Is there such a thing? I’ve always wondered whether Google’s organic search algorithm factors in clickthrough rate (CTR) and SERP ranking (normalised) to provide a quality score for organic listings.
This is similar to how Google Adwords’ quality score works. The higher CTR you have and normalising it against the ad position gives you a higher quality score which translates into lower CPC bid. This is how Google rewards advertisers that focus on quality and relevancy instead of just pure bidding.
The understanding is that the better optimised your text ad is (relevancy) for the actual search query and the bid term, the higher CTR you’ll receive which means searchers are taking an action and making a decision (i.e. they’ve found what they’re looking for!).
This in turn rewards Google as well because they’ve provided quality advertisements from advertisers and thus, more people continue using Google and more revenue is made through CPC ads.
So the question is, does this theory of quality score from Adwords apply to organic rankings? If I optimise my site so that it gets equal or higher CTR than what the average is for the SERP position, in Google’s eyes, is my site more relevant to the user thus rewarding my site with a higher ‘quality score’ and a higher quality score means my site would generally rank higher/better for the theme surrounding the search query?
If you’ve read my previous post about the GAIQ exam tips, you’ll notice in the section called Adwords Information, I talked about how the initial update by Google on how their cost data import update affected traffic reports in Google Analytics and how we’ve been debating in the GAAC forums about accounts that don’t have cost data import enabled treat Adwords traffic as direct instead of cpc. This will affect the traffic reports by over inflating direct traffic and slowly diminishes cpc traffic.
This really isn’t good as it doesn’t give you an accurate representation on how your online marketing activities are performing. With high direct traffic, you’d probably think, “Holy cow! My website brand really rocks and I don’t have to spend much money on online advertising anymore. Thus, you decide to cut down your Adwords spend or other forms of online advertising.”
One way to overcome that was to manually utm tag your destination URLs which would’ve been a big pain in the butt if you’ve got a large Adwords account with many campaigns and adgroups.
So finally Google made a post about a week ago about another update to the adwords cost data reporting that reverts back to how Google Analytics originally reported traffic from Adwords.
Now if you’ve got your Google Analytics account linked to Adwords, have auto tagging enabled but don’t have Adwords cost data applied, your Adwords traffic will now show as google/cpc, as it was originally.
What you should expect is a drop in direct traffic and a gradual increase in cpc traffic in your traffic reports.
I just passed my Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) test today and scored 94%! Not bad eh? The passing score is 75%. So thought I’d post some tips here while the exam questions are still fresh in my mind.
You have 2 hours to complete the exam (more than enough) and there’s 70 questions that consist of multiple choice, true/false and select all that applies type questions. Basically the trickiest one I found was the select all that applies type questions.
Materials To Go Through – Conversion University
Before you start the GAIQ exam, make sure you go through the materials at Google’s conversion university – especially the ones that you don’t know much about. I didn’t go through all of them, just the ones I thought would be handy to refresh myself with.
The ones that I think will be handy are:
- Profiles in Google Analytics
- Filters in Google Analytics
- Cookies and Google Analytics
- E-Commerce Tracking
- Domains and Sub-Domains
Knowledge To Learn
In my opinion, these are some of the things you should’ve had some experience implementing before doing the test. If you haven’t, go play around with it!
- E-Commerce Tracking (addTrans, addItem methods)
- Cross Domain / Sub-Domain Tracking (link, linkByPost, setDomainName, setAllowLinker, setAllowHash methods)
- Goal Setup (note: Multiple same goal conversions within a session are unique)
- Profile Setup (note: What are the benefits of creating more than 1 profile? What can/can’t you do with profiles?)
- Filter Setup (predefined, include/exclude, search & replace and custom – advanced)
- Integration with Google Adwords (cost data import, auto-tagging)
- Google Analytics interface (reports, user/filter management)
- Regular Expression (note: You don’t have to be a pro, but it definitely helps)
- Cookies (note: Google uses first-party cookies and you cannot identify an individual through it)
Here are some handy links that you should have open during the test: Continue reading »
In case you’re wondering whether 301 redirects preserve the referrer information or not and how this may affect Google Analytic’s referrer information, I’ll show you a simple example.
So pretty much what I did was I did a Google search for clothes and found some ads on the right hand side. I used firebug to extract the destination URL as I didn’t want to inflate their costs because I’m just doing an example. What I look for are obvious tracking URLs that track and monitor search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns such as DART (Double Click).
You can also figure this one out by seeing the domain of the URL. If this is different to the display URL, most likely this is a tracking URL because Google Adwords has enforced the policy that the destination and display URL must be the same (it’s ok to use tracking URLs though as long as you land on the same domain as the display URL).
If you’ve ever attended a Google webinar and have tried winning the trivia, well I’m letting you know that I won the last one! The webinar was called Diving Deeper into Google Analytics.
It was a pretty straight forward webinar. Didn’t learn much. Would be good for a novice or an intermediate analytics user.
Basically, what the trivia is about is that Google will ask a question and whoever answers first will win a Google Gears pack. The question I got was “How many goals can a profile have?”. Answer is 4. I was first to answer :)
Here’s a sneak peek into what’s inside the Google Gears pack.
I got a “personalised” letter from Google congratulating me and inviting me to join more Adwords webinars.