An Introduction to Google Analytics

Analytics matters, what it can do for you, why it’s critical for business success, etc. Now it’s time to get critical.

What exactly is Google Analytics and how do you get all that amazing data out of it?

Let’s dive in.

To start, here are 3 acronyms to remember:

  • GA = Google Analytics
  • SEO = Search Engine Optimization
  • SEM/Paid Search = Search Engine Marketing

Before I go any further, I’ll include a side note for anyone who’s reading this book to learn how to stalk or otherwise mine personal data: Google Analytics doesn’t track personal information. What it gathers is known as non-PII data, which stands for non personally identifiable information. So, when I say that GA can tell you where your visitors live, what that means is that it can give you the breakdown of geographical information. For example, it can tell you that in July, 17% of your website traffic originated from the New York City area. It cannot tell you the names, addresses or any other potentially identifiable information about your visitors.

So, what is Google Analytics?

It is a free website analytics service created by Google, following the acquisition of a company called Urchin in November 2005. It gives insight into how users find and use your website, as well as non-PII demographic information.

As of this writing, GA is the most used web analytics tool in the world.  With GA, you can track ROI for your online marketing and gather intel to effectively boost the ROI of future campaigns. The building blocks of GA reports are dimensions and metrics. Dimensions are the attributes of your data and metrics are the quantitative measurements for those dimensions. The main reason that Google Analytics is so popular is because it is a state-of-the-art tool. It is also, as of this writing, absolutely free, and when it comes to functionality, it can track almost anything that is connected to the internet, from eCommerce platforms, to mobile apps, to POS systems and beyond. It is also incredibly user-friendly and compatible with multiple other Google tools.

What You Need to Know Before Using Google Analytics

Like nearly everything else in life, GA requires you to have a Google Gmail account (which is also free). So make sure that you have that before you start.

Once you’ve got your Gmail account and have created your GA account, note that GA will only be able to track pages that have the GA tracking code embedded in them. If you want to track your whole website, every single page will need to have the code embedded. This is very easy to do and there are many tutorials to be found online. If you have a website administrator, it’s something they should be able to do within minutes. It should also be set up so that anytime a new page is created (a new blog post or landing page, for example), the GA code is automatically embedded in that new page. This, too, is very simple to do, and we’ll get to the how-to shortly.

To learn more about Google Analytics and Web Analytics.

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5 Must-Read Digital Marketing Books for Beginners

We are currently experiencing technology moving faster than it ever has before and with this current phenomenon comes some changes. The technological change applies to almost every field possible. One field, in particular, that is seeing some big changes in the marketing department. More specifically, In the sense that companies are starting to notice the importance of having a strong digital marketing team. The power of analytics, social media, SEO (search engine optimization)  and SEM (search engine marketing), for example, is something that companies cannot simply ignore anymore. Digital marketing is an up and coming profession and now is your chance to get ahead of the crowd and start to gain some knowledge on the field. Below we will list our five favourite digital marketing books you can get today to start you off. These books are all from people with experience in the field, focusing on different things to make a successful digital marketer, so you are in good hands. Whether you are a newcomer or an experienced professional looking to digitally upscale yourselves, look no further and help yourself get informed with these 5 great books.


  1. The SEO Way: A beginners guide to search engine optimization by Tarek Riman

Tarek has a plethora of experience within the digital marketing world and has worked with many different businesses varying from small companies to fortune 500’s. His book is meant for you to be able to actually understand SEO and be able to apply it to the situations you are faced with on an average day. The SEO Way is thoughtfully designed to help a majority of people, whether you are a student, a startup, beginner or even a marketing professional. The book highlights the power of SEO and how to wield it and use it correctly. It is an essential manual for anyone looking to grow their SEO prowess and more importantly how to maintain it.  The book offers authentic and unique first-hand experiences and practices that are currently being done out there in the real world, which makes it a truly authentic read.

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  1. Digital Marketing for Beginners 2020 by Chandler Miller & Donald Preace

As stated in the title of the book, Oliver provides a great all-around introduction to Digital Marketing. It offers an entry-level overview experience for those who are looking to get into digital marketing but don’t know where to start. It really highlights what exactly a digital marketer does and how you have to think to be a successful one. The book also includes tips and tricks to effectively grow a personal or business brand digitally. They also go over different platforms you can/should use to maximize your chances of success which should give beginners a good grasp on how to start your journey on the digital marketing path.

