August 10, 2011
Houston SEO Google Analytics
Houston SEO Google Analytics Metrics
Houston SEO knows that since every site has different characteristics depending on the purpose it serves, it is hard to make across-the-board evaluations for every site on the web. However, Houston web marketing encourages you to tend to the following best practices in Google Analytics.
There will always be slight fluctuation in the metrics. Keep an eye on the rate of change per month. Site performance should be steadily increasing. If site performance is not steadily increasing, there could be many reasons for this. Recent site or optimization changes affect performance. It can take around six months for optimization changes to start showing results through the site visits. Other reasons for fluctuation in per month performance can be attributed to anything from an extra weekend in the month (business sites receive much fewer visits on weekends or holidays), a change in payperclick phrases (higher converting phrases that may cost more), seasonal business changes, or a change in the way visitors are entering and moving through the site. If you are concerned about the fluctuation of your site visits per month, a better comparison to understand the state of your site would be to compare the visits for the same time period over different years. These reports will eliminate seasonal variation and reflect optimization changes.
Houston SEO Interprets Your Analytics Report
A few things to check for to determine site health include the bounce rate. The bounce rate describes visitors that enter your site and leave in less than a minute. These visitors were either not looking for the type of site that you have, or they entered the site and immediately left because they found what they were looking for right away – such as a phone number. The average bounce rate for sites is 70%. Anything lower than that is fantastic. This means that the search engines, payperclick, and referring sites are sending many people to your site who are actually looking for your services. You can find these metrics in the Traffic Sources section of Google Analytics. To get a lower bounce rate, you may consider tailoring your optimization to the keywords that are generating higher conversions.
Other reports that I like to look at to determine site health include the number of pages the average visitor to your site see, and how long they spend on the site. The top content and landing (entrance) pages should be index or product description pages. Don’t be scared of the report that says “exit pages.” Every one who enters the site must at some point leave it, and an exit doesn’t indicate that they have lost interest even if they have not converted. Ideally you will see the contact page as one of the top exit pages.
The keywords report contains the words people actually typed into their search engine boxes to enter your site through. This reflects the way visitors entered your site, and these words should be relevant to your content. Keep in mind that your site appeared on many other searches under many other keywords, and those are the keywords people clicked through. These keywords should be different from the ones that the site is optimized for, but only slightly. The keywords the site is optimized for are the ones that your Houston search engine optimization company is telling search engines to categorize your site under. The Google Analytics keywords come from search click-throughs.
Keep in mind that there are many different types of visitors. Ideally for the business, all visitors would be ordering boxes. However, in reality there are visitors who order your services, visitors who are just there to look or learn, and visitors who stumbled upon the page and leave immediately. The visitors to pay closest attention to are the ones who travel to the contact page, and the ones who did not bounce off of the page. You should set up advanced segments and custom reports in Google Analytics that track the landing, content, and exit pages of this relevant traffic. From these reports, you can make changes to the site and optimization to generate more conversions from visitors.
If you have any questions about Google Analytics reports, contact Houston Internet Marketing Company Directory One at (713)465-0051.
August 9, 2011
Houston SEO What Is Link Building
Houston SEO experts know that an important part of optimization is link building. Link building used to only mean internal and inbound links. Internal links are links from one page on a site to another page on the same site. These links are usually in the form of text links, and the text they link through should contain the primary Houston Search Engine Optimization keywords for the site.
Inbound links are usually text links from blogs, deep links in directories, and inbound links from other sites. In the past, SEO strategies encouraged the accumulation of many links. However, a good Houston SEO Company knows that quality links matter more than quantity. Inbound links should be carefully selected from niche directories that drive relevant traffic to your site, as well as directories and sites that have a high Page Rank.
Remember that as of the Panda Update last February, link building has changed a great deal. Inbound links do not carry quite as much weight as they used to. Google did factor social media use into the algorithm. Social media ends up overlapping with link building, because social media creates inbound links to a site. These social media inbound links also relate to trustworthiness of the site, site activity, and popularity on the Internet. Cumulatively, link building and social media can make up about 24% of site traffic.
