David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

Tips for better SEO (search engine optimization) and website marketing …

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Archive for May, 2007

Crazy Egg Website Conversions

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Here is another great free tool, which can also be upgraded for a cost.  Crazy Egg offers some simple website conversion analytics.  I have taken the free version for a spin, and I might just sign up for the paid version at some point. 

The folks at Crazy Egg give you a tiny snippet of code to add to your page, then they start tracking clicks.In the case of the page I am testing it on for the past 4 days, there have been 341 visits, resulting in 116 clicks.  Is this a good conversion percentage.  It seems ludicrous to me that anybody would want to visit a page and not at least go one click deep into the site…unless the site is something totally different than what they are looking for.  However, this page is very much what it appears to be in the search engines (it’s main source of traffic).

The “Overlay” view shows that there were 17 links on this home page that were clicked.  First piece of useful information is that one of those clicks was the privacy page.  Yes, people read the privacy page so make sure that it makes your privacy policy very clear in an easy to read, non-legalese fashion.Second piece of useful information is that people do click on your links pages, so make sure you keep your message in front of them when they visit.

Next is the “List” view, where you can see a list of each link and how often it was clicked in absolute and percentage terms.  In the case of this page, 20% of visitors clicked a “buy now” call to action from the home page.  Is that good?  Could the page sell better?  I have no basis of comparison, but over time I am sure I will know…especially if I make changes and then test them.Most of the clicks went to links that look like they provide more information, essentially two different pages.  So those pages need to sell, and need to offer more opportunities t click the “buy now” button.

The “Heat Map” view shows very clearly that on this page, with a fair amount of text, there are nevertheless a strong number of people who keep reading and then click toward the bottom of the text.  In fact, some click the “buy now” button (Good thing we provided lots of text on the page so as not to lose them.) and many more click from there to the pages for more information…meaning that people want to make informed buying decisions, and you can’t provide too much information, as long as you give people options to buy at intervals.

This is a very useful website conversions tool because of its simple user interface that lets you visually see the difference when you make changes, which makes testing easier for those who are less mathematically-inclined!

 


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New Look for the Blog

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

You might have noticed a new look for the blog, building on the design of the rest of the site (but more bloggy, less commercial).

You might also have noticed that we are also offering preview snapshots of  and links within the blog posts.  This is cool, although they don’t always work.  There is also the MyBlogLog widget on the upper left side, showing you  your very own face (if you happen to be logged in to your MyBlogLog account when you come a-callin’).

 


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Self-serve blog links

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Rick Hendershot, a fellow Canadian has come up with an interesting idea…not just because it is new and innovative, not just because he’s Canadian, not just because it’s a really useful idea, but also because it is something I had thought of earlier (same concept, different business model) but have been too busy to give it any serious thought.

You will find Rick’s self-serve blogging service Linknet2 an attractive alternative to the pay-per-post model, where you have to wait for someone to jump on your opportunity.  Unlike the pay-per-post model, you have very little control over the content and the link text, and even the number of links you garner.  So you control boith your reputation management and your SEO.  This is a great way to build those elusive deep links.

Self-serve blogging means that you write the post, you insert the links, etc.  Right now he has 13 blogs going as part of his system, but he soon will have more.   The key to how valuable this will be is whether he can keep the quality of postings high and get inbound link juice to each of the blogs. We’ll check in again to see how this new service is doing.

 


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Top ten free SEO tools

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Have you ever wondered which are the best free SEO tools available on the Internet?  Well here is my top ten list, so listen closely. 

Free SEO Tool #10: Top Ten Analysis SEO Tool at http://www.webuildpages.com/cool-seo-tool/ is a great way to get a snapshot of your top ten competitors at Google for any given search term. 

Free SEO Tool #9: Go Rank Analyzer at http://www.gorank.com/analyze.php reviews your web page for a given search term to give you a snapshot of how the search term shows up on the page.  Actually, this probably should be higher up on the list.  In other words, I should use it more often. 

