Small Business SEO

“Search marketing has grown in popularity as online search continues to evolve from a novelty to a standard feature in our everyday lives. Almost every business in the country, big or small and regardless of industry, has some kind of web presence, and everybody is competing for only a handful of positions at the top of search-engine results pages (SERPs).

Since larger companies — mega-corporations such as Walmart or Home Depot — already have millions of inbound links, decades of content, and a recurring base of online visitors, it’s no wonder why they generally appear in the top ranking positions when people search for commercial products. Regardless of what industry you’re in, you’ll always have at least one competitor who has been around longer and has tried harder than you have (allocated more budget and resources) to building their visibility on the web and in search engines.

So how can you, a small business with limited experience and resources, compete with that level of online domination?

Thankfully, search-engine optimization (SEO) is no longer about sheer volume. It’s not about who’s been on the web the longest, who has the most inbound links, or even who has the biggest library of great content. It’s about which page or website is the most relevant for the searcher. Knowing that, there are several strategies you can implement that can give you the edge over the bigger, badder competition.

1. Specialize in a niche.

One of the best things you can do as a small business is give yourself a niche focus. Instinctively, you might think that the better option for search visibility is to cover as many areas of expertise as possible. For example, if you work in heating, cooling, plumbing, roofing, construction and a dozen other home improvement topics, you’ll be able to appear in search engines for queries related to any of those keywords.

However, if you’re trying to take down your biggest competitors, it’s better to take more of a niche focus. Having several areas of specialization gives you relevance for a wide range of keywords, but your relevance for each of them is somewhat low. If you pour all your effort into one or a small handful of keywords, you’ll be able to achieve a much higher visibility.

For example, if you specialize in indoor plumbing, you might miss out on limited visibility for all those other home improvement keywords, but you’ll be the best in indoor plumbing.

2. Engage in a long-tail keyword strategy.

Long-tail keyword strategies try to accomplish a similar goal. In niche specialization, you sacrifice minimal relevance in a large volume of topics for maximum relevance in a much smaller volume of topics. With long-tail keywords, you’ll be sacrificing minimal ranking potential with highly popular keywords for maximum ranking potential with less popular keywords.

Long-tail keywords are extended phrases Google looks for, such as “tips for installing a toilet in an upstairs bathroom” instead of the much shorter, more popular “toilet installation.” Ranking highly for long-tail keywords is much easier than ranking high for shorter keywords, so even though they bring in less traffic, they’re still more valuable for small businesses to go after.

Fortunately, optimizing for long-tail keywords is easy. You can research ideal long-tail keywords to go after using Webmaster Tools, or you can just publish lots of great content — long-tail keyword phrases tend to appear naturally in the course of your writing. For further information on identifying and using long-tail keywords, see “The Rise of the Long-Tail Keyword for SEO” and “How to Find Long-Tail Keywords Once You’ve Identified Your Primary Keywords.”

3. Leverage locality for optimization.

Another way to beat the competition is by targeting a much more local audience. Local search is becoming more relevant and more important, so in today’s context, being the best barber shop in Houston is far better than being an OK barber shop on a national scale.

Even if your business does operate on a national (or international) level, you can still capture a niche market share and edge out your competition in at least one key area by optimizing for a specific local area. In this section, I’ll introduce a handful of specific strategies you can use to build your reputation and relevance in your given city.

Event attendance and community building. Get your name out there by getting involved in the community. Attend major events whenever you can, such as fairs, festivals or community gatherings. This will give you two opportunities: First, you’ll immediately generate more business simply by being at the event and offering discounts or promotions to event attendees. Second, and more importantly for SEO, you’ll have the opportunity to brag about your attendance online.

Post excellent content on your website, using local-specific keywords, about your company’s attendance, and syndicate a press release about the opportunity for some high-authority and local-specific inbound links. This is one of the easiest ways to generate publicity and build some local-optimized content simultaneously.

Local reviews, on directory and aggregation sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor, have become essential for local SEO. With Google’s Pigeon algorithm update earlier this year, Yelp and similar sites received a huge boost in priority. Now, sites with large volumes of positive reviews rank higher than similar sites with few or negative reviews. In fact, Yelp’s importance has increased so much that, in some cases, Yelp profiles are actually ranking higher than the official pages of the companies they represent.

What this means for small businesses is a new, key opportunity to jump in the rankings without worrying about producing content or building links. Instead, you can focus on cultivating strong, positive reviews from your customers. While Yelp explicitly forbids compensating your reviewers, or asking customers directly for reviews in any way, you can still encourage more reviews with Yelp stickers and occasional call-outs with a link on your social-media profiles.

Hyper-local content. Local search is getting more local, and taking advantage of that incoming trend could be the opportunity you need to crush a larger competitor — especially if that competitor operates in the same city as you.

