Hacked and Completely Unaware

I just got back from a trip to sunny Southern California where I was staying just a few blocks away from the magic of Disneyland at an Air BnB.

That’s where I met Doug Kroll, a chiropractor from Hawaii and naturally, because I am a huge SEO nerd, we started talking about websites. He told me about his property management site and how it needed some work, so I started poking around looking at his site.

A lot more under the surface (Finding Nemo ride at Disneyland)

Like the Finding Nemo ride I would take my daughter on the next day, there was a LOT more under the surface.

The Power Of the Site: Query

Since the first few steps that I always take on my site audits is to see what Google knows about a site I ran a site:http://url query. (Just type site: and then your full url) This lets me see fairly quickly if all the pages are properly getting indexed.

Doug’s Lexington rental property site had just 7 total pages. So when Google showed me this, my heart leapt into my throat.




While those first few pages look fine, there’s just 7 URLs. Is there some weird tag issue going on here? I click to page 4.

Those are some nasty URLs

Those are some nasty URLs

Uh oh. Mission control, we have a problem.

Where URLs were redirecting

Where URLs were redirecting

It’s Offical: The Site Has Been Hacked

I did a couple Google searches around the domains being referenced and redirected. I found several articles about WordPress script inject and htaccess redirect hacks. Bingo. That just about fits the bill.

Digging Deeper

Once I told Doug about the problem, I had him update all his credentials and run an antivirus scan on his laptop. Then my second step was to login to Google Webmaster Tools, once Doug gave me access as a user.

Here's the index climbing higher and higher from bogus pages.

Here’s the index climbing higher and higher from bogus pages.

It looks like around 10/24 the hack occured based on the increasing amountof those bad URLs were being indexed from that date onward.

The Good News: Search Traffic was not yet impacted

The Good News: Search Traffic was not yet impacted

However, it looks like Google has not yet sent any messages, added a malware warning or penalized the site’s indexation, ranking, or traffic for their brand.

Well...It does look like Google does see the content though

Well…It does look like Google does see the content though

Well, Google definitely is seeing the spam content keywords, so that’s not good. Isn’t it interesting that this level of spam injected into a site is not causing a penalty, at least not an obvious one yet?

Let’s Clean This Up!

Since the injection involved the HTACCESS file, and the site was so small I suggested to Doug that we just scrap the whole site instead of try to dig out all of the bad files. With his consent, I called up the hosting company and killed it with fire and started a brand new WordPress site on a fresh server.

That’s about where I am in the process. I got permission from Doug to post about the hack, and thought I’d put out an open line for suggestions since the next step is dealing with the aftermath. Here’s my first thougts on next steps:

  • Already had client update his email UN/PW, Hosting UN/PW and run a malware check and antivirus scan on his laptop.
  • Add a 410 for the /script/ urls.
  • Mark those now 500 Errors in Google Webmaster tools as fixed.
  • Add in an extra WordPress security plugin – (Thinking about Securi).

What do you think? Have you dealt with a hacked site of your own or for a client recently? What would you do next?

Social Media Management Tips for Conferences


Running social for a conference is a TON of work, and the stakes are high. How a conference’s social team interacts with attendees can have a huge impact on their experience and memories of the event. A lot of planning is necessary and there are things you can do to make the process easier for both you and attendees.

I am going to break down some steps you can take if you are running social for a conference or an event that will include social interaction.

Before the Conference

There is a ton of social media prep work needed before a conference begins, and even before you start advertising for it. You essentially need to train your attendees, and potential attendees, on where and how to interact with you. You also have to make sure you provide them with lots of helpful information, and this means you have a lot of data to gather and schedules to create.

Choose a Social Media Platform

You need your conference attendees to use one platform for communications and checking for updates. Plus, for your own sanity’s sake one platform is a good thing. There are going to be issues that arise and you do not want to be focusing on 3-4 networks at a time. I am just going to recommend Twitter because I have personally managed Twitter accounts for conferences and it is easy to use, schedule shares, track and monitor during a conference.

