Today we will talk about automating your reports using Google Sheet’s Google Analytics add-on. This nifty tool was formerly known as Google Magic Sheets. The add-on is very simple to implement and will definitely save you time on reporting metrics from Google Analytics.
Getting The Google Analytics Add-On
Start a brand new Google Sheet
Select the Add-ons option
Search for the Google Analytics Add-On
Install it to your Google Sheets
Now your Google Sheets have access to your Google Analytics API and can begin pulling data in an organized way for your reporting purposes. Lets try it out.
Using the Google Analytics Add-On
Under your Add-ons, the Google Analytics add-on should be an option now, after you installed it. It should come with 3 dropdown options
Create new report
Click “create report” to get started with using the add-on. You should see options pop up on the right-hand side. This is where you will begin to create your reporting configuration sheet, this sheet will be your hub for telling Google Sheets what exactly you want it to pull from Google Analytics.
To get started you will be told to select the appropriate
A Metric from a Dimension you want to pull
Click the “Create Report” blue button on the bottom to start having your reporting configuration sheet.
Now you have set up Google Analytics automatic reporting on your Google Sheet. On the Report Configuration sheet, you can customize what each sheet will show you based on metrics and dimensions you want. Remember, this sheet can only show you what is possible to show you in Google Analytics, meaning, do not try to see two secondary dimensions on one report, you will have to create a new report using the next column over.
Helpful Points of References for Creating Reports
Query Explorer – This is extremely useful because you can test out the configurations here first, and there will be recommendations on what exactly you will need to input in your configurations.
Core Reporting API Guide – This will tell you specific functions you can put in to drill down the data to exactly what you need. For example, you can find how to include and exclude just like filters in GA.
It is also helpful to note that the add-on will tell you if you inputting the configuration incorrectly. So, after you have put in the data you want Google Sheets to fetch, go back to the add-ons option, go to Google Analytics option, now click the second option “RunReport.”
If you have configured your settings incorrectly you will see a reporting error. Fortunately, the report will also tell you exactly which metric was inputted incorrectly. Ex: “unknown metric:” “unknown dimension”
The coolest thing about this feature is that you can schedule your reports to run at a certain time. This means you can have your data the instant you need it, maybe at the beginning of the month you need the data for the last 30 days. You can set the add-on to run all the reports the night before the 1st of the month, every month. So, when you come in the morning, everything will be ready for you.
Advice: Creating a Master Reporting Sheet For Consolidation
You should create a master sheet for viewing purposes, or else you will end up going from sheet to sheet to see what you need. So, create a master view sheet and fill in the cells using formulas. For example, if you created a table that will tell you the organic traffic for the month from a specific campaign or the organic traffic for a specific month, just make that cell equal the sheet that is specifically pulling that data for you. The sheets are great because they compile what you needed on the same cell every time you run a new report, so the consolidated master data will always show you what you need from any specific reporting configuration sheet.
Google announced that they would experiment with home service ads in July 2015 beginning their beta testing in the San Francisco Bay Area. It did not take long for the first batch of home service ads to appear for locksmiths, plumbers, and house cleaners.
The newly implemented HVAC home services ads are now on display. The beta test is still going on, and Google recently announced that they are expanding to the Sacramento area and now offering two new services to their test, which will now include HVAC and Electricians.
Something to take note of: We have recently learned from Google Adwords support that they are no longer accepting any new plumbers to the beta test, so the handful of plumbers we see right now are the final candidates who are being featured during this experiment. Reports about the success from those in the beta test have been reported already.
The current list of home services Google is testing on right now include
The new home services ad is a product of Adwords and Google’s attempt to get their share of the home services market and compete against similar service providers like Home Advisor, AngiesList, and Amazon Home Services.
What We Have Seen So Far With Home Services Ads.
It has been many months since the initial rollout of home service ads in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since I live in the Bay Area and work in this industry space and I have been keeping tabs on how the new ads have been progressing over time
The current home services ads are composed of these elements for every ad:
Name of Business
Face of Business Owner
Send Request Button
As many SEOs may have noticed, Google home services ads for these specific industries have taken over Google’s local packs. The previous local packs are occupied by Google’s free my business pages which used to rank companies with its variety of ranking signals.
How pros qualify for home services ads
Background Checks – Social Security and Criminal History
Reputation Assessment – Reviews and Ratings
These are the following cities in the Bay Area we have found that trigger the home services ads to appear above the organic results. The ads have gotten more detailed as time passes by, Google is doing a great job in covering their bases by hitting specific services related to every industry. Popular and simple project search queries like “toilet repair” and “sink repairs” are showing home services ads like expected.
Castro Valley, CA
Daly City, CA
Foster City, CA
El Cerrito, CA
Los Altos, CA
Los Gatos, CA
Monte Soreno, CA
Mountain View, CA
Palo Alto, CA
Redwood City, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Leandro, CA
San Lorenzo, CA
San Mateo, CA
Santa Clara, CA
South San Francisco, CA
Union City, CA
But, I noticed as time went by that the ads were doing a better job in populating for more complicated and detailed projects like “slab leak repair” and “trenchless sewer repair.” So, over time, we are noticing the evolution taking place as the tests continue. It also appears that these home services ads are only for desktop and is currently not implemented on mobile search.
