Google Analytics Update

If you’re anything like us, at times you can be obsessive about the visitors on your site. As most of our customers know, we love the features that Google Analytics provides, and along with other tools can be a great asset to SEO.

In the last few days, Google have updated their Analytics interface again, including a set of new reports that show exactly what’s happening on your site; live.

New real-time interface for Google Analytics
New real-time interface for Google Analytics

As Google explain, this is a boon for those who use social media to promote new products or blog posts (such as ourselves):

One way that I like to use these reports is to measure the immediate impact of social media. Whenever we put out a new blog post, we also send out a tweet. With Real-Time, I can see the immediate impact to my site traffic.

For example, last week we posted about the latest episode of Web Analytics TV and also tweeted about the post. By campaign tagging the links we shared, we could see how much traffic each channel is driving to the blog as it happened. We could also see when we stopped receiving visits from the tweet, which helps know when to reengage.

There’s a whole host of other tips for the new interface on Google’s Analytics Blog. To sign up to the new site; you can sign up for early access on their website.

Google +1 Effects on SERPS

As previously discussed, what effect does Google +1 have on your site? How does it affect your Search Engine Results Page position?

Google most recently confirmed again to Wired that

“Google will study the clicks on +1 buttons as a signal that influences the ranking and appearance of websites in search results. The purpose of any ranking signal is to improve overall search quality. For +1’s and other social ranking signals, as with any new ranking signal, we’ll be starting carefully and learning how those signals are related to quality.”

More about these signals are in our previous post.

There’s plenty of websites offering to give you extra ‘+1s’, but these farms are almost certainly going to be caught by Google, since it’s easy for them to see not only who has clicked +1, but also who hasn’t – and what each of those users have clicked before.

If 1,000 people all click one link; it may be natural – but if 1,000 people click the same twenty links; its likely to be spotted – so don’t fall for it.

But how could this be gamed? There are plenty of ways – but most of them would involve lots of time and investment of lots of people – or nasty tricks involving redirects (Some people are already aware that links move with a 301 – but +1’s don’t; but it isn’t likely to work go unnoticed). There’s certainly ways to black-hat searches, but it rarely pays off in the long run.

So how can you use it to your advantage?

  • Make the +1 button more useful – feature it as a part of the social and sharing parts of your site, and not something that needed to be added.
  • Ask friends, family and even other businesses – you might find a good arrangement
  • Research – make sure you are targeting the right circles
  • Use Google Plus in its entirely, post and share it with other well-connected people and circles

If you’ve any other tips or advice, please let us know. There’s sure to be more effects on Google search through Plus soon.

The future of Google’s Pagerank?

With the introduction of Google+, it has brought along numerous conjectures that the use of +1’s may be a replacement for their Pagerank algorithm. i.e. clicking the +1 button on many sites, similar to the Facebook ‘like’ button, would increase a websites’ SERPs.

While of course, it’s almost undoubtedly that Google will be using the +1 metric for page positioning; it’s doubtful it could ever become a replacement for the ubiquitous and mystifing Pagerank algorithm.

Although, as many blogs such as WebProNews have pointed out;

“…just as you’ve seen plenty trying to boost their PageRank through black hat tactics, it seems highly likely that these same people will try to exploit the +1 button. Google’s main weapon against this appears to be tying the +1s to your actual identity, by using a strict profile naming policy.

Google wants to know who is doing this +1ing, which should help cut down on abuse.”

There’s certainly been numerous reports of users’ being removed from Google Plus simply for having pseudonyms – so much so, it is even in the national news.

This doesn’t apply to Bing – but what applies to Facebook, Bing and Google is that simply by having the ‘Like’ button on your site, these ‘social’ services are able to easily track people who have not only clicked the ‘Like’ button, but have simply visited your site too.

So much so, German technology news site Heise “changed their social ‘like’ buttons to a two-click format (Original in German). Effectively disabling unintentional automatic tracking of all page visits by third-party social sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Less than 24 hours later over 500 websites have asked about the technology. Facebook is now threatening to blacklist Heise (Original in German).”

This two-click technology isn’t difficult to implement – we’d be happy to help customers (and current non-customers) with writing this if they feel it would be useful.

Many users are finding that they do not like this style of tracking, but it is sure to continue – and be a fight between users, browsers, add-ons and social media companies.

However, despite how Google may use this data, it doesn’t seem likely that – for any search engine – that social media ‘like’ buttons could ever be a complete replacement for their other algorithms, but could certainly be an aid.

As discussed previously, Google already tweak their algorithms regularly, and already obviously between countries – compare a search for Football on vs Football on When this data is used in conjunction with any pages your friends may have enjoyed; (e.g. reviews, cinema listings, etc); it could certainly help to improve ratings – and since it is more difficult to game – that this could be a useful tool to both webmasters and search engines alike.

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