The Search Blog
Sunday, August 28, 2011
What You Need to Know About Long-Tail Keywords
Have you heard the phrase Long-tail Keywords? Do you know what they are or how to use them? If you are an online marketer you really need to understand the impact long-tail keywords can have on being found through search engines.
Long-tail keyword searches are often used when someone is trying to look for a specific thing. They might type a question into a search box with their keyword phrases within the question. (ex., Where can I find a pink polka dot bikini?) Pink Polka Dot Bikini is a long-tail keyword. Typically people will search for just the generic keyword term, bikini, if they are only interested in bikinis in general. However, if they are ready to buy a pink polka dot bikini, that's the phrase they will use for their search.
Internet Marketers have been using these keywords and keyword phrases for awhile now to help rank in the search engines and get their websites positioned in that #1 spot. What this does is help them better answer the question their potential customer is asking. By using the keyword phrase, pink polka dot bikini, when someone searches for the exact term, it's a perfect match for the person searching and will most likely result in a sale.
The more specific you can make a keyword phrase, the better chance you have for someone to find you with that phrase. When you decide to target long-tail keywords, you are positioning your site to be found by those who are typing in a more specific targeted search. If you are trying to rank high with other more popular keyword phrases and are aiming to get on the top spots in the search engines with the more common or generic keywords, you could possibly be losing out on these more specific searches.
However, if you want to be found by those people who are ready to buy when finding exactly what they are looking for with the long-tail keywords, this method works much better. According to Wikipedia statistics recent long-tail keyword research has found that long-tail searches often exhibit a higher conversion rate by up to 200% compared to short tail (generic) keywords, and can be extremely profitable for search engine marketers in terms of a lower cost per action and higher return on investment.
If you are a marketer who is interested in using Pay Per Click as one of your advertising methods, choosing long-tail keyword phrases could end up saving you money. By using the more popular keyword phrases since they are more in demand can cost you a pretty penny. By targeting long-tail keyword phrases, you not only have less competition, but have a better chance of reaching the exact target market you would like that will end up purchasing your product.
Doing your keyword research to find these long-tailed keyword phrases is crucial to determine which ones are the best phrases to use. Wordtracker is a great program that will enable you to type in various keywords and find the best long-tail phrases that are being searched for within that niche. Also, Google's keyword tool is another good resource. You should always track your results when using keyword phrases so you can see which ones are producing better sales and views. Once you have found a few long-tail keyword phrases that have desirable statistics, you can then use these for other marketing methods to gain as much as you can from your advertising efforts.
By Terri Brooks
Monday, August 22, 2011
Using Google Analytics To Increase Sales
Google Analytics can help boost the amount of sales through your website. This is done by means of tracking the number of visitors to your website, as well as tracking the behaviour of your visitors, so that you can focus on improvement.
By installing a Google Analytics account, you will be installing a tiny tracking code called the Asynchronous Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC) into the head section on each page of your website. You can either add this code on to every page of your site, or just the pages that you would like to track out.
Once this is done, there are conversion goals inside analytics, that you can set up to measure your key performance indicators. This means, you can set which website page you will count as a goal. For example, some people would view a confirmation page or a contact us form as a goal page, which could mean that either they have a new customer or a new lead.
Once the tracking code is set up and once the conversion goals have been defined, you will be able to track with ease the behaviour of visitors to your site. It normally takes a couple of weeks before noticeable results start to be seen.
Once you get on track with Google Analytics, you can use this tool to track loads of data within it. Some of the things that you can do is, you can track out what are the common keywords or key phrases that people are searching for and in the process reaching your site. You can analyse which of these users become paying customers, and you can further use SEO to streamline your business.