Notify Your Audience

Make it clear which social platform you will be using in the months before the conference. Mention it in newsletters and marketing; let people know how to find you if they need something long before the conference begins.

Hashtag Creation

HashtagThere needs to be an easy-to-remember hashtag for people to use. It shouldn’t be too long or deviate too much from the title of the conference. You need people to remember it and use it.

Start using the hashtag in marketing before you sell tickets. Basically you want to start grooming people to remember, or at least recognize, the hashtag. It should be included in all emails, marketing and ticket sales. You should also be requesting that speakers and attendees use this hashtag often.

This hashtag will help your social manager monitor needs and handle questions before and during the conference; it is best to get everyone using the hashtag as early as possible.

Tweet Planning & Blogging

You can eliminate a lot of the same questions during a conference by educating your attendees ahead of time. I have seen as many as 500 tweets every 3 minutes during conferences and it is not easy to sift through all the tweets to answer questions.

Trust me when I say that you want to provide people with the information they do not even know they need before the conference begins.

Here is a list of tweets you can share ahead of time:

  • Conference times – Registration, keynotes, breakfast and end of day. Create a blog post and tweet it. People can save it or save the blog post.
  • Buses / shuttles – When do they start running and when do they stop, for each day? This is another blog post!
  • Items needed – What will people regret not having? At PubCon Vegas the number one thing people recommend is a sweater because the convention center is so cold, and yes this has been blogged about. Every year you will see new attendees tweet about how cold it is and how thankful they are that they have a way to keep warm. Help new attendees bring whatever will enhance their conference experience – money, power cords, drinks, a jacket, backpack, etc. #blogit
  • Important events – Let people decide the weeks before the conference which events they want to attend – educate them on their options. Breakfasts, keynotes, lunches, after parties, etc. (Yes, another blog post.)
  • Survival Tips – What do people need to know about getting to the conference, the hotel, restaurants, airports etc? Give attendees as much information ad you can to make their experience better.
  • Who is Speaking? – Let attendees and potential attendees know who is speaking and what they will be speaking about. It is really great to include a URL with more information on these sessions as well.

IMPORTANT – IF attendees have a less stressful conference because of the details you provide the overall memories of the conference will be more positive. Those positive feelings increases the odds of them returning!

Choose Social Tools

Long before a conference begins your team needs to test social tools that could make your life easier. Just a couple of things to consider:

  • How will you schedule tweets? Will your tool allow you to easily change the schedule or cancel it in an emergency?
  • Will you have complete access via mobile?
  • How will you monitor tweets to both the conference handle and those including the conference hashtag?
  • How will you keep a record of important tweets?
  • Which tool will allow multiple people to use it simultaneously?

Think about what your needs are and find tools that will enhance your ability to do your job. I personally like Buffer for scheduling.

Crisis Management Planning

Things go wrong. This is just a part of life, but if you have plans in place a crisis can end fast. Before the conference your team needs to brainstorm about all the things that could go wrong and things that have gone wrong in the past.

Create a plan on how you will handle each situation and make sure everyone working at the conference is aware of the plan. The best way to handle a conference crisis is to have plans in place.


  • Who will the team contact for each situation? Who is assigned to specific situations?
  • How are things fixed? What tools, programs, rooms, etc. do team members need access too?
  • How will team members get access to the things they need?
  • When – how long will fixes take and who will notify the social team to notify attendees?
  • How will the social team handle inappropriate tweets or behavior?
  • How will on-site emergencies be handled?

During the Conference

I handled social for one conference and the plan was 8 hours of work a day. What I discovered was that 8 hours was nowhere close to enough. I scheduled tweets for the early morning and late evening hours, but soon realized I had to be around to answer questions that resulted from the tweets. Instead of working 8am-5pm it was more like 6:30am-12am. Attendees would be tweeting questions from the bar at 11:30pm. It would have been impossible to handle/monitor social while also attending the conference.

