Have you ever heard the old saying "you can't see the forest for the trees"?
Like most bits of wisdom, this can be applied to many scenarios, one of them being your marketing activities. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the minute details like the usage of a single keyword, but doing so can cause you to miss out on some otherwise great information. Today, we are going to cover three easily implemented setups that can help you better track your efforts.
1. Custom URLs
There are actually a couple of ways you can implement this depending on what you are trying to track. If for example you are doing local SEO work for clients and you would like to show them the traffic being generated from their Google My Business (GMB) listing, you could use the Google URL builder to create a custom URL linking their listing to their site, allowing you to show what percent of "direct" traffic is actually local SEO traffic.
If on the other hand, you are sending direct mail and would like to see if people are visiting the page, something simple like the Google URL shortener can give you a quick way to see how many people are visiting.
If you take some time to learn more about custom parameters, you will see that there are numerous ways they can be used to give you better insights. As with all good things, people try to find ways to ruin custom URLs by taking advantage of how they work.
Here are a few examples.
Did you know: a common method used by hackers is to create numerous pages on a site using a URL like this: macys.com/?this-page-links-to-spam. For those of you who don't know, you can add anything you want after the question mark and it will load the page preceding it. If you do not have your site setup to no-index links with a question mark in them, spammers can hack your site, inject hidden links into such a page, and build links to it so it gets indexed. None of which are good scenarios for you.
A black hat SEO trick used that follows a similar premise, that does not include hacking, is to find sites like this: https://www.polytrauma.va.gov/disclaimer.asp?url=https://stellarseo.com. Notice how after the question mark there is an area to input a URL? You can change this in the URL bar and your link will display on the page. Click the link above and then click "OK" on the page and you can see how it works or switch out the URL to any page you can think of, refresh, and click the "OK" button. This method allows you to build a lot of links to the page, causing it to get indexed and if the link is do-follow, you can use it to pass link juice from lower-quality links to a website. This works best with authority sites.
Anyway, custom URLS can be used for a ton of good and not so good reasons, either way, it pays to know how they work.
2. Custom Analytics Dashboards
Google Analytics is a powerful tool but many people are not using it to effectively to review data. One way to greatly improve the value derived from your analytics account is to use custom dashboards. Crowd Source Google Analytics Insights is a free resource that allows you to import dashboards others have created to your campaign. This ranges from content popularity tracking, to paid advertising, to SEO-focused setups. So long as you know what key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to track, you can most likely find a dashboard that will help you do it.
3. Facebook Retargeting Pixels
A lot of people know about and use AdWords retargeting, but many businesses are still not using FB for retargeting. Even if you do not plan on running paid ads on Facebook, you can still gain some valuable information about who is visiting your site, in an easy to understand format.
With the FB pixel, you only need to install a single code and it can track multiple URLs, including two different sites. Let's say for example you have a landing page setup in Click Funnels that is linked to a blog post on your main site, you could install the same pixel code on both pages and then get a breakdown of visits by URL. If you have multiple sites targeting the same audience, this is an easy way to compile the data of how many visitors are hitting each site and which pages are most popular. Sometimes this will allow you to determine if one particular topic is a "hot button" issue for your niche. If you notice a page on the same topic is the most visited on multiple sites, you may be onto something.
If you do plan to run ads, you could create an audience that is drawn from multiple sites as well. Using the funnel example again, you could create and audience of "plumbers" that combines people who went to the funnel page directly or came to your plumbing blog post. Even better, you can use the "lookalike" audience feature to create a much larger audience based off of the traits of the people who visited either of the plumbing pages.
If you take about 20 minutes to implement just one of these three tips, you could make a big impact on the way you are collecting and reviewing your marketing data. As they say, "knowledge is power" and tracking is the key to gaining the knowledge you need.
Over to You...
Are you using custom dashboards for Analytics? What is your favorite setup?
About the Author
Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a Web design and marketing firm located in Franklin, TN. Travis and his team are equipped to handle any size SEO project and have helped numerous businesses to date build a rock solid online presence. When you are ready for more leads and sales, it is time to get #stellarized. Connect on Facebook or Twitter @theseoproz.
I am fiercely competitive and passionate about SEO, which means working with myself and the Stellar SEO team will put you on the winning side. Nothing about SEO is guaranteed, but we make a habit of helping brands dominate, even in the most competitive of industries. Since 2012, my company, Stellar SEO, has become one of the most highly regarded names in Search Engine Optimization. Taking the unconventional route, my journey to becoming an SEO industry expert began after reading a magazine article with a "Best Business to Start" headline. Starting with no funding or prior business experience, I began researching everything I could about entrepreneurship and SEO. In the process, I personally tested every theory, piece of sales advice, and "proven" method to deliver effective link-building campaigns. I found that there is no one-size-fits-all method or magic guru tricks to link building.