Google Displays URL in Title (Along With First Line of Ad Text)

Maybe you saw this interesting new Google feature last week?  Google is starting to show the display URL within the headline for select ads on  I think it is pretty neat and I am excited to see how this affects click-through rates.  This change comes a few months after Google increased the headline length for select Google ads.
Straight from Google:
When shown in the headline, the display URL will be separated from the rest of the text by a vertical bar and will include only the domain, not the “www.” prefix or any subdirectories. Your display URL will also continue to appear as normal below the description line. Of course, if the headline already contains your domain, we won’t display it again.
My favorite go to search term for new adwords tweaks (and tasty loose leaf teas)- Teavana does not have the URL insertion when a user searches for brand name teavana
But alas, after a few more searches my favorite Teavana did not let me down!  But pay close attention to the new ad below – it doesn’t make much sense.  Google has taken what used to be the headline and first line of ad text and squished them into one line and now with the addition of the brand URL – the ‘sentence’ (that was supposed to be the second and third lines of text) no longer flows or makes much sense.
With this latest Google tweak (and really always) I think we should be careful when working on our clients accounts to ensure this type of issue doesn’t happen. While Teavana is not a client of my agency – I’m sure this was just a minor oversight that their team will soon fix.
I’ll be interested in the overall outcome of Google inserting the Display URL within the title.  In addition, I will be paying close attention to our clients metrics. Also, in case you were wondering -after some dutiful counting I believe the reason did not appear in the headline for the first example is because of the fact that the headline would have come out to 69 characters with the addition of the URL and the second query allows the headline to come in well under the Google requirement of 68 characters or less.

Coding Series: Part 2 – AdWords Conversion Tracking

This is the second post in Leverage Marketing’s five-part instructional series on coding. AdWords Conversion Tracking is a tool that helps advertisers measure how effective their ads and keywords are by accruing data on monthly conversions, cost per conversion, and conversion rate. It also provides a snapshot of what visitors do after clicking on an ad.

By implementing the conversion tracking code on your website, you will be able to better evaluate the account’s performance. Conversion Tracking will also help the Leverage Marketing team spot further ad opportunities within AdWords. This combined with Google Analytics’ extensive reporting will allow Leverage Marketing to calculate return on investment and understand what weaknesses there are in the conversion process.

Benefits: Conversion Tracking

Conversion Tracking provides advertisers with information on which keywords are helping to meet their campaign goals by connecting keywords with conversions. This performance data assists advertisers in determining what keywords are serving them best, which allows them to invest in those keywords that are bringing in business and avoid those that aren’t.

Much like goals in Google Analytics, Conversion Tracking allows advertisers to define up to 100 actions per account. An action is one that advertisers hope visitors will complete upon visiting the website, such as a purchase, email newsletter signup, or contact form submission. By setting up actions, advertisers can track many separate goals by placing the associated conversion tracking code snippet on their website for each of these actions.

How it Works: Conversion Tracking

Once goals have been defined, Google provides a JavaScript snippet to install on pages where tracking is warranted. The code passes the specified parameters back to Google. These parameters include the following data, which is implemented into the JavaScript code snippet:

google_conversion_id: a unique value associated with the advertiser

google_conversion_value: a numeric value associated with the value of the conversion

google_conversion_label: the type of conversion

google_conversion_language: the language of the text that appears on the website

Technical Details: Conversion Tracking

The conversion Tracking tool works by placing a code on users’ computers or mobile devices once the code has been installed on the website. Then, when the user reaches a conversion page, the cookie connects to the web page and Google records a conversion. With this, a small conversion tracking image is displayed on the advertiser’s site. After 30 days, the cookie expires. Statistics will be collected and can be viewed in reports.

Google Site Stats text is a text block that appears after the transaction is completed if the code snippet is properly placed on the confirmation page. Such text may read, “Thank you for your purchase / subscription / visit page, etc.” Advertisers have the option to opt out of Site Stats but it could undermine users’ trust and privacy.

Leverage Marketing will pull the Conversion Tracking code from the AdWords account and provide our clients with the code and instructions on how to correctly implement it on all conversion pages.

