Website Optimization

5 Reasons to Upgrade to Google Universal Analytics Now

Google launched its latest analytics update, Universal Analytics in 2012. Typical of Google, the platform was launched in beta and there was no pressure to upgrade from the familiar asynchronous version in use since 2009.googles-new-universal-analytics

In recent months, Google has been ramping up the upgrade pressure. Last October it launched a dedicated upgrade center with information and tools to make the process less overwhelming and more understandable.

Finally, in April, Google removed the beta designation from Universal Analytics declaring it ready for prime time. Yes, change is hard. Users can wait and allow Google to automatically port them to the new platform in August, or take the bull by the horns and upgrade on their own free will.

Here are five reasons you should do it now and not wait.

1. Remarketing is now enabled

This was a favorite excuse for many procrastinators. But with its release from beta, Universal Analytics fully supports all existing Analytics services including remarketing and audience demographics.

2. User IDs: Tracking individual users across all screens

In a multi-device world, this is huge. Imagine one of your customers shopping at a competitor’s store then price checking against your website. Your price is better and she decides to hold off on making the purchase. On her way home she calls her husband to check the colors on their tablet and finally she gets home and orders the item, in just the right color, from her desktop computer.
In the old analytics, Each of those visits would be seen as unique and reported as such. Now, if you track individual users on your site you can share this information with Analytics and see not three individual transactions, but a single customer interaction.

3. Capturing online and offline behavior

Universal Analytics ability to accept external data allows businesses to track offline conversions as well as online. In the example above, if the shopper called to order the product by phone, the existing web traffic could be associated with the offline conversion.

There are limits to data sharing, so please review the policy guidelines.

4. Advanced SegmentationDemographic_Segmentation2

Universal Analytics expands the variables that can be cooked into custom segments, allowing your data to be more user oriented and less visitor oriented. This is another valuable tool for teasing out specific user behavior and improving optimization.

5. Custom Dimensions

In the old Analytics, you were limited to tabulating the dimensions provided by Google. Now you are able to use whatever data you share with Analytics directly in the reporting interface.

Don’t hesitate, change is good!

The Decline of Guest Blogging for SEO Linkbuilding

black-hat-seoThe SEO landscape continues to shift, making it harder and harder for those that are using unearned tactics to appear within the search results listings. In an age when content is king, Google’s Matt Cutts announced in January the decay and fall of using guest blogging for SEO.

“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.” – Matt Cutts January 20, 2014

Guest blogging at one time was a great way to gain links, promote content and your brand. As more and more SEO marketers were hungry for places to post content, blog and site owners saw an opportunity to capitalize. They started accepting payments for content placement. This content in most cases had keyword seeded anchor text and links pointing to pages to help increase page authority, which would then increase rank.

Websites like Search Engine Leaks – have been outing services that engage in the tactics of content placement for payment. So how do you promote content now?mattcutts-final

Guest blogging when done correctly is still appropriate to use. If the guest blogger is trusted and known in the eyes of Google then the likelihood of being penalized is greatly decreased. Google’s authorship is one way to gain that trust. The other way is to not have your guest post links pass along page rank. If you “no follow” your links when citing and referencing from your post you are still within Google’s guidelines.

In 2014 let your content speak for itself, if worthy and valuable, others will naturally promote it and share.