And as a special treat, we present to you the Disney Princesses as seen by Dina Goldstein. May your costume be the best on your street!
Google will look at the traffic that a document gets and changes to that traffic over time. It will also consider seasonal, daily or other timely changes to see if a document receives more traffic at these times and is therefore more relevant at these times. Any significant drop in traffic may indicate that a document is stale. Google may also consider ‘advertising traffic’ separately.
Is your primary goal in a search engine promotion campaign to increase overall traffic or to increase sales? The determination of your success will depend on your goals.
You will need to have the following statistics or metrics available to analyze your success:
- How many unique visitors you get each week
- The specific search engines that are sending you traffic
- How many hits each search engine is sending you
- The keywords people use to find your site
- What your ranks are for certain keyword phrases
- Sales per week
In order to get the above information you will need a traffic analyzer that will report your site statistics. We recommend the free Google Analytics.
You will also need to be able to integrate your site statistics with your sales/week. You can use Microsoft Excel for this purpose. You can transfer some of the information from Advanced Logger into an Excel file that also contains your average sales/day over a week. This will give you some revealing statistics about the relationships between search engines, visitors, and sales.
Over a period of time, you will be able to see the emerging relationships between keywords, search engines and sales. Analyzing these relationships will show you where you need to improve your site.
Track visitors with a traffic analyzer
A unique visitor is a person that visits your site for the first time. Some statistical reporting programs will tell you unique visitors per 24 hour period. This means, if the visitor returns the next day, they are counted again as a unique visitor, even if they have already been to your site.
When you start to analyze the data, you will be exposed to a lot of numbers. Make sure that you know the difference between the unique visitor and total hits on your site. Total hits can be anything from hits on every page to hits on every page and every graphic (total accesses).
You will need to know the number of unique visitors in order to track your sales success.
Simple site statistics usually provided by your host will tell you how many unique visitors your site is
Track Search Engines with a traffic analyzer
Depending on your site statistics program, you may also be able to see which search engines are referring traffic to your site. Google Analytics will provide graphical charts to represent site traffic.
Don’t expect to get every page ranked in every engine. Some search engines just naturally pick up more pages than others. Search engines are always in a competition for who has the biggest database of web pages. You may find that one search engine may be picking up and ranking almost every page of your site, while another engine only likes your home page. It is also dependent on the popularity of the specific search engine.
We’ve dealt with the statistics for many web sites over many years. We believe that Google sends the most traffic. But that doesn’t mean that Google always sends the most quality traffic. Quality traffic (traffic that produces sales) can vary by search engine. One important variable would be the product.
For instance, traffic from MSN may bring many sales for your product, whereas traffic from Google may yield you less sales per unique visitor.
You will need to look at your statistics over many months to determine which engines are bringing you sales and which keywords are producing traffic and sales for your specific product.
Track keywords with a traffic analyzer and a ranking report
Again, an advanced program will be very useful to help you accurately track the ranks of specific keyword phrases in the engines. You’ll need to get the free version of WebCEO which will provide you with plenty more analytical tools as well.
When you start getting a good amount of traffic (at least 500 unique visitors per week) you will start to understand that the keyword phrases people use are wide and varied. You will notice that you’re getting traffic from search engines on phrases that you never thought of. The essence of a good search engine promotion campaign is that you see a nice spread of traffic from ALL engines and a
nice spread of keyword phrases.
Some equations that may help you analyze traffic
Percent Increase of Unique Visitors:
- UVB = unique visitors before a promotion campaign. They should be over a specific period of time, like 4 weeks.
- UVA = unique visitors after or during a promotion campaign. This should be over the same period of time as UVB – 4 weeks.
- UVA – UVB = difference
- Difference/UVA = percent of visitor increase
Percent Increase of Hits from Search Engine(s):
- HB = hits from search engine(s) before a campaign over specific time
- HA = hits from search engines after a campaign over same time period as HB
- HA – HB = difference
- Difference/HA = percent increase of hits from search engine(s)
Percent increase in sales:
Sales/Unique Visitors = percent of sales/visitors
On the same day of each week (or month) you should calculate your sales/unique visitor ratio. This will tell you if your promotion campaigns are increasing sales, not just visitors. (We’ll venture to say that 1% is a good ratio. That is one sale per 100 visitors. If you see anything over 1%, you should examine the campaign and try to replicate it in any way possible.)