Conversion code sample:

<!– Google Code for Purchase Conversion Page –>
<script language=”JavaScript” type=”text/javascript”>
var google_conversion_id = 1234567890;
var google_conversion_language = “en_US”;
var google_conversion_format = “1”;
var google_conversion_color = “666666”;
var google_conversion_label = “Purchase”;
<script language=”JavaScript” src=””>
<img height=1 width=1 border=0

Code Implementation: Conversion Tracking

Code installation will not effect the website unless a conversion is completed. The code snippet should be placed between the <body> tags, closer to the </body> tag, so that the image appears further down the page. Do not place the code in the page header or footer because it can overstate the conversion statistics.

Example of correctly implemented code on HTML document:


<title>Sample HTML File</title>
<body> This is the body of your web page.
<!– Google Code for Purchase Conversion Page –>
<script language=”JavaScript” type=”text/javascript”>
var google_conversion_id = 1234567890;
var google_conversion_language = “en_US”;
var google_conversion_format = “1”;
var google_conversion_color = “666666”;
var google_conversion_label = “Purchase”;
if (1) {
var google_conversion_value = 1
<script language=”JavaScript” src=””>
<img height=1 width=1 border=0

AdWords Conversion Tracking with Google Analytics

By linking AdWords to Google Analytics, advertisers will be able to obtain detailed tracking information and create customized statistics to help in calculating return on investment. It will also enable advertisers to spot further ad opportunities by viewing AdWords conversions alongside Analytics goals/transactions.

Once linked, the Analytics data will automatically be imported into AdWords’ Conversion Optimizer, which streamlines bidding for conversions at a lower cost. This tool optimizes advertiser’s placement in the ad auction to ensure they get cheap, low-converting clicks while still getting as many high-converting clicks as is profitable.

Technical Details: Google AdWords with Google Analytics

In order for Conversion Tracking to work with Google Analytics, advertisers must link their AdWords account and opt into Data Sharing to import Analytics data into AdWords Conversion Tracking. Please refer to Part I of the coding series for instructions on how to link Google Analytics to your AdWords account.

To import AdWords cost data:

  1. Select the Reporting tab in the AdWords account and click ‘Google Analytics.’
  2. Click ‘Edit’ next to the profile you wish to edit.
  3. Click the ‘Edit’ link in the upper-right hand corner of the ‘Main Website Profile Information’ box.
  4. Check the ‘Apply Cost Data’ checkbox.
  5. Click ‘Save Change.’

To import Analytics goals and transactions into AdWords Conversion Tracking:

  1. Click ‘Edit Account and Data Sharing Settings’ in Google Analytics account.
  2. Select the ‘With other Google products only’ option under ‘Share my Google Analytics data…’
  3. Click ‘Save Changes.’
  4. Navigate to the Conversion Tracking page from within AdWords. The Conversion Tracking page will show a message alerting you that goals and transactions are ready to be linked. *Please note that it may take up to two weeks for your Analytics data to be imported into AdWords.
  5. Click ‘Import from Google Analytics’ from the Conversion Tracking table.
  6. Select the goals or transactions you want from the list. Edit the action name and tracking purpose here so that you can identify the goals once they show up in your AdWords conversion reports.
  7. Select ‘Import’ from the bottom of the table.

With a linked AdWords and Analytics account, you can set up new reports that track the progression from an ad click / impression to a final conversion and all of the behaviors in between that a visitor takes before making their conversion decision. This “upper-funnel” keyword data that assists the final conversion before the last ad click will help determine which keywords are most valuable.

AdWords Conversion Tracking is another one of Google’s free tools that allows you to easily determine which keywords are meeting your goals and which keywords perform best so that you can better allocate your budget to high-performing keywords. To find out more visit: If you have any other questions about AdWords Conversion Tracking or how to install the code, please feel free to follow up with your Leverage Marketing account manager.

Stuck In the Web

How much of your day do you spend online? Honestly, how many hours? The proportion of time online to offline in my typical week day is shocking. There is the roughly seven hours online while in the office, then probably another combined hour of home surfing and mobile browsing. So I’ll assume I’m online for approximately eight hours of the day. Also I will assume that I get a full eight hours of sleep; a wishful assumption but appropriate for this example. That leaves another eight hours of the day that I am conscious; doing whatever else it is that I do. Alas, on a typical week day I spend as much time online as I do offline or sleeping. What did people do before the internet, anyways?

