Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Android Smartphones Generate the Highest Share of Web Traffic estimates that Google’s Android operating system now generates the highest percent of smartphone web traffic with Apple’s iOS in second place.  Android, which essentially came out at the same time as Blackberry OS, has risen to 37% share while iOS has remained fairly constant around 25% over the past two years.  The biggest loser has been Symbian as the major OEMs that were using it have migrated to Android or Microsoft (in the case of Nokia).  The Series 40 line is for Nokia’s mid-tier feature phones along with some of the Vertu luxury phones.

It is interesting to see that Android has a majority market share in devices (UK is close enough) but that its web traffic share is at 37%.   While Android’s web traffic may not get to its device share due to a large portion of its units having lower capabilities, especially in Asia, it does appear that the gap between usage and units will continue to shrink.

Monday, March 4, 2013

40 Essential SEO Terms Marketers Should Know

Do you want to optimize your website but have trouble communicating with the technical folks running it? Jargon alone shouldn't stop you from making your site the powerful marketing tool it can be.
This is a list of the 40 most essential search engine optimization (SEO) terms to help marketers communicate with developers and understand how to optimize their websites.

40 SEO Terms You Must Know!


301 Redirect – A way to make one web page redirect the visitor to another page. Whenever you change the web address of a page, apply a 301 redirect to make the old address point to the new one. This ensures that people who have linked to or bookmarked the old address will automatically get to the new one, and search engines can update their index.


ALT Text/Tag or Attribute - A description of an image in your site's HTML. Unlike humans, search engines read only the ALT text of images, not the images themselves. Add ALT text to images whenever possible.
Anchor Text - The actual text of a link to a web page. On most websites, this text is usually dark blue and underlined, or purple if you’ve visited the link in the past. Anchor text helps search engines understand what the destination page is about; it describes what you will see if you click through.


Blog - A part of your website where you should regularly publish content (e.g. commentary on industry/company topics, descriptions of events, photos, videos, etc.). Each blog post on your website is a new page that a search engine sees, and therefore a new opportunity to get found online.Make sure you keep your blog within your own domain.
Bookmark - A link to a website saved for later reference in your web browser or computer. Social bookmarking sites (example: let users share websites they like with each other. Having links to your site in social bookmarking sites is a sign to crawlers that your website content is interesting to people.


Canonical URL - The canonical URL is the best address on which a user can find a piece of information. Sometimes you might have a situation where the same page content can be accessed at more than one address. Specifying the canonical URL helps search engines understand which address for a piece of content is the best one.
Conversion Form - A form through which you collect information about your site visitor. Conversion forms convert traffic into leads. Collecting contact information helps you follow up with these leads.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) - The part of your code that defines how different elements of your site look (examples: headers, links).


Directory - Just like directories for people and phone numbers, there are directories for websites. Submitting your site to a directory gives you more than just an inbound link; it helps people find you. The most popular web directories are Yahoo! Directory and Dmoz.
Domain - The main web address of your site (example: It's good to renew ownership of your domain for several years. Search engine rankings favor websites with longer registrations because it shows commitment.


The Fold - The “fold” is the point on your website where the page gets cut off by the bottom of a user’s monitor or browser window. Anything below the fold can be scrolled to, but isn’t seen right away. Search engines place some priority on content above the fold, since it will be seen right away by new visitors. Having too many ads above the fold can be seen as a negative issue, too. (See Panda).


Headings - Text on your website that is placed inside of a heading tag, such as an H1 or H2. This text is often presented in a larger and stronger font than other text on the page.
HTML - The code part of your website that search engines read. Keep your HTML as clean as possible so that search engines read your site easily and often. Put as much layout-related code as possible in your CSS instead of your HTML.


Inbound Link - A link from one site into another. A link from another site will improve your SEO, especially if that site has a high PageRank.
Internal Link - A link from one page to another on the same website, such as from your homepage to your products page.
Indexed Pages - The pages of your website that are stored by search engines.


Javascript - A scripting language that allows website administrators to apply various effects or changes to the content of their website as users browse it. Search engines often have difficulty reading content that is inside of Javascript, but they are getting better at it over time.


