Auto #Hoffsome Photobombs Ain’t Awesome

I pity the fool at Google who picked David Hasselhoff over Mr. T.

I’m a big fan of Google, they usually put a lot of work and thought into everything they do. Their Betas are better than most company’s finished products.

But given enough time, any company makes a mistake.

Today, I’m sad to report an egregious—and potentially fatal—error in judgement by the people in charge of Google+, and more specifically the Google+ Auto-Awesome Photo Tools. You can preview the post announcing this foolishness on the Official Google blog.

Mr. T says "it's April, Fool"

I Pity The Fool

Who in their right mind thought that David Hasselhoff would be better as the first celebrity for honorary photobomb status than Mr. T?

If you ask me this is an unforgivable oversight.

This is a travesty!

It’s the beginning of the end; it’s all downhill from here.

Google Even Featured #Hoffsome on Their Homepage

Even a company as mighty as Google, that should have quality control practices in place, still chose to feature “Auto-Awesome Photobombing” by David Hasselhoff on its homepage. No mention of Mr. T at all.

How does such a mistake happen?

The Beginning of the End

Surely a gaffe this significant is fatal even to a company as mighty as the big G…as it should be, if you as me. Such a lapse of judgement is a #Hoffsome mistake. I don’t know about you, but I’d much prefer to have my pics photobombed by the greatness of Mr. T.

Sign the Petition

If you agree, sign the petition below (AKA comment) to voice your support for Mr. T.


Data-driven digital marketing on a shoestring budget

A DIY guide to making the most of Google services through data sharing

This post expands on a short presentation entitled ‘Making the most of Google Services through data sharing’ I will be giving at the Web Analytics Wednesday Meetup in Columbus, Ohio on February 19, 2014.

The primary reasons I use Google services are low cost and staggering reach.

Most of the tools mentioned are free and the others can be setup—initially, at least—for less than $100 (their current evergreen AdWords introductory offer is ‘Spend $25 and get an additional $75 credit’).

In the presentation I touch on utilizing GTM, GA, GWT and AdWords but there are other tools that I regularly use in conjunction with those.

Those include:

  • Google Trends
  • Google Consumer Surveys
  • Google+ Local (aka Google Places)
  • Google+ (‘profiles’ for people, ‘pages’ for businesses)

All of the tools above are free.


Analytics Checklist

These are ordered by the order you will come across them if proceeding top to bottom, left to right (not by importance)

Admin Settings

Google Analytics Admin Interface
  • Account

  • Data Sharing
    Share with other Google products
    AdWords Linking
    Link to AdWords Account
  • Property

  • Link to Webmaster Tools
    Yes
    Enhanced Link Attribution
    Enable
    Session Settings
    Change default: Campaign Tracking 6 months => 24 months
    Organic Search Sources
    Add duckduckgo.com
  • View

  • Timezone
    (set)
    Default Page
    (set if applicable)
    E-Commerce
    Enable if applicable
    (On)Site Search
    Enable if applicable
    Goals
    IMPORTANT:Configure Macro (and possibly Micro) Goals
    Content Grouping, Segments, Custom Alerts, Scheduled Emails, Shortcuts
    As appropriate

Reporting

GA Custom Report Import Gallery

In the past, I have published compilations of links to custom report templates that I found useful so I would have them in a single location for easy reference.

Thankfully, that is no longer needed as Google now offers a gallery of custom reports that can be imported directly

  • Import From Gallery

  • Occam’s Razor Awesomeness
    Creme of the crop from Avinash Kaushik
    New Google Analytics User Starter Bundle
    Grom the Google Analytics Team
    Justin Cutroni’s…everything
    View all by him and import whatever might be relevant

There’s a fair amount of overlap between these (and some like those analyzing the number of keywords in a query are antiquated now that the majority of search is encrypted) so I recommend importing them all and cherry picking the ones that you like the best.


References

Data Layer Specification Draft:

www.w3.org/2013/12/ceddl-201312.pdf

Track Keyword Ranking as an event

cutroni.com/blog/2013/01/14/a-new-method-to-track-keyword-ranking-using-google-analytics/

Rename the Global Object
Renaming the Global Tracker in GTM

developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/analyticsjs/advanced

Prevent data loss with remarketing tag

www.blastam.com/blog/index.php/2013/04/google-analytics-remarketing-tag-concerns-solved/

CRM integration
Universal

groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/google-analytics-data-export-api/l7-b5FoyW5Q

Async

cutroni.com/blog/2009/03/18/updated-integrating-google-analytics-with-a-crm/


SEO Qualifications and Responsibilities

Senior Analyst & SEO

It’s difficult to write a resumé when your skills and experience, not to mention the requirements of most jobs in the field are so varied. When I came across a blog post describing the merits of being a ‘T-shaped’ web marketer, I realized he was describing me.

I think of myself as a holistic marketer. I love analytics because it allows me to see what is working and what isn’t. I like SEO because it offers cumulative benefits and amounts to investing in yourself. Sure, owned and bought channels are fine too (and have their unique strengths) but I still think the lion’s share of an online marketing budget should be invested in your own properties—whenever possible.

With that preface, I give you my resumé substitute.


