Connect with us

SEO

Getting Ready For GA4: Saving Your Historical Data

Published

on

As you’re preparing to set up Google Analytics (GA4), you’re probably asking the same thing we were: What’s the best method for migrating our historical data?

There should be a way to do this, right?

In this column, you’ll learn whether we can merge data in GA4 and three DIY ways to save your historical data.

Can You Migrate Your Data To GA4?

The primary concern is whether GA users can transfer or migrate Universal Analytics data into their Google Analytics 4 property.

Unfortunately, you cannot migrate your data to GA4, and it’s not likely to be a feature we’ll see added in the coming months.

Migrating your data to GA4 is not likely to be a feature because the two versions use completely different data models.

I spoke with Charles Farina, Head of Innovation at Adswerve, and he explained that:

“It is the difference in schema and dimension definitions/calculations that make merging the data not possible.”

Schema refers to how the data is organized and the language used to ensure compatibility. Essentially it is the blueprint.

He explains you can see the differences in schema well when comparing the BigQuery integrations for UA and GA4.

“The UA export is sessionized, meaning each row in the export is a session, and every interaction is nested in that row. The GA4 export is very different, where each row is the event (interaction) itself,” shared Farina.

Another key reason is how dimensions and metrics are defined and calculated in GA4 compared to UA.

Google has a great support page that goes over many of these.

For example, let’s look at one of the most common KPIs, “Users.”

Universal Analytics reports on Total Users or all users, while GA4 focuses on Active Users or users that have visited the website at least once in the past 28 days.

Even if we could migrate UA data to GA4, it would be like comparing apples to oranges.

If you’re wondering why this change is happening, you’ll find the answer in our article, Google Analytics 4 FAQs: Stay Calm & Keep Tracking.

How To Export Google Analytics Historical Data

Google does empathize and encourages users to export their historical data.

“We know your data is important to you, and we strongly encourage you to export your historical reports during this time.”

Screenshot from Google Help, April 2022GA4 help

Google hints that more guidance on how to export may be coming in the future.

The good news is while we cannot migrate our data, we can still save it.

Google allows GA360 (paid product) users to export Universal Analytics data to BigQuery. However, the cost of this product makes it inaccessible for smaller organizations.

So, what about standard users? How do the rest of us export historical data?

I will show you three DIY methods and a few tools that can handle more complex requests.

1. Manual Export

The easiest way to export data is to get it directly from your Google Analytics account.

Open the GA standard report you want to keep. For example Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium.

Set any customizations you want, such as a segment for a particular country, a filter for a particular page grouping, or a secondary dimension for landing pages.

Click EXPORT in the top right corner.

Select the file format from the drop-down menu. You can choose PDF, Google Sheets, Excel (xlsv), or CSV.

UA Historical Data_Manual Export exampleUA Historical Data_Manual Export example

Though this is the easiest way to export your historical data, there are limitations.

You can only apply two dimensions and are limited to a maximum of 5,000 rows.

If you are registering thousands of hits per day your data may be sampled.

Check for the green checkmark shield in the top left near the title of the report you’re viewing; this means your data is not sampled.

2. Google Analytics Dev Tools: Query Explorer

Google Analytics dev tools sound off-putting (and technical), but you are likely already familiar with one of the tools.

The Campaign URL Builder is commonly used to create UTM parameters for campaigns.

GA dev tools also have a query explorer.

This is an easy (and free) way to export data for non-technical users (yeah!).

Open Query Explorer and click the orange button, LOGIN.

Sign in to your Google Analytics account that has access to the property you are working on.

UA Query ExplorerScreenshot from UA Query Explorer, April 2022UA Query Explorer

Select the account, property, and view you want to save data for.

The tool will automatically set the GA ID, so you don’t need to worry about that.

UA Historical Data_Query Explorer_Select account exampleScreenshot from UA Query Explorer, April 2022UA Historical Data_Query Explorer_Select account example

Set the remaining query parameters: Date range in the format YYYY-MM-DD, metrics, dimensions, and any filters or segments you would like to apply.

For metrics, select the columns from your Google Analytics report that you are extracting data from.

You can choose every metric in the report you want to replicate or just a few metrics that help achieve your goals like “Users,” “bounceRate,” “avgSessionsDuration” and “goalCompletionsAll.”

UA Historical Data_Query Explorer_Query paramters exampleScreenshot from UA Query Explorer, April 2022UA Historical Data_Query Explorer_Query paramters example

Dimensions will be the rows from the Google Analytics report from which we are exporting data.

For example, if we want to see metrics (users, bounce rate, duration, and goal completions) by traffic source select “ga:sourceMedium” as the dimension.

