Category Archives: Analytics

Google to Encrypt Search Data – Killing off Organic Data

So it begins, Google to kill off organic data to webmasters for logged in users, I won’t re-hash and rant as there are plenty of useful posts out there.

I will provide a quick summary though, the data is still there but Google only offering aggregated data through Webmaster Tools but as mentioned by Barry Schwartz on Search Engine Roundtable, it’s not that accurate. So begs the question is the data now being sent to webmasters useful?

So for more information on this topic here are a few useful posts:

 

Canonical URL – A possible solution to duplicate content

Duplicate Content Issues

The 3 major search engines, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, have just announced a new tag that can tell the search engines which URL it should have for the current page.

The issue websites have is duplicate content, the same content is indexed under different URL’s.  This is an issue SEO’s have been trying to solve for a long time.

New canonical URL tag

To help solve this problem, the 3 major engines have declared that it will recognise a new HTML tag, which, if inserted into your web page, will allow you to specify which URL you want to be the “official”, URL for the content.

The tag needs to be inserted into the HEAD section of your web page:

HTML:  <link rel="canonical" href="http://www.yourwebsite.co.uk/correct-page.html">

XHTML: <link rel="canonical" href="http://www.yourwebsite.co.uk/correct-page.html" />

This code needs to be placed in the HEAD section not in the BODY section.

Google will now count the links it has seen to that campaign tagged URL, towards the canonical URL, and not index the campaign tagged URL.

In summary, may be to early to tell if this will help webmasters as it was only announced on the 12th February 2009, but in my opinion this is handing back a little bit of control to the webmaster instead of letting the search engine’s figure out the correct URL.

Disclaimer:  The tag is aonly a suggestion to the search engine. It will probably be used 99% of the time, but they have the right to handle things their way.

Canonical URL plugin for WordPress users now available from Joost de Valk.

How to track your SEO rankings with Google Analytics

One of my favourite SEO and WordPress blogs is by Joost de Valk, and on the 5th january ’09 a brilliant guest post by Andre Scholten explains how a Google Analytics filter can enable you to track your Google rankings.

So here is the post:

Track SEO rankings?

Well, you can’t specifically track the exact position of the keyword that was clicked like you can do with AdWords. But it is possible to determine the page he was on. A ranking tool can tell you over and over again that a certain keyword is around position 15 in Google while Google Analytics claims he is on page 1 (position 1 to 10). This effect can come from ‘personalized search’ or ‘local results’ that can influence the Google rankings dramatically. People see other results than you see with your ranking tools. And therefore you need Google Analytics to do the real ranking.

Setup the filter

To get the rankings in your Google Analytics reports you have to create a new filter:

analytics google ranking

The title of the filter contains a 3, that’s because filter 1 and 2 take care of filtering out everything else than Google Organic traffic. So yes: you also have to create a new profile to apply these filters on to be sure you don’t screw up your main profile.

This filter only works for Google. if you want it to work for Yahoo and Live Search also, make sure you change the filters 1 and 2 so they accept Organic from all three of them. Then setup the filter like this:

analytics ranking

The ranking results

After a while the “User Defined” report will look like this (ignore the language):

rankings example

What you see are not the actual rankings, but the number of the first result of the page the keyword was on. So when you see 20, it means the keyword was on the third page, and a 50 means the sixth page. (Yahoo and Live Search will report 21 and 51 in stead of 20 and 50).

When you don’t see a number but only “(page: ): it means the keyword was on the first page. So perhaps it is better to change “page:” to “minimal position;”, I leave that up to you.

If you want to filter the list of keywords on keywords with at least a page 2 position you can use “(page: d{2,3})” in the filter field below the list. The d stands for digits, and the 2,3 for the amount of digits you’re looking for.

Enjoy.

The credit for the post is found on Joost’s blog.