Google is getting better at identifying and categorizing neighborhoods within a broader city, so you can take local search a step further by using neighborhood-specific keywords instead of just city and state names. Your potential success is determined by how Google views your neighborhood boundaries, so do some research before you begin.

4. Personalize your social engagement.

Aside from local search optimization, you can also increase your chances of overcoming steep competition by stepping up the “personal” factor in your brand strategy. Large businesses tend to lose a portion of their personalities once they hit a certain point in their growth, but being small and nimble gives you the advantage of giving each follower a more personal, humanized experience.

Nurture your following on social media, and you’ll attract more posts and followers, and the bigger and more active your social-media presence is, the higher you’ll rank in Google.

5. Become a recognized, authoritative content publisher.

Building brand awareness, loyalty, trust and credibility requires frequent and quality content publication. Most companies utilize an on-site blog to publish content, while others produce and distribute ebooks, webinars, podcasts, videos and other forms of content through various other channels.

The keys to building your brand through a content strategy are quality and consistency. Maximize the reach of each piece of content you publish to maximize your return on investment, and be consistent with your publication schedule so you start to become recognized as a dependable authority.

Conclusion

There’s no shortcut to rise to the top of the search engine rankings, especially when there’s a massive competitor lingering on the scene. But with a strategy that leverages your geographic location and your agility, you can selectively overcome your competitors in specific key areas.

Give yourself the best odds by narrowing your topic and keyword focus and increasing your location-specific relevance. You might not rank for as many keywords as the bigger players, but you will be able to surpass them in relevance for your chosen focal points.” 

JAYSON DEMERS – Founder and CEO, AudienceBloom

Google Apps

Google Apps for Work

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Google Apps for Work
Google-Apps-For-Work.png
Developer(s) Google Inc.
Platform Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides,Sites and Vault.
Type Office suite and Cloud Computing
License Trialware (Retail, volume licensing, SaaS)
Website Official website (US)
Official website (UK)

Google Apps for Work (formerly Google Apps for Business) is a suite of cloud computing productivity and collaboration software tools and softwareoffered on a subscription basis by Google.

It includes Google’s popular web applications including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, Google Calendar, and Google Docs.[1] While these products are available to consumers free of charge, Google Apps for Work adds business-specific features such as custom email addresses at your domain (@yourcompany.com), at least 30GB of storage for documents and email, and 24/7 phone and email support.[2] As a cloud computing solution, it takes a different approach from off-the-shelf office productivity software by hosting customer information in Google’s network of secure data centers,[3] rather than on traditional in-house servers that are located within companies.[4]

According to Google, more than 5 million organizations around the world use Google Apps, including 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies.[5]

