displaced plenty of companies, upended several industries, and made a slew of enemies along the way. Some of the adversaries are industry giants in their own right, such as Microsoft and Apple. Others are little-known start-ups that get publicity for raising concerns about Google but often fade back to obscurity when the news cycle ends.

For some rivals, the enmity runs deep. They accuse Google of poaching employees and infringing on copyrights. And still there are others whose complaints about Google’s dominance seems more strategic, an effort to put a hurdle in the way of the Web giant’s inexorable march on new markets.

With the Federal Trade Commission opening a probe into Google’s competitive practices, those enemies will have a new opportunity to raise their concerns to trustbusters. The list of enemies is long. Here are a few:
Microsoft: There’s no company that competes more aggressively with Google over a broader swath of products and services than Microsoft. It starts with search and search advertising, where Google continues to trounce Microsoft, despite billions spent by the software giant to displace it. Google is making headway against Microsoft in the productivity applications business, offering online versions of e-mail, spreadsheet, and word processing programs that compete with Microsoft’s Office suite. Its Chrome browser has taken market share from Internet Explorer. Its Android mobile phone operating system emerged as the most viable alternative to the iPhone in the smartphone market, and not Windows Phone. Microsoft’s recent bid to acquire Internet video chat provider Skype is seen by many through the spectrum of competition with Google, which has its own Google Voice service. And Microsoft, which knows better than most the difficult of a prolonged scuffle with trustbusters, has been the most active Google competitor running to regulators to voice its concerns.

File photo of Google’s Eric Schmidt(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

Apple: It’s one of the oldest memes in the world–the best of friends can sometimes turn into the worst of enemies. In its early days, Google and Apple worked closely, so much so that Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt sat on Apple’s board. Those bonds broke, though, as Google began to develop its Android mobile phone operating system.Schmidt stepped down from Apple’s board, and soon thereafter Jobs reportedly laid into Google at an internal company meeting, saying, “We did not enter the search business. They entered the phone business. Make no mistake, they want to kill the iPhone.” The companies now compete in the browser market, e-mail, voice chat and a host of other services. And with Apple’s new iCloud offering, the companies are certain to butt heads in data storage as well.
Facebook: Google’s battle with Facebook is really about the future of the Web. If you believe that Facebook, where more and more computer users are spending their Web time, is becoming something of an alternative Internet, then Google has every right to be worried. While computer users are hanging out on Facebook, they’re not searching the Web using Google. Indeed, Facebook has forged ties with Microsoft, giving the Redmond rival access to its users to add social-networking features to its Bing search engine. Google has tried to match some Facebook features, most recently offering +1, a service that lets users show love for Web sites much in the same was Facebook users can “Like” a site. But at last month’s D9 conference, Schmidt, now Google’s executive chairman, acknowledged that he “screwed up” in watching social networking soar without Google.
Groupon:Google has made its mint selling online ads. But one area that’s proven somewhat difficult for the company is the local advertising market. Groupon, which offers daily deals in regional markets in 175 North American markets as well as markets in 42 other countries, has clearly cracked that market. That’s why Google reportedly offered $6 billion to acquire Groupon, a deal Groupon ultimately spurned. Google’s response: start its own rival daily deals service. Earlier this month, it rolled out Google Offers, starting first in Portland, Ore.

Psst!
Send us a tip 

Do you have a gripe about Google’s business practices or believe you’ve been harmed? CNET wants to hear your stories. Send them to us at tips-ne@cnet.com.

Oracle: Database software leader Oracle isn’t the most obvious enemy for Google. The two companies, who have a common enemy in Microsoft, don’t compete in any meaningful way. But Oracle filed suit last year, accusing Google of infringing on Java patents that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems in January 2010. Last week, Oracle added another filing to the case, noting that it’s seeking damages that run “in the billions of dollars.”
PayPal: Google Checkout is a certainly a competitor to PayPal as a way to pay for goods and services online. But Google has plenty of competitors. The fight became more interesting when PayPal accused Google of poaching a key employee. Last month, PayPal sued Google, accusing it of misappropriating trade secrets from its mobile-payment business when it hired Osama Bedier, who had been a senior executive at PayPal, working on its mobile-payments platform. The same suit also accused Google VP of Electronic Commerce Stephanie Tilenius, another former PayPal executive, of violating her contract by recruiting her former colleague, Bedier. In response to the suit, Google said it respects trade secrets and intends to defend itself against the claims.

 Related stories
• Full coverage on the Google antitrust investigation
• Google versus trustbusters, a history
• In D.C., it’s all about beating down Google

Copyright holders: Not all copyright holders, to be sure. But Google, in its quest to organize all the world’s information, often acts first and asks questions later. News organizations, including Agence France Press, once challenged Google for posting headlines, photographs, and news summaries on its Google News aggregation site without permission. And in its most ambitious effort to digitize every book ever written, Google ran afoul of authors, photographers and publishers. Even a settlement struck with key groups was rejected last March by the federal judge overseeing the case.
Travel search sites: Google’s push to dominate the most widely searched queries led it to acquire ITA Software, a little-known but powerful provider of technology to the travel industry. Expedia, Kayak and Hotwire, among others, use ITA’s software to fuel their services. So they banded together to raise concerns to regulators that Google’s acquisition of ITA posed a serious competitive threat. The Justice Department approved the acquisition in April, but with the caveat that Google continue licensing ITA’s travel technology to rivals for five years on “reasonable and nondiscriminatory” terms, and that Google forward to regulators any complaints from travel competitors about where they land in Google’s search rankings.

