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Showing posts from February, 2006

Selecting Keywords for your Site

I was prompted to include this article on keywords today because we have just seen a significant increase in the arrival of searchers using '+' and specifically '+mp3'. As we have discussed before our visitor volume is driven off a large number of keywords from Google often over 100 per day with the detailed pattern constantly shifting but overall volumes pretty steady. Now read on:

Anyone who knows anything about how search engines work will
tell you that you need to choose the perfect keywords in order
to improve your search engine ranking. Yet, if you are
relatively new to the website creation scene, you may have very
little knowledge about what keywords are, what they do and how
they enhance search engine optimization (SEO). Nevertheless,
understanding what keywords are and how they work is critical
to your websites success and the amount of traffic you will
receive at your website. Let's take a look at what keywords are
and how to choose the right keywords to improve yo…

Communicate with Visitors

I have had this article in the possibles stack for a couple of months which is very unusual. We have been worrying about gaining visitors and getting them to listen to atleast one of our samples but it is clear that we need to work on our communication with our visitors - to engage them and encourage them to consider a purchase or two.
Here is a rather thoughtful piece on this topic:

This article might be a bit different than you've come to
expect from a webmaster-related article. The reason is that, in
my opinion, it is a facet of the internet many people don't
really think about. And that is communication. But, by
communication I mean more than just talking or writing. Read
on...

What is Communication?

Communication is defined simply as the transferring of an idea
or concept from one point to another with full duplication on
the receiving side. This last component is one often forgotten.
So, a full one-way communication would be Fred has an idea about
a widget. He propels that idea acros…

Improving Search Engine Rankings – Patience Is The Key

The author today's article is a man after my own heart. As regular readers will have noticed our enthusiasm for publishing articles has been substantially dampened by the absence of response to our first attempts so I think perhaps there must be a message here for us:

I have written before about the benefit of articles and how they provide one way links back to your website and therefore improve the importance of your website and thus its ranking in the search engine results. The articles you write have the chance of spreading slowly around the web and ending up within ezines or on other websites or blogs. All of which provide links back to your website. So once you have over thirty articles out there the links can grow exponentially. Just consider what can happen if you have one hundred articles published? Two hundred articles?

The magic figure is said by some experts in this field to be 250 articles, it is then that this exponential growth in links and traffic to your site can be …

Data Center Quick Check is Down Again!

The MacDar Data Center Quick Check is a free tool which has been put up to give us visibility of the results of searches over several of Google's Data Centers and we have made reference to it from time to time over the last few months.

As Google watchers are only too aware new developments are tested by Google on particular data centers before being rolled out across the whole network. As these data centers have different URLs it is possible to search on them directly.

Big Daddy is referred to as an infrastructure change and is possibly linked to a major upgrade of Googlebot. Even with Jagger there were several phases to the algorithm updates which were tested and then release quite quickly over successive weeks. Big Daddy has been rolled out to a few centers from the first two where it was announced but I think we have also seen some roll back. The three exceptional surges measured by Rankpulse.com are suggestive of this sort of activity although they have made no comment so far. T…

Legal Music Downloads

I thought that this topic could do with a bit of an airing:

With the scandals in past years involving the famous (or
infamous) Napster, more and more net users who love music are
searching for good quality free legal music downloads. The
Record Industry Association of America and the FBI are
threatening to find and prosecute people who pass along illegal
downloads. This is not an idle threat, since it is easier to
trace people who download music illegally than it is to find
people who make unauthorized recordings through conventional
devices. Therefore, legal music downloads are a safer way of
finding the music you want to listen to at no cost. Although
some complain about the quality of most legal music downloads,
fellow browsers can give valuable hints and advice.

There was once a vast library of legal music downloads with
millions of recordings to choose from. This music "library" was
http://MP3.com, which was later bought by another company and
taken offline (no doubt the purchaser rea…

Google Robot Developments

The spiders on the web have always facinated me. We know that we are visited virtually every day by all the main spiders - not just the main HTML pages but the e-commerce PHP pages as well - triggering redirects etc.

Could The New Google Spider Be Causing Issues With Websites?

Around the time Google announced "Big Daddy," there was a new
Googlebot roaming the web. Since then I've heard stories from
clients of websites and servers going down and previously
unindexed content getting indexed.

I started digging into this and you'd be surprised at what I
found out.

