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Three tips to make your life easier – thanks to Google

Alex Christie

3 February 2010

Tip #1 – Track your RSS feeds in Google Analytics
It is now possible to track clicks from your Feedburner to your website within Google Analytics. Working in a similar way as URL tagging, you can see how many people click through to your site from the content of your published feeds. Seeing as Feedburner already tracks how many subscribers, views and clicks you have and even what kind of RSS feed readers your subscribers are using, it was a natural next step from Google to now integrate this with Analytics, allowing a more integrated report.

If you are using both Google Analytics and FeedBurner, the default setting would have already been applied to your accounts.  You do however have the option to tweak these to your needs if you wish.

Read the whole article straight from the Google Analytics blog and notice the longer url in the address bar when the page opens.  It’s a great example of Tip#1 actually implemented by Google in their Analytics blog’s feeds.

Not sure what a feed is?  Read up on what an RSS feed is, and how it works. Most blogs also provide an RSS feed to their subscribers.

Tip #2 – Track changes on sites without a feed with Google Reader


Have you ever felt the need to track changes to a site with interest to you? Whether you’re awaiting some sort of announcement on a specific page or as an SEO want to know when some changes have been made to your competitor’s product page, you can now track these in one place without feeling like some kind of ‘Website stalker’.

Simply go to Google Reader and ‘create a feed’ with the url of your page of interest.  If there is no feed on this page, Google will label it as a ‘Google-created feed’. See example below of when I created a feed to tell me when Google’s Webmaster guidelines has been updated.
Google Site Tracking Feed

Technically it can’t track every single web page out there and as a Webmaster you can opt out of this to stop the Googlebot from indexing it via your robots.txt file.

Tip #3 – Google Analytics Annotations launched


After slowly rolling out this new feature in December, Google announced a few days ago that Annotations should now be available in all accounts.
Simply go to the graph you want to make a note in and click on the date.  An option to create a note will appear as seen in this screenshot.
GA Annotations

What I find especially great about this feature is that you can choose whether you want to keep this annotation private (for your account only) or whether you want to share this with all user accounts that have access to that site’s Analytics.  A great way to give more insight to the Analytics team leading to more integrated reporting (especially if you are outsourcing your Analytics reporting).
GA Analytics example

Read the official announcement for more info with a video about Google Analytics Annotations.

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