I would expect my proportion is similar, or probably becoming similar, to the majority of professionals in America. So it makes sense that traditional media is on a moribund slope while online media is on a burgeoning incline, right? Well then, why is the primary online guerilla starting to run good old fashioned television ads? That’s right, Google, the search engine company, is touting the benefits of Chrome, the web browser, by means of television advertising spots. Check out the “The web is what you make of it” spots, It Gets Better and Dear Sophie. The commercials are poignant, using emotional appeal to encourage viewers to form a relationship with the speedy web browser Chrome. Though Google is using traditional methods to promote new media technologies, I believe that this underscores, not enervates, the inevitable demise of traditional media.

The reason is that Google recognizes that the majority of people still paying attention to or even watching commercials at all are those that have not fully migrated to the online world yet. Google is reaching out to these laggards in an attempt to plant the Chrome seed before alternative browsers are actively discovered. As the New York Times states, “the more people use the Web, the more they use Google.” If users start off using Chrome, they are pretty much guaranteed to use other Google products as well, which is the ultimate goal. More or less, Google is utilizing a dying medium to promote the very thing that is killing it.

– Kenneth Hurta

Google Business Photos – Like Google Street View, but inside

Do you have a brick and mortar location in one of the following areas:

  • Orange County, CA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Bay Area, CA
  • San Antonio, TX
  • St. Petersburg, FL?

If so – this interesting opportunity from Google is just right for you.  Business Photos from Google allows businesses to showcase the interior of their establishment to all interested searchers.  Google Business Photos stand to revolutionize the way you search via a map the same way Google’s Street View did a few years ago. Interestingly enough this concept was released back in late October 2010, but most people didn’t pick up on how cool it was until blogged about recently on both the Google Lat Long Blog and the Google Retail blog.

While I think this is another great move by Google to get people to become 100% dependent on the search giant – I do wonder about the following:

  • How will all of the retail merchandisers of the world react when their online merchandising photos do not match the correct season? I.E. Your Google Business Photo shows a bunch of mohair sweaters, but you really are selling tons of swim-wear just right for the hot summer weather.
  • Is Google Business Photos going to do the same thing for local businesses that some thought Foursquare did for the criminal world?  I’m thinking of you –
  • How soon will Google Business Photos become a paid feature from Google?
  • Will Google Business Photos soon be upgraded to allow people to surf and eventually purchase your businesses products via your brick and mortar store from the comfort of their own home?
  • Will retail businesses notice a down-tick in ‘window-shoppers’ because the ‘window shoppers’ have become ‘web-shoppers’ and they have already done that at home?
  • Will restaurants allow the Google Business cameras behind the kitchen door?

To top it off Google sends a FREE photographer to your location!  All in all, I think this will be a great opportunity for online searchers and businesses alike.  Congrats if you are in one of the target cities and get in on this opportunity.  This really seems like a great idea!

Google Reading Level

In my search to find out something new on Google today I stumbled upon Reading Level. Reading Level is an interesting feature that Google debuted in late 2010.

Reading Level is a way for a searcher to filter search results to a specific reading level. Google classifies the sites on “based primarily on statistical models we built with the help of teachers. We paid teachers to classify pages for different reading levels, and then took their classifications to build a statistical model. With this model, we can compare the words on any webpage with the words in the model to classify reading levels. We also use data from Google Scholar, since most of the articles in Scholar are advanced.”

Reading a bit more on the subject it seems that website builders/SEO’s are unable to update Google on what level of content the website is (beginner, intermediate or advanced).

Next I did the following ten searches on Google:

  1. Fly fishing
  2. Chemistry (2)
  3. Oxygen bleach (1)
  4. dress for success
  5. automobile maintenance schedule
  6. Wolong China Panda Preserve
  7. Cement Producers Association
  8. best practices for teaching (1)
  9. quotes about conformity (5)
  10. headphones

The number behind the query is the level that I found the first advanced search result in – no number indicates an advanced reading level did not appear on page one of my search query. As you can see, for the most part (90%) the uppermost ranking of SERPS appear to be reserved for beginner or intermediate users.

I wanted to be sure that I gave Google enough Advanced Results to choose from so I next did a search for process identification and mapping.

Although 93% of the results are identified as Advanced – Google chooses to show an intermediate reading level result for the first 3 SERPS.

