Archive for the ‘General’ Category

How To Do Keyword Research Using Insights for Search

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

For many of us using Google Adwords tool for keyword research has become a stable. After today’s blog post I’m hoping to shake that ground up a bit. You may know of or might not know about Google’s Insight for Search. It’s a free service that lets you see the top search terms over time and area of the world. Additionally it provides relevant search term data. So let’s take a peak under the hood and see what we can do for our keyword research with Insights for Search. Listed below is a step by step process to use Insights for Search for keyword research.

  1. Setup Excel sheet – This is actually a pretty critical step even though it might seem like common sense. You want to make sure you have a few columns setup in your Excel sheet to allow for recording of the keyword and a column for the average search volume over the past 12 months.
  2. Brainstorm on Keywords – Before we start using the tool you want to make a list of keywords that you think would be relevant and popularly searched. Put this down somewhere so you can use it in the next step.
  3. Search Insights – Next is the actual search step. What are critical here are the settings you choose for your search. Under the search terms column on the tool’s web page enter your keyword. Then under the filter column choose “Web Search”, “United States” or your country for the second row of dropdown options and in the third row of dropdowns, select “Last 12 Months”. This setup will give you the search volumes for each month over the last 12 months for those users in the United States or your respective country. Once you’ve done that click the search button to initiate the search process.
  4. Record Data – Your next step is to record the data returned from the search. Record the total number located under the “Totals” section. This will give you an average of the search volume over the past 12 month period.
  5. Rise and Repeat – Repeat the above last 2 steps (#3-4) for each keyword you came up with in your brainstorming.
  6. Discover Keywords – While doing the above for each keyword also take note of the suggested search terms under the “Search terms” section. Add any relevant keywords here to your list.
  7. Sort – After you’ve completed making your list and recording all average search volumes, now it’s time to sort the list. Using Excel’s sort feature sort the list from highest to lowest for the average search volume column.
  8. Analysis – Now that you have a beautifully sorted list of search volumes paired up with keywords it’s time to analysis and decide which keywords to use. Remember just because a keyword has the highest search volume doesn’t mean that it’s the best keyword for you to optimize for. Factors such as competition and keyword relevance to your site’s topic should be considered. Another tip; I like to use the custom highlighters in Excel to mark which keywords I’m going to be using so I don’t get confused for forget which ones I decided upon.
  9. Recheck Annually – As you may have guessed the search volume number change monthly. So I suggest performing this task annually to make sure the keywords your targeting still have significant searches to warrant optimizing for. Mark it on your custom printed calendars so you don’t forget.

What’s the Percent Distribution of Search Result Clicks

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

It’s been a while since Cornell University’s original study was done on the distribution of clicks by search engine users viewing search results (SERPs). In fact it’s been many years - over 5 years! In that time Google has changed, the Internet has changed, the way we use the Internet has changed and most importantly the results page in Google has drastically changed. So the question really becomes… Does Cornell University’s study still provide us with accurate incite into the number of clicks each ranking site would receive in the SERPs?

SERPs Precent Clicks

I doubt we would have the same results today if this study was redone. For one we now have map listing in the search results. These typically take up a large chunk of the results and in many cases fall before the first “real” organic results. Therefore taking a healthy percent of those users’ clicks. Although I think that depends a lot on the keyword. For example a search for “pizza places” might get a lot of clicks on the map results but a search for “contact lens store” might not as users might be looking to buy contacts from a website rather than a physical storefront.

Next we have to look at things like Universal Search, where we’re seeing news, blog posts, twitter tweets, images, shopping and more in search results. Additional things like videos, thumbnails, star ratings, Sitelinks, and even Google’s new Google Plus all play a factor in where user clicks are going.

The other side of this is that each search engine user is not seeing the same results. Meaning if I do a search in Atlanta, GA I might see a different set of search results compared to someone searching in Pittsburgh, PA. Therefore making it harder to determine a standard percent that SEOs and other online marketers can follow.

Even with all that I do think we can find some sort of reasonable percentages but would have to include percents for all the variables that could be in search results, like if there is map listings in the results then the first real organic result gets 40% of the clicks but without those map listings it gets 50%. So we would have to first compile a list of variables for search result pages.