History

  • February 10, 2006 – Google launched a Gmail for Your Domain test at San Jose City College, hosting Gmail accounts with SJCC domain addresses and admin tools for account management.[6]
  • August 28, 2006 – Google launched Google Apps for Your Domain, a set of apps for organizations. Available for free as a beta product, it included Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, and the Google Page Creator which was replaced with Google Sites. Dave Girouard, then Google’s vice president and general manager for enterprise, outlined its benefits for business customers: “Organizations can let Google be the experts in delivering high quality email, messaging, and other web-based services while they focus on the needs of their users and their day-to-day business.”[7]
  • October 10, 2006 – An edition for schools, known as Google Apps for Education, was announced.[8]
  • February 22, 2007 – Google introduced Google Apps Premier Edition, which differed from the free version by offering more storage (10GB per account), APIs for business integration, and a 99.9% uptime service-level agreement. It cost $50 per user account per year. According to Google, early adopters of Google Apps Premier Edition included Procter & Gamble, San Francisco Bay Pediatrics, and Salesforce.com.[9]
  • June 25, 2007 – Google added a number of features to Google Apps, including mail migration, which allows customers to transfer existing email data from an IMAP server.[10] A ZDNet article noted that Google Apps now offered a tool for switching from the popular Exchange Server and Lotus Notes, positioning Google as an alternative to Microsoft and IBM.[11]
  • October 3, 2007 – A month after acquiring Postini, Google announced that the startup’s email security and compliance options had been added to Google Apps Premier Edition. Customers now had the ability to better configure their spam and virus filtering, implement retention policies, restore deleted messages, and give administrators access to all emails.[12]
  • February 26, 2008 – Google introduced Google Sites, a simple new Google Apps tool for creating intranets and team websites.[13]
  • June 9, 2010 – Google launched Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, a plugin that allows customers to synchronize their email, calendar, and contacts data between Outlook and Google Apps.[14]
  • July 7, 2010 – Google announced that the services included in Google Apps—Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Talk—were no longer in beta.[15]
  • March 9, 2010 – Google opened the Google Apps Marketplace, an online store for third-party business applications that integrate with Google Apps, to make it easier for users and software to do business in the cloud. Participating vendors included Intuit, Appirio, and Atlassian.[16]
  • July 26, 2010 – Google introduced Google Apps for Government, an edition of Google Apps designed to meet the public sector’s unique policy and security needs. It was also announced that Google Apps had become the first suite of cloud applications to receive Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification and accreditation.[17]
  • April 26, 2011 – Nearly five years after the launch of Google Apps, Google announced that organizations with more than 10 users were no longer eligible for the free edition of Google Apps. They would have to sign up for the paid version, now known as Google Apps for Business. A flexible billing plan was also introduced, giving customers the option of paying $5 per user per month with no contractual commitment.[18]
  • March 28, 2012 – Google launched Google Apps Vault, an optional Electronic discovery and archiving service for Google Apps for Business customers.[19]
  • April 24, 2012 – Google introduced Google Drive, a platform for storing and sharing files. Each Google Apps for Business user was given 5GB of Drive storage, with the option to purchase more.[20] Observers noted that Google had now entered the cloud storage market, competing with players like Dropbox and Box.[21]
  • December 6, 2012 – Google announced that the free version of Google Apps would no longer be available to new customers.[22]
  • May 13, 2013 – Google increased the Drive storage quota for Google Apps customers. Google combined the 25GB on Gmail and 5GB on Drive, increasing it to 30GB total per user that can be used across all Apps products including Gmail and Google Drive.[23]
  • March 10, 2014 – Google launched the Google Apps Referral Program, which offers participating individuals a $15 referral bonus for each new Google Apps user they refer.[24]
  • June 25, 2014 – Google announced Drive for Work, a new Google Apps offering featuring unlimited file storage, advanced audit reporting, and new security controls for $10 per user per month.[25]
  • September 2, 2014 – Google Enterprise, the company’s business product division, was officially renamed Google for Work. “We never set out to create a traditional ‘enterprise’ business—we wanted to create a new way of doing work,” explained Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman. “So the time has come for our name to catch up with our ambition.” To reflect this larger change, Google Apps for Business was renamed Google Apps for Work.[26]
  • November 14, 2014 – In the free edition of Google Apps secondary domains are not supported. The free edition of Google Apps only supports domain aliases.[27]

Products

The range of Google Apps for Work products and services comprises Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Hangouts, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Forms, Google Sites, Google+, and Google Apps Vault. With the exception of Google Apps Vault,[28] all are included in the basic plan, which costs $5 per user per month or $50 per user per year. A premium package, Drive for Work, includes Google Apps Vault plus unlimited storage is available for $10 per user per month.[29]

Gmail

Launched in a limited rollout on April 1, 2004, Gmail is now the most popular web email service in the world.[30] It became open to all consumers in 2007. As of June 2012, 425 million people use Gmail, according to Google.[31]

The free consumer version of Gmail is supported by text ads related to the contents of people’s email messages.[32] Popular features include 15GB of free storage, threaded conversations, robust search capabilities, and an app-like interface.[33]

While similar to the free version, Gmail in Google Apps for Work adds a number of features designed for business users.[34]

These include:

  • Custom email including the customer’s domain name (@yourcompany.com)
  • 99.9% guaranteed uptime with zero scheduled downtime for maintenance[35]
  • Either 30GB or unlimited storage shared with Google Drive, depending on the plan
  • No advertising
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook[34]

Google Drive

Google’s file storage and synchronization service was released on April 24, 2012,[36] at least six years after rumors about the product first began circulating.[37] Google’s official announcement described Google Drive as “a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff.”[36]

With Google Drive, users can upload any type of files to the cloud, share them with others, and access them from any computer, tablet, or smartphone. Users can easily sync files between their computer and the cloud with a desktop application for Mac and PC. This app puts a special folder on their computer and all changes made to files sync across Drive, on the web and across devices. The consumer version of Google Drive includes 15GB of storage shared across Gmail, Drive and Google+ Photos.[38]

When offered as part of Google Apps for Work, Google Drive comes with additional features designed for business use. These include:

  • Either 30GB or unlimited storage shared with Gmail, depending on the plan
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Sharing controls that keep files private until customers decide to share them
  • Advanced audit and reporting[39]

Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms

Google Apps includes online editors for creating text documents or document file format, spreadsheets, presentations, and surveys.[40] The set of tools was first released on October 11, 2006, as Google Docs & Spreadsheets.[41]

Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms work within any web browser or on any web-enabled mobile devices. Documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and surveys can be shared, commented on, and co-edited in real time. Additional features include unlimited revision history that keep all changes safe in one place and offline access that lets people work on their documents without internet connection.[42]

On June 25, 2014, Google introduced native editing for Microsoft Office files in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.[43] Echoing similar remarks in other articles, a Mashable journalist wrote, “Google is clearly positioning its apps as a more affordable solution for companies that need to occasionally edit Office files.”[44]

