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5 Reasons Why You NEED to Use Facebook Ads

Posted on: April 5th, 2015 by John
image by Sean MacEntee. edited.

To get your brand out to your targeted audience, you need the most effective and efficient tools to reach them.

Though there’s a variety of marketing campaigns out there, we know that the

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5 reasons why you need to use Facebook PPC
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re’s one that every successful business absolutely needs: Facebook Ads. Here are 5 reasons why you need to implement them into your marketing plan:


1. Get Ahead of Your Competitors

Believe or not, there are a lot of businesses that aren’t using Facebook advertising properly, if at all. You can easily gain an edge over your competitors by implementing Facebook into your social marketing campaign. By using the advertising tools offered for businesses on Facebook, you can reach and win over new customers that would’ve otherwise never found you.


2. Choose From the Most Cost Effective Options

With Facebook Ads, you don’t need a large budget to reach a wide audience. Even with the lowest price at $1 a day, Facebook ads can reach thousands of people. And really, your ads won’t just reach anybody — they’ll reach your targeted audience, creating higher conversion rates. Here’s a chart from Facebook explaining their 4 ad options: Cost per mille (CPM), Cost Per Clicks (CPC), Optimized CPM (OCPM), and Cost Per Action (CPA).



3. Target Your Specific Audience with Ease

Facebook has a huge advantage over Google Ads: specific targeted audiences. With Adwords, you’re limited to what users are searching for. Facebook, however, uses targeted ads that to reach people of specific interests, genders, and demographics of your ideal client. They have impressive tools to refine your targeted audience. For example, your ads can impressively precise, ranging from targeting artists in your local community, to college-age men interested in fitness, or to small business owners under the age of 40. Because you’ll have this wide variety of targeting options, you’ll be able to spread the word about your business in a way that is real and relevant to your clients.


4. Use Simple Performance Tracking

When you invest into a marketing campaign it’s important to analyze what you’re getting out of it. The fantastic thing about Facebook is that they allow you to clearly see the results of your small investment in advertising with them. Facebook Performance tools include:


  • Page Insights is an extremely helpful tool that allows you to see a daily breakdown of responses to your posts and pages, allowing for a better understanding of what your targeted ads need to drive conversions. This tool shows:
  • How many people saw your posts and page
  • How many people liked your page and the amount of new likes each posts receives
  • How many people commented on, liked, shared, and saw your page and posts


  • Ads Reporting is incredibly useful for seeing how your ads perform so you can refine them to drive even more conversions. With it, you’ll see:
  • The scheduling times and the amount spent on your running ads
  • An overview of the amount of people who viewed and engaged in your ad
  • The ability to quickly edit content and photos on your ads to improve performance.



5. Get Consumers Engaged with Your Brand

Facebook ads allow you to make others aware of your brand in a place where they can quickly and simply share it with others. The social media environment is a place where people are generally at ease, making them willing to engage personally with your brand. For example, if someone sees that a frien
d likes your business, it becomes much easier for them to trust your brand. Thereby building loyal customers and followers to a page where they know they can easily find you.
Plus, Facebook has an enormous audience. And the only way to make meeting business goals possible is by reaching the right people, which Facebook ads do efficiently.

WWW or non-WWW Domains? Clarity on this Canonical Conundrum

Posted on: March 27th, 2015 by John


There are a lot of questions asked when people must choose the domain for their website, such as:


What’s the difference between www and non-www for your canonical domains?

Which one is better for SEO?

Which one is better for my business?

Why does it matter? Does it even matter?


It’s a common canonical conundrum.


To help you understand the differences and similarities between a WWW and a non-WWW domain, we’ve laid out some useful information to give you a better understanding of how each one works and why your choice is actually not that important.


First, let’s address some misconceptions about choosing your specific URL:


You have to pick one or the other.

False. Actually, you can have both. It may be good since you never know what people may type in the search bar. However, there are some problems associated with it, which we’ll talk more about when we get to “Canonicalization.”

One is better at SEO than the other.

Nope. You’ll find people who swear by either one, but the reality is that you just need to pick the one you want and just stick with it.


Again, whichever one you choose won’t make a huge impact. But to add a little clarity to what each one means, here’s the lowdown:


Benefits of a WWW Domain:

More DNS Flexibility. Providers hosting your site need to be able to update DNS records to redirect traffic from a failing server to a healthy server. This can only be done through DNS CNAME records, which aren’t available for non-WWW domains. For small websites, that’s not usually an issue. But if you have a large website or you know that it will grow into a large one someday, it’s best to use a WWW domain for DNS flexibility.

Ability to restrict cookies. If you need to use multiple subdomains for a site, you can differentiate subpages on your site by using a www prefix on your main website. This works since cookies of a main domain are sent to all subdomains.

It names the web service domain. WWW is technically accurate. It works as a hostname that names a specific service that’s used in a network.



Benefits of non-WWW domain:

Sometimes shorter is better. Simplicity is key in today’s market. When developing a website, it’s obvious that you want your brand and message to be clear, straightforward, and simple enough for any user to find what they need. You can apply the same thing to a URL domain. When there’s less to type, it’s easier to remember and it just makes things a tad simpler for your user.

Few organizations publish their site using a WWW url. Just take a look at big websites like or Even if they are using a WWW domain, most websites tend not to publish their URL with the prefix because everyone understands that they are legitimate websites.



Truth is: It doesn’t matter.

At all, really. Both are equally good with SEO. It comes down to personal preference and branding. But here’s something more important to concern yourself with: setting up your website to define its canonical URL to ensure consistency in search engines.


What is a Canonical URL?

SEObook defines it as this:

The canonical version of any URL is the single most authoritative version indexed by major search engines. Search engines typically use PageRank or a similar measure to determine which version of a URL is the canonical URL.”

Basically, it’s a process that modifies URLs to make them standardized and consistent in search engines.


What is Canonicalization?

