Google’s New Indexing Infrastructure “Caffeine” Now Live

Google first mentioned their new indexing infrastructure, Caffeine, back in August 2009 in order to solicit feedback, then launched it at one data center in November. �Finally, it�s live everywhere. The Google blog calls it a “whole new web indexing system” that�s “more than 50 percent fresher than our last index and it’s the largest collection of web content we’ve offered”.

So what is Caffeine and what does its launch mean for searchers and content owners?

Maile Ohye, of Google�s Webmaster Central told me “the entire web is expanding and evolving and Caffeine means that we can better evolve with it. As the ecosystem improves, we improve too and return more relevant content to searchers.” Google�s Matt Cutts added that “Caffeine benefits both searchers and content owners because it means that all content (and not just content deemed “real time”) can be searchable within seconds after its crawled.”

Caffeine is a revamp of Google�s indexing infrastructure. It is not a change to Google�s ranking algorithms. �It is live across all data centers, regions, and languages.

Content is available to searchers more quickly

Previously, Google�s crawling and indexing systems worked as batch processes. Googlebot would crawl a set of pages, then process those pages (extracting content from them, associating data about them, such as anchor text and external links, determining what those pages were about), and finally add them to the index. While this system was continuous, all the documents in the batch had to wait until the whole batch was processed to be pushed live. Now, when Google crawls a page, it processes that page through the entire indexing pipeline and pushes it live nearly instantly. This change has already resulted in a 50 percent fresher index than before.

Note that the introduction of Caffeine doesn�t necessarily mean that pages will be crawled on a faster schedule than before. It simply means that once those pages are crawled, they are made available to searchers much more quickly. (Remember, you can estimate how often your pages are crawled by taking a look at your server logs or checking the cache dates in Google.)

Google�s storage capacity has greatly increased

While Google�s index is not significantly larger than before at the moment, the new indexing infrastructure makes that possible. Which only makes sense. If Caffeine is intended to help Google better evolve as the web does, then it needs significant storage capacity. The web grows by leaps and bounds every day, certainly much faster than anyone could have imagined back when Google first launched.

Google�s flexibility in storing information about documents has greatly increased

Google has always associated a variety of details with documents it stores. (In this context, a “document” refers to any piece of web content, such as a web page, image, or video.) For instance, when Google indexes a web page, it also stores information about what external pages link to that page and what anchor text is used in those links. The Caffeine infrastructure provides more flexibility in the type of details that can be stored with a document. As the web changes and new valuable data about web content emerges, Google won�t have to build new code to take advantage of it. This means that while Caffeine itself is not a ranking algorithm change, it could impact ranking in the future (as new signals are associated with pages).

Matt Cutts told me “It�s important to realize that caffeine is only a change in our indexing architecture. What�s exciting about Caffeine though is that it allows easier annotation of the information stored with documents, and subsequently can unlock the potential of better ranking in the future with those additional signals.”

Update: In Matt’s keynote at SMX Advanced, he gave an example of additional data that Google can now store for documents. He said, “you might imagine that before we could associate a page with only one country, whereas now, we could potentially associate that page with several countries”. (Note that he wasn’t saying this was something that Google does now; just that it was an example of what is possible with the new infrastructure.)

How can content owners best take advantage of the new infrastructure?

Content owners will reap the benefits of Caffeine without doing anything at all. In fact, there�s really not much, if anything content owners can do. Some may wonder if this change means that existing best practices around crawl efficiency matter more than before. Is page speed, which Google has focused on more lately, more important? Nope. Google told me that this change doesn�t make any of the crawling, indexing, or ranking factors more or less important than before. It simply makes crawled content available in search results more quickly before and paves the way for added flexibility in taking advantage of the whatever may come as the web evolves.

How to Make Videos for YouTube Mobile

YouTube Mobile gets more than 600 million views a day, making the #2 video-viewing website in the world – right after YouTube itself. So, a lot of marketers are interested in learning how to make videos for YouTube Mobile.