First, let's look at the timeline of events:

In Late September some astute spider watchers over at
Webmasterworld spotted unique Googlebot activity. In fact, it
was in this thread:
http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/25897-9-10.htm that the
bot was first reported on. It concerned some posters who
thought that perhaps this could be regular users masquerading
as the famous bot.

Early on it also appeared that the new bot was…

Authority Websites

I thought I'd give a little air time to a theory that floats around from time to time.

Authority Websites

Search engines have become wiser and have put more scrutiny upon deciding page ranking and which websites are really important. Spending time on traditional on-page optimization and link building strategies will not get you that top ranking in Google. Don't get me wrong, you cannot stop doing these tasks, however, the marketing of your website will need to include a variety of other methods if you want to get top rankings. Search engines are looking for clean quality content to provide to their users and we will see the search engine market become more competitive.

Traditional search engine optimization will continue to be part of your efforts excepting for our methodology will change. You will continue to work on link exchanges, keywords, descriptions, titles, headlines, image alt descriptions, comments, and content. Now you will focus your keywords to be very specific and w…

Second Rankpulse Spike

Yesterday saw the second unprecedented spike on Rankpulse in three days and Mac Dar shows some futher movement on Big Daddy to more data centers but no major impact on our Google visitor numbers so far. Of course we don't know what data centers Rankpulse use - it is possible that they just use one in which case we might just be seeing Big Daddy coming and going and it could happen again.

On the Browser front Fire Fox is now up to nearly 19% of our visitors but of course with Analytics that includes me.

Music production is on hold at the moment because we are updating software and hard ware and as ever this is not without its little hic coughs and travails. The Creamware update has gone smoothly but it has not resolved the pre-existing problem. It has also opened my eyes to some more of the possibilities which that hardware offers. On the hardware front we are looking to harness a second PC using MIDI and S/P DIF connections. MIDI is working OK but S/P DIF connectors/cables etc are p…

Google Analytics - Story so Far

Time for a bit of reflection on Google Analytics - so to start us off here is an independent piece:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a product based on the popular web traffic
analytics Urchin platform, as a result of Google's earlier
acquisition of Urchin. As a surprise to the webmaster
community, Urchin's technology, which is one of the most
complete and well designed web analytics software in the
industry, is being given at no cost to webmasters when they
sign up at www.google.com/analytics. This move has raised
suspicion as to what are Google'’s motives and what will be the
consequences of Google having so much website traffic data in
their power. Currently, Google can track traffic only through
the traffic they refer from their portals and an estimate
through the Google toolbars installed in people's computers.
However, this toolbar is not very representative of the general
population, since most users are webmasters trying to see the
PageRank value for web pages displayed in…

Big Daddy is on the move!

Yesterday saw the biggest spike on Rankpulse for the last year and our checks on Mac Dar suggest Big Daddy search results are now offered by nearly half the data centers that we can see.

No reaction on the SEO forum yet - so you could have heard it here first!

Not too sure what the implications are for us - we slip a bit on some keywords and improve on a few.

The SEO forum view seems to be that the spam sites are still very much in evidence but then you don't tend to hear much from the spammers who have been caught and eliminated. On the other hand the Google spin seems to be that this is the introduction of new infrastructure that will progressively clean things up and if that turns out to be correct, searchers and white hat optimizers can only benefit. Thank fully this does not seem to be much of a problem in our neck of the woods - Classical Cat and Karadar consistently take the first pages and then we get some specialists and some oddities like Camper van Beethoven competing with…

Five Common Myths About Search Engine Optimization

Here's some nice common sense on a sometimes confusing topic:

Common Myths About Search Engine Optimization

Picture this scene, an adolescent boy walks into a barber shop and says to the barber, "Don't touch me, I'm only here because my mom forced me." Search engine optimizers are sometimes put into the position of the barber. They are knowledgeable and willing to work on their client's site, but the client doesn't want any modifications done to the text that is visible on her web pages. This kind of dilemma occurs due to general misconceptions about search engine optimization. Let's look at these misconceptions.

1. SEO only involves writing meta tags and working on 'invisible'code

Many people want to get a high ranking for various keywords or keyword phrases, but if you look at the text on their web pages you can hardly find these vital words. They come to a search engine optimizer and think that he or she will sprinkle these words into the meta …

Word Research for Copy Writers

Here is an interesting article that came in this week:

Marketing Research: Individual Words

We all know that phrases like "Who else wants to know" in a
headline can improve our sales. Have you ever thought
about the individual words and their impact on your
profitability?

