Wisdom & Humor From Avinash Kaushik

[Editor’s note: This post is our continued dissemination of content from last week’s  SearchEngineStrategies San Jose search marketing conference, where AIMCLEAR had 3 correspondents providing our readers notes and articles. The following is from our friend and blogger-associate, Jennifer Osborne:]

avinashDuring Day 2 of SES San Jose, Avinash Kaushik, Google Analytics Evangelist, was in fine form discussing Google Analytics changes.

For any of you who have heard Avinash speak you’ll know that he’s an incredibly humorous speaker. But underneath that humor lies wisdom. Even when you think he’s making a joke, if you dissect what he’s saying; underneath, it’s brilliant.

Here are Avinash’s best quotes from his speech and the underlying implication of what he said:

1. “You do not control your homepage. Google controls your homepage”

In other words if …

search engine traffic is responsible for a sizable portion of your traffic (as it typically is)


Google determines which page is most relevant for various keyword queries (okay – maybe with a little help from SEO’s)

then, in essence,

Google is picking which page is your Landing Page or Homepage.

The implication of this is that usability just got a whole lot more important. At the very least, every page on your site should have relevant content, intuitive navigation and clear calls to action.

Use your analytics to determine which landing pages are performing best and which are performing worst?

2. “Most analytics tools are data pukers”

Avinash is talking about the majority of analytics reports with 9500+ keywords. He says that these are useless. And he’s right. A really big list in not very meaningful. It’s the ability to identify anomalies and outliers that help make reports of value.

Occam’s Razor Blog Case Study:

  • It receives 50,000 visits per month. 20,000 of those visitors came from search through 9,500 keywords

  • Most analytics tools want you to use their reports this way. This makes no sense. The wonderful thing about the long tail is that all your branded terms are in the head and the tail represents the category, generic early bird keywords.
  • Google Analytics can break out your long tail by a number of different variables such as bounce rate, conversions, dollar value per visit, etc so that you can make meaningful decisions based on which long tail are driving value.

3. “If you don’t rank for your branded terms then you only have to thank your incompetence.”

Solving for the head and solving for the tail are two totally different problems.

With the head of the keywords, you should obsess but obsess efficiently by using Google Analytics Keyword Report says Avinash, “Obsess and stalk keywords so that you can drive positive outcomes for your business”

4. “The long tail contains all the impressions virgins”

Hundreds of thousands of searchers that don’t know what they are looking for.

If we look at the tail we can find the keywords that perform best. Don’t’ analyze based on visits analyze based on conversions.

To analyze the tail install a special plug-in “unusual traffic button” to help analyze the tail because it will help to evaluate the best opportunities.

It’s a great way to look for what is going on beneath the surface. Use it to find trends and patterns in your data that are ahead of the curve. Then figure out if they are monitiz-able or not.

5. “I’m running a toy blog it’s not even a real business”

In Avinash’s opinion, if you are not doing e commerce overview then you should not have your job.

Macro conversions (total sales) are cool but measuring the micro conversions is critical.

Even if you don’t have an e commerce site you can determine conversion value. As an example, for Occam’s Razor the goals are as follows:

a) The first goal is if people go to the All Posts page – “if you come to my blog and read two of my posts you’ll be convinced of my greatness” (LOL!)

b) Second goal is if you go to his About Me page “for no other reason but because it pleases me” again this brought a huge laugh from the audience!!

c) The third goal is the people who go to speaking engagements page. Think of it as if there is affiliate benefit and put in fake dollars. It’s easy to quantify goals. This is important because it changes the type of conversation that you’ll have with your boss than if you were just talking about page views.

On the surface Avinash appear to be tongue in cheek, but if you strip away the humor, what’s left remains great business advice.

Jennifer Osborne is VP Business Development for Search Engine People a Toronto SEO Company

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