One of the places where they can learn how to create and edit video for mobile devices is the new site.

For example, the site provides five “Deadtime” mobile video tips.

The site also offers three videos in its Mobile Minutes series. The first provides mobile video tips about shooting in landscape.

Search Engine Watch interviewed one of’s experts, Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff. He’s a bestselling and award-winning author. He is a former Sirius Satellite Radio drive time show and TV host. You can also see his how-to tips at how to .tv.

Greg Jarboe: How does search on mobile devices differ from desktop devices?

Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff: Mobile vs. desktop search is a far different beast. The mobile experience is centered upon immediacy and consumer-driven content. At home, I most likely have more time to poke around than I would on the go and the obvious luxury of more screen real estate. On my mobile device, especially if I'm paying a premium for bandwidth, I want my search results optimized for the best return at the top of my screen.

Android devices are always logged in, so those users will see more personalized search results due to the data mined from their devices. Because of the geo-location capabilities that are constantly in background use in mobile devices, local results tend to rank higher in mobile search.

In general, Google Places rankings will be higher in mobile than for desktop for all devices. So if your video has any kind of “local-interest” component, i.e. “the best apple pie in Nashville” and your aim is to draw people or consumers to one location, you may indeed have better search results from mobile than from desktop searches.

One other thing for video creators to take into account is that image results often rank higher than video results, so you may catch more mobile search traffic with a great screen grab from your video that hopefully leads people to your target page.

GJ: How would you optimize a video for mobile devices?

MYN: Keep it short and sweet. Again, think of the immediacy of the mobile experience. Your target audience is less likely to sit through a 10 minute video on their mobile device, especially if they're on the go, than they would a good 60 second video.

You can always make a separate mobile-friendly (and shorter) edit of your longer piece. Yes, your longer video may be a work of pure genius, but if your mobile audience/customer has to wait forever for it to load or is on the go, they may never see the whole thing anyway.

I worked for a company years ago and we discovered something really important to our viewership. If we cut down the average length of a video by one half, we would generally see the viewership triple. The "sweet spot" for video changes constantly (mostly trending toward shorter and shorter videos) and with mobile and the increased cost of 4G bandwidth to the consumer, time is definitely money.

GJ: How do mobile users discover "Related" videos for each video they watch on their phone?

MYN: Even in mobile, if you put your videos up on a YouTube channel, the viewer will see a screen that has several options to view more content after your video has finished playing. Now, if the topicality of your videos are all very different, then they may see a combination of prompts for more of your content along with those for other people's content that is similar in topic or title.

If you're concerned with keeping those mobile viewers locked onto your stream of content, then one of your best bets is to drive them to your hosted site. But remember, in this day and age, you only have mere seconds to convince a viewer to click on your link so one great shorthand to instantly inform your potential audience that you have video on your site is to use a .tv domain.

One benefit to this over using a massive video-sharing web portal is you can gain instant "stickiness" with certain easy-to-use and free Wordpress plug-ins so your post will display “related content” links from within your site designed to keep the viewer clicking on more of your content. Remember, branding is the satisfactory repetition of a message. Keep the viewer happy and locked into your content stream and you'll begin to own a part of their precious mental real estate!

Become an Expert Digital Marketer at SES New York
March 25-28, 2013: With dozens of sessions on Search, Social, Local and Mobile, you'll leave SES with everything you need to know. If it's your first time, don't miss the Newcomers Meetup on Monday, March 25. Register for SES today!

Building the B2B Social Media Machine: SES New York 2013 Sneak Preview #SESNY

If you are in any way responsible for driving brand awareness via social media, growing your client base via social media marketing, optimizing your B2B website for social media, and managing client relations via social media marketing, then you won't want to miss the Building the B2B Social Media Machine session at 10:30 a.m. on the first day of SES New York.

Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect.

