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CONNECTED CULTURE Blog by Jerry Allocca

Now, more than ever, we’re all connected. What does it mean to be part of the Connected Culture? Share your thoughts and ideas here!
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Insights from Google’s Penguin Update

Google Penguin After a two-year wait, Google’s Penguin algorithm update has finally been launched. In its simplest terms, Penguin is a filter created to catch sites that are spamming Google’s search results to increase their rankings. First introduced in 2012, Penguin was designed to find sites that violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and penalize them. Even if the sites were improved, they would stay penalized until the next time the Penguin filter ran. This often took months. In 2014, Penguin 3.0 was introduced, cracking down even harder on spammy sites. The penalty went from a couple of months to two years.

With the new Penguin 4.0, these delays are now gone, according to Google. The filter is now real-time. This means that as Google crawls and indexes, pages will be constantly assessed by the Penguin filter. Pages will be caught or freed by Penguin on an ongoing basis.

The algorithm is also more granular. According to Google, “Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.” While Penguin used to be a site-wide penalty, it’s now more specific to affected pages.

What This Means for Your Website
With the rollout of Penguin 4.0, search engine result pages have been more volatile than usual. This highlights the importance of having specific and relevant content on your website. Google values the quantity and diversity of content and will catch pages that have similar content that is repeated specifically to get back links.

What else can you do? If you’re using anchor text for PageRank shortcuts, you’re likely to get penalized. Excessive blog commenting on a similar website or reciprocal link exchange are also red flags in the eyes of Google. While there are tools to evaluate back links, it’s wise to manually audit and remove bad links from directories, PR sites, paid links and link farms to avoid being penalized.

Yes, the update will mean more work to consistently retain a high ranking on SERPs. For those who continuously work to build quality websites, Penguin 4.0 should ultimately be a benefit by swiftly and consistently penalizing low quality sites and ensuring they don’t rank well in search results.

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Google Data Studio: Transform Your Data into Visual Reports

Why You Need Google Data StudioThe growing use of data and analytics has put many digital marketers in the challenging position of having to create reports. Yet, most have little or no background in graphic design. While some are able to create rudimentary charts and tables that get the job done, others invest in expensive report generation software or even hire outside providers to create consumable reports.

Have you been tasked with creating reports even though you have little or no background in graphic design? If so, you’ll appreciate Google’s latest release – Google Data Studio. This new data visualization product integrates data across multiple Google products and other data sources to transform it into amazingly professional-looking, interactive reports and dashboards with built-in real-time collaboration.

You Never Thought You Could Create Reports Like This!
Digital marketing professionals know that Google Analytics is fantastic for generating data that drives business decisions. Yet, it has always been tedious and time-consuming creating reports that actually make sense to executives, shareholders and clients. With Data Studio, the process of pulling information to create agency-quality, consumable reports is intuitive and simplified. The new tool provides the ability to change colors, gradients, fonts and more to make reports professional enough to be placed in presentations, annual reports and brochures.

You can choose from bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts and other formats. It’s easy to add text boxes, images, shapes and even your logo to customize a report. Do you use data from sources, other than Google Analytics? Not a problem! One of the most amazing features of Data Studio is that you can pull information from a wide variety of sources and combine them in one report. Some of the data sources you can integrate into a Google Data Studio report are:

  • Adwords
  • BigQuery
  • MySQL
  • YouTube Analytics
  • Google Sheet

Real Time Updates and Collaboration
With Data Studio, your reports don’t have to be stagnant. Instead, they can be changed in real-time whenever there is an update to a data source. Want to collaborate with others on reports? Not a problem! Data Studio reports are just like other documents on Google Drive. You can grant permission for others to access and update.

Who Said Nothing Is Free?
Yes, Data Studio currently won’t cost you a dime! But, there are some restrictions. You’ll be limited to five reports per account. However, you can create additional pages on each report you create.

Question
Have you tried Google Data Studio yet? Tell us your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Google Releases New Analytics Tools to Increase Marketing Insights

Website StatisticsIf you haven’t heard already, Google recently launched a new marketing suite that was created to help busy marketing professionals improve their digital marketing results. Called Google Analytics 360 Suite, the new offering integrates tools that enable you to better understand your online audiences by giving you greater insight into marketing data.

