Site Analytics & SEO

Currently, there are two ways to implement site analytics within RED:  Google Analytics and the Slate Ping Component.  With either of these 3rd party software providers, you can track your visitor's behavior and analyze how they are arriving at your site.

There are also functions in Red to assist with Search Engine optimization which you can read about below.

Implementing Google Analytics & Tag Manager

Google Analytics is included in the suite of apps in GoogleApps@UIC. We recommend using this service to secure your GA account and tracking ID. If you do not yet have a GoogleApps@UIC account, create one here: http://accountportal.accc.uic.edu/

Check with your college or parent unit to see if they have a GA account for their units. If so, work with them to get the appropriate tracking ID

If you need to create a new account and ID, follow these steps

  1. Login to http://www.google.com/analytics with your UIC email and common password. To create an account, click More options > Create account.
  2. Set up a property in your Analytics account (https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1042508).
  3. Under PROPERTY, click Tracking Info > Tracking Code. Your tracking ID and property number are displayed at the top of the page.
  4. You will need to know only the Google tracking ID (e.g., UA-000000-2), you do not need to use the full code snippet.

When you have your tracking ID, go to your Theme Settings in the Dashboard and enter your tracking ID only (e.g., UA-000000-2), not any of the other tracking code.

Google Tag Manager

To create a Google Tag Manager account, go to https://tagmanager.google.com. When you create an account, your account will have a unique GTM ID. To add this ID to your Red website, go to Theme Settings in the dashboard and enter the ID in the appropriate field.

The Google Tag Manager will allow you to select/deselect what information you are going to share to the Google platform and specific collection of data/visitor interaction for Google Analytics (such as scroll tracking, events, basic data, etc.).  Google Tag Manager is also an excellent way to facilitate the management of marketing campaigns analysis within Google Analytics as well as other third-party tracking (i.e. Facebook pixel).

Implementing the Slate Ping Component

The Slate Ping Component requires that you already have an account set up with Slate.

For each page you want to track, you will need to click “Add Component” from the Content (Interior Page) section of a page. After selecting “Slate Ping” from the list of components, you will be required to add a Title (which can be hidden from the visitor – this is suggested) as well as the domain. The domain is whatever site URL you have registered within Slate. Then click Update/Publish on the page and the Slate Ping Component will start tracking that page. You can view the analytics in your Slate dashboard.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

There are multiple ways that you can improve how well search engines, particularly Google, find your content and display search results related to your pages. We are focusing here on Google Search Engine optimization since it is by far the most used search engine, with various sources reporting between 82 and 93 percent of search traffic worldwide.

The most important factor in improving your SEO is to create compelling content that answers the searcher’s query. The content below on Meta Descriptions and XML site maps will help to make sure that search engines are crawling and displaying the content you want to appear in searches.

Meta Descriptions

example of a search result showing title, URL and description

The Meta Description is a snippet of up to about 155 characters – a tag in HTML – which summarizes a page’s content. Search engines show the meta description in search results mostly when the searched-for phrase is within the description, so optimizing the meta description is crucial for on-page SEO.

  1. The Page Title for your site
  2. The URL for your site
  3. The Meta Description for your site

Each page on Red has an SEO field where you can craft a specific Meta Description to appear in the search engine results (see example image). This field includes a plain text box for adding the text you want to appear in search results pages.

If you do not create a unique Meta Description, the text that shows in the search result for a page is either automatically pulled from the “Intro Text” body field, or the first text that Google’s search crawlers find on the page.

Using Site Maps to improve search engine results

As Google notes in its help center: “A sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, and the relationships between them. Search engines like Google read this file to more intelligently crawl your site.”

A plugin on Red, XML-Sitemap provides the ability to create your sitemap. To create site maps of your site, in your dashboard go to Settings > XML-Sitemap. Within the plugin, you will be able to generate sitemaps specifically based upon your criteria and then submit them to the different search engines via Webmaster tools to improve search rankings/up-to-date indexing.

In order to request that Google re-crawls your site, you must have a Google Developers Account (which you will have access to if you created a Google Analytics account). Within the Google dashboard, you can request that Google re-index your site again (https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6065812?hl=en). This can be done two ways:

  1. For sites with few subpages, you can submit a request that Google’s spiders re-crawl the site via Google’s URL Inspection Tool.
  2. For larger sites, you should submit an updated Site Map

Google Search Console

As Google describes in their help center: “Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results. You don’t have to sign up for Search Console to be included in Google Search results, but Search Console helps you understand and improve how Google sees your site.”

Having a Google Search Console allows you to verify your site and access Google’s reporting tools to monitor, maintain and troubleshoot how your site is performing in search results.

Use the links below to learn more about Google Search Console and to get started with an account.