The session will be led by Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank and author of “Optimize”. Joining me on the panel will be Adriel Sanchez, senior director of Demand Generation at SAP. Combined, the three of us have 30 years of experience in social media marketing in the B2B and corporate space.

B2B social media marketing has grown in importance in attributing to the bottom line and 2013 shows no slow down. In this SES session, you will discover what trends in social media marketing are taking place in:

Mobile-social.Social commerce.Social channel advertising.Social signaling for SEO.And more.

The panel will review how you can set and continuously measure results in social media goal setting.

The topic of content planning has been at the forefront of every B2B marketer’s mind since blogging blew up. Our team will share how you can content plan to drive real business results. Further, the session will show how you can align your teams as resources to support content creation, distribution, sharing, and management.

Leveraging social for other marketing channels and doing it right is one of the keys to taking social to the next level. The panel will reveal how to drive e-mail opt-ins from social, how to increase social following from offline activities and how to use online partners to increase your social buzz.

For B2B social media marketing to be a true part of the marketing strategy, qualitative data must be measured and reflected in a way that drives business. In the session, our team will share best practices and tools for B2B social media management and monitoring.

The panel will also discuss how your organization can best support your own social ecosystem so that online influencers can help to spread the good word about you in the social channels. In this, the team will touch on reputation building in social and how you can secure a good position.

Of course, what is a session without a solid case study? Sanchez will describe how SAP has put in a social media organization, tools, processes and governance that spans global, regional, and local teams. Through clear roles and responsibilities, ownership, simple tools like editorial calendars, more complex monitoring and publishing technology, and the support of an agency for creative and production, SAP LAC has taken its social media practice to new heights.

If you're attending SES New York, then this session should be marked "mandatory" on your checklist.

Haven't registered for SES New York? What are you waiting for? Book your trip now!

Look forward to seeing you there!

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Google CEO Larry Page Loses Voice, But 'Nothing Seriously Wrong'

Google CEO Larry Page won't be speaking at the company's I/O Conference in San Francisco next week because he's reportedly lost his voice.

Page, 39, attempted to quickly quell fears of health issues, sending an email to Google employees stating that "there is nothing seriously wrong with me" and he will "continue to run the company," according to numerous published reports.

Soft-spoken Page sat out of the company's annual shareholders' meeting on Thursday due to having lost his voice, which Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said could stop Page from speaking at public engagements for several weeks.

"I wanted to start by saying that Larry is very sorry he cannot be here today but he's unfortunately lost his voice," Schmidt told investors. "This means he can't do any public speaking engagements for the time being - that includes today's shareholder meeting, I/O next week, and our earnings call in mid-July.

"That said, Larry will, of course, continue to run the company. He will be involved in all the strategic business decisions we make - just like today. In fact Sergey has said it may make Larry a better CEO because he will have to choose his words carefully."

Although Page won't be in attendance, we're expecting interesting revelations at next week's Google I/O Conference. Among these topics will be the next iteration of the Android mobile operating system known as Jelly Bean and the firm's long rumored tablet, which is expected to launch as the Asus Nexus 7.

This story originally appeared on The Inquirer:Carly Page wrote Google’s CEO Larry Page loses his voice

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.

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Analyzing & Accounting for Search Partners

Search partners are search engines that syndicate Google's AdWords ads. These websites aren't large enough to build their own ad serving platform, and don't have enough users to attract advertisers to it.

Without wanting to sound overly harsh: if you had an extra hour to spend on your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, would you use it building an campaign or optimizing Google? There's no contest.

Too Many Search Partners!

The search partner network is blind. That means that you can't see in advance which sites your ads will run on, you can't see performance per site when your ads are running, and you can't remove poorly performing sites from your campaigns.

That's bad, and it's wildly different from what we expect in the rest of AdWords, where transparency and control are the orders of the day.

Why is it a Problem?