Apart from data analysis, you can also monitor which pages of your website are be best landing pages. This means, you can analyse which are your pages that are most frequently viewed, and also how long people spent on each page. You will also know how many of your visitors visited other of your web pages and how many left your site with viewing only one page. Based upon this last point, you can analyse whether the information was incorrect or whether the page was the wrong one that they landed up on. As far as bounce rates are concerned, these too can be monitored through this tool. However, as these are not all that important, it is wise not to pay too much attention to bounce rates.
George Venables is a leading expert in Google Analytics Training in the United Kingdom.
Saturday, August 06, 2011
Accessibility in E-Learning
The Disability Discrimination Act currently states that every business operating website should offer the basic accessibility requirements, same as in physical premises. With the user becoming more and more the focus of the online world, it was only a matter of time before such an amendment was issued. Applicable in e-learning, this means that the user/learner receives the attention he needs to make the training more effective.
Because the audience of an e-learning course is so diverse, the content should be delivered in different manners, according to the various needs. In the end, everyone should have access to the same information as everyone else. The learning environment should have the ability to adjust to the needs of all the learners in order to be fully accessible. In the end, improving accessibility will lead to a more usable website for the entire learning community.
The problem of accessibility doesn't only refer to users with disabilities. For example, if a website only works on Internet Explorer, but its target audience may be using both IE and Mozilla Firefox or Chrome, then the site is not accessible to a part of the group. Other such issues include the usage of Flash or Java Script for certain applications, which may be inaccessible to some. The same applies to people who have a slow Internet connection or a text-only screen, those who have difficulties with reading comprehension or have their eyes/ears/hands busy temporarily. From the earliest phases, those of design, a website should be created keeping accessibility in mind. Focusing on this matter in the development phase will definitely be more cost effective than doing so later on.
If you want to see the level of accessibility of a website, there are some tests that you can perform:
- Turn off images - This will reveal whether adequate alterative text is provided for every image, which will come in aid of the visually impaired. Note: When uploading images to Moodle, for example, a warning pop-up window appears if you haven't filled in the alt text section.
- Turn off sound - This will show whether audio content is available through text equivalents, which is an important feature for people with hearing impairment as well as those working and learning in a noisy environment.
- Vary font size - Using the browser's controls of text size, the font should change on the screen accordingly, keeping the page usable even at large sizes.
- Test screen resolutions - Resizing the browser window or using different screen resolutions should not require horizontal scrolling. If horizontal scrolling is implied, it could be a disadvantage for people with motion deficit. An efficient screen size tester can be found here.
- Gray scale - Turning the display color to gray scale should result in adequate color contrast. Using different colors in text should be distinguishable for the visually impaired as well.
- Keyboard navigation - To check whether people with mobility impairment can navigate without using the mouse, use Tab, Home, End, Pg Up/Dn. All links should be accessible and navigation should be as smooth as possible.
- Voice browser - The information of the graphic user interface should have equivalents available in voice or text browser, which has to sound meaningful when read by e.g. Microsoft Narrator.
These tests can show you the weak points of your website, so you can begin to make improvements. Make sure that there is at least one alternative available for every potential disability. Even if you implement these accessibility guidelines in the initial phase of the project, you can still use the tests as check-up when the site is up and running.
Are you looking for more resources to help you create training materials, hosting online training, or tips for rapid development of online training?
Visit http://www.vtrainingroom.com today. There are articles and tips may help you solve your problems and get new ideas you can implement in your training programs.
Friday, August 05, 2011
Basics of SEO and Reputation Management
If you own a business or company, and you're looking to get noticed and to increase traffic to your website, you're probably considering thousands of options. You could advertise on the radio, or on the TV, or you could stand on the streets handing out flyers if you really have nothing better to do with your time. More and more people, though, are realising the advantages of an alternative - search engine marketing.
Rather than spending money and time on expensive advertisements, search engine marketing will let you target the people you want to. A TV advert could be seen by thousands of people, and only ten of them could show an interest in what you're selling. Effective search engine marketing will ensure that the people who see you are the people who want to see you - they search for keywords, your result shows up, they click through to your site, and those views will convert to sales in no time.