Note: If you plan to visualize this information in Data Studio, you will need to set the dimensions “ga:Medium” and “ga:Source” separately.

“ga:SourceMedium” does not work in Data Studio. More on visualizing to come.

UA Historical Data_Query Explorer_Dimensions exampleUA Historical Data_Query Explorer_Dimensions example
Screenshot from UA Query Explorer, April 2022

The rest of the query parameters are optional. I recommend leaving these blank in this use case to pull the max amount of data.

You can always sort, filter, and segment within your spreadsheet.

Scroll to the bottom and click the orange button RUN QUERY.

From here, download the data as .tsv (tab separated values) and open it in Excel or Google Sheets.

GA Query Explorer_Data download exampleScreenshot from UA Query Explorer, April 2022GA Query Explorer_Data download example

Note: Notice the UA – GA4 toggle in the left-hand menu navigation. By clicking this toggle, you can access Query explorer for GA4 accounts.

3. Google Analytics Sheets Add-On

This option is a tad more complex but connects Google Analytics directly to Sheets, so you don’t have the extra steps of downloading and uploading.

Create a folder in your Google Drive that will hold your historical data. Create a new Google Sheet and name something that will make sense for future team members, like “UA Historical Data_Traffic Acquisition_2021.”

Along the top menu navigation, click Extensions > Add-Ons > Get Add-Ons.

screenshot_Google Sheets Extensions Get Add-OnsScreenshot from Google Sheets, April 2022screenshot_Google Sheets Extensions Get Add-Ons

Search for the Google Analytics app in the Google Workspace Marketplace. Click to install and follow the onscreen prompts.

screenshot_Google Analytics Sheets ExtensionScreenshot from Google Workspace Marketplace, April 2022screenshot_Google Analytics Sheets Extension

Back to your Google Sheet. Click Extensions again. This time you should see the app for Google Analytics.

Hover and click Create new report.

Now it’s time to export your historical data.

screenshot_Google Analytics Sheets Add-on_create new reportScreenshot from Google Sheets, April 2022screenshot_Google Analytics Sheets Add-on_create new report

Step 1. Name your report something that makes sense for your fellow team members. For example, we will pull data by financial quarter, so report no. 1 will be named “Q1 2021.”

Step 2. Select the Analytics view you want to extract data from by choosing our Account, Property, and View.

Step 3. Configure report. Here we will choose our metrics, dimensions, and segments.

I am going to keep it simple for this example and choose “Users,” “Bounce Rate,” and “Goal Conversions” for my metrics and “source” and “medium” for my dimensions.

Note: ga:sourceMedium is not compatible with Data Studio. If you plan on visualizing this sheet, it is best to pull the traffic source dimensions separately like ga: Medium, ga:Source.

Leave Segments empty to see all users.

screenshot_GA Sheets Add-On configuration for historical dataScreenshot from Google Sheets, April 2022screenshot_GA Sheets Add-On configuration for historical data

Clicking the blue button Create Report will lead you to configuration options.

There are more options to customize our report that are not available on the previous screen.

We can adjust the date range using the format YYYY-MM-DD.

We can apply filters like country, ga:country==United States.

Double-check that everything looks correct, then click Extensions > Google Analytics > Run reports to export your historical data.

GA Sheets Extension Run Report exampleScreenshot from Google Sheets, April 2022GA Sheets Extension Run Report example

Note: Speed up this process by copying and pasting the configuration over to the next column, updating the date range, and running multiple reports simultaneously.

A report status popup will let you know if you’ve made any mistakes or once the report is completed successfully.

Row Number 6 will show us if the data is sampled or not. Row number 7 will tell us how much if the sheet contains sampled data.

GA Sheets Extension_Sampled data screenshotScreenshot from Google Sheets, April 2022GA Sheets Extension_Sampled data screenshot

In Universal Analytics, data sampling happens after 500,000 sessions in the timeframe.

So, you can adjust your report data range to reduce the number of sessions in your timeframe.

Or, if you need the full dataset and want to skip the back and forth, use a third-party tool to avoid data sampling.

Third-Party Tools

Optimizesmart.com has a 46-step walkthrough of using Supermetrics for sending GA data to BigQuery.

On March 12, 2022, JR Oaks announced that they are working on releasing an open-source GA to BigQuery backup script/workflow to the public.

There are pre-built data pipelines by companies like Hevo and Electrik AI that export historical data from Google Analytics to a database file or data warehouse of your choice.

You may also consider switching to a paid Analytics provider.

A few have already launched a Google Analytics historical data import option.

