:::: MENU ::::

A Sneak Peek at New Google Analytics

google-analytics-reviewJust when Yahoo launched their own Web Analytics service to compete Head-to-Head with Google Analytics, Google polished up their Analytics service and added 7 brand new features (currently in Public beta) that really takes Web Analaytics to the next level.

Thanks to Googler Avinash Kaushik who was kind enough to give me access to this Public Beta features of Google Analytics. Avinash is currently Analytics Evangelist at Google and he is also the author of the #1 book on Web Analytics, titled “Web Analytics – An Hour a Day“. [You can check out the book in Amazon].

New Features of Google Analaytics

The features of the old Google Analytics was somewhat limited for advanced tracking. Which is why many users (especially big organizations) spends money on other paid web analytics service like Omniture.

Some of the new exciting features of Google Analytics are:

  1. Auto User Interface refresh
  2. Google AdSense can be now be integrated into Google Analytics
  3. Advanced visualizations such as Motion Charts is now available
  4. Make Custom Reports
  5. Advanced Segmentation Options
  6. The Google Analytics API.
  7. Automatic importing of AdWords cost data into Urchin.

The two public beta features that I was given access to are – Advanced Segmentation & Custom Reports. The rest of the features are still in private beta and only available upon invitation.

Advanced Segmentation

This is something that I was looking for in GA for a long time. Consider all that GA provided you previously were plain “facts” or raw data. E.g. – How many people visited your site, how did they come to your site, Which keyword they searched for etc. What can change these data into rather useful “information” is if you can actually combine some of these together and come up with a more meaningful query that may help you to make some sense of it.

For example, What if you want to know – How many people searched for your brand name and came to your site from United Kingdom and has made a Purchase? Or How many Visitor came to your website from a particular Adgroup that you were running in Google Adwords during a specified period of time, say from 12:00 Midnight until 6 am.

So all these advanced query involves operators (AND, OR) and Conditions which can help you to take few raw data and then combine them according to your specific needs. Many experts were already doing it manually using spreadsheet and combining/comparing all the data using formulas and doing a lot of mathematical calculations. But with google’s advanced segmentation feature, I guess any average Joe can now become a Web Analytics Expert!

Some Default Segmentation Presets

google analytics default segmentation

Custom Segmentation

google analytics custom segmentation

So basically now you can mix and match and play with different variables provided and come up with your own custom Segmentation. This will definitely help you to know your visitors & market better and create a better online marketing plan.

Custom Reporting

This is something that I’m yet to explore, but it seems like a easy-to-use interface that lets you build customized reports based on your own needs & requirements. This was a highly demanded feature by the webmasters and I’m glad that Google has finally decided to implement it.

google-analytics-custom-report

If you want to get a more detailed overview of Segmentation & Customized Reports of Google Analytics, I strongly urge you to check Avinash’s post. On his blog, he has provided step by step screen shoots of some of his segmentation ideas like the following:

Idea #1: How to segment out your own Brand Search Keywords.
Idea #2: Find out the % Visits with a high “Degree of Engagement”.
Idea #3: How to Segment Precious Customers.
Idea #4: How to Use Segmentation to do Ad-Hoc Analysis.

My Two Cents

My hat tip to the Google Analytics team for coming up with some of these wonderful features. Especially the advanced segmentation is really going to help me save a lot of time that I spend now combining data from different metrics in Excel and then coming with a custom report for my clients. Hopefully we will be able to see more exciting feature from GA in near future.

Update: Check out this video that shows you to create and use Advanced Segments in Google Analytics to isolate and analyze specific parts of your traffic.


WordPress Comment Reply via Email

Do you often get tired of replying to comments in wordpress blogs once you have subscribed to it? Well I often do, because once I get a comment I need to log back in to my site and then reply to that comment. So if say you are getting an average of 10 comments per post, it may be a hard task for you.

But today Heather at WordPress WebBlog says – Not Anymore, as closed beta testing for comment reply by email is currently undergoing. Check out this video to see how it works, and to hear about another upcoming goody of WordPress:

Comment reply by email makes replying to comments easy. Once you enable e-mail notifications for comments as you normally would under Settings > Discussion. Then, instead of clicking back to your dashboard, with this new feature you can reply to the comment straight from inbox. When you click reply, a special WordPress e-mail address will appear in the “To” box, matching your reply to the proper comment thread. Send it off, and your reply is up on your blog in seconds! Isn’t that amazing?

However you can’t check it out now unless you’re part of the closed beta, so be sure to sign up if you want to check this cool feature!

