David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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

THE HAPPY GUY MARKETING

 

Archive for the ‘stats’ Category

More on links from statistics websites

Monday, August 15th, 2011

A couple couple weeks ago, I wrote about links from statistics and valuation websites, and posed the question whether it is worthwhile paying five dollars to have one’s domain submitted to 5000 of them. You might want to read the post before continuing.

There was an interesting comment by Graeme, that said:

“Did you check how my of these sites already had a link to yours? If I search for any of my domain names I get lots of these that I have never asked to list me.”

This is a good question, but it is hardly the full question. Some of these sites have static pages, and might already be linking back to you. But many of these sites create the pages on request. You punch in a domain name, and they grab the information from authority stats sites like Alexa or Compete, or from search engines like Google or Baidu.

So in most cases, the answer is “no” – most of these sites were not already linking to the site I submitted.

But as I said, that is not really the full question.

Think about it for a moment.

Keep thinking…

Aha! That’s it. If the linking page exists only because I requested it, what happens when I leave? Does the page still exist? Or more to the point, is the page stored somewhere for the search engines to find it? Yeah, 280 links or so, but on pages that really exist? A few, perhaps, but not most.

So you probably think I am about to change my mind and poo-poo the $5.00 I spent on this? Not quite. You see, $5 for 100 or 300 or more links (we are not sure exactly how many, remember?) is actually a pretty good deal. Any professional SEO consultant knows how much time it can take and how many fails one has to go through building just a couple links. What if we could take the pages we created on the fly and freeze them in time? Or in space? Or in cyber space?

Here’s what you do:

  1. Check which of the pages actually have a live link to your domain.
  2. Save the list of those pages.
  3. Build links directly to those pages

How? Here are four ways, depending on your comfort level.

  • Create a page on your website just for “Hey, look who thinks they know what our website is worth”.
  • Use these URLs when making blog comments.
  • Include these URLs in article marketing and blog posting (The Free Traffic System is ideally set up for this.)
  • Try some social bookmarking; there are many minor social bookmarking sites that are not as particular as Digg and Reddit are.

When the links you create are spidered, the pages evaluating your domain “exist” for the search engines. Plus, they actually have some small amount of link juice, which probably places them in the top 1% of pages on the each site for link popularity. Remember that most of these pages link only to your website, not to 30 or 40 or 50 other websites on some link exchange page. The more link juice these pages get, the better for your website.

So, the big question I am sure you all want to know is whether there were actually any improvement in rankings as a result of this little experiment. Well, here are the results at Google, keeping in mind that no links have been built in to these pages.

Keyword One before: around #70 (I did not take an exact reading)
Keyword One after: #60 (a couple days ago, I saw this at #55)

Keyword Two before: around #70 (I did not take an exact reading)
Keyword Two after: #65 and #66

Keyword Three before: around #70 (I did not take an exact reading)
Keyword Three after: #59 and #60

So these readings are positive in that it appears the site climbed a bit for all three search terms, even adding an interior page to two of the searches. The movement, however, is not phenomenal and it is possible that it is explained by other factors. It will be interesting to see if there is further movement once some links are built into a few of these pages. I might just have to report back to you again…

 


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Don’t Trust SEOs Bearing Pretty Packages

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

gift-boxesMany SEO companies advertise specific packages, such as a gold, silver and bronze SEO package costing so much per month and including so many links of so much PageRank and focusing on so many search terms.

We don’t.

SEO is not a science, it is a sport. It involves strategy. It involves balancing various aspects. It involves flexibility and responding to what others do. It involves competing against others….and each game is different.  One size does not fit all, and the size and shape has to be able to change sometimes on a dime.

Good SEO does not come in pretty packages.

Here are some of the limitations that packages create:

  1. Building so-many links each month. Come the end of the month, there would need to be a counting of links, and if the links have fallen short, a flurry of activity to create links, even if the quality of those links is poor. Don’t get me wrong, you need sucky links. But the fact is that those links might actually be negative for your site .
  2. Building links based on PageRank. Plenty of good links of low quality would be rejected. Why create links you are not being paid for?
  3. Monitoring the number or PageRank of link-building. What should be monitored is the ranking for those search phrases that are being pursued. Over time, changes in strategy are required .
  4. Client knows what to purchase. How is the client to know what package to buy? Even the SEO consultant can only guess at what is required, a sin any sport. As the SEO moves down the field, he is constantly re-evaluating the game and what is needed .
  5. Automation. Let’s face it, if your website attracts the exact same number of links every month, that’s a red flag sign of automation, even if the links were built manually .
  6. Best links will be missed. The best links are those that can’t be predicted, the ones using link-bait and social networking. Anyone offering a package cannot afford to invest the time in these high-quality links .
  7. Limiting the number of search terms. I see the search phrases my clients have to target change all the time. Sometimes they change their product offering or target a new demographic. Sometimes the language that searchers use changes. Sometimes we see that we are getting a surprising amount of traffic from a keyword we were not targeting…and we go after it .
  8. A package is a product. Do you want to sell a product, or do you want to be part of the team. If I was to hire an SEO consultant, I would want him to be part of the team .