Plan to work long hours and be very tired, but you can make things easier for yourself. I have a few tips I hope will help.

Be Ready To Answer All Questions

Conference attendees will reach out to the conference for answers for a crazy range of questions. You need to be prepared to answer as many as you can and find answers when you don’t have one.

Things I have on hand when conferences start:

  • A list of times for every session and conference event.
  • All times/dates for shuttles, eating times and free drinks.
  • The Twitter handle for every speaker at the event.
  • Links to as many speakers’ Slideshare accounts as possible.
  • A list of conference events and businesses in the expo locations.
  • List of after parties and locations/addresses for parties.
  • Phone numbers for conference employees needed for emergencies and other issues.
  • Important after-conference dates – when will Slideshares be available, videos, etc. be available.
  • Contact info for taxi companies.

Things to Share

Pretend you are the attendee of the conference; what would you need to know? You need to plan on sharing information that the attendee needs. Also, keep in mind that with traveling, late nights, meeting new people and attending the conference people can’t remember everything. Help them as much as possible.

  • Remind people of shuttle times in the morning, afternoon and the following day’s shuttle times. Make sure they can get to and from the hotel.
  • Share info about lunch.
  • Remind people about special events at the conference – keynotes, expo events, book signings etc.
  • What items will be needed?
  • If your conference has one track then it is okay to share the beginning of each session. If you have multiple tracks sharing each session will get too confusing for people.
  • If there are traffic issues or anything that could delay people from getting to the conference on time share the info early with them.

Things to Monitor

If you are monitoring social during a conference there are quite a few things you need to look for and be prepared to handle.

Conference Problems

If computers, projectors or wifi is not working in a particular session/room you need to be able to reach out to someone quickly to get it fixed. Above I mentioned having phone numbers on hand and you will need them when something isn’t working. <- It happens.

People tend to tweet when there is a problem and if you have some strategies in place for how each problem will be handled then problems can be fixed quickly.

Also, be understanding with frustration from attendees when something goes wrong. Remember, they paid to be there and you want them to pay to come back. Be kind and validate their feelings.

Inappropriate Tweets

InappropriateThis is where things really need to be handled delicately. Not everyone will agree with speakers and not everyone will like every speaker. In fact, some people are just not happy ever. If you are managing social for a business or an event you have to be prepared to interact with unhappy folks in a way that validates their feelings and also protects whoever you are working for.

If you see someone attacking a speaker you need to try and encourage the person to talk to one of the conference employees about their thoughts, talk to you via phone/email and/or try to encourage them to not say things that could hurt the feelings of others. Believe it or not, when you approach things with kindness and discuss the feelings of others people tend to back down.

However, there will always be those that won’t stop. Offer to communicate via DM, email or phone. Get them out of the public eye as fast as possible by telling them you are really interested in their feedback and would like to speak with them personally. You will need to take notes and pass this info on to conference administrators.


If there is a lot of positive or negative about a particular session or speaker you want to keep notes on it. A lot of positive feedback on a speaker means the conference will want them back; make note of it. If there is a lot of negative feedback you need to contact conference administrators so they can address it and/or be prepared for complaints.

Tweets to Keep

You want to keep a record of tweets so when the conference is over you can review them and see what was done right, what was done wrong, what conference administrators missed and who your evangelists are. I create a spreadsheet with the tweet’s URL, the comment and the handle. I place them in different categories. Keep in mind that you can use some of these tweets for marketing later.