In order to sign up for this closed beta, you will have to leave a comment in Heather’s post here.

For your information Signups for the closed beta will close at 6 p.m. PST (UTC-8) tomorrow, Friday, October 24.


Google Adwords Search Ads Now Showing Images

Today Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land reported that Google is now showing images in Google’s online advertising platform adwords.

For instance, if you search for bluenile in Google Search, most of the time it returns a search ad for Blue Nile on the top of the SERP.

However This is not a regular search ad that you see every day, Do you notice a small “+” sign just before the Ad that says “Show products from Blue Nile for bluenile.”? If you click on that link, it opens up three product results directly from Blue Nile. Check out the screen shoot below:

Whats most interesting is the amount of space it takes once the user presses the expand button. Barry measured one ad to be 370 pixel tall.

My Two Cents
Well I like Google because they are always trying out new things rather than sticking with a conventional way of advertising. They are the first to come up with “contextual advertising” and now they are just implementing different features to give users a better experience and also to make “more money”.


Gmail Emoticons

Just now I was emailing a friend and I noticed a smiley face in the formatting menu of Gmail.

gmail emoticons

So Finally Gmail has Emoticon Images! If you notice carefully you’ll find two different types of icons (static round ones and square animations), with symbols ranging from laughter to sadness to a cake or a broken heart. But the Emoticons are a bit small in size in my opinion.

But nice work Google! :)


WordPress Upload Problem

After I upgraded to WordPress 2.5+, my old wordpress upload feature replaced by a new fancy Flash based Image Uploader. Even though the new feature looked really cool at first, after the very first use, I wished to go back to my old Upload feature. Anyway Long story short, From day one I was having issues with WordPress 2.5 Image Upload Feature. Whenever I wanted to upload any image of any type/size, I got a “HTTP Error”.

Wordpress Image Upload Problem

Initially I thought its my firewall that is probably not letting the ‘flash uploader’ to make a connection to the internet. But later I figured that the problem was with wordpress itself and apparently many other users were facing it. So anyway I did a quick search on Google and found a fix that works 100%. So if you have the same problem follow the steps below and you will be uploading images again in your WordPress 2.5+ in no time!

Fix WordPress 2.5 Image Upload Problem

Step 1: Using a FTP client, login to your server (where wordpress is installed) and navigate to the root of your WP folders.

Step 2: Now, Download a filed called .htaccess and open it with any text editor. (If you don’t see a .htaaccess file simply create one blank text file and name it .htaccess)

Step 3: Insert the following code at the end of your .htaccess file:

    <IfModule mod_security.c>
    <Files async-upload.php>
    SecFilterEngine Off
    SecFilterScanPOST Off
    </Files>
    </IfModule>

Step 4: Save the file, and upload to replace your current .htaccess. Now go to your WordPress admin panel and the wordpress 2.5 upload feature should be working for you!

Very easy fix, Isn’t it? But frankly, even though the new image upload feature was working for me, I felt that the old uploader was much better. It was more faster, and gave me more freedom in terms of image location, thumbnails and so on. So I did another search and found a very cool plugin that can give you the old wordpress Image Upload feature in the New WordPress 2.5+. And don’t worry after you install this plugin, you will still be able to use the new Image uploader whenever you want. But in case if that doesn’t work for you well, you can always upload images using the traditional way.

Download the Old WordPress Upload Plugin (Works 100% with all the New WordPress versions)


Google AdWords Launches Display Advertising

Google Adwords Display Advertisement Google Adwords has announced today that they have stepped into the growing market of online display advertising.

They have released the AdWords display ad builder, that lets advertisers like you create very professional looking display advertisements in AdWords without needing to hire a graphics designer or start from scratch. If you always wanted to expand your horizon of online advertisement from the conventional text ad campaigns, or if you’ve been looking for an easier way to make display ads, this tool can really help.

So how difficult is it to build a display ad using Google’s New Tool? Just like any other Google product, they’ve done their level best to make it as simple as clicking few buttons. Just a few clicks here and there and you too will be on the path of becoming the creative director of your own online advertising company. Google Adwords team has put together a short video demonstrating how to create your first ad:

We’ve also put together a short video demonstrating how to create your first ad:

And if this doesn’t satisfy you, you can have a ore detailed look by watching a much longer version of the tutorial.

To start creating your display advertisements right away, simply click Display Ad Builder on the Create an ad page within a new or existing campaign in your Google AdWords account. If you want to learn more about creating, optimizing and running display advertisements, check out the new Display Ads 101 tutorial.

