AD Blockers and Site Analytics

Today we’ve traveled to the Search Analytics and Social Conference at Manchester University. There’s been a number of good sessions so far but one in particular has led to the creation of this post.  The  session covered the topic of AD blockers  and the knock on effect to Analytics programmes.

If we look at the Google trend data shown in figure 1 for the term AD blocker we see a major increase in search traffic against the term and there popularity is only going to increase as businesses try to capture our attention on websites and search engines to return to their websites.

AD BLocker Google Trends Data
Figure 1: UK Market search data for term AD Blocker

The article from Deliberately Digital provides an overview of the issue and you can read the authors thought here.  If Pierre Far is correct then Google Analytics tracking code is being blocked by a number of the key pieces of software in this space, giving inaccurate results in the analytic data.

A quick Google search for the topic comes back with a number of articles with methods to identify the percentage of visitors to the website that make use of AD Blocking software.  To effectively measure effectiveness of website traffic and actions understanding the difference between visitors will become increasingly important as AD blocking software becomes more widespread.

To read how to split the traffic and filter in Analytics see this article from  BuySellAds.

I’m currently integrating into a number of websites to see how it works.  Once we have some useful data we’ll post the results.

Brighton SEO

On the train back to Coventry having  spent the day in Brighton attending the FREE SEO conference.  There have been a good selection of talks which have provided some additional resource that will be shared over the next few weeks.

It’s always good to attend events such as this in order to keep my knowledge up-to date and develop additional content that I can pass on to clients.  It’s all about being able to provide small nuggets of information that help in making small changes, helping them to take advantage of the information and make changes to there current marketing activities.

The day covered many different topics ranging from enhanced eCommerce function for Google Analytics through to Cannibalisation of content across domains and websites.   This particular session touched on some very interesting areas that addressed the issues with content within a website competing for position in SERPS (search engine listings) against each other – effectively reducing the quality of the website in SERPS because of incorrect targeting of the webpages.

The event saw a large number of delegates attending with the same goal in mind to develop in there understanding of SEO activities in order to make changes to their current marketing activities.



Unlock the potential in your online marketing with Google Analytics Training

Over the past few weeks I’ve started receiving a number of requests for Google Analytics training.  As more and more people are starting to look at making more from the website, Analytics is becoming a key area of interest.

Whilst working with a client this week, a simple goal report looking at potential customers adding courses to the checkout showed 28 potential customers lost.  This may not seem a lot but roll that across the year it equates to nearly £500,000 in lost revenue for this particular business.  This brought a level of focus to the meeting and the need to fix / change / replace the current website.

Analytics if set up correctly gives very useful insights into all the activities being operated within a business that result in someone accessing the website.

I’m already running a number of course in the Coventry and Birmingham area on Google Analytics through various organisations such as the National B2B Centre, Coventry Chamber of Commerce and Birmingham Chamber.

What’s good for me is that the requests are for in-house training for a team of people involved with the companies online activities.

Very often it can be more beneficial to undertake an in-house course as this enable you to include more people at a lower cost than sending 1/2 people onto a full day training course.

If you’re interested in finding out more then take a look at our Google Analytics training course overview page and get in touch.

Review page on the p-tech ltd website.

Web Development Projects – take far to long

Are you working on a web development project with an in-house team or external to build a new website?

Is it taking longer than expected.  Why is that?

The time it takes to develop a new website is never ending.  When exactly is the site complete?  In reality it probably never gets to that we’ve finished state purely as you should be continually adding and modifying the content as the business grows.

I’ve worked with a wide range of clients on web development projects where they are changing the website to a completely new platform and the new sites are no where near being finished.  Two good examples involve a training company and an on-line retailer.

The training company have a number of pressures particularly around the constraints imposed by the current website toolset.  The development of a good on-line marketing strategy is hindered by the tools being used and any development is tied up by the need to link all development to a complex Business Management System.  The BMS is the sticking point and will continue to hold up the effectiveness of the website due to the desire to have it drive the website.  In reality this is a great time saving feature, but when the website is already months late and doesn’t appear to be any closer, it means the business is rapidly loosing position in a very competitor market place.

