Migrating to GA4: Critical to Measuring Website Success

In today’s digital marketplace, measuring your website’s performance is critical to your business’s success. Thus the importance of migrating from Universal Analytics (the past version of Google Analytics) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Moving to GA4 is more than just an upgrade; it is a pivotal move that could help you understand how to ensure the success of your business.

Understanding How Google Ads and GA4 Work Together

One of the most significant reasons for this transition lies in the strong connection between GA4 and Google Ads. If your business relies on Google Ads or will in the future, it’s important to understand how the platform works to get you the best results. Machine learning and artificial intelligence within Google Ads enable the platform to understand and determine what success means for your business. Google Ads constantly learns and receives data from Google Analytics to refine your campaigns for improved outcomes.

Your Website: Your Sales Powerhouse

Your website is more than just a digital presence; it’s one of your most effective salespeople. Therefore, the importance of having insights into its performance can’t be overemphasized.

Performance Insights

With GA4, you can obtain deeper insights into user behavior on your website. It goes beyond tracking page views to providing comprehensive data about the user’s journey. This could include details on how they interact with your site, the content that draws their interest, and the points where they decide to make a purchase (convert) or leave your site.

Impact of Changes on Revenue

GA4 equips you to understand how changes you implement impact your revenue. It allows you to identify which changes are driving conversions and which aren’t contributing to your bottom line.

Future-Proofing Your Business

Migrating to GA4 isn’t just about immediate gains. It’s also about future-proofing your business. Google has clarified that GA4 is the future of its analytics offering. Thus, migrating now will ensure that your business stays on the leading edge, equipped with the latest tools and capabilities to harness the power of data for growth.

Steer Clear of the Auto-Migration Option from Google

Google does offer an auto-migration option to GA4, it’s essential to understand that this might not be the optimal route for all businesses. Though convenient, the auto-migration process only carries over a basic data set. It does not include all the customized configurations, goals, filters, or segments you might have set up in your Universal Analytics (UA) property.

Choosing the auto-migration path could mean losing critical pieces of information. A guided manual migration, with the help of a GA4 expert or experienced agency, ensures your unique business setup and specific data requirements are fully accounted for and preserved in the migration process. This approach assures that your transition to GA4 is seamless and tailored to your business needs.

Writing for the web

Note: This is an article I originally wrote in January of 2011. Much has changed, and much remains the same. I’ve made some minor edits to the article below.

Users come to your site to complete tasks

The web is a functional, task-oriented place. We want to find the information we’re looking for online quickly. We go to the web to get answers to our questions or to complete specific tasks. Imagine the last time you went to your bank website. Were you browsing, or did you have a particular task in mind, such as finding your account balance or looking at current interest rates?

The web lacks context

We come to the web to do, and we already have the context when we get to the website. Print lends itself to length, and because print is delivered to the reader, it comes with lots of contextual language.1 If visitors come to your site looking for something specific and don’t find it, they will click the back button and move on to the next website.

Understanding how users read on the web

It’s easy to think writing for the web is similar to writing for print. The first instinct is to obtain the exact text from printed materials and copy and paste it to your website. If you do this, you should realize users don’t read web pages word for word; they skim the contents looking for specific trigger words. To ensure success, web writers must understand how people use websites and how they read on the web.

Research – how users read on the web

In the summer of 1997, three studies were conducted at the SunSoft usability laboratories in Menlo Park, CA. Eighty-one randomly selected users ranging from highly technical to a novice were asked to perform various tasks on some pre-selected websites.

The first and second studies were exploratory and qualitative to generate insight into how users read web pages. The third was a measurement study to quantify the potential benefits of some of the most promising writing styles identified in the first two studies.

Conclusions from the studies

The research concluded that scannable, concise writing styles positively impacted user performance and subjective satisfaction. The study also showed that 79 percent don’t read web pages as they read print. Instead of reading from beginning to end, they scan the page, looking for words or phrases related to their desired task.2

Writing clear and concise web content

Web writers must write clear and concise text using various formatting options. These options include:

  • sticking to one idea per paragraph
  • writing and using concise sub-headings (which summarize paragraphs)
  • using numbered or bulleted lists

It’s also a good idea to eliminate wordy sentences and try to cut the word count to half that of conventional writing. The web isn’t about communicating with long words and overly descriptive sentences. The web is about communication with speed. Use simple words. For example, use “tried” instead of “attempted.”