My Two Cents

Well its seems like Display Ads are back in Business! Just few days back I have Myspace MyAds was launched which lets advertisers to create display advertisements for Myspace. Google seem to have picked up the trend of Display ads quickly, as many marketing analysts has said that display ads are “back with a vengeance.”

Is contextual Ads dying off slowly? What do you think? Reply in comments!

What others Think about Google Adwords Display Ads:

Everything Old Is New Again: Google AdWords Launches Display Ads: ReadWriteWeb

Google launched Banner Ad Builder: John Nousis.com


Keyword Research – A Complete Walkthrough

Firstly, If you are new to the world of SEO & Search Marketing, I’d strongly advice you to read my Newbie Guide to SEO. It has all the basic elements that you may need to get your blog/website to rank in the search engines.

In that article I briefly touched on “finding a niche” and “…using keywords in Title” and someone emailed me last week to ask – “How to Find the Right Keyword(s) for a Blog?“. Well I basically gave her a brief answer already, but as promised I’m covering the whole “Keyword Research” topic in more detail here in the blog. If the post gets too lengthy please bear with me – I promise that by the end of the article you will become a Master of the Basics of Keyword Research & Optimization.

Before I continue, I advice you all to Subscribe to this blog (Free) by using the Email Subscription or RSS Subscription (..Located on the top right hand corner of this page…). The reason I want you to subscribe is, I’ll be covering some great topics here and I don’t really want you to miss anything!

What is Keyword Research?

In regards to Organic/Natural/Paid Search, Keyword research basically means researching for words that are supposedly going to be used by your customers/readers/visitors to find your website/blog/business/product.

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

Well, If you can know what your customer is looking for, its easy for you to sell them the right product. If a person is looking for a Dish washer but ends up in an online tire store, he is less likely to make a purchase.

So if you are selling tires online you need to know what ‘keywords’ or ‘search terms’ searchers use to search for your product online. For example are they searching for ‘tires’ or ‘wheels’?

– Car Tires <> Automobile Tiers ?
– Snow Tire <> Winter Tire ?
– Bridgestone Tire <> Firestone Tire ?

How would you know? How can you differentiate between all these keywords? How can you tell which one is more “important” or better (in terms of search volume).

Well all these questions can be answered when you will do a proper Keyword Research. Now since my target audience is Bloggers & Small Business owners, I’d like to give an example of how Keyword Research can actually help a blog to become successful. Lets say you have a technology blog and you write about all sorts of technology news, tutorials, how-tos, tips & hacks. You only get about 100 visitors a day and most of them are from your own community of friends. You don’t get any significant amount of traffic from search engines because most of the things that you write about are either “too general or common” (there are thousands, if not millions of pages on the same topic), or you just don’t know what people are interested in the technology arena. You only write about things that ‘you feel’ is important, but not necessarily the whole blogosphere thinks the same.

So after you did some basic keyword research, you noticed that people in your area of expertise/interest are searching for the following – (The amount of searches shown are from Google Alone! The figure will be even bigger if you consider the other engines on the market)

facebook group – 18,000+ searches/mo
Vista Theme for Xp – 33,100+ searches/mo
best free antivirus – 22,200+ searches/mo
backup iphone – 22,000+ searches/mo

And all these search phrases has “minimal” amount of competition in Paid + Organic search. (I’ll write about how to determine competition later in the article).

Now with the above data you created few ‘top-notch’ blog posts (I just made up some example titles)-

Target Keyword: “Facebook Group”

– How to Join a Facebook Group?
– How to Create a Facebook Group?
– How to Make a Facebook Group Popular?

Target Keyword: “Vista Theme for Xp”

– Top 20 Windows Vista Theme For Xp
– Beautiful Windows Vista Theme for Windows XP
– Collection of Windows Vista Theme for XP

Target Keyword: “Best Free Antivirus”

– Best Free Antivirus for Windows Vista
– Best Free Antivirus for Windows Xp
– The world’s Best Free Antivirus Review

Target Keyword: “backup iphone”

– How to Backup My Iphone?
– How to Backup your Iphone using Itunes?
– How to Backup Iphone Data?
– Iphone Backup Tutorial
– Free Iphone Backup Software

After writing the posts, you promoted them among your community and also via the social media and soon after they got indexed by google and some other major search engines, you got some decent ranking for some of those terms. As a result you to get an additional 10-20 thousand visitors / per month from the search engines. So from only an average of 100 visitors per day, you straight away jumped to 600 visitors per day! Now just think what you can accomplish, if you are always doing keyword research when thinking about writing your next blog post.

