Posts tagged take
As I’ve been writing about tools and tactics quite a bit lately, I thought for this month’s column I’d take a step back and share some ideas on how you can become a better analyst.
And improving our analysis skills as marketers goes beyond broadening our career options and helping us be better at our craft.
It should actually improve all areas of your life as a byproduct of nurturing our critical thinking skills. Some ideas follow that I apply in my own life and hope you’ll consider too.
Find a passion outside work which involves developing hypotheses
The scientific method, as you know, is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.
You’re already applying this to your marketing and analytics practice by putting it to work for testing and optimization efforts (for example, having a hypothesis that a new landing page with less clutter will convert better, which you then test).
But beyond work, you should also, in free time, be involved in something which flexes your prediction muscle.
Whether this manifests as fantasy sports, investing in startups or some other activity which involves future predictions (and cool datasets!), this can be a fun and rewarding way to sharpen your mind and will help you see analysis problems in a new light.
Learn to fill in the missing pieces, be comfortable working with imperfect data/information
100% perfect data is really only possible in a controlled lab setting with expensive and fine-tuned equipment. While, of course, we should ensure our analytics implementation is setup correctly to keep our own data as clean as possible, we must also get comfortable working with a “good enough” information.
This is necessary in order to be agile in how we work and keep projects moving forward. A great analyst will work out the way to fill in the missing pieces and make effective projections (while of course providing a rationale/caveats where needed).
You want to get confident enough to make recommendations and create analysis’ based off “minimum viable data.”
Have a sandbox project to test new tools
If you are truly serious about improving your skills, doing analyst work in your live business environment isn’t enough.
The reason being you can’t test and tinker with any new tool without permission or change settings at whim, you likely have compliance and managers to work through.
But a sandbox project such as your own site, app or side business provides a place you can test, tinker and experiment in a no-stress setting.
Bonus: our team at Google recently launched an Analytics Demo Account for this very purpose.
Live and breathe your company and sector metrics (beyond what you’re accountable for)
Being a great analyst isn’t about just running reports and delivering insights that are your remit.
Rather, the best analysts have their finger on the pulse of the bigger pictures and are deftly able to put their own work into context with the larger organization and sector as a whole.
The analysts I talk to that leave a lasting impression are the ones who can speak articulately about various areas of the business and how they make impact across teams and functions.
Be a part of the industry, network and collaborate with peers
I’m personally a big believer in educating others about digital marketing and since starting my career well over a decade ago I’ve spent time both at and outside of work helping others learn our craft.
Our industry is tight knit and so being an active participant who helps others is of great benefit (not to mention fulfilling).
For you, whether this takes the form of speaking/attending events (such as ClickZ Live), starting your own local analytics meetup, or even making friends with other analysts near you to talk shop this is a valuable use of time.
Adam Singer will be speaking at ClickZ Live San Francisco in August.
View full post on Search Engine Watch
Jaguar Land Rover has revealed plans to build an off-road self-driving system, capable of maneuvering through any terrain autonomously.
Researchers will begin field tests of the autonomous Land Rover to make it capable of functioning on all surfaces, regardless of the weather or environment. This could be a major step for autonomous vehicles, which currently only function on tarmac.
“We don’t want to limit future highly automated and fully autonomous technologies to tarmac. When the driver turns off the road, we want this support and assistance to continue,” Tony Harper, head of research at Jaguar Land Rover said. “In the future, if you enjoy the benefits of autonomous lane keeping on a motorway at the start of your journey, we want to ensure you can use this all the way to your destination, even if this is via a rough track or gravel road.”
Your Jaguar can see better than you?
The autonomous off-roader will be fitted with surface identification and 3D path sensing — two technologies used in most autonomous cars. Jaguar Land Rover claims that the technology is so advanced it has better vision than humans and can predict upcoming terrain changes.
The firm is also developing an overhead clearing assist, able to recognize branches and barriers above the car. For military conveys, the automaker is looking into a off-road connected convey system, which uses vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication to alert a fleet when one car goes offline or crashes.
