Ravenchat wrapup: March 2012 with Annie Cushing

Ravenchat wrapup: March 2012 with Annie Cushing

It’s great to have really smart friends, and Raven Tools is lucky to have lots.

We’re sharing the wisdom of some of our Internet marketing pals in our monthly Ravenchat series on Twitter, and March found us chatting with data-head and shoe queen Annie Cushing of SEER Interactive.

She promised to bring it, and I think we can all agree she did. In our Storify wrapup (so laden with good stuff that it may take a minute to load), you’ll find everything from Google gossip to tool recommendations to some really amazing resources we strong-armed persuaded Annie to share.

Ravenchat wrapup: March

Our data-heavy chat with analytics maven Annie Cushing touched on Google sneakiness, can’t-miss tools and lots more.

Storified by Raven Tools · Thu, Mar 29 2012 07:38:34

#Ravenchat guest Annie Cushing on shoes, big hair and why you should never scare herWritten by Courtney Seiter | Posted on March 21st, 2012 A deep dive into analytics can strike fear into the hearts of some less-than-hard…
Check out @anniecushing talking about Google, SEO and more on today’s #ravenchat at 4pm EST. See you in 20 minutes!SEER Interactive
FYI: @AnnieCushing really is an amazing sorcerer of analytics. She’s one of the peeps I go to when I have questions :) #ravenchatDan Patterson
Get ready to drink from a fire hydrant … #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Guess this would be a good time to say my opinions do not necessarily express those of @seerinteractive. :) #ravenchatAnnie Cushing


Let’s jump into Q1 for @anniecushing: What hot trends are you seeing in search right now? #ravenchatRaven Tools
A1 The one that stands out to me most is Google’s getting a LOT sneakier. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A1 Telling websites to file a reconsideration request when they’re not even penalized, let alone de-indexed … very clever. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
OO RT @AnnieCushing: A1 But they scared webmasters into a lot of confessions w/ this intent: http://bit.ly/H1ehDk #ravenchatChris Countey
A1 Result: Huge sting operation went down to flush out blog networks, like BuildMyRank. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
@AnnieCushing I for one am beyond pleased to see them put the smack down…. lol #ravenchatKevin Mullett
A1 I’m also seeing where Google is blurring the line between Panda and other updates. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
@AnnieCushing what data suggests that exact match anchors were the target of the link changes in the 40 pack? #ravenchatrjonesx
@rjonesx That was a focus of the love letters Google sent to webmasters via GWT. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A1 Panda 3.3 and the 40-pack were announced same day. 40-pack devalued exact match anchors. http://bit.ly/GVYtzo #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
RT @anniecushing: A1 White hats rejoiced. Black hats scoffed at white hats. No hats looked up what an anchor is. #ravenchatLauren
A1 But then Panda 3.4 was announced Fri night. 6:00 on the dot. Anyone else notice that? http://bit.ly/GUkyyf #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A1 So most normal people aren’t discussing SEO on a Friday night. They’re doing this: http://bit.ly/GVdxT7 #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Yabba Dabba Doo!charsbass1
A1 Result? The weekend was pretty quiet. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A1 It’s like senior prank day. Everyone brags about their exploits beforehand but then keeps a low pro the day of. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
So how are/should SEOs be reacting to all this new sneakiness? #ravenchatRaven Tools
@RavenTools They should clean up their act. Stop going for the one-trick ponies. It’s open season on ponies. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
i love ponies, (and @raventools)! #ravenchatRoss M. Weale Jr.
@AnnieCushing Have you noticed any exact match page titles being affected by 3.4? Looks like more intent-related pages are up #ravenchatChris Countey
@chriscountey I think it’s more anchors right now. But harder to penalize for exact match in page titles. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A1 Now it’s clear: Panda is about link profiles now too. More sites w/ over-optimized anchors were hit over weekend. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A1 Google is playing SEOs who played Google. With the rage of a ginger who just peeled a “kick me” sign off his back. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
That sums up my Google analysis. @dannysullivan also wrote a great article about G jumping the shark. http://bit.ly/HeQGMs #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Is Google’s "Over Optimization Penalty" Its "Jump The Shark" Moment In Web Search?The wolves are attacking Google again over its search quality. Last year, they were fed the Panda Update to fend them off. This year, Goo…


