Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Visitor Optimisation : Tracking Telephone Calls in Google Analytics

Google Analytics has become one of the most widely used tracking tools for web developers, owners and SEO's. And for good reason - it's easy to integrate, its easy to use and understand and it's always evolving. Previous server-side applications like AWStats have suffered from a lack of development and an inability to correlate visitors and action. This is where Google has excelled and this is why they've dominated the Web Visitor Statistics market - better User Experience.

But one form of conversion tracking has been notoriously elusive - Telephone calls. Web developers around the world are building calls to action on every page - most well designed websites don't make the user click through a minefield of pages to get to a companies contact information (so do intentionally, where they prefer users to create an account and help themselves). And tracking the telephone call conversions has been a huge issue for many SEO's and online mareketeers - with many choosing to avoid it.

Google have suggested a couple of ways to track this on their Analytics Blog - one of them is to use unique telephone numbers (for AdWords, Organic leads etc). However, I think the proposed solutions add cost and possibly raise more questions/issues than they answer:

  • What if you get two phone calls from visitors on your site at the same time?

  • What if the user saves the number and calls back later, when their session is closed?
This has been bugging me (and countless other webmasters no doubt) for years. What we need is a simple, cost-effective and in-session solution. And here at Primary Position, we think we've found it! A conversion tracking system that tracks enquiries inline and keeps the conversion in session, to make it easier to follow where an enquiry was made from.

This procedure is quite simple, but its implementation should be quite powerful, so we've decided to give it away for free. For the next couple of weeks we'll be demonstrating the concept and how it works with a select group of web designers. There'll be no fee or licence costs or anything at all - it will be freely available to the general public during April 2010.

We'll also be listing blog posts about the concept - so please let us know if you review it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Google Snippets - Geo Location and Country Location

One of the many reasons Google Search became so dominant was that it was the first to offer localised searching by default. Yahoo, for example, has always been particularly bad - especially in Ireland. (as do several other ccTLD's) ranks for SEO in "Pages from Ireland only" in a search for SEO! Click here to see that search.

Google is now displaying the country it thinks a site is best fitted too. Geo-Targeting, or associating a website with a country (or more), is a really simple concept. The US-centric nature of the world's biggest search engines for the last 20 years (dominated by Google for the past 8 or 9) has meant that .COM's are often seen as global and previously (before 2004/5) sites ranked regardless of location - which suited most US surfers just fine. Top Level Domains (TLD's : .COM, .NET, .ORG etC) can be assigned to any country and sometimes span more than one. This has often caused a lot of confusion, with many first time webstore owners (and some others) belieing that .COM's (in particular) are global and show up equally everywhere (which really isn't the case)

Having a domain attached to a country makes sense. If you were searching for a plumber, coffee shop, accountant, cinema, online store, having results from other countries doesn't make a lot of sense. Google went further with their Local Business Listings but the new snippet - showing the country or Geo-Target is an interesting development - and one I hope will clear up that misunderstanding.

Having localised sites for your clients ultimately gives the surfer what they want (maybe not the website owner but hey, Google's customer is the user) - so this might be interesting for a lot of people to see.