Here is a quick shot at making that list:

  1. Local Place Listing present (Google Map listings)
  2. Twitter tweet feed present
  3. Ads above the SERPS
  4. New feed present
  5. Variations for location based search
  6. etc…

I believe a good study for is in order here and would provide a lot of valuable incite for both SEOs and site owners.

Twitter Issues - Not Working!

Friday, August 7th, 2009
Twitter Bird Dead

This is just a quick post about Twitter issues I seam to be having. It does not seam to be allowing me to login to the home page but I can from other pages using the same exact username/password. But anyways at least I got around that hurdle finally.

Although now I don’t seem to be able to post anything new on Twitter. I’m just getting the loading image when I click the update button on my Twitter home page after typing a message. I’ve even left the page open for a good hour or two and still no working!

So I then came back again and it’s still not working! Ahrrrrrrr, I hate when this kind of stuff happens. I’m not that big of a deal but I’d like to at least update my Twitter page with some of the new posts we’re making on our blog here.

I’ll try again latter and hopefully they will have the issue resolved. I’m guessing it has something to do with the browser through as I’m able to update using a twitter iPhone app. Plus I just saw this posted message on the Twitter status site: Problems with updating from Firefox 3.5. Only issue is I’m not using that version of Firefox but I did just update my version so maybe it has something to do with that.

Again hopefully they will get this issue fixed quickly!

Video on Domain Trust and Domain Authority

Friday, August 7th, 2009

I recently stumbled onto a great video on Domain Trust and Domain Authority. In the past I’ve been skeptical of some of the ideas and thinking behind what Rand Fish from SEOmoz has said but I agree with him on this understanding of Domain Trust and Domain Authority.

His video (posted below) outlines exactly what Domain Trust and Authority are and how to use them to benefit your site. So what are these things?

Domain Trust - Is the trust search engines put into your website’s domain. If you have a higher domain trust then you site including all pages in your site get this same trust placed on it because it’s all the same domain.

Domain Authority - This is the authority placed on your site’s domain name by search engines. Again this authority effects all pages of the same domain.

Rand outlines the calculation of each of these with the following points, which I agree are some of the important points that make up Domain Trust and Domain Authority.

Domain Trust

  1. Who links to you?
  2. Who do you link to?
  3. Registration info (domain name registration info)
  4. User data signals (data from internet users through various sources like browser, analytics, etc…)

Domain Authority

  1. Link juice/PageRank
  2. Diversity of link sources
  3. Temporal analysis (time or how quickly/slowly links are built)
  4. Distribution analysis (distribution of links to the pages within your site)

Share your comments and think on Domain Trust and Authority below by posting a comment!

Definitions for Twitter Terms

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

After starting my own Twitter account recently for our company (check us out: @gallagherdesign) and hearing other people ask what different things meant in regards to the “Twitter language” I decided I should write a post to help define that language. Also I’m going to be updating this post as new words get introduced into the Twitter community.

  • Twitter - is a free micro-blogging website, or in other words a free social networking site, that offers users the ability to post short messages (usually only 140 characters in length) on their personal page which then can be viewed by anyone.
  • Tweet - is the name given to the short updates you can post on your twitter account/page.
  • Hashtag - is a tag made of a keyword or term starting with the hash character and is used to indicate a category or topic for a tweet/post on twitter. To use the hashtag you type the hash character and then the keyword/term with no spaces.
    Example: #seosean
  • RT - means to repeat a tweet or message from someone else. The tweet/post usually contains the username of the person the message is from so as to give them credit for it.
    Example: RT @gallagherdesign Twitter language defined: http://www.seosean.com
  • OH - means you are posting something you overheard and is not your original thought.
  • @ - the @ symbol disgnates a tweet/post at the user’s username directly followed by the symbol.
    Example: @gallagherdesign I love your site!

How To Create A SEO Friendly Redirect

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Recently I was asked by a client what the best way was to do a SEO friendly redirect - meaning how what should I do so that when I setup a new domain or page it will be counted as the old page or website so that I keep my current search engine rankings.

There are actually several ways to redirect a website or page. Some of those ways include a JavaScript redirect, meta refresh redirect, 301 redirect and more. Although there are several ways to preform a redirect there is a preferred way to redirect if you want to make sure it’s SEO friendly.