Local map listings are also very important, as are citations. Local map listings are the Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yelp listings that detail your business address and site. Many people use these directories to find local businesses, and the results will show immediately in Google Analytics. Customers review the business here on the local map listings through Citations.
Google recently changed the way citations from different domain names show up on Google organic searches. Citations used to appear cumulatively and greatly affect the order of map listings, however now you must click through to the reviewing domain to read full reviews. Google did this because of legal issues with the referred to sites. Citations are still very important. However, right now Citations posted directly to Google may be more relevant to SEO than ones posted to, say, Urbanspoon or Yelp.
Houston SEO How to Check Your Inbound Links
Houston search engine optimization checks inbound links at www.yahoo.com. In the search toolbar, type “link:www.yoursite.com” and hit Enter. A list pops up of all the links related to the domain name you entered. To see only the inbound links from link building, and to exclude inbound links from your own site, select Show Inlinks: “Except from this domain” at the right side of the navigation bar at the top of the page. The remaining links are all of the inbound links to your site.
While you’re on this site, it’s a good idea to check the links from your top competitors for organic search engine results. Finding and acquiring the same quality inbound links as your competitors is a great way to improve your organic search engine results and find relevant niche directories to your business.
You will probably find that many of the top competitors in Houston search engine optimization have bought links in the Yahoo Directory, Business.com Directory, or are listed in Dmoz – the best directory on the web. To keep up with these competitors, I would highly recommend that you also join those directories. They will help drive relevant traffic to your site. To learn more about link building and Houston web marketing, contact Directory One at (713) 465-0051 for Houston SEO services.
August 8, 2011
Houston SEO Social Bookmarking
Houston Search Engine Optimization How to Create Social Bookmarks
Houston SEO Services know that social bookmarking helps your site rank on SERPs. Social bookmarking is when you save bookmarks to a third party site. The best part about social bookmarking is that once you save the bookmarks to your profile, you can access them from any computer that is connected to the Internet. No longer will you be limited to a single browser or machine! You can also add tags to your bookmarks, and make them private to your profile or public for all users to see. Of course, public bookmarks are best suited to Houston web marketing. These public social bookmarks can be shared by and with other profiles on the social bookmarking site.
Houston SEO Social Bookmarking Services
Houston Internet Marketing uses several different services to create social bookmarks. Here are a few of the most popular services:
My personal favorite social bookmarking service is Del.icio.us. Go to the Del.icio.us homepage. Here you can create a Del.icio.us account with your Yahoo! Account, or create one from scratch. Fill in the information and follow the directions to create the account. You can even import existing bookmarks from your browser, or multiple browsers, and finally get them all organized in one place!
Once you’ve logged in to your new social bookmarking account, follow the directions to add the “Bookmark on Delicious” link to your browser quick links. You can click this link from any page to quickly create a bookmark within your delicious account. Test it out by clicking the link now. A bookmark to this page should pop up. The “Title” is what will appear within your bookmarks to describe the site. “Tags” is where you should write words that relate to the site content. For example, for the Directory One Blog you could write “houston search engine optimization marketing seo sem blog.” All of these words are great tags to describe the content of this blog. After you create the tags you want to describe the page, hit “Save.”
A list of your tags will always be on the right side of your delicious bookmarks page. You can click these links to view all the sites you have bookmarked for each category.
Above the list of your tags is a list of four blue links. Click on “Save a new bookmark” to list a new URL. “Create public profile” manages the way you appear to the public. “Bulk edit” allows you to add tags, manage, and delete multiple sites in your bookmarks. “Browse these bookmarks” is especially useful when you visit other people in your network. When you click this link, delicious minimizes to a navigation toolbar at the top of your web page. Click the left and right arrows to browse through someone’s bookmarks.
One of the best features of social bookmarking is finding out what other people are bookmarking. Check out my social bookmarks here. To add me to your network, on the top right of my profile page, under the Search bar, is a blue link that says “Add to my Network.” Go ahead and click this link. Take some time to browse through my links and feel free to bookmark the ones that are useful to you. Please send me a message to let me know what you think.
