Posts Tagged ‘seo’

Not Provided in Google Analytics Will Likely Increase

March 23rd, 2012

Have you been noticing “Not Provided” when reviewing keywords in your Google Analytics?  This is a change Google started about five months ago.  “Not Provided” represents any keywords used by searchers who found your website in response to a search query while logged into their Google account.  This is referred to as Google SSL Search.  In a blog post announcing this new change, Google stated:

As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver. As a result, we’re enhancing our default search experience for signed-in users.

So what does this mean for your analytics research? Well, while you won’t be able to find detailed information about what search terms Google signed in users used to find you in your Google Analytics, you can still find out what search terms people used – in general, without IP addresses – in Google Webmaster Tools.  You can see the top 1,000 search queries that drove traffic to your site over the last 30 days.  Note the 30 days.  Where Google Analytics kept your information for an indeterminate time, you now need to really keep current with your keyword checking.  And unfortunately, you won’t be able to see where those searchers came from or follow their visit on your site.

Not Provided in Google Analytics Will Likely Increase Even More Thanks to Firefox

According to a post by Search Engine Roundtable, Firefox is testing built in SSL for its Google searches and will most likely roll it out to all Firefox users.  That is ALL Google searches, not just searches of those signed into Google accounts.  The “Not Provided” percentage for our own website over the last month was 32%.  We reviewed the analytics of some clients and found a range of 16% to 28% last month.  One can only guestimate what those percentages will increase to once Firefox completely rolls out this new feature.

How Does “Not Provided” Affect Your Analytics Research?

Now, more than ever, it is important to not only regularly check your Google Analytics, but also your Webmaster Tools for the top search queries.  Be vigilant.  You never know what further changes are in store . . .

Change in Google Algorithm is Coming. What does this mean for your SEO?

March 16th, 2012

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Google is making over its search formula in an effort to maintain its market share, catch up with Apple’s Siri voice-activated mobile search and retain its lead in product search.  As we recently mentioned in our post What are the top 5 Search Engines? , Google owns about 66% of the natural search market, with Bing at 15% and Yahoo at 14%.  Google also enjoys more than 75% of all search-ad revenue.

In the coming months, you will supposedly see a change in the Google algorithm

Google will be adding semantic search to its algorithm.  This technology involves the process of understanding the actual meaning of the words being searched.  This change will result in more facts and direct answers to queries being shown at the top of the search results pages, with the goal of providing more relevant results.  For example, it could differentiate between words with more than one meaning.

How will Google’s algorithm change affect your SEO efforts?

Amir Efrati, the author of the article states:

“Google isn’t replacing its current keyword-search system, which determines the importance of a website based on the words it contains, how often other sites link to it, and dozens of other measures.  Rather, the company is aiming to provide more relevant results by incorporating . . . semantic search.”

The article, however, goes on the say that Google might now provide answers rather than just links to other sites, citing the question “What are the 10 largest lakes in California?” as an example.  If Google does not have an answer to a question in its database, it will blend the semantic-search technology with its current search system to

“better recognize the value of information on websites and figure out which ones to show in the search results.  It would do so by examining a Web page and identifying information about specific entities referenced on it, rather than only look for keywords.”

The goal of this blog is to provide information in the SEO and Internet marketing arena, both in terms of current news and trends, as well as answers to questions.  We purposely make questions the title to our posts so that searchers can immediately find a site that will help it solve its problem.  Providing such relevant information also helps our business by being known as a reliable source that clients and searchers can count on as well as driving visitors to our site, which also helps with our rankings. For these reasons, we recommend blogging to our clients.  If Google starts answering more complex questions rather than providing links or looks to further information on a page, SEO strategies may need to change.  The article referenced one person who believed that these changes could affect 10% to 20% of all search queries – that is tens of billions of searches a month!  It was also suggested by Larry Cornette, a former web search executive at Yahoo, that this algorithm adjustment could spur a change in website markup language, a language that wraps a web page’s content with formatting for how the site should appear. Time will have to tell if these conjectures come to fruition.

