Nik's Technology Blog

Travels through programming, networks, and computers

Nik Makris is now Google Analytics Qualified!

I just passed the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test with a score of 88%! I'm now officially qualified in Google Analytics!

Nik Makris is Google Analytics qualified

If you're interested in taking the test or simply want to learn more about Google Analytics then visit the Conversion University and brush up on your knowledge with the tutorials and presentations before taking the test.

I was actually quite surprised how much there is too Google Analytics and how powerful some of the features actually are, even though I've been using Google Analytics for years I learnt some really useful techniques and tricks.

More about the test

The test consists of 70 multiple choice questions and costs $50.  You are given 90 minutes to complete the test, and must achieve 75% to pass.  You are allowed to pause the test and continue later, but you must complete it within 5 days.  The whole test is completed online, and you will receive a PDF of your certificate on completion, which will look like the picture of mine above.  The qualification is valid for 18 monthsRead more frequently asked questions about the Google Analytics Individual Qualification FAQ.

TradeDoubler Affiliate Trademark Keyword Bidding Reminder

Following on from Google's change of stance, allowing UK and Irish AdWords users to bid on trademarked keywords of other companies, TradeDoubler the affiliate marketing platform has sent its affiliates an email.
The email reminds TradeDoubler's affiliates that even though Google now allows its AdWord users to bid on trademarked keywords, it does not mean that any previous keyword bidding restrictions TradeDoubler's merchants had previously with their affiliates are now a free for all.

They warn that any affiliate activity that goes against a TradeDoubler merchant's terms and conditions will mean action will be taken such as removal from the programme or network and forfeit of commissions.

UK Reg Encourage Users to Buy Domains for 10 years Citing Google Patent

UK Reg, a domain registrar in the United Kingdom is using text written in one of Google's patent applications to help sell 10 year domain name registrations!
I was quite surprised to see a marketing technique used to sell a search engine marketing benefit.

Here's a screenshot from the site below:

UK Reg - Secure your domain
Clicking on the "Google patent application" link produces a pop-up which quotes the following sentence from the patent application Google made, with a link to the application in full:

"Certain signals may be used to distinguish between illegitimate and legitimate domains. For example, domains can be renewed up to a period of 10 years. Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain and, thus, the documents associated therewith."

Google Paid Link Policing and other more Democratic Ranking Methods

Google's Webmaster Help Center explains Google's policy on paid links and encourages people to report them to Google. Here's a snippet from Google's statement:

"Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results.

Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such."

Google essentially want websites to designate paid links with rel="nofollow" anchor tags, so link juice or PageRank is not passed on to the website who bought the link. The use of rel="nofollow" anchor tag was originally conceived to stop comment SPAM on blogs and discussion boards, but its use has now spread to the policing of paid links.

I understand the difficulties Google and the other search engines must have in determining when to pass link juice between websites, but leaving the webmaster in control of this is like asking Google to start ranking sites by meta keywords again.

I'm beginning to believe the future of web search lies in the democratic nature of the StumbleUpon, Digg and other social bookmarking methods like (del.icio.us and my favourite ma.gnolia), whereby users vote, tag and bookmark sites. Surely a combination of popularity and search algorithm is the way forward?

Updated: Shortly after I posted this blog entry, Google has been spotted testing Digg-style voting buttons on their results pages!

Updated: Matt Cutts and Maile Ohye posted on The Official Google Webmaster Central blog on 1 Dec 2007 a post that intends to clarify Google's stance on paid links.

Reciprocal Links - Link to Link - Increase PageRank

Trying to increase your PageRank in Google? Maybe this is could help your site.

I've created a links page on my site (see link below) which you can add your URL, providing your website is of similar web development content it will be accepted pending human verification at a later date.

Before submission of your link you will be required to link to nikmakris.com. Your site will then be checked for the reciprocal link automatically and if it passes you will be added to nikmakris.com links page.

How will this help your site?

Google uses an algorithm called PageRank, which gauges the usefulness of your pages based on the amount of inbound links to your pages. Each page has it's own Page Rank.

When you link to a page on another site you are essentially "voting" for that site. The site you link to will gain a proportion of the PageRank of that page depending on the amount of links on that page and if that page has any Page Rank at all.

If the page you link to also links to you, you will receive a "vote" as well.

PageRank is a multiplier which when combined with good search engine optimised HTML will give you much higher rankings in Google. So the higher Page Rank you have the better.

An indication of your PageRank can be found out if you install the Google Toolbar with advanced features from www.toolbar.google.com, although this is only an indicator since PageRank is logarithmic.