To effectively market yourself on search engines, you'll need SEO skills. SEO, or search engine optimisation, is the art and science of using keywords, key phrases and background coding and design to create websites that rank highly in online search engines including Google. It can take years to become knowledgeable at SEO, and with the web climate constantly changing the things learned yesterday may not be relevant today. It's important to constantly stay on top of the latest developments, and to keep your own content fresh and unique. Otherwise, you could see your website dropping down in search results, or it could disappear completely. Done right, search engine optimisation can be the most powerful marketing tool imaginable. Done wrong, it could break your company in weeks.
As well as appearing in organic searches, an effective search engine marketer will want to create artificial appearances on search engine results. Google AdWords, for example, will allow you to pay for advertisements to show up when people search with relevant key words or terms. Even if your website's not showing up in the main Google search results, it can appear at the side or the top to grab attention. Paying for marketing through Google AdWords can increase your website's chance of being viewed, and can offer a fantastic return on investment when you target your campaigns effectively.
To be the best at search engine marketing, you'll also want to pay plenty of attention to the world of online reputation management. It doesn't matter how much you show off your product or your service on the internet, the web holds a power through the millions of other users spending time on it every day. For every word you use on your own website, and for every promotion you put out, there'll be someone forming an opinion of your business, your product or your service. Word-of-mouth marketing might be the most important form in the world. Impress people, and the message will carry. They'll recommend you, and you'll be receiving orders faster than you can blink. Make a mistake, and a complaint can carry far and wide to give your company a bad image. You'll want to work hard to make customers feel happy with what you offer - in the end, that'll result in positive reviews and word-of-mouth-marketing that can only serve to strengthen your company.
To keep your online reputation in top form, you'll want to regularly monitor where you appear in search engine results, and what you appear for. Also keep an eye on relevant online review sites, to see what's being said about you, and search for your business or company regularly on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus to see what people are discussing. Also search for your own name regularly in Google, in case people are discussing your brand on forums or blogs. It's important to keep a strong online presence in situations such as these. Signing up to social networking sites will offer a unique chance to address consumers and potential consumers, worldwide, as has never been possible before. Now, when people comment or make a statement about your company, you can respond to address their issues. Always take the time to tell someone you're glad they liked your service, and that you'd be happy to see them again, if they post a positive review. Likewise, do your best to help someone and address any concerns they might have if you want to keep them on your good side. The more publicly you can do this, without revealing their personal details, the more people are likely to see what great customer service you can offer.
Online reputation management works in the opposite way to search engine optimisation. In SEO, you want to make sure you rank highly and positively. When you manage your online reputation, you want to push negative comments down so they don't appear when people search. It's as much of a skill as SEO is, and it requires you to keep on top of what people are saying at all times. Promote any positive reviews and testimonials as much as possible, and address any issues with speed to avoid a negative image.
It's important to make sure that you're appearing in all the right places on the internet, with a message that's positive to gain the maximum number of customers. Whilst some websites will allow you to formally request for any negative reviews to be removed, other sites will keep their content up to give a well-rounded view of your company. Ultimately, the best way to ensure that you've got the right online reputation is to serve your customers and consumers well, and to promote yourself positively on search engines. It takes time and effort, but SEO and ORM are the two most vital skills in the running and promotion of a modern-day business.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Beginners' Guide on How to Top the Search Engine
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the prime factors that rule the mind of every webmaster and blogger. One of the major players in SEO is the inbound links, which have a powerful impact on a particular blog and its status in the search engine list. Links that point towards your blog are called inbound links. The inbound links actually form a major and strong measuring meter for the search engines. The more the number of inbound links the better the rank is on the Search Engine (SE) chart.
The inbound links play a pivotal role in determining the position of your blog in the search engine chart. The inbound links are mostly from higher ranked sites and have a great impact on your blog's status. Most significantly, the links that come in are mostly related to the content of the blog and abounds in additional keywords and phrases. All these causes to create a great effect on the search engine rank of the concerned blog.
