Adwords Conversions: Importing Analytics Goals – Renaming Error

While trying to set up Analytics goals as conversions in Google Adwords I came across a bug when using the “Import Google Analytics” option and thought I should share in case anyone else has the same problem and is trying to troubleshoot the issue.

This is how it panned out…

We had no unused Goals in any of our Goal Sets in Google Analytics for this particular Analytics Property (website), so to track some conversion events for a new campaign we were doing I renamed and reset some old goals.

Fyi… when importing from Analytics, in the Adwords Conversions “Import from Google Analytics” tab you can’t see your goals in the import list unless they have already been triggered in Analytics by Adwords visits.

I waited till the next day then checked: Adwords > Tools & Analysis > Conversions > Import from Google Analytics. At this point they were showing up in the list with the correct goal names: Stay 15 Seconds, Rebate Download, Click Internal Links.

I clicked on the three goals I was importing, identifying them via their correct goal names, then clicked the big blue “Import” button at the bottom of the screen. However, once they had imported the names reverted back to the previous goal names.

So now on my Google Adwords Conversions screen I see the old goal names, however it is actually the new goal data that is being tracked. This can be confirmed by hovering over the speech bubble under “Tracking Status” for each conversion listed, and by clicking on the linked goal conversion name which takes me to a screen that shows me the webpage url where the Goal is being triggered.

Since we’ve used up all our goals our only choice in the future will be to rename & re-set goals when we want to track new campaigns, so unless Google fixes this it will continue to be an issue every time we want to track Google Analytics goals as conversions in Adwords.

Adwords: Importing Analytics Goals - Renaming Error

“Security Validation Failed” Message – Google Adwords Certification Exam

If you’re reading this, then it’s likely that you are trying to take the Google Adwords Certification Exam and have found that somewhere between registering & before starting the exam, you get the ominous message “Secure Validation Error”. You may also find that you are given the option to select fields (for example, what job functions you serve) but are unable to click inside the fields to make your selection.

Don’t panic! It appears to be a browser issue. Try the following:

1. Close out your browser and start it again.
2. If that doesn’t work, try using a different browser.

It’s that simple.

(You can learn more about Browser Options here.)

We wrote this post because we experienced this mid-exam and it was quite nerve-wracking. Many people seem to be having the same problem so if you have additional information or if this post helped, please leave a comment.

How to: Track Bing and Yahoo PPC in Google Analytics

Google conveniently provides easy integration of Google Adwords data with their Analytics program, allowing you to track results of your Adwords pay-per-click campaigns through Analytics.  If you have sponsored listings on Yahoo, Bing, or any other paid search program, you will have to do a bit of customization in order to supply the same data about these additional PPC (Pay-Per-Click) programs to Analytics.

In order to signify to Analytics that a specific visitor is a paid search visitor, you will need to provide custom destination URLs for your ads – these custom URLs have URL parameters that help Analytics identify details about the PPC campaigns you are running on other search services.  Conveniently, Google has provided a URL Builder Tool, to help create these URLs for you.  Once you start running your ads with new destination URLs, Analytics will automatically collect and display data on visitors who come in to your site from your campaigns.

Viewing paid "Keywords" in Google Analytics shows msn and yahoo PPC traffic.

Viewing paid "Keywords" in Google Analytics shows msn and yahoo PPC traffic.

For example, instead of inputting a destination URL of http://www.ccseo.com/ on a Yahoo! PPC ad, you can use the URL builder tool to generate a URL like this:

http://www.ccseo.com/?utm_source=Yahoo&utm_medium=PPC&utm_content=Ad3&utm_campaign=Local

This URL has 4 added parameters (utm_source, utm_medium, utm_content, utm_campaign), which signal to Google Analytics that incoming traffic from this particular ad originated through Yahoo PPC, come from ad number 3, and from the “Local” campaign.

Effective use of the URL Builder Tool can give you a lot of valuable information about traffic from non-Google paid search sources in Google Analytics, helping you to effectively measure and track the results of your paid search campaigns.

Have you used the URL builder tool? Do you have any questions about using this Analytics feature?

SERPs, what are they and why should I care?

SERPsSERPs are ‘Search Engine Results Pages’ (the pages of search results you see after submitting your search query).

Understanding what kind of content is presented to you in the SERPs, and how it got there, can help you be a more shrewd and savvy searcher.

If you’re a business owner, with or without a website, getting to know what the SERPs have to offer gives you more ways to market your products and services, and maximize your web visibility.

A Google Results Page

Google SERPs ScreenshotAt the end of this post is a large screenshot of a Google search results page with the various parts identified (click on the thumbnail on the left to see it now). It highlights the paid and organic listings, the shopping results and the universal search results, all of which I’m now going to describe in more detail.

Organic vs Paid Search Results

One of the first things you need to know about SERPs is that they usually offer at least two kinds of results, organic search results, and paid search results.

On the left of the SERP you will see the organic listings, which are given the majority of the page space. The term ‘organic’ is used to describe the non-paid search results that are ranked by Google’s calculation of their value and relevance to the search query you’ve entered. The owners of the organically listed websites have almost certainly spent time working on the quality of their content and optimizing their web pages for the search engines.

Paid search listings are placed at the top and right hand side of the page (or sometimes only on the right hand side of the page). These results are labeled ‘Sponsored Links’ and if placed above the organic search results are distinguished by a pastel backround. This is what is known, among other things, as ‘Pay-Per-Click’ advertising. The advertiser has to pay for every click through to their site via one of these paid search results.