It means having content available on both a WWW and a non-WWW domain. The tricky thing about it is sometimes search engines can mistake the same site pages (like and as unique websites, though they’re obviously the same. And often times, it results in duplicate content or indexing problems. Plus, it actually splits up the amount of likes and shares that your web pages get between the two URLs.


Consistency is Important
You can avoid the problems with canonicalization by simple choosing only one specific domain for your website. If you already have your domain setup, there’s no need to change it from one to the other.  Just be consistent with whatever URL you used to start your website.

Simply Choose Your Canonical URL
If you haven’t setup your domain yet, just take your pick between WWW and non-WWW in site domains. You need all your site pages to reflect your preferred domain when they are indexed by search engines.


Also, you want there to be redirection from non-WWW to WWW domains and vice versa when people type in or link the wrong version of your website. That way, the user is automatically directed to your canonical URL. Here are a few ways to set that up (don’t worry — it’s actually really simple):


How To Redirect Your Domain:

With Google Webmaster Tools

If you have a Google Webmaster Tools verified site, here’s how to set your preferred domain:

Go to Site Configuration > Settings, and selecting either “Display URLs as” or “Display URLs as”

Doing this will ensure that Google only indexes your preferred canonical URL.


With cPanel

If your website is hosted with a provider uses cPanel, you can don’t have to get your hands dirty with with coding as you set up your redirects. Simply login to cPanel, and then go to Redirects. Once there, check the box of your URL preference.


With .htaccess

To redirect your site from the WWW to the non-WWW (or vice versa) on Apache, you can do so with a few lines in your .htaccess file.

Redirecting from non-WWW to WWW:
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^(www\.example\.com)?$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]

Redirecting from WWW to non-WWW:
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^(example\.com)?$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]


If you want to find more info about canonical domains, here are a few helpful resources:

Google Webmaster Toolsmore details on how to setup the preferred URL domain

WP Beginner -more info about WordPress and setting up a preferred URL domain.

Win New Clients with a Killer SEO Proposal

Posted on: March 11th, 2015 by John


Why is an SEO proposal so important for landing new clients?

Well, for starters:

  • It’s the last bid you have to offer your clients.
  • It closes the deal.
  • And it makes or breaks your business.

To make potential clients go onboard with your company, you need an SEO proposal that organizes the details of your project in a way that seals the deal. Clients will use it to review and make a final decision about whether or not they need your company’s services. So, to create a proposal that wins clients, here are tips and an outline to walk you through the process:



All proposals will vary from project to project. But generally, an SEO Proposal will have these key qualities:


Start your proposal with a roadmap of words that leads your clients through a summarized version of your proposal. In it, you should outline your key points, main ideas, and anything else your clients need to know about what you have to offer. And don’t just talk about SEO strategy. Grab their attention with an opening statement that focuses on their needs.

Address the Problems
Talking about your company doesn’t interest your potential clients — they want to hear about themselves. Their problems. Their needs. You want them to understand why they need a better content solution. That’s what gets them listening and invested in what you have to offer.

Identify and Prioritize Keywords and SEO solutions
Clients are interested in a quantitative approach that will land them results, conversions, and returns from the implementation of SEO strategy. Without being too wordy and technical, explain the process and how it works to drive conversions. Make it clear that you have the solution to the problems you listed.

On-site, Off-site, and Social Media Content Review
Your proposal must go beyond SEO keyword solutions. Give them a quality content review of their webpages, both on-site and off-site. The on-site review should include an analysis of effectiveness of content on landing pages, blogs/articles, product pages, and other web pages. A review of the off-site content should discuss how the client’s website is being backlinked, used, and incorporated by other websites.

Direction, Strategy, and Timeline
Following the problems you’ve identified, you’ll then be in a position to explain the details of your proposed solutions. It should include:

  • Implementing content strategy
  • Blog development
  • Running a/b tests
  • Link building
  • Overview of business goals and objectives

Timelines help keep both parties on track for meeting the necessary deadlines and set clearer expectations for your clients.

Forecast Performance and Reports
Once your client agrees on the strategy and timeline you’ve offered, you can provide an idea of how they can forecast the performance based on weekly and/or monthly reports. Discuss the analytics, tools, SEO KPIs, metrics, as well as the process behind the plans and reports.

Bio and Credentials
Introduce your business to your clients by including a section about your history and background. In it, fight the urge to praise and oversell your firm. Briefly outlining the core of your business and presenting your company as a personable and trustworthy business is key. Show testimonials and include your case studies to give your client something to relate to. Explain why you’re the perfect fit for your client, and let your credentials speak for themselves.

Often, the price is the first thing that a company will look for and consider in your proposal. To be as clear and concise as possible, make a list of all the items you will be charging for. This helps your clients to get a better picture of the work that goes into the project and why the price you charge is completely worth it.

Terms and Conditions
Stating all of your terms and conditions will give your client specific deadlines, payment terms, deliveries, and responsibilities required for the project. It helps to enforce your agreement when your terms are breached. Putting detailed T&Cs will put you and your client on the same page, and it will help avoid mismatched expectations.



As you write the proposal, you’ll have to include the information they need to answer these questions:

  • What results do you plan on delivering? Give them the details and scope of how you will do it.
  • What does your work entail? Reinforce the importance of the SEO process, what that process requires from their company, and remind them of what your work entails and why they need you.
  • What’s your price? State it clearly so they know you’re not being sleezy about your services or hiding fees.
  • What are your terms and conditions? You let them know what they should expect from you, and you lay out your own terms and conditions for the project.



  • Create a Stunning Design. Win them with the first impression. Create a presentation that looks sophisticated yet creative. Create a clear, concise, and aesthetically pleasing presentation to land your clients.
  • Evoke You and Your Company’s Personality. Your client wants to work with real people who really care about their needs. Show them the human side of you and your company to that they can relate to you on a personal level.
  • Use Vivid Graphs and Images. If your client can have a visual of your ideas and proposals, they will gain a stronger impression of your offer.
  • List Pricing Points. If you choose to offer multiple pricing options, that will give your main price a point of reference and allow your client to understand the value of your work.
  • Keep it Simple. Fight the urge to create a long proposal.  Fluff, jargon, and fillers aren’t going to win over new clients. Write your proposal in a straightforward manner with only the necessary information.


