Importance of Google Analytics (skill) in SEO

Google-Analytics-2Google Analytics (GA) are a free service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. Google Analytics is the voice of people in the form of pie charts and graphs and can be termed as one of the best source of data. Google Analytics can be the base of any online strategy.
If we talk about the skills required for a person working in the internet marketing field, Analytics have been ranked as the number 4 skill out of 16 skills listed for voting. These rankings come from courtesy of SearchNewz.com’s Reader’s Choice Search Marketing Resources.
Google Analytics is a very vital skill for any webmaster. At the start you might struggle to be comfortable with the interface but once you start using it on a daily basis, you will enjoy looking at the data and would be excited to know that how much information we can get.
Google offers a certification on Google Analytics as well. It is called Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test. All information about exam, study material and resources can be found at http://www.google.com.au/analytics/iq.html. In next few blog posts I will discuss the different aspects of Google Analytics. These blog posts on Google Analytics will help anyone to learn and know more about analytics. I have got some good list of resources which can be helpful to crack this online exam.

1. http://www.google.com/intl/en/analytics/iq.html?&rd=1
2. http://www.googleanalyticstest.com/
3. http://www.seomoz.org/blog/google-analytics-certification-how-to-pass-the-gaiq-test
4. http://www.riseinteractive.com/internet-marketing-ebooks/google-analytics-exam/
5. http://www.susanaaparicio.com/aprueba-el-examen-de-google-analytics/
6. http://www.slingshotseo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/how-to-pass-the-google-analytics-iq-test-guide.pdf
7. http://www.slingshotseo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/how-to-use-google-analytics-guide.pdf

Best of luck with your preparations!

SEO in 2013

With Google improving its algorithms every day better and more relevant results will be on Google’s first page.  This relevancy will be based upon content and real engagement of people with sites. Google will continue to fight with bad SEO, link schemes and spam. Competition will be lot higher and technical SEO components like page speed and server response will be in high demand.

Future of SEO

Humanised Ranking: Search Engines will look more and more to humans for rankings. Ranks will be based on human interactions with content. What people feel about content and how much time they spend on site would be a ranking factor. This means search engines donot have to be dependents on just robots. actual people will have more say on what is a quality search result. 

Content: Good content, based on solid research and an understanding of customers, will always be the foundation of SEO.

Links were always been a strong signal and will remain the strongest signal for rankings. Yes Quality of links will matter more. Natural links will be given more preference as opposed to other artificial links.

Social media will continue to increase in importance and we’ll see tighter integration between channels – particularly SEO, social and PPC. More use of Google plus will help Google to know their searcher in a better way.

Conversion Focus : What I feel is Conversions in 2013 will be more important than just volume of traffic. If the quality of traffic is best then conversion would be maximum. So trend would be again the quality/qualified traffic over quantity of traffic.

But ultimately, you need to know your market, produce compelling, tailored content, and shout about it effectively online to succeed with SEO in the long-term.

What is the difference between Google (web) and Google (pages from Australia)

What is the difference between Google (web) and Google (pages from Australia)

Google Web (Australia) or Google (All the web) pings  Google.com.au  as we are based in Australia and pinging from Australian IP. This would have results from all over the web but giving preference to Australia results.

Google (Pages from Australia) will purely get results from Australia not including over all results.

Depending on how you have your search default options (or your homepage default options if using Google as a homepage), using one or the other can filter content specific to the country.

Typing  Google.com  redirects to Google.com.au any way. But if you change manually in url It would be results from Google Web (US).

There are different version based on what country you searching for.

Geo Tags for rankings in Bing and Yahoo(Pages from Australia)

Through this post, I am going to share my experience in the difficulty of ranking in yahoo and Bing (pages of Australia).

The question on my mind is whether or not there is a method in which I can tell a search engine that “Hey I am in Australia, please include me in your results!”

Even the websites with .com.au domain, and hosted in Australia have trouble in Aus rankings.

I always believed that if the site has a domain name with .com.au, hosted in Australia, and with quality links coming from .com.au domains, they should be fine on pages searched in Australia. Even the citation of phone numbers, and addresses on a number of places did not help.

The following is the geo code I have used on my website to be able to rank within Yahoo and Bing. Within two weeks of doing this, I was already ranking within them.

<meta name=”geo.position” content=”-27.467778;153.027778? />

<meta name=”geo.placename” content=”Brisbane, Queensland, Australia” />

<meta name=”geo.region” content=”AU-QL” />

<meta http-equiv=”content-language” content=”en-au”>”

To be able rank within Yahoo and Bing (and pages from Australia) you will require this code, which will act as a strong signal to Yahoo and Bing.