From what we have seen, Google has been incorporating semantic search into its results for quite a while.  It already provides answers to some questions at the top of the search results page.  And previous blog posts and announcements from Google discuss technologies they use to better understand associations and concepts.  So it will be interesting to see what these “new” semantic search changes to the algorithm will unveil and if they require adjustments to your SEO efforts.

Doing a Business Blog?

March 9th, 2012

If you are not doing a business blog, you could be missing out. And a new survey suggests you should.  According to The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing by HubSpot,

Businesses are increasingly aware their blog is highly valuable. 81% of businesses rated their company blogs as “useful,” “important” or “critical.” An impressive 25% rated their company blog as “critical” to their business.

This survey of 972 professionals familiar with their business’s marketing strategy revealed that

Blogs had the highest instance of being reported as “below average cost.” 52% of companies who blog indicated leads from this channel were “below average cost.” Trade shows, direct mail, and telemarketing were most frequently ranked as more expensive.

The small businesses polled also said they plan to spend dramatically more of their marketing budgets on blogs – about 11% of their budgets in fact.

A key to successful blogs that drive traffic is to optimize them with appropriate search terms.  Why is that important?

In order for your business blog posts to be found by searchers, they need to contain the keywords those searchers are using in the right places.

Is this really important to leads and conversions? Absolutely!  HubSpot’s survey also reveals:

SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound sourced leads have a 1.7% close rate.

SEO leads are eight times more likely to close into customers than outbound leads.

Leads from inbound links (referrals) are five times more likely to become customers than outbound leads.

Ok, but how often should your business write blog posts?

The survey also shows that there is a direct correlation with blog posting frequency and the number of new customers acquired. You should write a minimum of once per week.

So just how important is a blog to your business?

25% of blog users polled rated their company blog as “critical” to their business, while 81% rated their company blogs as “useful” or better.

If you aren’t doing a business blog, now is the time to start one.  No time? Don’t know how to optimize it?  Call on your Search Engine Optimization and Blog Post Writing professional to help.

Local SEO For Small Business

August 31st, 2011

You have heard it all before. If you want to be found online by prospects, you need to optimize your website with search terms related to your products and services AND your local target market. Maybe you have put off doing so because you weren’t sure how much you bought into the whole idea of search engine optimization (SEO). Or perhaps you thought it was too expensive or not worth the return on investment. Well, here is an interesting fact that just might change your mind!

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, Americans trust small business owners over 13 other institutions! A whopping 71% of those polled said they trusted small business. Only 25% trust large corporations. And only 25% trust the federal government.

Pew Research Center

In this tumultuous climate, people trust local small business for a reason. Why? Because you are not some large inaccessible corporation. You are their neighbor, their son’s little league coach, and a face. But you need to get that face seen if you want to be recognized. So join your local chamber of commerce, volunteer for local organizations, join local networking groups. AND make sure your business can be found online.

That’s Where Local SEO For Small Business Comes In

You don’t have to tell people to shop local, this study already shows that people WANT to shop local. So make sure they can easily find your website when they are searching for your products and services. Don’t just rely on what you think your ranking is – remember personalized search can inflate your search engine rankings. Get a website visibility analysis and see how you are fairing. Learn how you can improve your site’s Internet presence and then do it! Here are some tips:

1. Make sure you are targeting terms that people are actually searching for
2. Don’t forget to include your market, such as dry cleaners warwick ny
3. Then make sure those terms are placed in the website’s coding and on the page itself
4. Create local business listings on Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local and optimize them with the appropriate search terms as well
5. Submit your website to the top directories – Yelp, SuperPages, InsiderPages, and more
6. Submit your website to any local directories
7. Submit your website to industry specific directories
8. Create a Facebook page, optimize it, and post often

Local SEO for small business is important and it doesn’t have to be break the bank expensive. The local business listings are free. The directory listings are free. Facebook is free. If you’re tech savvy, you can attempt creating your listings and optimizing your website yourself. If you’re not, you should find an SEO consultant who can help. Depending upon the size of your website, SEO services can be minimal with great ROI.

Local residents want to support your small business, so make sure they can find it.

Page Load Time and SEO? Yes, they are connected, so you better check your site speed.

May 13th, 2011

A slow page load time doesn’t just cause visitors to hit the back button, it can also affect your rankings.