As clients review your SEO proposal, they will decide on whether or not to agree to the claims and offers you made during your initial meetings with them. As long as you follow these steps and tips, you’ll have a winning SEO proposal to land to clients you need.

Photo by Adam Grabek via Flickr

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Do You Have Google Friendly Title Tags?

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by John

Are your title tags good enough?

Do you know how to keep up with Google’s changes to the SERPs?

How does it affect your business?

One of the more impacting changes Google has made in the last year was altering the font for title tags: 16 pixels to 18 pixels and removing the underline. The purpose is to make SERPS easier to read and create a cleaner display.

For titles that were already at or under the recommended rate of 50-59 characters for a title, it didn’t change much. However, many are asking the question: how many title tags were affected by the font changed?

Authority Labs conducted a study to find out how many of the titles were actually affected by Google’s changes. Here’s a little summary of their study, data, and results:

      By compiling a list of random keywords and pulling the top results for each, they created a data set with over 111,000 results to work with.
      The team analyzed the data first by comparing the length of the title showing in the search results to the full length title found on the actual site page. That’s where things became apparent that the sweet spot for title tag length is about 55 characters.
      How many were changed?

      • 36% Partially changed (40,164 results)
      • 24.5% Completely Changed (28,336 results)
      • 38.6% Unchanged (42,983 results)

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 10.23.44 PM


    Even after breaking down the results even further and analyzing trends, the preference Google has for 50-59 character title tags is quite obvious.
    Though SERPs were affected and title tag displays were changed, there didn’t appear to be a trend between the ranking of a page and how much a title tag was changed. Basically, changes were distributed evenly across the board, all the way from the top results and buried web pages.

So if you’ve been good about keeping your title tag length under 60 characters, just keep doing what you’re doing. But if you’re not sure how to write an engaging title in that sweet spot, here are some tips to help:

  1. Not too long, not too short. Long title tags that are cut off on the SERPS aren’t going to attract readers, but neither will short, bland titles. Keep the character count around 55 by adding the attractive words you need and by cutting out redundant keywords at the same time.
  2. Keywords in the front, Brand in the back. If you want to include your brand in the title tag, place it at the end of the title.
  3. Clear and Candid. Title tags that are unique, coherent, and straightforward tend to get the most clicks.
  4. Title Tag Preview. Moz has a helpful tool that allows you to create and preview a Google-friendly title tag.

So, it’s as easy as this: Keep your title tags short, sweet, enticing, and within the recommended 50-59 character limit. And if you want to read more about the results found in this study conducted by Authority Labs, you can find the original article here.


Super Simple A/B Tests You Need for Your Website

Posted on: February 16th, 2015 by John

“I don’t care for best practices, I care for conversions. That’s why I test.” 

-Michael Aagard,

If you’re not tech savvy or you’re new to the business world, implementing A/B tests on your website can be intimidating and sound like a lot of work. But the truth is, you don’t have to be an expert to get the results you’re looking for. Thankfully, there are companies who did the research for you so that testing your website will be a breeze:



Your website’s “Call to Action” is a key instrument in growing your business. Even testing the slightest changes can give you a higher conversion rate. First, try testing the color and placement of your CTA button. You can try doing something like Hubspot, who conducted an experiment that –surprisingly– resulted in the color red proving higher conversion rates than the color green on a CTA button.

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 11.15.00 PM

Or you can run an experiment like President Obama who raised $60 million by simply changing the CTA button wording from “Sign Up” to “Learn More.” Either way, you’re sure to get results as well as increase and impact user behavior when you test your CTA.



Should your landing pages have long or short forms? Interestingly, marketers seem to be divided into two groups — those who claim shorter is better and those who claim longer is better. To find the truth, ran case studies that tested long and short forms for different companies. As it turns out, both marketers are right: it all depends on what you want from your customers and what products you offer. Short pages are better for low commitment and low risk offers, whereas longer pages benefit from high commitment and high risk offers. Depending on your business, you may want to start by testing out page lengths on your site.



Why are columns a big deal? Maybe because finding the best page layout could increase conversion rate by 681%! MECLABS ran a test that proved switching from a multiple to a single column layout could significantly increase sales for a tech company. Results like that will definitely vary from site to site, but it’s obvious that having a multiple or single column layout makes an impact on any website. That’s worth testing, don’t you think?


Utilizing your navigation bar enhances, and promotes more, user experience. Try figuring out the most influential layout that makes the biggest impact on customer’s behavior. You could switch the order of your tabs to direct traffic to the pages that are crucial for leads and sales. Even something as simple as testing different wording on each tab may tell you what gets you the most clicks. One test ran by Optimizely showed that changing a tab from “Why Use Us” to “How It Works” increased clicks by 47.7%.



The biggest subliminal impact on your customers comes from optimizing your images. Depending on the type of industry you’re in, you will want to test out how featuring images of people or product can make conversion rates increase dramatically. And here’s something else to consider: bigger might be better. Econsultancy wrote about three case studies that demonstrated how enlarging the “hero shot” on a webpage page can also enlarge the conversion rate. But don’t just test size — consider other options such as using illustrations instead of photographs — or even creating an aesthetically pleasing negative space, like’s monochromatic design.
 Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 11.43.15 PM


It seems obvious that people generally prefer to have more options when it comes to making purchases. However, providing too many options can actually drive customers away. One company wanted to increase cart completions by simplifying the checkout process. They originally had three offers that a visitor had to select before checking out. Instead, the company integrated the options into the product details and focused on the checkout CTA. It resulted in 36.5% more cart completions. So it pays to test how simplifying CTA can influence the direction of your customer, even if that means simplifying your special offers and deals.



Have you tested out the main text on your pages? You really should — it’s easy to generate more clicks and visitor engagement by simply modifying your header. WhichTestWon investigated how the layout and wording of different headers and sub-headers influenced the CTA to sign up. As it turns out, creating a more concise header with lesser details specified in the sub-header proved to increase sign up rates by 37%.

