Live from SMX East 2013: Extreme Excel Excellence

By Scott Garrett | Oct 2, 2013
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As a search marketer I use Excel on a daily basis. From pivot tables to concatenation, Excel is my best friend. This panel dealt exclusively with tips and suggestions on how to use Excel like a power user to get the full benefits of the software. Below I will go into a short bio on each panelist and the some talking points from their sessions at SMX East.

q 1

Annie Cushing is an SEO and analytics consultant. Her areas of expertise are analytics, technical SEO, and everything to do with data – collection, analysis, and beautification.

  • How to make data sexy, aka actionable:
    • Use conditional formatting if the data is contained within a table.
      • This allows you to highlight trends and changes in the data.
  • Use your client’s branded colors for charts and graphs, avoid the standard Excel colors.
  • Move chart legends to the top, customize color, remove tick, gridlines, and anything excessive. You want to make charts to convey the data in a meaningful way that is easy to see – don’t just puke up data and present it.
  • Add annotations to highlight main takeaways from data.
  • Use correlation graphs and interactive charts to promote further thought and interest.
  • If sexy data is done correctly, then it stops inertia and promotes action.

Brett Snyder is the Director of Search Engine Optimziation at Nebo Agency in Atlanta. As a converted PPC guy, Brett fell head over heels for SEO years ago as a constant challenge to evolve with the times.

  • Problem of too much data
    • Excel is a problem solving tool
      • Data should  be simple, valuable, and actionable.
      • Actual vs. actionable data
        • Move beyond just presenting the client with only raw data and give them proper performance analysis
      • To use Excel as a problem solving tool, use IF statements and nested functions
        • First, identity the problem.
        • Then, determine the criteria.
        • Finally, construct the function and execute the formula.

q 2

John Gagnon is a Bing Advertising Evangelist at Microsoft based in Seattle, Washington. He loves search marketing and online advertising. He is a frequent speaker at search marketing conferences like Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo and other events like the Online Marketing Summit.

  • Some useful shortcuts
    • CTRL + Shift + $ or %
      • This converts a cell to a currency or a percentage.
    • ALT+ =
      • This will execute the SUM function on all rows above the cell.
    • Double clicking on format painter
      • This will cause the tool to hold its format, allowing for continued use of that particular format.
  • PowerPivot add-on for Excel
    • Fits up to 2 billion rows in an Excel sheet and is a very powerful tool for Big Data.
  • Power Map and Geo Flow add-on for Excel
    • This is a Geo-data organizer which  allows you to display data in a 3-D  geographic map.

This session had some great tips and tools for unlocking the full potential of Excel. Here are some additional resources that the panelists mentioned:

Do you know any tips or tricks for Excel? Comment below and follow me on Twitter @scottgarrett89.

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