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Search Engine Optimization Getting Started (2010)

Measuring search engine traffic


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Search Engine Optimization Getting Started (2010)

with Jill Whalen

Video: Measuring search engine traffic

There's so much data contained in Google Analytics that it can be very daunting at first. All the information you get from it is important. So sometimes it helps to start looking at just the bits of data that are important to you. So here is the main dashboard page for the myKindlereviews.com website. This provides us with a quick overview of how many visitors we have and what they're doing on the site. For our purposes right now, we're going to look at the metrics that help us to measure the success of our SEO program. Most of it has to do with the search engine traffic and keywords.
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  1. 1m 33s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      29s
  2. 6m 20s
    1. Understanding how search engines work
      3m 50s
    2. What is SEO?
      2m 30s
  3. 25m 3s
    1. Introducing keyword phrases
      1m 21s
    2. The keyword research process
      4m 42s
    3. Performing keyword research
      4m 43s
    4. Winnowing out ineffective keyword phrases
      1m 58s
    5. Performing additional keyword research
      2m 44s
    6. Determining competitiveness of keyword phrases
      5m 42s
    7. Finding keyword gems
      3m 53s
  4. 12m 49s
    1. What site architecture means to SEO
      2m 1s
    2. Brainstorming main categories and subcategories for the web site
      4m 4s
    3. Creating a keyword phrase-to-page map
      3m 33s
    4. Using keywords in domain names and URLs
      3m 11s
  5. 18m 10s
    1. SEO in HTML tags
      1m 57s
    2. Title tags
      1m 56s
    3. Meta descriptions
      1m 33s
    4. Header tags
      1m 12s
    5. Anchor text
      1m 43s
    6. Alt tags
      1m 36s
    7. Writing effective title tags
      4m 42s
    8. Writing meta-description tags
      3m 31s
  6. 11m 44s
    1. What good content is and why it's needed
      1m 27s
    2. The different types of content pages
      3m 47s
    3. Using keywords in existing content
      1m 53s
    4. Writing new content for users and search engines
      4m 37s
  7. 16m 37s
    1. Understanding link popularity and why it's important
      2m 43s
    2. Introducing Google's PageRank
      2m 38s
    3. Knowing the best way to get links
      3m 12s
    4. Content creation and promotion as "link bait"
      3m 34s
    5. Real-world link bait ideas
      4m 30s
  8. 12m 7s
    1. Introducing social media marketing
      4m 3s
    2. Getting started with social media marketing
      2m 25s
    3. Participating in social media communities
      5m 39s
  9. 26m 31s
    1. Why rankings are a poor measure of success
      3m 13s
    2. Determining conversions and setting up goals in Google Analytics
      5m 37s
    3. Measuring search engine traffic
      11m 5s
    4. Measuring success beyond the search engines
      6m 36s
  10. 9m 19s
    1. Reviewing top techniques for SEO success
      1m 58s
    2. Additional resources
      4m 19s
    3. The future of SEO
      3m 2s

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Search Engine Optimization Getting Started (2010)
2h 20m Beginner Mar 31, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In SEO: Search Engine Optimization Getting Started, author Jill Whalen explains the importance of site rankings and why search engine optimization is necessary for increasing web site traffic. The course covers choosing the best keywords, performing keyword research, augmenting keywords with search-friendly site architecture, creating social media networking strategies, and measuring the success of an SEO campaign.

Topics include:
  • Understanding how search engines work
  • Researching and selecting keywords
  • Adding keywords to web pages, URLs, and HTML markup
  • Writing web page content based on selected keywords
  • Link building
  • Social media marketing without spamming
  • Setting up Google Analytics to track conversions
  • Measuring search engine traffic
Subjects:
Business Online Marketing Web SEO
Author:
Jill Whalen

Measuring search engine traffic

There's so much data contained in Google Analytics that it can be very daunting at first. All the information you get from it is important. So sometimes it helps to start looking at just the bits of data that are important to you. So here is the main dashboard page for the myKindlereviews.com website. This provides us with a quick overview of how many visitors we have and what they're doing on the site. For our purposes right now, we're going to look at the metrics that help us to measure the success of our SEO program. Most of it has to do with the search engine traffic and keywords.

And much of that data will be found in the Traffic Sources tab. So we see within the Traffic Sources section we get a nice overview of where people are coming from to visit our site. This is good to know, because you typically don't want any one source to be providing most of your traffic. One thing we want to look at is the percent of traffic from search. Right now, on the My Kindle Review site, most of the traffic is from search engines with 78.46% coming from search engines. Now, this will be different for every site and it will depend on whether it's optimized or not, and what other marketing or link building you're doing.

You really don't want it to be too high, because if the search engines decide to do some crazy algorithm change, you could lose all your traffic. And you don't want it to be too low because that means your SEO work isn't working well. For us, it appears to be working, but we probably need to do some other forms of marketing to gain traction from referring sites and to get some direct traffic through brand recognition. An average of 50% from search engines is usually good, or even a bit higher depending on the type of web site. My company's web site gets around the 50% mark.

