Posts filed under ‘Blogging Tips’

Web Marketing Metrics

Measuring success of your online Online marketing efforts is a critical, but often underutilized in many web marketing initiatives. Recently I took a survey for Jupiter Research and one of the questions got me thinking about the different metrics that companies use:

  • Brand impact (i.e., increased brand awareness, intent or favorability)
  • Number of impressions
  • Position of paid listing
  • Number of clicks
  • Ratio of new to returning visitors
  • Amount of increased website traffic
  • Duration of website visits
  • Amount of increased traffic to physical store
  • Amount of increased volume to call center
  • Number of leads generated for products sold online
  • Number of leads generated for products sold offline
  • Number of immediate sales generated for products sold online

One metric used by many SEOs is the position of organic listings, which is missing from the Jupiter survey. I would estimate 9 out 10 SEOs still use ranking reports. That includes my SEO firm.

Why use ranking reports when it’s traffic and sales that matter most? Ranking reports are one of the few measurable activities you can engage in without relying on access to client data. As long as you comply with search engine guidelines for running them, use an API for example, then they can be a useful but elementary indicator of a site’s online visibility. Ranking is a logical precursor to traffic and can be a good indicator for the effect of search engine optimization efforts. However, it is not the objective as I often find myself reminding prospective clients.

A few other organic ranking metrics that are not included in the Jupiter list include:

  • Number of pages indexed
  • Number of overall inbound links
  • Authoritative citations/links
  • Referring traffic sources
  • Referring search engines
  • Top keyword referrals
  • Top keywords by revenue
  • And many more items found in good analytics packages

If blog optimization and marketing is part of the mix then you can also add the same analytics as a web site plus:

  • Number of RSS feed subscribers
  • Number of RSS to Email subscribers
  • Top posts
  • Top feed readers/aggregators

Online Public Relations also brings another set of metrics to the table:

  • PRWeb stats: impressions, media reads, blog links
  • Number of release mentions
  • Referring traffic from release to landing page or site
  • Conversions from release
  • Position of release on Yahoo and Google News
  • Number of new inbound links
  • Number of editorial pickups (articles)

Many of these are for internal reporting and some are for client reporting. Not all are appropriate and I am missing several – these lists are by no means comprehensive. I am curious what metrics you find most useful?

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Originally by Lee Odden from Online Marketing Blog on March 7, 2006, 12:22pm

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June 21, 2006 at 6:15 am Leave a comment

How to get a #1 ranking in Google

There are four major ways to get traffic to your site: search engines, links from other sites, feeds (especially blogs) and advertising. Of those four, a lot of effort is spent trying to get a good ranking in the various search engines, especially Google. Why? Because a good ranking is a sure way to get a lot of traffic, and the #1 spot on the search engine results page (SERP) for a given keyphrase is a prime traffic generator indeed. (Well, assuming anyone’s actually searching for that keyphrase…)

Some readers I’ve talked to have expressed surprise in discovering their own page in the #1 position on a Google SERP. “How is this possible?”, they ask, “when there are no links to my page and it has no PageRank?”

There are two fallacies here. One is that the Google “link:” command shows all the links to a given page. It doesn’t, it only shows a partial list of pages that meet some unknown criteria. A better way to find out who links to your page is to search for your page’s URL while excluding your own site. For example, to find out which pages in Google link to http://www.memwg.com/blog/adsense I can do this search:

www.memwg.com/blog/adsense -site:memwg.com

As I write this, the search returns about 252 results. Try it here (opens new window).

The second fallacy is that PageRank is required to rank. But PageRank is just one ranking attribute. The lack of PageRank doesn’t mean you won’t rank. Of course, the higher the PageRank the better — think of it as a tie-breaker for similarly-ranking pages. Also, the PageRank you see reported for a page isn’t necessarily accurate. Remember that the Google Toolbar is just presenting a scaled approximation of the page’s actual PageRank on a convenient 0-10 scale.

So how do you get a #1 spot in Google? Well, the first thing to do is get the page indexed. You can submit the entire site using the link on my handy Search Engine Submission Pages list, but it usually takes a while for anything but the first page to actually make it into the Google index. The easiest way to get a specific page into the Google index is to link to it from a blog that is frequently crawled by Google. This is why the spammers talk about the “blog and ping” approach, because it gets their spam more quickly into the search engines.

Actually, I lied. Getting it in the index is the second thing you want to do. The first is to do basic search engine optimization on the page based on the keyphrase you’re targeting. You know the drill:

  • Keywords in URL somewhere, ideally separated by hyphens
  • Keywords in title, near or at the beginning
  • Keywords in headings
  • Keywords near the top of the page

Really basic stuff. Once the page content is optimized, then link to it from a blog.

Will this work for all keywords? Of course not! You have to choose the right keyphrase. One where there aren’t a lot of pages in the index already, or where the pages that rank near the top don’t highlight the keyphrase as well as you do.

And that’s the hard part: getting a #1 ranking in a competitive area is hard. Because you’ll be competing against sites with high PageRank. Because you’ll be competing against sites that Google views as authoritative. Because you’ll be competing against sites that are older (the age of a resource currently plays an important part in Google rankings — if you have an old domain lying around you might want to consider using it to give your content a boost).

