Tuesday, 29 October 2013

How to Use Custom Variables in Google Analytics

Familiarity with your users and their needs is the most important aspect of any successful site or web campaign. Google Analytics is the perfect tool to gather this sort of information. But there’s much more you can find out about your users when you begin using custom variables to make better decisions.

What is  a Custom Variable?
A custom variable is a custom name-value pair that you can assign to your visitors (or page views) using the JavaScript Tracking API, and then visualize the reports of how many visits, conversions, etc. for each custom variable.
A custom variable is defined by a name — for example, “User status” — and a value – for example, “LoggedIn” or “Anonymous”. You can track up to 5 custom variables per visit and/or up to 5 custom variables per page view.

The important part of this definition is that you, as the website owner, can define the segment that you want to apply to specific visitors. The missing part of this definition is that you can apply it to your visitors only after they actively do something on the site. For example, you can define someone as a male or female only after he or she fills in that information on the site. That may seem obvious, but it is important.

Custom Variables Model & Configuration

The power of Custom Variables is partly due to its hierarchy, the possibility to define whether the segment you are creating will last only for the current page visited by a visitor, the current visit of a visitor, or "to infinity ... and beyond!" (i.e. for as long as visitors keep their cookies).

I will go over some examples below, but before it is important to understand how Custom Variables are defined, their grammar. First, as mentioned above, we can use different levels, meaning that the variable will be saved for different periods of time:

Visitor Level — this will modify the visitors' cookies for as long as they use the same browser and device and do not erase cookies. As we will see below, we use this level to keep unique information about a visitor, such as subscriptions, purchases, and demographic characteristics provided by visitors in a form. A way to overcome the limitation of multiple browsers and devices would be to update the visitor's cookies every time he or she logs in to the website.
Session Level — this modifies the visitors' cookies for the period of time during which the visitor is active on the site. Very useful to track internal campaigns, such as banners on the homepage.
Page Level — this modifies the visitors' cookies for activity on a specific pageview or event. Usually it will be used to group behavior in different sections of a website.
But before you start jumping out of joy, please note that if you are using the free version of Google Analytics you have only 5 slots. That means you have to think carefully before you implement them. If you are a lucky person, and you have Google Analytics Premium, you will have 50 slots available, which is a lot!

Custom Variables Configuretion:-

so you will need to implement code in order to collect this data. Below is the code and the explanation for each parameter:

_setCustomVar(index, name, value, opt_scope)
index (required) — The slot for the custom variable, it can range from 1 - 5 for standard accounts or 1-50 for Premium accounts.
name (required) — The name for the custom variable, a string that identifies the custom variable and appears in the top-level Custom Variables report of the Analytics reports. For example, if you are using a slot to track gender, the name would be 'Gender'.
value (required) — The value for the custom variable, it appears in the table list of the UI for a selected variable name. Typically, you will have two or more values for a given name. Using the 'Gender' example above, the values would be either 'Male' or 'Female'.
opt_scope (optional) — The scope for the custom variable. As described above, the scope defines the level of user engagement with the site. It is a number whose possible values are 1 (visitor-level), 2 (session-level), or 3 (page-level). When left undefined, the custom variable scope defaults to page-level interaction.
1.       _gaq.push(['._setCustomVar,  
2.                   1,              // first slot 
3.                   'user-type',    // custom variable name 
4.                   'visitor',      // custom variable value  
5.                   2               // custom variable scope - session-level  
6.                   ]); 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Top 5 Tools for Tracking Your Web Metrics


The best tools for understanding user behavior:

Google Analytics

We’ll start with what has become the standard in web analytics tools for businesses of all shapes and sizes (and it’s not the standard just because it’s free). Google Analytics is actually one of the most robust and powerful analytics tools out there. It will help you understand exactly what your visitors are doing on your site. If you run an e-commerce site, Google Analytics can track your transaction data and help you identify which pages on your sites drive the most sales. Beyond user behavior data, Google Analytics does a great job giving you a sense of your user demographics, showing you where you users are from, what types of internet browsers they are using, and even the size computer monitor they are using. While Google Analytics has reams of data available which can be overwhelming, they have thankfully recently added
 educational tips within the application so you can turn to help at any point.