The on-line retailer actually carried out in-house training and at this point the website was already 9 months late, and that was well over 12 months ago.  The current website is still live and from a technical and SEO perspective, no improvements have been carried out.  Again the business is trying to drive the website from an in-house business management system which keeps stock, images, purchases and product descriptions all tied together.  A very valid option, but again results in the business being held back in another competitive market because the on-line presence is to weak.

In both situations there is an internal member of the team responsible for the technical aspects of the business and this primarily is one of the main reasons for the delay.  That’s not due to their lack of ability but more so to the lack of knowledge within the rest of the business and their ability to be seen as the knowledge expert and no one should really question their position on how the development project should be structured.

Lesson point:  Have a structured plan that doesn’t slip.  Identify the key objectives and stage the development.  Building the ultimate system will result in extended development time and by the time it’s in-place the internet and on-line marketing will have moved on and the site will still be out of date.

When should you re-develop a website

I’ve been running some online marketing courses for a number of companies over the past few weeks and a number of times the failings of the website toolset become a key issue in seeing the business move forward and grow.

When do you stop ploughing money into an already struggling tool or invest in something new that may be a major change but will in the long run enable the business to move forward.

One client has spent around £30,000 over the past 8 years and the current website tool doesn’t match the current requirements. The ability to easily edit pages, alter layouts and use items such as discount codes and buy specific products and receive another free are not available.

There has to be point of investment to move forward. It’s a big step but in the long term will provide greater benefits. When an ecommerce toolset becomes the blockage to more sales, or the ability to drive more sales its time to address the situation.

Technology should be an enabler that ensures the business can move forward. In the same breath, technology providers should be looking to work in partnership with business instead of becoming a supplier that stays at arms length.

Why do so many business have negative relationships with their web developers when this in an online world is key to driving business. The relationship should be partnership with a view to grow and develop together.

Lets see web development and technology companies working closer together with business as ultimately this will give a much better and more productive working relationship, providing revenue and sales on both ends of the interaction.

Keyword Rich Domains or Brandable Domain Names

Which one should you go for, a exact match domain name that features all those wonderful keywords or something that can be branded.   In practice a lot of people probably trend towards the keyword rich domains, because they’re pushing for good position in Google.

In reality it’s probably not the case, Matt Cutts released a number of posts on  Twitter suggesting that an algorithm change is due which will start to impact keyword rich domains, especially where the content of the site is low quality.

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Search Visibility for your Website, Blogs and Social Media

Over the past few weeks I’ve won a couple of contracts to deliver a mixture of ecommerce websites and brochure based sites. It’s interesting the levels of success being gained already on the search engines with very little actually focus on search engine marketing .

Over the past 10 years I’ve had the privilege of delivering lectures around social media and search engines with a view to encouraging best practice for website development projects.

Often it’s the client that then goes away and puts the search engine marketing theory into practice and every now and then you get some feedback on success. Most recently a couple of clients have shown major improvements in their sites search position through applying only the basic search engine marketing techniques such as focused page titles and content modifications.  Now that I’m responsible for the full deliver side it’s great to see the theory and practice working together.

Daisy Bank Caravan Park was launched before Christmas and already a marked increase in visitor engagement and sales has been achieved. This revenue generated has already paid for the site development.  They are now seeing better results in search and the next stage is to tweak the pages to improve the search position.

Noiseboys a professional audio website selling quality pa and sound gear has already seen after around 4 weeks very good search position. This week the results of using the Google Merchant Centre is now showing, with increased visibility in search results for purely sending Google a set of product listings.  These activities are all part of the ongoing marketing strategy.

Tranquil Touring Parks are due to release a blog this week enabling them to react faster and also increase search position.  This is part of an on-going redevelopment project of the whole online marketing activity to reduce re-work and duplication of activities.

