Welcome to the latest issue of our monthly newsletter which focuses on news, tips and advice for effective website marketing, with particular attention on Google and best practice search engine marketing techniques, plus current trends in the market.
This month we look at the new user reports available in Google Analytics, the updated SEO Starter Guide from Google, and changes to the Grants requirements for AdWords advertisers.
You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter by month. You can also follow us on Twitter for the latest developments during the month, or follow our Facebook page or Google+ page for updates.
On to this month’s edition…
New User Focused Reports in Google Analytics
A common view of web marketers is that understanding user journeys across channels and devices is critical to marketing success. Since today’s customers have very high expectations for personalised and relevant experiences from brands, Google has introduced new reporting in Analytics to help measure the stages of a customer journey through a website.
The first new change in Analytics has been an update to the standard reports to focus more on users. The new user metrics help website marketers better understand engagement with their customers, especially those who may have multiple sessions across multiple days. The traditional ‘sessions’ data is still being collected and shown in the standard reports, but user data is now also more prominent to help review this level of information.
Another good report – which has also been updated – is User Explorer. This enables marketers to analyse visitors on an individual level, if required, and the report now includes lifetime metrics and dimensions for individual users (based on the lifetime of their cookie if they use the same device). These new metrics and dimensions will give Analytics users a much more detailed way to measure visitors and customers.
For example, Analytics users can look back and see the total amount of time an individual user has spent on the website, or the total number of transactions an individual user has made. There are new dimensions that show data such as when a user made their first visit to your site and which channel acquired them.
There is also a new option to publish any audience data to a new report in Google Analytics, that should help make every audience easier to understand. Users can now go to the new Audiences report and see a cross-channel view of the audiences that have been created in Analytics. For instance, marketers might decide to publish an audience to Analytics so that they can see all users who have purchased within the last 12 months but not during the last 2.
The fourth new development is a metric called Conversion Probability. This takes user-based metrics one step further to show the probability that a given user will convert in the future. These calculations are based on a machine learning model that learns from users who have made transactions in the past so that, for example, marketers can create remarketing lists that target users who have a high likelihood to purchase and then advertise to them using an AdWords campaign.
Added to this new data is a Conversion Probability report, which will show the Conversion Probability for all users of a website, including across important dimensions such as channel. This is a new feature from Analytics Intelligence and Google expects to introduce more forward-looking estimate reports on likely conversions by individual users.
Some of these new enhancements are still rolling out, or in beta for Analytics users, but aim to help marketers better understand their users and create more relevant experiences for them.
If you’d like more information about these new user focused metrics and reports in Analytics, please contact us now.
SEO Starter Guide from Google
Contrary to some beliefs, Google wants to encourage SEO, as long as it’s done correctly in a way that helps the searcher’s experience and gives them access to relevant and useful information. As a result, Google publishes an SEO Starter Guide which has just been revised and updated.
This SEO Starter Guide lists best practices for website owners and marketers that can make their website easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand content. The updated version has been enhanced to include additional sections on the need for search engine optimisation, adding structured data markup and building mobile-friendly websites.
The Guide – which can be accessed here in HTML format – explains how to get web pages indexed by Google and include links out to other resources including webmaster guidelines, Google Search Console and more technical information about Google’s ‘crawling’ of the web.
It includes best practice techniques for adding or blocking pages from Google’s index, and how Google’s crawler will interact and read content from a web page. There is some advice about writing unique and accurate title and description tags, as well as the use of headings in the body content.
As a more advanced technique there is some information on using structured data markup and links to tools that can help users set these up if required. Plus there is a section on the importance of the website hierarchy and navigation structure that will help users and search engines find the content in the correct manner.
Finally there are some sections included on content optimisation with tips on what to do, or not do, and also some advice about the use of links and how to manage these effectively. The guide also covers the importance of mobile friendly web pages, and some techniques to analsye site performance and user behaviour.
The SEO Starter Guide is certainly a good place to begin the SEO process for your website and to review what is currently being done and what could be improved. Following the advice from Google is also a good way of increasing your chances of your site being found and ranked well in the search results, so it should be an essential resource to use as part of your website marketing activity.
If you would like any further information or have any questions about the SEO for your website, please get in touch.
Updates to Google AdWords Grants policies
Charities and non-profits who use Google AdWords Grants accounts have received notifications of changes to some key policies for 2018 which may have an impact on some advertisers and campaigns.
Grants advertisers can benefit from $10k of free advertising spend in AdWords once they qualify for an account, although there are some limitations such as a restriction to Google Search only (no coverage of display ads or search partners), and bid limits are restricted to a $2 cap.
However, one advantage from the new changes is that Google now says that the US$2.00 bid cap can be extended by switching bidding to the automated ‘Maximise conversions’ setting, as this automatically sets bids based on performance. Of course this does require advertisers to have conversion tracking in place and generating leads, but this is certainly worth considering.
Some of the other changes to note are more limitations on single-word keywords (excluding own brand names, recognised medical conditions and a few other exceptions). Also overly generic keywords are also not allowed, such as ‘free videos’, ‘today’s news’, ‘easy yoga’, ‘download games’, ‘job alerts’ or names of places. In addition to these, Google also now says that keywords with a Quality Score of 2 or less will not be permitted in a Grants account.
There are also a tightening of policies regaring the websites that can use Grants and the way that campaigns are structured. For example, a Grants AdWords account must have at least 2 active ad groups per campaign, each containing a set of closely related keywords and 2 active ad texts, plus at least 2 sitelink ad extensions.
A more challenging requirement for some advertisers will also be that all Grants AdWords accounts must maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) each month. Google say that they recognise that there are reasons why CTR may fluctuate, but advertisers who don’t reach this level will see in-product notifications alerting them that their account is at risk and will provide links to educational resources. If the CTR requirement is not met for two consecutive months, the account will be cancelled, but advertisers will get the chance to request a reinstatement after keywords with a low CTR have been paused or deleted to bring the account into compliance.
There is more information about these new policies here but if you are a Grants advertiser and would like further advice or help about this, please get in touch.