Category Archives: Analytics

Google has changed its algorithm

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Google changed its algorithm to promote blogs less

It is so ironic. The minute we published a blog entry a few weeks ago about how Google gives too much promotion to blogs, and not enough promotion to actual websites that offer valuable services — Google changed its algorithm. As of August, 2013, I am seeing a lot less blogs on Google searches. This is good and bad. I like to look for good service providers online. I might be able to actually find them now. But, what about the multiple blogs that I write for and promote?

I am noticing that we are not losing that much ground in our incoming traffic statistics from Google searches. The Google algorithm makes it hard to show up on main keywords for blogs. But, if you have certain phrases, or longer keyword variations including two, three or more words, it is easier to show up well. If a blog entry is promoted in Google+ then you have a much better chance of showing up, and Twitter can make the difference as well. Blogs that get traffic will show up better, and if they get traffic from particular keywords, that helps as well. The Google algorithm is complicated and always changing.

We are sad, because we try so hard to show up on particular keywords, and it is sometimes really hard. Power of Attorney is one of our favorite keywords that we have written multiple blog entries about. Perhaps we will have to write thirty, with a few popular entries in that bunch to show up well on Google. Remember, Google gives more weight also to newer articles, so if you value traffic from a particular keyword, keep writing fresh content!

(1) A year ago, I was saying that Google gives too much promotion to blogs. That ended!

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Social Media Optimization: Checking the effectiveness of each of your campaigns

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Social Media Optimization: Checking the effectiveness of each of your campaigns

It is a bit baffling these days with so many social media campaigns. Which ones should you use, and which ones do you understand? New ones come out every month too which adds to the complexity. Some are better for targeting younger folks, while Facebook is great for the 40-60 year old age segment. There are several analytics you need to understand when comparing social media venues.

(1) What is the cost of growing a particular campaign?
Do you spend three times the effort growing your Twitter campaign as your Facebook profile? Is your Stumbleupon or your Google+ a little faster to grow? Pay attention to how much effort goes into growing each type of campaign. On the other hand, if you really like a particular campaign, you will enjoy growing it which is another factor to consider.

(2) What types of results do you get after spending “x” amount of hours?
If you spend 100 hours on Twitter (did you count the hours?), how much gain did you get in your SEO? Can you measure that?

(3) What types of results did you get with $100 of pay-per-click on various mediums?
You can see how many clicks you got, and if there were any conversions that lead to traffic to your sales area in your site or actual purchases.

(4) How do you judge the quality of a click?
Not all clicks are created equal. Some lead to new followers, while others lead to sales. There are endless metrics you can use to compare click quality. If you are just starting out with a new network you can looks at: (a) How long each visitor spent on your site in seconds, (b) How many pages the average new visitor spent on your site. I learned that Facebook was better for one of my blogs while Twitter was better for another. So, there is no right answer. There are only answers that are right for specific situations. Also, consider which particular blog article you are promoting. Each different article will get different analytics, so get at least 40 clicks before you compare. Most new visitors will only skim your articles. Only a few will really read. The point here is to find out what percentage of your new followers will do some serious reading and clicking around.

(5) Sometimes the posts that did well on one network will do well on others
I noticed that some of the posts I had which did well on Google did well on Stumbleupon. We’ll see how that pans out in the long run. It is a little early to tell.

Good luck!

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How good are you at estimating jobs?

Categories: Analytics, Management | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

My latest business experiment was to give a bid to dozens of software companies. I was straight forward with them and told them that we gave this bid to many companies and not to take too long doing the bid. I was able to do a quick software development bid accurately in my head in a few minutes. I am not even a software developer, yet I was able to do this task quickly. What I couldn’t understand was how professional software development firms with decades of experience took hours and days to do a quick estimate and came up with double, triple, or quadruple the amount of hours that my local programmer (20 years of experience) and I thought were necessary.