FYI, these are the meta tags added to the <HEAD> section:

<meta name=”geo.region” content=”US-TX”/> (if this was in Texas, for example)

<meta name=”geo.placename” content=”Fort Worth,TX”/> (city, state)

<meta name=”geo.position” content=”32.74862,-97.32927″/> (latitude; longitude)

<meta name=”ICBM” content=”32.74862,-97.32927″/> (latitude; longitude)

The easiest way to get latitude and longitude from Google Maps is to;

-          Go to maps.google.com.au

-          Enter your address/zip code/airport code/city, state, and click on “Search Maps”

When your location pops up, don’t zoom or move the map, just type the following into your browser:

“javascript:void(prompt(”,gApplication.getMap().getCenter()));”

 Hope that helps.

Local Map Listing Factors

 Recent changes to Google’s local search results raise a question what are actual factors on which local listings rank?

Following post will give you a good idea of local map listing factors.

Since Google integrated Places listings into their organic search results, it has become increasingly important for businesses to list on Google’s local business directory in order to feature in local search rankings.

Google map listings or local listings are very important for one’s visibility for Business on page 1 specially if your business is locally based and you have physical address. As name suggests “Local Listings” This gives no preference to some people/companies do not have physical address. “Post Office Box” addresses are no more accepted for listings.

Recently I have done some analysis for a competitive keyword to see what ranks for map    listings and below is my results. Analysis was based on following data.

  1. Rank of maps
  2. Distance of Business
  3. Type of Business E commerce/Physical Store
  4. Address Citation on web (Exact)
  5. Phone Citation on web (Exact)
  6. Address published on actual website.

Findings of analysis :

1. There is no P.O. Box address ranking.  (Top 7 results are within 10 km radius from Brisbane CBD)

2. One business can rank at many spots due to different addresses & phone numbers.

3. All listings which are ranking have address visible on their main site.

4. Physical Store have very high chance of ranking for Local Map listings

So nut shell to rank well in Map listings following are the key factors Rankings on map listings are based on a number of different factors. (Decreasing Order)

1. Citation across web. (on other domains)

2. Distance from Geo CBD (if searching business in Brisbane)

3. Proper categories for business.

4. Authority of the main website

5. Reviews on Google maps.

6. Reviews from other sites. (e.g. true local)

Hope that helps !

Tweaking meta title & description helps organic CTR

Real aim of SEO or search engine optimisation is to get qualified traffic to your website which can convert in to sales. Title tag and description plays very important role in that. When your site ranks high and becomes visible to potential customer of your website. To convert that visibility to  actual clicks your desription needs to be catchy so that it can convert.

As a SEO consultant one’s role should not be limited to just high rankings. Aim is to maximise the click through rate and ultimately conversion. There is no use of showing up in Google if users are not clicking at it. Optimising your site with a good title and snippet can be great help to achieve the real moto of SEO which is sales

 Hope that helps !

Why we use robots.txt?

As a SEO consultant when we do a SEO audit on a particular website. One of the important element to check is robots.txt.  robots.txt file is used as a medium to communicate with search engines to not to crawl some files. Robots.txt  is just a text file (not html). One has to put in the root folder of the website. This is some thing which is not necessary for better crawling or rankings. This is a command what search engines do obey what a owner of  website requested. It is useful when some one  might have some files which you do not want search engines to look at. It can be some thing confidential for the business or can be data base of the employees.  It is a myth that people think it is some thing like firewall. Just want to make it clear that it is not some thing which prevents Google to crawl  the whole site .

Standard robot.txt looks some thing like this.

User-agent:

Disallow:

#“User-agent” are search engines’ crawlers.

#”disallow” lists the files and directories to be excluded from indexing.

comment can be added by using # tag

e.g.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /temp/

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /temp/

Disallow: /cgi-bin/

in this example  robots.txt  allows all agents to access everything on the site except the /temp directory. When Googlebot comes on a prticular website and starts reading robots.txt, it will see that all user agents  are allowed to all folders except /temp/ and /cgi-bin/. So Google bot will not touch these files to index.

When you are done you save this as text file and put on the root.

Hope this will help you.

How to do a 301 redirect for IIS server?

As a SEO consultant we do like Apache than IIS server. Apache gives you more control in terms of SEO either it is 301 redirect or URL rewriting. 301 is very important for SEO. I had a client who was having trouble in indexing a home page even after 1 year. The reason was there root was having different files e.g.  index.cfm,  index.htm  and home.cfm with same content.

As soon as we did 301 redirect (which is a permanent redirect ) Google indexed it straight away.