Visualizing Historical Data With Data Studio

Now that you have pulled your historical data, you want to make something easy to compare to GA4.

Note: I have to forewarn you that attempting to compare UA and GA4 will be really rough because the data models are completely different.

Farina adds,

“Google intends for you to run GA4 side-by-side with UA and, instead of merging the data, just cut over to GA4 as soon as it has 13 months of historical data.”

Be assured that a lot of your hard-earned knowledge and skills carry over to GA4! Read, Getting started with GA4 to learn where to find site traffic, user engagement, events, and conversion reports.

Ok, back to visualizing historical data.

Follow these steps to create a Data Studio report that will stack a historical data table on top of a GA4 data table, so your YoY results are at least in one place.

Open Data Studio and click to start a Blank Report.

Data Studio create a blank report_screenshotScreenshot from Google Data Studio, April 2022Data Studio create a blank report_screenshot

There will be an overlay screen to select the data source you want to connect. Select Google Sheets.

Google Sheets connector for Data Studio screenshotScreenshot from Google Data Studio, April 2022Google Sheets connector for Data Studio screenshot

Locate the spreadsheet you made above when exporting your data. If you followed the steps exactly, it will be named “UA Historical Data _Traffic Acquisition_2021.”

Select the worksheet “Q1 2021.”

Using the first row as headers will automatically name your metrics and dimensions, so keep boxes both checked.

Select the optional range that matches your sheet.

For example, my headers start at A15, and the last number in my sheet is E62, so my range will be “A15:E62.”

Connecting Sheets with Data Studio exampleScreenshot from Google Data Studio, April 2022Connecting Sheets with Data Studio example

Data Studio will automatically create a table. Double-check that the configuration is the same as your sheet in the right-hand menu.

Medium is the primary dimension. Flip the toggle to add a secondary dimension of Source.

Metrics are Users, Bounce Rate, and Goal Completions.

Your historical data table will look similar to the screenshot below.

Google to offer more guidance on data export_quote screenshotScreenshot from Google Data Studio, April 2022Google to offer more guidance on data export_quote screenshot

Next, we will create the same table but for our GA4 data in the same time frame: Q1 2022.

Right-click to copy and paste your table, then change the data source from UA Historical Data to your Google Analytics 4 account.

Because the metrics have different names, you will see an error – invalid metric.

Click on each metric and update it to something similar like “Total Users,” “Engagement Rate,” and “Conversions.”

Dimensions will update to “session/source” and “session/medium.”

Last, in the same menu, scroll down and set the date range so it matches your historical data: January 01 – January 31, 2022.

The final report will look similar to the screenshot below.

screenshot of historical data to GA4 comparison in Data Studioscreenshot of historical data to GA4 comparison in Data Studio
Screenshot from Google Data Studio, April 2022

You can easily see primary metrics year over year by comparing historical data with GA4.

Although, it’s fairly bare-bones.

You can not blend this data because the definitions and calculations of the dimensions and metrics are fundamentally different.

For more robust historical reporting options, such as graphic users or goal completions over a period of time, you may want to consider BigQuery.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, migrating your data to GA4 is not currently possible (and not likely to come) because the two versions are fundamentally different data models.

There are a few DIY solutions for saving your historical data, but the outputs are fairly bare-bones.

If you need more robust information and reporting capabilities of historical data, look into a data warehouse like BigQuery.

Google hints that additional information on exporting historical data will come before the July 2023 end date.

Maybe that will be a data connector for BigQuery for Google Analytics standard users – one can hope.

More resources:


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita

!function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s)
{if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function(){n.callMethod?
n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)};
if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version=’2.0′;
n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0;
t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];
s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window,document,’script’,
‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js’);

if( typeof sopp !== “undefined” && sopp === ‘yes’ ){
fbq(‘dataProcessingOptions’, [‘LDU’], 1, 1000);
}else{
fbq(‘dataProcessingOptions’, []);
}

fbq(‘init’, ‘1321385257908563’);

fbq(‘track’, ‘PageView’);

fbq(‘trackSingle’, ‘1321385257908563’, ‘ViewContent’, {
content_name: ‘ga4-historical-data’,
content_category: ‘marketing-analytics digital-marketing-tools ‘
});

Source link

SEO

The Challenges & Opportunities For Marketers

Published

on

The Challenges & Opportunities For Marketers

Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., reported its fourth straight quarter of declining profits.

It made $76 billion in sales over the past three months, but it wasn’t enough to meet Wall Street’s expectations.

Google’s revenue was down 9% compared to last year, and its biggest business, Google Search, saw a 1% drop in revenue. Even YouTube’s advertising sales fell by nearly 8%.