How to do Keyword Research?

Now that I have convinced you (I hope~) that keyword research is very important, let me go straight to the steps that you need to perform in order to do some basic keyword research.

Continue Reading


Myspace MyAds – Advertising in MySpace

It looks like MySpace has followed the footsteps of facebook by bringing in their own Do-it-yourself advertising platform Myspace MyAds.

Myspace MyAds Interface

Simlar to Facebook Ads, the new MySpace ad platform allows anybody to establish an account and begin targeting ads to a particular demographic. It also allows advertisiers to build image-based ads on the fly and target them according to gender, age (14 to 65+), geographic targeting for the United States, and a series of highly targeted interests:

MySpace Advertising Demo

My Two Cents

Well this isn’t much of a surprise and everyone saw it coming. But I don’t think that Social advertising works well for all types of businesses. It has been tried before by many networks (including Facebook) and majority of them failed to make any strong impact in the traditional online advertisement that we have today. Its always good to get targeted leads but if the leads doesn’t really convert well for you its just a waste of money. I don’t think that MySpace audience will convert well for a plumber, for instance.

Read What Other Bloggers think about MySpace MyAds:

Breaking: MySpace MyAds Enters Public Beta – Marketing Pilgrim

MySpace MyAds: Target ads to “Drinking” & “Partying” – ReadWriteWeb

MySpace Launches myAds Platform – Face Reviews


WordPress No-follow Links

wordpress-logoThere are often times when you want to cite a website (that you don’t really trust) or you are just hesitant to give link love to that ‘slightly shady’ or new site. Adding a No-Follow attribute (rel=”nofollow”) to that particular link is a good way of letting the engines know that you don’t really ‘trust’ the site and thus you don’t want any of your link juice to be passed on to him.

Even though adding nofollow to links is very easy, but sometimes people are just lazy to edit a link manually. So someone just came up with this WordPress “NoFollow Plugin” that adds automatically adds a checkbox to the “Insert Link” dialog box. If you want to “nofollow” the link, just check the box, and you are done!

Installation Instruction of WordPress No Follow Plugin

Step 1: Download WordPress No Follow Plugin
Step 2: Un-zip the archive and upload it in your wordpress “plugins” directory.
Step 3: Activate the plugin from your WP Dashboard
Step 4: Since most browsers cache javascript files, you will probably need to flush your cache for the changes to show up in your wordpress editor.

Plug-in Compatibility: Works well with WordPress 2.5+

So how do you find this plugin? Share your comments & feedback here for the author


Find and Compare Cheap Gas Price

Gas price is going up every year which makes the gas buyers so frustrated that they even drive across the city just to find cheap gas. Yahoo! Search has recently realized this problem and came up with a yahoo shortcut that will help users to find the cheapest gas in their area directly from their search engine!

How To Find the Cheapest Gas Price using Yahoo?

Simply type in the the words “gas prices” or “cheap gas” followed by a ZIP code or city name in Yahoo Search, and you’ll get back a map with prices mapped for your. Danny found that using only the word “gas” with a ZIP or city name also works in Yahoo.

My Two Cents

This is certainly a very cool feature of Yahoo Search that is going to benefit a lot of users. I would like to see Google & Live to come up with something similar :). Do you know about any other cool Yahoo Shortcuts?… Share in the comments!


Embed Youtube Videos with a specific timeline

I’m sure you know to how to embed a youtube video in your blog, right? The steps are simple:

First go to Youtube> Open the video that you want to embed > On your right, look for the embed code (Screen shot provided below) > Copy the Embed code and paste it in your blog! > The video will now appear on your blog.

But when you are embedding a video, by default it will start from the very beginning, but what if you want it to start from say 30 second mark? (Probably the first 30 second is boring or not relevant to what you are writing about). So in order to set a specific start position of the video, look for something called “start=x” (x is the start position in second) in the embed code. Below is an example:

<object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/11Fl9ZVJ7B8&hl=en&fs=1&start=15“></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/11Fl9ZVJ7B8&hl=en&fs=1&start=15” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object>

So this will make the video to skip the first 14 seconds and play from the 15th second. Cool isn’t it? Do you have any more youtube tips to share? Reply in comments!

Learn more about YouTube Embedded Player Parameters


Google News in New Vertical Format

Google News is now testing a new vertical format interface which seems very mobile device friendly format rather than the usual Newspaper style.

Honestly, I still prefer the old Google News and if they keep this new vertical format, I might as well move to the New Yahoo News for a change.