Doing a 301 redirect for Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (MS IIS) can be a tricky task some times.

Today I am going to discuss how we can do that by web.config file which is present on the server root.

To start with just write following code in a notepad and save  as web .config. Just replace domain with your domain name.

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<configuration>

<system.webServer>

<rewrite>

<rules>

<rule name=”Redirect to WWW” stopProcessing=”true”>

<match url=”.*” ignoreCase=”false” />

<conditions>

<add input=”{HTTP_HOST}” pattern=”^domain.com.au$” />

</conditions>

<action type=”Redirect” url=”http://www.domain.com.au/{R:0}”

redirectType=”Permanent” />

</rule>

</rules>

</rewrite>

</system.webServer>

<location path=”index.htm”>

<system.webServer>

<httpRedirect enabled=”true” destination=”http://www.domain.com.au/” exactDestination=”true” childOnly=”true” httpResponseStatus=”Permanent” />

</system.webServer>

</location>

<location path=”home.cfm”>

<system.webServer>

<httpRedirect enabled=”true” destination=”http://www.domain.com.au/” exactDestination=”true” childOnly=”true” httpResponseStatus=”Permanent” />

</system.webServer>

</location>

</configuration>

Hope that will help you.

How to do Video Optimisation?

With latest panda rolled out yesterday it is pretty clear that Google does give preference to the quality content. When you say quality content this is something which is well written, not shallow and must use info graphics. Videos with any article can be very useful for the user. And anything which is helpful to user is important for search engines.

Video has now become the most powerful and informative content formats whether as a part of a blog, part of advertisement or a part of link bait or keyword targeting content.

Question is how to rank for a particular video?

Hosting: Depending upon the purpose of video it is very important that where your video content is hosted? Is it on your server or 3rd party server?  It is very important to use your own server for videos if traffic is your aim. I have seen that once you optimise a video for a client hosted on 3rd party server (e.g. You Tube). They often get discouraged when the 3rd party sites out rank their sites and get all the traffic. Reason behind that is that these 3rd party video sites have very good authority.

Content: This is for sure that Google cannot see what you exactly say in video. Then the question is how you optimise a particular video? Search engines can see title and comments but cannot see the content. It would be good to mention here that keyword stuffing is not the right option you are looking at. Solution is to use transcription service. There are number of tools available to provide transcripts and closed caption for the videos. With automated and manual options available transcripts do help in ranking the content.

Title: Highest Importance in optimising a video is title. Even till today Title is heavily weighted factor. Title is the only way you can reach to that video. We have to make sure you use exact, catchy and self descriptive title. Which is good for both user and search engines.

Description: Writing description about the video is good option for SEO.  By reading at the description of the video user or search engines both can better judge the content and message in that particular video.

Mass Posting Service : It is not recommended to use Mass Posting service as if the other sites have more authority is would be hard to rank your site for that video. If that video is used with different titles that can be a different scenario. But still have to be careful in using mass posting service.

Video Site Map : Do not forget to create video sitemap for better visibility in search engines.

Hope that will be good information. Please feel free to add your comment.

Social Signals for Rankings and Traffic

 Everyone wants traffic to their website, but not just any traffic; they want the right traffic, i.e. their target audience visiting their website. When I look at my posts I try to analyse where the traffic is actually coming from. Apart from referrals and keyword searches, there are other significant factors which also bring traffic to your website which needs to be analysed.

This traffic source is of course social media. There is a very strong correlation between quality content, traffic and social signals like Google +, Twitter & Facebook.

So, how do these social signals then actually affect your rankings and website traffic?

Every quality post that you publish goes viral with people using different social media channels to share the posts.

When someone posts a link through a social media channel, and its attracts many likes and comments, it then becomes natural for other people to read and “like” the post, it’s simple psychology.

When a company shares a post through their social media channel it then becomes a natural link, which then earns the company a link, which significantly helps in rankings.

If you look at the other side, every social share (Facebook “like”, Google plus or Tweet) drives a unique page view, thus, helping you get unique traffic to your website or Blog.

Like/+1/Tweet———————à Unique Page View

Unique Page View—————-à Like/+1/Tweet

With the rise of social media, and the evolution of digital technology, more and more people are connecting through online mediums. This profusion of social media channels has seen people now using more than one social media channel to express themselves, and their feelings and thoughts about certain issues. They do not hesitate to +1, Facebook “like” and/or tweet shared articles and posts that they find interesting.

It is obvious that social signals are getting stronger and stronger every day, and the move to online marketing and advertising, it is important for businesses to understand what is driving their traffic and how to drive traffic to their websites.