I recently performed a statistical analysis on several
thousand ads while looking at individual words and
profitability.

The first task was to determine the profitability of each
ad being analyzed. This was done using the age-old
mailorder marketing method. Basically, if you see an
advertisement month after month and year after year, it is
probably profitable. If you see an ad only once or twice
and then it changes or disappears completely, the
advertisement was probably not very profitable.

The next task was to simply look for the occurence of a
list of words in each ad while noting whether the ad was
profitable or not. The results were tallied and lots of
words were removed from the list because there simply
wasn't …

Welcome to Visitors from Mainland China

One of the startling things about working on the internet are the occasions when you spot the impact of some international event on your business within days or weeks of it happening.

So it was very pleasant to note that the controversial action taken by Google to offer a censored service to the citizens of mainland china is already having a visible impact on their activity and their interactions with the outside world. In the last couple of weeks we have had our first visitors from the cities of Beijing and Shanghai - so welcome to you. I'm not sure if Paypal or BitPass have got to you yet but in the meantime you are welcome to our free offering s and of course our streaming samples.

Traffic Steady : Sales Sporadic

Having established a reasonably steady and high level of visitors we have experienced some good sales periods but we have also seen some droughts. It is very hard to know how to respond apart from getting really depressed in the droughts.

It is evident from the bounce analysis that up to half our visitors can see at a glance that our site does not have what they want, whether that is to do with the extent of our catalog, our emphasis on MP3 and payment or the absence of sheet music and they leave promptly. Google make good use of our description tag content so the search results there are usually pretty clear on those issues but I suspect that many searchers ignore them.

Some like the visitors to our iTunes help page take their time to read the content we offer and then move on to other sites ignoring our offers of original MP3s. As it happens they do get to hear a sample plying while they read and even that fails to entice them further in to the site. Some visitors move on to listen to…

BigDaddy is still evolving

By keeping an eye on some of our keywords through MacDar each day, we have seen how the results on the BigDaddy data centers have been evolving. In several cases they are still changing - today coming back towards the current rankings in others drifting further away. At the same time Rankpulse is showing a consistently higher trend level of activity, i.e. nearly double the number of results changes, over the last week or so compared with the usual level.

Analytics is back after it's short intermission and we now have sufficient data for week to week comparisons. There is a slight decline on both Google and Yahoo so it doesn't look as if this churn is having a significantly adverse effect on our visitor volumes and it also looks as if our efforts on the iTunes page were not totally in vain as we have reduced the bounce rate slightly. In this instance the viewing time suggests that we have succeeded in providing relevant content for most visitors because the average viewing time …

Analytics Hiccup

Yes I had to check the spelling of Hiccup or Hiccough - both OK.

At least we hope that is what it is - Analytics has stopped reporting traffic since early on Friday - no comment from Google so far but the user forums have confirmed that they were not just picking on us!

Still it is beta and we have commented before that you have to expect some problems with beta software and its free.

More worrying are the comments that it have been affecting the performance of some site - by slowing downloading.

Fingers crossed while they are not drumming.

Google Big Daddy SearchQuake About to Rumble Your Ranking?

I thought you might like to see another point of view on the BigDaddy front:

Google Big Daddy SearchQuake About to Rumble Your Ranking?

Copyright © February 1, 2006 by Mike Banks Valentine

Running ranking reports for clients is a standard part of an
SEO's job. This week I created a position report for a client
- one for which we'd made significant gains in ranking for
their targeted search phrase - and proudly sent off the
report to them before a scheduled conference call to discuss
our progress and status.

The client sent an email upon receiving the report saying
"There is something wrong with your report - we rank higher
than this report claims." I went back to Google and typed in
the search phrases to find rankings exactly where the report
showed them the previous day.

I explained to that client that Google has (at last count)
nine data centers which serve up search results and that they
were getting results from a data center in the Eastern US
which showed differing results from …

Google Analytics - Overlay Feature

Google have just introduced an overlay feature which gives a graphical indication of the links followed from specific links on the pages of our site.

This is the first time I have seen anything like this and it is both shocking and encouraging at the same time. The number of unused links is the shocking thing but more gratifying is the observation of the effect of some of the design changes we have made.

As yet it is not quite clear to me how the JavaScripted links are handled in this feature - some of the indicators are detached from their buttons so we have a little more detective work to do there.

Of course some of the links we provide are largely there for optimisation purposes so we don't need to worry about them too much.

This should be a really valuable tool in page text and layout work - good stuff.