Google Analytics is a completley free website statistics service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. With an easy to navigate interface, Google Analytics makes it easy to track and analyze the data generated by visitors to your website giving you detailed information about referrers, traffic from search engines, keywords and much more. To setup Google Analytics:
- Create a Google Analytics account by going to https://www.google.com/analytics/provision/signup.
- Complete the required fields including your website’s URL, account name, time zone and click “Continue”.
- Enter your contact information and click “Continue”.
- Agree to the terms and conditions and click “Create Account”.
As search engines mature they are becoming more and more focussed on delivering a high-quality user experience to internet searchers. So how can you be sure that your own site would be considered high-quality in the eyes of the search engines? A high-quality site is important because it is a major factor in where any particular search engine will position the site when someone searches for one of your targeted keywords. But a high-quality site as far as the search engines are concerned does not mean one that looks and feels slick with a well-designed visual layout and graphics but rather one that has good quality text that is updated regularly. The best sites give both a good visual experience and interesting, trustworthy information so that both human users and programs that crawl the site are kept happy in equal measure. No search engine company will give away the exact details of the algorithm they use to determine which website ranks in which position in the search listings. Clearly they do not want unscrupulous individuals manipulating sites to give them undeserved high rankings, which would reflect badly on the reputation of the search engine company. However, they do offer advice that, if followed, will put your website in a strong position. So when you are creating or reviewing your content with the aim of improving your site as part of an SEO program then consider the following factors if you want to be confident of generating high-quality content.
- Provide information that is genuinely interesting
- Do not have content on different pages that says the same thing using different words
- Spell and Grammar check everything
- Try to place an original or personal perspective on the information
- Present a balanced view of the topic
- Create content worth bookmarking
- Provide specific, in-depth information of value to the readers
Five reasons to invert in article marketing for your web site. Article marketing incorporates content material which is key-word rich, popular and simple to locate to pull traffic and visitors into the internet page. There are quite a few benefits associated with using online marketing from the use of article marketing, 5 of which are summarized in more detail in this article.
- By using article marketing you are providing several other methods for prospective customers as well as other visitors to get a hold of your blog because you are establishing supplementary links to your blog found on highly trafficked internet websites. The more options you can find for impending website visitors to choose you, the more likely you are to be located.
- By means of article marketing, you will be creating inbound links to your blog. This type of back links will be oneway links, which makes them some of the best kind of linking for search engines like google and yahoo to follow. When your search engine rank matters to you, then generating each of these inbound links is the central portion of marketing your website, and article marketing can allow your business to achieve this in no time.
- Article marketing permits you to build an identity for yourself. A lot of article submission websites feature biography segments where you can impart information regarding your company as well as your exact topic. By composing helpful articles that people actually want to read, you will be formulating a reputation for yourself as an authority across whatever subject matter you may be authoring.
- Article marketing is free, that is definitely one of the better added advantages. You are getting your content on the market, spreading your message concerning your website to the entire world, and yes it does not cost you any money. As a result of putting your content on the web, you are building effectively pertaining to visitor potential, and publishing blog posts to article directory sites should not cost you anything at all but some of your energy when putting your articles together to submit.
- Article marketing permits you to make excellent use of key words, since you are talking about an issue which applies to your website. After you generate backlinks and see your name out there in blog posts that are abundant with appropriate key words, it will boost the Website positioning features of your website, and allow you to build a robust connection among the information that you are providing inside the article, along with the attributes of your online site. Buyers usually have one of these eureka instances when they will understand they could visit your web site for much more of the exact same excellent information, and this is an exceptional way for you to draw in absolutely new visitors coming from a highly revered supplier for information.