That preferred method is called a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect is technique or type of redirecting that tells an Internet browser, search engine or other device that the page accessed has permanently move to another location and your being redirected to that location.

Why is a 301 redirect preferred?
The reason a 301 is a preferred method is that it indicates it’s move is permanently and not only that, but Google has stated that this is the redirect method you should use if you wish to give a new page the same created from links that an older page had.

The major benefit to SEO by going a 301 is that Google and some other search engines will treat all links from an old page as counting for your new page you redirected to.

How to Setup Your 301 Redirect:
Now that we understand 301 redirects and why they are best for SEO lets dive into how you can setup one. First you’ll need 2 URLs, one the URL of the page you want to redirect from (the old page) and two the URL you want to direct towards (the new page). Next you’ll need to decide on the method in which you want to preform the redirect. There are actually several ways to do a 301.

Here are a few mediums you can do this in:
domain registrar level*
PHP
ASP
.htaccess
and more

*Note: For domain registrar level you should make sure it is set to do a 301 redirect.

I’ve mentioned just a few of the most used mediums above. For more methods and code, check out this excellent reference: How to create redirects

Also it’s important to understand that you can 301 redirect from one website to another. Example you can redirect from http://www.oldsite.com to http://www.newsite.com

For most redirecting I suggest you use .htaccess. Why? It’s pretty reliable, relatively easy to setup, control and edit latter. Although using redirection at the domain registrar level is very reliable too.

Here are my suggestions for redirection needs and medium to redirect with:

Redirection Needed Medium Should Use
Whole website Domain registrar level (second choice is .htaccess)
Several pages .htaccess (second choice is PHP or ASP)
One page .htaccess (second choice is PHP or ASP)

How does this effect anchor text from links to the old page?
Surprisingly most anchor text will be attributed and count towards the new (redirected to) page. Here is a short video with Matt Cutts explaining the answer to that very question.

Google Local Business Center Adds Reports!

Friday, June 19th, 2009

I was just checking over some of my client’s accounts in the Google Business Center - you know the Google maps listings for businesses - and I found that Google has now added reports. This is a great addition to the Business Center. The report information is really useful and provides data I was not even expecting to be able to get!

local business center reports

The reports cover more than just impression (number of times your map listing has been displayed) but also cover activity and click throughs to your listing info, your website and even the number of requests for driving directions.

Out of all of that the most interesting is (at least to me) is the driving directions. Not only can you see the number of times someone requested driving directions but you can actually see the zip codes from which people requested them from. And it’s all overlaid on a Google map in your reports area. Although it only goes as deep as showing the zip code from which someone requested directions from it still very insightful. With this data you can find where most of our customer base or potential customer base is coming from. And with that you can then know that area would be good for you to start or improve possible mail or postcard marketing to.

local business center reports driving directions

Another very useful feature is the “Top search queries”. With this you can see what the top queries are that people are searching for and your map/business listing is showing up for. Now that does not mean they clicked through to your listing details or to your website but it’s good data as it can tell you what people might be searching for that is related to your business and you might want to gear your map listing in a way that caters to searchers of those keywords.

As well the reports shows a graph of the impressions and activity you’ve had over time. And just like in Google Analytics you can view the data for any range of dates.

local business center reports graphs

Another feature I would be interested in which they don’t offer is to know the number of people that print off or requested one of your coupons. That data would really be helpful as it would show that a person was really reaching for your services or products. And of course if they could match that up with the zip code where those requests came from - now that would be sometime!

iPhone and AT&T to Release Tethering Option Today!

Monday, June 8th, 2009

iPhone

I just spoke with an local AT&T rep in my area about when the tethering for an iPhone will be release as a service available for this carrier today (6/8/09). Apparently she said that AT&T Corporate will be announcing latter today their new services for tethering the iPhone. I asked if they had any other data on this but she said they do not. Although she let me know that in about 2 hours from now (currently its 2:00pm EST, so at about 4:00pm EST) we should hear an official announcement in the news about this from AT&T.

Update (6/19/09): It turns out they only released the new iPhone 3GS but I have a feeling they’ll be releasing tethering soon since the new iPhone and the new OS offer tethering
AT&T Rep told me:

“We just got told today by corporate that this will be announced today.”