Local pack is being shown in mobile search Google is also testing out layouts that include both the home services ads and the local pack as well – which could be a route for them to go in the future. But, I doubt this option to be permanent because it will be confusing for users to see two Google offerings and take up too much real estate from the organic search results.
What Could This Mean For Local SEO?
If you work with small local home service providers, this may be very alarming for you because ranking in the local pack is the most important component of any Local SEO campaign. Our agency works with many home service providers, and our portfolio contains some plumbers, electricians, home cleaners and HVAC contractors. So, what if home services ads become permanent?
If this beta test were to become permanent, it will eliminate the need for local SEO in these industries because there would be no more local packs. Taking a look at the data from a pool of our local home service providers who rank in the local pack, I can already see the struggles that await Local SEOs.
Looking at a sample size of businesses we have that currently rank in the local 3 pack for keywords like plumber + [service area] or [plumbing related service] + [service area], we noticed that the traffic coming from the local pack makes up a significant portion of the overall organic traffic going to the website’s homepage.
For the plumbing companies and HVAC companies, the local pack accounts for 30-60% of all organic traffic going to the home page of the website when ranking in the local 3 pack.
Why is Google Doing This?
We do believe that Google Home Services will leave beta testing at some point and be a mainstay in the SERPS. We can understand from a business perspective how this makes a lot of sense; they can do away with free Google Business listings in the local pack and profit from offering these ads instead. These home service ads are similar to how Google have recently expanded to other industries and offering ad programs like Google Shopping and Google Flights. With the recent expansion to Sacramento, it leads us to believe the initial round of testing in the Bay Area is going well for Google.
From my years of experience in the Local SEO space, I believe this is also an effort to fix the problem of ineffective Google Business local listings. The local packs for home services return less than valuable search results, because the current Google business pages are not being managed properly or are lacking all the information that the customer would need to make a buying decision.
The home services program will allow Google to vet qualified technicians and set up a listing for their users that are more appealing and helpful from a UX perspective. If we look at the image from a mobile search for “San Francisco Plumbers” we can see that the current local 3 packs is showing 3 businesses that have little ratings, and the top business listing has a weak 2.2/5 star rating. When this happens the users does not get what they are looking for from local 3 pack in terms of business offerings or prices, so they will look down in the organic rankings to find more relevance and quality.
When we look at organic search results for home services related queries in a local area, we can begin to understand why Google has decided to compete in the Home Services space.
So, if we dive into the organic search results for a search query like “plumber in San Francisco” we can see the motives to implement these ads. The organic search results are far from diverse, the first three results are Yelp pages, and the rest are from similar home service directories like Yellow Pages and Angie’s List.
Google introduces Home Services Ads to offer their list of vetted home service providers who have passed a rigorous background check and deliver the offerings that potential customers are looking for, without having to send searchers to another home services directory in their organic search results.
This is essentially taking out being the middleman for the middleman so that Google can be the primary beneficiaries from their searches in an effort to gain another revenue stream using Adwords. This can also be a continued effort from Google to answer searcher’s queries without them having to click an organic result at all, much like how rich answers work.
Taking all the information above, do you think Home Services Ads are permanent? What do you think this means for the future of Local SEO? Do you believe this ad program will expand to other industries in the future? Let us know what you think with a comment below.
Page load time is always something that should be on any website owner’s mind. If you are planning to implement best SEO practices for your site, I would say this is a good place to start. Page load time is indicated as a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm and for good reason.
Now, I know how technical this can all get, especially if you are not tech savvy at all, the terms and you get from a basic speed test from sources like Google Page Insights or YSlow. (You can also see scores for both these sources at the same time using GTmetrix.) Below are the items Google has listed for web developers to improve their page load times. To figure out your website’s specific needs, run it through one of the tests I mentioned above to get started.
If you are managing WordPress yourself, you might not know how to code everything or even want to risk messing around with your FTP files. (That is why we got WordPress in the first place, right?)
Start by Cleaning Up Your Unneeded Plug-Ins – Use P3
If you know you are not using some plug-ins on your site, you should delete them because every plug-in places more code into your website that slows down the site. When I go through new client’s websites, I always notice a plethora of unneeded plug-ins.
P3 can help you evaluate all your other plug-ins and figure out which to get rid of. It tells you which plug-ins are taking up the most space and how they affects your site’s load time using graphs.
Deactivated plug-ins are not needed. If you have deactivated your plug-ins, you are not using them. It is better just to delete the deactivated plug-ins and re-download them later when you do need them.
Plug-ins that are good for occasional usage but remain active should be deleted as well. A good example of a plug-in of this nature is the P3 plug-in itself. You can also save some space in WordPress with some minor additions to the code. For example, instead of downloading a Google Analytics plug-in to your WordPress, you can insert the code manually into the <head> tag.