What I Keep a Record Of:

  • Humor – These are the best tweets and can be used in a hundred different ways.
  • Complaints – All of these need to be reviewed with your team after the conference and many will need to be addressed with the conference attendee that complained.
  • Positive Feedback – It is always great at the end of a conference to read the positives and make sure you keep the appreciated strategies, speakers and events for the next conference.
  • Problems – Wifi problems, computer problems, behavior problems, temperature problems – what could be improved for your next conference?
  • Images – The images that attendees share during the conference and in night-time hours are really fantastic. They can give conference throwers a ton of insight and ideas for better future conferences (Before you use an image reach out and ask for permission first, and credit them for the usage).
  • Mistakes Made – Any mistakes made by the conference, the social team or mistakes in published information – these need to be reviewed later.


If you see a really nice or funny tweet I recommend you retweet it. People like to see that someone appreciated their tweet enough to share it, especially the conference itself. Remember, a positive experience and memories can result in great blog posts later and re-attendance.

After the Conference


As the conference is coming to a close I think it is always wise to reach out to those that have been super positive, funny and/or supportive and thank them for their involvement. You can do this on Twitter, via email and/or with a thank you gift.

Conference administrators need to sit down with the social team as soon as possible and review the feedback received. It is better to reach out to people that are upset and address any issues before the person gets home and blogs about why they are upset.

Positive feedback and humorous tweets are a great way to end the conference for everyone. For those that worked to throw the conference the positive and funny information can make them feel like all their hard work was worthwhile. You can also create recap posts for attendees and closer to the next conference you can retweet the great stuff to show people why they should attend.

Lastly, when the next conference is coming up all the data you have saved is a great review to help everyone know what they want to repeat and what they need to avoid. To conference administrators, when the conference is over give your social team a pat on the back. It is truly exhausting work.

Google Analytics Audit – Conversions, Goals & Ecommerce

This is part 2 of my Google Analytics Audit. The first part focused on the code and settings in Analytics. I thought the topic area of conversions and conversion metrics should have it’s own in-depth review so I got in touch with a couple of experts to help give us some helpful perspectives on the topic. So let’s get started!

Events: Things Worthy Of Awareness

Nuclear bomb being dropped? Important event.

Yea. That was important.

Don’t overuse events – they have limits and also can wrongly be used to track  things which are already tracked in Analytics. However, Events should be used to track specific actions that are part of campaigns or can otherwise help identify valuable conversions.

Leveraging Ecommerce Data

Mike Arnesen of Swellpath has some great insights on how to leverage this data that’s sometimes left “on the table.”:

In auditing your analytics, it’s important to look beyond the basics. Ensuring correct implementation of the core analytics tracking code, turning on demographics data, and setting up event tagging/firing are all great essentials, but what other opportunities are there for your site? If you haven’t taken a good deep look into Google’s Enhanced Ecommerce features, you’re really missing out. The name is a bit of a misnomer, because this incredible feature set isn’t exclusively for Ecommerce sites; it can be applied to virtually any type of business (but that’s a whole post unto itself).

What Enhanced Ecom gives you is better insight into the customer journey towards that ultimate conversion event, the purchase. You can even identify specific segments of customers based off of where they dropped out of the funnel. Similar to paid campaigns, you can also track product impressions on category pages and tout/carousel/CTA impressions on your homepage and see CTR inside of GA for your own site. That data can then allow you to optimize your virtual merchandising!

Other great features of Enhanced Ecommerce include being able to track affiliate codes more effectively, see your own coupon code data in your GA reports (see how coupon codes influence revenue generation), and drill down into product attribution.You can even track how many times specific products were added to or removed from you Cart.

Overall, Enhanced Ecommerce is a huge opportunity to level up your analytics and get some serious insights about your customers and their journey.

Having A Goal In Mind

Vintage Mugshot

I had a goal of using this vintage mugshot in my next blog post, success!

It’s surprising just how often I have opened up analytics on a clients site and found no goals. The ultimate sin. If you’re investing any time and effort into building a digital presense, then you should definite have your fingers on the pulse of your website.

