This came up with a client today. The client’s website is sending traffic to a variety of other websites. So, how best to track links to another site and links from another website to yours?
If you just want a quick fix and a rough idea of how successful a link is then a URL shortener is the tool to use. Bit.ly is the granddaddy of them all.
It’s easy to add an extension and a shortcut to your browser like Chrome. You go to the page you want the link for and copy the shortened link using bit.ly.
Bit.ly will also track how many clicks that link receives. It’s also useful to use when creating links for Twitter, less characters.
Some might say that a shortened link might looks suspicious to a user but I would say bit.ly has been around a long time and if you are posting that link on your website, your email or your social profiles, those act as a sign of confidence.
I’ve seen some SEO chaps recommend having a customised shortener. The idea being it helps your own SEO. If you search for ‘make your own custom url shortener’ you’ll see some choices. Ideally you buy a similar domain to your own to use for this purpose.
UTM Tracking Codes
UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module and is also known as Google’s Campaign URL Builder. Urchin was bought by Google and turned into Google Analytics.
Advantages of the Campaign URL Builder:
Well, first of all it is seamlessly build into Google Analytics.
Second, it is very easy to use.
Third, it integrates with bit.ly! (you’ll need a bitly account)
What can you do with the Campaign URL Builder?
- Add the URL you wish to track.
- Add a campaign source eg Linkedin.
- Add the medium eg email.
- Give the campaign a name.
- You can add a campaign term, for paid keywords.
- Campaign content allows you to track different ads for a paid campaign.
Once you’ve entered the above then you can use the long URL or shorten it with bit.ly.
The campaign will also show sales and revenue in Google Analytics if ecommerce tracking is set up.
UTM codes are so easy to set up and are always worth doing. When you do any partner marketing or ‘piggy back’ quid pro quo agreement, that is I’ll post on my Facebook for your business if you give me a slot on your email then always use the UTM tracking code.
In my experience it is accurate. We’re losing so much accurate source data from Google Analytics for various reasons it is important to gather as much as you can and use this data to help form ideas for original content for your own website, email sends and social profiles.
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