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Use Content Marketing ROI (or lack thereof) to Stop Blogging

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The odds are that my company’s marketing manager is scowling at me right now. Heck, the odds are that your company’s marketing manager is scowling at me right now. Why? Content marketing is tough to measure, yet essential to so many businesses. But someone needs to say it: Not every organization should have a blog.

Gasp!

The industry might take away my SEO license for saying that. After all, it is in our job description to be champions of content and all things that lead to more successful digital marketing. Unfortunately, too many people write too many blog posts simply for the sake of blogging, like an offering made without question to the God of Content Marketing. Read More…

Analyzing Changes to Your Site Navigation

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The Problem

You just optimized the main navigation on your site to make it easier for users to find the more “popular” pages. But did the changes do the trick? Did they improve the user experience? Your boss is breathing down your neck to get answers to these questions.

The Solution

The Navigation Summary report in Google Analytics. This is a little-known report, tucked away in the Behavior > Site Content > All Pages report.

The Navigation Summary report is perfect for this type of analysis. It lets you choose a page (e.g. the homepage), and will show you the previous page a user was on before getting to that page, and the next page they went to. For example, we can focus on the homepage, and see where our users went next. Read More…

The SMX East Panels You Shouldn’t Miss

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I am attending SMX East

 

I’ve got my pass for SMX East 2014 and I’m ready to go to one of the biggest Search Marketing conferences in the country. After scouring the agenda, I thought I’d share my top must-see panels with you, as well as give you this Twitter cheat sheet of key moderators to follow:

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Remove (other) from Content Reports, Even on Huge Websites

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It happens all the time. One day you notice a big, ugly surprise at the top of your top Site Content > All Pages reports: “This report includes a high-cardinality dimension, and some data has been grouped into (other).”

high-cardinality warning

The dreaded other

The dreaded (other), also known as the high-cardinality limit.

(other) appears in your content reports when you have more than 50,000 unique pages (75,000 for Premium) that are viewed in any given day. The 50,000th unique page that day will appear as “(other)”, and any other unique pages will be consolidated there.

50000 pagesStop. It may look like you have 50,000 pages in your reports. But ask yourself: do I really have 50,000 (or 75,000) totally unique pages? That is, do I have 50,000 pages with content exclusive and separate from any other page?

(If so, prepare to have your mind blown a bit further down the page.)
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Getting Started with ShufflePoint

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Overview

ShufflePoint is a paid application that uses Excel’s built-in “Web Query” function to pull data from Google Analytics into Excel. It is an extremely powerful tool and allows you to take advantage of Excel’s data manipulation abilities. This gives you the freedom to develop compelling visuals that will help you quickly assess the performance of a website. When I was developing my first ShufflePoint report, I found that thinking about and planning data organization took the most time. My hope is that this article will help you graph your Google Analytics data in Excel with as little trial and error as possible.
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FAQ About Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce

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If you’ve never heard of Enhanced Ecommerce, the documentation and information available might seem a little overwhelming or overly technical and focused on implementation. But don’t let that be an excuse to dismiss this great new feature and miss out on one of the most important updates to Google Analytics this year!

By the end of this post you will be able to answer the big questions about what it is and why you should use it.
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SEO Tips When Switching Servers

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Any time you make a significant change related to your website, whether that’s content or the underlying architecture, you should check to see if your changes have impacted the SEO best practices you’ve already put into place.

A few weeks ago, a client unexpectedly informed me that they migrated their web server to a different platform. As I scrambled to see if there were any SEO issues (there were), I realized how little was written on this topic, so I began asking questions and taking notes.

Disclaimer: I’m no expert on servers and web hosting.* However, I am one of the world’s most prolific practitioners of freaking out about things that could hurt a site’s search engine rankings.

Below are a few big takeaways regarding how server software can impact SEO and how to ensure your server switch is smooth with SEO. Read More…

How to Learn PPC from the Ground Up

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During the start of my professional career, I stubbornly favored SEO and never entertained the idea of picking up some PPC skills in my free time. As time went on, the sands began to shift and I was asked to do some “light” work in paid advertising. I quickly became overwhelmed by the complicated user interface that had enough options to keep you clicking for days.

The flaw in my approach is obvious now, but hindsight is 20/20. I tried to jump into the middle of an intricate setup and understand it by clicking around, which was ineffective and a waste of my time. It was then that I realized I had to learn PPC from the ground up.

I learned the most and the fastest by planning, creating, managing, and tweaking my own AdWords account. These are the three most insightful things I learned from building a paid search account from the ground up: Read More…

How to Fire a Virtual Pageview in Google Tag Manager

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Firing a Google Analytics Virtual Pageview with Google Tag Manager is easy, and far more powerful than ever before.

When our clients or training attendees upgrade from classic Google Analytics to Universal Analytics implemented through Google Tag Manager, we often get questions about how to transition these Virtual Pageviews from inline code to being implemented through GTM.

There are a number of different ways you can implement Virtual Pageviews, and hopefully this will provide one solution to help ease the transition to a GTM implementation of Google Analytics.

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The Death of UTM Campaign Parameters

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UTM campaign parameters. We love them. We hate them.

They make it easy to track both online and offline marketing efforts. But they aren’t very pretty to look at, and they’re difficult to implement reliably, especially for a layperson (i.e. non-technical person).

Often, there’s a situation where we want to track a number of different approaches or people contributing to a campaign. Imagine the pushback you’ll get when you suggest each person modifies their UTM parameters to personally identify themselves or the approach they’re using.

Fortunately, there’s an easier way to track certain types of activities without having to resort to including all those UTM parameters. We can use a simple URL hash and some Google Tag Manager magic to uniquely identify each person.

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