Oh crap I’ve done it again. Started a blog post with the best of intentions, got too busy (ok and distracted) to finish it and here I am 3 mins from leaving my house and retreating to 17 days in a tiny kampong in the depths of Malaysia with my mum and her 10 brothers and sisters. So I apologise for the incompleteness but I figure – better post now than possibly never. Consider this a ‘Part One’. Enjoy!
To kick off , my apologies – that blogpost title was not an intentional evil plan to get Sound of Music kittens and schnitzel rhymes into anybody’s heads… although I’ve successfully managed to infect myself. Oh dear. Moving on…
I think it’s safe to say that all who attended the (official name): “Across the Pond” Distilled/SEOmoz Expert
Seminar came away significantly more educated, and generally excited about working in our beloved industry. Too often talks I’ve been to have sounded great, are really interesting and thought-provoking – but are also difficult to align back with the real world.
For me, the key to its success was the amount of genuinely actionable insights that were shared and helpful tips that can be immediately implemented and taken on board.
So… in no particular order and I apologise for the ramshackle nature of it – here’s my short version favourite key micro instantly applicable gems:
Quick and easy Analytics Customisations (that could change your life?)
Thanks to @WillCritchlow and the very first session of the seminar – Advanced Analytics. Here’s 3 analytics customisations he gave that I found massively helpful, and have already set about impelementing for some clients.
NOKey – Avoiding that 3rd party shopping cart referral the easy way
Great simple solution to a really common problem for ecommerce sites. If your site uses Paypal or equivalent to take payments, then setCampNOKey can be used to retrieve the campaign no-override value from the URL. By default, this is not set, meaning that in tracking – the most recent impression will be the campaign that is credited with the conversion.
If you can send the visitor back to a page named, for example – www.abc.com?noo=1 and set the variable to setCampNOKey (“noo”) – this will then disable tracking from the referrer (e.g. Paypal) and credit it back to the original source (e.g. Google).
Supersetvar – Removing ‘last-click’ counts issues
We all know that your average product buyer is keen to shop around before making their mind up to actually purchase. The difference between how a visitor initially finds you, and the final source of that last click can be massive. Google Analytics, like most analytics packages in fact, attributes the source of that traffic using the ‘last click’ approach – which can be hugely misleading.
The solution to this is to use the _setVar funtion in GA. Or, as Will suggests for multi-touch tracking - you can use the Supersetvar hack created by Lunametrics, which will allow you to track multiple traffic sources rather than the single one which is set as default by GA.
The standard _setVar function would require checking for a previous visit cookie, then if there isn’t one – recording the referring url. By using the Supersetvar function, you can set a variable for each different time the same person visits your site, through different sources.
It also removes the need for you to check for visit cookies. Instead this simply appends information to the user-defined values each time (and doesn’t overwrite it like the standard _setVar function would).
You can then see this data in the user-defined field and use segmented reports to compare conversions where the buyer originally came to the site through an organic keyword.
Organise your SEO
Next on my list of favourites comes from @RichardBaxter‘s presentation on ‘Getting SEO Done Against the Odds’. This was all about structure, planning and organisation and it was hugely enlightening.
Below is the diagram Richard used to demonstrate a basic method to put in plan a complete SEO plan for any given project. This is not only beneficial in getting the work done – including planning for seasonal changes, it also demonstrates accountability to any client/boss and helps to set clear objectives and success criteria.
I will without doubt aim to use a model similar to this for all projects going forward – a simple yet very effective visual aid.
Image credit: SEOGadget
Penalties and Filters
Premise being that whilst we all know that good links are great, and serve to help us. Bad links from spammy sites can also harm us. So much so, that in some cases the act alone of removing them could actually boost rankings too.
So the moral of the story is – take them seriously. Investigate your site’s backlinks thoroughly – check ones that all come from the same dodgy looking domain. And bother to make the effort to see if you can get rid of them, it could be as worthwhile as building other good ones.