Free SEO Tool #8:  Aftervote at http://younanimous.com/ is a really different tool, and I’m not sure too many people would think of it as an SEO tool.  It is, in fact, a meta search engine that combines the results of Google, Yahoo and MSN, along with some other factors to provide its own original results.  So you can see at a glance which sites are doing well for a given search term across all three engines.  It also features a number of performance indicators, including Google PageRank, Alexa ranking, Compete page strength, and a link to see the WhoIs data.  You can also add a whole slew of plugins, including Netcraft reports and submission links for Digg and other social bookmarking websites.  In short, this is a great all-in-one tool for sizing up the competition for an individual search term or for finding joint venture or link partners of value.  One of the handy features is that you can see the Alexa ratings for some of your top competitors at once, so you can better judge the value of your own Alexa rating.  Hmm.  Actually, Aftervote is a bit like #10 above. 

Free SEO Tool #7: Overture Keyword Selection Tool at http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/ is useable.  OK, this is one area where Mr. Cheapie here is willing to pay the big bucks, specifically for Keyword Discovery. But if you really want a free tool, Overture can really help.  It just doesn’t carry over search data from previous months, so if data is seasonal, you have to wait until, say, the Christmas season to do the keyword research that will carry you next Christmas. 

Free SEO Tool #6:  Google Toolbar at http://toolbar.google.com/T4/index_pack.html is pretty useful.  Sure people make way too much of it, but the little green bar gives an instantaneous snapshot of the value of a page.  No green, and you might as well check the drop-down to make sure a page is cached.  If it’s not, forget it.  The difference between a PR2 and PR4 might be irrelevant in practical terms, despite the world wars and family feuds that can be fought over such minutia, but if the Toolbar shows a PR5, that’s pretty impressive (if it is real).  If all you need is a quick snapshot, use the toolbar.  If you want better info, use the Page Strength Tool or another. 

Free SEO Tool #5: Spider simulator at http://www.webconfs.com/search-engine-spider-simulator.php .  This lets you see at a glance what the search engines see, which links they can follow and what text they see.  I have often found major problems much quicker this way than wading through a jungle of code.  It can also be helpful for locating hidden text and hidden links on competitors’ websites if you think they are all a bunch of thieving hooligans.  There are probably hundreds of spider simulators of similar quality.  I use this one; it works for me. 

Free SEO Tool #4: Social Bookmarking Aggregator Tool at  http://www.seo-writer.com/tools/bookmarker.php should really be at #1, given that I created it and it is, of course, perfect.  But it is more of a viral tool than an SEO tool.  Still, the more people bookmark your pages, the more links they build and the more bloggers are likely to pick up on the bookmark and build links – all natural links the way Google and Yahoo like them!  And it’s available in Spanish, too, at http://es.seo-writer.com/tools/bookmarker.php Go to the bottom of this post right now and click on the social bookmarking links to bookmark this post.  You’ll see how it works and make me happy all at once.  :-)  

Free SEO Tool #3:  Common Links at http://www.randycullom.com/common_link.php is an even more ingenious backlink tool than Yahoo Site Explorer, but it is less flexible.  Pick a search term, and plug it in.  It will tell you which are the top ten sites for that term at Google or at Yahoo, then get the common backlinks.  For instance, if a page links to three of the top ten websites for a certain search term, chances are that the same page is more likely to link to your similar website than a page that links to only one of your competitors (and could be the owners’ mother’s website, a satisfied client, a supplier, a buddy, another site owned by the same person, etc.) 

Free SEO Tool #2:  Yahoo Site Explorer, at https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/ shows pages indexed and backlinks to either the site as a whole or to a specific page.  This is superb competitive intelligence.  You can mine your competitors’ backlinks to create your own backlinks.  Unlike Google, Yahoo gives you the whole list.  Why stop at your competitors?  Why not look for complementary websites and what their backlinks are, too? 

Free SEO Tool #1 -  SEOmoz PageStrength Tool at http://www.seomoz.org/page-strength/ is a superb alternative the Google Toolbar’s PageRank measure.  I like the PageStrength Tool because it pulls information from a number of indicators – including the Google PageRank toolbar – and provides a composite view of how important a page is.  This is useful in evaluating potential partners, purchasing domains, sizing up the competition, etc.    However, it does have some limitations.  I have noticed that it sometimes draws inaccurate backlink data from Yahoo, and it gives big marks to certain very specific criteria, such as links from Wikipedia and Digg, rather than from a range of  major Web 2.0 sites.  Still, it does include age of domain and Alexa ranking, both of which are also important, as well as a number of other indicators totally lost on the Google Toolbar addicts (and we all know how reliable the Google toolbar is every third Tuesday of even numbered months!).  In some ways, this is similar to Aftervote and to the Top Ten Analysis SEO Tool, but it is a little more sophisticated. 