Though the results of all these tests provide helpful guidelines for you, it’s important to remember that no industry has the same targeted demographic or product offerings. There can’t be a one-size-fits-all solution for improving your business website, which is why data should be the driving force behind the changes on your website.

Is it Best to Have your Call to Action on the Right or Left?

Posted on: February 14th, 2015 by John

Why the Position of Your Call to Action Buttons Really Matters

If you want your call to action buttons to be effective then you need to understand the psychology of the users visiting your site. It’s well known for instance that a red ‘buy now’ button is more likely to get clicked than any other color and this is just one example of many of the tricks that internet marketers can use to increase their conversions.

But did you know that the position of your buttons also makes a huge difference?

This is all to do with the way that we naturally consume and explore information. When a user lands on your web page, they will tend to progress through the information there in a predictable way. Understanding this allows you to arrange your content in such a way that it gets seen in the correct order and thus control the way that your readers feel at any given point during their consumption of your text.

In short, the objective is then is to place your call to action buttons in the position where your readers will see them last and this will greatly increase their chances of clicking.

Where is the Terminal Area?

When someone lands on a home page, the first thing they will normally see is an image of the product, a headline, the supporting text and a call to action button. These are generally positioned to be in the focal point where our eyes naturally rest on loading a new page and the users will take in that information starting from the top left and moving downwards.

Your aim is to make sure that they see your headline/product image, then learn about why they should become a paying customer and then see the call to action button. This is important because if they see the button before they know what it is they’re buying, then they’ll be much less likely to click buy. Likewise, once they’ve finished learning about your business, they shouldn’t then have to make a conscious effort to search for your button and learn how to buy.

This perfect spot that follows on from your other content is what’s known as the terminal area.

So with that in mind… where precisely is this terminal area? Simply, it’s the spot at the bottom right of your home page and the bottom right in relation to your focal point. We read from top to bottom and from left to right and so something that is positioned at the bottom right is more likely to be the last thing seen.

The Gutenberg Diagram

This concept comes from the Gutenberg Diagram which was originally posited by Edmund C. Arnold. This diagram is often referred to when optimizing displays that only have a limited number of elements and it works by dividing any given page into four sections. The top left is now your primary and initial focal point and the terminal area is at the bottom right.


Another similar concept is the ‘F-layout’ which is a heat map of where users tend to look on a new web page. First they look along the top, then they look along the middle/just above the middle and then they look down the left side. This is why these spots are perfect for headers and menus but not buy now buttons. If your buy now button is on the bottom left, then your users will look there right at the start when they’re looking for the menu!

The Take-Home Message

The take-home message from all this is simple: your call to action buttons should be positions on the bottom right of your web pages if you want them to be effective. Many users will make the mistake of placing their buttons on the bottom left but countless hours of split testing and research by older and wiser internet marketers show us that sales go up when you move your button to the right. According to the Gutenberg diagram that bottom left square is the ‘weak follow area’ – in other words, the worst spot for anything important.

Of course there are exceptions to this rule. For narrow, centralized landing pages you can have your call to action in the middle as long as it’s at the bottom for instance (and likely you’ll have it interspersed throughout the text as well). In general though, moving your buttons slightly to the left can increase your profits. It takes two seconds to do, so what are you waiting for?

Credit Here

Create Delicious Content: 5 Tips to Improve Your Small Business Website

Posted on: February 10th, 2015 by John

by Jeana Saeedi

original photo by Anna via
Flickr. Edited.



Your small business needs a delicious website.

Because in a lot of ways, a website is like a meal. There are several components that make up a meal that consumers will enjoy (or find distasteful), and the same rule applies to websites. So instead of serving up generic and artificial content to your clients, you need satisfying and appealing words to keep them coming back for more.

Here are a few tips on making your small business website appetizing to your clients:


1. Have Visual Appeal

Ever lose your appetite after seeing some ill-prepared food? Well, the same applies to your website. In order for users to even be interested in what you’re offering, you have to have them at first sight. Clean lines and beautifully arranged, organized content makes your website aesthetically pleasing to your customers. Make easy to scan headers, and break up content with images and bullet points. Show them that you’re a creative, up-to-date business. Clients will take one look at your website and, within seconds, know you have a savvy, first rate business. But that also means having an outdated or just plain ugly website will give the impression of a careless company.


2. Keep it Personal

Everyone appreciates a meal a lot more when they actually like the person who made it. Your website needs to be a personal declaration of who you are, what your business does, and the quality of service you provide. And talking about you is not the point — you need to address your client’s needs in a way that evokes your personality and voice into words. You need to be optimized for SEO, but adding keyword fillers isn’t enough to land the clients you need. Basically, you want your users to know that you’re human — and you need them to like you.


3. Write for Your Audience

Think about who your targeted audience is, and then give them the “food” they’ll most enjoy. If you’re writing to an audience that may not be familiar with your product, don’t ruin the “meal” with jargon and technical terms that they won’t understand or appreciate. Provide your clients with content that reads smoothly and naturally. Writing for your audience means that you must take into consideration who they are in order to get your point across in an appealing yet straightforward manner.


4. Proofread and Update Consistently

You’ve already set the chips on the table and whoops — they’re stale. And gross. You forgot, you didn’t double check, and now your client’s appetite is gone and they’re going somewhere else to get what they need. If you don’t keep your business information up-to-date, you’ll lose customers when they call the wrong number and visit the wrong address. Plus, you become harder to rank due to inconsistent citation. And instead of landing clients, you’ll end up with frustrated and confused customers. Keep your information up-to-date, and always double check for grammar and spelling errors. Nothing ruins a professional reputation like a lazy grammar mistake.


5. Write Appealing Web Pages

Don’t forget about those crucial side dishes — your main pages and subpages need to be just as appetizing as your homepage. Your homepage needs to hook your users in, and your subpages need to give them exactly what they need. Make straightforward tabs that direct your clients where they need to go, and keep each page on-topic and on-voice so that you create a user-friendly experience and keep clients.