Formatting options for web copy

  1. Use subheadings to break up your content into meaningful sections and subtopics. 
  2. Keep your paragraphs short and to the point. 
  3. Use bulleted or numbered lists for key points or steps. They can make key points easier to scan. 
  4. Experiment with various styles to see what works best for your content and audience. 

Real-life web writing examples

Review the scenarios below. Remember, visitors come to a website to accomplish a task: viewing their checking account balance or logging in to their college website to submit an assignment.

In this example, a family physician is trying to find healthcare reform information for their patients. The text was found on the American Academy of Family Physicians home page.

Original Version:

With the health care reform debate entering its most critical period, patients across the country are asking their family physicians for answers to questions such as — “Which health reform claims are true? Where can I find a bipartisan source for more information? Why are the reform proposals being reviewed by Congress important to me, your patient?” The AAFP has created a one-page information sheet (1-page PDF) that physicians can download and share with their patients.

Rewritten Version:

With health care reform entering a critical point, patients are looking for answers to health care reform questions. Give them answers with the health reform patient handout (1-pg PDF).

Summary of changes: The sentences needed to be more concise. The questions a patient might ask were removed. If a physician sought this information, they likely encountered the questions already.

The next scenario is a Poplar Bluff Federal Credit Union (PBFCU) customer who wants to learn more about online banking. The text was found on the PBCFU website.

Original Version:

Internet Home Banking – The Credit Union Way

Developed exclusively for FLEX Credit Unions, FLEXTeller is the latest in Internet Banking technology. Accessible through any web browser, FLEXTeller provides a real-time connection and a secure site to view account information. Members may make transfers between accounts, view and download account history, view recent check clearings, view cleared checks, and even apply for a loan, all online. FLEXTeller gives you access to your financial information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Rewritten Version:

Poplar Bluff Federal Credit Union uses the latest secure technology so that you can feel safe banking online. Using online banking, you may:

  • Make transfers between accounts
  • View and download recent transaction info
  • View recent and cleared checks
  • Apply for a loan

Summary of changes: Much of the text was omitted. Most visitors would have yet to learn what FLEXTeller is. Because the user is already on the site, there is no need to include “Accessible through any web Browser.” The list of online banking tasks was split into a bulleted list to improve scan ability. Finally, most people realize the web is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Writing meaningful link names

When linking to files or other web pages, don’t make the link name “click here.” Link names should describe what is being linked to and be included in sentences naturally. Longer link names can be better if they provide relevant contextual information3. Descriptive link names also let the user scan the page to find the information they seek without reading entire sentences or paragraphs. If you’re linking to a document, such as a Word file or PDF, include the file type in parenthesis after the link name.

Example link names:

  • Click here for information about the XYZ ballot initiative.
  • Click here to see the earnings for your school.

Descriptive link names:


  1. McGovern, Gerry. “How the web is different from print.” New Thinking 08 Dec 2008: web. 21 Sep 2009.
  2. Morkes, John, and Nielsen, Jakob. “Concise, SCANNABLE, and Objective: How to Write for the Web.” Jakob Nielsen’s website. 01 Jan 1997. Nielsen, Jakob, web. 21 Sep 2009.
  3. Brinck, Tom, Darren Gergle, and Scott Wood. Usability for the web: designing websites that work. Illustrated. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann, 2002. Print.

GA4 on SuiteCommerce, attribution issues

Has anyone installed GA4 for SuiteCommerce? Have you compared Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Universal Analytics (UA)? Specifically, attribution?

Comparing GA4 to UA: Major issues with attribution

Google Ads (CPC) attributed revenue and sessions are 95% less in GA4 than in UA. Conversely, organic attributed sessions and revenue are far higher in GA4. I have some Google Sheets with tables to compare overall sessions, revenue, and attribution by source and can share those if helpful.

I’m certified in GA4, and I realize the attribution models in GA4 are different compared to UA, but changing the attribution models never causes a 95% drop.

I installed GA4 using the SuiteCommerce Google Tag Manager Editor bundle.

I posted in the NetSuite Professionals forum but am posting here as well, hoping my site might be more visible for those searching the web for these issues.

If you’re having similar issues, please reach out to me.

Why hire an expert to manage Google Search Ads

Paid search ad campaigns have the potential to propel your business to success. There are many advantages to using paid search ads to push your product or services to the top of Google Search results. Whether you have a local business or plan to advertise nationwide, Google search ads are an excellent choice for marketing your business online. Combined with other marketing forms, you can grow your business, acquire more customers, and increase your online sales (or leads). 