For more information about social bookmarking, SEO web design, Houston Internet marketing and Houston search engine optimization, contact Houston SEO Company Directory One at (713) 465-0051.
July 27, 2011
Cute As An Asynchronous +1 Button
New Asynchronous +1 Button for Houston SEO
At this Houston SEO Company, we believe in staying on top of new developments in the industry. Google recently announced a few changes to the new +1 button. Now the button renders 3x faster on web sites! If you are a Houston web developer, you don’t even have to do anything to implement this change. The change is active on all sites that have the Google +1 button installed on them.
The other +1 button announcement Google made today is the introduction of a new asynchronous snippet for the button! If you are a Houston web designer who uses Google Analytics to measure site metrics you probably remember when Google introduced the asynchronous Analytics code, which replaced the slower Urchin code. In asynchronous codes the browser downloads the button at the same time as the site loads. This is great for site speed. Unfortunately, if you already have the +1 button installed on your site this means you will need to change the code on every page of your site.
To Install the +1 Button for Houston SEO:
If you don’t have the +1 button installed on your site, read on to find out how to install Google +1 with the asynchronous code. Installing the code is a two-part process. One snip of code goes where you want the +1 button to render, and the other snip goes after the last plusone tag. Copy and paste the following code into your site (minus the exclamation marks, so the HTML works):
1. This tag goes where you want the +1 button to render:
You can actually install one of four versions of the previous code, depending on the size of the +1 button that you would like to see on your site. The other three versions look like this:
< !g:plusone size=”small”>
< !g:plusone size=”medium”>
< !g:plusone size=”tall”>
2. This tag goes after the last plusone tag:
po.src = ‘https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js';
var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’); s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s);
If you don’t know about the relevance of the Google +1 button, read our Houston Search Engine Marketing blog entry about it! In short, this button helps Google determine your SERPs by reinforcing site authority. The +1 button’s metrics appear in Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, which is a fairly clear indicator that Google is serious about developing this button and integrating it in depth into SEO and SEM.
Since the +1 button has not been in use for very long, we can probably expect additional changes in the near future as Google works out additional hiccups in the beta phase. Contact our Houston SEO Company Directory One at (713) 465-0051 for more information.
July 22, 2011
Houston SEO XML & HTML Sitemap Help
Houston Search Engine Optimization recommends that every site have an XML and an HTML sitemap uploaded to the server. If you are unfamiliar with these terms or don’t have both files on your site, read on to find out how to make them, what purpose they serve, and what to do with them once you have them. The purpose of a sitemap is to outline all of the links on your site in one place to make it easier to find the information on your site.
Houston SEO HTML Sitemap
The HTML sitemap (sitemap.html) is a page hosted on the site. It is usually reached in on-site navigation through a link at the navigation bar at the bottom of the page, or through a link in the top navigation bar. This HTML sitemap consists of links to all of the pages on your site. It is useful to site visitors, as well as to search engines like Google that crawl your site.
The structure of the HTML sitemap typically breaks the links up into the corresponding site organization. One example would be a site with content that is broken up into SEO Web Design Services, Spanish SEO Web Design Services, Company Profile, Design Portfolio, Blog, and Contact Us. The sitemap.html for this example could be broken up into those subtopics, with services branching out to Search Engine Marketing, PPC Campaign Management, Website Design, Website Hosting, Domain Name Registration, Consulting Services, Content Development and so on. There may be additional breakdown detailing these services, but you get the idea. The HTML sitemap for this example may look like this:
SEO Web Design Services
- Search Engine Marketing
- PPC Campaign Management
- Website Design
- Website Hosting
- Domain Name Registration
- Consulting Services
- Content Development
Spanish SEO Web Design Services
Houston SEO XML Sitemap
The XML sitemap (sitemap.xml) also lists all of the pages on your site, however it only consists of code and will not be accessed by site visitors. Since this file tells search engines like Google which files to crawl through your site, it is vital to successful traffic.