The search partner network is not terrible. Not by a long shot. Although you can expect lower click-through rates (CTRs) than you'd get on Google, you may well find your CPA to be as good as Google, sometimes better.

But not every site will work well, and it's tricky to know how to optimize it. Tricky, but not impossible.

Step 1: Learn

Using Google Analytics you can easily track your traffic from search partners, site by site. This data is neither perfect nor easily actionable, but the more you know...

Set up this Google Analytics filter to get a profile that will tell you exactly what traffic is coming from which search partner.

Depending what kind of website you're running, you may be surprised at the results. There are websites in the search partner network that are not search engines.

Take a look at any popular Amazon product page. What you'll see is a selection of links somewhere in the middle, titled "Customers Viewing This Page May Be Interested in These Sponsored Links." These are AdWords Search Partner ads.

"But wait," I can hear you shout. "There is no search query on this page!"

You're right. Sneaky devils. They're taking the product name (which is likely to be some long title including a short description and maybe a product code) and sending that to Google as a search query. If your keywords are in phrase or broad match, and include part of that product title, you could be in trouble.

You'll see a keyword that usually gets 2,000 impressions per day suddenly shoot to 20,000 impressions in a day. That's not a surge in search activity, that's Amazon.

Other major sites are in this network too: eBay and Gumtree (in the UK) spring to mind. Each of these can have an enormous impact on your campaign.

Step 2: Act

First of all you need to see how much of a force in your campaigns the search partner network is. To do this keyword by keyword you'll need to use the "Top vs Other" segment.

If you identify keywords with crazy search volumes from the search partner network, you've got to discover why.

Check your search query reports for that keyword. What you might see is some ridiculous unlikely search query that gets loads of traffic.

These situations are common, and need common sense applied by the campaign manager. If you see a search query which doesn't seem likely to be that popular, it's probably not. It could be a product name, or a page title, or a navigation breadcrumb. You'll see all of these and more sent to Google as search queries.

One simple rule of thumb applies when taking action: if it looks ridiculous, it's ridiculous. Stop it.

Use exact match negatives to block specific instances of your ads appearing on the search partner network.

How Much Work is This?

I won't lie, proper management of the search partner network isn't trivial. Nor should it be. By removing almost all control Google has tricked us into thinking it doesn't need monitoring or management. But now that we have these tools at our disposal, we should use them.

Perform regular checks of your search query reports looking for ridiculousness, and cut those from your campaign. Your account will thank you for it.

Yahoo & Bing

These aren't Google search partners (although in the UK their traffic is low enough that they might as well be) but they have just introduced a similar problem: two networks, no control between them. You need to be able to make sure that your Google Analytics can track them correctly.

Follow these tips about Yahoo and Bing tracking, and try to keep an eye on which portions of traffic come from which search engine. If you get keywords behaving differently from one to the other, you've got a proxy for actual control.

Turn the keywords up or down that get traffic from one site rather than the other. This will give you back some performance.

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Google’s March Updates: Anchor Text, Image Search, Navigational Search & More

Google’s latest round of search quality updates is now available, and — at the risk of sounding like a grumpy old SEO — this month’s seems even more difficult to grasp than normal. There are a lot of words in this month’s list of 50 changes, but it appears to me that there’s not really a lot of explanation.

So be it, though. The monthly updates are a welcome thing from Google’s search team, and they’re always good to get discussion and speculation going.

With that in mind, here are a few of the items that stand out to me on first perusal of Google’s blog post.

Anchor Text Tweaks

There are two items on the list that make specific reference to how Google processes anchor text. Here they are, word-for-word from the announcement:

Tweaks to handling of anchor text. [launch codename "PC"] This month we turned off a classifier related to anchor text (the visible text appearing in links). Our experimental data suggested that other methods of anchor processing had greater success, so turning off this component made our scoring cleaner and more robust.

Better interpretation and use of anchor text. We’ve improved systems we use to interpret and use anchor text, and determine how relevant a given anchor might be for a given query and website.