  • Take a soul searching afternoon or hold a meeting to determine what conversions look like for your business and then match that to the data you can get from your website. Most often conversions are actual sales or leads that turn into sales. If you’re driving PPC traffic to something, then you definitely should have a goal configured.
  • Beware of forms that don’t send users to the next page, you will have to configure an event for the form submission and set that as a goal vs. the usual process of making a destination URL the linchpin of the goal. The other option would be to change that form type and have it send that traffic to a trackable destination page!
  • If at all possible, add in a goal value so you can use the “Page value” metric.

Connecting Goals To Conversions

Michael Mcdougald the internet Marketing Director of  Commercial Door & Frame Distributors has a lot of imput on not just looking at goals but thinking strategically about Conversions:

With each conversion, it’s important to know where it came from, what they did within the process and what the value of that conversion is to your organization. Then this information should guide strategic changes to increase the conversion rate. Here are two key areas to improve your analytics.

Funnel Tracking
Many conversions don’t happen immediately, but instead require multiple steps, leaving room for a user to start, but not finish a conversion path. By tracking each step as a sequence, a webmaster can gain insight as to where a user stops engaging the website, and try experimenting fix this.

For example, a purchase may happen over several pages from cart, to shipping, to the credit card page. A survey will have a page for each question. Each of these steps is a potential fall off point for a user to leave before finishing. What if you knew that 50% of users left the survey after being asked their household income? Maybe you could then reword the question or add an option to leave it blank.

Conversion Value & Lifetime Value

One of the mistakes most marketers make when comparing their conversion rate to their PPC or marketing costs is simply looking at their “cost per lead.”  While it’s helpful to know this metric, it can sometimes lead to making bad business decisions if you first don’t understand what a customer is worth to your organization. While in some instances a customer may only buy once, many companies will often gain repeat business from the same customer. If at all possible, it is best to compare your cost/conversion against the lifetime value of a customer. By assuming a conversion is a one time event, you might find yourself missing opportunities to gain more loyal higher value customers. Especially when a customer “lifetime” can be anywhere from several months, to as long as 30yrs.

Let’s compare two scenarios:

1. Single Lead Customer View

Assuming one in four leads yields a single customer making one $100 purchase yielding a $40 profit, but costs $15 for each lead, one might assume a loss of $20 per sale.

2. Lifetime Value Customer View

Assuming again that one in four leads yields a single customer making an initial $100 purchase yielding a $40 profit, but costs $15 for per lead, the cost for the initial customer was $60. But in this case the customer repeated that purchase each month for a year. That customer then brought a $420 profit.

By considering the lifetime value of a customer, marketers can then work to create new long term customers and not simply drive one time sales. Happy repeat customers are not only more likely to make larger and more frequent purchases, they are also good for the business reputation often leading to valuable referrals.

Since calculating the lifetime value can be tricky, here’s a great link from KissMetrics explaining how to do it using starbucks as a case study: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/how-to-calculate-lifetime-value/

Here’s how to set up both a funnel and assign a conversion value. Under the admin panel, go to the “goals” section. There you’ll find the ability to turn on goal “value” and also turn on “funnels.”
This value should be carful considered based on the conversion type. In our example the potential value of each lead would be 1/4 the lifetime value, or $105. Next set up the funnel by clearly naming each step for reference later and add the url for each step in the process. Use names like “Credit Card Page” or “Household Income” rather than “Step 2” or other potentially confusing labels.

After the conversions have been tracked over a few days, take a look at “funnels” in the conversions tab and you will be able to see step by step where customers are falling off.

Hopefully this second piece of the audit will help you get the most out of Google Analytics. What other areas of analytics do you struggle with managing? Let me know in the comments!

How to Format Your ‘Now Provided’ Report – Part 1 [VIDEO]


Many of you have tried out of new Now Provided report. If you haven’t the Now Provided report pulls together AuthorityLabs ranking data, Google Analytics data, and a few other data points to show you how many pages are receiving organic traffic and a list of the keywords that those pages rank for.