So as a web user, when choosing what to click on, it’s important to bear in mind, that the organic results have earned their placement based upon their content. The sponsored listings have paid for their placement.

Universal Search & Google Base

Also, on the left, in the main body of the Google search results pages, you might see some other results from Google’s ‘Universal Search’. These are results Google offers if it’s pertinent to your search query.

For example if you are doing a search on a product, you’re likely to see shopping results at the top of the page listing the product and various prices. These listings come from Google’s ‘Product Search’ database. If you own an e-commerce website you can upload your products and related information, for free, to Google Base for the opportunity to have your product listings show up for related shopping searches.

Google’s Universal Search also includes, when relevant, video results, image results, news results, book results and more.

Local Search: Google’s Local Business Listings

google-local-searchIf you are searching for a service and use a town or city name in your search, then Google will show a map and a list of 1-10 related business listings at the top of the search results page.

As of April 2009, even if you don’t use the town or city name, Google will try to identify your location and show you the local business listings if you type in a location-relevant search term such as ‘restaurants’ or ‘bicycle repair’.

If you’re wondering how Google knows where you are located, you can read more about it here – http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/google-becomes-more-local.html

There are a couple of ways Google gathers content for these listings. They either retrieve the information from other web sources, or the business owners  set up a Google Account and enter their business information via the Local Business Center. This is one of many free services Google provides.

In this post we’ve touched on organic vs paid search, shopping results, universal search and local search and have pretty much covered all of the basics of the Google SERPs page. If you have anything to add or any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Example Google Search Results Page

google-product-search

E-commerce Engines

Many websites give consumers the opportunity to comparison shop; enabling shoppers to compare and contrast products, find the best price and the lowest shipping costs. They also provide store reviews so users can get an idea of whether the online merchant they want to buy from has a reliable track record with goods, shipping and customer service.

As an online merchant you can sign-up with these websites and offer your products through them, thereby increasing your web visibility and enhancing your credibility.

Almost all work on a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) basis, where you only pay for leads (click-throughs) to your site, and your click-through costs vary depending on the product category.

All of them require a data feed which consists of a .txt file formatted to their guidelines that lists your product inventory and related details.

Comparison Shopping & Product Review Web Sites

Yahoo! Shopping

To get your products listed in Yahoo Shopping’s online marketplace, you must sign up for a Yahoo Product Submit account – this can be done by associating this Yahoo service with an existing Yahoo! ID, or by creating a new ID. Yahoo Product Submit is a part of Yahoo Search Marketing, Yahoo’s pay-per-click advertising department, and is a cost-per-click service. You will be charged each time a user clicks to view one of your products in Yahoo Shopping’s large comparison-shopping database.

If you already have a Yahoo! Merchant Solutions account, you can receive a discount on Yahoo! Product Submit, and your products can be automatically submitted to Yahoo! Shopping.

You also have the option to submit your site to Yahoo! Shopping at no cost. If you submit your site, Yahoo’s spiders will crawl your products, but Yahoo! gives no guarantee that your products will be included in the Yahoo! Shopping database. To submit your site fill out this form.

If you are a paying customer you have the option to provide a product feed to Yahoo!, instead of relying on the crawlers to find all of your product information. You will also have control over which products are included in Yahoo Shopping!, and have the ability to change details like prices without having to wait for a new crawl of your site.

Shopping.com

An Ebay company, Shopping.com is one of the web’s leading comparison shopping sites. To have your products listed in the Shopping.com network (including Epinions, DealTime, and AT&T), you must sign up for a Shopping.com Merchant Account. You are then allowed to deposit money into your account, and set your desired per-click price for your products. After you sign up, you will be given the format required in order to submit your product feed to the Shopping.com system. There is a minimum pre-payment of $700.00 in order to start promoting with Shopping.com.

Price Grabber

Storefronts is a service that allows smaller merchants and individuals to list and sell merchandise on PriceGrabber.com without the need for their own websites. It does not have listing fees, but charges a percentage of the sale price, when your item sells.

Merchant Sales – the CPC Merchant Services Program works the same as Yahoo! and Shopping.com in that Merchants pay for click-throughs to their products. Cost-Per-Click is based upon PriceGrabber’s rates table, and varies based on product category. There is a minimum initial deposit of $50.00, and you may be required to pay additional setup fees. You will need to provide a data feed.

Manufacturers – Pricegrabber also offers similar services targeted specifically towards manufacturers.

Pricegrabber offers their services to a global market, with options for US English, US Spanish (Preciomania.com), UK, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, France, and Germany.

NexTag

Much like the previously listed comparison shopping sites, NexTag offers a cost-per-click merchant account, with user-controlled rates (each category has minimum rates). NexTag also implements a product feed for product submission and, “Products can take up to a week to be listed on the site”.

Shopzilla

Like Shopping.com, Shopzilla has a network of comparison shopping sites, including BizRate. Shopzilla uses a cost-per-click system, and requires a fully-refundable $50 initial deposit. You can sign up for Shopzilla Business Services to get started. Shopzilla offers an on-site product listing manager, and accepts product feeds.

Amazon

Amazon.com offers product placement on their extensive online catalog, with a percentage based referral fee charged when you sell an item. 3rd party sales are currently restricted to a subset of Amazon’s category listings. Amazon charges a $39.99 monthly service fee to list products in their catalog. Amazon allows sellers to add their products through an online interface, a desktop software application, or inventory files.

Google Product Search

Formerly Froogle, Google Product Search offers a free product listing service which is tied into Google Base. Google does not charge for inclusion of your products in their database. Submission of single items is available on the product search website, as well as the option to include a data feed.