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Monthly Archives: September 2010

Why You Should Drop Everything And Conduct A Site Audit: An Interview With Alan Bleiweiss by @johnrampton

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By John Rampton

At Pubcon 2014 in Las Vegas I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Alan Bleiweiss of Bleiweiss Consulting about the importance of website audits. I start off by asking Alan what kinds of things site owners need to be paying attention to when conducting audits? What are some important things that shouldn’t be taken lightly? Hear Alan’s response in the video below: Here are some key takeaways from the video: A lot of people don’t realize how important audits are, regardless of the state of your website. All too often people will wait until the wheels come […]

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Apple Starts Crawling Web – Is Apple Launching a Search Engine in 2015? by @mattsouthern

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By Matt Southern

Web development consultant Jan Moesen alerted the Twitterverse last week about the fact that Apple is running a web crawler, written in the programming language Go. This is leading many to wonder whether or not Apple is planning to launch its own search engine in the near future. If so, that would be especially bad news for Bing who currently powers Apple’s Siri. Does anyone know why Apple is running a web crawler (written in @golang, no less)? http://t.co/5JDTZuplQp — Jan Moesen (@janmoesen) November 6, 2014 On his website, Moesen explains in more detail the information he has gathered so […]

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Ask.com’s Top 10 Searches For 2014: “What Are The Symptoms Of Ebola?” Leads The List

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By Amy Gesenhues

With more than a month still to go in 2014, Ask.com has already released its top searches for the year.

Based on its 100 million monthly U.S. users, Ask.com says “What are the symptoms of Ebola?” was the number one question for news related searches on the site in 2014.

Ask.com listed its top trending news, celebrity and politically-themed search terms, as well as predicted what will make the headlines in 2015.

While the Ebola outbreak pushed the virus to the top of the list for news searches, other top news-related search terms included the Malaysia Airlines, World Cup and Pakistani women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai.

Top 10 News Search Terms:

  1. Ebola
  2. ISIS
  3. Malaysia Airlines
  4. Ice Bucket Challenge
  5. Ferguson
  6. Sochi Winter Olympics
  7. World Cup
  8. Nigeria
  9. Malala Yousafzai
  10. iPhone 6

For top top celebrity searches, Robin Williams and Jennifer Lawrence took the No. 1 and No. 2 spots respectively, showing our need to mourn the loss of Williams topped our voyeuristic urges to see nude photos of Lawrence.

Top Ten Celebrity Search Terms:

  1. Robin Williams
  2. Jennifer Lawrence
  3. Jay-Z
  4. Kim Kardashian
  5. Joan Rivers
  6. Ray Rice
  7. Angelina Jolie
  8. Renée Zellweger
  9. Kate Middleton
  10. Derek Jeter

Oddly enough in such a heated election year, international search terms dominated Ask.com’s top political searches.

Israel, the Ukraine, India, Scotland and Hong Kong took the top five spots on Ask.com’s top ten list of politically-themed search terms. Thailand and Kim Jong-un made the list as well.

Top Ten Political Search Terms:

  1. Israel
  2. Ukraine
  3. Indian Election
  4. Scotland
  5. Hong Kong
  6. Janet Yellen
  7. Thailand
  8. Veterans
  9. Kim Jong-un
  10. Hobby Lobby

The Q&A styled search engine also analyzed user search behaviors to predict next year’s headlines, claiming the Kardashians will be cancelled, while Colbert will be crowned.

Ask.com’s 2015 News Predictions:

  1. “Keeping up with the Kardashians” is cancelled after its 10th season.
  2. Nashville edges out New Orleans as the top southern US travel destination.
  3. Michael Keaton is one of the top contenders to be cast in the third season of True Detective.
  4. Wyatt breaks into the top 100 baby names for girls.
  5. The bulldog dethrones the Labrador as America’s most popular dog.
  6. Stephen Colbert is crowned king of the late night talk show wars.
  7. Personal robots will sell twice as many models in 2015 than were sold in 2014.
  8. No sugar diets knock gluten free out of the top spot for the health fad of the year.
  9. BMW’s i3, the luxury automaker’s new entry to the electric car market, spikes in sales, surpassing the growth rate seen in 2014 by both the Tesla and the Nissan Leaf.
  10. Adele’s rumored new album tops the charts and breaks her own previous album release record.

The post Ask.com’s Top 10 Searches For 2014: “What Are The Symptoms Of Ebola?” Leads The List appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Apple Webcrawler: More Potential Evidence Of Search Ambitions

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By Greg Sterling

Apple Insider reports on the discovery of a web-crawling bot originating from Apple’s servers. It was first “outed” by developer Jan Moesen.

This is what Moesen saw:

Apple Bot

Moesen reports that the bot is only crawling HTML, “not the CSS, JavaScript or image files.” Then he asks whether this is an “official Apple project” or just “someone crawling the web from their workplace at Apple?”

