When StepForth performs a website audit we look at many different aspects of a websites health ranging from onsite factors such as suitable content and site architecture, offsite factors like social media and inbound links, and various performance metrics like bounce rate and crawl errors.

The primary goal of an audit is to uncover any underlying issues that may prevent a site from achieving maximum visibility. A website does not need to be performing poorly in order to benefit from an audit, even strong sites are often missing some pieces that could improve performance once corrected.

Sometimes interesting findings occur accidently when there is an overlap of unique problems occurring on a website. When completing an audit recently a combination of high bounce rates and soft 404’s, along with proper ecommerce tracking, provided clues that a site may be seeing a leak in revenue that could be relatively easy to patch. Read more…

Over the last couple years we have gained some clients that require work done on their Google Analytics account. When we dive into the audit of their account there are many things that we look for right off the bat which will help provide the best information available for their website statistics. These checks will look into whether or not the new asynchronous code is being used, going over the profiles and filters to exclude or manipulate the data, the common scenario of self referred traffic, as well as the goal and ecommerce tracking section of the account. We will look into these troublesome areas that we find with our clients to hopefully help them avoid some of the tracking issues that we have seen in the past.

Read more…

The top web browser at this moment, otherwise known as the browser with the most market share online, is easily found using some really handy and freely available tools which I have listed starting a few lines below. That said, why bother?

What is the use of knowing what browsers are the most popular?

A collage of the 5 web browser logos with the most market share - Internet Explorer, FireFox, Chrome, Safari, Opera

Browser compatibility is usually the reason. You see every website created by a developer worth his/her salt will be cross browser compatible at the time it is launched; meaning it will look great on all of the top browsers at that time. The key point here is “it will look great at that time“; as a site gets older Internet technology does not stay the same and browsers are often upgraded which can leave once decent web sites looking lackluster or possibly broken when viewed in the latest browsers. In addition to enhancements in browsers causing problems, you could also be faced with an entirely new browser in the marketplace gaining massive traction (i.e. Google’s Chrome browser) which happens to render your website in ways you never intended.

TIP: If you are creating a business plan and trying to find out what web browser your  target market will be using then try viewing the browser data on Quantcast.com for a few websites which closely resemble your anticipated website; you may find other information in the reports helpful as well! Quantcast offers this information free but often times the data is estimated and not the most reliable – in those cases either keep looking for a site that is “Quantified” (logo on footer of page) at which point the data will be highly accurate or settle with the data you have.  There are other ways to get this data but I will leave that for another article; contact me if you wish for more details.

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Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Google Analytics Broken

Are you seeing Google Analytics data that is all messed up and makes no sense? We are! The issue was reported briefly yesterday at the Google Analytics Blog, and Google is hard at work trying to resolve the issue.

As of yesterday, for the majority of April, zero visits are being reported when this is just not the case.

If you check your Analytics data, don’t panic! Google will (I assume) get this fixed soon.

What is happening?

Google Analytics BrokenIf I check for statistics for the month of April, viewing “All Traffic” everything looks normal, nothing out of the ordinary…

But next, when I add an advanced segment to show “non-paid search traffic” separately, Google tells me there was zero non-paid traffic up until April 29, then a massive spike with the non-paid surpassing all traffic something that it is simply impossible; (“all traffic” by definition must include “non-paid traffic”).

Interestingly enough, setting the date rage to span anything by April only, seems to deliver completely different results, at least for April 29th. The first 28 days of April appear as zero traffic regardless.

I have checked the Analytics profiles for a number of clients and see this identical issue affecting 100% of them. This is definitely a very odd issue, but I am glad they are working to correct it. Hopefully accurate results are back up to normal soon!

Most savvy site owners have either Google Analytics or some other advanced tracking solution installed on their sites. Google Analytics offers extensive data about your visitors behavior for free which helps explain its immense popularity.

