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Search Engine Optimization Tips on Applying Web Tools

Different sections of a website affect its visibility among the various search engines. Analyzing a website physically is tiring and time-consuming and this constitutes part of search engine optimization tips done using SEO tools. The widely known applications include those used to identify keyword density and website ranking among the search engines for particular phrases or keywords. Newer tools for other different website applications are available and knowing how to use them and understanding/interpreting their results can help us better our websites.

The keyword tracker is a common tool but for those unfamiliar with it may be difficult to appreciate its description. It is a tool that provides the rank of a website for particular keyword. Of course, we can manually determine this position but it is quite difficult, time and money-consuming if the website does not appear among the top one hundred websites. This tool works conveniently together with a keyword generator tool. This latter tool researches the web for the keywords relevant to your website which you must apply to obtain top ranks. These keywords should then be suitably applied at the different sectors of a site’s web pages.

The Meta tags analyzer is a very important tool if one recognizes and appreciates the significance of title and description tags in relation to the search engines. The title Meta tags is what search engines use to know what a website is all about. This tool therefore analyzes the relevancy of the tags against what the website is about and also calculates the lengths of the same; it is recommended that title tags have a maximum of 85 characters and 255 for the description tag. Based on the results and recommendations, informed decisions about how to optimize the tags can be made.

In addition to the above, there are tools which analyze the links, whether forward or back, in the texts/paragraphs used with the keywords and their relevancy. This is especially important for keywords used as links. Applying web analytics tools also falls among search engine optimization tips in that it helps evaluate what kind of visitors your website attracts and their behavior while at it. These behaviors include how they navigate your web pages, the total time they spend on particular pages, and the website as a whole, among other factors.

Such tools are found independently or as a package. General web tool packages that are found from Google are known as Google webmaster tools. Google’s tools in particular can establish main keywords in the whole website, the number of back links related to your website, broken links if any etc. The search engine optimization tips here can to a large extent ease the task of achieving top ranks with the search engines.

March 31, 2011   No Comments

A quick tutorial on Google Instant Optimization

More than a billion users search using Google each week, making it one of the most used services in the world, both on and offline. To some that may seem like a comfortable place to be, but those in the search business know that’s hardly the case. It only means you have to constantly think of new ways to be better and faster and widen the gap between you and those who want to eat you alive. Google had already made servers fast. They even created Chrome to speed up the rendering of selected pages.

So, what aside from servers and algorithms could be changed?

Here’s a clue.

  • Typing in a search term typically takes about nine seconds or longer.
  • Afterwards, the user spends about 15 seconds reviewing results before making a decision.

To answer the question what can Google change to speed up search? The answer is YOU.

In San Francisco on September 8, Google Vice President, Search Products & User Experience, Marissa Mayer announced the launch of Google Instant which was created to help you search faster by providing predictions and instant feedback.

HOW DOES GOOGLE INSTANT WORK?

Google refers to Instant as “Search at the Speed of Thought” meaning as you begin to type in the first letter of a query, it sends information to Google’s servers which returns a prediction and instantly updates the results.

Let’s go through a quick example.

  • Type “w” in the search bar.
  • “W” will appear in black text. This is text you’ve typed.
  • “eather” will appear in grey creating the prediction: “weather.”
  • The results instantly update showing weather results for your IP’s location.
  • Google Suggestions continue to appear in drop down menu (now called Scroll to Search).


Google Instant For SEO

Google Instant In Action



Instant speeds up the process by:

  • Completing what it predicts the user is searching.
  • Instantly refreshing the SERPs.
  • Making results relevant by accessing local IP information (i.e. your local weather, not just weather).

All the searcher has to do to see local weather is type the letter “W,” so you can see how this speeds up the search and review process. It’s also pretty handy if you’re looking for a book or movie title, lyrics, speech, album name, historical figure, etc. but only remember a few words.

Google Instant Tip: If someone types slowly, they will see a prediction per character. If they type faster, they might only see a prediction or two per word.