[I then asked ] When can I expect to hear more data about this?

“You’ll find out [the information] at the same time we find out…

We should know in 2 hours, there will be an announcement all over the news then.”

What is Tethering?
Tethering will allow you to connect your iPhone to your laptop and use your iPhone’s Internet service plan. So you’ll be able to goon the Internet using your iPhone as a pseudo modem.

How I found out about the release?
Yesterday and today I became increasingly curious as to when this service would be made available. As I will be away from my office for a few days and wanted to make sure I have Internet access. Although, I’ve actually investigated this in the past only to find out that you could do it but it would violate your service agreement. So not wanting to do that I researched more on the Internet to see if AT&T would be offering this service anytime soon. I had found that they were set to announce this service at some future data but no hard concrete data was given. Although one website suggested it would be in April. When that has come and past and it was not release. So being desperate I called up my local AT&T store and asked them if that service was available yet. Surprisingly the rep told me that AT&T will actually be announcing this service being available later on today.

How does this effect SEO & the Internet?
I believe this will have at least a slight effect on Internet usage. I think there will at least be a small increase in usage. I know myself for one will be able to be online more. I believe that we can already see that the iPhone by its self has created an increase in Internet usage - even thought its just a mobile Internet usage increase. Although I don’t really see this having much of an effect on SEO or SEO services other than it might make the Internet more available to people thus you might have more people using search engine, etc… But an interesting question with regards to this could be how will this effect Analytics and visitor tracking. Will most Analytics programs track a user as the same user if they are using their iPhone or tethered computer? Once this service is released we’ll have to experiment with that and find out.

My SEO Quiz Score From SEOmoz.org

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Last night I decided to test my skills on a SEO Quiz by SEOmoz.org. I was curious as to how skilled I am in comparison to other SEOs in the field. My results where quite good! I’m in the upper top cream of the crop in the SEO field based on the knowledge I know according to their quiz. My score was a 97% out of 100%, which was 246/255 questions correctly answered. According to SEOmoz.org I’m a SEO Deity (anyone scoring 91%-100% is an SEO Deity) or as my score card badge says I’m a “SEO Dark Lord”, lol whatever that means!

The test is an interesting application based on Ajax and asks you a series of questions tallying your score as you’re answering questions and then after you’re finished it will display the score badge you earned and what you’re level of SEO knowledge is. Are you an SEO Expert? Take the quiz and find out.

Our First Blog Post & Free SEO Blog Startup Tips

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Welcome to our blog, this is our first post. I thought it would be good to add a blog to our site so that we can have more open communication with those of you that visit our website. Plus I’m sure you’d love some insight into us, what we know about SEO, and some free search engine optimization tips. So feel free to poke around our blog and make comments about what you find.

And here are some helpful hints for any new blog. First make sure you have the latest version of the blog software you are using, this ensure you’ll have all of the latest features and many known security issues will have been patched up.

  1. Pick A Niche - just like a basic website and have an overall theme, before you begin posting on your blog you should come up with the theme/niche.
  2. Do Keyword Research - most of us do keyword research before beginning any SEO work, I’d suggest doing the same for your blog even before you begin making posts. Knowing what your targeting your blog for when initially setting it up can help tremendously in the long run. Plus you should always have a goal that your working your blog towards
  3. Permalinks - use them, these are great for making your site’s URL search engine friendly
  4. Blog Categories - it’s always best when you first start a blog to sit down and come up with the categories you’d like to have on your blog. You can always change things later on but with this initial outline you’ll be better at keeping things organized as the blog starts to grow.
  5. Blog Template - make sure the coding in your template is SEO friendly. Remember only use the H1 tag once on that page and try to get the content (the actual page text) towards the top left in the source code
  6. SEO Plugins - take some time to review the available plugs for blog software. Most of the time you can find some great plugins that will not only aid in making your site rank better but also cut down on the time it takes to run your blog
  7. Establish Commenting Rules - making and knowing your rules up front can make it much easier in how you’ll treat comments on your blog and will keep your visitors happy.
  8. RSS Feed - make sure you have a RSS feed setup. Another great thing to do is use 3d party services to post your RSS feed from, like Feedburner.

Well I hope that gives you some ideas on what you might need to do when your starting your own blog up.