There are plenty of techniques to bring up the position of your website in the search engine list.
Looking for the ideal key words is the foremost thing to be done in the first place. Choosing the right keywords has a brilliant effect on the SEO process. However, it is not really suggested selecting as many of them as possible. Rather focusing on the important words by placing certain questions in front can be opted instead. Keywords enriched content is always preferred at a rank higher than the others.
Designing the website well, such as, to make it aptly coded and easily navigable helps ideally in ranking the site higher. Keeping the site simple and validated are the key factors to make it rise up the ladder of success.
Themed topics are the trend of the day. So if you want the blog to reach the desired status, its time to work on a niche project rather than on the general of the sort. Doing with a few pages on a particular theme can actually pull you the precious attention of the search engine spiders like never before.
Regularly updating the website or the blog is a must to keep it at a descent position in the list. Updating the blog would invite the SE to visit it more often and may also include it in the index. Choosing an appropriate domain name also contributes in franking the site to a higher position. It is important to check if there exist any other websites by the same name.
Interlinking the site or blog in a proper and convenient way is significant in increasing the popularity of the blog. Equipping your blog with a well coded and defined Site map enables the search spiders to browse through conveniently to the every side of the site. Each and every article and all other details of the blog must appear conveniently available to the search engine optimizers.
Most importantly, while writing on a particular topic we often tend to write long enough covering many other associated subjects at a go. To aid search engine optimization, it is better to divide the topic according to the different subjects, into many small contents. Maintaining a particular optimal length of the topic helps to fetch a decent rank on the search engine. Above all, with quality articles, indigenous endeavors and a proper maneuver, nothing can actually deter you from reaching the top of the list.
A. Karmakar is a successful writer and runs a Content Development Company with a worldwide clientele. You can visit Content Writers Organization to know more.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Keyword Optimization Tips That Work
As an online marketer or business owner who is advertising and promoting products and services online, one of the significant selling methods you ought to be acquainted with and be aware of is on page keyword optimization. Keyword optimization is an essential part in the SEO process. This is very significant because the keywords or key phrases serve as the link of the website to potential customers or target audiences. By means of typing the keywords or key phrases in the search engine boxes, they are able to hit upon your website. But this can only happen if you have a high ranking in the search engines since most of the visitors only click the first ten sites that they see in the search engines. This is the reason why there is a need to optimize and analyze very well the keywords used in the marketing process.
With a proper keyword research and analysis tool, you have bigger opportunities of gaining higher rankings in the different search engines like Google and Yahoo. This tool maximizes your keyword and analysis its capacity to rank high or even top the ranking. Keyword research and analysis tool help you have the best keywords that are relevant to the topic of your marketing content and your niche as well. Moreover, everything about your keyword is being studied carefully. Some of the zones that are analyzed the keyword analysis and research tool are the following: url, title, meta description, meta keyword, body, anchor text, image alt tags, h1, h2, h3-h6. Plus, this tool only suggests keyword phrases that are realistic for you to rank high.
So, if you really are out to become a magnet for potential customers and make your online existence and publicity bigger, you owe it to the keyword research and analysis tool that you use. You should also know and learn everything about internet marketing so as to maximize and boost your online business success fast.
Improve your website rank higher at major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. When your website ranks higher, you gain much more visits which means more sales leads, increased revenue. Want To Know More About SEO and Backlinks Rescource (http://www.e-backlinks.com)
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Google Gets Revealed During Latest Q&A Session
A group of Google employees, including blogger Matt Cutts, sat down on October 22nd in a live chat and fielded questions from some Google users. There were many highlights of the Q&A session, most notably:
- Rank checking software doesn't make much sense anymore (not to mention that they're against our Terms of Service and could result in us blocking your IP address). We use a lot of personalization and geotargeting in our search results - so what ranks high for one user might not rank high for others.