So there you have it, my top ten list of free SEO tools.  And no sooner will I hit the “publish” button, that I’ll tell myself that I really did not put them in the right order.   

If you have ideas on the top free SEO tools, please leave a comment. 

 


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Improving Social Networks

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Andy Mitchell wonders why so many social networks leave him feeling a little cold, and he suggests some ways to improve things. 

I would like to add perhaps the most important one.  Whenadding friends to one’s network, they should be added to a group, such as my friends from university, former colleagues at CAA, parents of my kids’ friends, etc.  That way, messages, photos, ideas, etc. can be share with like-minded people who share more of a common history, and their input or replies can be read by and only by people who are interested.  It also would also us to be more intimate in what we say.

 


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Submit Your Dog Stories

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

We have an interesting client who is planning to publish an anthology of uplifitng and positive dog stories.  This is a great opportunity for any aspiring writer or dog-lover you know to get their work published! 

Please read very carefully the submission details posted at: http://www.seo-writer.com/books/dog-stories.html

Woof! 

 


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Spanish Social Bookmarking

Friday, May 4th, 2007

 

 

  

Announcing El Marcadorado – Spanish language social bookmarking script.   

This is a first in the world, a Spanish language social bookmarking aggregator script for webmasters.  Just like TheBookmarketer- English language social bookmarking script, Spanish webmasters can place the small El Marcadorado code snippet on their webpages  to encourage visitors to social bookmark their pages. 

In addition to the major English language social bookmarking sites, El Marcadorado supports the major Spanish language social bookmarking websites, such as Meneame, Blogmemes and Fresqui.

I posted earlier what the script can do and how webmasters can make use of it.  All that applies to the Spanish version, too.

If you know anyone with a Spanish website…let them know!

 


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Why Diggers will hate me today

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

How would you like to see your bank account password posted to the home page of Digg for all to see and hundreds of bloggers to pick up and post to their blogs as a result? Well, that’s pretty much what happened at Digg yesterday.

If you are not an avid geek newsmonger, you might have missed the riot, the madhouse, the uncontrolled and childish feeding frenzy that gripped Digg yesterday.

After the Digg management team pulled a story (rightly, in my opinion) that revealed a hacking code for new HD-DVDs, the Digg community went haywire. Several times I checked the home page of Digg yesterday, and each time there were stories about no other topic, and pretty well most of them repeated the hacking code.

On the one hand, Digg operates a free and open community, and is not responsible for what people post, especially since those posts are not actually content, but links to content elsewhere on the Web.

On the other hand, if you ran a website where users could post links for others to vote on or comment on, would you not remove a link to a web page of nude Vanessa Fox photos (sorry, inside SEO joke)?

Would you not remove a link to a website on how to create dangerous explosives in your basement?

Would you not remove a link to a site that promoted racial hatred?

Would you not remove a link to a video of a rape?

And what about a link to a page offering the code to illegally hack a company’s product? Digg removed the link. Too late, of course…once the cat’s out of the bag, but still the right thing to do.

In response, Digg was essentially shot down by its own member who wanted Digg to stand up in the name of principle, because they don’t like censorship. Well, neither do I. But this was not a matter of censoring opinion, the way they do in Russia or Iran or at most stockholder meetings. This was censoring the illegal publication of private information, just like your bank account password. I wonder how many people who mobbed Digg took the time to think about that. I suspect the mob might have been more like a twosome if they had.

Sadly, Digg founder Kevin Rose capitulated to the mobs in this post. I think that was the wrong thing to do, and I suppose that much of the mob that brought Digg to its knees yesterday will hate me today. Or perhaps, cooler heads will prevail, and some people will realize that things got just a little out of hand.

 


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