So do you need a delicious website? Be creative, get your web pages cookin’, and start making some appetizing content.

About the author:
Jeana Saeedi is a content strategist and blogger. You can find out more about her at

What are the top Alternatives to Google Analytics?

Posted on: January 14th, 2015 by John

There are several problems with Google Analytics that have been discussed in different posts. However, despite the problems, Google Analytics remains a popular tool for a few reasons. The first reason is that it is free, until you reach about ten million page views a month. Once you reach this point it will cost you around $150,000 per year. The second reason that it is popular is because it has many features that are regularly being developed.

The question is, what if you do not like the fact that Google has access to that much data? Or dealing with the various problems that come up?

If that is the case it is time to start looking for an alternative to use instead of Google Analytics. Here are a few of the alternative choices that you can use. All of the alternatives will easily fit into most budgets as well.


1. Clicky


One issue that many people have with Google Analytics is that the interface is not easy to navigate. There is something about a system that is easy to use and fairly straightforward. At Google Analytics when the interface is changed the terminology used in the menu changes as well. This means that you will have to take the time to learn your way around the entire system once again.

Clicky does not use flash components and is very easy to navigate. This makes it easy to use from your mobile device. Most of the Google Analytics apps are limited so you cannot do much more than the basics when you are using your mobile device on the go.

Setting it up will require that you add a snippet of code to your website. There are several plugins and apps that make this process quite easy.

Some of the features of Clicky include:

  • Customizable tracking
  • View individualized visitor logs
  • Real time analytics
  • Funnel/path analysis

Goal tracking and split testing are available with a pro account, which costs $9.99 each month. Heat maps and uptime monitoring are available with a pro plus account, which costs $14.99 per month.



Piwik analytics

Another analytics package that is easy to use is PIWIK. The big difference when choosing PIWIK is that setting it up involves more than installing some code. If you do not choose the paid cloud service offered by the company then you will have to install the software on your server. There is an installation guide available that will help you get through this. The software is open source.

One of the best things about PIWIK is that they are really responsive when bugs are found within the system. They are also very transparent about fixing these bugs. As each item is fixed it is marked off on the log.

Some of the features of PIWIK include:

  • Goal tracking
  • Customizable dashboard
  • Free download of the plugin marketplace
  • View logs of individual visitors

If you host it on your own server the cost is free. The cost for the cloud service starts at 49€ a month for 300,000 page views and less.


3. Gauges


Another affordable alternative to using Google Analytics is Gauges. It works in a much similar way as it provides you with a snippet of code in Javascript that can be added to each of your pages. The idea behind this platform is to provide actionable data through an interface that is easy and simple to understand.


  • Easy to use
  • Real time analytics
  • Team support (both large and small plans)
  • Dashboard is flash free, which is makes mobile viewing easier
  • API available

The cost for Gauges starts at $6 a month for up to 100,000 monthly page views and an unlimited number of sites.


4. Mixpanel


Mixpanel offers a platform that focuses more on events instead of page views. This is an important difference to note because in reality page views do not really tell you all that much. Mixpanel was designed for companies that sell services or products and it comes with a ton of features.

Some of the features of Mixpanel include:

  • Use funnels to answer important questions and to run experiments
  • Advanced segmentation
  • Customer groupings
  • Detailed retention reports available
  • Customer life time value
  • Behavior based analytics
  • Sends notifications to consumers both on the web and on mobile
  • Automation support

The price is free for up to 25,000 data points, which is equal to 1000 profiles. There are paid accounts available starting at $150 per month.


5. Reinvigorate


Offered by Webtrends, Reinvigorate is a quality platform. The analytics package is loaded with heat maps and has been designed to be easy to use. The setup is extremely straightforward, similar to that of Google Analytics and it comes with a plugin that can be configured to work with WordPress to make it even easier. In order to improve load times tracking code is delivered by using a CDN.

Features of Reinvigorate include:

  • Heat maps
  • Real time analytics
  • Use name tags to track registered users
  • Breakdowns available hourly, daily, and monthly

The price for Reinvigorate starts at just $10 a month. This provides you with up to 500,000 page views per month for 3 websites and 3 users.


6. FoxMetrics


If you are considering a solid alternative for Google Analytics, FoxMetrics offers a great choice. It provides more focus on the behavior and actions of each visitor rather than the individual page views. FoxMetrics should typically be used as an addition to another platform such as Clicky or Google Analytics.

The main reason for this is because the focus of the data is different. The pricing is based on requests instead of page views. Essentially, a request is an event. For example, if a user were to download a file and click on 2 links and buy a product you would be looking at 4 requests.

 FoxMetrics Features include:

  • Person level tracking
  • Real time analytics
  • Unlimited users
  • API available

The price for FoxMetrics starts out at $20 per month and this includes 100,000 requests.


7. KISSmetrics


Another event based package for analytics is KISSmetrics. This platform is perfect for learning exactly what each of your visitors is worth. Even if the visitor does not make a purchase until six months or a year in the future, you will be able to find out who they are, how they located your site, and which variation of your page that they saw if you have set up any types of split tests.


Some of the features of KISSmetrics include:

  • Unlimited split tests
  • Unlimited reports
  • Data export
  • Data segmentation
  • Group contact lists

With the professional plan you receive one on one consultation as well as a dedicated metrics specialist. The price for KISSmetrics starts at $150 per month, which can be used for up to 500,000 events per month.


8. Woopra


The focus of Woopra is similar to that of KISSmetrics. There have been a number of recent changes made to the platform. Each of the changes have made it that much better as they have been about better understanding behavior and getting to the metrics that really matter instead of just finding out what happened or what is happening.

Some of the best features of Woopra include:

  • Advanced segmentation
  • Desktop client
  • Mobile app
  • Real time stats
  • Live chat available
  • Advanced reporting
  • Custom tagging
  • CRM features

With the paid plans you will receive support options as well. The price is free for up to 30,000 actions each month. There are paid plans available that start at $79.95 per month. At this price you receive 400,000 actions each month.