Keyword - A word that a user enters in search. Each web page should be optimized with the goal of drawing in visitors who have searched specific keywords.


Link Building - The activity and process of getting more inbound links to your website for improved search engine rankings.
Long Tail Keyword - An uncommon or infrequently searched keyword, typically with two or more words in the phrase. Small businesses should consider targeting long tail keywords, as they are lower difficulty and often have more qualified searchers. Common keywords such as 'software' are more competitive, and very hard to rank high for them in search.


Metadata - Data that tells search engines what your website is about.
Meta Description - A brief description of fewer than 160 characters of the contents of a page and why someone would want to visit it. This is often displayed on search engine results pages below the page title as a sample of the content on the page.
Meta Keywords - Previously used by search engines in the 90s and early 00s to help determine what a web page was about, the meta keywords tag is no longer used by any major search engines.
mozRank - A logarithmic ranking provided by SEOmoz from 0-10.0 of the number and quality of inbound links pointing to a certain website or page on that website. A 10.0 is the best linked-to page on the internet, and a 0 has no recognized inbound links.


Nofollow - When a link from one site does not pass SEO credit to another. Do not use nofollow when linking to internal pages in your website. Use it when linking to external pages that you don't want to endorse.


Page Title - The name you give your web page, which is seen at the top your browser window. Page titles should contain keywords related to your business. Words at the beginning of your page title are more highly weighted than words at the end.
PageRank - A number from 0-10, assigned by Google, indicating how good your overall SEO is. It is technically known as 'Toolbar PageRank.' Note: PageRank relevancy is changing.
Panda - Refers to a series of updates released by Google to its search engine ranking algorithm that are intended to discourage people who create large amounts of mediocre content in an attempt to claim many keyword rankings without generating much value for users. Read a marketer's guide to understanding Google Panda here.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) - Advertising method in which an advertiser puts an ad in an online advertising venue and pays that venue each time a visitor clicks on his/her ad. Google AdWords is the classic example of this.


Ranking Factor - One element of how a search engine determines where to rank a certain page, such as the number of inbound links to a page or the contents of the title tag on that page.
Referrer String - A piece of information sent by a user’s browser when they navigate from page to page on the web. It includes information on where they came from previously, which helps webmasters understand how users are finding their website.
RSS Feed - RSS stands for 'really simple syndication.' It is a subscription-based way to get updates on new content from a web source. Set up an RSS feed for your website or blog to help your followers stay updated when you release new content.


SERP (Search Engine Ranking Page) - The page that you are sent to after you run a query in a search engine. It typically has 10 results on it, but this may vary depending on the query and search engine in question.
Sitemap - A special document created by a webmaster or a piece of software that provides a map of all the pages on a website to make it easier for a search engine to index that website.
Social Media - Online media created by and shared among individuals. Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter are popular social media websites. Links from many social media sites now appear in searches. It's important to have links to your site spread throughout social media.
Spider - A computer program that browses the internet and collects information about websites.


Traffic - The visitors to your site.
Title - The title of a page on your website, which is enclosed in a HTML tag, inside of the head section of the page. It appears in search engine results and at the top of a user’s web browser when they are on that page.</font></span></p> <p> <span style="line-height: 23px;"><font face="Trebuchet MS, sans-serif">Traffic Rank - The ranking of how much traffic your site gets compared to all other sites on the internet. You can check your traffic rank on Alexa.</font></span></p> <p> <span style="line-height: 23px;"><font face="Trebuchet MS, sans-serif"><br></font></span></p> <p> <span style="line-height: 23px;"><b><font face="Trebuchet MS, sans-serif">U</font></b></span></p> <p> <span style="line-height: 23px;"><font face="Trebuchet MS, sans-serif"><br></font></span></p> <p> <span style="line-height: 23px;"><font face="Trebuchet MS, sans-serif">URL - The web address of a page on your site (example:</font></span></p> <p> <span style="line-height: 23px;"><font face="Trebuchet MS, sans-serif"><br></font></span></p> <p> <span style="line-height: 23px;"><font face="Trebuchet MS, sans-serif"><br></font></span></p> <p> <br></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> </div>