Search advertising differs from other mediums because it targets potential customers looking for products or services you sell. As users search Google for specific keywords, your search advertisement appears at the search results page's top (or bottom) page. 

Pay-per-click (PPC) search campaigns that are set up and optimized can become profitable fast. The goal is to gain a measurable return on ad spend. Search ads deliver quantifiable results that can be scaled and repeated for continued success. 

While the rewards of having successful search campaigns are numerous, there are also disadvantages to creating and managing these campaigns yourself. Google touts its easy-to-use campaign and creation tools for business owners, but the default settings often lead to overspending.

Making Google Ads work requires a fair amount of research and analysis to get the right combination of keywords, negative keywords, and campaign structure to attract the right buyers and maximize your results. 

Want to get results quickly? Hire a knowledgeable and experienced Google Ads consultant. Here are some reasons to hire a search ads specialist to manage your campaigns. 

A Google Ads Ad Expert Will Save You Time & Money

  • Paid search ad campaigns are time-intensive to set up and manage. Successful advertising campaigns take time, planning, and patience.
  • Google Ads works continuously to improve and offer new features on its advertising platform, and it can take considerable time and effort to keep up.
  • Google search ad campaigns should be optimized to ensure you spend money on only ads and keywords that generate sales and revenue for your business. 

A search ads consultant has all the proper certifications to help you navigate any Google Ads updates and changes. More importantly, a specialist has extensive experience in managing paid advertising accounts. They know how to set up and run a successful advertising campaign and quickly help you reach your business goals. 

They also know the best way to optimize Google Ads for high-quality scores, click-through rates, and conversions, directly impacting how much you spend (or misspend).

The Science of Paid Ads

The science of paid advertisements using Google Ads includes several steps. 

Keyword research is finding words your potential customers search for in Google to find your products and services. It's the cornerstone of any successful search marketing strategy. The goal is to select the best keywords that will result in clicks and conversions for your business. 

Landing pages are web pages a user is sent to when they click on your search ad. Landing pages should be optimized, so a single call-to-action and your USPs (unique selling propositions) are clear. If you have two different pages, you can test each to determine which has the best conversion rate. 

Two major factors affect the amount you pay for Google Ads' campaigns. These are relevance and competition. Relevance is Google's determining how closely an advertisement matches a user's search. It examines the relationship between ads, keywords, and the landing page. It is essential to make your keywords highly relevant to your ads for a higher quality score from Google. 

Google assigns a quality score that rates your ads' relevance and keywords to the web page in your ad. Optimizing your search ad campaigns and improving your quality score takes knowledge, skill, and experience. Once you have a great quality score, you will have a higher click-through rate (CTR) and a lower cost-per-click (CPC). With a high-quality score, you will pay less for your ad campaign over time. 

A better quality score will save you money on every click and get a higher position in Google's paid search ads. A Google Ads consultant knows all about improving your quality score and how to make the most of your advertising dollars. 

Keep an Eye on the Competition

Another advantage of having a Google Ads expert working on your campaigns is that they can provide specific research on competitors' campaigns. The research they do to optimize your campaigns and get an edge over the competition. It's a lot of intelligent reverse engineering for advertisers.

Knowledge and Skill

 A Google ads expert will apply the best practices so that your search ad campaigns result in conversions. Conversions are the number of people who respond to your ads by purchasing your products or services or signing up for an offer – depending upon your ad campaign. 

 Here are some questions to consider before running search ads: 

  • Who are you targeting? Beyond search keywords, you can target the user location.
  • What is your profit margin on the products you sell? How much can you spend to get a lead or sell a product and still be profitable?
  • Does your website do a good job converting website visitors? Do you talk about your USPs? Does each page on your website have a call to action? Is your e-commerce system easy to use?

A search ad expert can help you navigate the answers!

Tracking Conversions (Leads and Sales)

Be sure to remember conversion tracking. If you skip this step, details about which search campaign or search keyword drove results will be challenging to determine. 

A search marketing consultant can set up conversion tracking in Google Ads and Google Analytics so that you can track the cost-per-conversion (lead or sale). Tracking the cost-per-conversion helps you understand your return on investment (ROI) and the return on ad spend (ROAS). 

Learn about Garrett Digital Services

Monitor top-ranking keywords with UptimeRobot

Here's a quick and free way to monitor your most important organic search keywords in search engine results pages. We'll be using a popular web uptime service to search Google for the keywords we choose and to receive an alert when your site falls off the first page.