The first mentions a specific classifier (i.e., signal) that’s been turned off; the second mentions a new way (signals?) for determining anchor text relevance.

Your guess is as good as mine re: what exactly that means. Comments are open if you want to speculate or tell us (and other readers) what you’ve noticed lately regarding links and anchor text.

Image Search Changes

There are also a couple items related to image search, and more specifically related to the quality of the pages on which images appear:

More relevant image search results. [launch codename "Lice"] This change tunes signals we use related to landing page quality for images. This makes it more likely that you’ll find highly relevant images, even if those images are on pages that are lower quality.

Improvements to Image Search relevance. [launch codename "sib"] We’ve updated signals to better promote reasonably sized images on high-quality landing pages.

In one case, lower quality pages are rewarded; in the other, “reasonably sized” (I read that as “smaller”) images on better quality pages are rewarded. I think.

Indexing Symbols

Google is no longer ignoring several punctuation marks and symbols. As the owner of a website whose name begins with the @ symbol, I love this one. (It used to be that searches for “@U2″ led to the official site,, not my independent site.)

Improvements to handling of symbols for indexing. [launch codename "Deep Maroon"] We generally ignore punctuation symbols in queries. Based on analysis of our query stream, we’ve now started to index the following heavily used symbols: “%”, “$”, “\”, “.”, “@”, “#”, and “+”. We’ll continue to index more symbols as usage warrants.

I would think this will also benefit searches for Twitter usernames, for example. And maybe hashtags? Haven’t checked on that. Feel free to ignore me.

Navigational Queries

There are a pair of updates regarding navigational queries:

Improvements to results for navigational queries. [launch codename "IceMan5"] A “navigational query” is a search where it looks like the user is looking to navigate to a particular website, such as [New York Times] or []. While these searches may seem straightforward, there are still challenges to serving the best results. For example, what if the user doesn’t actually know the right URL? What if the URL they’re searching for seems to be a parked domain (with no content)? This change improves results for this kind of search.

Better handling of queries with both navigational and local intent. [launch codename "ShieldsUp"] Some queries have both local intent and are very navigational (directed towards a particular website). This change improves the balance of results we show, and helps ensure you’ll find highly relevant navigational results or local results towards the top of the page as appropriate for your query.

On that second one, I did a search for the word “twigs.” When my location was set local to my hometown, Google showed results for a local restaurant named Twigs at the top of the results page. When I changed my location to New York City, it showed an East Village hair salon named Twigs. Results related to actual twigs (branches) were further down the page. If that’s what they’re referring to, this is an interesting change.

Other Changes Worth Reading Closely

Here are a few other things that caught my eye:

More accurate short answers. [project codename "Porky Pig"] We’ve updated the sources behind our short answers feature to rely on data from Freebase. This improves accuracy and makes it easier to fix bugs.

Improvements to freshness. [launch codename "Abacus", project codename "Freshness"] We launched an improvement to freshness late last year that was very helpful, but it cost significant machine resources. At the time we decided to roll out the change only for news-related traffic. This month we rolled it out for all queries.

Better indexing of profile pages. [launch codename "Prof-2"] This change improves the comprehensiveness of public profile pages in our index from more than two-hundred social sites.

There are also several updates related to synonyms and universal search results.

But what stood out to you as you read through the 50 search updates for March? Comments are open.

Matt Cutts: Merchant Quality to Affect Google Search Rankings

Google's Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts has hinted at an upcoming Google update that is aimed at protecting searchers by lowering the rankings of merchants.

It's all still pretty vague at this point, but here's what Cutts said Friday at SXSW, according to SEL:

We have a potential launch later this year, maybe a little bit sooner, looking at the quality of merchants and whether we can do a better job on that, because we don’t want low quality experience merchants to be ranking in the search results.

Beyond that, we have no additional details from Google at this time. 