One trick that people use is to “narrow” the desired keyphrase by adding one or two more keywords. This can let you grab a #1 spot for the keyphrase and at the same time may get you to rank highly (but not necessarily in the top 10) for the “wider” keyphrase. For example, I have the #1 spot in Google for electronic fence guide. But I also have the #4 spot for electronic fence by itself. (Long-time readers will note the change — the keywords used to be “invisible fence” instead of “electronic fence”, but the lawyers for Invisible Fence made me rename my site to the Guide to Electronic Fence and Pet Containment.)

Don’t work too hard at grabbing #1 spots, though. Work on your content, keeping the simple SEO principles in mind. Many #1 rankings are accidental. I’ll freely admit that my #1 ranking for blackberry development (for my BlackBerry Development Notes page) is accidental and amusingly outranks Research in Motion’s own pages. I got it, though, because I provided some good information on a specialized topic. You can do the same thing!

Originally from An AdSense Blog: Make Easy Money with Google on April 27, 2006, 11:15am

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June 21, 2006 at 6:15 am 1 comment

Blog Optimization

There’s all sorts of buzz about blogs lately and yet so many companies are still wondering what to do about it. In fact, there are a tremendous number of business Business blogs that are not realizing much of their potential visibilty on the web. Why? Because they’re not optimized.

This is very much the same scenario that occurred with web sites in the late nineties. Back then I worked with a company that sold web sites – lots of them. But after getting the site up and running, the traffic didn’t come by itself. So we figured out optimizing for search engines and that was the start of my SEO career. Blogs can generate traffic without search engines, but WITH search engines it can be even better.

With blogs, there exist as many or more optimization opportunities to optimize as with a web site. While most blog software is more search engine friendly out of the box than many web sites, the opportunities for blog optimization are readily available. For our SEO and blog marketing consulting service, we have a very long list blog optimization tactics to employ. For this post, I’ll focus on a short list that can make a difference for any blog.

Why optimize your blog?

  • Increase rankings of the blog on BOTH regular search engines as well as blog/RSS search engines
  • Increase traffic to the blog from multiple sources such as social search (Yahoo MyWeb, Google Personalized Search) and social bookmarking sites (del.icio.us, Digg, Furl or Blogmarks)

A blog is just a website that uses a content management system, so most standard SEO tactics apply. There are also optimization tactics specific to blogs.

Consider keywords when writing your blog post titles. Some blog software allows plugins that can suggest keywords. Otherwise, you can use Google Suggest or one of these free keyword suggestion tools: Digital Point, SEO Book or Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Keywords should NOT determine your content (unless it’s an AdSense blog).
Optimize the template. Make sure post titles appear in the title tag and append the title tag (hard code) with the most important phrase for your blog.

Example: ” Interview with Brett Tabke – Online Online Marketing Blog
Online Marketing Blog is included on every blog post title tag automatically.

Also use the blog post title as the permalink. If you’re using keywords in the blog post title, then they will occur as anchor text in the permanent post link. While you’re at it, just make the post title a permalink.

Make it easy for your blog readers to subscribe and include RSS feed subscription buttons or “chicklets” in a side bar or on a dedicated Subscription Info page. Here’s a handy RSS Feed Button creation tool.

Optimize Categories. When you create categories for your blog, be sure to consider keywords in the titles. When you post, be sure to default to a general category that is relevant no matter what the post is about. Choose multiple categories on each post when appropriate.

Social bookmarking sites can be excellent sources of traffic to your blog, so be sure to make it easy for readers to bookmark your blog posts. You can do this by adding some code to your blog template for each of the major social bookmarking sites. Here’s a tool for social bookmarking links. Here’s another tool that uses icons instead of text links.

Submit your blog to RSS and Blog directories. Also submit the blog to regular directories such as (DMOZ, JoeAnt, GoGuides, MSN Business Central, etc) that have categories for blogs.

an style=”font-weight: bold”>Ping the major RSS feed and Blog search engines each time you post. This can be configured with blog software such as Movable Type or WordPress WordPress to work automatically. If you’re using Blogger.com, then you can do this manually with Pingomatic or Pingoat.

Comments and Trackbacks – Be sure your blog software is configured to send a trackback ping to blogs that you cite within your posts. Pay attention to press releases distributed by PRWeb. If you cite a release, and ping the trackback link, the press release will in turn link to your blog. This is better for driving traffic than for link popularity.

Make useful comments on other blogs. Your name will be linked to the blog url that you enter. Do NOT make comments that offer no value to the blog post. Do NOT use keywords in the field for your name, use your name or blog name.

Offer RSS to Email. Almost 30% of our blog traffic comes from readers that perfer to read blog posts via email. There are several free services available for this including: FeedBlitz (what we use), Squeet, Zookoda (this one is more for using blog posts as a weekly newsletter), RMail and Bloglet.

No matter how many optimization tactics you employ on a blog, there is no substitute for quality content. Blog optimization is only as effective as the quality and usefulness of the content you’re optimizing.

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Originally by Lee Odden from Online Marketing Blog on March 22, 2006, 3:59pm

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June 21, 2006 at 6:14 am 2 comments


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