  1. Set up a free account.
  2. Go to Google Search Console and look in the Performance tab, to search queries where you're ranking in the top 3 positions in Google. Exclude searches for your brand name, because in most cases, you'll always rank for your brand.
  3. Google for the search query (keyword) you want to set up tracking for. In this case, bookbinding supplies. Take that Google search URL and strip off any extra URL parameters, the resulting URL will look like this:
  4. Log in to your account, and click on Add New Monitor. Use the following settings for the monitor.
    1. Monitor Type: Keyword
    2. Friendly Name: [replace bookbinding supplies with the word in your Google search] bookbinding supplies - Google Search
    3. URL (or IP): Perform the search in a browser, and copy and paste the URL here.
    4. Keyword: Your domain name, as it appears in the SERPs. In this case,
    5. Alert When: Keyword Not Exists. You'll get an alert whenever your website is no longer on the first page of Google for this keyword.
    6. Monitoring Interval: Every 12 or 24 hours. I wouldn't set it any more frequently than this, to avoid false-positive alerts and to avoid artificially inflating search volume for your search query.
    7. Select Alert Contacts to Notify: Select Your Email address.
    8. Click Create Monitor.


Learn about Garrett Digital Services

Assigning a Primary Category / Breadcrumb in SuiteCommerce

Assigning a primary category in NetSuite SuiteCommerce Advanced sets a breadcrumb path on your e-commerce product (item) pages which helps Google, search engines, and users understand your site better. Here’s how to assign a primary category (or add breadcrumbs to products pages) in SuiteCommerce.

  1. Log in to NetSuite SuiteCommerce at
  2. Go to Lists > Website > Commerce Categories.
  3. Click Edit next to the Commerce Category that corresponds to the primary category of the item you want to assign a primary category for. Productivity tip: If you want to do many of these, you can Ctrl or Cmd-Click to open them in new tabs.
  4. Click the Items heading.
  5. Click the first item you’d like to assign from the list, then click under the Primary Category heading to reveal a checkbox (screenshot below). Check the box, then click OK to save.
  6. Click the next item where you’d like to assign a primary category.
  7. When finished, click Save.
Primary Category checkbox in SuiteCommerce Advanced

How can I tell if a Primary Category is assigned in SuiteCommerce?

The easiest way to tell if a primary category is assigned to the items (products) on your website is to look at the product page on your website. If a primary category is assigned, you’ll see a proper breadcrumb path, as shown below.

SuiteCommerce product with a primary category selected

If there is no primary category assigned, you’ll see Home > Product in the breadcrumb path, as shown below.

SuiteCommerce product with no primary category selected

Why breadcrumbs are important to user experience and SEO

Breadcrumbs are important for user experience and SEO. Breadcrumbs help a user understand where they are on your site, and quickly navigate to other sections of your website. If the user lands on a product that isn’t quite what they want, they can quickly move up a level to look at related products in the same category. Breadcrumbs help search engines understand your website hierarchy and improve internal linking which helps visibility in organic search results.

SuiteCommerce: Setting up 301 redirects

How to set up 301 redirects in NetSuite SuiteCommerce Advanced (SCA)

  1. Log in to NetSuite SuiteCommerce at
  2. Go to Setup > SuiteCommerce Advanced > Redirects.
  3. Click New, then select your website from the Domain Name drop-down.
  4. Enter the URL to redirect from in the Redirect From URL field. Only include everything after, (i.e. /blue-widget).
  5. Enter the URL to redirect to in the Redirect To URL field. Enter the protocol, www (if-applicable), and, (i.e.

Importing Redirects via CSV

You may also import redirects into SuiteCommerce using a CSV file with the following column headings and data.

  1. Domain name – This should match the domain name in your NetSuite configuration and generally follows this pattern:
  2. Redirect From URL – This is the URL you want to redirect from. Use everything after the .com, starting with a slash (/). I.e. /widget
  3. Redirect To URL – This is the URL you want to redirect to. On this one, enter the entire URL, including the https:// and www. I.e.

SuiteCommerce Advanced: Bounce Rates after 2018.2 GTM Editor Bundle

A few clients recently began using the NetSuite GTM Editor bundle on SuiteCommerce Advanced (SCA) version 2018.2. The clients reported unusually low bounce rates in Google Analytics after implementation of the GTM Editor bundle. After some analysis, we discovered an issue with how events are configured by the GTM Editor bundle. Anyone else? Shoot me an email to discuss.

