I was recently interviewed by Media Shower as part of their Expert Interview program. Click here to read the interview and let me know what you think!
Google have recently changed something about their API. This forced us to make some changes on our end, and we also need your cooperation.
If you’re using G. Analytics in your SheerSEO account (advanced and pro accounts only), and you’re not using the integration with G. Webmaster Tools (which overrides G. Analytics data since it is more reliable), then you need to make a little change to keep the integration with G. Analytics working.
In short, we need you to authorize access to our new G. account and notify our system that the change is done.
In more detail:
Step 1 – Share G. Analytics Data with Our User:
a. Users page:
Login to your G. Analytics account, select your domain, and go to “Admin” screen. Find the ”View” column (right most column ) and select “User Management”
b. Add Permission
On the second block, add our email (firstname.lastname@example.org) make sure that the right permission is given and please don’t check the “Notify this user by email”.
If everything is OK, Clicking the “Add” button will immediately add a new row on the block above (users list).
adding google analytics API to SheerSEO software
Step 2 – Notify SheerSEO About the Change
Login to your SheerSEO account and go to “Settings” > “Domain Settings” > “Account Details” screen.
At the bottom of the screen, under the “Google Analytics Activation” section, click the “enable” button.
If everything is OK, the activation section will disappear and the status (marked in green) will change from “disabled” to “active”.
If this didn’t work, you’ll see an error message. Failure will probably be caused because the data sharing wasn’t done properly. If all goes well, you should now be able to go to “Rankings” > “Current” screen and see the “Real Clicks” column.
Google announced this on they blog: “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results”.
What this means for us, the people that take care of the presence of websites in Google’s search results, is that we are forced to make our websites more mobile friendly. I personally hate the idea, since usually being mobile friendly means that the website is stripped from the graphics and the fonts becomes larger. Then, you can’t see all the content in the page in a brief look, and zoom in as I do today. You just see 2-3 paragraphs at a time, and you have to scroll endlessly to see all the content. If I have the option, I always choose to see websites with their regular looks instead. But now, with this recent Google change, most websites will be forced to make those changes.
Anyway, we just launched a new feature that allows you to track websites’ rankings on mobile searches. It could be different then your regular desktop rankings. So now, it is not enough to know how you rank for google. You need to know how you rank also on Google mobile searches. Our new feature enables you to do just that.
Here is how it looks like:
Notice that search engine selection box says “Google Mobile”. So, these are rankings for Google mobile and not the regular rankings you see when the search engine selected is “Google”. You can also see the mobile results in the historical data and of course, as always, you can export the data into PDF and CSV reports.
Now for the costs. The mobile collection doesn’t happen by default. You need to specifically activate it, and it doubles your keywords consumption. So, if you have for example a light license, that is limited to 20 keywords. If you activate the mobile collection, you are limited to 10 keywords. As another example, if you now have 13 keywords with a light license, and you want to activate the mobile collection, you’ll need to either expend your keywords limits (by upgrading the license), or delete some keywords, to be within the 10 keywords limit.
It will show a warning message that you are doubling your keywords consumption. You should confirm. Then press submit. That is it. Your mobile rankings will start being collected and you can see them as described above.
I wanted to check the click through ratios of organic results in Google. As we published before, here: , we do have some kind of idea of the click through ratios based on some data that leaked from AOL a few years ago. Here it is:
But since I never trust anything I didn’t check myself, and sheerseo is unique in having a lot of data regarding both rankings in SERPS, visits from those SERPs and search volume numbers, we are in great position to be able to investigate this information.
So, here is what we got:
The results are based on about 10,000 keywords, taken from hundreds of domains. The data is based on Google Webmaster Tools for the actual clicks (visits). Note that we can’t use Google Analytics since it is no longer reliable for this information as many of the organic keywords information is not counted. The SERPs is based on our rankings collection of data. The search volume per keyword is based on Google Keyword Planner. One note is that I tried to weed out missleading data like the name of the site as a keyword. For example, sheerseo.com would be clicked more than the average click through rate for the keyword “sheerseo”, but this is unfair.
Now, let’s analyze the data.
- You can see that the numbers are lower than the ones we have from AOL. The #1 rank for example, is 26.45% and in AOL it was 42.3%.