Google Sites

Introduced on February 28, 2008, Google Sites allows people to create and edit web pages even if they are not familiar with HTML or web design.[45] People can build sites from scratch or with templates, upload content such as photos and videos,[45] and control access permissions by choosing who can view and edit each page.[46]

Google Sites launched as part of the paid Google Apps suite but soon became available to consumers as well. Business customers use Google Sites to build project sites, company intranets, and public-facing sites.[47]

Google Calendar

Designed to integrate with Gmail, Google’s online calendar service launched to consumers on April 13, 2006. It uses the iCal standard to work with other calendar applications.[48]

Google’s online calendar is an integrated online, shareable calendar designed for teams.[49] Businesses can create specific team calendars and share them company wide.[50] Calendars can be delegated to another person to manage a specific calendar and events.[51] People can also use Google Calendar to see if meeting rooms or shared resources are free, and add them to events.

Helpful features of Google Calendar include:

  • Share calendars with teammates and others to check availability
  • Overlay teammates’ calendars into a single view to find a time when everyone is available
  • Use the mobile app or synchronize with the built-in calendar on mobile devices
  • Publishing of calendars to the web, and integration into Google Sites
  • Simple migration from Exchange, Outlook, or iCal, or from .ics and .csv files
  • Book shared rooms and resources[50]

Google Hangouts

On May 15, 2013, Google announced that a new text, voice, and video chat tool would replace its Google Talk, Google Voice, and Google+ Hangouts services.[52] Known as Google Hangouts, it allows up to 10 people for the consumer version and up to 15 people for the work version to join conversations from their computer or mobile device.[53] Participants can share their screens, and view and work on things together.[54] The Hangouts On Air service lets people stream live broadcasts to Google+, YouTube, and their websites.[55]

The version of Hangouts included with Google Apps for Work[56] supports up to 15 participants, and administrators can choose to restrict Hangouts to only people on the same domain, limiting the access of external participants.[57]

The Hangouts app keeps messages stored online in Google’s cloud, and offers an option to toggle off history if people want to go off the record.[58] And the Google+ integration saves every photo people share with each other in a private, shared album on Google+.[58]

On July 30, 2014, Google announced that all Google Apps customers will have access to Hangouts, including those without a Google+ profile.[59] Google also partnered to integrate with other video chat providers – likeBlue Jeans Network and Intercall.[60] Google also announced that Hangouts is covered under the same Terms of Service as other Google Apps for Work products like Gmail and Drive. Apps for Work customers also get 24/7 phone support for Hangouts, 99.9% guaranteed uptime, and ISO27001 and SOC 2 certification.[61]

On December 19, 2014, Google announced via Google+ post that they brought back one of the most requested features for Hangouts in Gmail. The Apps admins have control to keep status messages to be only visible internally.[62]

Google+

Google’s social networking service, Google+, launched on June 28, 2011, in an invitation-only field trial.[63] Observers declared it Google’s latest attempt to challenge social giant Facebook.[64] While Google+ has since overtaken Twitter to become the world’s second largest social network after Facebook,[65] it has been criticized for disappointing users and failing to generate referral traffic.[66]

On October 27, 2011, Google announced that Google+ was available for people who use Google Apps at college, work and home.[67]

On August 29, 2012, Google announced that after receiving feedback from business customers that participated in a pilot program, they tailored Google+ features for organizations. These features include private sharing within organizations and administrative controls that restrict the visibility of profiles and posts.[68]

On November 5, 2013, Google added an extra layer of security for restricted communities that could only be joined by people in an organization. Administrators have the option to set restricted communities by default and choose when people outside of the organization can join.[69]

Google+ as a business network received mixed reviews from having features that help small businesses get noticed online[70] to confusing people over its branding[71] to being an important player in social marketing strategy for businesses.[72] Many online articles emphasize that having a Google+ presence helps businesses with their Google search result rankings since Google+ posts and shares are immediately indexed by Google.[73]

Google Apps Vault

Google Apps Vault, an archiving and eDiscovery service exclusively available to Google Apps customers, was announced on March 28, 2012.[74] Vault allows customers to find and preserve email messages that may be relevant to litigation. It also helps them manage business data for continuity, compliance, and regulatory purposes.[75] As of June 25, 2014, Vault customers can also search, preview, and export Google Drive files.[76]

Google Apps Vault is included as part of Drive for Work with unlimited storage, available for $10 per user per month.[77]

Pricing

When prospective customers sign up for Google Apps for Work, they get a free 30-day trial for up to 10 users.[78] After the trial, they may choose either an annual plan at $50 per user per year or a flexible plan at $5 per user per month or $60/year. Both plans are billed on a monthly basis.[29]