What do you think? Do you think reading level has anything to do with SERP rankings? Do you think that Google chooses a lower reading level to be more relevant to what Google may believe most searchers are looking for or is it easier to optimize content for pages with beginner or intermediate level results?   We will continue to look into this phenomenon and keep you updated.

Coding Series: Part I – How To Install Google Analytics

This is the first post in what will likely be a five-part instructional series on valuable codes that can easily be installed, and if done so correctly, Google Analytics will provide substantial insight into your website traffic and your return on advertising dollars.

Google Analytics is one of Google’s free tools that allows advertisers to customize over 80 reports to track all activity on their website. Advertisers can gain key insights into what visitors do and how those actions contribute to the success of their business through these customizable reports focused on visitors, traffic sources, content, goals, and ecommerce.

Code Implementation: Google Analytics

Signing up for Google Analytics is simple and free, with four easy steps to complete before accessing a world of analytics. Go to to get started. Once the account is set up, you can find your personal code snippet within the Profile Settings of your Google Analytics account.

To access your tracking code from Google Analytics:

  1. Log in at
  2. Select the profile from the accounts Overview page.
  3. From that profile’s Actions column, click ‘Edit.’
  4. At the top right of the ‘Main Website Profile Information’ box, click ‘Check Status.’
  5. The tracking code can be copied and pasted from the text box in the Instructions for Adding Tracking section.

Code snippet sample:

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl/.” : “https://www.”);
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-xxxxxx-x”);
} catch(err) {}

For basic installation, copy and paste the code segment into the bottom of your content, immediately before the </body> tag of each page you are planning to track. You will need to update the “xxxx-x” in the sample above with your own Google Analytics account number.

Gauging Performance: Google AdWords with Google Analytics

In Adwords, a user’s action is labeled a “conversion,” whereas the same activity in Analytics is listed as a “goal.” In order for Google Analytics to calculate goal conversion metrics, you must create one or more goals.

Before setting up a goal, make sure you have the following requirements.

  • Name the goal: Specify a name that you will recognize when viewing the goals within your reports. Examples of names you might use include ’email sign-up’ or ‘article ABC download.’
  • Define the funnel: While funnels are optional, defining one can help you map where visitors drop off during the path to completing a goal.
  • The value of the goal: Google Analytics uses an assigned goal value to calculate ROI, Average Score, and other metrics.

Setting up goals:

  1. Select the account that you’ll be creating goals for from the Overview page of Google Analytics.
  2. Find the profile for which you will be creating goals, and click ‘Edit’ under the ‘Actions’ column.
  3. Under the ‘Goals’ section, select one of the four sets to create the goal (each set contains up to five goals) and click ‘Add goal.’
  4. Enter the goal’s name so that you can quickly recognize it when viewing reports.
  5. Turn the goal ‘On’ or ‘Off.’
  6. Select the goal’s position. The pull-down menu allows you to select a goal’s position in a set so that you can control the order in which it appears from the ‘Goals’ tab in your reports.
  7. Decide which one of the three types of goals you want. This can be URL Destination, Time on Site, or Pages/Visit.
  8. Once you select the radio button for the goal type, a field for ‘Goal Details’ should appear.

Here’s a great example from Google on how to set the value of a goal:

“The value of the goal: Google Analytics uses an assigned goal value to calculate ROI, Average Score, and other metrics. A good way to value a goal is to evaluate how often the visitors who reach the goal become customers. If, for example, your sales team can close 10% of people who request to be contacted, and your average transaction is $500, you might assign $50 (i.e. 10% of $500) to your “Contact Me” goal. In contrast, if only 1% of mailing list signups result in a sale, you might only assign $5 to your “email sign-up” goal.”

Defining funnels:

After entering goal information, define a funnel if you’ve selected a ‘URL Destination’ goal type:

  1. Click ‘Yes, create a funnel for this goal.’
  2. Enter the ‘URL’ of the first page of your conversion funnel. This page should be one that is common to all users working their way towards your goal.
  3. Enter a ‘Name’ for this step.
  4. If this step is a ‘Required step’ in the conversion process, select the checkbox to the right of the step. If this checkbox is selected, users reaching your goal page without traveling through this funnel page will not be counted as conversions.
  5. Continue entering goal steps until your funnel has been completely defined. You may enter up to 10 funnel steps or as few as a single step.
  6. Click ‘Save Changes’ to create this goal and funnel.

