Tag Archives: Feedburner
Worried that Google may know too much if you use Google Analytics? Relax. Google already has great data.
I spy with my little eye…
When Google Trends for Websites launched, Google Analytics Evangelist Avinash Kaushik noted it (and Google Ad Planner) might have a searcher’s bias. If one accepts that this might have been the case in 2008, it is highly unlikely to be the case today, when one considers the multiple ways Google can track internet usage. The list which follows aims to illustrate this point. I put it together as a response to clients who were hesitant to use Google Analytics as for whatever reason, they were reluctant to let Google to know everything about the use of their websites.
The reality is that resistance is futile: through services like Google Search, the Google Tool Bar and the Google Public DNS, Google already knows a lot about most websites.
Several Italian SEO practitioners have noted seeing Google search results with snippets about double the normal length1.
Google’s query result snippet (the result summary or description) is usually around 150 characters or so. It may be the contents of a page’s html meta description tag, especially if the tag contains the search keywords, or an abstract created by Google from the page’s content.
I hadn’t seen this behavior in English language Google results until I made a very specific search where I used more than the typical 2 or 3 keywords seasoned searchers type. Searching for google feedburner mybrand server not found (no, Google’s feedburner migration did not go smoothly) I noticed that the 4th and successive results had super long descriptions – around 300 characters or so:
Two significant impediments have historically hindered the uptake of Web Analytics by businesses. The first has been cost. Professional Web Analytics systems have been fairly expensive, both in server and hosted forms. The second issue has been the great quantity and complexity of available reports in commercial systems, sufficiently intimidating many business professionals away from Web Analytics.
Google’s Google Analytics
Google, with their release of Google Analytics in November 2005, removed the first obstacle, cost, by releasing the first free “full featured” Web Analytics system. Previous free tools, such as AWStats, lack robust visitor recognition and click stream analysis, among other things. Yet a significant obstacle still remained to general Web Analytics usage: how to find the “important” data, without getting lost in a sea of confusing and often redundant reports? In May 2007 Google released an updated Google Analytics with a significant focus on the user interface, specifically as a response to this need.
Expats in Italy need to stay on top of professional and daily happenings locally while still engaging in the wider world. This task is made difficult by the vast quantity and quality of resources available in English (my native language), as exemplified by the BBC. Unfortunately, their Italian equivalents, such as the ad-infested public broadcaster RAI, just can’t compete for my attention.
It doesn’t get much easier on the web marketing front. The primary search engines in Italy are the US based Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft Live and Ask, sometimes found in their rebranded skins: Arianna (enhanced by Google) and Virgilio (listed by Google as a customer). Inevitably, most of my web marketing reading is English language centric.
As a side note, Google commands a percentage of the market in most western markets that most politicians can only dream of. Yet the search market remains very dynamic and innovative.