It took me about four minutes to come up with a figure of 40 hours. I realized there might be small issues that I overlooked such as customizing pages for the different browsers, and what if there is a problem, etc. But, this project was very simple, and there was not a lot that could go wrong. I asked my current programmer (who is too busy to do much work, but is very smart). He took a few minutes and also said 40 hours. I was amazed that he got EXACTLY the same figure I did, and within minutes. Smart people think alike — either that or I made a lucky guess!

So, why did many other companies need 280 hours to do the job? Were they using complete beginners or were they cheating us? Or both? That is 7x the necessary amount of hours. Then, we got a lot of bids around the 80-100 range which is more reasonable, but still price gouging or overestimating.

There were several factors in my dismay. Only 20% of software development companies worldwide came up with reasonable sounding bids which is very disappointing. But, better than 0%. I was also disappointed that you have to wait and wait and wait for these companies to answer an email and get back to you. The average company took two days to do this four minute bid. Many never responded back to us at all, while a few even got angry with us. Unbelievable.

Many had more questions and wanted all types of details for a preliminary bid. All of the critical specifications were in the bid request paperwork. We also had programming companies start bidding on the artwork which was never mentioned in the paperwork. They ASSUMED that we might want artwork. Would it hurt to ask before you assume? They even threw in some artwork into their bid which we never asked for. If something is not written in a bid request, do not assume that someone wants it. Just specify that your bid does NOT include design work. Lastly, there were companies who started talking about pre-fabricated programming which we never asked for.

The bid experiment revealed that many BPO companies just cannot follow simple instructions and can not get simple tasks done. Many others expect you to just hire you after they give a criminally high bid. Some have endless requests for unnecessary clarifications. But, most bids were just completely unreasonable.

Software companies need to be efficient at doing bids. You will alienate your clients if you take too long to do simple tasks. It is proof that your company is inefficient if you can’t even bid without having the client pull teeth to get it out of you! Remember, what you do before you get a client on board matters a lot. If you blow it for some stupid reason like being a slow bidder, the client will easily seek greener and faster pastures!

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Active vs. Dormant followers on Twitter

Categories: Analytics, Semi-Popular, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Active vs. dormant followers on Twitter

I have five Twitter accounts and find them all to be very interesting. However, several are run by a manager who has a very definitive way of running her accounts. She targets users one by one who are relevant. This makes sense, but there is more that needs to be considered. After we have accumulated 3800 fans, only a handful of them interact with us or retweet us no matter how good our materials are.

I just started my own two Twitter accounts. Each one has a well defined audience. I do not target prospective users at all. I have a completely different way of attracting followers. One technique I use is to retweet from industry news, national news, and international news. That way I get interesting people to join my account. Those new folks might not be relevant to my niche, but they are the type that click the EXPAND link — which means that they are the type that retweet. You can not retweet without clicking the expand link. With my niche followers, even if they did retweet me, their followers are not in my niche, so the tweet would never go viral. However,

these followers who found me when I retweeted, are retweeters themselves, and they retweet me. My new Twitter accounts that have less than 100 followers are getting retweeted once per day which is more than I was getting with my old accounts after they hit 3000 followers. The only way to make it big on Twitter is to go viral, so attracting people who retweet is key. The next thing I do is to interact on large Twitter accounts. The relevancy and quality of the interaction determines whether I get retweeted or not. I use humor, and spend a lot of time refining how I convey my message. I’ll sum up my techniques below:

(1) Retweet from industry news, national, and international news. But, don’t retweet from each source more than once per week for maximum results. Remember, that retweeters are searching through those mediums looking for others who retweet — so they can FOLLOW them. Those retweeters are clicking the expand button on many tweets, so you only need to be on one per week.

(2) Interacting on large accounts, or relevant accounts. A small account in your niche is a place to interact regularly. But, large news sources or entertainers are good places to interact. By posting a really interesting response to a post they published — THEY will not retweet you, but their fans will. I get retweeted almost daily by this technique. You need to be very selective about what you respond to and how you respond. Humor works well, and insight works even better.

