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Old 10-01-2006   #1
NewKidOnTheBlock
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Role of Statistics(/Foreign Languages) in SEO/SEM?

Hello,

I'm new here and I hope this post fits in here: I'm going to take up business management with a focus on marketing as my major (I'll try and keep this brief so I'll spare you the details of my autobiography). However I'm also very interested in statistics/data mining and in SEO (even though I dont know much about it, yet, but am addicted to the net like a handful of others on here I assume ;-)) and would like to work in a related area after getting my degree in business/marketing.

However I was thinking if I wanna try to learn about one of the two fields 'on the side', I better choose one, otherwise it'll be too much stuff to focus on.

Now, I read on this forum..about what backgrounds you guys come from and funnily to people said something about how important statistics are in SEO ('a thourough knowledge in statistics'). Now..umm..I don't want to exaggerate, but this sounds a bit like a dream come true to me ;-). I already figured statistics might play some role in SEO, too, but I never really read anything about that connection between the two (okay, I'm like really new to SEO). So now I'm wondering: what statistical methods are really relevant? I assume regression analysis and maybe clustering? Is it because the algorithms of search engines are text mining algorithms and text mining is a special form of data mining which again is mostly statistics? It seems to me, that statistics isn't extremely relevant for SEO/SEM, but that it's still very useful to have a thorough knowledge of it?

Another question I have: How about (excellent) foreign language skills? I speak German, English and French (and plan on learning another language, if I can...foreign languages(+travel) have been a passion of mine). I assume that should be an asset, too, as the internet consists of text and obviously a lot of websites in those languages (they said English would be basically the only language on the Internet, but they turned out to be wrong...I read something about the topic lately) and it might be an asset to be able to optimize websites for common foreign languages, also? (though I might overrate this, right now, just because I'm a bit biased loving languages and all ;-))

Thank you guys!
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Old 10-02-2006   #2
seobrien
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A strong statistics background will certainly help for online marketing, I can't necessarily agree its great for SEO! Though, don't fool yourself, that's not all.
Too many online marketers today are traditional marketers who depend on focus groups, studies, and perception. Online marketing is a new world rich with actual metrics, real time stats, and performance. As a result, good Online Marketers have strong statistics backgrounds to follow the data, analyze the results and quickly react and improve.
None of that is applicable to SEO. For paid search, affiliate marketing, etc. you optimize for performance, you test, track, and try again. For SEO its moreso about directing web design, partner links, and site structure using some basic rules. Yes statistics are helpful for SEO, but not as much.
That's not all, any Online marketing program is also about creativity and speed. The space is constantly changing and requires quick thinking to keep up with new ideas and creativity to figure out if and how to take advantage of them for your business.

More and more websites are going multi-lingual but most use services or agencies to do those translations. Those aren't your selling points. Great qualities to be sure! (I'm impressed!) But you won't get hired as an SEO because you are multi-lingual, that's a value add.

Sounds like you should consider more than SEO (those statistics skills would be a tremendous asset to paid marketing)... think about it and good luck!
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Old 10-03-2006   #3
NewKidOnTheBlock
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First of all thank you for the reply,

I didn't really expect my foreign language skills to be all that important, but it'd still be nice to use them on the job ;-) plus I was just thinking maybe it does even help a little if one spoke 2 other languages really well considering the internet is multilingual, etc.

I don't have a strong background in statistics, yet...and I think I'm gonna consider doing general online marketing/e-commerce work later in life (so I have more options)...and well maybe in case I can become really good at it focus on SEO (and start with that already as it sounds like fun)...I guess I'll just try to not forget the statistics knowledge I already have (undergraduate level..mostly multivariate regression analysis), most of all focus on getting my college degree in marketing...and trying to learn a lot about SEO(/SEM in general) during vacation.

What did you mean by 'those statistics skills would be a tremendous asset to paid marketing'? Do you mean it would be extremely useful if I consider working in marketing in general (possibly online marketing, too?)? Is statistics really that important in marketing (I only knew it was important in market research)
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Old 10-04-2006   #4
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I just noticed the users who said they considered statistical knowledge very important were actually talking about SEM, not SEO. I'm assuming, for SEO it plays hardly a role, but it's important for SEM (actually I just realized you said it was important for online marketing @seobrian).

Is it more of an asset in online marketing/SEM (those 2 r synonymous, right?) than in ordinary marketing? I'm assuming a(n offline) marketing manager does know about statistics...however I doubt most of them have a strong background in that field, do they (which high marketing positions should require, if it's really necessary)?! So..are statistics more important when it comes to Online Marketing than to Offline marketing? What are they used for? detecting/analyzing patterns in the traffic/conversion rates/etc. (thus a little 'data mining') to find out if the traffic that is being generated is of quality, etc.? Just wondering if statistics are more important for online marketing than they are for general marketing activities (maybe the reason is because online there is much more data created than offline?)?
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Old 10-04-2006   #5
Andy AtkinsKruger
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Foreign Language Skills

Actually - I disagree with seobrien - at Web Certain we specifically look for people with SEO and language skills even if you're going to work ultimately in your mother tongue.

