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5 Tools To Track Your SEO Metrics

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In search engine optimization, SEOs often refer to the following concept:

“If you can measure it, then you can improve it.”

Translation: Measurement is critical to search engine optimization success. And although every business is unique in its own way and every website has different metrics that matter, professional SEOs track several metrics to collect data about rankings, links and more in an endeavor to assess their SEO strategy and subsequently pave the road to success by making the necessary improvements and/or adjustments.

seo-toolsSome Universal Metrics that Every Business Tracks

Key to understanding the concept of recommended metrics to track is an understanding of KPIs, a term that you probably hear more often than any other in the nascent field of Web Analytics. KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators.

By definition, KPIs are financial and non-financial metrics that an organization can potentially use to qualify, quantify and measure its progress towards pre-set goals. As mentioned above, every business is unique so an important note here is to remember that there is no such thing as a universal list of KPIs that you can simply follow for organizational success. If such a list exists somewhere on the web, it’s either a guide or someone is putting up information that’s misleading. Think about it for a minute. Even if two businesses are in the same sector, they may have different goals and that will drive the need for different KPIs. In essence, what works for Jane might not work for June, figure of speech.

With that said, in this post, we’re only covering those metrics critical to optimizing for the search engines. So the following list of metrics is pretty “universal”. They would matter to any business in addition to other, more actionable KPIs.

1. The contribution of each traffic source for your site

These include:

- Direct navigation

- Referral traffic

- Search traffic

These numbers are critical to helping you identify weaknesses and compare data over time to evaluate and track your marketing and traffic acquisition efforts.

2. The contribution of each engine to your search traffic

Three engines make up over 95% of all search traffic in the United States: Google and the Yahoo-Bing alliance. Knowing the contribution of each engine to your search traffic is critical for several reasons. Let’s discuss two.

- First off, by measuring the contribution level of each engine, you can assess performance. Should your search traffic drop someday, knowing the relative and exact contribution levels from Google and Yahoo/Bing can prove to be essential to diagnosing the problem.

- Secondly, certain SEO efforts have better results with some search engines than others. For example, better keyword inclusion has more benefit with Bing & Yahoo! while specific anchor text links from different domains has a more positive impact with Google. By evaluating the performance of each search engine towards your overall search traffic, you can uncover tactics that have strategic value.

3. Visits referred by specific search terms and keyword phrases

The keywords that send traffic to your website represent yet another piece of your analytics pie. You want to keep a tab on these on a regular basis to be able to make out new trends, streamline your performance for key search terms and identify keywords and keyword phrases bringing in the most traffic. For example, certain keywords that are only in demand at specific times of the year, month or week.

4. Conversion rate by search term

When it comes down to organizational success, few metrics matter as much as conversion. With the above data, you can do two things.

- Check your rankings for the key search terms converting the most and improve these positions in the SERPs.

- Because analytics will also indicate to you what pages visitors are landing on, you can subsequently ameliorate these for a better visitor experience.

The value of this metric, as you can see, is tracking the keywords that continually send visitors who convert.

Measuring Metrics and Finding the Right Tools for the Job

From the above section, it’s pretty clear that choosing a web analytics software is a critical process. You have to make sure you have the right tools for the job. The key consideration is that no matter which analytics software you choose, remember to test different versions of pages on your site. The aim is to make as much improvement to your conversion rate as possible using the results. Testing pages on your website can be as simple as testing two versions of a page header. It can also be as complex a process as simultaneously testing hundreds of variants of a page.

Some free tools

- Yahoo! Web Analytics. This was formerly known as Indextools

- Google Analytics

- Piwik Open Source Analysis

- AWStats

- Mondovo (Free Edition)

The paid ones

- Omniture

- Mint

- Clicktale

- Moz Pro

- Raven

- Mondovo

5 Tools to Measure and Improve your Search, Brand and Content Marketing

Google Analytics

While choosing one specific analytics tool from all the options available can be tough, Google Analytics is among the top recommendations because of it’s broad collection of tutorials and guides available over the web. Google Analytics also boasts the unique advantage of cross-integration with some other distinct and helpful Google products such as Webmaster Tools and Adwords.