Search Engine Watch contacted Andrew Davis, Director of Marketing at CPC Strategy to gain some more insight into how Google has been using merchant quality signals. Davis notes that many of these are "unconfirmed assumptions from dealing with the shopping engine on a daily basis for more than 6 years":

Google Shopping places a relevance score on merchants that relates to how complete a merchant's data is (how much information a merchant provides Google in the data feed), how fresh that merchant's data is (do they submit a new data feed each week, each month, or daily?), and how long a merchant has been listing on Google Shopping (has this merchant been live on Google for one day, one week, one year, or five years?)Google Shopping's Google Trusted Stores program is a clear indicator of a quality merchant under Google's ranking algorithm. Eligibility requirements include 500 orders shipped per month, more than 90 percent shipped on time, and excellent customer service (likely equivalent to 95 percent or higher seller feedback on Amazon.)Brand weight (big brands float to the top). If a first-time shopper on Google Shopping sees two stores, one, Walmart, a store they've shopped inside before, and another, Joe's Shirts, which they've never heard of or interacted with, which has 0 Google Seller Ratings, Google is likely going to rank those stores in the order which they believe will provide a good consumer experience. Google also has no data on Joe's Shirts without any Google Seller Ratings, another knock against them.Google Seller Ratings is the obvious way Google could influence merchant rankings in SERPs. It's a mature program, and a straightforward one.Ranking online stores that have nearby stores higher may be another way Google can influence these rankings. Though the connection between store quality of service if an online store has a brick and mortar isn't exactly clear, Google could use it as a signal to determine online store ranking.Selling Brands. Sellers that sell well-known brands may get a bump in rankings because consumers are familiar with those brands, and Google may assume if a seller has access to certain high-quality brands that the merchant is a quality seller as well.

Perhaps another piece of this merchant quality search ranking puzzle will be Google Shopping Express, which is reportedly aiming to compete with Amazon Prime. Davis noted that how fast a merchant can fulfill orders could end up becoming a factor in the future.

We also know a few more things about what Google defines as a good merchant based on Google's Search Quality Rating Guidelines (PDF), which was recently made public for the first time. From section 4.1.2 Recognizing True Merchants:

Features that will help you determine if a website is a true merchant include:

a “view your shopping cart” link that stays on the same site. a shopping cart that updates when you add items to it.a return policy with a physical address. a shipping charge calculator that works. a “wish list” link, or a link to postpone the purchase of an item until later. a way to track FedEx orders. a user forum that works. the ability to register or login. a gift registry that works.

Please note the following:

A page does not need to have all of these features to be considered a true merchant.Yahoo! Stores are true merchants – they are typically not thin affiliates.Some true smaller merchants take users to another site to complete the transaction because they use a third party to process the transaction. These merchants are not thin affiliates. Many large web retailers offer affiliate programs. Some of the most common examples are,,,,,, and

This wouldn't be the first change aimed to banish low-quality merchants from prominent positions in Google's search results.

Following a scandal involving one merchant (who eventually was sentenced to 4 years in prison) who used negative publicity to rank higher in Google's search results in 2010, Google Fellow Amit Singhal, in announcing an algorithmic change, stated that "being bad is, and hopefully will always be, bad for business in Google's search results."

Last year at SXSW, Cutts hinted at a coming algorithm update to punish sites guilty of "over-optimization", which fueled tons of speculation and dread until Google launched the Penguin update last April.

What do you think we can expect when Google launches this merchant quality update?

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Get Me To The Gulag: Google’s Map Maker Becomes A Political Weapon

On Monday, Google announced that “citizen cartographers came together in Google Map Maker” to help create a “new map of North Korea” for Google Maps. BuzzFeed was the first to point out that the new maps contained references to “gulag” and “concentration camp.”

Beyond this, some people on Google+ have added satirical, fake reviews to those locations. For example, Gulag 22 (a real place apparently), is rated as “excellent,” with one reviewer saying, “Most exquisite checkpoint, made possible by Honorable Soldiers of Glorious Leader.”