- That being said, Google might be considering releasing its own rank checking software to eliminate all the automated applications such as WebCeO and AdvancedWebRanking)
- On a question of mass article marketing... If you're thinking of boosting your reputation and getting to be well-known, I might not start as the very first thing with an article directory. Sometimes it's nice to get to be known a little better before jumping in and submitting a ton of articles as the first thing.
- None of the search engines penalize duplicate content -- they just ignore the duplicates.
Below are some questions and answers that stood out to me and I have added my own commentary underneath.
What weight does the age of a site and the amount of time a domain is registered for have on it's search placement?
Matt Cutts says: In the majority of cases, it actually doesn't matter--we want to return the best information, not just the oldest information. Especially if you're a mom/pop site, we try to find ways to rank your site even if your site is newer or doesn't have many links. I think it is fair for Google to use that as a signal in some circumstances, and I try never to rule a signal out completely, but I wouldn't obsess about it.
Verdict: The Google algorithm takes domain/web site age into consideration along with hundreds of other factors.
Recently, you removed this suggestion: "Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!" from your guidelines. Is there any chance that you will be discounting these kinds of links for ranking value in future?
Matt Cutts says: There's always the chance that we'll discount directory links in the future. What we were seeing was quite a few novice people would see the "directory" recommendation and go out and just try to submit to a ton of directories, even if some of the directories were lower-quality or even fly-by-night directories that weren't great for users. Right now we haven't changed how we're weighting directory links--we've only removed the directory suggestion from the webmaster guidelines.
Verdict: Continue to submit to high quality directories (I can't stress the 'quality' enough). Nothing's changed with how Google ranks sites regarding directory backlinks.
Since Google is against using ranking software (ie:WebCeO) to monitor SERP rankings, is there any plans on Google creating an approved, in-house rank check application that webmasters can use?
Matt Cutts says: It's something that we've talked about. My concern is that sometimes people get too worried with paying attention to their "trophy phrase" and want to rank for that even if that's not the best phrase for them, or concentrating on one phrase to the exclusion of all the other stuff they rank for isn't the best idea. I think paying attention to server logs or analytics data gets you a really nice array of keywords that are practical to work on. But this is feedback that we've heard, and personally I think it would be nice if we offered this for some reasonable size of keywords.
Verdict: Very cool. Even though Matt's right in that visitor data and conversions count for far more than rankings, clients continue to swoon over where they show up for keywords. Software straight from Google would be a welcomed sight.
Are .gov and .edu back links still considered more "link juice" than the common back link?
Matt Cutts says: This is a common misconception--you don't get any PageRank boost from having an .edu link or .gov link automatically. If you get an .edu link and no one is linking to that .edu page, you're not going to get any PageRank at all because that .edu page doesn't have any PageRank.
Verdict: Makes sense. There are .edu or .gov sites that don't have much authority or value so why should they count for more than a .com on TLD alone?
Recently went through a rebranding of our company name. The old domain name was successful in page ranking, however the new domain name has terrible page ranking. Do 301 redirects transfer the site equity from the old domain to new domain?
Answer: This is a pretty common question, so we actually did a blog post about it recently. In short, 301's are the best way to retain users and search engine traffic when moving domains.
Verdict: For instructions on how to implement 301 redirects in multiple programming languages, visit our SEO tools section at the FreshPromo web site.
Some blackhat linked to my blog from 300+ adult splogs as revenge for calling him out. My blog had #1 ranking for it's keywords, now it is on the second page at best. Can mass amounts of links from "bad neighborhoods" cause a drop in site ranking?
Nathan J says: We work hard to make sure a site can't have a negative effect on another site. Feel free to report spam if you think you find some - https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport
Verdict: Yikes. If it's true that the site in question did nothing on its own then this is a real shame to see ranking sabotage still working on Google.