Now the million dollar question. After setting up the Now Provided report, how do I analyze this awesome data? I’m glad you asked! I made a dashboard that looks at the top landing pages and with four different types of conditional formatting, depicts the data in an easily readable way.

If you need to quickly format your data I also made a template with the formatting in there.

Step 1 – Export

Go into your AuthorityLabs account and export the Now Provided report with the icon in the top right corner.


Your CSV should look like this. I turned it into a raw data tab and saved it off as an excel workbook.


Step 2 – Count Your Results

I counted how many keyword results of the landing pages. Then I grabbed the top five to analyze. Make sure to copy over each of these top 5 tables into new sheets. We’ll need to use them later.


I grabbed the 100 keyword results for the home page and plopped that into it’s own sheet.

Step 3 – No Baggage

I got rid of the metrics from landing pages like users, sessions, and bounce rate. We’ll be analyzing those metrics in the next tutorial. For now, the metrics I’m focusing on are specific for the keywords. To do this quickly, click on the Column B and drag the selection over to Column E, hit the delete key or right-click and select Delete.


 Step 4 – Format as a Table

I selected all the data, but all you have to do is click inside the data set and then go up to Home > Format as Table. I also turned off the gridlines, I know, shocking. :) View > Gridlines.


Step 5 – Start the Pretty Parade

Under Home > Conditional Formatting > Icon Sets > Stars. I also put them in Reverse Order for the position rankings.


Step 6 – Two Cells Run into a Bar

Select all of the columns that you want data bars for and then go into Home > Conditional Formatting > Data Bars. To change the color of the Data Bars go to More Rules and change the color and even add a gradient.


Step 7 – 80% Percent of Pretty Data is Formatting

I changed the formatting at H and I. I changed the formatting from general to percentage.


Go ahead and change the CPC value to a monetary one.


Step 8 – Can’t Take the Heat

Another great conditional formatting option is the Color Scales. 


I changed the Lowest Value to a green and the Highest Value to a red. To do this go to Manage Rules > Color Scales > Minimum: Green | Maximum: Red.


Step 9 – Raising the Bar

The last formatting option was for the Search Volume metric. It’s under Icon Sets too and it’s one of my favorites for an overview snapshot.


 Step 10 – Copying the Formatting Over

Now that we’ve finished the formatting for the Homepage table, let’s share the love. To do this, navigate to one of the other top 5 landing pages. I put mine into different sheets to formatted them more easily. Then format the data set as a table.


Step 11 – Spread the Colors

Next, grab the first line of the formatted table and paste it onto the first line of your unformatted data series. When you paste the values a small drop down menu will appear with Paste Special options. Select the one that is Paste > Formatting only.


 Step 12 – Complete the Rainbow, Taste the Rainbow

After that, select the small green + sign located at the bottom right of the first row and drag down to copy the row. Now, select the same option to Fill Formatting Only.


Step 13 – Spread the Cheer

Make sure to copy this formatting process over to the other top 5 landing pages.


Step 14 – Consolidate Your Winnings

After collecting 5 sheets of formatted tables, I put them all into one sheet and labeled it Dashboard. That way you can scroll easily and see how each of the keywords would benefit your site in specific ways.


Step 15 – Viola!

Grab a cocktail, sit back, and enjoy the rainbow of pretty data you just created. :)




Google Analytics Audit – Deployment and Settings

It has always surprised me that the most freely available and useful tool that Google provides to website owners, Google Analytics, is so often incorrectly deployed on my client’s sites. Here’s a quick DIY Analytics Audit that you can run through for new client sites or your own small business website to make sure you’re getting the most out of this free resource from the Big G.

Correct Code Deployment

Go to your site, right click and view the source. (If you’re using Safari then go to Settings and enable Developer tools to get this option). Do a search for UA to find the segment of code where your Google analytics has been deployed.