Alphabet has decided to cut its workforce by 12,000 and expects to spend between $1.9 billion and $2.3 billion on employee severance costs.

This latest earnings report shows tech giants like Google are facing challenges in the current digital advertising landscape.

But Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, believes that the company’s long-term investments in AI will be a key factor in its future success.

In a press release, Pichai says he expects major AI advancements to be soon revealed in Google search and other areas:

“Our long-term investments in deep computer science make us extremely well-positioned as AI reaches an inflection point, and I’m excited by the AI-driven leaps we’re about to unveil in Search and beyond. There’s also great momentum in Cloud, YouTube subscriptions, and our Pixel devices. We’re on an important journey to re-engineer our cost structure in a durable way and to build financially sustainable, vibrant, growing businesses across Alphabet.”

Alphabet’s CFO, Ruth Porat, reported that their Q4 consolidated revenues were $76 billion, a 1% increase from the previous year. The full year 2022 saw revenues of $283 billion, a 10% increase.

Going forward, Alphabet is changing how it reports on its AI activities.

DeepMind, which used to be reported under “Other Bets,” will now be reported as part of Alphabet’s corporate costs to reflect its increasing integration with Google Services and Google Cloud.

What Does This Mean For Marketing Professionals?

It’s important to stay updated on the latest developments in the tech industry and how they may affect advertising strategies.

Google’s declining profits and decreased revenue in their search and YouTube platforms are reminders that the digital advertising landscape is constantly evolving, and companies must adapt to keep up.

Marketers should consider diversifying their advertising efforts across multiple platforms to minimize the impact of market swings.

Additionally, Google’s focus on AI and its integration with Google Services and Cloud is something to keep an eye on.

As AI advances, it may offer new opportunities for marketers to target and engage with their audience effectively.

By staying informed on the latest tech advancements, marketers can stay ahead of the curve and make the most of these opportunities.

Despite Google’s recent financial setbacks, the tech giant is still a major player in the digital advertising landscape, and its investments in AI show its commitment to continued growth and innovation.


Featured Image: Sergio Photone/Shutterstock

Source: Alphabet



Source link

Continue Reading

SEO

How to Use WordPress in 9 Simple Steps (Beginner’s Guide)

Published

on

How to Use WordPress in 9 Simple Steps (Beginner’s Guide)

WordPress is the world’s largest content management system (CMS)—around 810 million websites are built on it.

It’s free to use and includes all the features any website owner could need. And if it doesn’t have a feature you want or need, you can have a developer create it for you because it’s built on open-source software.

But with all of these features come some complications. WordPress has a fairly steep learning curve compared to other CMSes like Wix or Squarespace.

I’ve built dozens of websites using WordPress.org (not WordPress.com, which is a totally different beast) and have narrowed down the process to nine simple steps that anyone can follow.

Let’s start with…

Step 1. Get a domain name and hosting

Every website built on WordPress.org needs a domain name (www.thisisyourdomainname.com) and a hosting service that stores and displays your website on the internet.

You can buy a domain name for a small fee from a domain name registrar like NameCheap or GoDaddy. However, if you buy your domain name and your hosting from separate companies, you will need to change your website’s Domain Nameservers (DNS) to point your domain name from your registrar to your hosting company.

They look like this:

SiteGround DNS settings example

It’s a little cheaper to do it this way but not worth the hassle in my opinion. Instead, most hosting providers (such as SiteGround or Bluehost) can also sell you a domain name and connect it with your website automatically, allowing you to skip messing with DNS settings.

You can check out this guide to choosing a domain name if you’re not sure what to pick.

Step 2. Install WordPress

Once you purchase hosting, most hosting providers have a one-click install to set up WordPress on your website. Here are some links to guides on how to do this with common hosting services:

You can also opt for a faster (but more expensive) dedicated hosting provider like Kinsta or WP Engine. These companies will set up WordPress for you when you buy their hosting.

Step 3. Familiarize yourself with the UI

Now that you have a website with WordPress installed, let’s get into how to use WordPress. You can log in to your WordPress dashboard by going to www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin.

Once you log in, your dashboard will look like this (with fewer plugins since you’re on a fresh install):

WordPress user interface

Let me explain the options here:

  • Posts: This is where you’ll create blog posts.
  • Media: You can go here to see all the media on your site, such as images and videos. I typically upload media directly to my posts and pages and don’t visit media often.
  • Pages: This is where you’ll create static pages on your site, such as your homepage, about page, and contact page.
  • Comments: Here is where you’ll moderate any blog comments.
  • Appearance: This is where you’ll customize the appearance of your website, such as your website’s theme, font type, colors, and more.
  • Plugins: A plugin is an add-on to your website that adds functionality, such as custom contact forms or pop-ups on your website. I’ll discuss these in more detail later.
  • Users: Here is where you can add users to your website, such as writers, editors, and administrators.
  • Settings: Pretty straightforward; here is where your general website settings are located.