Why choose Google Analytics

1. Know your audience

Your customers go everywhere and every step of the way, Google Analytics helps you thoroughly analyze and understand your visitors: where they are, who they are and how they are interacting with your pages.

Some of the available SEO tools:

Advanced Segments: Lets you segregate and analyze subsets of your traffic that led to conversions.

Audience Data & Reporting: Focuses on your audience: the kinds of people they are, how they find your content and so on.

Traffic Sources: Can be used to evaluate your referrals, direct traffic, organic search keywords and custom campaigns.

In-Page Analytics: Use it to see how users really behave on your pages.

2. Reach your business goals

If you need to assess the performance of your marketing campaigns across different digital platforms, Google Analytics can help you with insights into which campaigns are really driving visits, sales and other actions. Google Analytics is also equipped to help you send the right messages to the right people at the right moments through the use of tools like Remarketing and real-time reporting.

Some of the available SEO tools:

Data-Driven Attribution: Assigns values to marketing touch points across the customer journey.

Multi-Channel Funnels: Shows you the effects of your digital marketing activities including search, social, email and more.

Real-Time Reporting: See how many people are on your site right now, where they are based and what they are viewing.

Remarketing: Helps you narrow down on customers who have shown an interest in your products and/or services before.

3. Split-testing made easy

Google Analytics gives you insights you can turn into real results. So start testing! From marketing plans to a particular photo on your front page, Google Analytics has tools available that you can use split-test different pages and strategies.

Some of the available SEO tools:

Advertising Reports: Lets you see how well your advertising dollars are working

Content Experiments: Lets you test and compare variations of your pages to determine which designs bring you the most conversions.

Piwik

In this digital era we now live in, insights into the pulse of your website and the source of your visits is essential to driving business growth and success. Piwik is a leading and valuable open source web analytics platform giving hundreds of thousands of businesses and organizations insights into their website’s visitors, marketing campaigns and much more. Websites that use Piwik include T-Mobile, Forbes and Sharp.

Why choose Piwik

1. Web analytics

Whether your site only garners a few visits a day or over a million, Piwik can help you gather valuable information about your users by tracking KPIs such as visits, conversion rates and keywords.

2. Ecommerce Analytics

Integrating Piwik with your ecommerce software can help you analyze revenue, conversion rates, average order values and other statistics. Would it not help to see which of your products are the most popular or have the highest conversion rates. Piwik makes it possible for you to extract this information in real time through a detailed Ecommerce log.

Some of the tools:

Real time data updates: Monitor in real time the flow of visits to your website and what your visitors are doing once on your pages.

Customizable Dashboard: Lets you create a new dashboard with widget configuration fit to your needs.

All Websites Dashboard: Perfect to let you see what’s happening on every website you own at a glance

Goal conversion tracking: This tool allows you to stay on your course and see whether you are achieving your goals.

Event Tracking: Lets you measure interaction on your sites and apps.

Site Search Analytics: Tracks searches performed via your internal search engine.

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Panda 4.0, Payday Loan 2.0, Pigeon: How Can They Affect Your Sites

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In this article, we are going to talk about some of the updates that Google rolled out recently, viz: Panda 4.0 update, Payday Loan update, and the Pigeon update. This article provides an overview of these latest updates and how they can affect a website’s rankings in search engine results page.

The Panda 4.0 Update

The recent Panda 4.0 update was released in May. It is reported that this algorithm update has already affected about 7.5 percent search queries. This update targets low-quality, thin websites. Although it’s still early to fully confirm its impact on different websites, early results indicate significant disruptions in different industries.

google-panda-4-update

The sites that have been negatively affected by this new algorithm update include renowned Q&A search engines like Retailmenot.com and Ask.com. Press release websites have also been hit badly. Some reputed sites like PRLog, PR Newswire, and PRWeb are losing around 85 percent of the search rankings. Initially it was assumed that eBay.com took a big hit as well. However, later reports indicated that it experienced 33 percent decrease in search rankings.