  • Are there multiple copies of the same UA code? Then there’s a possibility of getting duplicate traffic.
  • Are there multiple different UA codes? Then you’re sending traffic to multiple profiles. This may have happened if  a 3rd party set this up Analytics before.
  • Are you in control of the profile? Again if you had a 3rd party set this up, then a UA with a higher # on it indicates a number of other profiles are on it and it may belong under another agency. You should check the User section of your analytics and make sure you’re the primary administrator.
  • Does your entire site have Google Analytics code? You can check for GA code across your site with this tool, a custom setup in Screaming Frog, or in Raven Tools Site Auditor.

Legacy vs. Universal

You can track subdomains with universal Google Analytics code
Next look at the code and see if it’s using analytics.js or ga.js. If the code is using ga.js then it’s an older implementation and you should consider updating to Universal analytics. You can get some cross sub-domain tracking abilities as well as other features. However, it’s not something you do without a gameplan. Kane Jamison of Content Harmony explains:

“So, this guide is a pretty clear rundown of the caveats I have for UA migration – if you have a vanilla account you’ll be ok, but if you have tons of custom tracking, you need a gameplan. For me the clues would be lots of event tracking, or any ecommerce setup, or other custom elements other than the basics like URL-matching goals.

Once you see any of those custom elements, there needs to be a migration gameplan in place. It’s still worth doing and you’ll have to do the UA upgrade eventually anyways, but you can’t just press the button and expect it to function the same.
On a sidenote, if you’ve planned everything well, this is also a good time to switch to Tag Manager. Rather than rebuilding tons of custom event firing tags and hard coding them into the page templates, you can set up id tags and other elements that can get tracked by GTM. It adds a layer of complexity for sure, but if you have an experienced analytics person doing the migration then they’ll probably want to do this as well for the convenience it offers.”

Demographics Data – Who Are These Visitors?

Who wants to see sailor moon pictures

Ever wondered who wanted to visit your Geocities website shrine for Sailor Moon? Well Google gives you some access to those demographic details.

  • Add a simple line of code to your deployment to get access to this data. (For Universal analytics the code is: ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);
  • If you’re using Yoast’s WordPress Analytics, then click on the Advanced tab, and check the box demographics.

Enhanced Link Attribution: Who Clicked Which Link

If you have a link to the same destination multiple times on your page then you might be confused when using Inpage analysis in Google Analytics to understand your visitor’s behavior because it will use the same % of traffic for each instance. You can fix this with Enhanced Link Attribution.

  • ga(‘require’, ‘linkid’, ‘linkid.js’);  <– Add that to your analytics code
  • If you’re using Yoast, then click the Advanced tab and add it to the Custom code section. (Dear Yoast, please add this as a checkbox feature. Also, if anyone knows if there’s a problem with this method please let me know so I can update this section)

Filter Out The Crap Traffic

Coffee grounds in a pile of coffee filters

Filter out the useless and let through the tasty goodness.

If your client is habitually visiting their site, clicking every single page then that will quickly skew your traffic stats if you do not have filters in place.

Bot Filtering in Google analytics
  • Check the box to exclude hits from spiders and bots
  • Get IPs from the client (Tell them to Google “What is my IP“)
  • Add your own IP and anyone else who might visit the site who you work with professionally.

Site Search – Who Looked For What?

Did You Set Up Site Search

Hey, wouldn’t it be useful to know if people were looking for that blog post you wrote about DIY Site Audits? Well, you’re not going to know unless you set up this awesome feature. You can then use your own visitors to determine what content would be worthwhile for you to create.

Integration is Great…ion

Awesome Mix Vol 7

Hard to make a mix tape if you only have one album. Get all the data you can!

You can connect your Google Analytics to Adwords, Webmaster Tools and some 3rd party tools. I STRONGLY recommend you take advantage. You get extra layers of data like treemaps and search queries which you can connect to your conversion data.

Presenting Your Audit Findings

Often when you’re doing an audit you can just flip these switches and toggles and get these things fixed right away. Other times there’s a client to convince, an administrator to convince or developer to task. Here’s a handy template for presenting your analytics audit findings.