Jay Greene, a CNET senior writer, works from Seattle and covers Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. He’s the author of the book, Design Is How It Works: How the Smartest Companies Turn Products into Icons (Penguin/Portfolio). He started writing about Microsoft and technology in 1998, first as a reporter for The Seattle Times and later as BusinessWeek’s Seattle bureau chief.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20074178-93/googles-enemy-list-a-primer/#ixzz1QVcxkV2B

Boost Your CTR With These 5 PPC Ad Copy Strategies  – Search Engine Watch (#SEW)

Boost Your CTR With These 5 PPC Ad Copy Strategies  – Search Engine Watch (#SEW).


Boost Your CTR With These 5 PPC Ad Copy Strategies

, June 17, 20111 Comments

Strong creative can be a huge competitive advantage in the world of paid search. When you can pay less to get more, you’re doing something right.

The compounding factors of improved CTR, increased quality score, and reduced CPC can make a tremendous impact on performance. Ad copy testing lies at the heart of seizing this competitive advantage.

With an endless number of attributes to test, it can be a little daunting to pick a starting point. Looking for a positive impact? Here are five ad copy attributes you can test.

1. Price Points & Percentage Off

If you’re a retailer, this is must. You’re missing out big if you aren’t testing into specific price points and percent off offers.

Important: don’t make assumptions here. Test out multiple price points and percentages off to find out what will resonate with consumers. Here’s one of my favorite illustrations of why not to assume anything when it comes to price points:

PPC Price Points

A 76.5 percent CTR lift on the higher price point. We can make assumptions as to why the higher of the two price points experienced the higher CTR. Maybe the “or Less” factored in, or maybe “$39” just sounded too good to be true. Hard to say. This is precisely why we test.

2. Google Sitelinks

By now you have hopefully enjoyed the benefits of running Google Sitelinks in your ads. The presence of ad sitelinks can lift CTR by more than 30 percent.

Surprisingly, many advertisers still haven’t added these to their campaigns. Maybe they’ve tested it and found that their ads perform better without sitelinks, but this is doubtful. I haven’t seen an instance where an ad’s CTR decreased as a result of having sitelinks present.

Don’t let your sitelinks get stale. Remember to rotate in new pages to test, and test variations of the ad copy. Keep refining.

3. “Official Site” 

Using “Official Site” directly following the name of the brand in the ad headline has almost always lifted CTR and reduced CPC. There is an absolute correlation between the power of the brand and the influence that “Official Site” will have on improving performance.

Recognizable brands that carry more weight will typically benefit from this. In instances where there are many affiliates competing in the space, the brand will also benefit from this tactic.

“Brand Name – Official Site” can also lift performance on non-brand terms, especially in instances where the brand is considered a leader. Depending on your account, it may be worth experimenting with this.

With the recent modification of Google displaying the root URL of the display URL within the headline, there’s been speculation that “Official Site” many not be as necessary as it once was, and those valuable headline characters can be better utilized. Sounds like another great test!

4. Sense of Urgency

Any good direct marketer understands this principle. Give consumers a reason to feel as though they should decisively take action, and they are more likely to do so.

If you’re running an offer in your ad copy – and you should be if you can – test using an end date. Here are some iterations that work well:

  • “Ends 6/11” – a specific end date. Drop this in the ad copy about five days prior to the end date
  • “Ends Monday” – test using the day of the week vs. the actual date
  • “Hurry!”, “Save Now”, “Ends Soon” – Even without an end date, there are ways to create that sense of urgency with the consumer

5. Extended Headline

This is another recent modification to how Google displays ads. You no doubt have seen this, and hopefully have been experimenting with it.

Google Extended Headline Mens Suits

Ultimately Google will make the call on whether your description line #1 will be moved into the headline of your ad. While you can’t explicitly opt into (or out of) this, you can influence the probability of your ad displaying as such.

First and foremost you need to be in the premium position above the organic results. By crafting your ad so that each line of copy appears as a distinct sentence that ends with proper punctuation, you’ll at least be in a position to have your ad appear with the extended headline.

Applying some of the tactics mentioned earlier, like sense of urgency or price points, into the extended headline can help boost CTR and is worth experimenting with.

Test Your Ad Copy!

One of the most enjoyable aspects of managing paid search accounts is the ability to test, and the learning that comes from it. Curiosity, creativity, and discipline are required. With the competing priorities of so many things you can and should be doing while managing an account, ad copy testing should always remain high on the priority list.