According to some SEO analysts, webmasters can avoid penalty from Panda by publishing high-quality content, and getting rid of any low-quality content on their site. If you are affected by the newest Panda update, you must include quality content that is compelling and resonates with your audience. Although the webmaster sites may feel that they are unjustly affected by the update, the Panda update together with other updates always reminds you to keep your website content unique. distinct and high-quality. Recently few questions were raised about the softer side of this Panda update. Therefore, small businesses that were affected previously by the update have the opportunity to recover.

The Payday Loan 2.0 Update

Other than the Panda update, the Payday Loan algorithm also received an update in May, and became Payday Loan 2.0. The original algorithm intended to target highly spammy queries (like payday loans or pornographic searches). That update targeted the sites globally and affected international search results in countries from where spam originated. The Payday Loan 2.0 seems to primarily target the international sites and different languages.

google-payday-loan-update

It has been reported that merely 0.2 percent of the English queries are affected. The same figures in certain countries are significantly higher at 4 percent.

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How Bing Picks Your Title Tag

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Before we get talking about title tags, let’s have a look at another type of tag web pages use: Meta tags.

bing-title-tag

The Meta tag is hidden and is placed in the webpage’s <head> section. Although these remain invisible, the Meta tags can be useful in telling the search engines what your page is about. Search engines don’t rely just on these tags to identify your pages’ content, but it’s still a good idea to have those filled in: It shows good structure.

The Meta tags are used to describe the web page. Bing or other search engines make use of the description tags to explain your page to their users on the SERPs. An appropriate description tag will make the search result more attractive for the visitor to click on. When creating description Meta tags you must keep these in mind:

  • Don’t stuff the Meta description tag with keywords. Always make sure it is reader-friendly and try to include your main keyword in there. Use keywords naturally because Bing examines natural sentence structure
  • Explain what the page is about
  • The description should be distinct for each page
  • The length should be restricted to 160 characters or less
  • You should check the description for spelling or grammar errors

Title tags aren’t really Meta tags. However, they are often grouped into the same category. This tag is placed in the <head> section as well. The title tag shows in the following cases:

  • When bookmarks are saved, the browser uses the title tag for naming the bookmark
  • The title tag is usually what is shown in the Bing’s SERPs
  • The web browser displays the title at the top of the window

When creating or optimizing title tags for webpages, good guidelines to follow are:

  • The title tag should ideally consist of 60-70 characters. The extra text is truncated by search engines like Bing
  • Avoid putting company or business name in title tags because this wastes space
  • The tiles should be distinct for each page
  • Check the title tags for spelling or grammar errors

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3 Brands That Are Getting Content Marketing Right

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Since the beginning of time, businesses have wanted to build relationships with customers.

1. The press gave rise to print advertising.

2. The radio enabled radio advertising.

3. Television allowed 30- and 60-second spots.

4. The web yielded banners and popups.

With each invention and new communications medium, businesses reached more and more customers piggybacking on content that people would pay attention to.

content-marketing

The Internet was by far the most important invention making it possible for brands to become publishers and to publish without the prohibitive fixed costs of presses and antennas while the next medium, dubbed “social” brought about a revolution allowing commercial brands to reach audiences with their messages in a much easier fashion. The challenge, however, was that social media gave distribution power to the people. This meant that brands had to start telling stories that inspire and provoke consumers’ attention and willingness to share.

If you’re in marketing, you’ve probably heard of the following:

1. Red Bull’s magazine that circulates to 2 million people a month.

2. American Express on OpenForum.com

3. Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” video

Because of social media’s new powerful influence, “publish or perish” is no longer just the dreaded axiom of academics. Commercial brands are also embracing the concept.