- Rank 7 is a little higher than 4-6. Not sure why. Could be just an anomaly in the data we used, but might happen since it is many times at the bottom of the page you first see when you get the results, or the fact that even if you scroll to the bottom, #7 will appear, so it is in the screen no matter how you scroll the page. Just trying to understand it.
- Notice the big drop from #1 to #2. Life is cruel.
- #10 gets less than 20 times the traffic that #1 gets.
- #4-#7 are more or less the same. So, no big deal in investing to promote a result that is #7. On the other side, you don’t want it to drop to #8, which gets just half the traffic of #7.
Now, let’s look at SERPs 11-20:
Not much to say about this. Just the sad fact that those results get a lot less clicks than the ones in first page. All of them are less then 1% click through rate.
Hope you enjoyed this data and hope to hear your thoughts on this.
This is going to be very useful new feature!
If you look at the current rankings screen, you’ll see there is a new column with a graph showing the latest progress for each keyword:
Although there is no new information here, since you could already see this info by going to the historical graph for each keyword (by clicking on the history link), this is an eye opener and very convenient to see all the information at once. Well, at least for me.
Each little graph shows the last 8 or so samples for that keyword. If you want to see more historical information per that keyword, you can click on the history link right next to the keyword (on the left most column), and see the rest of the info.
We’ve just finished replacing the charts. The new charts function the same as old ones, but rely on a different charting API.
There are some advantages to the new charts, and there should be no disadvantages. The advantages are:
- Since the new charts rely on Java Script and not Flash technology, they are much more portable. Flash is not supported in Apple devices for example. We had some solution for that even with the old charts, but now it is the same technology that runs on all platforms which makes it function more consistent, no matter what you’re using to view our website.
- The old charts couldn’t stretch, so the size was fixed even if you needed it change. Now, the new charts adapt to your screen.
- The new charts allow more export formats. Not just PDF, now you can also export the charts to SVG, PNG and JPG formats (images formats).
1. The export now usually works from a button in the upper left side of the chart. See here:
2. The density lists are now pie charts (instead of bar charts). But the data is the same as before. Just different presentation. For example:
We now started supporting localization per zip code in the US.
Since Google now localizes the results not only per country, but also per specific city, or even regions within the city in bigger cities, some businesses need to see how they are doing in the SERPs for those localizations. This is mostly relevant to businesses that target their local people. For example, a coffee shop in Denver needs to know their rank in Google’s results for “coffee shop” when someone searches in Denver, but it is irrelevant for people outside Denver. Same goes for a plumber. He needs to rank only in his local town, and doesn’t expect to be invited from people in other states in the US.
As mentioned, Google can figure out your location (based mostly on your IP), and then serve the results that fit you most.
Now SheerSEO enables you to find how you rank for a specific location based on US zip code (5 digits number). You can either set that from the search terms screen, effecting only specific keywords you need, or can set the default localization for the website and have all added keywords affected by that default.
Let’s start with adding one keyword that is localized per zip code. We go to settings>domain settings>search terms screen, and add the keyword in the format “keyword**us**zip code” (note this only works in the US), for example “seo software**US**01040″. 01040 is the zip code for Holyoke, MA. Then just press submit.
Now, we can see the keyword added with the zip code in the rankings screen:
Note how this result is different from the country level localization rank next to it.
If you know that all of your keywords need to be set to this localization, you can set this as default in the settings>domain settings>account details screen.
Once you set this, you will no longer need to write the “**us**zip code” part when you add new keywords. The localization set in the account details screen will automatically be applied to them.
Note that the default doesn’t effect the keywords you already added before. Only the ones you’ll add after setting the default localization for the website.
Note: if you have a default zip code set, but still want to add keywords that are localized by the country level, you can do that by writing “keyword**US”.
Hope all of these explanations make sense and you’ll like the new feature.
Update – October 29 2014
We now also support this feature for the UK. Same instructions as with the US zip code.
Note that UK zip codes are a mix of letters and digits. For example, NG1 is one of the codes for Nottingham.
Here is an example showing multiple areas for the same keyword rank differently:
I’m happy to announce on our newest feature, called “page optimization”. One of our most common tasks in SEO is to optimize a page for a certain keyword. Usually this involves altering the page to have the keyword in the title & H1 tag, improve keyword density of the keyword in the page. Maybe add it as an alt text to one of the images. Having it in the keywords meta tag and description tag, etc.