(3) Use crossover tweets? Tweet information that is industry specific for your niche, but ALSO is relatable to the public. I tweeted about cats who use google analytics. People loved this. It appealed to the laymen as well as hard core analytics guys! Crossover tweets get retweeted roughly 10x as much as a thoughtful industry specific tweet.

It is no crime to interact with people with mini-accounts of 100 people or less, but it is not a way to go viral. Those will end up being dormant followers who do nothing more than represent a number in your # of followers. Active followers can be caught through interacting and retweeting. Throw your herbal antibiotics away and go viral today!

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The Google algorithm has some serious issues

Social media, the analytics are deceiving

The Google algorithm has some serous issues

Categories: Analytics, Of Interest | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I am a long term admirer of Google and most of my traffic comes from them. My observations are only meant to help and inspire, but not to demean or criticize.

When looking for IT companies online, I find that I only come up with blogs and a ton of job offerings. Yes, job offerings are important. However, Google is supposed to be a smart search engine and focus on what the browser wants to find. If I am looking for COMPANIES, that is a very different nature of search than looking for JOB OFFERS. The reason for this is because Google rewards pages that are new, or recently updated, and job offers fit that description, while hard-coded pages of actual companies are more static and get updated every several years at best.

Google has a very sophisticated algorithm that identifies relevancy based on sentence structure, incoming links, outgoing links, and how many what I call “associated” keywords you use. If you are writing about Acupuncture and use words like “neck pain”, or “back pain”, then Google knows that you are writing something that really is related to Acupuncture and you are not just faking it.

But, there needs to be some mechanism in the search process to identify what type of search results to give. Perhaps a filter where you can pick what type of search you want.

PHP Programming Company — search term
Then, Google could offer you a choice.

“Gee, it looks like you are looking for Programming Houses, would you like to see: (1) Jobs offered in PHP (2) Blogs related to PHP Programming (3) Programming Companies or (4) Other information relating to PHP programming.”

This way I could easily target my search in one easy click and actually be able to find results — what a novel concept!

The next hurdle is identifying which software companies are any good. This job I leave to myself, so that I can publish useful search results on!

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Hiring analytics: How much does the other person like you?

Categories: Analytics, Hiring & Firing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Does it really matter how much people like you?
According to serious researchers it does. Harvard Business Review documented studies that documented the fact that managers can rarely have successful teams if the members don’t like the boss. But, this applies to outsourcing work as well. If the people doing your outsourced work don’t like you, you are in trouble. It doesn’t matter how good they are, how experienced, how meticulous, or how cost effective they are — if they hate you, the relationship is unlikely to work.

Can you find out BEFORE you hire someone if they like you? Sometimes that is not so easy to know. If they start out liking you on Monday, they might change their mind about you in a month if one little thing goes wrong. People are fickle and that is not going to change. You can see how long you talked to them on the phone which is some indication. Someone who doesn’t like you will not talk to you for 2.5 hours like my recent call with a software developer in Massachusetts.

Can you test how much people like you? Offer to take them out to dinner. Tell them you will pay for everything. Do they accept or decline? It makes a big difference and says a lot. Or, do they turn the offer around and offer to take you out and pay? The money means very little, but the intention means everything.

Here are some “likeability” tests
(1) See how long you talk over the phone
(2) See if they return calls or contact you on their own initiative
(3) Offer to treat them to dinner
(4) See how willing they are to answer far too many annoying questions during the 2nd interview. If they don’t like you, they will stop answering questions a lot more quickly. How much more quickly? Hmmm. Why not experiment and get some test results analytics yourself and tell me! I’m curious to know your experience!

How to Optimize Your Facebook PPC Campaign

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Many of us use Facebook for our business and almost all of us use it for fun. But, how optimized is your Facebook campaign? Here are a few tips to help you use Facebook and social media optimization to your advantage.

(1) Where do you get your best browsers?
I noticed that blog visits deriving from Facebook resulted in longer browsing sessions. This is a huge advantage. Use Google Analytics and see for yourself where your best browsers are coming from. Sometimes people spend longer on particular topics than others while certain social media sites might generally create better traffic. Pay attention to that.