With the flexible plan, customers have the option of adding unlimited storage and Google Apps Vault for a total monthly cost of $10 per user. For organizations with fewer than five users, storage is capped to 1TB per user with this option.[29]

Security

Google has stated that they do not own the customer’s data. The data is stored in Google’s data centers, and access is limited to select employees and personnel.[79] They do not share data with others, will only keep data as long as required by the customer, and customers can take the data if they migrate off Google Apps.[80]

Google Apps offers enterprise-grade security and compliance, including a SSAE 16 / ISAE 3402 Type II, SOC 2-audit, ISO 27001 certification, adherence to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles, and can support industry-specific requirements like Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).[81] Google claims that spam blockers are integrated into Google Apps with built-in virus checking and checking of documents before allowing users to download any message.[79]

Google ensures that all files uploaded to Google Drive are encrypted, and that every email people send or receives are encrypted while moving internally between data centers.[82] In a blog post, Google for Work stated that they offer strong contractual commitments to protect customer’s information and does not show advertisements or scan customer information for advertising.[82]

Usage

Google Apps claims that over 5M businesses are using their tools, either the free or the paid version.[83] According to Google for Work President Amit Singh, 60% of Fortune 500 companies are using Google for Work services.[84] Customers range across industries around the globe including Uber,[85] AllSaints,[86] Buzzfeed,[87] Design Within Reach,[88] Virgin, PwC[89] and more. Many of the customers using Apps are featured on the Apps customer page.[90]

Google Resellers and Referrers

Google has an ecosystem of resellers that help prospects get up and running on Apps. The Partner directory helps people find partners. On March 10, 2014, Google launched a referral program, that gives referrers $15 for every person who signs up.[91] This program initially debuted for anyone based in the US and Canada. The fine print of the referral program shows that people can refer an unlimited number of customers, but they’re rewarded for each referral customer’s first 100 users.[92]

On December 4, 2014, Google introduced the Google for Work and Education Partner Program which helps partners sell, service and innovate across Google for Work and Education suite of products and platforms.[93]

Google Apps Marketplace

The Google Apps Marketplace launched in 2010 is an online store with business-oriented cloud applications that augment Google Apps functionality.[16] The Marketplace lets administrators browse for, purchase, and deploy integrated business-oriented cloud applications. It is available for Google Apps, Google Apps for Work, and Google Apps for Education.[94]

Developers can also develop apps on the Marketplace, and sell apps and services in the Marketplace.[94] On March 6, 2014, Google shared that Google Apps customers have added over 200M installs from the marketplace since the launch of the Marketplace in 2010.

On September 17, 2014, Google released a blog post that employees can install third-party apps from the Marketplace without involving administrators.[95]

Online Reviews

Google Apps has received many positive reviews online with an average of 4-5 stars on a 5 star scale.[96] Reviews praise Google Apps for its competitive pricing, all-inclusive suite offering, easy setup, and working well across devices.[97] Some negative reviews point out that Google Apps, Google Presentations and Google Documents lack the same level of features that provide professional-looking documents made in Powerpoint and Microsoft Word.[97]

Competitive Section

The key competitor to the Google Apps suite is Microsoft Office 365—Microsoft’s cloud-based offering for businesses that includes similar products. Online reviewers vary as to which is the better offering. Reviews note that Google Apps and Microsoft 365 are similar in ratings but very different in features.

The key differences are in the pricing plans, storage space and number of features. Microsoft 365 tends to have a greater number of features than Google Apps, but many of them often go unused.[98] Google does not release revenue or user figures, making it hard for reviewers to compare Google Apps success to that of Microsoft Office.[99] As of October 2014, Microsoft has 7M customers for the Office 365 product and grew by 25% in the last quarter.[100] Microsoft also announced that it is giving away unlimited storage to customers who buy the cloud version of Microsoft Office 365.[100]

There are currently no startups competing with Google Apps suite because the cost to compete on one product, like email, is too high and the revenue opportunity is hard.[100]

With Google Apps’ new SKU, Apps with Unlimited Storage and Vault, Google Apps has attracted new competitors – Box, Dropbox and OneDrive.[101]

Related Products

Google Apps for Work is part of many other products within Google’s products for work.[26] These include Google Cloud Platform, Google Search for Work, Google Maps for Work, Google Chrome for Work.[102]