SOME COUNTRIES AND BROWSERS NOT INCLUDED

Instant is available in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia. It works with the following browsers: Chrome v5/6, Firefox v3, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8. An expanded list of languages and browsers is expected in the coming months. It is currently not available for mobile users. In regards to slow connections, Google should detect this and automatically shut Instant off. There are also violence, hate, and pornography filters.

KEEP YOUR EYE ON GOOGLE INSTANT

Now that you know how Instant works you may think, big deal looks like Google Suggestions (now called Scroll to Search) to me. True, but I want to explain an important difference. Users spend most of the time focused on the search bar as they type a query. That makes sense, right? Naturally, as a person focuses solely on one area, their range of vision narrows and blind spots are created. With Google Suggestions you have to abandon the focus area and scan down to see results.

Google Instant; on the other hand, forces you to notice by appearing on the exact line you’re already focused on and becoming an extension of what you’re typing. This is one reason why Instant should be taken seriously in terms of SEO.

CHANGING SEARCH BEHAVIOR AND INFLUENCING SEARCHES

Let’s look at another example. This time we’ll search for “South Haven rental homes.” Again, keep in mind these are not the predictions made per character, but at the rate in which I type.

1. The User Types In: “South”
Google Instant Predicts: Southwest Airlines


Google Instant Searches

Google Instant Searches



We don’t want flights, so we’ll type in the word “South” and ignore the prediction.

2. As we enter the “H” for “Haven” Google predicts “South Haven Michigan.”


At this point, a searcher may drop down and scan the results, but would see mostly visitor center and Chamber of Commerce information (which has an accommodations link). As they scan past Scroll to Search results it may catch their attention since it includes “South Haven Rentals.” In addition, the user might alter their search from “South Haven Rental Homes” to “South Haven Michigan Rental Homes.”

Google Instant Tip: if you wanted to include the full phrase that was predicted, there is no need to continue typing, just hit the TAB button.

3. We continue to enter the entire word “Haven.” The prediction remains “South Haven Michigan” with “South Haven Rentals” suggested again below in Scroll to Search.

As the letter “r” for “rental” is added, Google predicts “South Haven Rentals.” This is the third time this phrase has been presented and could alter a person’s search–especially since results for “South Haven Rentals” now populates the SERPs which has been dynamically updated. There are sponsored links, Google Places, AdWords and organic results that are all relevant.

4. Let’s stick to the original query: “South Haven Rental Homes.” Once the full word “rental” has been typed and a space added, Google predicts exactly what we’re looking for and refreshes the results.

In this example, we were able to see search results for a four word phrase after typing just three words, so it definitely speeds up search. As is expected, it’s still being refined. I’ve performed the same searches daily since it launched and am beginning to get different results both in Instant and Scroll to Search.

HOW INSTANT AFFECTS SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Ben Gnomes, Google engineer, stated at the launch that rank will not change for the keywords or phrases, but let me put this in perspective. That’s like saying we’re going to cut off the road before it gets to your house, but don’t worry, your address won’t change. Who cares if rank for a phrase hasn’t changed if the searcher never makes it that far. See what I’m saying? Google Instant is a change in search which will eventually lead to a change in search behavior which in turn may change the words you need to target in the long term.

OPTIMIZING FOR GOOGLE INSTANT

While a user may start a query using a phrase you’ve optimized for, Google Instant may alter the behavior of the searcher along the way.

  • To start, run manual character-by-character searches with Google Instant on for your most important phrases. Pay attention to what appears as a prediction and within Scroll to Search. Are there other phrases you should be optimizing for? Is there an opportunity to get in front of the user sooner?
  • Take a look at relevant terms suggested early on within the search. For instance, in the South Haven example, if a rental home were optimized and appearing within the top three results for “South Haven Michigan” (as long as it converted) they could be seen by potential renters early in the search process and with little competition.
  • Have page two rank and beyond? It’s time to get serious and bump them onto page one. If users get results faster they may be less likely to browse page two and beyond.
  • If you are on page one, it’s time to get above the fold. In Google Instant usability studies they found that users were looking more at results just above the fold as the SERPs were updated.
  • Make a note of repetitions in predictions and Scroll to Search. In our example, “South Haven Rentals” was a phrase repeated and would definitely be worth exploring from an SEO standpoint.
  • Google is favoring speed in every way. Continue to make sure your pages render fast.

