Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) Test

Sep 17 2012

If you are a Business where getting clients on board, having key credentials are a must. If you are an seo expert working for a internet based company, it will elevate you from your colleagues as you have the very important GA expert knowledge certified by Google itself. The more certifications you gather in search engine optimization the better.

Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) test deepens the knowledge on Google analytics. Passing the test would be a tough task especially if you are new to Google analytics. The test gives complete knowledge on how to improve a site with respect to its performance and every other aspect. It is difficult for an individual to improve the site without this knowledge. This test would be useful for those who maintain and run sites on the web. There are tips and tricks listed in the Google analytics guide. Taking a look at this guide would offer additional advice on the tips to get a good grade.

 

The GAIQ Test

The Google analytics Individual Qualification test is limited to 90 minutes. The test comprises of 70 multiple choice questions. Each question has two to five answers. The correct answer need to be selected among these, two to five answers. Some questions allow the candidate to choose all the applicable answers, missing even a single answer makes the attempt a wrong answer. The candidates can access the Google Testing center for a fee of $50. The test center allows the candidate to pause and come back to the question anytime. But the candidate needs to answer the question within five days. The test is an open book exam. The pass mark required to clear the test is 80%.

 

Topics covered

The topics covered in the exam can be accessed in the Google analytics IQ lessons also known as the Conversion University. This university is an online university where in the lessons can be accessed free of cost. The complete walk though of these lessons takes around two hours and fifteen minutes and they are in the form of PowerPoint presentations. Since the test is an open book exam, taking notes while going through these slides would help you while attempting the test.

Some of the topics that are covered in the exam are Accounts & profiles, Interface navigation, tracking code, interpreting Reports, traffic sources, Campaign Tracking & AdWords Integration, AdWords, Goals, Funnels Filters, Advanced Segments, Cookies, Regular Expressions, E-Commerce Tracking, Domains & Subdomains, Custom Reports, Motion Charts, Internal Site Search, Event Tracking & Virtual Page views.

One of the topics covered in the test is cookies. Cookies are not the regular homemade cookies that are being discussed here; they are related to the cookies in the internet explorer. Getting to know more about each of the above mentioned topics can be made easier by starting your preparation for the exam from the GAIQ lessons. The online university also has videos associated with each topic.  Watching the videos at least twice will help you taking notes and also understand the topic in-depth.  The GAIQ test has undergone a number of changes in terms of topics and the approach of conducting the exam. The latest update was in January 2012. Some of the topics that have been added to this new version are multi-channel funnels, real-time analytics, social plugin analytics, and flow visualization.  Though the test is continuously being updated, the question pattern and the videos have not changed.  One instance of this is the –utmc cookie, this cookie is not being used by Google analytics tracking code any more. It was used to determine the session status earlier. The details and information regarding this cookie is still available in GAIQ lessons and the videos and there are chances of the question related to this cookie being asked in the test as well.

 

Tips

If you have plans to attempt the test, here are some tips for you to keep in mind. The most important thing that needs to be remembered while taking any test, for that matter is to keep moving. Waiting or thinking for a long duration will lead to waste of time. Answer all the questions which you are familiar with, mark the questions which you can think and answer later. The questions which are absolutely not known to you can be left to be attempted at the end. After the first round, take another round answering question which you have marked. You have three choices: answer the question, mark it and answer them later or leave it incomplete.  The best strategy is to answer the ones that you are sure about, mark the question which need some research and time and third is to leave the questions you have no idea about. During your second round, you can spend time evaluating and reviewing the questions with the mark. There is no negative marking which means no marks deducted for wrong answers. This is definitely a positive thing as far as the candidate is concerned as you have the freedom to answer the questions which you have no idea about.

Since the test is an online test, have the following resources open in your system: Google analytics IQ lesions, analytics account, Google help center and Jens Sorensen’s test notes.  Few questions require some amount of research so having these resources open in your system will help you in verifying and attempting the questions faster.

Finally, if you pass the exam, you will get an official certificate from Google with the validity which is for eighteen months from the date of exam. The certificate however does not expose the percentage or the results. It will list the questions that you answered correctly.

Answering the questions depend mainly on how the candidate interprets the questions. They are very tricky and it is necessary to pay attention to every small information that’s mentioned in the question. Passing or failing in the test purely depends on how much attention you pay to the intricate details mentioned in the question.

In case you fail in the test, you can take up the test again after fifteen days, which means in a month you can take it up only twice. However, for each attempt you need to pay $50. So in order to save this fee you should try to pass the test in your first attempt.

In India very few individuals & companies are Google Analytics certified. Its gives a push in your career & add a bonus to your accomplishments when you are acquiring new clients.

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What is Graph Rank and EdgeRank ?

Sep 12 2012

It’s a year and half I last updated my blog. Got so busy with my offline life that I lost the urge to scribble on this blog. This post is all about online social sphere which now dominates a large chunk of every internet crazy people. Count me in too.

Graph Rank and Edge Rank – For anyone who has ever had any confusion over the two algorithms, I’ve provided a summary below. Here’s exactly what you need to know:

Graph Rank and Edge Rank are two algorithms that are being used widely by marketers and developers in social networks. These two algorithms are used interchangeably to organize the activity performed by people on the pages and apps.

