Zen and the Art of Web Site Analytics

smiling-buddhaSite analytics have always freaked me out a little.

I mean, the sheer amount of data you are presented with about your web site can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. Or even if you DO know what to look for.

That’s why I’m a big fan of Avinash Kaushik, the Analytics Evangelist for Google and author of the Occam’s Razor blog.

I have been avidly reading Avinash’s book Web Analytics: 2.0 for a couple of weeks now and I’m so impressed by Avinash’s writing style and the knack he has of simplifying concepts.

Take for example his definition of a Single Page Visit:

“I came. I puked. I left”

Exactly. If a visitor to your site doesn’t like or find what they’re looking for the first page they look at, it’s  highly likely they’ll simply take off. So you’d better look carefully at those pages with high bounce rates and work out what the heck is turning people away.

Avinash knows that webmasters and marketers often need to present a SWOT analysis or at least a summary of key site analytics to a range of stakeholders. He explains explicitly how to pull the crucial data out of your site analytics and present it in such a way that even the most non-tech of people can make sense of it.

I was reading his feature article in the latest Search Marketing Standard magazine yesterday and something in particular he said really stood out for me:

“Less is more. Focus on the critical few metrics rather than the insignificant many”

Often, we are so obsessed with understanding ALL the data presented by our analytics program that we forget to take a step back and think about WHY we are studying analytics in the first place. Avinash reminds us that we need to use our time wisely and look at just the few critical metrics that impact our business.

These will be different for everyone, depending on the goals of their web sites. For example, for my business, the key metrics are probably bounce rate, keywords, referrers and exit pages. As long as I review these four metrics regularly, I can be confident that I’m measuring the most important data that is influencing my online business. For a lead-generation based site, the critical metrics might be conversions, entry pages, page views and referrers.

So don’t be afraid of your analytics. Think about the main goals you’ve set for your web site, dive in to your analytics and pull out a few metrics that will help you understand why visitors are meeting/missing those goals. Then you can tweak the site based on what you’ve learned.

Q and A: How do I remove lies and false accusations about me on Google?

QuestionDear Kalena…

How do I remove lies, and false accusations about me on Google? Please help!


Dear Rudy

Google provide the following support articles that may help: Remove information from Google: Remove a page or site from Google’s search results and if the information is of a personal nature, you may also find this useful: Personal information in search results.

Google’s job as a search engine is to find, sort and categorize information. They can only index what they find, so my first suggestion would be to try and avoid doing things or annoying people which could inspire them to create false information in the first place. Sometimes this is easier said than done, in which case, you should really go after the source of the information and not Google. Try contacting the website owners who are publishing the false information and ask them to stop (either politely or by threatening legal action).

You could also try and make the lies and false information work in your favor. Respond intelligently and politely explaining how the information could have been misconstrued and then provide the readers with the correct info.

If this isn’t possible, then the next thing you can do is create favorable information about yourself on various third party websites. Setup social media profiles on all the major networks, offer to guest blog, distribute articles and press releases about you and your company etc. Then build links to promote these third party sites. If done well, this can outrank the negative information about you.

Hope this helps!


Peter Newsome
SiteMost SEO Services

Search Engine College Courses Eligible for NZTE Reimbursement

Some very exciting news came through email today.

If you are a privately owned New Zealand business with less than 50 staff and you take one of our Search Engine College courses between now and the end of September 2010, it appears that you *may* qualify for reimbursement of 50 percent of the course fee (up to a maximum of NZD 250 including GST) via the NZTE’s Management Training Assistance Scheme.

I say *may* at this stage, because I am fairly sure our courses qualify but NZTE is unable to offer pre-approval of courses or applicants for this scheme so you will need to make the final decision yourself on whether to apply. I am currently awaiting confirmation from NZTE as to the likelihood of our courses qualifying so will update this post when I have more information.

Important dates:

This scheme covers management training courses or workshops:

* booked and paid for between 1 June 2010 and 30 September 2010 and;
* attended between 1 July 2010 and 30 September 2010 and;
* for which applications for reimbursement are received between 1 July 2010 and 31 October 2010.

General eligibility criteria:

The Management Training Assistance Scheme is open to the owners/operators, and managers of small and medium businesses that meet the following criteria:

* Are privately owned (by an individual or individuals)
* Have few, if any, specialised managerial staff
* Have less than 50 full time employees (30 hours is considered full time)
* Are commercially trading
* Are not part of a larger business enterprise

The following are not eligible:

* Not-for-profit entities
* Charitable trusts

But never fear, charities and NFPs can apply for our free online training initiative instead.

Please note that NZTE will reimburse applicants after their application has been lodged and assessed by them and approval and payment of the claim will be at the sole discretion of NZTE.

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about taking one of our but needed an extra incentive? Well now’s your chance. We offer courses in the following disciplines:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Pay Per Click Advertising (e.g. Google AdWords)
  • Link Building
  • Web Site Copywriting
  • Article Marketing
  • Web Site Usability
  • Copywriting for PPC

So if you’re a qualifying New Zealand business and want to take advantage of the Management Training Assistance Scheme to save yourself NZD250 on our courses, you’ve got less than 3 months to do it. That’s right, the cut off date is 30 September 2010.

So don’t leave it too long. Enroll today, have some fun learning how to better market your web site online and save yourself some cash.

Free Online Training Initiative from Search Engine College

SEC-smiley-150x178Some of you might remember that last year, Search Engine College launched a free search engine marketing training initiative for charities and not-for-profit organizations worldwide.

The initiative provides 25 charities or not-for-profit organizations per year the opportunity to learn search marketing skills at no cost, to help them make the most of their limited marketing budgets.

Well the idea launched with more of a whimper than a bang, so today we’ve distributed an official Press Release to try and drum up more publicity.

If you know of a charity or not-for-profit that might benefit from free online marketing training, please direct them to our release, encourage them to get in touch, and/or spread the word by linking to this post.