Now that you know what each option does, let’s get your website settings dialed in.

Step 4. Optimize your settings

Your WordPress website comes with some generic settings that need to be changed, as well as some things I recommend changing to optimize your website for search engines.

Specifically, you should:

  • Change your title, tagline, time zone, and favicon.
  • Change your permalink structure.
  • Configure your reading settings.
  • Delete any unused themes.
  • Change your domain from HTTP to HTTPS.

Let’s walk through each of these steps.

Change your title, tagline, time zone, and favicon

Head to Settings > General to find these settings. Change the title of your website and the tagline, which can appear underneath the title if you choose to display it.

Next, check that the time zone is correct (according to your local time zone) and upload your favicon. A favicon is the little icon that shows up in browser tabs next to the title of the page, like this:

Examples of favicons

You can make a favicon for free with Canva. Just make a 50×50 design with whatever you want your favicon to look like. Check out this guide to learn more. 

Change your permalink structure

Head to Settings > Permalinks. A permalink is the URL structure your blog posts take when you publish them. By default, WordPress displays the date in your URLs, which isn’t great for SEO or readability.

WordPress permalink structure settings

I always change this to the “Post name” option (/sample-post/) to add the title of the post by default. You want to optimize all of your URLs individually when possible, but this setting will make the process easier.

Configure your reading settings

Head over to Settings > Reading to choose whether you want your homepage to be a static page or if you want it to be a feed of your latest blog posts. 

WordPress homepage display settings

Personally, I always create a unique static page to use as my homepage because it gives me more control over the homepage. I like to add internal links to specific pages to help them rank higher on Google, as well as add an email opt-in form on the homepage.

Check out this guide to homepage SEO to learn more.

Delete any unused themes 

By default, you have a few themes installed. Once you choose a theme in step #5 below, you should delete any unused themes to remove vulnerabilities from your site (hackers can attack WordPress websites with outdated themes).

To do that, go to Appearance > Themes, click on the unused theme, then click the red Delete button in the bottom right.

How to delete unused themes on WordPress

Change your domain from HTTP to HTTPS

The “S” in HTTPS stands for secure. Adding this is done with an SSL certificate, and it’s an important step. It means your website is encrypted and safer for viewers.

Having HTTPS instead of HTTP gives you the “lock” icon next to your URL—Google (and most internet users) wants to see a secure website.

HTTPS secure "lock" icon

Most hosting providers automatically activate the secure version of your website. But sometimes, it needs to be manually activated by you. Here are guides on how to do this with common hosting providers:

If your host isn’t shown here, just do a Google search for “[your host] SSL encryption.”

Step 5. Select and customize your theme

Once you’ve optimized your settings, it’s time to start actually building your website using a WordPress theme. A theme is a customizable template that determines what your website looks like. 

You can browse for themes by going to Appearance > Themes, then clicking the Add new button at the top of the page. 

WordPress theme page

The generic Twenty Twenty-Three theme is actually pretty good. Most WordPress themes these days are optimized to show up in search engines and for requirements of the modern user, such as being mobile-friendly. 

However, some themes have a lot of added bloat that can slow a website down, so choose a theme that only has the features you need without extras you won’t use.

Alternatively, if you don’t like any themes or want something that’s more drag-and-drop, you can use a website builder like Elementor or Thrive Architect. These tools make building a website extremely easy, but they do add bloat that can slow a website down.

I use Elementor to build my websites but only use it to build static pages that I want to convert well. Then I use the built-in Guttenberg editor for my blog posts.

If you decide to go with a regular theme rather than a theme builder, you can edit the theme by going to Appearance > Customize. You’ll be taken to the following editor:

WordPress theme customization options

Depending on the theme you installed, you may have more or fewer options than the screenshot above. Rather than trying to cover every option you may encounter, I’ll just recommend that you go through each option to see what it does. 

For the most part, the options are self-explanatory. If you hit a snag, you can always do a Google search for that option in your theme to see forum posts from other users or even the theme’s FAQ or manual.

Step 6. Build your basic pages

After you’ve selected a theme, you can start building your website’s pages. Every website typically needs at least the following pages:

  • A homepage
  • A contact page
  • An about page
  • A privacy policy page
  • A terms of service page

Rather than going through how you should create each of these pages, I’ll refer you to the following guides:

Keep in mind that your privacy policy and terms of service (ToS) pages will vary depending on the country you live in. If you’re in the U.S., you can follow this guide for privacy policies and this guide for ToS pages.

