Blog Posts About Analytics

Search Engine Optimization: Much Better as a Team

By Ava Naves, Principal

SEO is a team sport

The Online Strategy House recently presented a search visibility workshop to the staff of the British Columbia Patient Safety and Quality Council (BCPSQC). That experience really drove home the importance of teaching search engine optimization basics to a team — in this case, to the people who will create any content for their site, or those who, by virtue of their responsibilities, frequently come across opportunities for link building.

Optimally, several people will contribute blog posts to an organization’s domain. At the same time, those companies often have partnerships with others in their vertical, aside of taking time to participate in or sponsor industry events. When a team learns the relevant principles of on-site search engine optimization, from that point forward they see their day-to-day activities as opportunities for SEO. Those SEO principles then become ingrained in their modus operandi. For example:

  • Next time a manager contributes a blog to the company site, she will know that this is a chance to write a post according to the content strategy delineated in the organization’s online marketing plan. She will also be cognizant of the importance of incorporating the keyphrases that the online strategy has specified as relevant to that post.
  • The event coordinator will be aware that, by sponsoring a conference, there’s a prime opportunity to ask the organizer for a link to his employer’s site. Once adopted as a routine, this practice will help the company amass a good number of on-topic, high quality inbound links — the sort that will help build their online visibility.

When a group understands that individual, small commitments to search engine optimization amount to a large victory for all involved, they get excited about search engine optimization. The Online Strategy House makes a point of presenting SEO and online marketing workshops that are fun, and that engage even those who are not tech-oriented.

Employees are thrilled when analytics show that their blog posts received visits because they followed SEO best practices. They see they have made a tangible difference. And then, the enthusiasm is contagious.

Inaccurate Google Analytics Reports Can Cost You Money

By Ava Naves, Principal

Nowadays there really The Analytics Bulls Eye isn’t an excuse for organizations not to have Google Analytics set up on their sites. In many cases the installation is simple and easy.

However, to take full advantage of the insights that Google Analytics can provide, it’s necessary to go beyond adding a few lines of Javascript code to a site’s pages. Failure to consider this may actually cause your organization to lose revenue and, in extreme instances, you may even lose your job.

Some time ago The Online Strategy House was approached by the John Howard Society of Alberta, a Canadian not-for-profit whose mandate is to perform criminal justice education. Their organization needed to perform some advanced work on their Google Analytics account. During a call about this project, we also discovered another crucial element: their budget comes from donations by a few stakeholders, and those funds fluctuate every year according to the reported ROI. In their particular case, the ROI is measured by the number of downloads of educational materials from their site: more downloads signal that the donations are paying off, positively effecting their chances of receiving a larger budget in the next fiscal year.

Further investigation revealed a significant problem: executives haven’t been able to properly report on those downloads — because those goals are not properly tracked on their Google Analytics accounts. It’s painful to imagine the financial impact that this has had on our client’s budget. Since their Google Analytics account has been active for quite some time, how much more could they have received in donations had their reporting been accurate?

A second scenario where inaccurate reports may cost money (and potentially jobs) is when Google Analytics reports aren’t filtering out the correct internal IP address.

Although many organizations know that they should filter out internal traffic from their analytics reports, there is often a disconnect in communications between the Analytics and IT teams. Imagine this scenario: a company adopts a new network system and internal IP addresses are changed as a result. Analytics staff (or consultants) aren’t alerted. Naturally, now that internal traffic is registered by their analytics reports (whereas it was not previously), there is a steep decline in conversions: for example, visits increase by x% month-over-month, but conversions fall drastically.

That would be a very precarious situation for an Online Marketing Director to find himself (or herself) in. We can imagine that he or she will be called into a meeting at the end of the month to explain the steep decline in conversions in spite of the increase in traffic. Some digging up could eventually unearth the real reason behind the spike in visits, but the headaches, palpitations and potential embarassment could all be avoided by making it a practice to occasionally review the internal IP addresses in the company’s offices (including team member’s home offices), and to make sure that Web analytics reports are filtering out that traffic. Otherwise, metrics will be inflated.

It takes more than adding a few lines of Javascript code for organizations to fully leverage Google Analytics. Inaccurate reports can be a marketing team’s worst nightmare, but their accuracy can also be an organization’s best friend.

We have years of experience in this field, serving organizations of all scales — from large chains to small businesses. If you need help with your reports or would like us to audit your current set-up, get in contact with The Online Strategy House. We’ll make you fall in love with Google Analytics.

A Social Media Lesson from The Art of Marketing, in Vancouver

Avinash Autograph

Avinash Kaushik’s Autograph: “Happy Analytics!”

By Ava Naves, Principal

The Art of Marketing happened here in Vancouver in November of 2011 and brought us some very high-caliber speakers:

  • Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image, speaker and author of “Six Pixels of Separation”;
  • Bill Taylor, Co-Founder of Fast Company and author of “Practically Radical”;
  • Avinash Kaushik, one of the only men in the world for whom I’d cook dinner (the other ones being my Dad, my Beau and David Gray), author of “Web Analytics 2.0″ and “Web Analytics: An Hour a Day”; Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google and Co-Founder of Market Motive;
  • Gary Vaynerchuk, author of “The Thank You Economy” and “Crush It!”
  • Guy Kawasaki, a Canadian in a Hawaiian’s body, hockey aficionado, and co-founder of Guy has been the chief evangelist of Apple and is the author of several books, the latest of which being “Enchantment”

There were several great takeaways from the event. I would require a very, very long post to assimilate all the great insight in one single entry, so I shall cover only one — it being the very first point that was brought to us, by no other than Ron Tite, the Master of Ceremonies at the conference. He’s the Vice President, Innovation Practice at Euro RSCG, and a speaker in his own right.

Read more