9. Adobe Analytics


Adobe Analytics offers an enterprise level service because of the features that you gain access to. One of the hardest parts of many of the systems is being able to manage your custom tags. Most systems will require you to alter the code to make a simple tweak that would allow you to tag your registered users. With Adobe Analytics you will not need to involve your IT team in order to help create a tag management system.

Some of the features of Adobe Analytics include:

  • Advanced segmentation
  • Real time analytics
  • Video analytics
  • Social and mobile analytics
  • Dynamic tag management

To learn about the pricing for Adobe Analytics you will need to contact the company. Prices tend to start in about the $5000 per month range.


Choosing the Right Analytics Package

It can be difficult to choose the right analytics package to use as everyone has goals that are slightly different. Instead of choosing a package that might work for you, consider your goals and then look at the features that are available to help you make the right choice.


How to Remove Referral Spam From Showing in your Google Analytics (Update 9-24-15)

Posted on: January 11th, 2015 by John

UPDATE 9/24/15

Adam Steele from Loganix put out a new tool to address referral spam. Works like a charm: Loganix Referral Spam Blocker

Another great article about the subject:

UPDATE 4/1/15

Been seeing a huge uptick in referral spam lately (,, which is driving me bonkers! I went in search to find the best option. From everything I have read, this is an exploit of Google’s servers, so adding the code below to your .htaccess file will not work. Below is what I found to be the best solution until Google corrects the issue.

“They use a vulnerability in Google Analytics to make fake visits so the only way to stop them for now, and until Google fix it, is to make a filter in GA since that is the source of the problem.

Blocking them in the .htaccess file is pointless since this kind of Spam never visits your site.

Check this answers for more information about this spam

And this for Referrer Spam in General and some methods you can use to filter them and stop future occurrences

As for the previous/historical data, you can use segments in Google analytics. Create a REGEX with the Spam names something like this:|

You can add as many as you want, but the REGEX has a 255 character limit. You can add multiple conditions if this happens

    • Go to the Reporting section in your Google Analytics.
    • In the lateral bar, expand Acquisitions > All Traffic and Select Referrals.
    • In the main board Click on +Add Segment.
    • Click on New Segment.
    • Select Conditions Below Advanced.
    • Set filter as Exclude. Change Ad Content for Medium and contains for exactly matches and type and select referral in the text box.
    • Click on AND
    • Change Ad Content for Source and contains for matches regex and paste the Spam Regex.”

Full post can be found here.

The clearing of your referral spam from your website is one of the most important things that you can do to make it easier to see where your traffic is coming from. When you have robot and non-human visits in your reports, it can throw off your SEO strategy and make it very difficult to see where traffic is coming from. The first step is understanding the non-human traffic on Google Analytics. There are three types:

      • Bots and spiders that behave properly like Google’s own spiders.
      • Crawlers like semalt and makemoneyonline.
      • “Fake” referrals that come from darodar, ilovvitaly, blackhatworth and priceg.

So, how do you implement new filters to get rid of this robot traffic? The first step is to use caution and make sure that you are ready to filter these bots. First, make sure that you have zero filters in place right now, that you have a completely unfiltered view. Second, when you do create a filter, do it in a test view that has all the same settings as your main view so that you don’t completely mess up Google Analytics. Finally, when you have determined that the filter is working properly, put it in the main view of your Analytics. Now, here is some specific information on filtering the three types of bot visitors.

The Google Spiders & Other Bots That Behave

If it wasn’t for the Google spiders and others, there would be no internet, no web to surf. Spiders get sent out from their mothership websites to find and index new content. They publish and share content on indexing sites like Google as well as other aggregators. However, publishers and companies that use spiders are required to identify these bots so that they don’t show up in your analytics. Google allows you to easily filter these spiders with one simple checkmark. Just go to the Admin section of your Analytics and go to each view and click View Settings and then check the box that says “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders.”

Semalt and Other Unidentified Crawlers

It can be difficult to know what to do with bots like Semalt, because some of these identified crawlers are best removed from your reports by going to the website and asking to be taken off the list and others will give you a virus if you try to do that. A good way to judge whether or not the bot is a harmful one is by searching for it and looking at the first 2 or 3 pages of search results to find out if its an infection of just a site that doesn’t like to identify its crawlers as such.

Don’t actually click on the links in the search results when you search for spyware (since you might also get a virus that way) but instead just look through the results and get an idea if it is safe to visit their site or not. If so, then visit and ask to be excluded. In the case of Semalt, it is safe to visit their site and ask to be removed. You can also check the Google Analytics Group for such spiders or the Google Plus page.

As far as removing them without visiting the site and asking to be removed, this is quite simple and something that you’ll do from your Analytics page. But it isn’t the most effective way, because the visits will still show up in the total session information. The best way to do it, if you know how, is to modify the .htaccess file (in Apache web servers). You can find out how to exclude sites at your web host with a little research.

As for filtering using Analytics, you do it by finding a signature to the site. For example, with Semalt (even though you can filter Semalt by going to their site and asking for an exclusion) you could create a filter that would exclude anything from would work. Make sure that your filter doesn’t exclude other sites or referrers that you want to show up in your reports however. Also, keep in mind, you can put a backslash with the domain if you want to exclude all characters like Semalt\.com but you don’t need to because Google apparently fixes this for you.

Also, bear in mind, you will need to modify your filter for each new unidentified crawler and you will run out of filters eventually, so check it without any filters a few times a year as most bots will stop crawling your site after a few months.

Filtering Fake Referrals

Fake referrals are some of the latest arrivals to the game of crawling your website and messing with your Analytics reports. They are from,, and and there will probably be more by the time you read this. Why are they called Fake Referrals? Because they haven’t actually visited your site. Instead, they post a fake page view to Google’s tracking service using random tracking ID’s and when one of those are yours, Google shows a hit in your reports.

