Posted by Stickyweb in SEO
Have you heard the news? Search Engine Optimisation is dead and Content is King!
I agree in part, Content is King, but SEO is the creepy-looking guy that whispers in the King’s ear and is very much alive. The anti-SEO lobby believe that good content should stand alone and not need the hassles of optimising this and that for mere search engines.
I disagree …
You have to have great content – that’s a given. But people have to find that content.
Say you wanted to open a Cut-Price Ming Vase Emporium.
If you open up in the backwoods of a slum, chances are you’re not going to prosper!
You have a great product and a great price – but nobody with the wherewithal to make a purchase is going to find you.
Same with your valuable prose – people have to be able to find it – and that means setting it out in the right way, so that it’s palatable to the Search Engines and making sure that they’ll return to sup on your literary feast. That doesn’t just happen …
You have to lead the way.
Search Engines don’t wander around peeking under rugs hoping they’ll find something – They index known sites.
When Search Engines index sites they don’t read through, make notes and then settle back to ponder what it all means – they check set criteria, determine some keywords and head off to the next site.
So optimisation is primarily about presenting your information in a manner that’s most likely to result in Search Engine rankings.
Posted by Stickyweb in SEO
Wouldn’t it be great if you knew where your site visitors came from & what they were looking for? Well you do – any hosting provider worth their salt will have logs listing all traffic to your site … if they don’t or won’t pass on the details to you … You’re hosting at the wrong place!
The logs initially don’t make a very interesting read. For example:
[15/Jun/2010:09:57:42 -0500]GET /stories/op/storiesView/sid/37/tid/13/ HTTP/1.1″ 302 260 “http://www.google.ca/search?q=gifts+for+husbands+on+wedding+day&hl=en&meta=” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 4.0)”
As I said, not very interesting, BUT notice the bold text … This shows this visitor has accessed the site via the Google search engine looking for information on ‘Wedding Day gifts for Husbands‘. Now if analysis of your log files shows that lots of people are searching for Wedding Day Gifts for Husbands, you know what you need to do – Publish MORE articles on possible gifts, link to stores offering gifts (And maybe score a commission!), become THE internet resource for that particular topic.
Scouring server logs isn’t particularly sexy … isn’t there a better way?
It depends on just how much information you are after and if you are willing to pay. But there are excellent FREE resources available. Google Analytics is great once you’ve set it up and learned to decipher the information – it’s probably a lot more complicated than the average website owner needs, but the price is right! Try searching for ‘free website analytics’ and you’ll get thousands of options – just don’t get tricked by any that claim to be free & then hit you up for a monthly subscription when you get used to them.
With all of the graphs, charts, maps & data don’t forget why you’re analysing in the first place – to pinpoint what your visitors are looking for.