Digital Summit is a conference that brings the community together with expert speakers who are prominent within the digital space, including Anvil Founder & President Kent Lewis. Presentations range from technical strategy, reporting, and data analytics to high-level storytelling and tactics for establishing a better connection with your audiences. Traditionally, Digital Summit is an in-person event; this year, the pandemic forced a pivot to all virtual. Despite this change, the speakers provided substantial and actionable information throughout the event. From the three full days of information, the top five takeaways for this year involve the following topics:
- Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
- Conversion Tracking
- User Experience
- Site Speed
- 2021 SEO Strategies
Below is a recap of each topic with instructions on how to implement within your own initiatives.
Google Analytics 4
Any person who has been involved with Google Analytics is familiar with the newer version of GA4. Universal Analytics is the traditional version we all know and love, but what is different about GA4? The short answer is everything. The aptly titled “Google Whisperer,” Colleen Harris, broke down the differences, introduced attendees to the interface, and provided suggestions for acclimating your teams and clients. The main differences between the two platforms are:
- Universal Analytics is all about your traffic and users while GA4 is all about Events.
- The organization of reports and information in GA 4 is completely different from Universal Analytics.
What is the best way to get comfortable within GA4? Use one of your existing properties and create a new GA4 property to give yourself an actual property to experiment with. It is important to create a new property and not upgrade. If you upgrade the universal property to a GA4 property, there is no way to rollback or revert.
This talk was more of a refresher, which is helpful to ensure your conversion tracking is organized and set up for success. Because Google Analytics allows tracking for up to 20 goal completions, Colleen Harris provided 4 types of conversions to help you understand what you should be tracking. These include:
- Standard Conversions: Form Fills, Phone Calls, Purchases
- Events: Add to Cart, Site Search, Scroll Behavior, Video Views
- “Nice to Know”: Activity the client wants to track
- Testing: Get information on what you don’t know
Using these categories, review your websites and conversion tracking setup to see if there is any other information you should be obtaining with regard to user behavior. Not sure exactly what or how to track conversions? The Anvil team can set everything up for you.
We all know how important user experience is, not only for conversions but for all aspects of digital marketing. Trevor Calabro put together a list of simple yet effective steps to take that will improve your site’s usability. Things to consider:
- Make the most important things stand out.
- Break stuff into categories.
- Don’t make users think too hard.
- Users typically scan a webpage in an F-shaped pattern.
- Users look to the corners.
The Vice President of Web Strategy for WP Engine provided several suggestions for improving WordPress site speeds. One of the biggest recommendations that significantly improved page speeds was the support of a CDN. A CDN is a Content Delivery Network. A CDN will minimize delays in loading web page content by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user. This helps users around the world view the same high-quality content without slow loading times. Any large and complex websites, or websites with users around the world, should consider the support of a CDN.
2021 SEO Strategies
The pandemic forced drastic changes to search behavior, and significantly increased the importance of visibility within search engines. As time goes on, these changes are seemingly permanent which is why it is imperative that you understand and utilize current SEO strategies suggested by Greg Gifford. These include:
- AMP pages are only necessary for news sites.
- On every page, make sure every single element has a reason to be there.
- Do not always try to sell something. Educate and empower your users.
- Internal links: make sure the link navigates a user to a related page.
- Popups should only appear if a user performs an action to trigger it, and the popup should not be unnecessarily big. When the popup appears, do not blur or block out the entire page.
Does your brand or company need support or guidance with any of these items listed? Feel free to reach out to the Anvil team for a quick conversation on your needs and goals.