Linking your AdWords account to Google Analytics will allow you to take advantage of extensive reporting options. It will also enable you to spot further ad opportunities by viewing AdWords conversions alongside Analytics goal/transactions. You can obtain detailed tracking information by creating customized statistics that will allow you to calculate return on investment.

To link:

  1. Add your AdWords username to your Analytics account as an Account Admin.
  2. In AdWords, select Reporting tab and choose ‘Google Analytics.’
  3. Select ‘I already have a Google Analytics account.’
  4. From the Existing Google Analytics Account drop-down menu, select the name of the Analytics account.
  5. Then, select ‘Link Accounts.’

Google Analytics is a smart web analytics solution that enables you to analyze website performance, gauge the effectiveness of your marketing campaign, and create better-performing advertisements. To find out more visit: If you have any other questions about the functionality of Google Analytics or how to install the code, please feel free to contact us or follow up with your Leverage Marketing account manager.

Almost Forgot How Good It Feels

Throughout my life, I have in one way or another been involved with volunteering and community service.

Whether it was in my early teens visiting retirement communities with my church youth group, Saturday morning clean up with the Key Club in high school after a Friday night football game, serving as a Big Brother in college, maintaining hiking trails with the local chapter of the Sierra Club, taking the kids at the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls out for a “funtertaining” event, facilitating a warm meal and place to stay overnight for the homeless at the Carpenter’s Shelter, volunteering and working to help Gallery 5 Arts in Jackson Ward (Richmond, VA), helping 2nd graders improve their reading skills through a Reading Star Program, or playing in a golf tournament to help raise funds for a young child needing brain surgery, I’ve been giving back.

However, since I’ve moved to Austin recently, I now feel it’s time to give back more than I have been giving around here, and I am acting upon it with full conviction of this purpose.

One of my latest community service outings was working in the warehouse for the Central Virginia Food Bank.  Our task was to sort and filter the various types of food donated from a common bin, organize, and place the items in a bin designated for them. For example, tomato soup has its own bin, as does chicken noodle soup, and green beans, and corn, and beets, and potatoes, spaghetti, peanut butter, etc. While I was working away, a feeling came to me that had been missing for some time. It was a feeling of accomplishment in serving a greater good for my fellow man and community. And just as the feeling came to me, I said to the other volunteers around me “I almost forgot how good this feels. I could do this every day.”

I am neither a saint nor a savior.  I am merely a humble servant in this world with my flaws and imperfections, but I do find great comfort and peace within that I now choose to serve more.  And as I write this message and share with you all, I hope that you too will want to serve more because our world needs it.

My reaffirmation to serve did not come from myself alone.  It also manifested through the example of other friends such as Deona volunteering with Meals on Wheels, Mark and Shelli working with the kids at Mind Games, Wayne feeding the homeless in Monroe Park every Sunday, Tom and Amanda providing a place to transcend artistic boundaries in the Richmond community, and Stan going to Guatemala on a mission to help improve living conditions for families there.

These are just a handful of volunteer and community service examples I have witnessed and encountered recently.  I know there are many more, so I encourage you to share with me and others reading, your stories of serving and giving back to the community.

In closing, I believe the quote below compliments my note rather appropriately.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

Here’s to you all who have lit, and will continue to light the flame in me and others.  Spark on!

The Power of Social Media

This year during SXSW (South by Southwest), an annual Austin music festival for all of you not in the know, a few colleagues and I decided to go out in search of celebrities!  We wondered aimlessly amidst the throng of skinny jeans and plaid shirts until one coworker received a tweet about a secret comedy show featuring Aziz Ansari that started in a couple hours.

My co-workers and I made our way to the venue about 2 hours before the show started. Imagine my surprise when a line of around 200 hundred people awaited us. How could this be? We had the super secret Tweet! The truth is, that tweet spread like the flu in my niece’s 2nd grade class.

The question is why?

So often an advertiser wants to have this type of rapid fire success with social media outlets. What most don’t understand is “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Social media, as with any effort, requires patience and string-will. In order for this to happen you must constantly update your profile, twitter, and other tools with cool, new information. One of those tidbits will be your rocket to the moon.

Going Viral happens over night, but Going viral cannot happen overnight.