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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

URL Best Practices

The folks over at SEOmoz have a smart post noting best practices for URLs. The guidelines they outline are spot on for overall usability and are obviously helpful with regard to SEO.

The list includes the following categories:
Describe Your Content
Keep it Short
Static is the Way & the Light
Descriptives are Better than Numbers
Keywords Never Hurt
Subdomains Aren't the Answer
Fewer Folders
Hyphens Separate Best
Stick with Conventions
Don't be Case Sensitive
Don't Append Extraneous Data
The suggestions are also very helpful from an analytics perspective. Building a structure that is easy to read and navigate, is also going to be helpful for defining reporting needs based on specific segments, content groups, scenarios, paths, etc. It's great advice all around.

Filed in: analytics, search

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Search Results and User Behavior

ClickZ ran an article yesterday on a recent Google "experiment" to tie ad position to user behavior. This puts a new twist on analyzing search referrer traffic as there are more variables thrown into the mix. The article notes:
"The Google quality score uses text ad relevance, historical keyword performance, landing page quality and other factors to determine ad placement. Yahoo's new Panama search ad platform takes into consideration similar factors to rank text ads."
I wonder to what extent Google (and Yahoo) will pass along the "other factors" data to its customers (in the referrer, or in the ad/campaign performance data).

Filed in: analytics, search

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Anti-Spyware Cookie Detection

Check out this very interesting study on the current status of Cookies Detected by Anti-Spyware Programs conducted by Ben Edelman for the folks over at Clicks2Customers.

This is important information that marketing folks have been following for awhile now.  There's plenty of research on the topic of cookie deletion and blocking (several good links in the article).  It think perhaps we're all pretty tired of talking about it!  But there continue to be new tools introduced and existing tools updated to further "help" our visitors detect, block and delete "harmful" cookies, including analytics cookies.

The article notes some options in the conclusion, suggesting:
"Could shorter cookie durations address ad systems' needs, while reducing user privacy concerns? If most conversions occur within days of an ad impression, a far longer cookie duration may be unnecessary and needlessly privacy-invasive. Similarly, it seems separating cookies into advertiser-specific chunks -- either first-party cookies, or path-specific third-party cookies -- might blunt many privacy concerns, while preserving the tracking many advertisers consider most important."
The article also includes a "revenue loss calculator", that gives an approximation of affiliate/merchant lost revenue based "as a function of the advertiser's conversion speed and the percent of the advertiser's cookies that are removed".  Clever.

Filed in: analytics

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Busy but Good Dashboard

The Dashboard Spy does such a great job of digging up interesting visualizations. I really like the recent post showing the Airline Executive Dashboard. It's a great use of sparklines, white space, and limited color to get a lot of detail across. It even won an award...very nice.

Filed in: analytics

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Mobile devices coming (fast!)

MSNBC has a good article on some of the cool goodness to be found on mobile devices in Japan.  From the article:
"Thanks to early investments in high-speed mobile networks, Japan’s cellular telephone industry is about a year and a half ahead of America’s. Everywhere you look, it shows."
Europe is also ahead of the U.S. in this regard with great innovation at Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Orange, BT, and others.

Your visitors are reaching your sites using wireless devices with more frequency. And we're just getting started! Having a plan for dealing with browsers on wireless devices is a tremendous amount of work. Let alone the variables involved with correctly handling javascript, cookies, source IP addresses, latency issues, and other potential hazards for analytics.

Are there any interesting challenges out there that folks might be facing with this evolving technology?

Filed in: analytics


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