HOW GOOGLE INSTANT AFFECTS PAGE IMPRESSIONS

You might be wondering how this affects impressions, since with dynamically updated SERPs your page may appear several times over the course of one search. You might also be wondering how this will affect keyword stats? When a final query is half black text (user entered) and part grey text (Google predicted) which does the impression/click through count towards? Good questions.

We typed in “South Haven Rental” (black text) and Google predicted “Homes” (grey text). Whatever you’ve typed in black in addition to what Google shows in grey is what currently appears in the results. It is also the keyword/phrase that will be counted if someone clicks through to your page.

Throughout the Instant search process, whenever a user pauses three or more seconds on a new SERPs page, that also counts as an impression.

According to Google Engineer, Ben Gnomes, the average search query is 20 letters long and since Instant is basically search by character, not by word, this could result in a very noticeable increase in page impressions. It all depends on how fast someone types and if they pause for three seconds.


NOT JUST A FEATURE, BUT THE FUTURE

Remember, this is SEO. Things are always changing and you need to adapt to succeed. Don’t just sit back and ignore Google Instant or disregard it. Ben Gnomes called Instant a “massive change” within Google and the future of search. Marissa Mayer called it a “quantum leap.” As an SEO you optimize for search so when a massive change is made you can assume there will be, at the least, some minor tweaks to your existing strategy.

Side Note: Google refers to Instant as Search at the Speed of Thought, not necessarily the thought you’re having now, but rather the thoughts of billions of people over a decade. Amazing isn’t it? The world has given Google so much search behavior data, without a second thought, that Google can now finish the thoughts of billions of people each week.



February 25, 2011   No Comments

Sheer SEO – A really awesome (but expensive) tool for search engine ranking and tracking

There is a wide array of free and commercial software and web based tools to choose from – and today, we’re examining Sheer SEO’s online SEO tool.

In order to give all of you reading this an idea as to how well Sheer SEO’s entry in the SEO monitoring market performs, I signed up for the 90-day trial version of their SEO tools. While the free trial doesn’t offer all of the features of the full, paid versions, it does provide enough to give users a taste of its capabilities.

This is actually a suite of online SEO tools which allow webmasters to watch over a number of different factors which play a part in determining their page rank as well as their site’s overall page rank.

Users will find links to pages which display information including the page rank of their site at present as well as historical page rank, ranking for as many as 20 keywords, the top referral links (the links which direct the most visitors to your site), the total number of backlinks, social bookmarks, mentions in Twitter messages, keyword density analysis and details on which pages on your site are in the main index and supplemental index of the major search engines.

A guarded backlinks tool is also included; this feature permits users to be informed of any changes to their highest-value backlinks. Webmasters trying to boost the page ranking of a new site are especially likely to appreciate this backlink guarding functionality, something which does set Sheer SEO’s set of online SEO tools apart.

The tools are available in Light, Standard, Advanced and Professional options, with each providing the ability to monitor more sites, pages and keywords. The full packages also offer more detailed reports (which can be exported in Excel format) and more quickly updated data on their sites’ SEO efforts.

It’s important to realize that Sheer SEO’s online SEO tools are simply a monitoring suite, not a SEO tool per se; they merely allow webmasters to monitor and gather data about how their current search engine optimization efforts are performing. However, it is something which a lot of website owners are likely to find useful either by itself or along with other free or paid SEO tracking suites. This is a great tool for tracking your search engine rankings and if you run a small business seo campaigns for other enterprises, this can be your primary tool for search engine optimization and reporting

Are these online SEO tools worth the price? This, of course is subjective – however, the monthly rate for these services is low and there are a fairly comprehensive set of monitoring and tracking tools here which make Sheer SEO’s offerings at the very least worthy of a closer look. Search engine positioning and search engine marketing placement are increasingly becoming competitive and looking at the returns from the market, if you can afford it, this tool is a great way to build your position.

I haven’t tried the full versions of these online SEO tools personally, but judging from the trial version, it seems this is a set of tools worth giving a try.

October 29, 2010   No Comments

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