One feature of Google Analytics that is often over looked is Event Tracking. Event Tracking allows webmasters to easily track things such as file downloads, the clicking of external links and video views. Things that was once difficult to track. While the setup can be a bit confusing, viewing the data within Google Analytics couldn’t be easier. Read more…

Tune in to Monday the 16th of August’s episode of SEO 101 on WebmasterRadio.FM where I (Ross Dunn) and my co-host John Carcutt interview Jon Henshaw and Taylor Pratt of Raven Internet Marketing Tools (affiliate link – this article is, however, a legit preliminary review).

In short, Raven Tools can help you with the following:

Website analytics, managing link building campaigns and tracking their success, search engine optimization, social media reputation and campaign tracking, keyword research, and… see more farther on as I outlined the list of features.

The August 16th show will delve into some of the unique (and very cool) reporting options and tracking functionality that Raven has integrated over the years. From discussing how Raven IM Tools has uniquely layered link building reports and ranking reports over top of your overall site analytics (powerful combination!) to learning more about their integration of bit.ly, social mention and other popular metrics providers, this show is well worth a listen. That said, here is a little more about the show and my experience with Raven Tools since we recorded the program. Read more…

Last month Google announced the launch of a secure beta version to help all of those searchers out there who are uber-concerned with security and privacy. The secure version currently only works for standard searches and has not yet been rolled out to image search and other features.

For those who are deep into their analytics, this may have an impact on the data you are analyzing. Today you will likely see little to no evidence of this, but in the future it just may have an impact and start to confuse the heck out of you. Read more…

Simply stated, someone who studies human behaviour and the brain (a Behavioural Neuropsychologist) can help you:

(1) select the best participants for an eye-tracking study,
(2) determine the number of participants required,
(3) design the eye-tracking task to get usable results,
(4) design task instructions, and
(5) understand how study results apply to the target population.

Why Having a Behavioural Neuropsychologist on Your Eye-Tracking Team is a Good Idea

Dr. Philip Michael ZemanI’ve had considerable experience with eye-tracking: constructing an eye-tracker from spare parts, creating calibration procedures, writing analysis software, and using the eye-tracker in multiple studies. Although my background is in engineering, more recently, I completed a PhD combining engineering, biology and psychology to create new tools to study brain activity and human behaviour. Since completing my PhD, I’ve seen my fellow engineers, computer scientists, and web gurus struggle to obtain clear, usable results from the latest and greatest eye-tracking equipment. In my opinion, the crux of their struggles lay in what they don’t know about behavioural neuropsychology– the science examining the relationship between the human brain and human behaviour.  While I can’t quite call myself a Behavioural Neuropsychologist, I have trained with them and can describe some of the gotch-ya’s of behavioural research. This article describes why including someone with experience in the field of Behavioural Neuropsychology on your eye-tracking team is a very good idea.

Tracking Your First Eye

Imagine if you will, that an associate of yours has just lent you an eye-tracker and you’re keen on using it to optimize your web site. You want to know what people are looking at and you want to modify your web site based on this information. To investigate this, you sit a co-worker down in a chair in front of a computer and configure the equipment to track their eyes. Then you display your web site; the eye-tracker shows where they look when various pages appear.  It also shows where you co-worker looks when they stare blankley ahead, confused and perplexed, asking you, “What should I do?”.  eye

Making Eye-Tracking Data Useful

While you might have been able to successfully track a few eyes while people viewed a few web pages, the process of obtaining useful eye-tracking results requires some thought and experience. Considerable thought and experience, actually. My recommendation is that you find someone who has a working knowledge of brain function and has done behavioural research to help you obtain useful data from your eye-tracker. This article is about why this is a good idea.

Let’s assume that your goal is to optimize your web site; to get as many people who arrive on the site to make a purchase, or read about and digest an idea. Without getting into the details of what eye-movement and eye-gaze means, let’s focus on the role of a behavioural neuropsychologist in the design of the actual ‘experiment’ that will help you optimize your web site. Read more…