This suite doesn’t come a moment too soon. According to a survey conducted by Google and Forrester Research, 84% of marketers believe that their data sources lack sufficient integration. Google Analytics 360 Suite is designed to help address this common challenge by linking platforms to allow users to seamlessly transfer data between six programs contained in the suite.

Analytics have become an essential part of achieving digital marketing goals. However, there has been the ongoing challenge of integration. Because of this, Google set out to build a new solution that would enable a 360 view of the customer journey, provide greater insights and offer better sharing of these insights to support cross-functional goals and better decision-making. Alas, we now have Google 360 Suite.

How It Works
Google Analytics 360 Suite consists of six products, four of which are new, that support sharing of data and insights:

  1. Google Audience Center 360 – This data management platform can help you understand your customers and find more of them across channels, devices and campaigns.
  2. Google Data Studio 360 – Provides data analysis and visualization to integrate data across all of the suite products, as well as other data sources. You can create reports and dashboards using this product, too.
  3. Google Optimize 360 – A website testing and personalization product to help deliver better experiences. Using the product, you can show consumers multiple variations of your site, depending on what best works for them.
  4. Google Tag Manager 360 – Empowers you to make better decisions by gathering site information.
  5. Google Analytics 360 (formerly called GA Premium) – This product is still being rolled out, but will serve as the tool to analyze customer data from multiple touchpoints and can be integrated with Google ad products.
  6. Google Attribution 360 (formerly called Adometry) – Enables analysis of performance across channels, devices and systems to help support smart marketing investments and budget allocation.

Currently, Google Analytics 360 Suite is in limited BETA. It is expected to be fully launched in the 3rd quarter.

Questions?

Leave a reply below.

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Discover Your Most Profitable Audience Segments

people-profilesMuch has changed since Google first launched Google Analytics (GA) more than a decade ago. If you’re responsible for your organization’s digital marketing, you’re probably already familiar with some of its basic functions. Yet, there have been updates and it’s always beneficial for a refresher when it comes to these valuable tools.

Get to Know Audience Insights
Audience Insights can help you make more informed decisions when it comes to your digital marketing campaigns. The tool allows you to reach people based on their specific interests as they browse pages, videos, and content across YouTube and the Google Display Network. Once you’re able to identify the audience segments that generate the most conversions (i.e. Leads or Sales), then you can target those specific segments in your online advertising campaigns.

Familiarize Yourself with These Other Reports
There is a tremendous amount of data that can be generated from reports created through GA. Each one can help you better understand your web traffic. These include:

  • Source/medium reports – Provides information on who is visiting your website and their behaviors, including how long they spend on your site and how many pages they view.
  • Audience acquisition reports – Offers you a view of what channels are bringing you traffic so that you can evaluate your qualitative metrics.
  • Content report – Gives an overview of the pages on your site and the performance of each page, including whether or not these pages are leading to conversions.
  • Funnel reports – Also referred to as goal flow reports, these let you look at how your site’s users flow through a process, such as the order in which they view your site’s pages. From this data, you can determine where you may be seeing traffic drop off and areas you can improve.
  • Use GACheckerGAChecker.com crawls your site and creates a spreadsheet of missing Analytics and AdWords tags. This useful tool makes sure all your pages have the right code in place so you can accurately track visitors.

Link Your Google AdWords with GA
Do you have a Google AdWords account? If so, you will want to link this with GA so that the two can feed and inform each other. By doing so, you can gain a much better view into your campaign performance.

Leverage the Tutorials
Google Analytics Academy provides a wealth of information to help you improve the success of your website. There are intro videos on how the platform works, along with tutorials on how to install tracking tags, work with reports and even set goals.

Although Google Analytics certainly provides you with information about how your site has already performed, its real value is in providing predictive and prescriptive insights to guide the decisions you make as your website continues to evolve. By using it to help drive your decisions, you can make intelligent modifications based on measurable data.

Question:

How have you used audience insight reports to help improve your results?

 

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