You might be asking at this point – how can you block something that hasn’t ever actually visited your site? Good question. Using your .htaccess file or Javascript is out, but you can still create a filter to exclude them, but you are going to have a hard time keeping up because as soon as you create a filter for one, another will pop up. They are like cockroaches – or maybe a hydra.

How to Eliminate Fake Referrals Completely

There are a few methods to get rid of these fake referrals. The first and probably most effective way to create an include filter that excludes all hostnames except your valid web hosts. When the fake referral sends their referral they are picking numbers at random and coming from an invalid host name (not one of yours) so by creating an include filter you are able to rid yourself of crawlers that come from hosts that aren’t yours. However, you need to be careful about using this method, because if you do it incorrectly, you will exclude valid traffic, and that will defeat the purpose of excluding this invalid traffic.

You have to make sure that you identify all of the valid hostnames that come with your web host, and you must identify all of he ones that uses your website tracking ID. This might include other websites that you are tracking referrals from, so if you exclude everything but your webhost you will lose referrals like WordPress, Paypal and YouTube.

The best way to do this is to start with a report for several years that shows just the hostnames and then go through them and confirm the validity of each. For example: you can use the All Traffic report, choose medium and then click on referral and add “Behavior – Hostname” as a second filtering level. This will be complex or simple depending upon your sites, or the complexity of your online franchise. This might take some time and some investigating to get it right, but it is important that you do.

Once you have determined what is valid then create a filter that lists all of the domains that you have deemed valid, and then test it to make sure you have not missed any steps. When you are certain you have the entire list, then you can start using it. Remember, you have to update this filter whenever you enter your tracking ID on a new web service, and you should always use an unfiltered view to ensure that you aren’t excluding valid traffic.

Excluding Using Last Tracking Number

There is a method that you can use that seems to work well if you want to test it. Most of the time, spammers sending “fake” referrals target tracking numbers that end in one like (UA-2345678-1) but if you make another properly in your Google Analytics account and change your tracking code to end in 2 or 3 you will notice that most of these fake referrals won’t show up. You may still get a few but most will be targeting the tracking number ending in one. However, the downside to this method is that you lose the continuity or your reports, since you can’t transfer the data from one tracking number property to another.

The Referral Exclusion List

You may find some people recommending that you use the Referral Exclusion List feature from Analytics, but keep in mind, this is not the best solution because it is notoriously unreliable. It might remove some of the crawlers that you don’t want, but it might also change their visit to a direct one and it will keep appearing in your reports. Whether or not this works on ghost referrals depends upon the parameters that the spam creator has set. So, stick with the manual solutions and don’t worry about the referral exclusion list. It isn’t even intended for this sort of filtering anyway.

Why They Send Unidentified and Fake Crawlers

There are several different reasons that someone might send out a bot like the ones that we’ve talked. The most probable reason is that they are sending out a bot to gather information just like the spiders that come from the webservers at Google do. The difference is that while Google is doing it for a specific and legitimate purpose – to index sites in the search results, these other bots are probably doing it for a less legitimate – and possibly quite nefarious – purpose. For example: they are looking for security vulnerabilities.

Another reason that site owners (also known as spammers) send out bots is that they want site owners to visit their site – possibly to install malware, but most likely to get you to visit their site because you want to see who referred to your own site. Semalt does this exact thing, because they sell SEO services. They are targeted small website owners who want to find out who linked to their site (and will hopefully buy SEO services from them).

Finally, it all comes down to spam. They are trying to get as much traffic to their site as possible through the shady method of spamming site owners with referral links and that can get them lots and lots of free page views. The beauty of this method is that it doesn’t show as a bounce for them because many site owners will spend several minutes searching that page for a link to their website.

How They Do It

As for how they do it, this is relatively simple. They look for links on a bunch of webpages, and then follow those links and follow the links that they find there and so on – ad infinitum. The new crawlers will use Javascript to get dynamic page content and then they will trigger the Analytics tracking code because of this.  Or they may not visit your site at all – they just put in a range of tracking IDs randomly selected. But since they don’t know your servers host name it will appear as something else entirely which can tell you that the traffic is manufactured rather than real.

Do You Really Need All Three of These Filters?

Yes, you need all three of these filters. Each one does something different and filters a different type of bot. If you don’t use all three, you are still going to see non-human traffic in your analytics reports.

To Summarize:

Exclude Google Bots and other well-behaved crawlers by telling Analytics to ignore them. Go to Admin > View > Settings.

Exclude Unidentified (Unidentified meaning they don’t self-identify as bots like they are supposed to) Crawlers by editing your .htaccess file or remove them from your reports using filters, but they will still show up when Google determines whether to apply data sampling.

Exclude Fake Crawlers must be removed by an include filter or you can use the method where you change your tracking ID and use that data.


Edit: Block (.htaccess Method)

Add this code to your .htaccess file.

SetEnvIfNoCase Referer spambot=yes
Order allow,deny
Allow from all
Deny from env=spambot

To block other referrers, simply change the referrer.


Thanks to Dale from Sudo Rank for this:

Article Here

Your Local SEO Diagnostic Checklist

Posted on: December 13th, 2014 by John

All The Diagnostics You Need for Local Search Engine Optimization

If you have tried to figure out why you aren’t ranking well for local search, and you think that you have tried everything to get there, odds are – you haven’t. There are many different things that you can do to improve your search engine rankings and most people haven’t even tried half of them. In fact, we were able to come up with at least 40 in this article.

However, this article will not tell you every single tool that is out there, but it will give you some suggestions on many more things that you can try. Also, not everything in here will be explained completely with instructions on how to use it, or this would be a very large book rather than an article.

There are several sections that we will be covering, but let’s start with General Diagnostics when it comes to ranking for local searches first.



