Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics on Blogger

I've used these tools before on regular websites that attempts to market their products. That was a while back and the tools have changed quite dramatically since I've last played around with them. I was by no means a professional at these tools back then, much less now.

But to fulfill my curiosity, I implemented Google Analytics a while back and Google Webmaster about a week ago. There was some fascination to which posts are clicked on and which ones are visited. At the start of my use of analytics, there was some influence on which topics I was going to write next. There was a slight need to fill what my current audience was looking for. Although I was happy there was a large audience for a couple of the posts, the posts were not my primary interests. I returned back to just writing whatever was on my mind at the time.

Google Analytics

This tool allows you to track the traffic that comes onto your site. It provides data primarily on the visitor which means it tracks where they came from, search terms they used to get to your page, how long they were on the page, etc. There are a lot of information but I found myself primarily just looking at the search terms used (Acquisition > Keywords > Organic) and location (Audience > Geo > Location) because I find it interesting how they are getting to my blog and where they are coming from.

One nice thing about Analytics is that the visitor count is closer to actual count, in my opinion. Blogger provides much larger numbers because it also includes all the sites that try to get your attention by crawling your site thus making you curious about who they are. About 90% of my traffic is from those visitors with no intentions of using or reading the content. I dare not provide examples as that would just feed into providing more free marketing for them.

I believe the reason for the actual count is that most crawlers will not execute the scripts, thus not added to Analytics. If Analytics had a filter for that kind of traffic, I was hazard a guess that blogger would have implemented the filter.

Analytics is more of a marketing tool. You can use this to determine which of your pages are popular, determine if your keywords are working, and drive your site accordingly. Since a lot of the data is oriented around the visitor, a company can make use of the data to focus on key solutions that are not performing or use the data to clean some solutions that are not getting any traction.

Also, Analytics can be useful for campaigns or promotions. If you market your pages on other sites like Google Ads or your industry pages, you can determine if the cost of the ad is worth the traffic generated from those sources.

Google Webmaster

I actually prefer webmaster to analytics because I am not marketing my website. For marketing, both tools are useful. What I like about this page is the actual number of impressions and click-through (CTR) on certain queries (i.e. search terms).

This fascination does not help me any bit for my blog, but it does fill a tiny bit of curiosity on how Google ranks their pages. Also there is an unfounded joy of seeing that some of my pages are ranked in the top 10 of certain searches. There is also a content keyword where it shows you how Google "ranks" certain keywords for your site. For example if I write a lot about software engineering, it would rank "software engineering" as a high relevance to the site. So it was no surprise to see life and interview on the list. Surprisingly, Google was ranked first which I do not have a lot of content on (I have no explanation for this).

For webmasters, there is a feature that allows you to find any dead links. This is extremely useful to identify those pages and should be addressed because it does hurt marketing if the pages are not coming up. 

One feature that I found fun was the Links to your site. I just received data today on it but hope to see more relevant sources.

Overall

Both tools are useful for companies for their websites if you do not mind the conspiracy theory behind Google's tracking of your sites data. If you are writing a blog to cater to your audience, this can also be useful. For those who just write whatever is on their mind with little care to who is visiting, then these tools are not needed. For those who are curious, these tools are free and easy to implement. 

I have not explored all features. And some I have not quite figured out how to use yet.


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