Whether in basketball, baseball, hockey or any other competitive sport, a custom package that is flexible and responsive to changes is the only way to go. SEO is no different. Hire an SEO consultant that can outline a custom program and who is not shy to make changes on the run. Make sure your SEO is as flexible as you are; your market is dynamic and the search engines are even more so.

 


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Map of Our Visitors

Friday, January 30th, 2009

One of the most amazing things about the Internet is that it brings the world together.  For instance, this website brings visitors from all over the world (which is a great thing for someone like me, who enjoys multilingual SEO).  However, I do not often see a website demonstrating how broad its reach is. 

Many websites feature language and currency options, and a few show testimonials from a variety of locations.  And occasionally I have seen a map widget that shows red dots where visitors come from.  But surprisingly, I have never seen a blogger share with his readers where the other readers come from.  Given that blogging is a conversational format, I would think this would be a natural.

Below is a map of where our visitors come from.  This was cut and pasted directly from Google Analytics, so it’s easy to do.  Just for the record, this does not include blog traffic.  A couple days ago I realized that I do not have Google Analytics tracking on the blog, just on the main website.  I have corrected that, but for now this is where our website visitors come from.  It’s pretty impressive when you think that people from almost everywhere outside of the Sahara have been on the website in the past month.

 

By the way, if we go back a year, most of the yellow spaces turn green, with a handful each from Bolivia, Mongolia and Paraguay and even a couple from Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea.

If you run a blog, why not write a post like this, sharing with your readers where their fellow readers come from.  Help bring the world just a little closer together.

 


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Long Tail Search Terms

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Is bigger really better?  Well, there is one advantage to having a bigger website – more long-tail search terms, which translates into more traffic.

Most website owners chase after the “big money” search terms: top ranking for “china dolls” or “Barbie dolls”, for example.  Yet the traffic form hundreds of less-searched “long-tail search terms can be just as impressive…terms like “china dolls red and green” or “doll china miniatire umbrella”.

As I mentioned earlier, I am recommending the use of Hittail to all my clients.   Reviewing the data from one client, whose website is fairly well ranked for some competitive search terms, I can see that of the 14,059 searches that brought traffic to his website in the past 19 days, 95% are three or more words long.

How do you capture long tail search term traffic?

  1. Create many pages, each about a slightly different topic.  For instance chnia dolls with umbrellas, china dolls with hats, china dolls with baskets, etc.
  2. Use lots of text.  The more text on the page, the more words will be searchable.  For example, if someone searches for “china dolla with fruit baskets” and you have the word “fruit” on the china dioll with baskets page, you stand a chance of getting traffic from theat search. 
  3. Make sure to have frequent uses of typical support words, such as colors and locations, “men”, “women” and “children”, and words like buy, find, hire, get, my, etc.

Cover as many bases as possible and you can benefit from the long-tail search traffic.

 


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HitTail – long tail keyword research

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Not long ago I blogged about Crazy Egg Website Conversion Tests, which I thought was a pretty neat little tool.

One of our readers suggested trying HitTail, which is certainly not the same thing, but is very, very useful for anyone trying to learn something about a website’s visitors.  It is a long-tail keyword research tool.

While I am logging in to HitTail, I should explain that this requires placing a little snippet of code in the template of your website, to capture every visitor landing on every page of your site.  Now that I am logged in, let me describe to you what I see…

The first view “search hits” shows the last 15 visitors from the search engines and the exact date and time..real time coverage of the crowds moving through this website (except the blog; I just realized that I did not place the HitTail code in the blog template, so I will add that to my to-do list).  For each visit, the search URL is provided, clickable so that I can visit the actual search (to see where my website ranks for that search, for example).  Hmm…a search for SEO tips at Google and it appears we are #4.  Not bad!  Note that the keywords searched are actually highlighted so that it is ever so much easier to see than in regular log files.