(2) Pay attention to what topics work
In some industries people are more talkative than others. Facebook will help you realize this fast. But, perhaps you can figure out which types of topics get responded to the most. Try a different topic every day — plan long ahead of time. See which do best and create other topics that are slightly similar to the successful ones to duplicate your winnings!

(3) PPC for getting new followers
If you use Facebook’s PPC, there are two amazing ways to capitalize. You can use PPC to attract new followers. I learned that this is best done on full blast for a month, and then let it sit for a month or two. You will get a more efficient price per new follower if you are not always available!

(4) PPC for blog promotion
But, you can also do blog promotion using Facebook PPC. Certain blogs and topics will do better than others. Once again, pay attention to what types of things generally work, and repeat your success. I pay $30 per blog entry and get anywhere from 80-300 clicks. If it goes well, sometimes I put a little more money into it. I also select blog articles to put on Facebook PPC that ALREADY did well when promoted from another medium. Duplicating success can easily be done if you are constantly watching your statistics on your analytics tracking system. We got some of our best new browsers for our blog from Facebook. We found that the quality of a Facebook follower is better than from Twitter or Stumbleupon for my particular blog. What about yours?

(5) Engage — obviously
If you get to know your followers one by one, they will be more responsive. That is a law of human nature. Don’t interact with all of them, but choose the ones that seem promising. You can also follow others who are relevant to you in hopes that they will follow you back.

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Understanding “Twitter Minutes” & the Google Algorithm

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What is a Twitter minute? Does it matter?
A Twitter minute is a term I invented while staring at my Google Analytics statistics. I was appalled and saddened when I found out that the thousands I had spent on Twitter PPC had gotten me the highest bounce rate in the Twitterverse as well as the Twittersphere. People only spend a few seconds on my page on average, although we got a lot of sign ups on my Twitter account. The average time spent on my page by organic Twitter followers was over two minutes while the pay-per-click crowd averaged about four seconds. Bizarre.

A Twitter Minute = sixty seconds spent on my blog from a visit from someone that found our link on Twitter

The Google Algorithm
Basically, what counts is that Google algorithm rewards your main site when your blog gets more traffic, particular more traffic from social media. But, if the time spent on your blog from new visitors is only four seconds, what happens? Do you get penalized, or do you get a benefit? The answer is neither. You can spend hours on the internet reading about the Penguin algorithm, the Panda algorithm and lots of other cool names, but those articles will tell you nothing useful about how the algorithms apply to you other than the fact that it is very bad to have poor quality incoming links!

My strategy for getting higher quality clicks
Having photos and pics on my blogs would make a difference. Nice looking pics double Facebook engagement, and would lengthen the amount of time people spend on my blog pages. Another helpful thing to do is to have paragraph headers and bold them. It is easier to read a long article that is cut into bite sized easy to digest pieces.

Twitter minutes as a tool to measure your various campaigns
I have a dozen social media campaigns going on simultaneously, and I’m always comparing them. My main measure used to be how many clicks I got to my blog pages or site pages. This matters. But, after my tragedy on PPC, Twitter minutes is my new measure. Of course if a click comes from Google+, and recently I have been getting many from there, then I can no longer really call it a Twitter minute. It would be a plus minute.

Calculations comparing social media platforms
I calculated how much time I put into Google+, and calculated the rewards. The most effective use of my time was posting my blog entries on their community pages, and I post on many! I get to learn which of my blog entries are interesting to the masses, and also get to see what my bounce rate is. If I spend an hour posting on Google+, I might get about 70 clicks, each of which averages about 35 seconds. If I spruced up those blog articles that did exceptionally well with expensive pics and artfully rewritten text and submitted only those really popular articles on a regular basis, I might get over 100 clicks and over a “Plus Minute” in reading time.