General Diagnostics


  1. How Far You Are From The City Center: Google ranks businesses that are within 20 miles from what they consider the city center to be. That means that if you aren’t in that local area, Google doesn’t consider you a local business. So, it might not even be possible to rank for your target city, unless of course you move.
  2. Check Zip Code Searches: Type in a search term that you want to rank for followed by the zip code of that area. Check and see if your business listing comes up.
  3. Clear Your Cookies or Open Private Browsing: Open a private browsing window or delete your cookies and cache so you can get an accurate listing of your ranking.
  4. Check Google Analytics Regularly: You are looking for traffic that drops off suddenly or is lower than other terms. When you find those dips in traffic you can use tools to find out why your traffic decreased for that term.
  5. Use Google Webmaster Tools: Does Google identify any problems with your website?


Google Places Diagnostics


  1. Check Google Maps, Bing Places, Yahoo Local and Apple Maps and see where you are listed
  2. Perform a Search For Your Brand: Do you see your brand in Google Places. Is it correct? Are you also on other sites like Yelp?
  3. Search From Another Location: Your location is entered in Google by default, but try searching from a different location and see what comes up.
  4. Check Your Rankings With & Without City Names: For example “oral surgeon” rather than “oral surgeon in Denver”
  5. Click the maps link on Google and see where you are ranked. To do this: search for your keyword, click map results and then use “list view”.
  6. Search For Your Page in Google+: Search for your business in Google+ and see if your information comes up. Change information if necessary.
  7. Check Non-US Google: If you are in another country, make sure you check both the Google for where you live and the regular
  8. Ensure Your Page is Verified: It will have a checkmark near the profile photo if your page has been verified.
  9. Ensure Your Page is Upgraded: You should see Posts, Videos, YouTube and other tabs rather than just About and Photos.
  10. Check For Changes You Didn’t Make: Sometimes Google makes changes that you don’t want or didn’t authorize. Fix them if necessary.
  11. Use MapMaker to Search: See if you can find your business with MapMaker unless your business has service areas. Also, unless you know what you are doing, you shouldn’t mess too much with this.
  12. Check Your Marker Location in Google Maps: Check the details tab of your Google Maps listing. It should show up in the same place on the map as it does on Google Places.
  13. Check For Any Duplicate Google Places Pages: There are tools out there that will help you fix this, and some of them are free.
  14. Check Your Google Places URL: Click the link to your website and make sure that it actually goes to your website and not to somewhere else. There are occasional typos so this could be a good reason why you aren’t getting the traffic you want.
  15. Check Your Business Hours: It is possible that Google ranks businesses lower (at least on the weekends) that are closed on the weekend. If you truly are closed on the weekend that’s one thing – but if not, make sure that your hours are correct.


Your Website Diagnostics


  1. Use the Site Operator: Check your website using How many pages come up? Are there duplicate pages? Are your title tags too similar?
  2. Check Your Robots.txt File: Make sure that your website isn’t being skipped by search engine spiders because of a disallow.
  3. Find Cloned Websites: Use copyscape to make sure that your website content isn’t being used by other websites. This can cause you to get flagged for duplicate content.
  4. Check For Unnecessary Subdomains: Use the operator -www search.
  5. Name/Address/Phone: Make sure that the Google spiders can crawl your business name, address and telephone number. If they are an image instead of text, they can’t. If you can copy and paste it, you’re good.
  6. Check Multiple Displays: Check to see how your website displays on mobile devices. There are a few sites out there that can help.


Citation diagnostics


  1. Do a MOZ Local Scan: You can find out a lot about your citations and the work needed to go into them this way, and if suggestions for categories come up our suggestions would be to use them.
  2. Check your Better Business Bureau Record: Your might find all kinds of information that you need to fix with this method.
  3. Make Sure Your Listed With Google’s Favorites: This will vary depending upon what kind of business you are in. For example, lawyers should be listed in Avvo. There are sites out there for most major professions.
  4. Search For The Phone Number Multiple Ways: Search using both the parenthesis around the area code and using just dashes. Then, search for it with dots. Google can sometimes treat these differently so it is a good idea to go with dashes.
  5. Search For Your Business Information: Search for your business name, city, address and do a zip code lookup on USPS.
  6. Use the Local Citation Search: Search for the name and city. You should see an information panel for that business. If you aren’t seeing one, then you need to give Google more information about your business.
  7. Search For the Address: Do business listing in sites like YellowPages come up? Do you see any wrong information? Is the city correct? These are all things that you can fix.
  8. NAP Hunter: There is a great Chrome extension called NAP Hunter that will help you find duplicate citations.
  9. Check Your State Business Filing: Make sure the information listed on it is correct, because Google uses this as a source.
  10. Check Your Local Online Telephone Directory: Whatever region you are in, there is a big local directory that you want to be listed in with the accurate information.


Link diagnostics


  1. Remove Junk Links: There are a lot of ways that you can see who is linking to you or who you are linking to. If you are linking to any junk websites, fix them as soon as possible.
  2. Find Out if You Are Penalized on Webmaster Tools: Self-explanatory – but goes along with the first tip.
  3. Use LinkDelete: Find out what your toxic links score is. Remove bad links when possible.
  4. Check For Links Between Your Affiliated Websites: Do all of your sites link to each other? If not, they should.


Review diagnostics


  1. Check Your Reviews: Type in the name of your business plus the word “reviews” and see what comes up. If you don’t have any reviews, you need to get some as quickly as possible.
  2. Use Google Reviews Dashboard: Check it, even though it doesn’t always work like it should.
  3. Check YellowBot: See what reviews you have listed with YellowBot.


Quick Seven-Step Checklist


If you don’t want to, or don’t have time to do all of the these above, and you’ve read down this far, here is a quick, seven-step checklist that will likely solve most of your problems if you aren’t ranking for local search.


  1. City Searches: Check your ranking with just your business name, and then with the city, and city and state.
  2. Search For Your Brand: Does your website come up when you search for your brand name?
  3. Make Sure Your Within The 20 Miles: As mentioned earlier, you need to be within 20 miles of the city center to rank for that city.
  4. Use the operator and check to see what you have listed.
  5. Do a MOZ Local Scan
  6. Google your telephone numbers
  7. Check your back links and outgoing links and remove junk links.




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