Local SEO Speaking Gigs

I’ll be speaking on Local Search this month at #wmwott

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Local search is an important facet for any small to medium sized business. The online marketing industry is constantly evolving and it brings both opportunities and challenges for owners of all types.

I personally have never given a talk on search engine optimization (SEO) to an audience in Ottawa before, but I'm extremely excited to share the knowledge and experience that I've built up over the two years working in this industry with those who want know learn about it. The title of the event is "The State of Local Search". My goal is to put a story around the search engine marketing landscape on a local level, and to provide some input and maybe ideas on the table for those 'keeners' that may want to do something big in this space.

Web Marketing Wednesday (formally called Web Analytics Wednesday) is run by three Ottawa marketers; Ben Myers, Jackson Lo and Tyler Gibbs. Our group is called the Ottawa Web Marketing Group. The purpose of our group is to given you an opportunity to meet other Ottawaians who are passionate about Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), Web Analytics, Social Media and other topics relating to Internet marketing. Web Marketing Wednesday is a free local event in Ottawa and we plan to keep our meetups a tradition, so one meetup every month, with the exception of December of course… because we know you'll be home with family and enjoying delicious meals with your close ones around the fireplace :)

I hope you can join us next week on November 23rd. If you cannot join us, you can follow the hashtag #wmwott where I'm sure some of our keen attendees will be tweeting away on their smartphones. Be sure the join our group to stay updated on upcoming events! If you have suggestions on topics, or if you wish to present something, please leave a comment below or contact me directly and we'll arrange some spotlight time for you in 2012! 

Hope to meet you all soon!

Update: Here are the slides that were presented at Web Marketing Wednesday this week. 

[slideshare id=10309616&doc=stateoflocalsearch-111124092657-phpapp01]


Google Analytics SEO Web Analytics

My first impressions of the (not provided) data in Google Analytics

Many of my friends working in the SEO space have expressed grief around Google's recent change on how they track organic search visits in Google Analytics. I too, am not very happy with this change, but like many others who have expressed their opinions in the Google analytics blog, it will have me twiddling my thumbs to decide what to report on if the % of organic search ever exceeds 10%…

A bit of background of what happened… the change is reflected on users who are signed into their Google account and makes a secure search under httpS://www.google.com. For example, if you make a search for "super mario custume" in Google, your query data will not be seen in the website owner's analytics software. Instead, the reports show up as (not provided) under the Organic Search report in Google Analytics v5. If you are still working in v4, then it will be in your keyword report under Traffic Sources where source = organic. With that in mind, the # of organic search traffic in Google Analytics will still be tracked (the quantative figure), just not the actual keyword. 

You might begin to see this in your reports:

Google Analytics Organic Search Traffic report shows (not provided) as a keyword
Unfortuantely, my site's monthly traffic is only in the 2,000's so the figures might be quite small to report. It does not appear to be affecting a high percentage, and no where near 10% right now.

SEOmoz put up an emergency whiteboard friday on their site last night shedding a bit of light on this issue and provided a way to track the https change over time. Avinash also shared with his followers a method for tracking this change over time by creating a custom report in Google Analytics. I will report back here / Cardinal Path's blog with some results to show how much this change is affecting site traffic once we gather enough data (probably within a week's time).

A few bulleted points that I pulled out from other discussions around the sphere included:

  • @justincutroni tweeted "As a result of the Google switch to secure search I'm seeing about 1.5% of Organic searches bucketed as (not provided)" – link to tweet
  • mattgratt on the SEOmoz blog – 2.2% is very consistent with what we're seeing.  I've seen as high as 4% on sites serving highly technical audiences, down to .5% and less on sites that serve a less technical audience - link to article

Overall, I think this will affect greatly in our organic search reporting if the direction of the trend points Up. But if this is here to stay, let's take a look at this in a bigger picture and refocus ourselves back to goals, things that are important to your business. One item your business may want to keep an eye on is;

  • % of conversions from (not provided) traffic 

Will this loss of intelligence (not being able to see what keyword logged in visitors used before converting) affect how we do our keyword resesarch / reporting? Only time will tell…

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Google Analytics

Google +1 Event Tracking in Google Analytics

Our good friends at Yoast published a great tutorial on how to create and add the Google +1 button to your website (they are truely a swifty bunch).

I added the button to my website a day after the launch and got the Event Tracking in Google Analytics synced up nicely. I also added one additional piece of code to the script (you’ll soon find out what that is). This is what you would see in Google Analytics if you did an clean install of the button:

Google +1 in Google Analytics: Event Tracking Dashboard

The click data feeds into your Event Tracking section under your Content Report.

The additional piece of code I added gives you insight, in Google Analytics, which page your visitor clicked the Google +1 button. My good colleague, Jordan Louis, figured this one out (thank you Jordan!). The code fires upon a click, and once someone clicks on the button, it turns it on (event action = ‘on’). By going into the event action, you can see the event labels listed there.

In case you are not familiar with event tracking, here is a link to the Event Tracking Fundamentals.

Here is the additional piece of code you can add to your event tracking script:

<script type=“text/javascript”>

function plusone_vote( obj ) {
_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’,'plusone’,obj.state, document.location.href]);


… TA DA!

Google +1 Button Action = 'on'

Now you’ve got all your ‘on’ and ‘off’ events from the Google +1 button with the page URLs in Google Analytics! I went on a bit of a clicking marathon around my pages to get some data in here for you all to see, so don’t mind that, I know my data is corrupted with invaluable clicks on the Google +1 button.

Additional articles

Google +1 by Distilled.net.

We’ll see in the coming weeks/months what type of insight we can pull from this data.

Any thoughts or ideas where the Google +1 tracking data will take us?