I can’t answer Moesen’s question but I’m going to guess it’s an official Apple project. Interestingly, he says it has some sort of bug.

Apple has been working on “search” in various forms for some time. Siri, though not a search engine, is a kind of replacement for search for certain types of queries and activities. Apple has been relying on Bing for websearch “backfill.”

In 2012 the company hired William Stasior from Amazon/A9. Before working at the Amazon search division, Stasior was Alta Vista’s “director of advanced development.” There he “led the engineering team responsible for developing AltaVista’s next generation search technologies.”

Apple Maps is a local search engine. Apple Watch extends that local search functionality to your wrist.

In the Yosemite update to Mac OS the new Spotlight Search is front and center on the desktop. Spotlight searches your desktop but also provides web search suggestions from Bing. There are structured data sources that also show up in search results, such as Wikipedia, Maps and Fandango.

Some of this replaces the need to go to Google, but only at the margins.

In this larger context my guess is that Apple is doing something purposeful with a webcrawler. I don’t think that Apple will ever take on Google directly by trying to be a general or all-purpose search engine, but web search and related content capabilities are an increasingly important part of the virtual assistant experience.

Accordingly I would argue that Apple needs more search chops and content if it is to further develop Spotlight Search and to keep Siri competitive with Google/Now and Cortana.

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Google Improves Maps With New Local Search Features, New Material Design, And More by @mattsouthern

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By Matt Southern

With the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google has been redesigning its apps with a focus on material design and Maps is the latest to get the redesign treatment. But the new version of the Google Maps app, coming to both iPhone and Android over the next few days, comes with more than just a new look at feel. It has been designed to make life easier with new local search features. Local Search When you search for a location and tap on the info sheet at the bottom of the screen, a new layer will be brought up to […]

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Avoid Common Google Analytics Bugs and Misunderstandings that Lead to Bad Data

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By CraigBradford

Posted by CraigBradford

Problems in Google Analytics are causing you to get bad data, misunderstand reports and draw wrong conclusions. Many of these are not your fault, they’re due to settings, bugs and the configuration of Google Analytics. There are also some that are just easy to misunderstand and that I’ve seen trip up even experienced consultants.

Read on to learn what you need to look for.

Beware of sampling bugs

My team and I have recently seen some strange sampling issues/bugs in Google Analytics. We were looking at the landing page report with an advanced filter. All sessions were reported around 15k. Applying an advanced segment to the same report, all sessions were inflated by about 2.6x to 40k. See the image below:

We’ve seen this in other reports too, but we’re still unsure why this is happening. We’ve reported it to Google and they think it is a bug. If anyone else knows why this is happening, I’d be interested in hearing why in the comments below. For now, all we can do is be aware that this can happen.

Don’t trust funnel visualisation

Funnel visualisation is one of the reports that people love to use. It’s great in theory, looks good and at first glance tells you lots of the things you want to know.

The problem is, it’s often just wrong. My number one tip for the funnel visualisation report is this: don’t use it. Seriously. For three reasons:

  1. Data inaccuracies – I’ll cover these in a minute
  2. Lack of segmentation – looking at all of your data on aggregate isn’t very useful
  3. Goal flow report – most of what you want from the funnel visualisation report can actually be done in the goal flow report (although this is heavily sampled)

I’m only going to cover two of the inaccuracies/assumptions here; for more details and for a comprehensive overview of funnel visualisation and goal flow I recommend reading this.

Backfilling funnel steps

The whole point in creating a funnel is to see exactly where people go, and how many people move through the funnel steps. Unfortunately, that’s very hard to see in Google Analytics. The section below, taken from the support article, explains the problem:

“The Funnel Visualisation report backfills any skipped steps between the step at which the user entered the funnel and the step at which the user exited the funnel.

For example, let’s say your funnel is defined as /step1 > /step2 > /step3 > goal, and a user navigates from /step2 to goal, skipping /step1 and /step3.

In the Funnel Visualisation report, you’d see an entrance to /step 2, a continuation to /step 3, and a continuation to goal.”

The longer the funnel, the more unusable this becomes because you have no idea which pages users really visited and which Google Analytics is just backfilling. All the funnel really shows is the entrance and exit point.

Order of funnel steps

The order that the steps are taken in also isn’t taken into consideration. This makes the entry and exit pages also unusable. To use Google’s example:

“For example, let’s say your funnel is defined as /step1 > /step2 > /step3.html > goal.html.

A user then had this session: /xyz > /step3 > /step2 > /abc.

The Funnel Visualisation report would show an entrance from /xyz to /step2, a continuation to /step3 and an exit from /step3 to /abc.”

We actually know that the entrance page was /page3 not /page2 and that the exit page was /step2 not /step3.

While I can see some of the logic behind these decisions, I would be very reluctant to draw any conclusions from the data. For most funnel analysis needs, I like

That’s all folks. I hope you’ll be able to make more informed decisions from your data after reading this. If anyone knows any more details on any of the items on the list I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments.

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