Fast Five in Search – Week 12, 2014

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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!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 11, 2014

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I’ve got a bit of a mixed bag for you today. The following is a handful of recent marketing-related posts that caught my eye or that I found interesting. Let’s get straight into it:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Twitter is Bringing Promoted Accounts to Search Results by Anthony Ha of TechCrunch. If you’re a Twitter user, you’re probably already familiar with promoted tweets and promoted accounts – Twitter accounts that businesses use to advertise to users. Last week, Twitter announced that as well as seeing promoted tweets from these businesses in your timeline and search results, you may now also see account profiles as a new kind of ad unit. TechCrunch has the low-down on the changes.

2) Skip to the End: 5 Great Ways to Make Your Readers Care by Mike Sowden on ProBlogger. Here Mike tackles the age-old blogging problem of how to keep your audience interested and engaged. There are some clever suggestions in here for ways to hook your readers in to reading your current and future blog posts without resorting to gimmicks or give-aways.

3) 4 Surprising SEM Stats that Every e-Commerce Marketer Should Know by Jordan Elkind on Search Engine Land. With plenty of paid search advertising accounts to keep track of for clients, I like to keep an eye on large brush e-commerce statistics, particularly usage increases. In this post, Jordan shares the latest online shopping trends and e-commerce statistics from the 2013 holiday period.

4) An Introduction to PR Strategy for SEOs by Samuel Scott on the Moz Blog. Following some intense discussions at Moz.com regarding the death of guest blogging, Scott offers this interesting perspective that SEO and inbound marketing are just PR by another name.

and finally…

5) The Mashable Jobs Board by Emily Chow of Mashable. I’m not sure how I missed this, but apparently Mashable has been managing a Jobs Board for some years – a hiring hub for more than 3,000 employers, no less. If you are looking for a social media or marketing job in the digital space, you might want to check it out regularly.

Enjoy!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 10, 2014

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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!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 9, 2014

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In recent discussions with my SEO workshop attendees, it seems clear that link audits are a challenge for a lot of people. But they’re not as scary as they sound.

A link audit is simply conducting research into the number of links pointing to and from a web site, as well as the quality and trust-rank of those links. The audit can also include researching competitor sites to determine their link profiles and – as a result – determining the estimated amount of link building required in order to out-perform them.

To help demystify the process, I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s Fast Five to helpful articles and resources for anyone conducting a link audit.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) How to Conduct a Link Audit by Chuck Price. You don’t necessarily need to use any clever tools or software to conduct a link audit. In this article, Chuck shows you how to do a deep dive into the link profile of a web site using your Google Webmaster Tools account.

2) Raven Tools SEO Software by Raven Tools. If you want a little turbo help for your link audit, Raven’s Backlink Explorer gathers all the backlinks for a domain or URL, including source URL, Citation Flow and even no-follow status. Raven’s Site Finder tool reverse engineers the ranking results using Bing data to identify the best linking opportunities that you may not have capitalized on.

3) How to Conduct a Link Audit by Julie Joyce. While this is a slightly older post, the content is still very applicable. Julie runs through her comprehensive link audit process, listing several very useful 3rd party tools in the process. My link audits tend to follow a similar path to this one.

4) Open Site Explorer by Moz.com. Moz’s Open Site Explorer Tool enables you to research the link profile of your site and your competitor’s sites in the one interface. You can see the backlinks of up to 5 sites at once and compare page authority, domain authority, linking root domains, total links, Facebook shares, Facebook likes, tweets, and Google +1s

and finally…

5) How to Conduct a Link Audit Like Sherlock Holmes by Chris Kilbourn. In this very recent article about conducting a link audit, Chris looks at how to identify and get rid of *bad links* pointing to your site in the wake of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm.
He also lists a range of useful link audit tools.

Happy auditing!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 8, 2014

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Howdy search fans! I’ve been busy researching lots of new juicy links for your viewing pleasure this week. The theme for the week is social, social and yet more social.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Social Media Stats Update 2013 by PewResearch. If you’re like me, you’re always chasing the latest Internet usage stats for an article, post or presentation. While looking for stats on social media last week, I found PewResearch had the most up to date data I could find, plus a free detailed downloadable report. For example, did you know that 73 percent of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind?

2) Free Social Media Analytics Reports by Simply Measured. Speaking of free data, if you like number crunching and deep social data analysis, check out Simply Measured’s free Social Media Analytics reports for Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Their Twitter Follower Report will download data on up to 10,000 followers of any public Twitter account. You can then import the data into Excel and do a deep dive into the current extent of your social reach and engagement – and better still – the untapped potential you have to grow it.

3) Social Media / Digital Stats by Digital Marketing Ramblings. Keeping with our theme of social stats, I stumbled upon this little gem of a blog while yak shaving. Editor Craig Smith pulls together original and curated news, tips and stats in the social media and digital space. If you’re looking for some offbeat stories in social, this is a great starting point.

4) Twitter Search by Topsy. We all died a little inside when Twitter and Google announced the end of their search relationship in 2011, signalling the end of Google’s Real Time search and the ability to search the full historical Twitter archive.  But did you realize that Topsy has always had this privilege? Apart from giving you the ability to search all public tweets since 2006, Topsy indexes and ranks search results from various social networks, based upon the most influential conversations about specific terms, topics, pages or domains queried. If that’s not enough to convince you, think about this: Apple acquired Topsy for over $200 million late last year.

and finally…

5) Beginner’s Guide to Social Media by Moz. Whether you’re a social media newbie or just looking to brush up on your social skills, this Moz Guide will teach you a thing or two. You can download it as a PDF or view it all online.

See you next week!

Happy reading!

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