Anchor text is the clickable text that is associated with a link. Google looks at the anchor text,
freshness of the anchor text and changes to the anchor text over time.
- If there is a disparity between the anchor text and the document that it links to, possibly due to changes in domain ownership, Google could look at the time this occurred and ignore all the valuable links to your document prior to this event.
- Let people link to you with appropriate anchor text.
Unique Words, Bigrams, Phrases in Anchor Text
Google analyses the unique words, bigrams (pairs of letters, words or syllables) and phrases in anchor text for a document.
- Google analyzes graphs of unique words, bigrams, and phrases in anchor text to see if this information is real. Results that are created artificially would show spiky graphs whilst natural
data would show organic graphs.
- Don’t try and SPAM the search engine using unscrupulous link trading or search companies as
you could get black-listed and not recover from a lowered ranking.
Google looks at the number of links to a document (back links) and the growth or disappearance of
these links over time. A downward trend in the number of links to a document, decline in the rate of
link growth or disappearance of links may indicate that a document is getting stale whilst an upward
trend in links and rate of link growth may indicate that a document is fresh. In addition, detailed
graphs of link growth over time can be used to show particular patterns for fresh documents, stale
documents, those that may no longer be updated or that have been superseded.
Also, a weight may be given to every link based on the freshness of the overall document in which it is contained. Links from authoritative sources, like
Government pages are weighted higher.
- The dates that links appear can be used to detect if links are SPAM. A ‘legitimate’ document attracts back links slowly whilst a sudden growth in links particularly from documents without editorial discretion, like guest books, referrer logs, ‘free for all’ pages could indicate SPAM.
- Using a link generating program in the beginning could be beneficial. Services such as Link-Submission.com are worth examining. This to great way to get your incoming link ball rolling. Then once your site gains popularity you’ll see a lot more natural links coming your way.
- Make sure that you have a link building program in place that lets you grow your links organically by for example:
- 1. Asking suppliers, customers and partners to link to you.
- 2. Submitting to online discussion forums.
- 3. Creating a blog.
- 4. Submitting to shopping portals and industry sites.
- 5. Offering something great like a free gift or service so other sites value linking to you.
- 6. Creating your own affiliate program where all the links are direct to you.
Remember, you can always analyze your competitors to see who links to them. You can then contact these sites to see if you can get the same links to you, too. Normally, you just type into a search engine ‘link:Site URL’ to get a list of the links, where Site URL is your competitor’s full URL (e.g. www.competitiorwebsite.com).
So, developing a link structure that works for both visitors and search engines is a skill.
Internal Linking Strategy
Navigation is of utmost importance to the “crawlability” of your site. Search engine spiders need to be able to crawl your site as easily as your visitors find their way around. Sometimes, what will work for your visitors, will not work for search engine spiders. The best advice we can give in this area is to keep your link structure as simple as possible. Simplicity may involve giving up certain ideas that you might have for the design of your site.
Flash, frames, CGI, or any dynamic pages (pages that bring in content on the fly) are some types of programming that may hinder the crawlability of your site. Although, workarounds can be made.
However, if you’re a beginner, we recommend sticking to simpler programming methods for the navigation of your site. Plain old HTML text and image links are the best method.
If you do plan on keeping your navigation fairly simple, here are some strategies that can help:
Your web copy needs to lead your visitors to the sale
It needs to pull them down the page, forcing them to scroll, because they want to read what comes next. And at the bottom, it must make them want to click to the next page or order.
Before you begin to think about your link structure, determine the goal of your site. In other words, what are you trying to achieve with your site? What information will you need in order to achieve these goals?
Organize the information. The link structure will emerge as you write your web copy. Develop individual pages that provide clear information.
Standard pages might include:
- Home – a welcome page explaining what people can find at your site, might show some featured products.
- Products and/or Services – these pages might be the entrance to your product catalog and may contain a categorized list of your offerings.
- Guarantee – your policy for guaranteeing your customer’s satisfaction.
- Testimonials – good things other people are saying about your products or your company.
- FAQs – if you have a lot of interactivity on your site, you might need some FAQ pages (Frequently Asked Questions.)
- About Us – how your company was started, interesting facts about your company, possibly your mission statement, a little about different people in your company.
- Contact Us – how people can get in touch with your company. Give them many options including email, phone, postal address, and fax.
- Resources – links to other web sites and interesting articles that relate to your industry. This section is extremely important to building the content that will allow you to continue expanding your search engine promotion.