See also

References

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  64. Jump up^ “Facebook’s Newest Challenger: Google Plus”. NPR.
  65. Jump up^ “Here Is The Little-Known Way Google Juices User Traffic On Google+”. Business Insider.
  66. Jump up^ “Google Plus: three years old and still failing as a social network”. ZDNet.
  67. Jump up^ “Google+ is now available with Google Apps”. Google.
  68. Jump up^ “Private conversations with restricted Google+ communities”. Google.
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  70. Jump up^ “Seven Ways to Use Google+ at Work”. PC World.
  71. Jump up^ “Google+ Is Now An Enterprise Social Network? Who Knew?”. Forbes.
  72. Jump up^ “5 Reasons Why Your Business Still Needs Google+”. Business 2 Community.
  73. Jump up^ “3 Ways Google+ Helps Your Business”. Business 2 Community.
  74. Jump up^ “Google Apps Vault Brings Information Governance to Google Apps”. Google.
  75. Jump up^ “Google Apps Vault gets targeted legal holds to let organizations keep specific information in emails”. The Next Web.
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  77. Jump up^ “Google Apps for Work Pricing”.
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  79. ^ Jump up to:a b “Google Apps for Work Security”. Google.
  80. Jump up^ “Security and privacy from Google Apps for Work”. Google.
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  82. ^ Jump up to:a b “Data security in 2014: Make it more difficult for others to attack and easier for you to protect”. Google.
  83. Jump up^ “When Google Apps Fails at being a User Directory”. Google.
  84. Jump up^ “Google Reboots Its Business Software Operation as ‘Google for Work’”. Wired.
  85. Jump up^ “Working on the go gets easier with Google and Uber”. Google.
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  90. Jump up^ “Google Apps for Work Customers”. Google.
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  94. ^ Jump up to:a b “Google Apps Marketplace overview”. Google.
  95. Jump up^ “Google Apps Marketplace: to administrators and beyond”. Google.
  96. Jump up^ “Spcieworks Google Apps”. Spiceworks.
  97. ^ Jump up to:a b “Can Google’s online offering deliver the tools you need to get things done?”. Tech Radar.
  98. Jump up^ “10 comparisons between Google Apps and Office 365”. Tech Republic.
  99. Jump up^ “Google to offer schools, students unlimited storage for free”. CNet.
  100. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Microsoft Just Made Its Google Apps Killer Much More Attractive”. Business Insider.
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  102. Jump up^ “Google for Work solutions”. Google.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Google Analytics
Google Analytics logo
Web address www.google.com/analytics
Slogan Turning data insights into action
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
web analytics
Registration Required
Owner Google
Launched November 2005
Current status Active

Google Analytics is a freemium web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.[1] Google launched the service in November 2005 after acquiring Urchin.[2] Google Analytics is now the most widely used web analytics service on the Internet.[3]

History

Google acquired Urchin Software Corp. in April 2005.[2] Google’s service was developed from Urchin on Demand. The system also brings ideas from Adaptive Path, whose product, Measure Map, was acquired and used in the redesign of Google Analytics in 2006.[4] Google continued to sell the standalone, installable Urchin WebAnalytics Software through a network of value-added resellers until discontinuation on March 28, 2012.[5][6]

The Google-branded version was rolled out in November 2005 to anyone who wished to sign up. However due to extremely high demand for the service, new sign-ups were suspended only a week later. As capacity was added to the system, Google began using a lottery-type invitation-code model. Prior to August 2006 Google was sending out batches of invitation codes as server availability permitted; since mid-August 2006 the service has been fully available to all users – whether they use Google for advertising or not.

The latest version of Google Analytics tracking code is known as the asynchronous tracking code,[7] which Google claims, is significantly more sensitive and accurate, and is able to track even very short activities on the website. The previous version delayed page loading and so, for performance reasons, it was generally placed just before the </body> body close HTML tag. The new code can be placed between the <head>...</head>HTML head tags because, once triggered, it runs in parallel with page loading.

In April 2011, Google announced the availability of a new version of Google Analytics, featuring multiple dashboards, more options of custom reports and a new interface design.[8] This version was later updated with some other features such as real-time analytics and goal flow charts.[9][10]

Features

Integrated with AdWords, users can now review online campaigns by tracking landing page quality and conversions (goals). Goals might include sales, lead generation, viewing a specific page, or downloading a particular file.

Google Analytics’ approach is to show high-level, dashboard-type data for the casual user, and more in-depth data further into the report set. Google Analytics analysis can identify poorly performing pages with techniques such as funnel visualization, where visitors came from (referrers), how long they stayed and their geographical position. It also provides more advanced features, including custom visitor segmentation.

Google Analytics e-commerce reporting can track sales activity and performance. The e-commerce reports shows a site’s transactions, revenue, and many other commerce-related metrics.