All these projects and more show the need to create good content and page titles in order to see real tangible results in search position and search engine marketing.

e-commerce website launched – developed in magento

Just launched a new website for a client using magento e-commerce toolset.  This is the first magento website I’ve worked on and pretty happy with the results.

The client is a small business based in Nuneaton selling high quality audio equipment for both individuals, music groups and installations.  Along with the direct sales of equipment the business also installs and provides advice on the slection and implementation of effective systems for any size of venue.  Visit the site at and take a look around.

With the number of tools available for building e-commerce websites growing, finding one that provides a wide range of functions is very important.  I’ve been looking at using Magento for a while and eventually the opportunity arose.  The implementation has a large number of addins and in addition the last part is the integration of Google Merchant Centre.

After a number of attempts eventually have a feed and are currently awaiting the items to be cleared for listing.  If your going down the road of using Google Merchant Centre it’s important to use Unique Identifiers for your products, ideally they look for Unique Manufacturer codes, however by using the SKU defined for each product and the Brand name, gets around this quite well.  There are a couple of additional bits but hopefully it’s going to start working and driving traffic.


Why isn’t my website appearing in Google?

A very good question when you’re with a client, means you have to start looking at possible causes for this and come up with a solution. Yesterday I was asked this very question and proceeded to carryout the usual tests to find out the answers.  The site was built using wordpress by a web company and generally wordpress tends to be indexed very well in search engines.

Google and yahoo reported only one page within their repective indexes, this happened to be the terms & conditions page, probably one of the ones you’d actually put a no-follow on so it doesn’t appear.

After looking at the code in the header section of the page generated the following few lines appeared.

<meta name=’robots’ content=’noindex,nofollow’ />

There it is, everypage had been telling the search engine not to index the content and also not to follow any links meaning the whole site has been blocked, by it’s owner and not by the search engines.

In WordPress this is easily done by failing to adjust the privacy settings for the site, as in some cases it’s left to not be indexed.  It’s a farily straight forward procedure which can be carreid out by any user with ADMIN level access following a few simple steps.

Login to your wordpress installation – the address for this is (you will need a user name with admin level access to make the following changes);    http://<YOUR DOMAIN>/wp-admin

You will see a screen that looks similar to the screen shot below.  There will be a difference due to the version of wordpress installed on the website currently.  The section should still be called ‘settings’ (marked with the RED dot).

Click the settings option and the menu should expand to reveal a number of options.

Choose the Option labelled ‘Privacy’ – shown with RED dot – The Privacy Page should appear and you will see two options

Deselect the option labelled: ‘I would like to block search engines’ (It will be selected already)

Select the option labelled: ‘I would like my site to be visible to everyone….’

Click save changes

Logout of Admin area


How to get good search positions for your website

How do you get good search position for your website? The workshop I ran today with Gareth Edwards of Arrowsmith Marketing looked at a number of key aspects within online marketing. Here are a few of the key points raised and discussed with the delegates.

1. Create quality content – one thing search engines are looking for is good quality content that users wish to engage with. A good page should be one that gets users to link to it or share it on a social network with other users. A good number of websites are full of dull boring content that adds no value. A lot of emphasis is now on content that is both unique and has a clear value to the person reading it. Site site content is not for your own self gratification but to get a user to contact and engage with your business

2. Analytics is an important part of your marketing strategy, whether it be to measure PPC, Search Optimisation or Link Building activities. Setting up and tracking all traffic to the website is becoming an important activity in any business serious about carrying out online marketing. The inclusion of Multiple Channel Conversions enables the website owner to fully recognise the value of all the social media and email marketing activity you carry out.

3. Plan and understand the user. This is probably the most important point we covered today. Understanding the user is key to setting up your social media activity, designing the website, selecting keywords and creating engaging content. The particular user groups will expect the message and imagery to reflect their perceptions and interests. Getting this part wrong will result in a website that targets the wrong users and ultimately generates very little in the area of conversion.