We were kindly asked by John Polling to give a talk at the Hull Digital Developer Meetup recently.

The talk was called ‘Google Analytics: How to Set and Forget‘. We tried to convince developers that ‘Set Google Analytics up correctly‘ should be a vital part of any website build checklist.

Here at Woof, we (very) frequently take on new clients whose web developer has either not set up Analytics at all, or has set it up so poorly that the data we have available is either useless or wildly inaccurate.

This is a shame, because the data that Google Analytics provides – if set up correctly – can inform decisions that can seriously increase a business’s profits!

We firstly explained why having correct and accurate Analytics data to hand is so important, with a few ‘real-life’ (ahem) examples. We then we got stuck into the ‘how’, with step-by-step instructions.

The slides are below. I fear they won’t make a great deal of sense if you weren’t there, unfortunately. They’re a bit ‘bare bones’.

If I get time, I’ll expand a bit on it all, with a fuller step-by-step blog post. No promises.

Thanks everyone who came along, mainly for listening but also for not throwing things at us.


Google just announced a major change to their search results pages. Those of you that have a Google Plus profile and are logged in will now be able to see some very personalised search results (well you will if you live in the US anyway, it doesn’t appear to have reached us yet).

So what’s the difference?

There are 3 brand new features in Google search:

  • Personal Results – Google will display content that you and friends within your Google Plus circles have posted, within the search results.
  • Profiles in search – You’ll be able to search for profiles of people you might be interested in folowing
  • People and pages – You’ll be able to find people and profiles related to a particular topic.

Take a look at the video below for a quick preview.

What’s the idea behind it?

Google clearly want to diversify the search results and provide more personal information. Rather than just seeing the really established sites and those who have made a good job of their SEO, Google want you to enjoy a much more personalised experience, including content from your friends or communities you might be interested in.

What does this mean for web site owners?

It could (and is likely to) eventually change search marketing forever. Influencing the search results is going to be much less about SEO and a lot more about being involved in online communities, something we here at Woof have been recommending to our clients for some time.

The top 10 search results will be different for everyone. You may have noticed that Google have been experimenting with the first page of search results quite a bit recently. The first page of results is gradually being eaten up by paid advertising, local results, image and video results and now personalised results.

Claiming your content as an individual is becoming more and more important. Google is placing more and more importance on high quality unique content, written by real people.

Don’t panic! At the moment the personalised search results will only apply to a fairly small number of people. The searcher must be logged in to their Google account, and click the ‘Search Plus’ button when they search.

Future proof your online marketing by investing in social media marketing. Relying entirely on search engine marketing is becoming a risky strategy.

If you would like to discuss future proofing your online marketing strategy, give us a call.

Google Chocolate, Anyone?

by on December 1, 2011

Anyone for Google chocolate?

Cadbury's chocolate bar with Google branding

Full story: Cadburys’ Google+ page.

Whether booking a holiday or buying a cooker, we all at some point or another have turned to Google or an appropriate review website to find out what others think. After all, the social proof provided by other people is often the strongest influence on deciding to buy.

Some of our clients have actively courted customer reviews, by signing up for third party customer review sites such as Trustpilot. Trustpilot particularly encourages customers to leave reviews, and our clients’ experiences of the service (and others like it) has been entirely positive.

On the odd occasion a customer has left a slightly negative review, it’s been a great chance to dive straight in, apologise for the issue and publicly offer to put the issue right. The response to this has been fantastic, with the same customer usually replying back with great glee about the personal service they’ve just received. The beauty of this, of course, is that other potential customers see.

Here’s a great article on how to response to negative online reviews, to turn them to your advantage.

New Social Analytics in SEOMoz

by on November 23, 2011

We’re big fans of SEOMoz. Their blog is always chock full of industry leading advice, and their suite of tools (the keyword difficulty tool and the Open Site Explorer) see some particularly heavy usage at Woof Towers.

Always pushing forward, they’ve just announced the addition of a new Social Analytics component to their Pro tools for subscribers. Looking forward to giving this a run out today.

The words ‘duplicate content’ are bandied about with, well, gay abandon in SEO circles it seems. It seems to be one topic that is often totally misunderstood, even by SEO professionals. Rumours about the ‘penalties’ of duplicate content are particularly rife. We spend a great deal of our time as consultants debunking these myths.

If you’re confused about duplicate content (on your site and outside of your site), you could do worse than read SEOMoz’s in-depth resource on the subject: what it is, how it happens, how to diagnose it and how to fix it.

Check out the article.

The new Raven Research Central

by on November 17, 2011

We’re big fans of Raven’s SEO tools here at Woof. The whole suite is really useful for a whole raft of SEO tasks: research, monitoring, tracking, etc.

Raven already boasts a nice suite of research tools but if I’m honest, I’ve always found them just a little lacking. They always seemed to fall slightly short of being really useful.

No more. Really excited to hear about a whole new Research Central module being rolled out soon out now!

We’ve been having a play with the beta and have to say: it’s very impressive and more than fills the gaps we’d previously found with their research tools.

Sign up for a free 30 day trial and have a play.

Google have been guilty of being incredibly secretive about how they rank websites in the past.

The method they use to rank websites—or their ‘algorithm’—has been a closely guarded secret, precisely to discourage webmasters and site owners trying to reverse engineer the algorithm for their own gain.

Over the last few years though, the company have been far more open about their methods, largely led by Matt Cutts (the head of Google’s Webspam and search quality team).

In the continuing spirit of openness, here are details of Google’s 10 recent algorithm changes. Recommended reading for webmasters.

Google+ now open to business

by on November 7, 2011

You’ll likely by now be aware of Google+ – Google’s answer to Facebook.

By all accounts the service has been a success with regular web users, with a reported 15 million sign-ups within the first week.

However, unlike Facebook, Google until now haven’t allowed businesses to set up Google+ pages for business.

All that changes today.

Grab your Google+ page for your business today.

Keyword research advice that sucks

by on September 15, 2011

I love the keyword research process. At the start of a project, it’s a time of discovery and infinite possibility. In the thick of a project, it provides actionable data to help take things to another level.

As always with SEO, there’s a ton of really poor advice out there on the subject of keyword research.

Here are 9 classic pieces of keyword research advice that absolutely suck, from the always insightful Ian Lurie.