Google+ offers its standard invitation for you to review the Gulag as well: “Your review will help your friends and others learn more about this place.” That’s just a generic component of the page but unintentionally funny in this context.

Google Maps have been the subject of political controversy before but usually around disputed place names and borders, more straightforward map issues. Given this episode, activists and pranksters may try and use Map Maker to make more “statements.”

Indeed, hours after “gulags” were discovered on the North Korea map Danny Sullivan found a comparable Map Maker (“concentration camp”) update regarding the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison that the US operates in Cuba.

As was the case with the North Korean gulags, Google+ may also become a place where people make political or social statements about places. If that becomes widespread, Google may have to institute additional controls to prevent further pranking.

Freeing Analytics from Your Digital Agency’s Closet

I'll start with a confession. My name is Lisa Barone and for years I ignored analytics.

I'm a content person. I deal with words and encouraging people to share those words.

Numbers? Charts? That didn't concern me. That was for the SEO department. Or maybe PPC. Development? I wasn't sure. I didn't really care.

I was an idiot.

When you work in a digital agency, it's easy for things to become segmented. For SEO to do that. Public relations to do this. And for the design department to do something entirely different. But that's not where success is found.

Success is found when all areas of your company are working from the same information set, toward the same goal, and are pulling on the same side of the rope. That's when you achieve real, OMG-call-mom levels of awesome

Analytics is what creates that.

Where Does Analytics Fit Into Your Agency?

The simple answer? Everywhere.

Regardless of where you sit in your office, analytics matters to your job.

Are you a content person? Use analytics to identify your most successful content marketing attempts based on links, social shares, etc., and then build upon them. Identify content that has grown legs without you even realizing it or needing to push it. Locate content that has been a total and complete failure and understand why.Working on the design side of things? Use analytics to understand which ads or site designs performed the best. If you're noticing that ads designed in orange convert better due to visibility, note that. If you're finding an ad lots of people clicked on never converted, maybe it's not a design problem but something that should be addressed by content. Share that information.In social media? Use analytics to understand the keywords, phrases and conversations that are presently hot. What do customers want to hear about? What's gaining influence? Dig into the social reports in Google Analytics to understand who is already talking about your brand. Find the ripples and track them back to the source. Once you've identified the conversations, get involved in them.Not in social, but are in public relations? Look to analytics to measure success of media placements. How much traffic did that mention drive to your site? How many of those converted? Did other outlets pick up the story? Identify which reporters and bloggers are already sending you traffic without you even having to pitch them.Developer? Look to your analytics to better understand the people who are visiting the site. What browser are they using? Are they coming from mobile – what device? What screen size? What's the best way to show information to accommodate your users?

That's just a quick snapshot of why analytics matters to your whole agency.

Now that you know why people should care, how do you make them actually care. Because those are two different animals.

Making People Give A Damn About Analytics

Creating a data-friendly culture, one where people are excited by numbers and don't fear them, takes serious work. It means going beyond the numbers and inserting context to build the larger story.

How do you do that?

1. Appoint an Analytics Evangelist

Truth: Analytics is everyone's job.

Fact: If you don't make analytics someone's job, it will be no one's job.

Create an analytical culture by first making someone accountable for it. Appoint that hype person to high five the content team after a huge traffic spike or to congratulate the PPC woman for the highest conversion rate you've seen this side of 2013.

Make someone directly responsible for celebrating internal successes, both inside the department and to the larger agency. That's how you're going to drive home the importance of using analytics to achieve company goals.

Employees need to see how everyday actions can lead to big ripples. Do that and pretty soon you won't have to convince people data matters, they'll be seeking it out themselves.

2. Identify Goals & Leverage Points

Everyone knows that clearly-defined goals are the first step to successfully measuring what's happening on your site. But be selective about the goals you choose. Make sure they represent the most important leverage points for the department and/or company.