So Which are the Brands that are Getting Content Marketing Right in 2014?

1. American Express

If there is one brand that knows how to do rock content marketing, it’s American Express. One of their most booming endeavors is American Express Unstaged or AmexUnstaged. American Express Unstaged is a program that live streams concerts by high profile music celebrities. Fans from all over the world get to view, not only the event in live performance, but also exclusive videos before and after the event.

American-Express

According to Walter Frye, Director of Entertainment Marketing & Sponsorships at American Express, “Content is an important piece in all of our marketing efforts. Extending our messaging through content is a great way for us to continue to convert our customers from simply seeing a message to considering our brand.”

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A Step by Step Guide to Video Marketing

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If you feel online video is just another over hyped, passing fad, think again. In fact, online video is gaining strength as a type of content. The web trending towards video is made obvious by the popularity of YouTube. This may lead to the conclusion that we simply don’t like to read anymore. But the video preference situation we’re witnessing is much more detailed than that. So, why video?

video-marketing-guide

According to Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. —a leading speaker, author and consultant to brands like Amazon, Disney and Walmart, there are 4 core and very human reasons why we are drawn to videos.

1. The fusiform face area (FFA) is a part of the human visual system that, it is speculated, is specialized for facial recognition. This is an actual brain function that hard-wires us to use the human face as a gathering point for information.

2. Voice converts information into meaningful content.

3. Emotions are contagious.

4. Movement grabs attention. Since the Stone Age, we’ve survived by noticing things in motion – we still do!

Show off Your Business Skills with Online Videos

Since YouTube arrived on the scene, online video has played a vital role in advertising and marketing. Leaders in every sector including health care, retail, and travel are sharing videos to showcase their industry expertise, educate consumers and demonstrate how their products and/or services work.

Marketers leverage the power of online videos to:

  • Establish industry knowledge and expertise
  • Put a face to a name and business, reinforcing trust
  • Help customers visualize a process or service

The take-away so far…

Human beings are visual creatures. We trust and rely on what we can see in front of us. Videos can help potential and current customers understand exactly what you’re offering. Show your customers that you are reliable, experienced and willing to take the time to explain your work.

4 Types of Videos to Implement in any Content Marketing Strategy

If you’re not already implementing videos into your current marketing strategy, you’re grossly behind the market. To get you started on this front, here are 4 essential types of videos that you should implement in any content marketing strategy:

1. Interactive Videos

Interactive videos allow users to have some level of interaction so that they may alter or change the outcomes of future parts during the video. They are used for a wide array of purposes. For example, fashion sites and media outlets often use interactive video technology.

2. Review Videos

Review videos assess companies, products and/or services. They are excellent to showcase details about your products and/or services and describe important benefits and weaknesses.

3. Testimonial Videos

Testimonial videos use customers to discuss their experience using a particular product and/or service. They are a great way to make customers the heroes. Testimonial video often feature aspects of your products, services and/or company.

4. Blog Videos

Blog videos support blog content. They are more casual and range from 45 seconds to 3 minutes in lengths. Use blog videos to share tips and tricks with your community. Like blog articles, blog videos should be relevant.

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5 Essential SEO Tips for Local Businesses

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You can be sure that your competitors are competing for search results, and if you aren’t trying just as hard, you’re giving business away. As a small business, you have to do everything you can to expose your brand to as many local potential customers as possible. The thing is, these days consumers spend more time online than they do watching TV.

seo-tips-local-business

The best way to reach Internet-savvy customers is to position yourself highly on Google and other major search engines. To sell your prospects on your product or service from the top of the SERPs, you’ll have to set up a plan to optimize social media presence, reviews and on-page elements.