So, a typical scenario could be someone who uses SheerSEO and sees that he has a page ranking pretty well for a certain keyword. Next logical step is to make sure the page is well optimized for that keyword.
So, here is one example, taken from our online demo (where we track our own site, sheerseo.com):
We want to optimize in this example the optimization of our main page, http://www.sheerseo.com for the keyword “online SEO software”.
For start, we see an optimization grade on the top that says we get 52/100 for the optimization, so there is some work to be done. Next we look at the table of optimization factors and we can see that while we are doing well for some factors, like accessibility to search engines, we are not doing well for other optimization factors, like having the keyword in the title tag. This is up to us if we like to improve those issues or not. We might want to leave the page as it is since it is currently optimized for more important keywords. If we do want to improve something, we can see the required action on the right most column of the table, and act accordingly. once we have finished the work, we can use the button on the top right to refresh the data. It will go and check our optimization once again. Hopefully, the new check gives a better grade, and we got one less issue to worry about.
This feature, as many others, will only be shown to clients that own the account. Or, in other words, will not be exposed to accounts that are part of an agency account. This way, only the owner of the agency account can use this feature, and his clients will only see the reports like rankings, etc.
As for the limits for each package. Basic packages, light, standard and agencies with basic features, can only perform one test a month per domain. Advanced package accounts (and agencies with advanced features) are allowed 50 tests a month per domain. And finally, professional thin and professional packages (and agencies with pro features) are allowed 100 tests a month per domain.
We’ve launched a new feature this week that allows to compare the rankings of your website between 2 past dates.
This can be useful to see the progress achieved during a work done in the past or simply see the progress over a given time period in the past.
Here is an example:
Note this is done in the rankings>history>all keywords screen. There is a “compare” button on the top right cornet which uses to do this comparison.
By using the export buttons on the bottom of the screen, you can get PDF/CSV exports of this comparison.
Not sure if you are aware of that or not, but recently Google started hiding information regarding the keywords that initiated searches from the sites that the users are going to. Google claims this is for privacy reasons.
Some people think it is an issue with Google Analytics, but it isn’t. No matter which tracking software you use, the same thing happens. You can’t tell which keywords were used to drive people to your site. You only see a fraction of the data, but not everything.
The only way to solve this is to see this information in Google Webmaster Tools.
This is why we decided to integrate Google Webmaster Tools data into SheerSEO!
Before we start explaining how to activate this feature, let’s start by showing what it does.
As you can see, there are 2 new columns in the rankings screen. “impressions” and “visits”.
“Impressions” shows the number of times your site appeared in Google searches for that keyword within the last 30 days. Note that this is different from the “search volume” column figure, since the “search volume” shows the number of times this search was made, regardless if your site appeared in the results.
“Visits” shows the number of times people clicked your site from the Google results for that keyword.
This feature only exists for users with advanced or professional licenses. If integrated, this data replaces the data coming from Google Analytics, which is shown in the “real clicks” column. This is because the “visits” is the same information as the “real clicks”, just more reliable.
How to Activate
To activate this feature you first need to allow us to “view” this information in Google Webmaster Tools. Then, just finish the activation by pressing a button in our system, so we can try to integrate the data.
First, let’s show how to share this data in Google Webmaster Tools. If you don’t use Google Webmaster Tools, you can start to by going here: Google Webaster Tools.
Now, once you have an account at Google Webmaster Tools, login to it and go to the home screen. On the right of each Domain there’s a “Manage site” button; click on it and select “Add or Remove Users”. See here:
Next you should be in the “Users & Site Owners” screen. Click on the top-right button called “ADD A NEW USER”, a new block will opened:
Now, enter our e-mail “email@example.com”, keep the permissions “Restricted” and click “Add”:
That’s it for allowing us to view your data in Webmaster Tools. Now all is left to do is to activate this feature in our settings screen and see if it works.
Login to your SheerSEO account, and go to settings > domains settings > account details screen. At the bottom of the screen you’ll find the activation button. Press it and if all goes well, you’ll see a message that says the integration worked. Now you can see the new columns, “impressions” and “visits” in the rankings screen as shown above.