Become an Analytics Master at SES New York 2013:SEO in the Boardroom: Tangible Search MetricsThe Age of Big Data and the Modern MarketerSee the full agenda.

Don't assign goals just to have them or collect data just in case you need it. Collect with a purpose and identify what will have the greatest impact.

The Analytics Evangelist should work with each department to help them identify the metrics that matter most to their decision making, while also taking into account other data that may be useful from a 10,000 foot company perspective. Over time you want to create a culture where you're acting not on intuitive, but on intelligence you've collected and analyzed.

3. Open the Data

It was always pretty easy for me to ignore analytics. Why? Because I didn't have direct access to the data.

The company's analytic was something that other guy had access to. If I wanted it, I'd have to ask him. That's intimidating, especially when the guy who holds the key to the data lock usually doesn't have the best social skills. So instead I just sat in the dark.

If you want to adopt a data-driven culture, your first step is to make the data available to all employees. Don't lock it up. Share it. Encourage people to look at it and to touch it and decipher what it means.

Set that example company-wide that data is their friend and something to learn from.

4. Use Data as a Storyteller

As humans, we ignore what we don't understand or what doesn't relate to us. It's not that we're bad people, per se, it's that we simply can't process more than that.

When you're using analytics data to drive home a point, stay away from using too many numbers. Instead, use context to create a story about what those numbers mean.

Pick out:

What are the numbers saying?How accurate are they?How does knowing this empower us to make better decisions?

Your Analytics Evangelists should understand how to take data and mold it into team-specific insights centered on recent wins and losses. By creating a story brings insight to current projects and how they're going, it helps show the data as something that is actionable instead of something used to facilitate a nap.

We learn what worked and what didn't work and what the true effect of that action/inaction was. That's something we can improve upon. A random number with a percent sign attached to it is not.

Whenever possible, do your best to tie the story back to revenue. We all want to look like rockstars to our boss, even if we are the boss.

You'll be surprised how quickly development will get that new feature built out if they know the dollar amount it will potentially drive back into the business and how awesome they'll look for it. Again, go beyond the numbers and get to the understanding that comes from those numbers.


We're midway into February so it may be a bit late to start in on those resolutions for the New Year. But if your agency isn't yet crazy about mastering analytics, it may be time to commit, open up a bottle of a champagne, and count down all over again.

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Jackie Robinson Google Doodle Celebrates Major League Baseball Trailblazer

Celebrating what would have been his 94th birthday, Google in honoring Jackie Robinson with his own Google Doodle. Robinson was the first African-American to play Major League Baseball. His debut game was April 15, 1947 when he opened the season playing first base for the then, Brooklyn Dodgers.

Today's logo contains a portrait of Robinson swinging a bat in front of the the word Google in script-font, reminiscent of the classic script of the Dodgers' logo.

During his time in Major League Baseball, Robinson faced tough challenges when most of the country was segregated. He not only persevered through scathing racist taunts and death threats, his play and his behavior was under bitter scrutiny for much of his career.

It was only the year prior to him joining MLB that the Supreme court ruled segregated interstate transportation unconstitutional. It would still be 17 years - 8 years after his retirement - before the Civil Rights act of 1964 passed, outlawing discrimination and segregation.

In his initial season with the Dodgers, Robinson played 151 games, racking up 175 hits, scoring 125 runs, and earning the first-ever rookie of the year award. Forty years later, the award was renamed in his honor.

Throughout his 10-year career, Robinson averaged a .311 batting average, peaking at .342 in the 1949 season. In 1949, he led the National League in double plays made by a second baseman with 133.

Despite recording his statistical worst career year, he and the Dodgers won the 1955 World Series over the Yankees. Robinson was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Google honors the man who broke the color barrier of Major League Baseball on the day before the start of Black History Month, and in the same month a Doodle recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The official Twitter account of Major League Baseball also paid tribute to Robinson this morning with this tweet:

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