Now let's look at the Search Engines tab, which will show us the number of visitors. So we have a total of 357 visitors from search for a three-month time period. Now again, this number will depend on whether the site is optimized or how well it is optimized, but also what's the interest in what you offer on your site and the overall size of your market. If you're in a small niche or offering something very high-end, you may not get many visitors from search.

But that's okay, as the ones you do get should be highly targeted. If you're a small local company, you probably won't get much traffic from search either. On the other hand, if you have tons of informative content that is of interest to a worldwide or global market, you could get thousands or more visitors per day from search. My company's web site receives more than 20,000 search visitors each month as compared to this Kindle site's 150 or so. So just remember that all these numbers are relative. Now let's look at the keywords that are driving traffic to this site.

Here is we want to see if the keyword phrases for which you optimized are showing up. If you're a company that is somewhat branded, don't be surprised to see a lot of branded keywords here, as in variations of your company's name. Those are good and fine, but if you've done SEO, you want to also be seeing your keyword showing up here. Google Analytics defaults to showing us ten rows at a time, but we can review more by clicking on the Show rows dropdown. Now we can see all our keywords.

Since we only have 126 different keywords for our small site, we can view them all at once. For larger and more established sites, you may want to just view 100 at a time. Scrolling through these keywords, it looks like we're definitely being found for many of the keywords we originally optimized for, Kindle reviews being the main one, [00:03:323.08] which may also have a lot to do with the domain name, myKindlereviews. But we're also getting some traction on some of the book reviews and some other phrases. You'll notice that there are a many variations to the keywords.

While we optimized for Kindle cases, we get found for related phrases, such as cool Kindle case. That's the beauty of SEO. Within here, some of the things to look for are which phrases are missing that we optimized for. If you don't see them or variations of them, then either your page isn't showing up in the search results on the first or second page for it, or perhaps it wasn't as good of a phrase as you thought it was. We can also see on this page, the number of pages per visitor based on keyword phrases.

And we can sort by that as well. A lot of our visitors are viewing more than one page, which is good, and we're keeping them engaged. Related to that would be the average time on site, which we can also sort by. We have quite a range here and also related is bounce rate. Bounce rate means that the visitor came to one page and never clicked to any other. You typically want a low bounce rate. It usually means that either the user found exactly what they were looking for on the page they landed on, which would be the case for the book reviews page, or an article of some sort. There just may be no reason for them to click to other pages of your site. Or the other reason may be that your site just didn't seem to be at all what they were looking for and was irrelevant to their search.

Don't get too hung up on the bounce rate numbers, but do pay attention to it. If all your visitors were bouncing, then something is likely to be wrong. Now we can do something fancy here and see which page the visitor landed on from the search engine by clicking on this second box. This is a neat way of cross-referencing different sorts of metrics with each other. Let's click on this one and look at landing page. Let's also sort it back by number of visits. When you see just a slash, it's your homepage. As we can see, the visitors coming from the keyword phrases Kindle reviews are pretty much getting to the homepage.

The Kindle stands phrase is bringing them to the accessories page, which is good, and the phrases with Kindle case are getting them directly to the Kindle case page, which is exactly how we want it, since we optimized that page for those phrases. On some sites, you may see that many of the keyword phrases are landing people on the homepage. While this is okay in that at least they're getting to your site, it may mean you need to do some additional work on your specific inner pages, meaning either they need some more instances of the keywords used within the content or tags, or perhaps they're buried too deeply in the site and don't have enough internal link popularity or page rank.

You may also want to consider building outside links to those pages, if applicable. Homepages tend to have the most weight with the search engines, since they usually have the most link popularity. The idea is to spread that through the site, so that each page can rank for its own set of phrases. If we click Goal Set 1, we'll now see a different set of numbers. Now let's cross-reference this information with our website goals, so we can see how we're doing in terms of conversions. We have just one set of goals here. If you have put in more than that, you'll see more tabs here.

If we click Goal Set 1, we'll now see a different set of numbers. I set up our Contact Form Thank You page as a goal, which you can see is Goal 1. As expected for this site, I didn't get any contacts. Most business sites that are selling products or services would likely have people filling out their content form, however. So you should see some numbers in here. For us, the clicks on our Amazon affiliate links are actually our conversion points, which is counterintuitive as they take people off our site. But since the goal of this site is to drive people to Amazon to buy the books and products reviewed, it makes sense.

Let's sort by those who clicked on an Amazon affiliate link and see which keywords convert for us. Now here is something interesting that you'll probably notice a lot in your own stats. The phrases that bring the most traffic may have the lowest conversion percentage. While it sounds strange on the surface, it really does make sense. It can be because the phrases that bring the most traffic are also the most general. So you may not have exactly what the user was looking for. But it's also because if you had one visitor for a keyword phrase, and that visitor created a conversion, it's going to be 100% conversion for that phrase.