I switch now to the “keywords” view, and the same information is provided in even easier to read  format, listing each keyword and the engine it comes from.  This time if you click on the keyword, you can move it into the “suggestion” view, for later consideration.

My favorite mode is to use the Excel option, so that I can manipulate the data, group some of the long tail search terms, and mark them in various ways.  From a practical perspective, it seems that a lot of people are getting to my site using queries with the words “hire” and “looking”.  So if those search terms are getting me traffic, and I am only in the top 20 somewhere for those search terms, maybe I could tweak my pages, build a few keyword-targeted links, and increase my traffic measurably. 

I should note that the account is free, but HitTail also offers paid subscription services for enterprise websites and those who want to crunch some serious numbers.  But for the average website owner, the free subscription will do fine.

 


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KEI Formula Misleads for Keyword Competitiveness Research

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Many SEO specialists wonder why I don’t use Keyword Effectiveness Index, or KEI, to research the right keyword phrases to target.  On the surface, the KEI formula makes sense, and it struck me as so obvious when I first learned about it. 

To the best of my recollection, WordTracker invented KEI, and their original description of the formula was, “the KEI compares the Count result (number of times a keyword has appeared in our data) with the number of competing web pages to pinpoint exactly which keywords are most effective for your campaign.”  What better way to research keyword competitiveness?

At first a fan, I did eventually come to my senses.  This formula tracks how many websites are in a given database for a searched term.  But it is not the volume that counts; it’s the distribution.  Here’s an analogy… 

Which way would you prefer to cross a city on foot:

1. A small alleyway, with a thousand thugs lounging in cafes around the city.
2. An equally small alleyway, with a dozen bloodthirsty thugs in the alley bent on stopping you.

KEI would lead you down the equally small alley…the one with very few keyword phrase competitors, but all right in your way, fighting hard for their high search engine rankings.  Is that what you want?  Of course not.  Keyword popularity is not the selection criteria that matters.  The SEO game is not a democracy…at least not yet, but that’s another story.
I had a sort-of related question from a client today:

Say for instance the word “tennis” was hyperlinked all over the web on all different pages and sites yet the links could be linking to 100′s of different places. Doesn’t that make the word “tennis” more competitive because other sites are trying to use it to increase their chances in trying to get it to show up in the search engines?


On the surface, her proposal made eminent sense, but it’s not the total volume that counts, rather the distribution.  Here was my response to her:

That depends.  If There are a million links with the word “tennis” in them, pointing somewhat evenly to 100,000 sites, the most any one site might have pointing would be, just for example, 20 or 25 links with the word “tennis”. On the other hand, there might be only 500,000 links with the word “badminton” in them, pointing to 100,000 sites, but skewed toward a dozen sites that have been battling it out for top rankings, each with 2000 – 10,000 inbound links with the word “tennis”.  It’s not the volume that counts, but the distribution.

Look very carefully at the top 10 ranking websites for a given search term at your favorite search engine…and how well-optimized those sites are for the keyword, how many inbound links they have, what the quality of those links appears to be, etc.  Don’t rely on the KEI formula or any other web-wide aggregate figures for keyword selection.
  

 


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Google Webmaster Tools Get a Makeover

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

It looks like Google did not like being outdone by Yahoo on something related to search.  Ever since Yahoo released its Site Explorer, webmasters were rushing over to Yahoo to find out who was linking to them.  Site Explorer was much bigger than anything any other search engine was offering.

So Google added to its Webmaster Tools a backlink function, whereby you can see for each page of your website how many external links there are and exactly who is linking to which page.  This is more precision than Yahoo offers.

So how do they compare?  Well, I verified my happiness website with Google Webmaster Tools and found that it reports 20,143 external links.  Wow! 

On closer inspection, I notice a glitch.  That site has some affiliate redirect URLs, and Google seems to count more than their share.  For example, if URL A on my site redirects to TheBigAffiliateProgram, and site B also points to TheBigAffiliateProgram from its sitewide template, Google might count site B affiliate links as links to URL A.  It seems strange, but it is happening in once case, although not enough to make a dent in the stats.

Yahoo’s Site Explorer shows 12,986 inbound links to my happiness website . 

So Google shows more, and makes it easy to break down by URL.  One more thing…they let me download the entire list, whereas Yahoo makes me download 50 results at a time (If I am just missing something, perhaps someone from Yahoo can point out what I am missing, and I will amend this post!).

One caveat…to see the stats at Google, you have to prove ownership of the site, so Yahoo is still the best bet for competitive research.

 


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