Analytics

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Google Updates Their Most Important Management App

Earlier this month Google released a MUCH needed update to the Google Search Console. In case you aren’t familiar, this is the application that your webmaster uses to manage how your website is indexed by Google. Being one of Knoxville’s top SEO companies, we were invited to try the beta version of the app and are now excited to see it released to the public.

So What Does This Thing Do?

The management portal was originally called Google Webmaster Tools and was rebranded to Google Search Console in 2015. The app is essentially the secret sauce for how to ensure your website is being indexed correctly by Google Bot. In the past, you’ve been able to configure your sitemap, see analytics for indexed pages, tag featured content for the Google Knowledge Panel and manage many other elements surrounding how Google views your website. This is the central location where we can monitor and address any issues Google might have in accessing your website. Freakin’ important stuff here people.

 

Problem → Solution.

In the past, this dashboard has been challenging due to the barebones layout. In addition, there’s been a sort of ad-hoc approach to updating the features to accommodate the massive shift to mobile searching. In short, this thing is a pain in the you-know-what to deal with.

Google has finally overhauled the entire UI/UX (user interface/user experience). This upgrade will make it much easier to stay on top of issues surrounding indexing status. They’ve created a new search performance report and modified the index coverage report too.

 

Cool… Who Cares?

More complete reports and more manageable user interface means two things: better data analysis and better time efficiency. In the end, fixing those two things leads to more successful campaigns. We’re now able to view 16 months of data to make analyzing longer-term trends easier and analyze year-over-year comparisons. This is HUGE since the previous range was only 3 months!

 

Thanks for nerding out with us…

All in all, this probably won’t affect your life at all. But it certainly makes us happy to see Google taking steps to improve this vital tool.

If you have any questions about Google Search Console, how to utilize the new features or need help understanding this update, get on the phone and call our office. Our team loves to help make sure businesses are being indexed for things their customers are searching!

View our SEO strategy and packages.

 

 

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Big Slate Media Team
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Dark Social: What Stats are Lurking in the Shadows?

Have you ever heard of ‘dark social‘? It sounds ominous, perhaps even malicious. But don’t worry – it’s not some evil machination of the internet conspiring against you or your business. Dark social, as first explained by Alexis Madrigal (a senior editor at The Atlantic), is the harder-to-measure data that shows how content is shared online.

 

Content Gets Around – But Can it All be Tracked?

Think of it this way – you find a cool article about Elon Musk calling for a moon base – whoa! That’s so cool! Gotta share that with the friends. You click the ‘share’ button and post it to Facebook. For Space.com (or any website), a Facebook share is easy to track. But then you remember you’ve got a friend who’s crazy about space travel – but they don’t have a Facebook. So you email them the link. When Space.com checks the analytics for their article, they’ll see a certain percentage attributed to social media shares. Then there’s this other category – an even larger percentage than social media – it’s vague, and it’s typically labeled ‘Direct.’ The email you just sent falls into that category. Same thing goes for instant messages, text messages, and native mobile apps like Facebook. Enter the world of dark social – web traffic without a known source/referrer.

 

According to Techopedia,

The prevalence of sharing through dark social suggests that social media marketing that fails to focus on the type and quality of content may be overlooking a huge portion of social sharing.

 

Content shared via dark social channels is pretty much one big lump of data as far as web analytics goes. Working with the web analytics firm Chartbeat, Alexis jumped in to get a breakdowofor The Atlantic’s sources of traffic. This is what they found:

Dark Social Stats

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That’s HUGE! You might never have heard of dark social, but it’s super important to be aware of. Those stats are just for The Atlantic, too. For mobile sharing in general, it’s been reported that dark social is responsible for 84{2869b4d23c008b413905409cba06ef793120d76f1e6c5c92f0f4cb5a7ec0d5a3} of outbound sharing. The numbers are too big to ignore.

For a very in-depth exploration of dark social, check out RadiumOne’s white paper on “The Dark Side of Mobile Sharing.”

 

My Head is Spinning – Can I Track Dark Social?

So, can you accurately track this stuff? Well, not easily. It’s not a matter of poor analytics or anything – it’s just that referral data doesn’t always hop along for the ride when a link gets shared. Take email, for instance – your privacy rights dictate that referral data doesn’t come along. With secure browsing (HTTPS), referrer data doesn’t get transmitted if you shift to an HTTP site. Still, there are ways to customize your analytics to track parts of it for more accurate measurements.

 

So, What’s the Takeaway from All of This?

It really boils down to this – with great content brings comes great traffic. Sometimes you can’t always accurately gauge how your visitors got to your site, but you can control the quality of the content you’re putting out there. Good content is interesting. Great content is engaging, informative and fun – and that’s exactly what we do at Big Slate Media. If you’re ready to rock your next social media campaign, we would love to be a part of it. Give us a call at (865) 291-0005 or contact us online and we’ll get the ball rolling!

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Big Slate Media Team