Omni­ture recently announced that it would offer a Com­pli­men­tary VISTA solu­tion to any com­pany that requested it, allow­ing Google nat­ural search page rank­ing to be passed into a vari­able when­ever it occurs in the refer­ring URL. This is the first time that Omni­ture has offered a VISTA solu­tion for no addi­tional cost, and my pri­mary sug­ges­tion is to take advan­tage of this oppor­tu­nity as I believe you will be able to gain sig­nif­i­cant value form these reports.

How you can get value from this com­pli­men­tary VISTA solution:

The rec­om­men­da­tion for the basic imple­men­ta­tion of this solu­tion is to place the nat­ural search rank­ing into a Cus­tom Traf­fic Vari­able (or “prop”). Then you will be able to look at your nat­ural search key­words report and break it down by the Google search rank prop using a cor­re­la­tion.   This will pro­vide you with all the nat­ural search key­words and the ranks that occur.

First thing to remem­ber: when you are set­ting up the prop make sure you also set up the cor­re­la­tion between your nat­ural search key­words and the search rank prop. With­out this you will not be able to see which key­words resulted in which rank within SiteCatalyst.

Warn­ing! The fol­low­ing para­graph is an advanced concept:

If you really want to squeeze the most out of this com­pli­men­tary solu­tion, here is my suggestion. Use Omni­ture Dis­cover, Data Ware­house, or ASI to break­down by Pages > Search Rank > Key­word.  (You might also want to break down Pages > Key­word > Search Rank,  whichever you pre­fer).  You may also take another approach and seg­ment by key pages or by nat­ural search rank­ing to get this data bro­ken down in pow­er­ful ways. These break­down reports will show you how pages are rank­ing rel­a­tive to their keywords.

If you don’t have Dis­cover, Data Ware­house, or ASI then have your sup­ported user con­tact Omni­ture Client Care or their Omni­ture Account Man­ager and request to have a 5 item cor­re­la­tion enabled.  Ask to  cor­re­late Pages with Search Rank prop and nat­ural search key­words.  You will only be able to see pageviews from this break­down but the value is there.

How you can get the MOST value from this com­ple­men­tary VISTA solution:

Have the VISTA solu­tion place the search rank into a prop and a Con­ver­sion Vari­able (or “eVar”). You will be able to take your key­words, break them down by the search rank and pull in met­rics such as rev­enue, orders, units and any other con­ver­sion events. Com­par­ing key­word search rank directly with con­ver­sions will give you a full pic­ture. Any actions you make will be well informed because they include con­ver­sion met­rics which is what you want to con­cen­trate on.

Exam­ple: You take your Uni­fied Sources key­word eVar and break it down by search rank. You pull in met­rics such as rev­enue, form com­ple­tion and email list sign-ups (assum­ing you are set­ting those events). You scan through the reports and find key­words that have a poor rank­ing but a high con­ver­sion rate. You will imme­di­ately know that the key­word is one you should con­cen­trate on for you SEO and even make sure it is part of your paid campaigns.

How­ever, this will only rea­son­ably work if you have the Uni­fied Sources Vista solu­tion. If you don’t have it already, then take a cou­ple min­utes to look over my post on Uni­fied Sources. You will def­i­nitely be able to gain huge returns on your invest­ment.  And I believe you will see even more returns by com­bin­ing this com­pli­men­tary VISTA solu­tion with Uni­fied Sources.

It may seem obvi­ous that plac­ing the nat­ural search rank­ing into an eVar as well as a prop is bet­ter than putting it into just a prop. But more data is not always bet­ter data; plac­ing the search rank­ing in an eVar has lim­ited use­ful­ness if you don’t cor­re­late the rank with key­words. And the only way you will be able to do that with an eVar is if you have an eVar that con­tains your nat­ural search key­words. This is what the Uni­fied Sources VISTA solu­tion accomplishes.

Note on the cre­ation of the solution:

If you fol­low my blog (sub­scribe here), then you know my team is the team that builds VISTA solu­tions.  A point to remem­ber is the Google Search Rank solu­tion is a cus­tom devel­oped solu­tion (like every­thing the Engi­neer­ing Ser­vices team does).  So, you will need to con­tact your account man­ager and get an agree­ment in place.

