Remember what you read online

Here is a great way to dramatically improve memory when reading articles online.

This week I finally get to sit down and do something constructive with Bryan Eisenberg, the founder of the Web Analytics association (now renamed the Digital Analytics association). He’s been around forever and it amazes me that so few businesses are able to get to grips with his essentially obvious mantra that business online needs to be underpinned with good decisions based on good data. Recently, the mantra changed a bit though, as we all start to realise that some of the power within the mass of data that some companies have managed to harness, lies not in analysis – but in knowing what the “Big Idea” is that you want to get out of the Big Data.

But that’s not the full point of this post. Bryan gave me a bunch of posts he had written on the subject. As I started to read, it dawned on me that I really wasn’t taking in the words like I used to. I think ADT is growing in all of us involved on the web. Age doesn’t help and the glass of red wine was the final straw. I closed the laptop and left it for a few days.

Well I am glad to report that I have now taken in the articles and found an excellent way to aid memory retention online. I downloaded an app from iTunes onto my iPhone that turns web pages into audio. The idea for the app is that you can turn any news feed into a podcast. That’s useful in itself. But the real “deep” recall occurs when you read AND listen at the same time.

By reading and having computer generated spoken word, you combine two senses, dramatically improving recall. We all use PowerPoint (or in my case “Prezi”)┬áto help us elaborate and communicate in different ways, because a picture can say a thousand words, but we rarely combine senses when reading online. I heartily recommend that you change that now.

Using different senses online to communicate is one of the reasons I use to broadcast My Search Kingdom Radio Show. (Next show is on Thursday). Using those senses to RECEIVE information is just as important.

If you want to look at the iPhone App I have started using, it’s called “Speakably”. It looks new, so not perfect yet, but it does the job. What’s more, you can speed up the speed of the spoken word. Going at double speed won’t work just by listening alone, but it is pretty easy to read fast with the audio running at the same time.

It turns out this is especially effective. A few months back I was at the Glasgow Science Museum. A great day out by the way. In there, in the top floor, is a whole interactive experience about sound. One exhibit let’s you hear something spoken very fast. It is hard to understand. Then you hear it at normal speed and of course it make sense. The “Wow” moment comes when you hear it fast a second time. Now your brain has a pattern to follow and this time it all makes sense at the faster speed.

Put a computerised audio over web pages when you want to read fast and take in the content. You’ll be amazed at how much faster… And effective… Your reading will be.

If you want to read the posts Bryan sent me:

Pass the word. Please share the post if you find it useful.

At SES, Bryan and I are heading up the “Big Data” Meet the Experts table at lunch in San Francisco. This year I have been pushing Majestic SEO within a new but growing conference circuit based around Big Data and Predictive Analytics and along the way I have found some great ways to mine Big Data.

Link Analysis tool update

If you haven’t had a chance to see this back link analysis tool yet, here’s a password that will only last a couple of weeks. You should get there quickly if you are onto SEO.

If you ever see me at conferences, I tend to give away short term access to our in-house link analysis tool (Password below). We like the feedback, but we can’t give everyone the tool forever as it’s part of our “secret sauce” (or “secret source”). Maybe one day we’ll give people the chance to sign up, but for now, we are still playing with it.

It just got better – so here’s a free login for a few weeks…

What is it and what has got better?

The tool takes two web domains and compares the relative backlink quality of each site. Not only does it look at the number of backlinks, but it tries to extract links that may have a quality signal and record these “quality links” separately from any old spam.

In this release we have:

  • Added the ability to add a list of your own “trusted domains” to fit your industry
  • Allowed you to restrict results to back-links from pages containing a specific keyword
  • Added the ability to download the results into a spreadsheet
  • We added a metric: “backlinks per page” (see below)
  • Improved the retrieval speed

I analyzed two of my colleagues, Mike and David (hope you don’t mind, guys) who both were on the front page of Google just now for the phrase “search engine marketing”. Now – they are BOTH there, so I’m not going to argue with either result. I asked it to analyse the following:

“Analyse links to vs from pages containing the phrase “search engine marketing”

Now – Mike only has 46 pages, but still gets first page, with only 1,590 inbound links compared to Weboptimiser’s 18,200. Why so different? Well for one reason, Mike actually has a huge number of links to the site (try the search again without the phrase filters).

I also note that over half of Mike’s links are not to the the home page. Now I suspect I know exactly why that is. But I’m not letting on.

I think the calculation to start looking at more and more, though, is the “Backlinks per page” statistic. Here we divide the number of backlinks we see pointing towards a site by the number of pages that we see indexed for a domain. We may do more research on this statistic at a later date.

You are free to use the tool for the rest of the month. Please tell us if you can see a way to improve it – and sign up if you want us to give out passwords to you in the future.