Google’s June 25 2017 Algorithm Update & Core Quality Updates

I’m working with a client affected by the June 25, 2017, Google algorithm update.

I’m a few weeks into analysis for a client who experienced significant ranking declines after this update. Rank Ranger did a great job of analyzing the types of sites and rankings affected by this algorithm update. My client’s site fits into Rank Rangers description of the those impacted, it is a consumer goods website, and a vast number of the affected pages were ranking in Google positions 6-10.

After lots of searching and reading, I’ve come to understand this could be what many in the SEO community refer to as a core quality (or Panda) update. It seems Google has been focused on content quality for much of the 2nd half of 2017.

Here are a few items to consider if you or a client has been hit by a core quality update.

One of the quickest ways to see if your website may have been impacted by a core quality (Panda) update is the use the Panguin SEO Tool, which pulls your organic search traffic from Google Analytics and charts it alongside a graph with markers for confirmed and unconfirmed Google Algorithm Updates.

Basics of SEO at WordPress Austin Meetup

Garrett presented this talk to the Austin WordPress Meetup Group on October 16, 2017. A description of the talk along with the slides is included below.

Learn the basics of SEO and how to optimize your WordPress website to improve visibility in search engines. Garrett will talk about the SEO tasks you should take care of ASAP and will provide an overview of SEO and local SEO. Garrett will also review popular SEO WordPress plugins and settings.

Umbraco Articulate Blog – SEO & User Experience Enhancements

A client recently migrated from a proprietary association content management system to Umbraco, a flexible, open-source dot .NET web content management system. I have been impressed by the flexibility and ease of use of Umbraco for everything from authoring new content, to front-end/back-end development, to the ease-of-use of the templates.

Umbraco Logo

The client now needed a blogging solution. When evaluating blog packages, the team looked at a few options including WordPress and Articulate, a blog package for the Umbraco content management system. From the organization and development perspective, managing the blog within Umbraco made the most sense. I am the SEO Consultant, so I reviewed the Articulate blog package from an SEO and user experience perspective and provided the recommendations below.

Hopefully, an Umbraco/Articulate developer will find this post and consider adding these features to the core Articulate blog package. These changes improve the product, make SEO and User Experience Designers more inclined to use the Articulate blog package, and improve the visibility of Articulate hosted blogs in search engines. I don't have all the technical details on how the changes below were implemented, but hopefully, you have a developer to help with those steps.

Blog Business Requirements

  1. To host multiple blogs under a single install of whatever blog package we choose.
  2. If multiple blogs exist, the /blogs/ page should turn into a directory that has a listing of each of the blogs and most recent posts with links and a snippet of text about each.

SEO & UX Functionality that should be added to the Articulate blog package

  1. It was a hassle for the software developers to get multiple blogs in the same /blogs/ folder. There are still some peculiarities with this in how the content is managed in Umbraco.
  2. If there are multiple blogs in a single instance, make the /blogs/ folder a directory of currently published blogs with the following configuration options:
    • Allow the user to select how many posts to show on the page.
    • Set an option to show the most recent blog post as highlighted, with an image, larger text, display the excerpt/description inline.
    • Set an option to show the excerpt/description, date, and date format along with the blog post link.
    • Set an option to enable/disable RSS feed for the blog.
  3. The default settings automatically place all blog posts inside a folder called /archives/ Why not make the default folder something like /posts/? Or just put the blog post in a corresponding month and year folder?
  4. Consider turning date on by default in the URL. This should help prevent duplicate blog URLs and will help organize blog posts into month and year folders, similar to other blog software.
  5. Add breadcrumbs to blogs and blog posts. These are helpful to users, so they have a consistent experience across the site. Breadcrumbs also help Google and search engines crawl and index blog posts and content.
  6. Consider an option to add an on/off switch that would add a meta noindex tag in the header of tag pages. Often these pages aren't incredibly useful to search engine crawlers.
  7. When published, blog posts should be added to global sitemap.xml file. This is an XML file with a list of all of the important web pages on a website, it is used by search engines to determine which pages to crawl first and can be useful in notifying search engines that you have new content available.
  8. By default, both category and tags should be switched to lowercase and spaces should be replaced with hyphens before the tags and categories are written into URLs. Not doing this, you end up with category and tag URLs that look like this.