Any chance of Google favouring sites with valid markup anytime soon? On the principle that if the webmaster has taken the trouble to write valid markup, it's less likely to be a spammy site?
JohnMu says: Since less than 5% of the pages out there actually validate according to study done by Opera, it wouldn't make much sense for us to give the other 95% of the pages any trouble. You can find the study at http://dev.opera.com/articles/view/mama-markup-validation-report/
Verdict: This makes sense, as most validation errors don't even result in a difference of what the user sees on a web page. When invalid markup does hurt, however, is when it results in search engine robots not being able to follow links or index content.
Given, the incoming links are intact and there is no link buying/selling. Can there be any other reason for a drop in Page Rank?
JohnMu says: Assuming the number of links stays the same, it's always possible that some links change with regards to the way they pass PageRank.
Verdict: Wow, how ambiguous was that answer! Let me translate: Can there be another reason for PR drop? Yes. Nothing happens in Google without a reason. My best guess in this specific situation is that the links that link to the direct incoming links to your site have changed (ie. Site A is linked to from Site B; Site B is linked to from Site C, and so forth). Of course the impact is diluted as you move back each link level, but just think of it as a family tree -- how many generations (ie. links) came before you? They all, indirectly, have an impact on how your PageRank is calculated.
How does Google view content that is placed in divs that are hidden/display none until a user does something? These are also good places to stuff SEO content that a user may never see. What is best practise from Google's point of view?
Wysz says: I've addressed this question in the Google Webmaster Help Group here: http://groups.google.com/group/Google_Webmaster_Help-Indexing/browse_thread/thread/b2d09046ab4d5ed/And here: http://groups.google.com/group/Google_Webmaster_Help-Indexing/browse_thread/thread/5d31cc395fe20b64/What is boils down to is intent: If it's there for the user, you're probably safe. If you're trying to deceive search engines... that's risky. :)
I have reported sites that clearly have paid links (e.g. the backlink page says "Advertising" above the link), but Google does not seem to take action. Why would that be the case? These are .orgs who are clearly selling their .org juice.
Kaspar aka Guglarz says: While paid links and spam reports are being taken very seriously by Google, the results may not be seen immediately for users or even not at all. This does not mean no action is being taken on the offending sites. Also, the TLD of the sites should not be a factor being taken into account. For this reason reporting both, web spam and PageRank passing link selling makes sense and contributes in an important way to the quality of Google's index.
Verdict: I wonder under what circumstances the results from reporting paid links "would not be seen at all"... the only scenario I can think of is if two sites pay for advertising on each other. Would that be considered a link exchange, albeit with money exchanging hands?
How many times a year do you update a site PageRanking?
Matt Cutts says: PageRank is re-computed all the time (different PageRanks every day). But we update the toolbar PageRank 3-4 times/year.
About IP addresses, you always used to hear that you don't want to share because you could get punished if you share with a bad site. I'm guessing that's not a concern anymore -- true or false?
JohnMu says: You're right, I wouldn't worry about that anymore. The situations where it would matter are when the server is overloaded (can't respond to your visitors) and when it's incorrectly configured (not returning your site to your visitors).
Verdict: Makes sense. Not everyone can afford dedicated hosting so it wouldn't make sense to penalize those sites who have the misfortune of being hosted on the same IP as spammers.
Is it true that the fewer the links FROM your website, the more influence they have on the sites receiving those links?
JohnMu says: PageRank is split up over the links from a page, but I would recommend not concentrating on this (as you won't be able to "measure" and act upon it anyway) and instead making your site as usable as possible for your visitors.
Verdict: If you wish to pass more PageRank from your own site to another, the fewer external links you have, the better. Your site holds a maximum amount of PageRank at any one time and outbound PageRank is divided amongst all your external links.
John Metzler has held executive positions in the search engine marketing industry since 2001. He is the Founder of FreshPromo, a Toronto-based SEO firm and updates his blog regularly.