Basic Google Analytics Guide for Small Business

builtvisible“Google Analytics is a digital analytics solution that collects data about your digital presence. How does it do this? Well at a high level you need to add the small snippet of code that contains your Unique ID pertaining to your specific GA property (UA-XXXXXX-X) on all your pages. This code collects information and sends it to the Analytics servers by attaching parameters to a single-pixel GIF image request.” –Kaitlin Ziessler

Google Analytics is a vital piece to understanding the data that represents your digital presence. If you are a beginner or interested in a refresher course on Google Analytics, I have a solid resource for you. In “Google Analytics Resource Guide of Epic Proportions” , author Kaitlin Ziessler of BuiltVisible.com presents a thorough but approachable guide. The guide is long but chock full of very useful information.

Learning Google Analytics

The following is the outline of subject matter covered in Ms. Ziessler’s work:

Types of Google Analytics Tracking

Basic Setup

What Are We Tracking?

Improving Google Analytics

Frequent Issues with Google Analytics

Help Yourself

Conclusion

There is a lot to absorb but it will be worth the effort. If you are grappling with understand where your traffic is originating, how it impacts your website statistics, and how to lead visitors to the land of conversion then this guide is for you.

Did You Receive a Thank You for Standing Up Against SOPA?

In a world with corporations that do not understand the value of a 1:1 relationship with their customers, customer service can be a trying experience. In the recent attempted hijacking of our Internet rights by politicians backing the SOPA bill, I was asked to take a stand. The request came from a number of big Internet juggernauts: will you sign a petition, write your congressman or congresswoman, will you stand up against this tyrannical power grab? My answer was yes so I wrote my elected representatives and signed petitions against SOPA. Of all of the organizations I supported with my efforts only one followed up after our stand. Only one took the time to write me a thank you email. Only one was smart enough to recognize the power of a simple thank you even if it’s a mass blast email. Best of all it wasn’t from the big juggernaut I thought even knew I existed.

Thank you Google!

Is Google +1 The First Step to Social Search?

In what appears to be the continued “Facebookification” of Google, and a hopeful giant step forward in search, Google announced the launch of it’s social search service +1. Simply put, Google’s +1 feature is a “like” button for search results. After years of attempting to purchase social networks from Friendster to Twitter, Google has delivered what could be their best social innovation offering in +1.

Social Search +1′s Big Benefit: Voting on Search Results

In a nutshell, Google has been taking criticism for years for their search algorithm, delivery of old link search results, and allowing the gaming of the algorithmic system of search by black hat SEO companies.

According to BusinessInsider.com “The big benefit that +1 delivers is that the service will let users vote on search results, then will use the votes as a factor in ranking results.” Could this be the beginning of a new era where gaming the search algorithm no longer is the focus of search engine optimization? Could this be Google’s social graph answer to their critics?

Get Started Using +1

Although it’s still technically in beta and not available to everyone, here are a few of the steps to take in order to begin using +1:

  • +1 Sign Up: Here is a quick tutorial on how to sign up for +1
  • Google Profile: Users will need a Google Profile to use +1. After you  create a profile, your contacts are accumulated from sources like your Gmail contact list as well as people you follow on Google Reader
  • Experimental Version: once you have created your profile, you will be asked to opt-in to one of the “experimental” versions of +1

Find What’s New at Google New

Are you still fumbling around trying to keep up with all the new products and services Google offers? If you can’t seem to find everything all in one place, here’s a tip- Google built it. The “it” in this case is a new site called Google New. Tech expert Emily Chang summed it up best “Google seems to release a new product every week so they’ve created a site that’s the one place to find everything new from Google.”

Google New Tagline: “The one place to find everything new from Google.” They aren’t kidding either. The site is packed with everything from:

  • Publisher Tools
  • Developer Tools
  • Gmail announcements
  • Orkut
  • Docs features
  • SketchUp
  • Search
  • Mobile
  • Voice
  • Enterprise
  • Earth & Maps

The list of new items is extensive, appropriate for advanced or beginning technology users, and it is presented in simple, short writing text best for usability by the reader.

Example Reviews of What’s New

Google: New Player in Real Estate and Threat?

Zillow.com and Trulia.com have been breakthrough sites that allowed consumers social media functionality in finding listings, property values, and information down to the neighborhood level. Real estate world meet your new neighbor: Google Maps. In a solid article outlining the new Google move Searchengineland.com’s ,“Land Grab: Google Expands Real Estate Listings” announces the “new kid on the block.” According to writer Matt McGee: “Google has expanded its real estate listings and added extra search functionality for users to find property listings in.”

New Search Feature

In the old version of Google Maps, the search function would return basic information such as listings of real estate agents and brokers on a map.  Such as a search for San Francisco real estate produced a basic map

Now if you are searching you will find right below the search box, a new “invitation” to search current real estate listings. The results for a search “san francisco real estate” returns:

Google Maps SF example003

And comprehensive maps like this:

Google Maps SF example

Google’s Source of Information: Scraping Listings?

According to McGee the search results are coming from sources such as “real estate brokerages and agents, many of whom upload listings into Google Base as part of their online marketing.. .”

McGee asserts that “Google is also getting listings from sources such as Homes & Land and The Real Estate Book and similar sites that advertise listings for participating real estate professionals.”

The dilemma now for Realtors and brokers is whether to list their properties in Google base or other sites that can be readily accessed and repurposed by Google for their own search engine listings within Google Maps. Finally, the National Association of Realtors has already accused Google of scraping it’s MLS listings thus stealing their competitive advantage. Where do Realtors go from here? What is your take on this new player in the real estate market? Only time will tell.