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The Only* Statistical Significance Test You Need

You’ve heard the term “statistical significance”. But what does it really mean? I’m going to try to explain it as clearly and plainly as possible.

Suppose you run two different versions of an ad, and you want to know if the click-through rate was different (or you are comparing two different landing pages on bounce rate, or two campaigns on conversion rate). Ad A has a click-through rate of 1.1%, Ad B is 1.3%. Which one is better?

Seems like an easy answer: 1.3% > 1.1%, so Ad B is better, right? Well, not necessarily.

Consider a quarter

file7161235071306Suppose you have a quarter (and it’s a fair quarter, no tricks). The rate of getting heads when you flip should be 50%, right? If you flipped the coin an infinite number of times, you could expect it to come out heads half the time. Unfortunately in web analytics, we don’t have time to flip the quarter an infinite number of times. So maybe we only flip it 1000 times, and we get 505 heads and 495 tails. Do we conclude that heads are more likely than tails? What if we only flip it 100 times, or 10?

You can see that sometimes, the difference we measure is merely due to chance, not to a real difference.

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11 People to Watch at MozCon 2014

MozCon 2014MozCon is a three day marketing conference put on by Moz.com. The conference brings together next-level speakers to talk about everything from SEO to brand development to analytics. This year Erica McGillivray and team will bring 29 speakers to the Emerald City to give their expert opinions on the future of marketing. It is a jam packed three days, so I have outlined eleven of the people I am most excited to see along with some of their own reasons you should watch them.

When: July 14-16, 2014
Where: Seattle,Washington

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How Helpful Were Google Authorship Photos?

 

google authorship photos

The news that Google plans to drop Authorship photos from the search results was unexpected, but probably not shocking to many SEOs. It will be done in an effort to provide a better mobile experience by decluttering the results, said Google’s John Mueller.

All speculation and mourning aside, we are curious how this affects Google users that have grown accustomed to Authorship photos and Circle information.
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Google Analytics Data Mining with Big Query and R

Big Query and Big Query Export for Google Analytics give us the power to visualize and explore virtually any trend in our GA data. It’s really quite powerful stuff. Because this tool is still very new, I want to get the conversation started on how advanced reporting can augment our digital analytics.

In this post I discuss data mining and the advanced reporting of Google Analytics data. I provide an R script for generating an E-commerce report with visualizations that are not possible within Google Analytics.

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5 Intriguing Thoughts from SMX Advanced 2014

seattle great wheel

The SEO sessions at SMX Advanced 2014 were filled with great wisdom and advice from several of the industry’s most authoritative thought leaders. After attending two full days of back-to-back sessions, the multitude of topics discussed in-depth can make it challenging to distinguish the key takeaways.

I reviewed my notes and live tweets and found a few quotes that stuck with me following the conference. Here were the most intriguing thoughts at SMX Advanced 2014: Read More…

Are You Missing Referral Traffic in Universal Analytics?

Don’t fall for that old Jedi mind trick and simply ignore what Universal Analytics tells you to ignore… they might be the referrals you are looking for.

fooling the troopers with an old mind trick

Did you know that Universal Analytics’ default setting is not to count referrals from your domain? That’s right, Universal Analytics is going to ignore self-referrals by default. This may not be a good thing if you need the information to fix coding errors, but that’s another story.

Today’s story is how to make sure that your idea of self-referrals matches what Universal Analytics is calling a self-referral. If it doesn’t, you may be ignoring some referrals that you didn’t want to ignore. Depending on your situation, you may need to change a setting or even add some custom code to see all the referrals you want.

Read more to understand what’s really going on with referrals in Universal Analytics so you can make an informed decision about what to ignore.

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Put Your Blog Under the Microscope with SEO Crawling Tools

Blog Insights From SEO ToolsIn my role here at LunaMetrics I talk a lot about blogs. I love advising our clients on creating engaging blogs using unique, clever content. Our team here at LunaMetrics has been having lots of discussions lately about our own site. Everyone at our company contributes to our blog.

When I came across Matthew Barby’s awesome method for scraping websites to identify link prospects, I immediately wondered what trends I could identify from our own blog using this method. In this post, I’ll examine our blog with third-party tools to extract some actionable insights.

Scraping websites is an awesome way to collect data (provided you’re not violating anyone’s Terms of Service…). In this example I used Screaming Frog to crawl an entire website (Yours!) as well as SEO Tools for Excel to crawl elements of the site’s pages and an API to identify social shares. When it comes to competitor research or building a list of potential press outlets and authors to contact, this technique can’t be beaten because you don’t even need Google Analytics access to amass this data. We’re automatically taking it right from the page. Read More…

Using Google Alerts and Google Analytics for Online Reputation Management

What is Online Reputation Management?

Online Reputation Management

“Online Reputation Management”, or ORM, can be thought of simply as SEO combined with online public relations and social monitoring – how you or your brand is perceived online. How can you know what your online reputation is? Is it possible to measure if your reputation is affecting revenue? Since search optimization plays a huge role in a brand’s reputation, the two are often connected. However in addition to a strong SEO effort, there are several methods to manage your online reputation.

Many software-as-a-service solutions monitor conversation online – from free widgets to enterprise-level applications. These SaaS platforms are great for in-house customer service outreach and monitoring conversations on Twitter and some public Facebook pages. However a major investment may not be not worth it if you are looking for clean, reliable, consistent data.

Facebook, other social networks, forums, news and aggregator sites have changing privacy settings, nofollows and robots.txt to prevent site crawling which can block ORM monitoring software from finding keywords. Again, these providers may prove useful for other purposes, but I believe there is no catch-all ORM tool currently. The good news is that you can use free tools like Google Alerts and Google Analytics to begin to understand and measure your online reputation.

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Campaign Tracking with a Dynamic Source

Where-do-you-come-fromDo you want to track your press releases or distributed content (widgets, infographics, embedded content, etc.)? I’m going to show you a much better way to do that with campaign tracking in Google Analytics.

I was recently asked a question by an attendee to our Google Analytics training in Los Angeles about using campaign tracking in Google Analytics:

We distribute press releases that get distributed and posted on various websites.  I want to be able to track any traffic generated by those pickups as part of a campaign, but also know from which sites the traffic is coming.  What happens is I simply leave utm_source out?

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How to Cure the Fear of Specialization in SEO

It was not long ago that link building specialists were the most lethal hired gun in SEO. As demand soared, Twitter bios classified their owners as Digital Partnership Builders, Online Authority Publicists and (cringe) Link Building Gurus.

But SEO is not always kind to specialists. The era of link building (blue) specialists is perhaps fading, visible in search volume report from Google Trends, as content marketing (red) becomes the skill du jour.

link building v. content marketing specialty trends

Is that the blessing and curse of any specialist? If so, a boom and bust career is not the relationship that most professionals would like in this industry. Read More…