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Google's Tag Assistant Helps to Verify Analytics and Measurement Setup

Google Tag Assistant

Google announced a new Tag Assistant Chrome Extension last month and we had a chance to install and test it out recently. The new extension will help to verify that you have setup your tracking properly on your website and other online properties. 

According to the Google Analytics blog, " A new Chrome Extension created by engineers here at Google hopes to make troubleshooting tag installs much easier. Tag Assistant aims to highlight errors, warnings, and provide useful suggestions for Google's most widely adopted tags including Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Adwords Conversion Tracking, the new Remarketing Tag, Trusted Stores and Floodlight. "

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Small Business Guide to Google Analytics

Google Analytics for Small Business

Here is a fantastic guide to setting to understanding Google Analytics for small businesses.

If you are not using Google Analytics on your website or even worse, do not know what Google Analytics is, then this guide may be a little advanced for you and you should definitely contact us to setup a Google Analytics account for your website. Setting up the account properly is relatively straight forward. Once you start capturing the data (first nuggets will start appearing in 24 hours) the fun really starts.

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Google Page Layout update - Content is Still King

Google has been testing some algorithm updates recently and last week has decided to put them into effect. The Google Page Layout Update, as it is now known, takes into account the content that is "above the fold" on a webpage and will reduce the quality and authority of pages that do not provide quality content above the fold (namely excessive ads at the top of the page).

Google's "Distinguished Engineer", Matt Cutts wrote:

We understand that placing ads above-the-fold is quite common for many websites; these ads often perform well and help publishers monetize online content. This algorithmic change does not affect sites who place ads above-the-fold to a normal degree, but affects sites that go much further to load the top of the page with ads to an excessive degree or that make it hard to find the actual original content on the page. This new algorithmic improvement tends to impact sites where there is only a small amount of visible content above-the-fold or relevant content is persistently pushed down by large blocks of ads.

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Does Google Consider SEO to be Spam?

Well, check out the video below and see for yourself....

I guess the short answer is, as long as you follow Google's guidelines than SEO is not considered spam.

It is going to be up to each individual website and their SEO team to determine the right blend of onsite optimization, content creation and link building that will work for them, without upsetting the mighty "G".

Interesting how, in the video above, Matt Cutts is once again pushing site speed as a ranking factor. "One of many ranking factors" as is always stated. I just find it funny how that particular ranking factor (site speed) always seems to be mentioned....

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Real Time Data Coming to Google Analytics

Google announced the availability of real time data tracking through Google Analytics last week. Google Analytics Real-Time provides a set of reports that show what’s happening on your website as it happens.

Google Analytics Real-Time

According to the Google Analytics blog, the new Real-Time reports can be used for some of the following analysis:

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Google Analytics Benchmarking Newsletter: Windows Still Dominates

Google Analytics (our favorite website stats program) has a cool feature that you can opt-in to for sharing data. Google Analytics (or GA as we like to so frequently use acronyms) anonymously captures stats from your website and runs analysis to get an overall feel (or pulse) for the web. The folks at Google do claim statistical significance with literally hundreds of thousands of websites participating (we probably have several hundred from our small web studio alone).

They presented quite a bit of information in their recent newsletter but I thought the section on the Operating Systems was quite interesting:

Operating Systems

Browsers and Operation Systems (OS) are identified by the "referrer" string sent by users' browsers.

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1 UP - Not Just For Mario Anymore - Google Likes With +1

Google +1  1upGoogle is getting into the social game again. Why should Mario (and Facebook) have all the fun. Hopefully the big G will play it right this time it won't be a sleeper like Google Buzz. 

Google's social strategy seems to be looking much more like Facebook's social strategy. Facebook launched its Open Graph and social plugins (including the Like Button) around this same time last year. They made a big impact in the social and SEO world with the potential for a major game changer. Google seems to be following and trying to duplicate what Facebook has started. 

The video below explains the new concept of Google +1. It's about putting a little +1 button in search results, paid ads and basically all over the web. 

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How much web traffic can you get when Google zaps you?

What happens when your website gets caught up in a new Google algorithm update and all of the sudden your coveted top Search Engine Ranking Positions (SERP's) disappear?

Apparently you complain as loud as you can to any and all media sources. (since complaining to Google apparently falls on deaf ears) And then you build lots of traffic and links from those sources to replace your lost search engine traffic.

I just finished reading my second article today (this time on wired.com) about how Cult of Mac has been inadvertently punished by the recent Google algorithm update

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AdWords not working.... Even for Google.

If Adwords has not worked for you, don't fret, you are not alone. Apparently not even Google can promote enough business through Adwords to salvage certain projects.

Google announced today that they will no longer be supporting real estate listings on their Google maps. Google states the reasons for this are:

In part due to low usage, the proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real estate websites, and the infrastructure challenge posed by the impending retirement of the Google Base API (used by listing providers to submit listings), we’ve decided to discontinue the real estate feature within Google Maps on February 10, 2011.

They are excited about the way their services have been used but feel that the industry overall can be better served with a different feature set.

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Google uses social signals and links in ranking algorithm

It is official, Google has confirmed what was suspected for sometime now; Links from social networks like Facebook and Twitter do act as one of the many signals used in ranking pages within their search engine.

A recent video over at Google Webmaster Central Channel shows Matt Cutts from Google explaining the reason for using these social signals and why it is import to the relevance of a webpage.

A post over at Search Engine Land explains how the new authoritative tools that can rank a twitter profile, for example can be used to create a value of a link from one twitter account vs. a link from another. This means that social links will most likely play a larger role in the future of SEO

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