On September 29, 2011, Google Analytics launched Real Time analytics.[11]

A user can have 50 site profiles. Each profile generally corresponds to one website. It is limited to sites which have a traffic of fewer than 5 million pageviews per month (roughly 2 pageviews per second), unless the site is linked to an AdWords campaign.[12]

Google Analytics includes Google Website Optimizer, rebranded as Google Analytics Content Experiments.[13][14]

Google Analytics Cohort analysis feature helps understand the behavior of component groups of users apart from your user population. It is very much beneficial to marketers and analysts for successful implementation of Marketing Strategy

Technology

Google Analytics is implemented with “page tags“. A page tag, in this case called the Google Analytics Tracking Code is a snippet of JavaScript code that the website owner adds to every page of the website. The tracking code runs in the client browser when the client browses the page (if JavaScript is enabled in the browser) and collects visitor data and sends it to a Google data collection server as part of a request for a web beacon.[15]

The tracking code loads a larger JavaScript file from the Google webserver and then sets variables with the user’s account number. The larger file (currently known as ga.js) is typically 18 KB. The file does not usually have to be loaded, however, due to browser caching. Assuming caching is enabled in the browser, it downloads ga.js only once at the start of the visit. Furthermore, as all websites that implement Google Analytics with the ga.js code use the same master file from Google, a browser that has previously visited any other website running Google Analytics will already have the file cached on their machine.

In addition to transmitting information to a Google server, the tracking code sets first party cookies (If cookies are enabled in the browser) on each visitor’s computer. These cookies store anonymous information such as whether the visitor has been to the site before (new or returning visitor), the timestamp of the current visit, and the referrer site or campaign that directed the visitor to the page (e.g., search engine, keywords, banner, or email).

If the visitor arrived at the site by clicking on a link tagged with Urchin Traffic Monitor (UTM) codes such as:

http://toWebsite.com?utm_source=fromWebsite&utm_medium=bannerAd&utm_campaign=fundraiser2012

the tag values are passed to the database too.[16]

Limitations

In addition, Google Analytics for Mobile Package allows Google Analytics to be applied to mobile websites. The Mobile Package contains server-side tracking codes that use PHP, JavaServer Pages, ASP.NET, or Perl for its server-side language.[17]

However, many ad filtering programs and extensions (such as Firefox’s Adblock and NoScript) can block the Google Analytics Tracking Code. This prevents some traffic and users from being tracked, and leads to holes in the collected data. Also, privacy networks like Tor will mask the user’s actual location and present inaccurate geographical data. Some users do not have JavaScript-enabled/capable browsers or turn this feature off. However, these limitations are considered small—affecting only a small percentage of visits.[18]

The largest potential impact on data accuracy comes from users deleting or blocking Google Analytics cookies.[19] Without cookies being set, Google Analytics cannot collect data. Any individual web user can block or delete cookies resulting in the data loss of those visits for Google Analytics users. Website owners can encourage users not to disable cookies, for example, by making visitors more comfortable using the site through posting a privacy policy.

These limitations affect the majority of web analytics tools which use page tags (usually JavaScript programs) embedded in web pages to collect visitor data, store it in cookies on the visitor’s computer, and transmit it to a remote database by pretending to load a tiny graphic “beacon“.

Another limitation of Google Analytics for large websites is the use of sampling in the generation of many of its reports. To reduce the load on their servers and to provide users with a relatively quick response for their query, Google Analytics limits reports to 500,000 randomly sampled visits at the profile level for its calculations. While margins of error are indicated for the visits metric, margins of error are not provided for any other metrics in the Google Analytics reports. For small segments of data, the margin of error can be very large.[20]

Performance concerns

There have been several online discussions about the impact of Google Analytics on site performance.[21][22][23] However, Google introduced asynchronous JavaScript code in December 2009 to reduce the risk of slowing the loading of pages tagged with the ga.js script.[24][25]

Privacy issues

Due to its ubiquity, Google Analytics raises some privacy concerns. Whenever someone visits a web site that uses Google Analytics, if JavaScript is enabled in the browser, then Google tracks that visit via the user’s IP address in order to determine the user’s approximate geographic location. (To meet German legal requirements, Google Analytics can anonymize the IP address.[26])

Google has also released a browser plugin that turns off data about a page visit being sent to Google.[27][28] Since this plug-in is produced and distributed by Google itself, it has met much discussion and criticism. Furthermore, the realisation of Google scripts tracking user behaviours has spawned the production of multiple, often open-source, browser plug-ins to reject tracking cookies.[29] These plug-ins offer the user a choice, whether to allow Google Analytics (for example) to track his/her activities. However, partially because of new European privacy laws, most modern browsers allow users to reject tracking cookies, though Flash cookiescan be a separate problem again.

It has been anecdotally reported that behind proxy servers and multiple firewalls that errors can occur changing time stamps and registering invalid searches.[30]

Webmasters who seek to mitigate Google Analytics specific privacy issues can employ a number of alternatives having their backends hosted on their own machines. Until its discontinuation, an example of such a product was Urchin WebAnalytics Software from Google itself.