With Twitter, the calculation is different. On Google+, I post mainly to other people’s communities. On Twitter, I have my own communities — six to be exact, and soon to add a few more. The interesting thing with Twitter, is that the efficiency of the time you spend posting is directly proportional to how many relevant and active followers you have in your network. You could spend 90 seconds posting to a group with one million reasonable quality followers and get 10,000+ clicks. Or you could spend the same 90 seconds on a network with one hundred followers and not get a single click. With Twitter, I can calculate how long it will take me to accumulate a critical mass of followers. I can calculate how many Twitter minutes of reading time I will get once I have that mass as well. It is hard to compare a fixed target to a moving target like Twitter.

When optimizing your social media campaigns, you need to understand the following. You don’t need all of your blog articles to be favorites. They don’t all have to have pics. It is good to do experimental ideas in your blog to see what your audience likes. If they like a particular theme or title, then you can spruce it up after the fact, or completely rewrite it and publish it again! If you are going to promote particular blog articles again and again, you are getting inefficient results on your sweat equity if you don’t have optimized articles. That means beautifully written, great keywords, pics, and very popular titles. The title is 30% of your popularity right there!

Social Media: The analytics are deceiving

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Many of us use twitter regularly, communicate with friends on facebook, and read blogs. I learn a lot from these networks when I find good providers which account for less than 1% of the total. But, since the world wide web encompasses all states, regions, and continents of the world, that less than 1% accounts for many amazing providers — and that is all I need.

Your followers are not human
But, what people don’t realize is that most of your followers are DORMANT, useless, or not targetted to your industry. Some of your followers might not even be humans. They could be robots. Maybe you should tweet about what type of oil to use, and you will get more robot followers.

Assessing the value of your accounts
How do you assess the value of your social media accounts for your business? Do you talk to your followers? Do your new clients say, “I found you on facebook”? Do your analyics suggest that your twitter account is driving your SEO positioning up on google even though few people actually click on your links to articles embedded in your tweets? I hear all of these things regularly. So, social media is helping me in all types of ways, but the analytics are deceiving, and the good analytics are not obvious.

Yes, Twitter makes a big difference
The good news is that yes, twitter is helping my ranking on google. Yes, Facebook gets me tons of new clients. Yes, we have great discussions on Facebook. But, oh my god, only 12% of my followers are in my specific industry? Is that high or low? Is that normal? Oh my god, I average only two clicks for each blog article I promote on my twitter with 2500 followers? Are my blogs boring? I think they are really interesting. Hmmm.

Clicks are more than they seem
What I learned is that those two clicks per average article are actually like gold. I learned that those are comparable to a multi-million dollar client purchasing his initial $20 purchase from your company. There will be a long succession of $20 purchases every week for years to come. Yes, the $20 looks small, but 52 of those per year os $1040, and in five years it is $5200. Hmm. It all sounds better now. I learned this from STOPPING promoting a particular twitter account. My blog traffic tapered off a lot. I don’t have the exact analytics of how many exact referals I got from Twitter in a particular month. But, if I lost 40 referrals, my traffic went down by 200. The numbers simply didn’t add up. So, I learned not to look at how many referrals I got. I learned to look at what I was doing on Twitter during a particular month, and how my top line blog statistics were for the next 90 days. Delayed reaction is a huge consideration in web analytics.

Everything went limp
STOPPING TWITTER outreach for a few months was the best thing I did for my business. Not because Twitter was not working. It was for the exact opposite reason. I realized that my blogs lost traffic, my site lost traffic, retweets went down, and many analytics for my business became stagnant the minute we stopped outreach. I didn’t realize how powerful it was, especially when you assessed the value of monetizing the results.

A Novice would have been fooled
PEOPLE LOVE our Facebook much more than our Twitter. A novice web-preneur would be fooled and invest more in their Facebook account. Mistake. Google is the one in charge here, and they are much more impressed by success on Twitter. Why is this? Twitter is hard. No matter what you do, the response is minimal unless you are a seasoned pro. Getting interaction is like sucking a bottle of water out of a rock in the desert. If you can get interaction and growth on Twitter — you have skill and value in Google’s mind, and Google is really smart. We can all learn from Google. They don’t necessarily publish what they value, but ask the experts and study your statistics and you will learn what they like.