But that doesn't really mean that everyone who comes in from that phrase will convert for you, so keep this in mind. We can see this here with the Kindle reviews keyword, which brought us 162 visitors, but converted at 1.85%. Whereas electronic book accessories and Kindle case reviews have 100% conversion rate, but only 1 visitor for each phrase. You have to use your own judgment with all this data to figure out what it means for your site.

We don't have branded keywords showing up for this site, but if your site does, you'll probably notice that those are your best converters, which of course makes sense, since people who type your company name into the search engine already know about you, and are specifically looking for you. Those folks are different from the ones who are searching by keyword to find companies they may not already know about. I see this all the time with my company, High Rankings, site. People looking for me by name or by my company name are great converters by either signing up for our newsletter, filling out our contact form, or signing up for an in-person training class.

As far as what to do with this data, you can do some spot checks of where you're converting keywords or ranking in the search engines. Now remember that whatever ranking position you see may be different from what others see. So take the info with a grain of salt. However, if you find that you have some keywords that are converting well for you, but they seem to shop on page 2 of Google, you might want to work on ways of getting on to page 1 of Google for that phrase. So let's do a Google search for Kindle case reviews and see where we're showing up.

Don't see us on page 1. It doesn't look like at the moment we're on the first two pages of Google. It would probably be a good idea for me to beef up my content about Kindle cases. Perhaps I could buy some other cases and write reviews on them. I really need it to be something more link-worthy, which it would be if it were more comprehensive. Even if I didn't want to go out and buy all the different cases, I could still showcase different types of cases. If I wanted to get even fancier, I could try to get some user-generated content by asking people to post their own reviews of their cases in my comments.

We'd basically want to look at other phrases in the same way and see how we might improve our website and links to do better. It's important to note here that if you've just finished your SEO work, don't make too many snap judgments. You'll want to collect at least a few months' data to get a feel for how you're doing and what's working and what's not. To sum up, what you want to look for in your analytics over time is look for the phrases for which you SEOed. Traffic should steadily increase over time. If not, why? Are you not ranking? Are you ranking, but not showing up high enough? Are you ranking, but nobody is searching on it? Also, look at which keywords people are coming in from that are not driving conversions.

You might want to rethink them. Are they too general? Not really what you offer? Or perhaps, your site has poor usability. So people who might be interested can't find what they need or just don't like your site. Try to look at your analytics at least once a month to assess what's going on.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Search Engine Optimization Getting Started (2010).


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Q: In the “Determining competitiveness of keyword phrases” tutorial in the SEO: Search Engine Optimization Getting Started course, the author details the use of the “allintitle” advanced search operator in Google.  While the operator works in the example given in the tutorial, Google will not allow usage of the “allintitle” operator for more than two keywords at a time.  Is there any workaround to this problem?
A: Google’s policy on the “allintitle” operator has become a major problem in trying to do some competitive keyword research. There is a workaround, although it makes searching slower. Follow these steps:
1) Click on Google's Advanced Search link, then add the desired keyword phrase to the Find web pages that have... "this exact wording or phrase." Then click the "+Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more" link.
2) In the "Where your keywords show up:" dropdown menu, change "anywhere on page" to "in the title of the page."
This should allow the use of the “allintitle” search without Google thinking the user is a robot. To do the next one more quickly, just hit the back button of the browser and change to the next keyword phrase.


Q: Allintitle searches on Google seem to yield wildly inconsistent results. How does the author handle such inconsistent data when looking for good keywords? Are these results a recent phenomenon? Can can allintitle searches still be used reliably?
A: Unfortunately, Google has recently made it difficult to do the allintitle searches. It is still useful to a certain extent, but only because there currently isn’t anything better out there to judge the competition of a site.
Q: As a result of Google changing the "select previous interface" function, the methods in used for the Keyword Tool in the tutorials no longer work. Is there a method that can be used with the new keyword search tool that will produce the same results as shown in the training course?
A: Unfortunately, Google switched to the new Keyword Tool and also removed many keywords that aren't "commercially viable" from the database, so the methods in this title will not work exactly as described. You can still change from broad match to exact, but it is, unfortunately, harder to find. Right now, there does not appear to be a more effective way to do keyword research. Unfortunately, the other vendors that provide keyword research tools for a monthly fee are no better than Google's free one. The best advice for now would be to not focus too much on the keywords and just pick those that seem to be the most relevant for your site.
Q: Google AdWords looks different on my Mac than it does in these tutorials. Can you help me find the option for "How would you like to generate keyword ideas" (either  "descriptive words or phrases" vs. "website content") that you show in the video on using the Keyword Tool?
A: The Keyword Tool has changed slightly in appearance since this course was published, but the functionality is essentially the same. Under the "Find keywords, Based on one or more of the following", you can choose to enter keywords, have them restricted to suggestions based on a certain website, or even based on a category, such as Apparel. You can use one or more of these options.
Q: Where can I learn more about internet marketing?
A: Discover more on this topic by visiting internet marketing on lynda.com.
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