That said, there are some general tips you should follow when building any page on your website. In general, make sure that your font is easy to read and a good visible size (18–20px is typical), your colors match, and you avoid too much clutter.

Here’s a good example of a webpage that is clean, legible, and thought out:

Ahrefs about page example

Here’s an example of a webpage that has too much clutter and displays an ad over half the page, causing confusion:

CNN poor website design

In general, less is more and legibility is better than fancy fonts.

Step 7. Install these essential plugins

One of the best parts of using WordPress is access to its massive library of plugins

A plugin is a custom piece of code written by a developer that anyone can install on their WordPress website in order to add specific functionality to the site, such as a contact form, extra customization options, or SEO features.

You can install a new plugin one of two ways. Head over to Plugins > Add New. From here, you can either:

  1. Browse the plugins directly on this page, then install and activate them directly.
  2. Download a plugin .zip file from the plugin’s website, then click the Upload plugin button at the top of the screen and upload the .zip file.
How to upload a plugin to your WordPress website

While many plugins are free, some are paid or have a premium paid version. It depends on what you need. However, I always install the following free plugins on my websites:

Rank Math: This plugin makes basic on-page SEO easier. It tells you if you’re missing basic things like metadata, image alt text, and more. It also allows you to create a robots.txt file and a sitemap, which are important for search engines to crawl your website the way you want.

Wordfence: This is a security plugin to help prevent your website from being hacked. I always install some sort of security plugin on my sites.

Insert Headers and Footers: One of the things you’ll often find yourself needing to do is insert code into the header or footer of your pages. You need to do this for everything from setting up Google Analytics and Google Search Console to adding the Facebook Remarketing pixel and more. Having this plugin makes it much easier to add this code.

Keep in mind that installing a lot of plugins on your website can cause code bloat and slow down your loading speeds, so only install plugins that you really need. 

Step 8. Start creating content

Now you know all the basics of how to use WordPress. But another important thing I want to talk about, which is probably why you wanted to start a WordPress website in the first place—how to create content for your blog.

Writing blog posts is an essential part of showing up on search engines like Google, having something to share on social media, and attracting more visitors to your website.

What you write about depends on your goals. I always start with some basic keyword research to figure out what people are searching for on Google that relates to my website.

A quick and easy way to do this is by plugging a broad keyword into Ahrefs’ free keyword generator tool to get some keyword ideas. 

For example, if I’m starting a website about farming, I may type “farm” into the tool. I can see keyword ideas like “farming insurance” and “vertical farming,” which are two potential blog topics I can write about.

Keyword ideas for farming, via Ahrefs' free keyword generator tool

If I want to get a little more specific, I can try a keyword like “how to start a farm.” This gives me ideas like “how to start a farm with no money” and “how to start a farm in texas.”

Keyword ideas for "how to start a farm," via Ahrefs' free keyword generator tool

Try different seed keywords—both broad keywords and more specific ones—to come up with some blog topics. Once you have a few ideas, go ahead and outline the article and then write it and publish it.

Check out our guide to writing a blog post to learn more.

Step 9. Monitor your website for technical issues

A regular part of maintaining your WordPress website is keeping plugins and themes up to date, as well as monitoring your website’s technical health.

WordPress automatically notifies you of updates to your plugins or themes with a red circle next to Dashboard > Updates. Log in to your dashboard at least once a week to update everything.

WordPress updates dashboard

Beyond weekly updates, use the free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools to run a technical audit on your site and see any issues your site may have, such as broken links, missing metadata, or slow loading speeds. 

Ahrefs website audit overview, via AWT

If you click the All issues tab, you can see every issue your site has—with an overview of what the issue is and how to fix it if you click on the ? icon.

All issues report, via AWT

You’ll also get email alerts when anything on your site changes, such as a link breaking or a page returning a 404 code. It’s a helpful tool to automatically monitor your WordPress site.

Final thoughts

Congratulations, you now know the basics of using WordPress. It may have a large learning curve, but learning how to use this CMS is one of the most valuable skills you can have in today’s digital age.

You can use your WordPress website to make money blogging, promote your services as a freelancer, or even sell products online. Knowing how to build a website is almost mandatory these days for anyone who wants to start a business.

Source link

Continue Reading

SEO

Top 5 Essential SEO Reporting Tools For Agencies

Published

on

Top 5 Essential SEO Reporting Tools For Agencies

Your clients trust you to create real results and hit KPIs that drive their businesses forward.

