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Excel Tables, Pivots and VLOOKUP
Because Excel is Fun...
Troy Boileau | SEO & Inbound Marketing Consultant
For Powered by Search Internal | December 2013
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Using VLOOKUP
Proper Table Use
Fun With Pivot Tables
6.
Using VLOOKUP
What is VLOOKUP
VLOOKUP is an Excel function that can find the value of a specific column in
a data-set that matches a key.
The function looks like this:
=VLOOKUP(KEY,DATA-SET,COLUMN,FALSE)
Just remember that it’s always false.
7.
Using VLOOKUP
What is VLOOKUP
I want to find the Avg. Position of “widgets” in this table. Remember that
the equation is:
=VLOOKUP(KEY,DATA-SET,COLUMN,FALSE)
The Key is obviously “widgets”. The key always has to be in the left-most
column of the table, and the table that you’ve looking for has to be sorted
alphabetically. So our equation now looks like this:
=VLOOKUP(“widgets”,DATA-SET,COLUMN,FALSE)
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Using VLOOKUP
What is VLOOKUP
I want to find the Avg. Position of “widgets” in this table. Remember that
the equation is:
=VLOOKUP(KEY,DATA-SET,COLUMN,FALSE)
A data-set can either be a table (Excel usually numbers tables, so Table1,
Table2) or a block of cells. To outline a block, we put the top left cell first,
followed by a colon and then the bottom right cell. Since we want all of the
values from “widget corp” in the top left (A2) to “32” in the bottom right
(D7), our formula will be =VLOOKUP(“widgets”,A2:D7,COLUMN,FALSE)
9.
Using VLOOKUP
What is VLOOKUP
I want to find the Avg. Position of “widgets” in this table. Remember that
the equation is:
=VLOOKUP(KEY,DATA-SET,COLUMN,FALSE)
The function will find the row that the key is in, but what column do we
return? The column is actually the column index number, which just means
if it’s the 4th column from the left then you put “4” in column.
=VLOOKUP(“widgets”,A2:D7,4,FALSE)
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Using VLOOKUP
What is VLOOKUP
This equation on the sheet below will return the result “2.1”
=VLOOKUP(“widgets”,A2:D7,4,FALSE)
The point of this is to be able to have a dynamic key and fill it down, as you
might want to use it in, say, the table below.
11.
Using VLOOKUP
Tricks
Locking Formulas:
Always lock ($) the data set when you’re filling down. If I have the simple
formula of =A1 (which returns whatever value is in A1) and then fill it down,
the equation will automatically change to =A2 in the second row and =A3 in
the third row, etc.
If I want to make sure it always returns the value in A1, the equation needs
to be =A$1
Addressing Other Sheets:
If I’m working in Sheet 1 and I want to use the value of A1 in Sheet 2, I can’t
just use the equation =A1. That’ll return Sheet 1’s A1. Instead I have to use
the name of the sheet in the equation, like this:
=‘Sheet 2’!A1
12.
Using VLOOKUP
Problem: Fill It Down
This is our data set, which is in ‘Sheet 1’
We want to use our “widgets” equation
but fill it down to address two other keywords. How would you change the equation so that you could fill it down in D2?
Remember our old equation:
=VLOOKUP(“widgets”,A2:D7,4,FALSE)
13.
Using VLOOKUP
Problem: Fill It Down
The answer is:
=VLOOKUP(A2,’Sheet 1’!A$2:D$7,4,FALSE)
We only changed two things. One, instead of putting “widgets” in as the key,
we let Excel fill the value in dynamically. We also added the sheet reference
and locked ($) the rows in the data set.
When we fill our equation down, the key will change but the data set that
we defined in the formula doesn’t. If you look at the formula in D3 it’ll be:
=VLOOKUP(A3,’Sheet 1’!A$2:D$7,4,FALSE)
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Proper Table Use
Hierarchy Issues
Normally we think of information hierarchy as flat but defined by tags, e.g.
• H1
• Data
• H2
• Data
In Tables of Content we might see it as:
• H1
• H2
Which tricks us into making funky table hybrids that only Jemar can love:
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Proper Table Use
Hierarchy Issues
Tables like that lose out on all of Excel’s functionality. They also miss the
point of Excel’s two dimensional data.
Every cell is a value of its header and is contextual to its row.
Let’s take the corrected table as an example.
Cell A2 contains the value “Website 2.” Based on our rule above, it is a value
of its header. So, it’s a Website Name. It’s contextual to its row, which
means that B2 (a Title Tag) is related, as is C2 (a Meta Description).
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Proper Table Use
Disparate Tables
We also tend to think of tables as answers to one specific question.
Here I’m finding organic search traffic for some financial keywords:
And here I’m associating keywords to personas:
They answer different questions, so I’ve created different tables.
20.
Proper Table Use
Disparate Tables
But now the client wants to know how much organic traffic each persona
has. Unfortunately with the two separate tables I can’t really get that data
unless I use a complicated equation and make a third (even more disparate)
table.
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Proper Table Use
Disparate Tables
Going back to our original rule,
Every cell is a value of its header and is contextual to its row.
It’s easy to see that these tables are all contextual. Let’s just make one big
table.
Using this data I can get all sorts of information. How many (count)
keywords are associated with each persona? Or how much organic traffic
does each persona have?
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Fun With Pivot Tables
Pivot Table Fields
Let’s find a couple of ways to visualize this data set:
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Fun With Pivot Tables
Pivot Table Fields
The Field List just includes the column headings, which we can use in our
reports.
The Report Filter lets us only show a subset of the
data that we’d otherwise see.
Most of the time I just use Row Label so I can get
a simple report like this:
Values are what really “pivot.” I’ve got Sum of
Search Traffic set now. If I change Location to
Keyword the Search Traffic will “pivot” by keyword instead of country.
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Fun With Pivot Tables
Pivot Table Fields
While you’d Filter to see only one or a subset of data for specific Months,
you can also set the Month as a Column to see every month side-by-side.
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Fun With Pivot Tables
Pivot Table Fields
You can also nest rows and columns to make them foldable. For example, I
want to see search traffic for every keyword by country over February and
march.
When stacking rows, the... parent should be on top.
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Fun With Pivot Tables
Value Types
The basic value types (SUM which adds everything, COUNT which counts
the number of rows, AVERAGE which... averages everything) are obvious.
So let me just add one value type to your repertoire:
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Pivot Table Case Study
Keyword Position Change
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A Big Thanks to Alex Rascanu and #InboundTO
Stay in Touch
Twitter: @troyfawkes
Google+: google.com/+TroyBoileau
Email: troy@poweredbysearch.com
www.poweredbysearch.com
www.troyfawkes.com
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