If you are not using your Google Analytics data regularly to review how well your website is performing then you are not making use of some of the most powerful information available to you. Information that could help you improve your website and learn more about your visitors. There may still be some small businesses that are not using their Google Analytics data, but if you exist out there then the best advice you can take is to start using them right away. If you want to be able to optimise your website better, understand your visitors better and convert more visitors into paying customers then Analytics data are one of your most effective weapons. One of the key data elements you should be reviewing is the Bounce Rate. There has been much discussion since the Google Panda update about whether or not Bounce Rate is a ranking signal and, if not, whether it should be. But regardless of how Google perceives Bounce Rate in terms of search engine optimisation, as a small business owner you need to take it seriously. Bounce Rate together with the Time Spent on Page, is the indicator that shows you whether visitors find what they are looking for on your website. It is shown as a percentage of visitors who looked no further through your website than the landing page on which they arrived. So if you get 500 visitors a day and your bounce rate is 60% then you are only capturing the attention of 200 of those visitors. Many small businesses like to know what a realistic bounce rate is, but it varies hugely both by market sector and by the keywords used to drive traffic to a site. General keywords will always result in a higher bounce rate than highly targeted 3-4 word keywords so it is very difficult to generalise but as a very rough guide you should aim for no more than 50% – 60%. Google’s own definition of Bounce Rate is: “Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Use this metric to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site and convert. You can minimize bounce rates by tailoring landing pages to each keyword and ad that you run. Landing pages should provide the information and services that were promised in the ad copy.” It’s fairly obvious that if visitors are not staying long on your site or only visiting one page then you either aren’t offering them what they want or they can’t find it easily. Either way there is room for improvement. This is where a small business search engine optimisation campaign starts to get entwined with the marketing and it can be hard to see where SEO ends and marketing begins. (This, of course, is why we see the term Search Engine Marketing more and more). The focus should be on creating a site where a visitor will want to stay for a while and browse and then search further within the site. This comes back to the value of good content and Google’s focus on a good user-experience; this is the best way to keep people on your site, which will keep Google happy but also be good for your business. What this means in practise is that every page on a site should ideally be a high-quality page with good content. This has the added benefit of ensuring that all of your internal links point to high-quality pages which prevents good-quality pages with internal links to low-quality pages from losing some of their value as a result. But back to that valuable Analytics data – Bounce Rate is shown as an average for the whole site but also as a percentage by keyword for each web page. By reviewing all of these data you can pinpoint very high bounce rates that are dragging down the site average and also very low rates, which indicate a high level of customer satisfaction. But there is more in Google Analytics than just Bounce Rate, Time Spent on Site and the Number of Pages Visited. It can also be used to spot long-tail keywords that are targeting visitors you didn’t know you had. Keywords can be viewed by individual pages in order of popularity. If visitors are arriving at a low-quality page via a particular keyword then there is the opportunity to change that page to be more appealing to that visitor. For example, if a high percentage of visitors are landing on general information pages through long-tail keywords but you want them to buy a product, or at the very least register so you have their contact details, then add links to the information pages that will take the visitor to the registration page or product pages. Show them your site has more than just information. You can also view the on-page click patterns of your visitors. This is a great way to visually show what links are most popular and can help in redesigning the layout of a page for better effect in terms of internal link building. So if you are involved in a small business SEO campaign take a good look at your Google Analytics on a regular basis and use these data to improve your search engine optimisation efforts. If you don’t, you are wasting a great opportunity.
There is plenty of advice about SEO available from various sources. But that advice varies in its usefulness and there is still plenty of information around that is seriously out-of-date so the success of your SEO campaign is very much dependent on whose advice you take. There is one thing that most experienced SEO consultants are agreed upon which is that the process of optimisation has to be done gradually. It takes time to build a website that is successful in the search engine rankings but the effort also has to be regular and you have to make a serious commitment to the campaign. But investing serious, regular effort will ultimately produce results. One of the reasons optimisation has to be done gradually is that Google and the other major search engines favour websites that have grown organically just as a bricks-and-mortar business would do. Conversely they penalise websites that appear from nowhere with hundreds or thousands of irrelevant and poor quality links and a dubious social media presence. But also from a purely business perspective it is more sensible to start gradually. If you have a new website with low rankings and little content then trying to target highly competitive keywords is simply unrealistic. The major competitors in your market will already have high rankings for the competitive keywords and will have the advantage of more, and better-quality, links, an established social media presence and perhaps a brand name recognised by potential visitors. They may have been neglecting their optimisation efforts for a while but don’t let this persuade you it would be an easy matter to overtake them. You can be sure that if they start slipping in the rankings they will soon resume their optimisation efforts and will be starting from a stronger position as a well-established site trusted by the search engines. So as a new, small business, what can you do that will be effective in terms of search engine rankings and the success of your business? The best approach is to start with keywords comprising 3 or 4 words and less competition. It will be quicker to achieve a high ranking for these keywords and because they are more specific it is likely that a greater proportion of visitors will convert to customers. As the SEO improves gradually over time your website will start to appear high up in the rankings more often for your targeted keywords and that will actually help your efforts in achieving a high ranking for the more competitive keywords. But remember that many 2-word keywords are so general that the conversion rate can be very low so you may find that a number of longer keywords combined together give a better overall conversion rate than a single 2-word keyword even though the general keyword brings in much higher visitor numbers. It’s customers you are after, not just visitors. And whilst a healthy amount of competitor analysis is good for every business, don’t be tempted to employ un-ethical optimisation techniques – they may be providing immediate results for a competitor but results achieved through un-ethical (or “black-hat”) methods only last for a short while and eventually put your website at risk of being blacklisted by the major search engines. So resist the un-ethical SEO methods and if you see an offer that looks too good to be true, then it will be. Automated link building that creates quantities of links that simply could not be created manually by a human during a single working day can be detected by the likes of Google and will, in the best-case scenario count for nothing and in the worst-case scenario end up seriously damaging the reputation of your website and affecting the success of your business. Using ethical methods for a small business SEO campaign will always have to be done gradually but will ultimately achieve high rankings for your website with lasting results and a long-term, viable business instead of one that appears from nowhere and disappears just as quickly.