Google announced it was including site speed in its ranking algorithms as far back as last year. At that time, Matt Cutts at Google clarified that it is only one of 200 factors that the search engine considers and that it doesn’t weigh as much as relevance, reputation, etc. But it still carries weight—and could possibly be a determining factor when sites are close in some of the more important factors.

One year later, some Google actions confirm the significance of page load time

A few weeks ago Google introduced Page Speed Online, a performance analysis tool, which gives developers suggestions on how to decrease load time. This week the search engine giant unveiled a new Page Speed Online API that allows developers to integrate this performance analysis into other tools and dashboards.

Page speed matters for conversions and web visibility. Is your site fast enough?

How to check your page load time

Google’s Webmaster Tools is one way to take a look at your load time—over time. Click on the Diagnostics tab, then Crawl Stats to view a chart that highlights your high, low and average load times over a few months time period. For real time load time, check out Web Page Test.

How to reduce your page load time

Page Speed Online and Web Page Test, which are both FREE, can provide some eye opening information in terms of time and how you can shave it off – but you will probably need your web developer to explain the recommendations and make the changes. Although, Web Page Test gives a grade, so even non-techies can see where the problems lie. So do the tests and talk to your web developer about what they reveal.

Here are some general things you can do to increase your page speed:

1. GZIP Compression. See if your site’s host uses this form of compression, which can really speed up your load time.
2. Reduce the size of your images. But make sure you use a graphics program such as Photoshop or to do so.
3. Cache your pages. This avoids the need for the browser to dynamically generate your page every time. Some content management systems, such as Joomla and WordPress, allow you to do this.
4. Limit your use of 301 redirects. And don’t pile them.
5. Combining CSS / Java Scripts. Load them in external files rather than putting them on every page so that the browser only has to load them one time instead every time someone visits each page.
6. Try a Content Delivery Network.

Importance of XML Sitemap

January 11th, 2011

If you have a website, you should be using an XML Sitemap to help improve your Internet visibility. What is an XML Sitemap? It is a simple, effective way for you to give the search engines a list of all the URLs you want them to crawl and index. If the search engines don’t find your site or specific pages on it, your prospects won’t either!

Brief highlights of the importance of an XML Sitemap

1. Although adding a URL to the Sitemap file does not guarantee that a URL will be crawled or indexed, it can result in pages that the search engines had not yet discovered or indexed get crawled or indexed.
2. XML Sitemaps can help pages that are on the search engines’ supplemental index make it to the main index.
3. You can use these Sitemaps to let the search engines know how often a page is changed to improve crawl rate.
4. You can alert the search engines to any changes/additions to your site
5. The additional URLs you provide help increase crawl coverage and crawl speed.
6. The verification and registration of an XML Sitemap can give the search engines the credibility that they desire.
7. In all, XML Sitemaps can help improve visibility and rankings.
8. Best of all – they are FREE

There are a few things to keep in mind. It is important to use the correct canonical version of your URL (i.e. www vs. non-www.) and that you load the XML Sitemap in the highest-level directory you want the search engines to crawl. Don’t include multiple URLs that point to identical content, simply pagination pages and low value pages. And make sure that none of the URLs you include contain tracking parameters.

Start 2011 off right. Check with your web developer to see if they created an XML Sitemap for you. If not, ask them to do so right away!

What Is Blekko? The New, Different Search Engine

November 4th, 2010

First Bing threw its hat in the ring. Now Blekko is joining. Are these “B” players or can they really compete with Google? As we know, Bing – a direct competitor of Google – is gaining users since its initial launch, but is still quite far behind the search engine giant. Blekko, on the other hand is different. It is not trying to take over the number one search engine spot.

Then What is Blekko?

Blekko is a search engine that allows you to search for results based on a particular viewpoint or category. For example, if you were looking for information on the recent mid-term elections from a conservative viewpoint you can quickly narrow down your search. How? With “slashtags”. You would simply type in your search query like this:

2010 midterm election results /conservative

Want to know the latest buzz on a particular celebrity? Type in their name /gossip and hit enter.

