Fast Five in Search – Week 12, 2014

fast-five

 

This week I’ve been madly studying in preparation to take the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) Exam.

I’d heard the degree of difficulty for the exam had been ratcheted up a notch or two since I last took it, PLUS additional questions have been added to cover the new features of Analytics (such as Multi-Channel Funnels and Attribution Modeling), so I wanted to make sure I was extra prepared.

My studies provided handy fodder for this week’s Fast Five. So I present: Five Useful Resources to Help you Pass the Google Analytics Individual Qualification Exam.

Here they are:

1) Digital Analytics Fundamentals by Analytics Academy. This is your first stop on the exam cram journey. This 6 unit course consists of over 20 short videos explaining all the basic features of Google Analytics, including brand new features recently added in the latest version. The course includes a 20 question final assessment with content taken from a random selection of topics included in the videos. I recommend taking this assessment twice – once when you start cramming and again just before you take the GAIQ exam.

2) Google Analytics Resources by Google Analytics. This is the main hub for official Analytics help – including supporting documenation, FAQs, YouTube Videos, developer notes, online courses, blogs and technical manuals. Anything you need clarification on can be found here.

3) Google Analytics Test by Various Contributors. This wonderful site is a free Community Learning Project put together by various marketers, analysts and Google Analytics specialists around the world. It consists of over 300 sample questions about Google Analytics that you can use to test your Analytics knowledge in random samples of 5, 10, 20 or more questions at a time.

I thought I had a very good knowledge benchmark of Analytics until I took my first couple of tests from this site. Ouch. Needless to say, I spent a LOT of time here. Some of the questions are stale as they are based on previous versions of Google Analytics, but you are able to comment on the questions and suggest reviews. I learned more from some of the question comment threads than the questions themselves!

4) How to Pass the Google Analytics IQ Test in Two Days by Jatin Sharma. In this detailed blog post, Jatin shares his tips for passing the GAIQ Exam with a high score in just 2 days. The post includes detail about the test experience and links to resources he used to cram.

and finally…

5) Google Analytics Reference Guide (PDF) by Blast Analytics and Marketing. There are a few Analytics *Cheat Sheets* around, but I like this one because the layout is crystal clear, the topic headings are in logical sequence and it includes a page of RegEx shorthand, meta-characters and wild-cards that don’t make my eyes cross.

Happy cramming!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

Share this post with others

Fast Five in Search – Week 10, 2014

fast-five

 

Hi folks. Running late today, so let’s get straight to the good stuff. This week’s Fast Five in Search is all about web analytics. Enjoy…

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) 8 Custom Reports from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery by Rachelle Maisner in the Google Analytics blog. If you regularly get lost in your Google Analytics, but have a hard time extracting the right data to show the right people, you’ll LOVE this post. The Solutions Gallery is a free and public platform that allows users to share custom reports, segments and dashboards. In this post, Rachelle introduces us to the Gallery and shares 5 of her own custom Google Analytics report templates that you can import into your own Analytics account with one click. Invaluable stuff.

2) Top 10 Social Media Analytics Tools by Devindra Hardawar of Venture Beat. Most people now use tools to analyze the impact of their social media activities. But which ones are the best? In this post, Devindra makes a start on a top 10 list of the best social media analytics tools on the Web and asks for your input to grow the list further.

3) Introduction to Google Tag Manager (video) by Google Analytics. For those of you not using it yet, Google Tag Manager is a free tool that makes it easy for marketers to add and update website tags including conversion tracking, site analytics and remarketing, without needing to edit your website code. This video shows you how to set up an account and manage your tags.

4) Conversion Tracking with Campaign Analytics by Bing Ads. This tutorial explains step-by-step how to set up Bing Ads conversion tracking using their Campaign Analytics tool.

and finally…

5) 10 Web Analytics Trends for 2014 by Mark Ryan of Mashable. Here Mark outlines the major advancements in analytics that were made in 2013 and sets the scene for what we can expect in 2014 in terms of improvements and new features to help us better understand our web audiences.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

Share this post with others

Q and A: How reliable is the data from Alexa?

QuestionHi Kalena

I regularly use a tool that I think is super useful but one of my colleagues believes it is bogus. The tool is Alexa.com, have you heard of it? The site seems to show really good audience demographic data and I’ve used it quite often to give clients visitor statistics and a ball-park value for their web sites and their competitors.

The site has been around a long time and I’ve shown my friend the reports I’ve generated, but he said that the data is exaggerated. After talking with my colleague, I’m concerned about whether I should be using it. What’s your opinion of Alexa?