Jaguar has not mentioned when the tech will be added to cars, though it could be as soon as the next generation Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. Both are apparently a few years away from launch.
AutoExpress speculates that the autonomous tech may be a premium feature for the first generation, costing extra. That’s a stark contrast to Tesla’s focus on integrating AutoPilot into as many cars as possible, through a free over-the-air update.
The post Jaguar Land Rover plans to take you off-roading autonomously appeared first on ReadWrite.
View full post on ReadWrite
Robots could scoop up the remainder of jobs in agriculture over the next two decades, as machines become smarter, cheaper, and more efficient.
That’s according to a new report by Lux Research that reveals how robots and autonomous systems could take over and change the agriculture industry.
Robots have not been economically viable for a lot of farmers, and tests have shown most robots are less efficient than their human counterparts. On top of that, robots typically have one or two functions, compared to the large variety of tasks that humans are able to complete.
Lux argues that in the near future, we are going to see farming robots that are not only much cheaper than human labor, but capable of executing tasks with much more efficiency and accuracy. That could lead to higher crop yields for farmers and a workforce that doesn’t need to rest every few hours.
In the graphic (above), Lux shows the cost per acre of a lettuce thinner and lettuce weeder, compared to the human labor cost. As we enter into the next decade, the lettuce weeder is already $50 lower per acre, and the lettuce thinner reaches the human labor cost at 2027.
Other crops, like corn, are already seeing autonomous systems enter the workforce. An Autosteer system for tractors and harvesters has already reached 10 percent market penetration, and Lux predicts the cost factor will be negligible by 2020.
Lux also mentions that in Japan the average age of a strawberry picker is 70, and once the current generation of farm workers leave the workforce, farmers may be forced to move to an autonomous system.
Don’t worry — people are still needed
What the report doesn’t suggest is that all human labor will be removed from agriculture. Instead, Lux suggests that humans will be used for other tasks, like maintenance and sorting, tasks that are not fit for robots currently.
Agriculture has become a much less important sector in most developed countries, contributing to less than five percent of the U.S. GDP. Employment in agriculture over the past fifty years has dropped from 30 to 4.2 percent, according to Momagri.
That said, it is still a major source of revenue and employment in Africa and Oceania, at 52 and 59 percent, respectively. Across all developing countries, agriculture accounts for 48 percent of all employment.
The invasion of robots in the agriculture market may force countries in Africa to quickly urbanize, similar to China’s urbanization period in the 1980s. While some may respond well to this, others countries may struggle to find new jobs for the millions entering the workforce due to a lack of rural employment.
View full post on ReadWrite
I know. It’s the 21st century equivalent of ‘8 minute abs’. But bear with me on this…
Search engine optimisation should be an ongoing process, mixing technical on-page techniques with quality content, good old fashioned marketing, plenty of research, tonnes of planning, masses of testing and all the while taking into account searcher intent, context, algorithm changes… I get breathless just thinking about all the work that needs doing…
Basically, SEO is a job that is never done.
But, if you are struggling with time and resources, there are SEO techniques that don’t have to consume your entire day.
The following can be done while sat down in the morning, enjoying a pastry, listening to some cool light-jazz and blissfully remembering that this is a much better use of your time than that other ‘resolution’ you toyed with doing four paragraphs ago.
Please note: we published a similarly titled guide to quick SEO tips, written by Josh McCoy, way back in 2012. This is an updated, rewritten version that reflects the subsequent changes and updates to the search landscape.
1. Check your site’s organic CTR, revise 10 of the lowest performing page’s title tags and meta descriptions
Head into your site’s Google Search Console, then click on Search Traffic>Search Analytics.
Then click on the Impressions and CTR filters for Pages.
For a more detailed overview, check out How to improve CTR using Search Console.
2. Add Schema markup to 10 most popular pages
You can add rich media to your search results by adding Schema markup to the HTML of your pages.