Understanding the intricacies of how that works can be difficult, so it’s essential to demonstrate your progress and efforts.

SEO reporting software showcases important metrics in a digestible and visually represented way. They save guesswork and manual referencing, highlighting achievements over a specified time.

A great tool can also help you formulate action items, gauge the performance of campaigns, and see real results that can help you create new and innovative evaluations.

The latest and allegedly greatest tools hit the market all the time, promising to transform how you conduct reports.

Certainly, you have to weigh a few factors when deciding which software to implement. Price, features, and ease of use are the most important to consider.

A cost-effective tool with a steep learning curve might not be worth it for the features. Similarly, an expensive tool might be more appealing if it is user-friendly but could quickly run up costs.

Just like any transformational business decision, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons carefully to determine the right one for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Cost, accessibility, and features are the common thread of comparison for SEO reporting tools.
  • To truly get the best use out of an SEO reporting tool for your agency, you’ll need to weigh several details, including scalability, customization, integrations, and access to support.
  • What might be considered a subpar tool could be a game-changer for an agency. Due diligence and research are the keys to knowing what will work for your team.

What To Look For In SEO Reporting Tools

It can be tough to make heads or tails of the available tools and choose which will benefit your agency the most.

Here are the 10 essential requirements of SEO reporting tools.

1. Accurate And Current Regional Data

SEO reporting is all about data. The software must have access to accurate and current data localized to your client’s targeted region.

Search data from the U.S. is meaningless if your client tries to rank for [London plumbing services], so localization matters.

The tool must update data regularly and with reliable accuracy so you can make informed decisions about where your client stands against the competition.

2. Integration With Third-Party Tools

Especially for full-scale digital marketing campaigns, the ability to report on all KPIs in one place is essential.

The more available integrations with third-party tools (e.g., Google Analytics, Google Business Profile, Majestic), the better.

Some tools even allow you to upload custom data sets.

3. Scalability

You don’t want to have to retrain or reinvest in new software every time your agency reaches a new tier.

The right SEO reporting tool should work well for your current business size and leave room for expansion as you onboard more clients.

4. Strong Suite Of Features

A great SEO reporting tool should include:

  • Position tracking.
  • Backlink monitoring.
  • Competitor data.
  • Analytics.

It is a bonus if the tool has reporting features for social media, email marketing, call tracking, and/or paid ads to make it a full-suite digital marketing software.

5. Continually Improving And Updating Features

SEO is constantly evolving, and so should SEO reporting tools.

As we continue the transition from website optimization to web presence optimization, a tool’s ability to integrate new features is essential.

6. Ability To Customize Reports

Each client will have different KPIs, objectives, and priorities.

Presenting the information that clients want to see is paramount to successful campaigns and retention.

Your reporting software of choice should be able to emphasize the correct data at the right times.

7. Client Integration

A good SEO reporting tool must have the client in mind.

It should have a simple bird’s eye overview of the basics but also be easy for clients to dig into the data at a deeper level.

This can mean automated summary reports or 24/7 client access to the dashboard.

8. Ability To White Label Reports

While white labeling is not essential (no client will sniff at receiving a report with a Google logo in the top corner), it helps keep branding consistent and gives a professional sheen to everything you send a client’s way.

9. Access To Support Resources

Quality support resources can help you find a detour when you encounter a roadblock.

Whether it’s detailed support documentation, a chat feature/support desk, or responsive customer support on social media, finding the help you need to solve the issue is important.

10. Cost-To-Value Ratio

With a proper process, time investment, and leveraging support resources, it is possible to get better results from a free reporting tool than one that breaks the bank.

This can mean automated summary reports or 24/7 client access to the dashboard.

Top 5 SEO Reporting Tools

In evaluating five of the most popular SEO reporting tools, based on the above criteria, here is how they stack up:

1. AgencyAnalytics

My Overall Rating: 4.7/5

Image credit: AgencyAnalytics, December 2022

AgencyAnalytics is a quality introductory/intermediate reporting tool for agencies.

Among the tools on this list, it is one of the easiest to use for small to mid-sized agencies.

It starts at $12 per month, per client, with unlimited staff and client logins, a white-label dashboard, and automated branded reports. The minimum purchase requirements mean the first two tiers work out to $60 per month and $180 per month, respectively. But your ability to change the payment based on the number of clients could help keep costs lean.

AgencyAnalytics comes with 70+ supported third-party data integrations.

However, this reliance on third-party data means you may have incomplete reports when there is an interruption in the transmission.

Though new integrations are always being added, they can be glitchy at first, making them unreliable to share with clients until stabilized.

