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Testing, Proving, and Digging
Micah Fisher-Kirshner | Senior SEO Manager
www.become.comSeptember 13th
2011
Quick Background
• Become.com: price comparison website
• Competitors:
 US: NexTag, Shopping, Shopzilla
 UK: PriceRunner...
Public Correlations
• How to tell good versus bad presentations?
Good Correlation Presentations Use…
• Scatter plots
 Helps visualize the
correlation
• Non-integer numbers
 Generally in...
A Thing (Or Three) About Correlations
1. Correlations are a place to start, not an end.
2. Sanity check the results with a...
When To Go Linear (Regression)
• Amount of effort
 Do you have enough data to
prove it is statistically
significant?
 Ho...
Panda and Average Time On Site
• Sample set
 Correlation: 42%
Panda Correlation Digging
 Does the correlation hold up by
site type?
 Punishment by group?
1 = How To’s
2 = CSEs
3 = Ma...
Testing and Understanding Your Data
Day over day
Week over week
Watch out for seasonality
Best Of The Tests
• Subdirectories, subdomains,
and domains
 Find ways to split your site in half along
standard site arc...
Common Correlating Pitfalls
• Other marketing channels
 Did your brand team launch something during the same time period?...
Proving Requires Digging
• DC Earthquake lowered traffic by 2%
 Odd traffic increases on Wednesday gets magnified by a we...
Thanks!
Question EverythingQuestion Everything
Learn more at: www.become.comwww.linkedin.com/in/micahfk
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A quick presentation at SMX East by Micah Fisher-Kirshner on the differences between correlations and causations and how to test, prove, and dig within the SEO world.

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The Great Correlation vs Causation Debate: Testing, Proving, and Digging at SMX East 2011 by Micah Fisher-Kirshner

  1. 1. Testing, Proving, and Digging Micah Fisher-Kirshner | Senior SEO Manager www.become.comSeptember 13th 2011
  2. 2. Quick Background • Become.com: price comparison website • Competitors:  US: NexTag, Shopping, Shopzilla  UK: PriceRunner, Twenga  DE: Idealo, Billiger  JP: Kakaku • Why are we able to run multiple tests?  We are a vertical search engine
  3. 3. Public Correlations • How to tell good versus bad presentations?
  4. 4. Good Correlation Presentations Use… • Scatter plots  Helps visualize the correlation • Non-integer numbers  Generally integers make it harder to visualize correlations
  5. 5. A Thing (Or Three) About Correlations 1. Correlations are a place to start, not an end. 2. Sanity check the results with an SEO 3. Ask yourself, “Does this make sense? What if we factor for…” Likes? Comments?
  6. 6. When To Go Linear (Regression) • Amount of effort  Do you have enough data to prove it is statistically significant?  How long with data collection take?  What is the return on your investment to collect and test this data? • Quality data  Do you trust where the data comes from?  Do you have enough metrics that factor into the algorithm? • Facebook Shares  Enough data and factors to run a linear regression
  7. 7. Panda and Average Time On Site • Sample set  Correlation: 42%
  8. 8. Panda Correlation Digging  Does the correlation hold up by site type?  Punishment by group? 1 = How To’s 2 = CSEs 3 = Marketplaces 4 = News
  9. 9. Testing and Understanding Your Data Day over day Week over week Watch out for seasonality
  10. 10. Best Of The Tests • Subdirectories, subdomains, and domains  Find ways to split your site in half along standard site architecture to run tests  Don’t have these? Use numbers in URL or even/odd • Test and control  Randomize what your data sets are to avoid bias  Two controls are better than one • Length of time  The smaller the data set, the longer the test needs to run
  11. 11. Common Correlating Pitfalls • Other marketing channels  Did your brand team launch something during the same time period?  Did your UX group modify the layout affecting your test? • Extraneous online events  Did Google update their algorithm?  Was there a change in how your analytics tracks events?  Did something break?  Did you launch a change that affected your own tests? • Various offline events  Was there a holiday that skewed week over week data?  Did a world or national event occur around the same time?
  12. 12. Proving Requires Digging • DC Earthquake lowered traffic by 2%  Odd traffic increases on Wednesday gets magnified by a weak Tuesday
  13. 13. Thanks! Question EverythingQuestion Everything Learn more at: www.become.comwww.linkedin.com/in/micahfk

A quick presentation at SMX East by Micah Fisher-Kirshner on the differences between correlations and causations and how to test, prove, and dig within the SEO world.

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