If you have a particularly massive site with years and years worth of posts, the idea of adding rich snippets to your pages can seem terrifying. Instead, make a spreadsheet of your most popular posts, then every day go through 10 of them and implement schema markup. This should help gradually improve the CTR of your results.
3. Improve your site speed by optimising images
Site speed is a hugely important ranking signal, and you can check your site’s loading time on both mobile and desktop with this new site speed tool.
Obviously improving the performance of your site is a complicated job best saved for the tech team, but you can help…
Images are are by far the ‘heaviest’ element when it comes to page load. So why not spend a few minutes working back through your most popular posts and making your image file sizes smaller.
For example, if there’s an image on your page that’s 1024 x 683 pixels, but the user only sees it at a maximum of 420 x 289, you could ease the strain on your page by compressing the file size with very little noticeable difference.
Read this article for full details: How to optimise your page images to increase site speed.
4. Check the proper canonicalization of your domain
Are you aware that your site may exist in two different places? Without even knowing it, Google could be indexing your content from both www.example.com and example.com and therefore you may be cannibalising your own pages in search.
Luckily it doesn’t take very long to fix this problem.
You just have to tell Google which is the preferred version of your domain for all future crawls of your site and indexing refreshes.
As it states on their webmaster help page:
If you specify your preferred domain as http://www.example.com and we find a link to your site that is formatted as http://example.com, we follow that link as http://www.example.com instead. In addition, we’ll take your preference into account when displaying the URLs.
To change this, visit Search Console, click on your site, click the gear icon then click Site Settings. And in the Preferred domain section, select the option you want.
5. Verify your Google My Business page, make sure your details are up to date
Kevin Gibbons wrote some good suggestions for us when it comes to optimising your page for local search:
- Claim your listing, as often many people don’t.
- Ensure your details are up-to-date (previously you might not have accepted credit cards).
- Double check your opening hours and phone number as these often change over time or the business has new owners or management
- Check the business images you are using and consider refreshing them or uploading higher res versions.
- Check no-one has made an edit to your listing and changed the businesses’s website to their affiliate link, have seen this too!
There are loads more tips here: How to optimise your Google My Business listing.
6. Check that you don’t have any duplicate meta description and title tags
This is a very easy one. Just head back into Search Console, click on Search Appearance>HTML Improvements, then you can see exactly which of your pages contain duplicate metadata.
7. Keep on top of your image alt tags
Google Image Search can drive a significant amount of traffic to your site, however you must remember that Google can’t ‘see’ your images, but it can ‘read them’.
Therefor describing your images accurately and concisely in the ‘alt description or tag’ section is something you really need to stay on top of.
Check back through your last handful of pages and make sure your images conform.
You could even look at the alt tags at the same time as checking your images’ file sizes (see point 3).
For lots more information, check out How to optimise images for SEO.
8. Check your 404 error codes
404 pages occur when a Googlebot attempts to visit a page that doesn’t exist. Generally 404 pages are fine and won’t harm your rankings, but it is important to pay attention to them, especially if there’s a sudden increase.
You can check these in Search Console, under Crawl>Crawl Errors.
Then if anything looks to have been deleted accidentally, or a 301 redirect hasn’t been put in place properly, you can fix these straight away.
9. Keep on top of your internal linking
Regular and consistent internal linking to the most popular articles on your site is a key way to show search engines that your site has authority and that your content is ‘trusted’.
There are many different methods and tools to check which of your pages is the most popular for any search phrase, and therefore the you can use to internally link for added SEO benefit.
Spend some time going back through your posts and ensuring that each post has a few internal links, paying particular attention to the anchor text used, and making sure they’re all relevant AND pointing towards pages you wish to see rank.
There’s an excellent, detailed best practice guide here: Internal linking for SEO.
So there you go. Nine quick things you can do to improve your SEO every day without taking up too much of your energy. Obviously this is far from an exhaustive list, but it’s definitely a start to getting the basics right.
View full post on Search Engine Watch