Just put in your search terms followed by the slash and the viewpoint or category you want and Blekko narrows down the results for you. Blekko currently maintains over 250 slashtags, including blogs, news, gossip, green, even chocolate. These slashtags are really a collection of relevant topic websites. You can even create your own slashtag and make it public or private. Blekko’s goal is to identify the best 50 websites on the Internet for the top 100,000 search categories.

How Does Blekko determine what websites to show and in what order?
Unlike Google or Bing, Blekko is pretty transparent with how it determines its rankings. It tells you the final algorithm score for a website and why the site ranks as it does. You can really dig down deep into its decision process. This is such a comprehensive topic that it needs to be addressed it a separate post! Stay tuned.

Suffice it to say that for deep, driven or truly targeted research, Blekko really has something to offer.

Place Search On Google

October 28th, 2010

Will Place Search on Google Affect Your SEO Efforts?

Yesterday Google introduced a new type of local search result. Place Search organizes information around local places to help searchers more easily make comparisons. Previously when you did a local search, you would see the local results from Google Places at the top of the page next to a pushpin map. Now the map is in the right column above the AdWords ads and the results are included in or above the regular organic search results, marked with red pins – which helps your listing jump out from the rest.

Place Search results will appear automatically when Google predicts a searcher is looking for local information, i.e., “chinese restaurants new york city”. Google has also made it easy to start a local search – just click on the “Places” icon in the left panel of the search results page. If a local web search doesn’t yield you the results you want, click on places and you just might find what you were looking for.

One very important thing to note, Google does not seem to be consistent with how it is displaying these new results. We did our own test. Some searches yielded one “result” per business, which incorporated a regular result with a Google Places result with links to both the website and the Places listing. This combined result is included in the 10 results per page. The problem with this is you are not being displayed twice, as you may have been in the past. Other searches yielded the old format with a 1 or 2 or 7 pack listing separated from the regular results so that you could appear twice on a page. Not sure how Google is determining what to show and how.

In any event, if you haven’t created a Google Places listing you need to now more than ever! Write On Point is here to help if you need us.

Hyperlocal Marketing For Small Businesses

October 22nd, 2010

Hyperlocal marketing is a fabulous way for small, local businesses to get the word out about their products and services – both online and off – to their communities. This post will focus on how to gain online visibility in your local community.

Hyperlocal marketing – or should we say hyperlocal search – for small businesses

Local search is really gaining traction. More and more people are moving away from browsing through the local phone book and turning toward searching for businesses, services and products online. When they do, can they find you? Here are some Hyperlocal Search tips:

1. Create a local business center listing on Google, Yahoo and Bing. Make it robust with specific information about your services and products, pictures, videos and discount offers – and make sure to use relevant keywords in the appropriate places.
2. Optimize your website with the names of your town and surrounding towns.
3. Incorporate Google Maps in your website – you can even customize Google Maps to show your service routes.
4. Get listed in online directories.
5. Incorporate local events on your site.

Hyperlocal marketing or in this case hyperlocal search is a truly effective way for small businesses to target customers where they live and shop. For those of you who don’t have the experience or know-how to implement these tips, you can always reach out to your SEO consultant for help.

SEO and Google TV

September 13th, 2010

Web. TV. Two HUGE marketing platforms that will soon be one thanks to Google.

Approximately 400 million web searches are performed everyday. The average American watches 5 hours of TV on a daily basis. While these two stats may appear unrelated, Google is changing that. Google TV, which seamlessly joins the web and television, will make its debut in the U.S. this fall and world-wide next year. So, if you have been putting off tuning up – or even starting – your search engine optimization and Internet marketing campaigns, you may want to start kicking them into high gear.

What is Google TV?

This brand new service from Google will change how and where people will surf the web. Google TV will project a search bar on top of the television screen allowing viewers to search the Internet in real time as well as live tv listings – all without leaving the couch or sitting up to type on your laptop. The tv serves as the monitor running on Google’s Android operating system. You will even be able to change the channel using Google speech recognition technology and access Google Apps!

Google TV and your SEO and Internet Marketing campaigns

There are over 4 billion tv viewers worldwide and, as we said, about 400 million web searches everyday. Who knows how many more searches will be performed with this new service or how many more opportunities for your site to be found by prospects. Now is the time to optimize your website and get a jump on the competition.