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  1. Faster, Smarter, Louder by Aaron Agius & Gián Clancey

Faster, Smarter, Louder really stresses the importance of a marriage between a strong business and an equally strong presence on social media. This duo has seen some big success in their lives and are leaders in the digital marketing world. Like Tarek’s book, this book really likes to emphasize that as much as you can put efforts into Adwords and SEO for example that you really need to provide your clients with a human approach to provide them a unique, valuable and effective product. This way of business really takes it back to the roots of the business and explains how having a strong reputation and credibility really drives in online traffic. Just like most users trust Google as our main search engines, Aaron and Gián believe that an audience works psychologically and uses what is practical for them. They truly believe that being authentic is the key to success. This is a smart book to pick up to really tune in on what your customers are looking for when it comes to choosing a product.

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  1. Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer

As social media is an integral part of the whole digital marketing blueprint it naturally comes with its fair share of negative comments. It doesn’t matter how good your service or product may be, there will always be people who complain for a various amount of reasons. The book describes how to best deal with the complaints using real-life case studies and Jay’s personal experiences. Jay keeps his book entertaining and truly educational to those looking to improve their social media game. The books meat and potatoes are really on how to use these negative complaints to your advantage and to not just ignore them just because they are negative. Especially with the world we live in where we can receive negative complaints anywhere and anytime, it is an important book to have in your library because of impactful negative comments can be to any business, and being able to deal with them correctly is half the battle.

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  1. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

Continuing on the focus of social media and general content this book follows a simple boxing technique that you should use when creating and putting out content for your audience. In this context Jab Jab Jab right hook basically means to drip out easily readable small content so people stay engaged (jabs) and then deliver with a big post (the right hook) to tie it all together with ideally your customer completing a sale. The book tries to steer people who view social media as a way of distribution instead of the ability to create a story that creates better engagement and conversations with consumers. The book adheres to the saying that “less is more” which is especially true when it comes to social media. As every business’s goal is to make a profit Gary smartly helps you out in advising you in the importance of creating engaging content that is different and more relevant than your competition. This book is an accessible tool that can help any digital marketer out when it comes to how to organize effective social media posts that will outclass your competition.

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What makes a quality website? What brings quality results?

Whenever I start working with a client, I can almost guarantee that the biggest hurdle standing between them and the results they want, is the quality of their website.

The conversation usually starts by “Tarek, we did SEO and it didn’t work, We did SEM and it didn’t work, we did social media and that didn’t work, can you help?”

My answer is almost always, I need to have a bigger picture, I need to understand what you have done, audit your campaigns, your site, user behaviour, speed, performance. After I do so 90% of the time I come back with an action plan, and almost always on the top of the list is the website.

I start the conversation, by saying that we can’t fix an issue by throwing money on it, we need to address it heads on, and this is what I usually do.

As a web developer and a marketer myself, I am able to link the marketing with development aspects of websites, which tends to be very helpful for the client, in phases of redesign, development, etc…

After running into this situation with multiple clients, I realized that it is best to put together 10 points that clients should remember when building a site, migrating a site, or redesigning one.

  1. Speed and performance matter, they matter not only from a user experience standpoint but also from an SEO standpoint.
  2. User flow is extremely important, a website should be easy to navigate and easy to flow through. Make sure that you are interlinking properly on the site, make sure that all the pages that you want your visitors to see are one click away.
  3. Content is very important, avoid having weak and thin content pages. You are here to make an impression and show value and the best way you can do so is by providing an abundant amount of content. Fact: the number of words on the highest-ranking pages on Google is 2000+.
  4. Websites are like cars, and are like our bodies, if we don’t constantly maintain them they will get broken, and eventually out of service. Always maintain your site. I tend to update and fix my client’s websites on a biweekly basis.
  5. Constantly update the content, having fresh content is valuable for users and search engines. The fresher your content the higher your chance of ranking and converting.
  6. Time on site is very important, when you are building your site always ask yourself if you would read the page you are creating, ask yourself if you would stay on the site for more than 2 minutes if you saw it for the first time.
  7. Value, always think value. If you are not answering a client’s question or bringing them value, then why would they trust you. I insist on embedding Q&As and FAQs on almost every page of my client’s site, which allows them to should up on top of search results.
  8. Get a good server, all my client’s sites are on dedicated servers. The advantages are massive, from speed to security to performance and peace of mind.
  9. Security matters more than ever, always watch your site’s security and performance, always update your site. This is important now more than ever. I tend to run security updates every week for all the sites I manage.
  10. Think holistic, never think that social media alone works or SEO alone works. Marketing is holistic, make sure that you are doing your best and driving traffic from all fronts.

I hope this list will help you in updating our site and improving its performance on all fronts.

If you have questions or are interested in learning more, let’s have a chat.