Seems like a good time for Q2: Where/how do SEO and analytics jobs intersect? #ravenchat Raven Tools
A2 I see where SEO and analytics intersect in 3 primary ways: forensics, setting priorities, and measuring results. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A2 Ex: I find duplicate content in Page Title reports: Content > Site Content > Pages > Primary Dim: Page Title #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A2 I find scrapers in the Hostnames report: Audience > Technology > Network > Primary Dim: Hostnames #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A2 This is also a great way to see if site has subdomains. If so, you should pull hostname into content reports. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A2 (Hostname is total g33k speak for domain. So you have full URLs instead of /landing-page.) #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A2 Think about it: How do you know diff between http://blog.domain.com/ & http://www.domain.com/? They both show up as /. #derp #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A2 To set up that filter, follow the directions under “Modify your cross-domain profile …” http://bit.ly/Hjij8h #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Tracking Multiple Domains – Google Analytics – Google CodeThis document describes a variety of ways to collect visits to multiple domains in a single profile-as if they were a single site rather …
double true > RT @dan_patterson: SEO and analytics go hand in hand. If you do SEO and don’t know analytics, you have problems 😉 #ravenchatAndrew Pincock
A2 I also use analytics a LOT in setting priorities. I don’t care about wheels that squeak. Golden wheels get the oil. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
@AnnieCushing Do you recommend that a client add their IP(s) as a filter as well as your own to GA? #ravenchatChris Countey
@chriscountey Yes, filter those visits out. Also include hostname filter for your domain to keep scrapers out. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing


Moving on to Q3: What’s the bare minimum marketers should know about analytics? #ravenchatRaven Tools
A3 You like to eat? Learn to measure your efforts and take credit for results. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
@AnnieCushing (preferably in that order) #ravenchatnetmeg
A3 And if you’re an agency, don’t assume results will stand out by themselves. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A3 I worked as an in-house. I didn’t pore over monthly reports from agencies. I was torn in so many directions. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
A3 But if a big win was pointed out to me in the moment, I always checked it out. And usually passed it up food chain. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
What marketers need to know about analytics. RT @AnnieCushing: How to measure what you’re responsible for. #ravenchatCourtney Seiter
Agreed! Most need dedicated analyst RT @AnnieCushing @RavenCourts I would say most SEO agencies are under-reporting their results #ravenchatDon Rhoades
Analytics is how you prove to your boss that what you’re doing is actually affecting the bottom line of the business. #ravenchatDan Patterson
@dan_patterson Yes! And if scoop up more conversions to report to clients/stakeholders in assists! #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Yes. I like food. It’s yummy. RT @anniecushing: A3 You like to eat? Learn to measure your efforts and take credit for results. #ravenchatChris Le
Assists in multichannel are HUGE to prove that all the non branded stuff is leading to a conversion. For SEO, PPC, display, etc. #ravenchatDan Patterson
Digging more and more into GA. The more you dig, the more gold you find. #ravenchatPurple Trout, LLC
Anyone explored the new GA social analytics? http://analytics.blogspot.com/2012/03/capturing-value-of-social-media-using.html #ravenchatCourtney Seiter
Google Analytics Blog: Capturing The Value Of Social Media Using Google AnalyticsMeasuring the value of social media has been a challenge for marketers. And with good reason: it’s hard to understand exactly what is hap…
@RavenCourts Yeah, you can get awesome revenue data from it. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
But if you’re doing email marketing you HAVE to tag every link to your site in emails. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Otherwise, those direct numbers are bloated beyond recognition b/c of desktop apps, Gmail, etc. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
@AnnieCushing Amen to email tagging. I have a spreadsheet with huge concatenate just for email tracking urls #Ravenchatnetmeg
Hey, if you’re not using GA Goals in Raven, you can add it in Metrics > Google Analytics > "Customize Tool" icon. #RavenChatNate Baker
@anniecushing Do you have metrics you’re addicted to and metrics you wish everyone would stop focusing on? #ravenchatCourtney Seiter
A4 My data addiction would be conversion data. Esp if the client has revenue data. I could play for hours. #crack #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
First runner up is bounce rate. @avinash calls it the golden metric. Lets you know what visitors hate. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
RT @AnnieCushing: I focus on bounce rates for keywords and landing pages, though you can analyze more than just these. #ravenchatSamantha Gluck
RT @AnnieCushing: And yes, I think people focus WAY too much on visits w/o conversion data. #ravenchatLaura Crest
RT @AnnieCushing: Unless your business model is ad revenue driven, visits don’t pay the bills. #ravenchatJustin Goodman
@AnnieCushing Lots of data in GA. Clients sometimes clueless, so we "tell the story" of good, bad, ugly in GA. #ravenchatPurple Trout, LLC
Side note on bounce rate: Make sure it’s actually accurate. There are a lot of things that can throw it off. Events, etc. #ravenchatDan Patterson
@dan_patterson Are you saying bounce rate often means different things based on the context? #RavenChatNate Baker
@dan_patterson You can also have a 30-min visit to one page that registers as a bounce. Esp w/ blogs. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
@RavenNate Yes, expect a much higher bounce rate on blog posts. Not necessarily failure. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
@AnnieCushing very true. I think there is a lot to b learned from Bounce Rate but u have to understand what it’s really telling u #ravenchatDan Patterson
@RavenNate Also, if your landing page uses Ajax to generate conversion page, URL won’t change. Can use event tracking. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing


Holy crap this is so much awesome! RT @AnnieCushing: Here’s my Google Reader bundle of analytics blogs: http://bit.ly/HeSafk #ravenchatNick Eubanks
Google Reader – AnalyticsFacebook personal profiles are not for business use. With that said, plenty of people use their personal profiles to interact with their …
Which reminds me, also check out http://gaconfig.com for setting up more advanced tracking on your site! </plugs> #RavenChatNate Baker
Google Analytics Configuration ToolEasily setup and configure Google Analytics for your advanced tracking needs. From setting up cross domain tracking to tracking events – …
Let’s get to some fun stuff! Q4: What tools can’t you live without? #ravenchatRaven Tools
To get us started on Q4 (tools), here’s an awesome post of SEO/Gmail tools @claye from @seocom did for us: http://raven.im/HnIA5v #ravenchatCourtney Seiter
10 tools for exceptional SEO customer service"If you are in advertising, you know that the only thing that really matters is the work. …It’s no surprise that most agency people fig…
GA, Webmaster Tools, Screaming Frog, SEMRush, Open Site Explorer, Majestic, Reverse Internet, URI Valet, *EXCEL* #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Plugins: Mozbar, Scraper, SEO Site Tools, Check My Links, Web Developer Toolbar, Firebug, Page Speed #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
+1 RT @AnnieCushing: For productivity: Evernote, Dropbox, Harvest, LastPass, PasteFire, Rapportive, and Boomerang (Gmail). #ravenchatKevin Mullett
.@seerinteractive has another list of tools I can hardly wait to explore. These guys ROCK APIs and Gdocs. I’m learning. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
DITTO! RT @dan_patterson: LOVE ScreamingFrog! cc @anniecushing #ravenchatDavid Malmborg
@AnnieCushing Good list; I’d def add Live HTTP Headers extension and vote @Screamingfrog twice ork ork #Ravenchatnetmeg
@netmeg I get HTTP headers from the mozbar for quick checks (Firefox only, not Chrome). #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
@netmeg URI Valet puts header data in a way I find easier to take screenshots of to pass on to clients. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Which reminds me … SnagIt. Love snagit! #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Another great ‘tool’: the ROI Revolution Report Enhancer Grease Monkey script for GA. Only works in the old version though… #ravenchatDan Patterson
RT @AnnieCushing: @davidmalmborg I would shrivel up and die w/o @screamingfrog, esp since Google took away awesome GWT data. #ravenchatLaura Crest
RT @dan_patterson: Jing is a favorite tool. Perfect for when a screen grab with arrows will say more than a long email ever could #ravenchatAbbott Shea
@Abbott_Shea @NicoMiceli also tipped me off to the Webpage Screenshot ext for Chrome. Great tool for getting scrolling grabs. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Oh, before I forget … Here’s the bundle of my fave SEO blogs: http://bit.ly/HomMIF #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Google Reader – SEOPosted by Everett Sizemore A lot of things can go wrong when you change most of the URLs on a website with thousands or millions of pages…


We’ve got time for one last question. Q5 Got any tips on using @RavenTools you want to share? #ravenchatRaven Tools
@RavenTools It seems like hardly anyone knows my fave use of Raven. Which is … #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Go to Metrics > Ranking and drill down on keywords. Everyone just exports rank report. Boo, hiss! #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
If you need to investigate impact of rank fluctuations on traffic Raven offers something I haven’t seen in any other tool … #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Click on a keyword, you see rankings and traffic vis-à-vis, like this: http://bit.ly/GVy7AT #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Holy correlation data, Batman! #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
You can also add in traffic from specific search engines to really nail down correlation. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
Have a client who’s been filtered for over-optimization? Check out the impact of lost rankings on traffic. #handsup #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
@RavenCourts You know how much time it used to take me to do that myself in Excel??? #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
@RavenTools We’ve started using the Linking tools more. Love that! #ravenchatPurple Trout, LLC
@purpletrout Oh totally. But, at heart, I’m an investigator. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing
@purpletrout That keyword reports gives me incredible correlation analysis data. #ravenchatAnnie Cushing

Thanks to everyone who took the time to chat with us and especially to Annie Cushing for sharing her killer brain with us for an hour.

We’ll chat again April 25 at 3 pm with a soon-to-be-named guest.

Smart talk, smart tools. Ready to get started with Raven? Sign up for a free 30-day trial today!

Courtney Seiter

Listener, storyteller and petter of all animals. Content crafting at Buffer; sharing stuff about social media, workplace culture, diversity and music.

Listener, storyteller and petter of all animals. Content crafting at Buffer; sharing stuff about social media, workplace culture, diversity and music.