XML sitemaps should contain information about the url location, how frequently the page is changed, and the importance of the page to the site (highest page priority is 1, lowest is 0). Here is an example of what the code looks like:
Houston SEO XML Sitemap Troubleshooting
Make sure that you do not include any pages on the XML sitemap that you don’t want search engines crawling. Some examples include strings that end in pdf, pages related to your RSS feed (/feed), pages that have robots on them, and pages that contain /wp-content/ or /wp-login/. These pages are related to your blog structure, and do not contain any content that informs search engines about your site. If you include any of these files on your site, they may generate an error and the sitemap won’t work.
Houston SEO Generates XML Sitemap
Generating the code for your site may seem like a daunting task. Luckily, there are many free XML sitemap generators. Make sure to choose the site you use carefully though. Some sites return only a list of URLs they found when crawling your site without the location, change frequency, or priority. Other sites don’t filter out the URLs search engines shouldn’t crawl through, although sometimes they offer an option to plug in code that tells the program what not to include.
How a Houston SEO Uploads XML Sitemap to Webmaster Tools
After you generate your sitemap.xml, upload it onto your Webmaster Tools account. You can do this by navigating to “Site Configuration,” then “Sitemaps.” Upload your sitemap.xml here. If there is ever a problem with the sitemap, after it is crawled a big X shows up next to it. Click on the file link (sitemap.xml) and Webmaster Tools tells you at what line (or lines) return errors.
Don’t forget to update both of your sitemaps every time you add new HTML content! If you have any problems with or questions about your XML Sitemap, please contact our Houston Search Engine Optimization Company at (713) 465-0051.
July 20, 2011
Houston web developers use a variety of constantly improving tools to track the way sites function. Our Houston SEO company spends a lot of time between Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools, among other programs. One of the interesting new developments in these tools is a recently added function that allows users to link accounts for the same site together in Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.
There are three ways to link Analytics and Webmaster Tools:
- For sites that already have both Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. On the Webmaster Tools Home page, click the “Manage Sites” link on the right side of the page, adjacent to the site listing. Select “Google Analytics Profile” from the drop down menu, and click on the Analytics Profile that matches the website you are managing.
- If you don’t have Analytics set up on your site yet, you can create a Google Analytics account from this page. Click the corresponding link at the top of the page, adjacent to the site name, and you will be directed to Google Analytics, where you can sign up for the account using your URL. You will be required to access the FTP site and drop a snip of code in the <head> of the site in order for the account to start reporting and collecting data. The code will need to be added to every page on your site, which can be time consuming on a large site that doesn’t have includes. It’s worth it in the long run though, if it means you can see how your site functions.
- If you have Analytics and are new to Webmaster Tools, you can verify Webmaster Tools with your Analytics account. What a relief! I know the amount of code you insert into your site to track metrics can add up, and it’s nice when you don’t have to add any new code. The two other popular methods of verifying Webmaster Tools for your site include adding a meta code to the head of every page on your site, and dropping an html file on the ftp site in the /public_html folder.
If your site has both Analytics and Webmaster Tools under separate email addresses, and you wish to link the programs, you can add users at the bottom of the page that pops up under the “Add or Remove Owners” drop down menu for “Manage Sites” in Webmaster Tools, or add user access in Analytics at the bottom of the profile’s page under “Edit” “Actions” in the Analytics Settings. Remember that if you grant an email address Administrator privileges, that email address can access reports for all profiles in the Account. User privileges allow access only to the profile the access was granted in.
Why link Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools? This option was done at user request to integrate the two programs, so that users don’t have to constantly log in and out of sites during the day – provided that both accounts are listed under the same email address. Right now there is not a lot of interaction available between the programs, however Google does intend on further developing the integration. Currently, integrated sites are allowed to see an Analytics Referring Pages report (which is great for tracking natural search engine optimization services) from the Links to your site page report in Webmaster Tools. This provides more detailed data about the sites that are driving traffic your way, which is imperative to tracking online lead generation.