Bruce

Hi Bruce

I’m with your colleague on Alexa – I am not a fan. In my opinion, the information they provide is completely skewed and inaccurate because of the way they gather their data and install their toolbar. Sure they’ve been around since 1996 and sure, they’re owned by Amazon but that’s about as impressive as the stats get I’m afraid. You might want to read these past articles about Alexa:

If You Cite Compete or Alexa For Anything Besides Making Fun of Them, You’re a Moron

3 Reasons Why Alexa Sucks (And They Know It!)

Alexa Says YouTube is Now Bigger Than Google. Alexa is Useless.

Why is Alexa Still Relevant?

My view isn’t just based on these articles either. I downloaded the Alexa Toolbar and reviewed it for several years before discounting it. In my opinion, you’re better off installing Google Analytics and generating more accurate statistical reports for your clients.

Kalena

———————————————–

 

Struggling to get better search rankings? Download our Free SEO Lesson. No catch!

Share this post with others

Q and A: How do I boost traffic from other geographic regions?

Question

Hi Kalena,

A friend of mine with a sailing business in the U.S. has found that many of her current clients come from Canada. Can you suggest ways for her to concentrate more SEO efforts in Canada? She’s reaching them via social media with FB and Twitter, but wonders if there is more she can do via SEO to encourage this Canadian trend.

Thank you!

Amy

Hi Amy,

It’s great that your friend understands enough about her customers to realise that a significant proportion of them are coming from Canada (I’m often shocked by just how little some of the business owners I come across know, or even care about their customers).  It’s not clear from your question though whether Canadian customers make up the majority of her business, or whether she is just trying to increase the volume of Canadian sales.

If you want to boost the Canadian sales I would suggest looking a bit deeper into your analytics to determine any differences in the behavior of the Canadian vs US customers. If there are certain keywords, or certain areas of the site that are favoured by the Canadians,  optimising the site for these is likely to result in improved traffic and sales from Canada.

Adwords Pay per Click is also an obvious strategy for targeting specific geographic markets.

If Canadians outnumber U.S. Customers then perhaps the site is not showing up well for more localised searches, and your friend may be better focusing on Local Search Optimisation to improve local (U.S) customer sales.

There are obviously all sorts of other factors that may influence whether your website or the service you offer appeals more to Canadians or U.S.  customers, but the better you understand your customers, their search behaviours, their motivations, and what influences their decision to buy, the better placed you are to improve your sales and enquiries from both markets.

Andy Henderson
SEO Brisbane

Share this post with others

Outdated Google Analytics Tracking Code Could be Costing You Thousands

Do you run an ecommerce site? Do you use Google Analytics code on your pages? Does your site contain secure pages that start with https? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then you’ll probably shudder in horror when you read this.

Tom Critchlow of Distilled – a search agency in the UK – has written a guest post for the Google Analytics blog that demonstrates how using outdated Google Analytics tracking code on your secure pages can be costing you THOUSANDS of dollars.

Tom explained how he noticed a glitch on the analytics report of his client’s ecommerce site that involved users of Internet Explorer 8. These users had a significantly lower conversion and revenue rate on the site, in comparison to users of other browsers and IE versions.

Turned out Tom’s client was using the old Urchin version of the Google Analytics tracking code on every page. The old code included a call to a non-secure .js file that triggers a security warning pop-up in the Internet Explorer 8 browser.

Browsers like Chrome and Firefox don’t display a security warning but Internet Explorer 8 produces the following warning when users transition from the non-secure (http) pages to secure (https) pages on a web site.

The error looks like this:

IE 8 warning

Not surprisingly, the error was causing almost all visitors browsing with Internet Explorer 8 to abandon the shopping cart process and this was costing Tom’s client an enormous amount of revenue, estimated to be in excess of USD 150K per month.

A 5 minute fix to the site saved Tom’s client an estimated 1 million dollars per year. What was the fix? Simple. Installing the new version of the Google Analytics tracking code.

The new Analytics tracking code is asynchronous, meaning that it can track a single domain, or more complex sites with multiple subdomains, database driven pages, php pages or just top level domains.

The new tracking snippet offers:

* Faster tracking code load times for your web pages due to improved browser execution
* Enhanced data collection and accuracy
* Elimination of tracking errors from dependencies when the JavaScript hasn’t fully loaded

If you are using older versions of the Analytics tracking code, Google recommends you login to your Analytics dashboard, download the new code and transition your pages over as soon as possible.

Now you have an added incentive to transition – if you run an ecommerce site, the new code might not just save you page load time but thousands of dollars too!

Share this post with others