These algorithms have the capability to decide and display the pages to few people and not others, depending on the criteria and rules. Graph rank is applicable to open graph applications and cannot be used for pages or status updates. The pages and status updates are controlled by the Edge rank algorithm. The latter also determines what to be shown on the news feeds.

EdgeRank is the algorithm which populates the news feeds for the socializing sites. These sites have a huge mass following it. Each individual have their own preference for the home page. The activity generated by these connections between people is enormous. One of the sites that use both these algorithm is Facebook. The site assigns a value to every activity which can be populated in a feed. This value depends on the time, weight and the affinity. Affinity is the relationship between the users who are involved in the activity. Weight is the type of activity performed for instance upload or placing a comment on the photo. Facebook gives more value to rich media content and tends to give a higher value for such activities. EdgeRank decides what needs to be placed in the news feed depending on these factors.

The above mentioned factors affect the status of each action performed by a user in the social networking sites like Facebook. Sometimes we tend to see a comment by a friend and do not see the photo album that has been updated by some others. The greater the affinity the EdgeRank offers, the higher the probability of seeing the posts in the home page. EdgeRank controls these activities which appear as a recent post. Obviously, the older posts are removed and replaced by new ones.

Graph rank is a recent version which Facebook is using in order to determine the application activities performed. Graph rank seeks to expose the activities and actions performed by a user based on the relevant, recent application activities. The change in algorithm from EdgeRank is because of the negative feedback that Facebook received from its users for allowing third party applications. The regular users got frustrated to see the enormous amount of alerts and activities in their page. Facebook had to cut off the number of third party apps in the site development which in turn made developers more frustrated. With the change to incorporate Graph rank the site hopes to get the positive feedback from both developers and users.

The collaboration of EdgeRank and graph rank help in personalizing the home page as per the user’s choice. The marketers and developers have found ways to optimize their efforts by doing their best and getting the maximum from the site. Use of these two algorithms helps Facebook to notify the users with the latest activities of their friends and other users and also displays the latest important activities in the form of news feeds.

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Google’s “Farmer Update” – How much damage it can do?

Mar 01 2011

Last week Google has made the biggest change in its search algorithm. It affected many websites that depend on Google to drive majority of their traffic. This major change is done to rank quality content higher in Google search results. Particularly pulling down the sites which have low quality / less original content and are of no use to users. The effect is that users will find sites which wrote the original content.Google says in a blog post on Thursday that these tweaks in the algorithm will affect 12% of its search results.

People give funny names to Google’s algorithm update. Be it “Jagger update” or “Hilltop update” This is called the Google “Farmer Update”. Do you know who gives names to Google algorithm updates? Many people in search marketing world don’t know how Google updates get their names. It all started in 2003 from WebmasterWorld.

In the blog post Google says “Our goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible. This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content—both good and bad—comes online all the time.”

So quite are the Google’s algorithm changes that few people notice them. But these recent algorithm changes has begun to show effects on various websites. This time “Content Farms” are Google’s target. Matt Cutts wouldn’t say that Algorithm update has targeted the content farms, but Danny Sullivan thinks Google has not targeted the farms so much as it aimed at the low quality content sites.

Who are content farms?
Content farms are websites which publish mass text content targeting top searched keywords on search engines. These text content pages are specially designed to rank high on top searched keywords and generate advertising revenue through visits from search engines. Some sites can be called content farms but have valuation worth of millions of dollars. eg:- ezinearticles.com.

Article directories are being hit particularly by “Farmer update”. Ezinearticles may see 50% drop in their organic traffic by end of this month. Many webmasters on Webmasterworld.com reports of traffic loss overnight and some say that they can’t adapt the algo so quickly. backdraft7 commented :-“Hey Google, this is not fun anymore – YOU’RE KILLING OUR BUSINESSES!”.

Content creators adhere to many legitimate ways to optimize their websites to get higher ranking in Google. But the search giant came cracking down on them as it sees it as inappropriate attempts to do. This update has upset many big players. Demand Media which has a market valuation of $1.9 billion more than New York Times Co already may have experienced fall in traffic according to a study done by a German seo firm as well as data pulled together by Compete.com for BNET.study done

Content Farms are always been controversial to Google as you can find well informative articles on them and some people claim that they amass large amount of content every day only to rank high on Google on as many keywords possible.

Personally I find many valuable articles in EzineArticles.com and other large content sites. There are also many articles I don’t find worth reading. The question is the Algorithm is targeting specific sites or specific pages? But as I read the Google blog I think the words used in the post tell us that this is site specific targeting rather than page specific.

A very important question “How Google will treat news sites & classified sites that have duplicate content?” News sites use PTI source for content, classified sites can have same listing as other classified sites as a advertiser may have posted the same content in more than one classified sites. What will Google do here as these are not illegitimate ways? Matt can you hear me?

As Google states: Any change to Google’s algorithm is a zero-sum game. Some websites win, some lose. Will this algorithm update have a lasting effect on search quality? Anytime Google updates its algorithm to clean its search results, those determined to beat it immediate adjusts.

And of course I pormise to blog more frequently now….

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