- Order Now – ordering system. Give people as many options as possible for payment including credit cards, check, cash or money order. Give them options for processing the order including online credit card and check processing, phone and fax ordering.
Link Structure Must Be Carefully Planned
First determine your Main Navigational Links. Using a template will help you ensure that you have your main navigational links on every page. These links will generally be graphical links made out of images, not text links. They should either go across the top of the page or down the left hand side.
We recommend a maximum of 10 main navigational links. A few more won’t hurt, but try to realize your visitors need to find what they need and find it quickly.
After your main links, you may need to break your site down into sub categories or Sub Navigational Links. Your site may be divided into several sections; each of these sections would be accessible by a main link. From the main link, the section would break down into its own set of navigational links. For instance, the “About Us” section may be composed of several sub pages including “Mission Statement,” “President,” “History,” etc. This second-level list of pages is called sub navigation.
Generally, if your Main navigation goes across the top of the page, then your Sub navigation would go down the left of the page. If your Main navigation goes down the left, then your Sub navigation would go across the top.
Your second-level directories may lead to third-level and even fourth-level directories, especially if you have a product catalog that you need to organize by categories. The main point to remember is that if your visitors can easily find what they are looking for, chances are that search engine spiders can also find their way to all your pages. When trying to achieve organic listings, you must try to get most of your pages spidered and put into the search engine database. This is why navigation is so very important.
You will need to create an easy to follow site map which displays the internal linking structure of your site. This will in turn need to be posted on your site as a separate page. You’ll need to submit this to Google as well. To get a site map and to submit it checkout Google Webmaster Central.
Linkage of Independent Peers
It’s very important to remember to try and only have relevant sites link to you. A sudden increase in the number of sites that link to you or links from unrelated sites (independent peers) would indicate SPAM, particularly, if the anchor text of the links is very similar or unusually different in an attempt to fool the search engine.
Read More About This on Our Blog
3. Query Analysis – Check the Search Keywords
Google analyses the volume and kind of searches that users make through the search engine. It analyses these results over time and documents associated with the fastest growing keyword searches are ranked higher as they could indicate a hot topic or breaking news story. Google also looks at search terms and records whether a search term should produce a consistent set of results or whether searches like ‘London Software Development’ should produce a different set of results every year.
- If a document appears highly in the search results for a discordant set of search results, then it may be considered as SPAM and ranked lower as it is unlikely for one document to be a good source for a number of different topics.
- Each document should be optimized and contain information related to a few searched for keywords. If you try and put all the keywords into one document then you are unlikely to rank very highly and are much more likely to be considered as search engine SPAM.
So, before you begin to rewrite the content of your web page to increase or decrease keyword frequency, you must find the right keywords.
There are several ways to find keywords and you should strive to try all of these strategies:
- Brainstorm. Come up with at least 20 keywords or keyword phrases that you think people might type into a search engine in order to find your web pages. Use your knowledge about your industry, but try to remember to think like people that are looking for the types of products and services that you are offering.
- Ask other people. Ask business people and friends what they would type into a search if they were looking for your page or site. It is especially helpful to get the opinions of people outside of your industry, people that know little about your products and services.
- Use the search engines. Go to search engines and look for pages with content similar to your own. When you get to your competitor’s sites, look at their source code. (Place your cursor on the page, click your right mouse button and choose “view source.”) Check out the phrases they are using in the keyword meta tags (if they have them). If you find some new keywords,
be sure to write them down.
- Use a “keyword suggestion tool” such as this free one from Google AdWords.
2. Write SEO-Friendly Content
You will build a good reputation with high-quality content. If you have interesting content other webmasters will want to link to your site. (Obtaining links into your site is a priority for SEO.) Also, your content must be focused. Content that works around one theme will help you attract your target market. You will attract attention to your site if you can become a respected provider of information about your niche.
Look at whether Google favors fresh or stale documents by conducting a search and seeing if the top results are from fresher or staler documents. Once you have this information you will have an idea of how often or not to update the main content elements of your document.
So, as you can see content is very important in search engine optimization. Here you can find a useful and effective writing strategy.
Write in “chunks”
Don’t overwhelm visitors with too much information in one paragraph. Present information in neat, readable chunks. If you chunk, your paragraphs will be about two to three sentences each.
Headlines are another way to make your pages more readable. In the past, using keywords in headlines or heading tags in the HTML was a recommended technique for optimizing your page. We still think it’s a worthwhile technique.