Twitter strategy — target those who retweet a lot!

Categories: Analytics, Marketing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I do a lot of social media for my business. It is hit and miss, and you have to understand analytics to know if it is helping or working. You need to understand the value of a follower, and how much effort is worth putting in to get a new follower. But, not all followers are created equal. Active followers are not necessarily harder to get, but they are in shorter supply, and worth a hundred times more than a dormant follower on social media.

I target active people on Twitter. I like people who tweet a lot. I like people with really top-notch content. I can retweet top-notch content without sacrificing my quality standards after all. I can also promote the blog articles that I read from other people’s top notch Twitter accounts, but put an original title and tags to accompany their link. That helps me, and helps them.

But, mostly, I like to target new followers who retweet a lot. If you post good content, and you have 1000 followers who love to retweet, your content could go viral, or at least show up on the keyword search results page on Twitter. The problem is that the longer you do outreach, you end up running out of the top notch prospects to follow.

I’m just starting a travel twitter @meander411
Luckily for me, the industry has thousands of active travel lovers who are on Twitter, and the content they promote is often excellent. The sky is the limit. I hope I don’t see the day when I run short of good prospects. We’ll see.

One of the obstacles that I run into is that many followers are from other countries who speak Italian, Spanish, Indonesian, or Hindi. I can’t function in any of those languages. I prefer English speaking followers. Another issue is that those who are not travel focused often retweet travel materials. Should I follow someone who is not relevant simply because they take interest in travel?

It is hard to say. We’ll find out how it goes after a few months!

Blog Title Optimization — This Can Revolutionize Your Blog Traffic!

Categories: Analytics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Secrets of “Title Optimization” on the Internet

What is Title Optimization?
If you are a blog writer who regularly consults Google Analytics, you will realize very quickly, that certain blog titles do better than others, EVEN when the content of the blog entry is weak. You might get endless traffic on a very simplistic blog that has a title that people just want to click on. You might even get repeat traffic on such a blog. Or, perhaps, it shows up well on Google because of the keyword phrases that you used in the title! Keyword variations are very competitive on Google, but keyword phrases with four words or more can get on the 1st page easily! (remember that)

How do you do Title Optimization?
The best strategy for blog title optimization is to just write lots of titles, and see which ones are getting clicked on the most. You could write a single article, and rewrite it slightly differently several times — each with a different title, and see which variation did the best. This is called, “Optimization”. For the sanity of your readers, I would space out these articles at least four days apart. See which variations did the best, and then create incoming links from other blog articles you wrote, and from pay-per-click sources on social media sites or other mediums to your blog entry.

My experience
I learned through trial and error, that you should write lots of different types of blog entries within your industry and areas of expertise. I wrote about 400 blog entries relating to the outsourcing industry as well as general management and marketing as these apply to outsourcing. What I learned was that roughly 5% of my articles became popular on Google. Not exactly viral, but they are getting seen and clicked on two years after the fact. These blog articles are generally about marketing your services or getting a job. However, one was about transportation — who would have guessed. Additionally, even though we know that marketing entries work well on my blog, we don’t know which titles will do well until we try them!

Try different titles, wait and see
Just try out different subject matters for blogs, and try different titles. You do not know which will become popular until you try. If someone links to your blog from their site or their blog, you could become an instant hit overnight! Just try different things and see what happens. Subject matter optimization is as important as title optimization. Subject matter is the general topic you are writing about, and certain topics will be more popular with your crowd than others. Pay attention to that! But, certain wording variations for titles work better than others, and you should make a study of which word combinations get the best results!

If something works — repeat your success
If you have a successful blog title, write different variations on a theme. Write other related articles on similar yet different topics. Those other articles could become popular too, and you can link these related articles to each other for better luck as well! My most popular article was about getting business for your call center. I have since written about 20 other articles with unique and specific tips for getting call center business. Many, but not all of those articles became popular in very little time.

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