That's because we're an in-depth specialist multilingual search marketing agency - and we need our team to be aware of the different linguistic issues presented by different languages!

Where I agree, is we'd still ask you to work in German!
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Old 10-04-2006   #6
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Good point from Andy

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewKidOnTheBlock
Is it more of an asset in online marketing/SEM (those 2 r synonymous, right?) than in ordinary marketing? I'm assuming a(n offline) marketing manager does know about statistics...however I doubt most of them have a strong background in that field, do they (which high marketing positions should require, if it's really necessary)?! So..are statistics more important when it comes to Online Marketing than to Offline marketing? What are they used for? detecting/analyzing patterns in the traffic/conversion rates/etc. (thus a little 'data mining') to find out if the traffic that is being generated is of quality, etc.? Just wondering if statistics are more important for online marketing than they are for general marketing activities (maybe the reason is because online there is much more data created than offline?)?
I can't say that it is more of an asset for online than ordinary though I just read a great article (can't find it again!) about how everything online is direct marketing (no matter what your actual goal) because of the analytics available and the ability to track everything. Statistics are used for everything you suggest as well as customer profiling through regression analysis, life time value analysis, purchase cycle analysis, etc.
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Old 10-04-2006   #7
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I just spent the weekend shooting shotguns out in the desert with a group of guys who are trying to recruit me to their company. Their company employees nine people, and will do about 30 million this year. They are among the very best in the industry.

I took the opportunity while with them to try and learn as much as possible about how they operate. Statistics is a very big part of their business model. They monitor every imaginable detail, and are constantly tweaking based on the results.

If a competitor gains on them in the SERPS, they make adjustments within hours to try and get their lead back.

As has already been mentioned, the Internet is so immediate in its nature, that a solid understanding of statistics can only be a plus.

As far as foreign languages go, I would always look at that as a plus. Irregardless of what your job was. SEO, fire fighter, or baker. If I were doing the interviewing, it would give you an edge over the other guy.
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Old 10-05-2006   #8
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Quote:
because of the analytics available and the ability to track everything. Statistics are used for everything you suggest as well as customer profiling through regression analysis, life time value analysis, purchase cycle analysis, etc.

customer profiling through regression analysis. This sounds very much like the other (very technical) field in marketing which I'm interested in (and wanted to get into before I came across SEO/SEM), which is bascially data mining - or in the marketing jargon very often referred to as analytical customer relationship marketing (analytical CRM). Sounds to me like web traffic analysis is exactly that - collecting data -> analyzing it -> customer segmentation.

Quote:
Too many online marketers today are traditional marketers who depend on focus groups, studies, and perception. Online marketing is a new world rich with actual metrics, real time stats, and performance. As a result, good Online Marketers have strong statistics backgrounds to follow the data, analyze the results and quickly react and improve.
I happened to read your first reply again and I just realized, that this must be the reason why I'm so interested in SEM (not only in SEO though I find this particularly interesting). I like 'ordinary marketing', too, the whole strategical thinking, trying to outsmart your competition, etc. and probably more than most other parts of business, because marketing seems sort of like the most dynamic part of all the business fields. And this must be the reason, why I find online marketing so appealing...it's not just 'internet affinity' for the sake of it, but the internet makes it so much more exciting, because things work quicker and results are immediate and easily quantified.

This is what I really liked about the stock market at the time when I was really into it. The fascinating thing about it were the real time stats..you plan and analyze a lot, which alone could get boring, but then you keep watching your stock and how the rise (or fall ;-)) which makes it seem a lot like a game. I guess online marketing could be similar to this, with the real time stats being the web traffic analysis, etc. (like the poster before me said about those people's business model: they monitor real time stats and then make adaptions quickly...thus everything is going down a bit more quickly than in offline marketing).

Would you guys agree with my perception of online marketing?

Last edited by NewKidOnTheBlock : 10-05-2006 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 10-06-2006   #9
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@Andy: Thx for your answer to my PM.

Do you think my skills in other languages (if we're talking about fluency and hopefully almost on the same level as my mother tongue) would come in handy, too, though - if I wasn't working for your company (which is specialized in that field) but on a more general SEM/SEO job (where I might be the only one who speaks those languages)?

If I did a personal site (about a general topic), I assume being able to post it in more languages should be able to increase my traffic (approximately proportional to the amount of users of those languages?(though this might vary in really different cultures))

Quote:
Also, I read, you came from a marketing background. Can I ask you what made you get into this industry? Your affinity for the internet, I assume? Did you have to start from almost rock bottom after probably having earned a decent salary in (ordinary) Marketing or did your sound Marketing background help approach this new career path, as you're not strictly an SEO professional, but a SEO/SEM with sound business knowledge?
(This is a question I asked him in a PM, but he asked me to post it so he can answer it for everybody to see)
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