If you notice closely, you will see that the whole right side is filled up with Featured Stories and a Featured Photo which makes the Popular and Interesting Stories listed in a Blogroll type setting very down the right side of the new Google News.

The new layout of Google News is very mobile friendly as it has everything listed in the “top-down” manner. But Its really irritating for people who are browsing from PC as it forces the user to scroll way down the page to view the interesting news of the day.

So what do you think about this new Google News? Share in comments…


Google Adwords Editor 6.5 – Keyword Opportunity Tool

google-adwordsGoogle has recently announced the release of their new version of Google Adwords Editor 6.5.  This brand new version introduces a cool new tool called Keyword Opportunities which will help you generate ideas for search keywords to target.

 

What is Adwords Editor?

AdWords Editor is simply a FREE downloadable software from Google that you can use to manage your AdWords campaigns instead of going to the adwords website to make your changes. Its biggest advantage over the Web based version adwords page is that it’s a lot faster. That’s a must have software for people who needs to manage large campaigns with a ton of keywords and lots of ads, landing pages, etc.

If you’re an existing Adwords editor user, you will be prompted to with an auto-update (all your campaigns, ad groups, settings, etc will be retained). If you are user of Google AdWords but never used AdWords Editor before, you can download the AdWords Editor 6.5 here (17 Mb).

Major Highlight of The Adwords Editor 6.5 – Keyword Opportunities tool

Keyword Opportunities tool basically helps you generate ideas for search keywords that you can target in your PPC campaign.

 

adwords-editor-keyword-opportunities-tool

 

You can use the simply use expansion feature to generate keyword ideas.You’ll get a list of potentially related keywords with a 0-5 score for search volume and advertiser competition. You can also use the multiplier feature to combine 2-3 sets of lists to create new key phrases.

My Two Cents

I personally use Google Adwords Editor and find it pretty useful. However there so called new feature “Keyword Opportunities” isn’t really something new. It works exactly like the Google Keyword Tool (Web based), and in fact the web based tool is more detailed and should be used for extensive research. The only thing new in keyword opportunities tool is probably the multiplier feature; currently they don’t have it in the web based version. But overall i think its a good software to have, so if you haven’t tried it yet – Download Google Adwords Editor 6.5 now! Remember, its a 100% Free software from Google to manage your Adwords Account. Let me know how you find the software in the comments.


Google Maps Providing High Resolution Images

Google has always tried to bring the world closer to people. For instance because of services like Google Maps, Google Street View, people now get help with any address, street directions and even traffic information.

Thats not all! ….People now even use Google Maps to find the best route that is faster to reach and has moderately less traffic.

ReadWriteWeb today blogged about Google Maps being able to providing very high resolution images using their GeoEye-1 satellite. Wired Writes:

The 4,300-pound satellite collected the image at noon EDT on October 7 while moving from the north pole to the south pole in a 423-mile-high orbit at 17,000 miles per hour, or 4.5 miles per second. The spacecraft can take photos at a resolution of up to 41 centimeters — close enough to zoom in on the home plate of a baseball diamond, according to Mark Brender, GeoEye’s vice president of communications and marketing.

And I must say, I am very surprised to see the image quality that Google maps has produced using this new toy. The pictures are very high resolution and extremely crisp.

Here’s a comparison between the new satellite image and the current resolution (Photo Credit: ReadWriteWeb & Wired):

google-map-high-quality-comparison

Google can now begin providing images for Google Maps and Google Earth which will will boast a resolution of 50 cm.

If you are looking for even higher resolution than what is being provided you will need to get a security clearance because the US Federal Government restricts distribution of higher-resolution imagery.


Google to provide RSS Feed for Search Results

So finally its happening – Google has decided that its going to provide RSS feed of it’s search results! When it happens, the RSS feeds will be an additional feature of Google Alerts, which currently only allow notification by email.

Matt McGee at Search Engine Land has pointed out that Google is the only major search provider that is not offering their search results via RSS.

Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb wrote that once this feature is implemented Google web search feeds should include “site:” searches for new mentions of keywords inside particular domains so that they can deliver nice clean direct URLs – which Live.com feed is already doing well.

My Two Cents

I think its an excellent addition to Google Alerts. I personally use it to keep track of my blog – like who is linking to me, where my name gets mentioned etc. But currently I only can receive the alerts via email which sometimes gets really hectic because I have many such ‘alerts’ in place (in both Google + Yahoo) and my inbox often gets jam packed. So if google provides a RSS feed of their results page, it would be very easier to just subscribe to the feed and track it on a daily basis.