Responsibilities:

Compile reports with a solid understanding of Excel spreadsheet formulas
Background in development and design, basic Excel skills…learning more.
Pull data from multiple platforms (Google Analytics, Omniture SiteCatalyst, Webtrends, Webmaster Tools)
Very familiar with Google Analytics (including ‘Universal Analytics’) and Webmaster Tools (Google and Bing).
Develop webpage and social media asset optimizations based on keyword research
Comfortable with multiple keyword tools including AdWords, Google Trends, Bing Webmaster Tools, SEM Rush, Analytics.
Execute link building strategy
Currently following this strategy.
Create sitemaps
I create both HTML and XML sitemaps for all projects.
Work efficiently through task lists and utilize project management tools
I complete all needed taks, happy to learn PM tools.
Support business development and account teams as needed in SEOsales and presentations.
I have experience in sales, retail, customer service and traditional marketing and I am comfortable with presenting and speaking publicly.
Present new tools to the internal team
A major reason that I have my own website is so that I can test new tools and techniques and explain/utilize them accordingly.
Perform other optimization duties as needed
Of course.

Qualifications:

1 – 3 years’ experience in SEO
2.5 years SEO experience, never been punished by a Google Algorithm update,
Knowledge of social media and search engine marketing (SEM)
Already obtained my voucher for the Google AdWords certified paartner test, studying for it now. Familiar with social media optimization and best-practices.
Expertise with Microsoft Office, especially Excel
Not expert but I get by and I have been focusing on learning Excel (and for that matter the spreadsheets in Google Docs) lately.
Understanding of basic web development technologies with the ability to tweak HTML
I have worked as a front-end devloper and do web performance optimization work that is a mixture of front and back-end work regularly…strong interest in standards, semantics (including Semantic Web), accessibility, usability, and internationalization.
Ability to perform keyword research utilizing a variety of tools
Check.
Experience developing back links for websites
Check.
Understanding of core SEO concepts and why certain search results appear for various keywords
Check.
Experience with at least one of the following is strongly preferred: local SEO, mobile SEO, or social media optimization (SMO)
Most experienced with local but I am familiar with mobile (particularly the SEO boost from mobile/responsive sites (when done correctly).
Experience with Fortune 1000 brands and/or within an agency environment
Agency environment, check.
Innovative thinker, intuitive learner, with ability to quickly find solutions in fast-moving industry
Check.
Excellent research and writing skills with an attention to detail
Check.
Ability to multi-task and handle other duties as assigned
Check.
Financial or automotive experience is a plus
Unfortunately not.
Spanish or French proficiency is a plus
I speak functional Spanish.
BA/BS or equivalent
I don’t have a college degree but I do have almost 4 years college, a vocation certificate (in Commercial Art) and over 3 years experience as a web professional handling a wide array of responsibilities including SEO, PPC, Analytics, web development, email marketing, design, social media and more.

Encrypted Search and Google Hummingbird: My Ideas

The collective SEO and analytics communities have a lot to talk about right now; Google released Hummingbird, its’ biggest algorithm change in over a decade, and made it clear that it is rapidly moving towards 100% encrypted search (which means no keyword referral data for those of us who work with analytics).

I started this post in response to a thread on Linked In, but I realized that I had more to say than could fit there. If you searched these terms and found this post you probably have a job like mine so feel free to skim, skip to the possible solutions, act like you knew it all along, or share with others…please! :)

Why Semantic Search Is Better than Keywords

Keyword data can be valuable but let me explain a real world pitfall: I’d like this site to rank for ‘SEO company columbus ohio’, yet a larger proportion of queries are for ‘SEO companies…’

Which version (or both) should I put in the title of the home page? What about the h1 and that precious first line of the first paragraph? And what about ‘firm(s)’ or ‘consultant(s)?’

‘Companies’ is inaccurate, but has twice the volume of ‘company’…hmm.

I think we all see where this is headed.

What modern inbound marketer hasn’t faced such a dilemma? Who among us hasn’t competed with a large organization with no local presence that has optimized for exactly most commonly searched product or service phrasing followed by a city or state?

That is keyword search and it kinda sucks; it’s dumb and easy to manipulate. For another good explanation check out this Hummingbird FAQ by Danny Sullivan, especially read the examples about halfway down the article.

Semantic (linguistic or Semantic Web) and intent based search (Hummingbird) seems a little more natural and genuine. Search engines had already gotten pretty good at understanding intent, interests, misspellings…in short, natural language. You know, build sites for users, not for search engines and all that jazz.

Potential Solutions to the Lack of Keyword Data


Google search results page featuring the headlines that Yahoo got more traffic than Google in July 2013

Not to say that Yahoo is close to displacing Google’s dominance of the search market but there are other search engines.

First of all, let’s not forget there are other search engines and I haven’t heard they plan to stop passing keyword data. Even if Bing and Yahoo! continue at a humble 20% search market share, that is enough of a sample to provide a meaningful sample, and both of them have been more aggressive in their marketing lately (recall that for the first time since 2011 Yahoo! got more visitors than Google, and Bing’s ‘Bing It On’ campaign).

As for the rest of these I’ll spare you the prose, here’s the list:

Note: I am always careful to sort queries by Google property, and then likely filter out searches that are likely to have lower ‘buying intent’ (e.g. image searches). If you don’t do this it is entirely possible that pages which receive a lot of image/video traffic will have skewed data making it harder to divine searched phrases.

Lastly, use controlled experiments. Maybe you simultaneously create 2 very similar pages, each with a phrase variation to test. Give them a month to get indexed and see which does better (rank, conversions, visitors etc.). Granted, that seems a little spammy and is a pain in the butt however, if you are feeling bold you could alternate phrasing every month or few and after a few cycles could probably get a decent idea for which performs better.