[Free and paid options]

If you want to know how much traffic your competitors are getting, Compete is the site for you. While limited to U.S. visitors only, Compete provides competitive data so you can see exactly how your top competitors are performing online. Compete will also help you find related sites that you should be keeping an eye on. Compete has a large suite of advanced, paid tools for deep analysis of advertising data, sales data, and more. But, for most small businesses, the free offering that provides competitive traffic data will be plenty useful on its own.

Google Content Experiments

Formerly Google Website Optimizer, Google has now rolled this tool into the free Google Analytics product. While we already talked about Google Analytics, this feature is so useful that it’s worth talking about independently. Very similar to Optimizely, Google Content Experiments lets you see how two different versions of a web page perform so you can optimize your site. Unlike Optimizely, you don’t get a point-and-click interface for making changes to your site, but Google does take care of all the heavy lifting regarding analyzing the data and telling you which version of the page is better for you and your businesses. Best of all, this functionality is free and easy to use.

The best tools for tracking social metrics:

Twitter Analytics [free]

Thankfully, some of the best social analytics tools are built right into the tools you are already using. For Twitter, log into their advertising site and click the “analytics” tab in the top navigation. You don’t have to advertise on Twitter to use this feature, so you can just ignore their buttons and links that encourage you to place an ad. Within Twitter’s analytics suite, you can see who your followers are, where they are from, what they are interested in, and even get the gender ratio of your followers. You also get an analysis of your tweets so you can see which tweets reach the most people and create the most conversion.

Facebook Page Insights

If you run a Facebook page for your business, then the built-in Facebook Page Insights feature provides detailed analysis of your posts—who they are reaching, who is liking them, and how your Facebook performance is trending over time. You can even see data on visits to your Facebook page and where those visitors came from. Like Twitter Analytics, you can also get summary demographic data on your fans and the people that read your posts. All in all, Facebook Page Insights provides fascinating and actionable information so that you can optimize your Facebook presence and increase your likes and content shares.

Now that you have all of these tools, the next trick is to figure out what you should be tracking. If you run a small business, finding the time to analyze your data can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately it doesn’t have to be, and I’ll go into more detail about the top metrics you should be tracking in a follow-up post.

Friday, 11 October 2013

How to Use Google Disavow Tool ?

What is Google Disavow?

The disavow links tool launched in October 2012. Its purpose is simple: If there are some unnatural links in your link profile, Google Disavow can help you clean them up. The tool lets you submit a list of those sites from bad neighborhoods for Google’s consideration. Disavow will not remove the links, but it lets Google know you’d like to ignore them when it comes to your search rankings. But know this: the tool is not a cure all, and you should proceed with caution if you plan to use it as the primary means of cleaning up your link profile.

What To Do Before You Resort to Disavow

1. Gather Your Links:

You can use any source you want, but Google recommends downloading your Latest Links report directly from Webmaster Tools.  

i.  Login to your Google Webmaster account
ii. Choose the website you'd like to download the link profile of

iii. Under the "Who Links Most" section, click the more

iv.  Now there are two options you can choose
• "Download this table" – which downloads ALL your links
• "Download Latest Links" – which downloads all recent links

2. Analyze the link data:

As this tool enables in your webmaster tool account so you can easily analyze the back links through link audit summary.

3. Find the Bad Links:

You can do this two ways, with either automatic tools or manual analysis. Realistically, you should use both. Best Manual Analysis Resource:

Examples of Bad Link:

Here are some examples where inorganic links may appear:

Automated link exchanges
Low quality article and directory submissions
Artificial blog networks
Paid links
Fake Profiles
Blog Comment Spam
Widgetbait Tactics
Footer Link Spam
Artificial Blogrolls

The above examples typically exhibit characteristics of manipulative anchor text.

4. Formatting Counts:

Google rejects many disavow files because of bad formatting, but webmasters usually never know. Guidelines state the file type should be .txt only and “must be encoded UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII.”


5. Visit the Google Disavow Link page and choose the website you'd like to disavow links from

6. Read Google's little warning message and click "Disavow Links"

7. Select the .txt file of the links you'd like cleared and upload

And you're done!
Now in the future if you want to make edits, Google keeps this .txt file available for download. You can download the file, add another link to ignore and then re-upload the .txt file for Google to process.