I’ll be creating a follow-up post on Google analytics to review Events, Goals and Conversions if you were wondering why I didn’t include them here. Let me know if there are any other “must check” sections of Analytics in the comments!

Site Audit: Indexing Tips & Tricks with Screaming Frog [VIDEO]

Knowing how to do a site audit is an extremely useful tool for any marketer. But if you’re like me, intimidation can creep in big time while starting these audits. I’m here to help with that! I pulled several key points from Annielytics’ Site Audit Checklist and from Jeremy Rivera’s Simple DIY Site Audit post. Thank you for the inspiration, guys!

I also use Screaming Frog to crawl the sites and sitemaps. If you haven’t downloaded Screaming Frog… do ett. If you don’t know how to use it, there’s a tutorial for that.

Now, let’s dive in! You can get the full tutorial here:

If you don’t have 10 mins to watch me talk, no problem. Here’s the step by step walk-through:

Audit Magic

Like I said above, this site audit checklist is a dreamboat. Annie Cushing gave it to the marketing industry as a gift and there are about 10 viewers on it at any given time. Craziness.


Yo’ Checklist

I grabbed a few check list items to walk-through and take the intimidation out of them. I compared a few different sites: Modcloth, Adored Vintage, and (#theoneandonly) Screaming Frog. And I color coded them … duh.

  • Is there a robots.txt?
  • Is there a sitemap?
  • Are there errors in their robots.txt file?
  • Are their sitemaps clean?

Want to follow along? Download this audit checklist.


Now that we got that all set up. Let’s get down to business.

Step 1 – Check for Robots.txt

Go to the domain homepage and type in /robots.txt. Not sure what a robots.txt file is?

“A robots.txt file is a text file that stops web crawler software, such as Googlebot, from crawling certain pages of your site. The file is essentially a list of commands, such Allow and Disallow, that tell web crawlers which URLs they can or cannot retrieve. So, if a URL is disallowed in your robots.txt, that URL and its contents won’t appear in Google Search results.” (Google Support)

The first site I looked at was Adored Vintage. They had robots.txt, but most of it was copied and pasted from a generator. “If you use this as a sample file then you should remove all comments …” This does cause problems later.





Step 2 – Check for Errors in Your Robots.txt

There are a bunch of guidelines for how to set up the robots.txt file correctly. Now to learn all the rules and implement them… jk. Luckily, there’s a tool for that. I ran this analysis for Modcloth and they had a few mistakes, like using an asterisk, that caused serval errors in their Robots.txt.


Now that you’ve cleaned up your Robots.txt,  let’s move onto your sitemap.

Step 4 – Find your Sitemap

Unlike the Robots.txt file, you can’t just type in www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml. Sometimes it’s located under different folders. So a quick find for the sitemap is to search in Google, site:domain.com inurl:sitemap.xml. Here is the one I downloaded from Modcloth.


Your sitemap may (and should) be listed in the robots.txt. Modcloth does a wonderful job with this. They list specific links to there sitemaps, and the first one is the main sitemap.


Do you need a sitemap? Check out a sitemap generator like this one.

Step 5 – Sitemaps in ScreamingFrog

Many times companies will put up a sitemap and not update for months, or even years. Check your sitemap to make sure you’re not linking to any 404 (broken) pages.

To do this, save off your sitemap.xml file.

Then, change the Mode > List this will change ScreamingFrog from an online scraper to a file scraper. Cool, right?


Select file > File type> .xml


Modcloth has a a 404 page in there main sitemap. That’s telling Google to check out a broken page, that’s definitely bad for business.


Those are some quick tips to make sure your Robots.txt and Sitemaps are in tip-top=shape. I went over a few other tips in my tutorial video. All tips that can be found in Annielytics’ Site Audit Checklist.

Thanks for tuning in! Now go forth and data!