Businesses are always interested in what their competition is up to, usually out of professional curiosity. But how can competitor research and analysis help your SEO efforts and is it necessary for a successful SEO campaign? Researching your competition, whether online or not, is a vital part of any growing business. It will help a business to grow by providing better products or services than other companies. It will reveal gaps in the competitors’ offerings that you can take advantage of and, hopefully, encourage you to come up with original ideas of your own. But when it comes to the online marketplace the main focus of many small businesses is how to get high up in the search engine rankings. It is often only when they are high in the rankings and their sales are not as high as expected that they start to think in more traditional ways about improving their products and services and their marketing strategy. Initially a high ranking is the Holy Grail, which many small businesses believe will be the answer to their prayers. But try not to become so focussed on SEO that you lose sight of the marketing basics. Competitor analysis is the ideal opportunity to focus on both SEO and Marketing strategies at the same time, which can lead you to high search engine rankings and high volumes of sales. That really is the Holy Grail. You should already have completed a thorough keyword research and analysis process and have a list of defined keywords to target. Some businesses use competitor analysis as part of their keyword research but this can often limit free-thinking and the development of new ideas so try and do independent keyword research first. The first step in competitor analysis is to look at where your competitors use their keywords in their web page titles. Simply perform a search on each of your keywords in the most popular search engines. Which search engines you use is very much dependent on which country you are based in and which country/countries your target audience resides in. Take a look at the titles that appear in the search results on the first 2 pages. Your aim may be to achieve page 1 but that is almost certainly the aim of those businesses on page 2, so don’t overlook what they are doing – they have probably been doing it for longer and may already have found a chink in the armour of the Top Ten so you may learn something from them. Now put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and write down which titles really grab your attention and which page titles seem to offer a benefit to the potential customer. A classic marketing technique is to promote the benefit of buying your product and this is just as important online as in the bricks-and-mortar retail world. For example, would you be more tempted by “Book a Cheap Exotic Holiday” or “Luxury Tailor-Made Holidays to Exotic Destinations”? Of course, the decision would almost certainly depend on your budget so ensure you know your customer. Now look at whether the page titles are relevant to the search phrase. Sophisticated online browsers are already aware of ploys by certain companies that throw up pages with automatically filled titles that take you to irrelevant pages. For example, if you search for “Car Hire in Madrid” you may get results showing titles like “Best Car Hire in Spain – Cheapest Rates” but the website to which you are directed does not actually have a car hire office in Madrid. Never assume your potential customers will be foolish enough to fall for these ploys – they are more likely to get annoyed. Think about good, alternative and eye-catching titles that actually promote what you have to offer. Don’t forget to log all your title ideas in a spreadsheet along with the good page titles and good websites you come across from your competitors. These are the businesses you wish to emulate. If you offer a number of different products or services, competitor analysis can become very confusing. So take one webpage, with maybe 3 keywords (1 main and 2 secondary) and follow the analysis process through just for that manageable amount of information first. This way you can become more familiar with the process and once you are confident of the best way to research and analyse the competition, it will be much quicker and easier to complete the process for your other pages and keywords. Now look at all the good competition – those genuinely offering what the customer is searching for – and study their home or landing pages – the visual aspect and the underlying source code. This should give you enough information to get started on improving your webpage for higher search engine rankings. First concentrate on creating a great Page Title (less than 70 chars long) that includes your main keyword and 1 or 2 secondary keywords, where possible, using the competitions’ page titles as a guide. But remember, don’t blindly copy your competitors – they do not have exclusive access to good ideas. Limit your keywords to 3 per page to keep SEO simple and manageable. This title is an extremely important factor in the success of your SEO strategy. Now use the same keywords and competitor research to create a great Description (for the META DESC tag), which is usually used by search engines to display underneath the Title. The META DESC tag does not contribute much, if anything, to your search engine ranking position but it is a key factor in whether a visitor will click on your website. Use it to add detail that cannot be shown in the title but don’t repeat the title words in the first part of the description unless as a deliberate aim to reinforce your message. Limit your descriptions to 150-160 chars long otherwise it will be truncated by the search engines. And when you extend your competitor analysis to other products and services, with other keywords, on other pages an important SEO factor is that each Description is unique. Always ensure that all of the information gleaned from your competitor analysis is documented in a spreadsheet. It is impossible to effectively store all that information in your head or on scraps of paper. And when your business and product offerings grow it will be a useful document to refer back to.