On Jan. 20, 2015, the Associated Press reported in an article titled: “Government health care website quietly sharing personal data” that HealthCare.gov is providing access to enrollees personal data to private companies that specialize in advertising. Google Analytics was mentioned in that article.[31]

Support and training

Google offers free Google Analytics IQ Lessons,[32] Google Analytics certification test,[33] free Help Center[34] FAQ and Google Groups forum[35] for official Google Analytics product support. New product features are announced on the Google Analytics Blog.[36] Enterprise support is provided through Google Analytics Certified Partners.[37]

APIs for third-party application support

The Google Analytics API[38] is used by third parties to build custom applications[39] such as reporting tools. Many such applications exist. One was built to run on iOS (Apple) devices and is featured in Apple’s app store.[40] There are some third party products that also provide Google Analytic based tracking.[41]

Popularity

Google Analytics is the most widely used website statistics service,[3] currently in use on around 55% of the 10,000 most popular websites.[42] Another market share analysis claims that Google Analytics is used at around 49.95% of the top 1,000,000 websites (as currently ranked by Alexa).[43]

Google Analytics is used by 66.2% of the 10,000 most popular websites ordered by popularity, as reported by BuiltWith in August, 2013.[44] In May 2008, Pingdom released a survey stating that 161 (or 32%) out of 500 biggest sites globally according to their Alexa rank were using Google Analytics.[45][46]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “Get the Power of Google Analytics: Now available in Standard or Premium, whatever your needs are Google Analytics can help.”. Retrieved 2012-04-08.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b “Our history in depth”. Google. Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b “Usage of traffic analysis tools for websites”. W3Techs. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
  4. Jump up^ Official Google Blog: Here comes Measure Map
  5. Jump up^ Muret, Paul (January 20, 2012). “The End of an Era for Urchin Software”. Google Analytics. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
  6. Jump up^ Muret, Paul. “The End of an Era for Urchin Software”. Google Analytics. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
  7. Jump up^ “Asynchronous Tracking Code”.
  8. Jump up^ “The New Google Analytics Available to Everyone”.
  9. Jump up^ “Introducing Flow Visualization: visualizing visitor flow”.
  10. Jump up^ “What’s happening on your site right now?”.
  11. Jump up^ http://analytics.blogspot.com/2011/09/whats-happening-on-your-site-right-now.html
  12. Jump up^ Google Analytics Help: Does Google Analytics have a pageview limit?
  13. Jump up^ “Website Optimizer”. Google. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
  14. Jump up^ Tzemah, Nir. “Helping to Create Better Websites: Introducing Content Experiments”. Google Analytics Blog. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  15. Jump up^ “Google Developers Tracking Code Overview”.
  16. Jump up^ “Google Analytics: UTM Link Tagging Explained”.
  17. Jump up^ “Google Analytics for Mobile package”.
  18. Jump up^ EU and US JavaScript Disabled Index numbers + Web Analytics data collection impact
  19. Jump up^ “Increasing Accuracy for Online Business Growth”. – a web analytics accuracy whitepaper
  20. Jump up^ “Segmentation Options in Google Analytics”.
  21. Jump up^ Does Google Analytics Slow down page loading?
  22. Jump up^ Google Analytics Code is Slowing Down My Site
  23. Jump up^ Is Google Analytics Slow or Not?
  24. Jump up^ Google Analytics Launches Asynchronous Tracking
  25. Jump up^ Making the Web Faster
  26. Jump up^ “Tracking Code: The _gat Global Object”. Google. January 24, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  27. Jump up^ Albanesius, Chloe (May 25, 2010). “Opt Out of Google Analytics Data Gathering With New Beta Tool”. PC Magazine.
  28. Jump up^ “Greater choice and transparency for Google Analytics”. Google. May 25, 2010.
  29. Jump up^ “The NoScript Firefox extension provides extra protection for Firefox, Flock, Seamonkey and other mozilla-based browsers”.
  30. Jump up^ Greenberg, Andy (December 11, 2008). “The Virus Filters”. Forbes.
  31. Jump up^ http://bigstory.ap.org/article/31490a20926d4ed3b98ff2d0ed8fc81d/new-privacy-concerns-over-governments-health-care-website
  32. Jump up^ Google Analytics IQ Lessons
  33. Jump up^ Google Analytics certification test
  34. Jump up^ Google Analytics Help Center
  35. Jump up^ Official Google Analytics product forum
  36. Jump up^ Official Google Analytics Blog
  37. Jump up^ Google Analytics Certified Partners
  38. Jump up^ Google Analytics API
  39. Jump up^ Google Analytics Applications
  40. Jump up^ “Analytics by Net Conversion”.
  41. Jump up^ Google Analytics Tracking for API
  42. Jump up^ “Google Biz Chief: Over 10M Websites Now Using Google Analytics”. TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
  43. Jump up^ “Google Analytics Market Share”. MetricMail. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
  44. Jump up^ Google Analytics Usage Statistics
  45. Jump up^ “Google Analytics dominates the top 500 websites”. Pingdom. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
  46. Jump up^ “Image Google Analytics terms”.