W3 Total Cache Plug-In
This excellent plug-in will help remedy some of your page load issues.
It will ameliorate problems like:
These issues can be solved using this plug-in, enabling the following minify options in plug-ins settings. Another service you can use if you want to dig a little deeper is Cloudflare, which is free.
WP Optimize Plug-In
The image above pretty much describes everything this plug-in can do for you already. I use this plug-in to remove spam, as well as clean up trash posts, old drafts, and unapproved comments. (Many sites receive droves of spam comments, so it is good to clear them out.) I find a lot of new client sites have hundreds of spam pages that are not being taken care of, so this plug-in is excellent, and it takes care of this problem with a click of a button.
Remove Query Strings From Static Resources Plug-in
This will clear out a lot of the remaining issues you are having with your page load score.
Remove query strings from static resources
Leverage browser caching
Avoid Bad Requests
After implementing this plug-in. the fixes will be done right away. No work required!
Update Your Plug-ins and Update Your WordPress
Doing this will help improve your page speed, because the updated versions are usually more efficient in nature and sometimes your new plug-ins might not be adaptable to an older version of WordPress.
Downloading these plug-ins will have an immediate and significant impact for your WordPress website.
The above picture is a before and after picture from just implementing these plug-ins. It takes about 10-20mins to do, and it will have an immediate impact on your website. The remaining issues you will need to address manually in WordPress: a project that will suddenly be a lot more doable!
One of the most important things to focus on in SEO is to make sure there are no on-page technical issues. Technical issues complicate the search engine’s main job: discovering webpages. Duplicate content, URL structure, internal linking, content and site architecture are all example of technical issues that can reside on a website. Duplicate content is a major problem because Google has made unique content one of its top priorities with the creation of the Google Panda Penalty. There are multiple ways to resolve duplicate content issues and one of the ways is to use canonical tags.
What is a Canonical Tag?
Canonical tags, also called Rel-canonical, were created in 2009 when search engines banded together to offer webmasters an extra tool for fighting duplicate content.
A canonical tag is a simple tag that is added in the header of a webpage that points to the original page. When search engines arrive on a page with a canonical tag, they attribute the page to the authoritative/original/canonical URL, regardless of the URL they used to reach the page.
So let’s say you have a clothing e-commerce site and some of your products have different color options. The system may create multiple URLs such as:
These 3 pages are identical, the only difference is the URLs. The search engines interpret these as 3 different pages with the exact same content, which is not good. The canonical URL is competing against the 2 other duplicates and may harm its ranking because of these 2 duplicates. The way to resolve this duplicate situation is to add
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/t-shirt” /> into these 2 other pages (http://www.example.com/t-shirt?color=blue and http://www.example.com/t-shirt?color=red) so the search engines understands that http://www.example.com/t-shirt represents the authoritative version that should be indexed, ignores the 2 other versions, and does not give your page a penalty for duplicate content.
How to Use Canonical Tags
The use of canonical tags is one way to get rid of duplicates but not the only way. Because there are other ways to remove duplicates such as 301 redirects, no-index, 404 or Google URL removal, canonical tags need to be used appropriately. If you think that users may want or need to see a duplicate page such as seeing different colors of a product then use canonicals.
Using canonical tags can be a disaster if a webmaster uses them across the entire site by pointing all pages on a single canonical url. For example if <link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/t-shirt” /> is added on to http://www.example.com and all the other pages, this will harm your entire site and its rankings because the search engines will index only that canonical URL and will deindex all the other pages. Before implementing canonical tags, make sure you understand the concept or consult with an expert who can help you establish a canonical strategy.
Here’s how to find low-hanging fruit to develop content around, and send more traffic to your website.
1: Do Not Skimp On The Keyword Research
Here’s something to realize: no matter what industry you’re in, there is always something to write about. Your audience has problems, and there is a chance you can find some that have not been addressed very thoroughly yet.
Just to make things simpler, I suggest starting to use Keyword.IO and go through their huge list of related searches to give yourself some ideas.
How To Use This Tool:
Longer related search results (4-5 word searches)
Search using broad terms in your industry (i.e if you’re a plumber, search related products such as toilet, sink, faucet, water heater and see what you get)
Create a list of topics using this tool.
2: Throw Each Topic On Your List into a Google Search
You have a long list of topics that could be potentially written about; now test how each of these topics are doing in search and what has already been written about them.
Winning search results:
Yahoo Answer Results
Results that are indirectly related to the exact search
Very thin content results ranking on 1st page
These results are winning topics for you because they are not very competitive. They are just waiting to be outranked. That is the clear definition of “low hanging fruit” for SEO content. If you were able to find these type of results on the first page of the google search, you already have something to write about. Take whatever the best content is that already exists on the first page and make yours better.
Making Existing Content Better for Search Engines:
Optimize the URL to match exact search query
Optimize page titles to match search query
Make it longer than the ones who are already ranking