Archive for the ‘search engine optimisation’ Category

Google analytics

June 25, 2007

I recently watched a video podcast by Robert Scoble about paid search engine marketing. I recommend it as a primer. Watch it here.



New web site looking ok

June 20, 2007

About six months ago I launched a new website for the non-profit.  It really did not rank well with Google. Best advice said that it would take at least six months to show better rank , well it’s about three months and starting to see some growth in visitors – which is nice!

tracking visitor movements

June 12, 2007

I was thinking it would be nice to see the movements of the visitors to our web sites (mouse move, click etc) and had just started to collect mouse movement and scroll action javascript snippets when I thought it was best to check if anybody else had got something going.  I though Google Analytics might have spomething like this built in, but if it does, I can’t find it.  But a few services are out there, and I am going to give them a try, they are: crazyegg, robotreplay and tapefailure.  If anybody has experimented I would be plaesed to hear of your experiences.


Organic search results at Google

June 3, 2007

Seth Godin has a nice link to an NY Times article on Google’s department for search rankings, and he states that the only future way to guarantee rankings is to rely on producing naturally popular content.  After spending some months working at my non-profit doing my best to learn about how best to market our online services I tend to agree with Seth, but not entirely. 

 Most respectable SEOs will agree that links to websites are the major contributing factor, but design of content to best fit Google’s idea of well structured, is no different than employing marketing to design materials that are suited to a target audience. 

I commented on the idea that SEO, Usability and Accessibility are converging to Bill Slawski, the SEO by the Sea,  and his well articulated response in the comment section to his article on mindmapping audiences and tasks convinces me that we are right, and that there is indeed convergence.

Perhaps SEO has been filling a gap in the market for decent quality online marketers and pragmatic usability professionals.  Certainly old media marketing companies have been slow to see the opportunities for Internet search advertising in organic results.  And usability professionals are an exclusive bunch that have charged a lot of money for results that all too often unquantified by anything more than a few usability test results.

But maybe the gap is closing although I would say that SEO is so far ahead it will take some time marketing and usability professionals to catch up.

Automated content generation

June 2, 2007

Aaron Wall posted over at Threadwatch and also commented on his personal blog how fantomaster had some good responses, aftrer reading these responses I agree they are worth reading.  fantomaster makes good points.

My take is that as long as content is relevant to the readers it should not matter how it is derived. Programing software to identify content, say, by keywords, is no different than instructing a junior employee to source articles with a brief, say, ‘find some articles about dodgy car dealers in Birmingham ‘.  In the end the readers are the judge of what works and what doesn’t surely, they will just move on if content is irrelevant.

After all nobody ever had a long term relationship with Eliza did they?

Dave Clarke.

Relationship between SEO and usability/HCI

May 30, 2007

When SEO is raised in discussions, people most often start rambling on about keywords and Pagerank, they don’t often bring up usability or information architecure.  To be honest, that’s how I have also thought, at least until now, recent posts by Aaron Wall and Bill Slawski are starting to me think I have got mature SEO professionals all wrong.

Bill wrote a very interesting response to my question about the relationship which I very much agreed with.  I would like to hear more on this subject though, does anybody have any links?

Some things I think are correct about web site prominence in Google..

May 28, 2007

Age is just a number

The time that a website name (domain) has existed affects the position of that website’s pages in Google search results.  Old websites do better, although new websites seem to get a period of grace where this rule does not apply.  Which would make sense as this provides a window of opportunity for new sites to gain readers.  This seems to one of great debates issues of the field of Search Engine Optimisation, it seems likely that time is a significant coefficient in the equasion that is used to calculate the position of a websites pages in Google’s results.   Nice article about age on the web

Write accessible content

The changes that one would make to improve a website for those with sensory disabilities will help Google’s content scanner (Googlebot) to comprehend your content.  Actually this makes sense if you accept that Google’s little content scanner is not a person but simply a program containing a set of judgements applied automatically to each website.  The state of Computer Science means that visual and semantic interpretations of websites is not possible on the scale that Google must process website pages, and so the Googlebot must use a pretty simple set of judgements based on the set of words it encounters.  At least one simple test can demonstrate this, create web pages, one with the HTML tag H1 (top level heading) followed by a paragraph.  Create another, say, using two paragraphs, and see which one Google makes more sense of, Google’s content scanner will certaily be more likely to make the snippet that appear in search results equal to some or all of the text the the paragraph in the first example.  The World Wide Web Consortium created a great document about this topic back in 2000.

More content on a single page

Don’t be afraid to put more content on fewer pages, Google’s content scanner, like people, it seems is quite happy to read longer text and makes sense of it all rather than skip back and forth between multiple pages.  Web pages with a small amount of content typically assume that the reader is fully aware of the topic being discussed (how many times have you arrived on page 4 of an article and then had to search around for the page 1 link?).  This task takes a lot of human brainpower to complete if you think about it, a computer is very unlikely to be able to comprehend the linkage between pages required to comprehend the whole article, and so Google is likely to make less sense of it.  So make it easy for everyone and put more content on a single page, within reason of course, you don’t want things to take too long to load.  SEOmoz has a great example.

The company you keep: don’t accept gifts from strangers

In everyday life your friends, work colleagues, and customers help a lot by recommending you, whether you want to start a business or simply write an article and have it read.   Google also takes notice of recommendations; more and more trust is becoming important to Google at it tries to weed out websites that it is uncertain about.  This upsets a lot of people who  see this as inequitable, however, ask yourself, how do you prefer to choose your holidays or next television?  Probably from companies that are recommended by your friends, or by publications with a history of making good recommendations I imagine.  Why should you expect Google to recommend your website if nobody also is recommending it? 

I am sure you receive requests to link up with other websites, think carefully before you do this, Google judges these relationships much as one judges a person by their friends, and a business judges another business by its partners and customers.  When discovered for using practices Google deems unacceptable a web site is punished, usually by being removed or moved very far down the search results Google serves up to users.  This might also be applied to web sites that link to the rotten apple.  Google’s has a long memory , and the wrong association may be very hard to shake off, Google  is not known for being responsive to contact from small businesses or individuals. 

Article about Trust on the web

Please feel free to disagree, I might add more to this list, as I think something written in simple form can benefit those people who are not too technically minded.