Optimize On-Page Data

Optimizing your on-page data is the crucial first step. You must ensure that your on-page elements align with what Google wants to see. Here are a few tips to get you headed in the right direction:

  • Create an appropriate domain name. Your domain should speak to what you do and where you’re located. The simplest way to do this is to literally combine your business name with the city you’re in. For instance, if you’re “Cici’s Cuts,” and you’re located in NYC, www.ciciscutsnyc.com would be a nice domain for you.
  • Use relevant keywords. Place keywords in your titles and in your pages that are relevant to your business, your product and your location. Use keywords naturally. Another good idea is to go for long-tail keywords.
  • Spread your NAP data far and wide. You should add your name, address and phone number to every page of your site.
  • Share the love. Your content shouldn’t be all about you. Make sure that your copy reflects the fact that you’re part of a vibrant community. A great way to do this is to partner with other local businesses or to co-sponsor a local charity. Then blog about it! Also, mention what part of town you’re in and the landmarks in your immediate vicinity.

Encourage User Reviews

Reviews give you immediate social proof, and they increase your visibility in local search results. Importantly, the way in which you engage with reviews also affects your visibility. Here are a few tips to help you engage positively with reviews:

  • Never, ever buy reviews. It can be tempting. Hiring people to post reviews for you can backfire spectacularly. If you lose the public’s trust, you might have to fork over money you don’t have to a PR firm.
  • Encourage organic reviews. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with encouraging satisfied customers to leave a review. Checkout flyers, website callouts and email followups are great ways to do this. The more authentic reviews you generate, the more you’ll stand out in local search results. Yes, this means that you will get the odd negative review, but that comes with the territory. There isn’t a credible business in existence that doesn’t have any bad reviews.
  • Encourage reviews across the Web. As part of your outreach, encourage customers to post reviews to as many sites as possible. Your reviews are at their least effective on your own site. Sites like Yelp! and Epinions have huge influence.
  • Respond to reviews. If you’re a hot-head, you might want to have someone else handle this. You want to respond to reviews proactively, but if you’re hostile, you can cause a bad review to go viral. If you come across a negative review, thank the author for their feedback and ask them to get in touch with you so you can go over their issue in more detail.

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The Most Critical SEO Elements for 2014

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These days, many webmasters are finding it difficult to figure out what’s still relevant for SEO and what’s no longer important. Two of the main components of a strong SEO strategy remain the same: 1) to publish high-quality content that gets read and 2) get linked to by as many people as possible. Translation: Quality content and inbound links.

search-engine-optimization

But this year, a third key element joined the ranks of these two components and that’s social media! Social media wasn’t around when SEO first developed into an industry; it only became a factor in the ranking algorithm in recent years. Today social media is a means to increase shareability, distribution and reach of content and this, in turn, provides readers and search engines alike with new data to assess quality.

So the 3 key elements to building a strong SEO campaign in 2014, irrespective of industry include:

1. Content strategy

2. Inbound links

3. Social media

Is Content Really King?

“Content marketing” is beginning to replace the term “SEO”. It’s no longer enough to simply have an SEO strategy. In the wake of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, many of the once-popular SEO tactics that used to work no longer do.

“Content is king” is a mantra that is probably repeated more often than any other in the world of SEO. As such, business owners should continue to focus on creating high-quality content guided by solid keyword research. A solid content marketing strategy not only aims to build your business exposure and visibility for many keywords, it also aims to build brand awareness, authority and credibility as well as social media awareness and conversion rates.

Are Links Still the Primary Ranking Factor?

With Google stepping up its efforts to penalize link networks and those who buy and sell links, how important are backlinks to Google’s search algorithm? Have backlinks lost their importance for ranking purposes?

In his Webmaster help video published on May 5, 2014, Matt Cutts shared:

“I think backlinks still have many, many years left in them”

Cutts said links help Google figure out the reputation of a site or pages. But Google also wants to give more weight to pages written by experts. So this means that authority will become even more crucial for websites and in the coming months and years, website owners are going to see an even greater emphasis in the value of authorship.

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