This solu­tion will only be com­ple­men­tary to the end of Sep­tem­ber, which means you need to sign the con­tract before Oct 1, 2009 or you will need to pay the stan­dard VISTA solu­tion pricing.

As always, post your com­ments or e-mail me at pau­rigemma (at) omni​ture​.com.  It is your com­ments and e-mails that keep me post­ing and give me ideas for future posts.  If you do decide to pur­chase an Engi­neer­ing Ser­vices solu­tion,  make sure you men­tion the blog and you will get white glove treat­ment.

14 comments
Paul Web
Paul Web

Thanks Pearce for the informative post. This is some really good news. It’s great that Complimentary offers a Vista solution for no extra cost and it’s time for us to take advantage of this too. But how is it possible to track the site link position for Google Organic Searches?

Jils
Jils

How can we track the sitelink position for Google Organic Searches?

philip
philip

I have the same question as Ig - how often is the rank included in the URL? (what % of all searches from google?)

lg
lg

Would you happen to know in general what instances Google pushes the rank in the query string? I have the rule in place now and just needed to get an idea of what level of Google referrals will be reflected in the reports. Thanks!

julian
julian

Hi, Can you give a little more detail on how the pagerank is collected? My understanding was that only in certain situations does Google pass the pagerank through the referring URL eg: in FF when # is in the original search query Also can this solution be used to collect site link data when Google shows a rich result snippet in it's organic results?

Phil
Phil

Is this an add-on to VISTA or is the VISTA Solution Free?

lg
lg

Hi Pearce, Just wanted to clarify if this is for page result rank or search result rank (page 1 versus position 1 on page 1). There is a report called "All Search Page Ranking" that is for which page of the results my listing was on. But it sounds like this VISTA rule will capture where in the total listings my link was when clicked on, is that correct?

Dan Cross
Dan Cross

Hey Pearce, I managed to get this implemented on a few sites a couple months back, and have essentially sat and watched those numbers compile, wondering how to really use the data well. I appreciate this post, but have a technical snag... hoping you can shed some light. It was suggested on initial implementation of this VISTA rule that we capture search rank in an eVar rather than an sprop. So now this data isn't available for correlation. Since this eVar isn't captured on-page, I can't equate an sprop to the evar containing the search rank. Any ideas on how to deal with this? Thanks!

Aaron
Aaron

Hi Pearce, thanks for your post, I will pursue this with our account manager. Quick question, can the VISTA rule populate the values into multiple report suites? ie. a global report suite and a child report suite?

Pearce Aurigemma
Pearce Aurigemma

From what we know most clients are seeing page rank data for less than 15% of their search results. Google did say they would be increasing the instances but that does not seem to have happened. Also, we do not know the exact situation that causes Google to use the advanced URL parameters.

Pearce Aurigemma
Pearce Aurigemma

Julian, The page rank is collected from the query string from the referring URL. You are correct in that the value is not there for most searches so the VISTA solution can only grab the value when it sees it in the referring URL. I am not aware of an actual situation such as a # in the original search. The complementary solution only covers the search rank, however the rule can be expanded to grab other parameters form the query sting such as the oi= but that addition would be subject to standard VISTA fees.

Pearce Aurigemma
Pearce Aurigemma

It is a complete developed solution that is given away complimentary (Free). :)

Pearce Aurigemma
Pearce Aurigemma

lg, You are correct, it is the absolute search rank. This will not capture what page the search was on only it's overall rank. So assuming there are 10 results per page and the Google Search rank is 13 then that would mean it is the third result on the second page.

Pearce Aurigemma
Pearce Aurigemma

Aaron, The simple answer is Yes. The long answer is to say that a VISTA solution sits on top of a report suite, so if you want the VISTA solution to set values on more than one report suite you simply need to request to have the solution placed on each additional report suite. You do this as part of the agreement, so when you are working with your AM make sure to provide them with a list of all the report suites you want the VISTA solution placed on. Just a quick heads up, after the project is considered complete (after the solution is promoted to production) it will cost a copy request to have the solution placed on more report suites.