Google attempts to extract the topic of a document using the URL, low frequency words contained in the document, categorization, content analysis, clustering or summarization.
- If Google sees a significant change in the number of topics associated with a document after a stable period of set topics or the disappearance of the original topic, Google may consider that the document has been taken over as a ‘doorway page’ and may consider the document and any links or anchor text associated with the document as SPAM.
- Ensure your site stays consistent with its original topic.
Lists allow visitors to scan your pages quickly, as well.
Do not use underlines for web text (oops…)
Underlines should be reserved only for hyperlinks. Underlining text may confuse your visitors. Does it annoy you when you try to click on underlined text that goes nowhere? Why would you want to annoy your visitors?
Write at an eighth grade reading level
You want to make a web page easy to read. That doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be interesting. While you need to keep your visitors excited about your content, many people don’t have time to read involved text. If you need to include detailed explanations of your product, save them for pages deeper in the linking structure. Even so, always explain things to people in as simple a way as possible. Your first priority is getting visitors interested. For an example of this type of writing, read a newspaper. Newspaper stories are generally written at an eighth grade reading level.
Use the Inverse Pyramid
Write your most important information first. Again, the newspaper story is a good example of this format. This format allows people to read only the first few paragraphs of a story to get the main facts. On the Web, you want to do the same thing: present the juiciest information first. This way, people can quickly scan the first few sentences of the page to see if it contains the information they
are looking for.
Using the Inverse Pyramid style of writing has an advantage in search engines, as well. Some search engines will not “read” the entire page. Although this is changing and many search engines are now programmed to read the whole page.
Write it the way you say it
Write conversationally. Talk to yourself! Having trouble getting something on paper? Dictate, using a tape recorder. Verbalize what you want to say on your web page into the tape recorder – then transfer that to the web page.
Also, write as if you are talking to one person, not to a group of people. Use the word “you.” For example, “Do you have trouble finding the time to read a good book?” Avoid phrases like, “Many people never have time to sit down and read a book.” Make it personal.
Focus on your customers
Once you have figured out who your customers are, focus your writing on them. Write just for them. For instance, if your customers are webmasters, your writing may include words that webmasters understand – words like “server,” “host,” and “FTP.” If, however, you are targeting people with no knowledge of the web, seriously think about your language. If you are writing to mechanics or gardeners or the hip-hop culture, use their lingo and discuss the benefits of your product in a way they would understand and relate to.
Other writing strategies to help your customers stay interested
- Use punctuation (- . , ! ” % $ & ~ : to name a few). The em dash (—) can be very powerful
- — leading people to the next bit of text. Get a little creative.
- Use colorful, positive language. Use words that evoke emotion or motivate people.
- Paint images with words. Use comparison and adjectives to create pictures in people’s minds.
Telling stories can help people relate a concept to their real lives.
Is your page neat?
After you finish writing a page, walk away from it for a few minutes. When you come back to the page, does it look neat and orderly or messy and unreadable? Do certain words or phrases stand out? Are those the concepts that you want to stand out? Scan the headlines. Do they make sense? If people just read the headlines will they get the gist of the page?
If you’re not sure if you can proofread, hire someone. It’s the best thing you’ll ever do for your site. Nothing turns someone off faster than glaring spelling errors. If your copy is sloppy, people may think your company is sloppy. Also, if your readers are concentrating on your errors, they may miss your message completely.
Web copy is never finished
The advantage of the Web over “hard” media is that it’s never written in stone. A click and a save and it’s changed. Keep going over your web copy. There’s always something you can improve.
1. Document Creation Date
The document inception/creation date is the date the document was created, first indexed or linked to or the first registration date of the domain. The inception date is used to determine the rate of growth of links to a document. For example, a document with yesterday’s inception date with 10 links to it could be scored higher than a document with an inception date of 10 years ago and a 100 links to it. For some searches that are made on a search engine, an older document may be more favorable than a newer document therefore older documents may be ranked higher and vice-versa.
Additionally to this, proper navigation allows search engine spiders to follow your links and put your pages into their database. People need to find their way around your site, as well. Sometimes, organization is what distinguishes a high quality site from a loser. A well designed navigational system will have a positive impact on search engine optimization.
- Chart the link growth to see if there is a natural growth. A spiky growth could indicate SPAM.
- Have a structured link building program