With the ability for clients to log in and view daily data updates, it provides real-time transparency.

Automated reports can be customized, and the drag-and-drop customized dashboard makes it easy to emphasize priority KPIs.

2. SE Ranking

My Overall Rating: 4.5/5

SE Ranking has plans starting at $39.20 per month, although the $87.20 per month plan is necessary if you need historical data or more than 10 projects.

Setup is a breeze, as the on-screen tutorial guides you through the process.

SE Ranking features a strong collection of SEO-related tools, including current and historical position tracking, competitor SEO research, keyword suggestion, a backlink explorer, and more.

SE Ranking is hooked up with Zapier, which allows users to integrate thousands of apps and provide a high level of automation between apps like Klipfolio, Salesforce, HubSpot, and Google Apps.

SE Ranking is an effective SEO reporting tool at a beginner to intermediate level.

However, you may want to look in a different direction if your agency requires more technical implementations or advanced customization.

3. Semrush

My Overall Rating: 4.4/5

Semrush is one of the most SEO-focused reporting tools on the list, which is reflected in its features.

Starting at $229.95 per month for the agency package, it’s one of the more expensive tools on the list. But Semrush provides a full suite of tools that can be learned at an intermediate level.

A major downside of Semrush, especially for cost-conscious agencies, is that an account comes with only one user login.

Having to purchase individual licenses for each SEO analyst or account manager adds up quickly, and the users you can add are limited by the plan features. This makes scalability an issue.

Semrush has both branded and white-label reports, depending on your subscription level. It uses a proprietary data stream, tracking more than 800 million keywords.

The ever-expanding “projects” feature covers everything from position tracking to backlink monitoring and social media analysis.

Though it doesn’t fall specifically under the scope of SEO reporting, Semrush’s innovation makes it a one-stop shop for many agencies.

Project features include Ad Builder, which helps craft compelling ad text for Google Ads, and Social Media Poster, which allows agencies to schedule client social posts.

Combining such diverse features under the Semrush umbrella offsets its relatively high cost, especially if you can cancel other redundant software.

4. Looker Studio

My Overall Rating: 3.6/5

Looker StudioScreenshot from Looker Studio, December 2022

Formerly known as Google Data Studio, Looker Studio is a Google service that has grown considerably since its initial launch.

Though it is much more technical and requires more time investment to set up than most other tools on this list, it should be intuitive for staff familiar with Google Analytics.

If you’re on the fence, Looker Studio is completely free.

A major upside to this software is superior integration with other Google properties like Analytics, Search Console, Ads, and YouTube.

Like other reporting tools, it also allows third-party data integration, but the ability to query data from databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Google’s Cloud SQL, sets it apart.

You can customize reports with important KPIs with proper setup, pulling from lead and customer information. For eCommerce clients, you can even integrate sales data.

Though the initial setup will be much more technical, the ability to import templates saves time and effort.

You can also create your own templates that better reflect your processes and can be shared across clients. Google also has introductory video walk-throughs to help you get started.

5. Authority Labs

My Overall Rating: 3.2/5

Authority Labs Ranking ReportImage credit: Authority Labs, December 2022

Authority Labs does the job if you’re looking for a straightforward position-tracking tool.

Authority Labs is $49 per month for unlimited users, though you will need to upgrade to the $99 per month plan for white-label reporting.

You can track regional ranking data, get insights into “(not provided)” keywords, track competitor keywords, and schedule automated reporting.

However, lacking other essential features like backlink monitoring or analytic data means you will have to supplement this tool to provide a full SEO reporting picture for clients.

Conclusion

There are many quality SEO reporting tools on the market. What makes them valuable depends on their ability to work for your clients’ needs.

SE Ranking has a fantastic cost-to-value ratio, while Looker Studio has advanced reporting capabilities if you can withstand a higher barrier to entry.

Agency Analytics prioritizes client access, which is a big deal if transparency is a core value for your agency.

Authority Labs keeps it lean and clean, while Semrush always adds innovative features.

These five are simply a snapshot of what is available. There are new and emerging tools that might have some features more appealing to your current clients or fill gaps that other software creates despite being a great solution.

Ultimately, you need to consider what matters most to your agency. Is it:

  • Feature depth?
  • Scalability?
  • Cost-to-value ratio?

Once you weigh the factors that matter most for your agency, you can find the right SEO reporting tool. In the meantime, don’t shy away from testing out a few for a trial period.

If you don’t want to sign up for a full month’s usage, you can also explore walkthrough videos and reviews from current users. The most informed decision requires an understanding of the intricate details.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

en_USEnglish