Redirect Old Domain to New Domain via .htaccess

When you migrate a site from one domain to another, it is very important that you don’t break all the links that you built to your old domain. Proper redirection of all the pages on the old domain to the same location on the new domain will ensure that visitors to the old domain will end up in the right place.  A failure to redirect will result in a loss of visitors as well as search engine rankings.
We are assuming that your web server uses Apache for the purpose of this tutorial.  If you have not made any changes to your overall site structure, but have simply relocated the site in its current state, you can add the following lines to your .htaccess file located at the root of your old domain:

  RewriteEngine On
  RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$ [OR]
  RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$
  RewriteRule (.*)$$1 [R=301,L]
If you have made changes to your site structure, you can still use the lines above on your old domain, but you will also need to create redirects in the .htaccess file on your new domain to handle the specific site changes.
To redirect a single page to a new location on the same domain, use the following syntax:
Redirect 301 /old/old.htm
It is possible to create rules that will redirect URLs that follow a certain pattern to a new location.  Since these rules involve complex regular expressions, we do not cover them here.  An SEO professional can help you create these more complex and situation-specific rules.  Just be sure that you use a 301 redirect for relocated content.  Any other type of redirect will not preserve your search engine rankings.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Track Keyword Ranking using Google Analytics

In the past I’ve written about different ways to customize Google Analytics for SEO. This post is all about a new way to track keyword ranking using Google Analytics.
A little background…
There are lots of paid tools that will track where your content ranks in your search results. But my friend AJ Kohn wanted to try and develop a free way to measure rank with Google Analytics.
Actually, he had a brilliant idea: measuring the individual keyword rank, group keywords together into indexes and then track the average rank of those indexes over time – all with Google Analytics.

Add caption
Here’s how AJ describes a rank index:
A rank index is the aggregate rank of a basket of keywords that represent a type of query class that have an impact on your bottom line. For an eCommerce client you might have a rank index for products and for categories. I often create a rank index for each modifier class I identify for a client.
It becomes not about any one term but the aggregate rank of that index. That’s a better conversation to have in my opinion. A rank index keeps the conversation on how to move the business forward instead of moving a specific keyword up.
After a little brainstorming and testing we think we have a method to do this and would love your feedback.

How This Works

Here’s the general idea:
1. Someone clicks on an organic search results
2. The user lands on your site
3. A custom piece of code that you install on your site collects the keyword and the rank of the result using a Google Analytics event
4. Google Analytics will automatically calculate the average position for the result
5. You create indexes of keywords and analyze the data using the Event reports OR Excel and the GA API
That’s it. Nothing more.
Let’s dig into some of the details of how this work.

The Code

The code is relatively simple. All it does is looks at the referring URL and, if it’s from Google Organic, plucks out the location of the search result and sends it to Google Analytics using an Event.
Here’s the code – feel free to copy it and use it. You do not need to customize the code for your site.

This section of the code parses out the keyword and the search result location. The search result location is stored in a query string parameters named cd.

var myString = document.referrer;
var r = myString.match(/cd=(.*?)&/);
var rank = parseInt(r[1]);
var kw = myString.match(/q=(.*?)&/);
Next there is a check to see if the keyword is (not provided). If it is (not provided) then we make sure that we track the keyword as (not provided).

if (kw[1].length > 0) {
var keyWord = decodeURI(kw[1]);
} else {
keyWord = "(not provided)";
Finally we send the data to Google Analytics using an event:
_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'RankTracker', keyWord, p, rank, true]);
For those of you that have not used events, there are 5 parts to an event:
  • Category: This helps you categorize the events and separate them in the reports.
  • Action: What happened that you want to track?
  • Label: Provides more information about the Action.
  • Value: Some numerical value for this event.
  • Noninteractive: This is a flag, it tells Google Analytics if this event should impact bounce rate and time calculations. If you have no idea what this means read about how Google Analytics calculates time.
For this tracking technique we’re sending the following data with the event:
  • Category: RankTracker – all of the data will be grouped under the Event named RankTracker.
  • Action: [keyword] – the action will collect the search term the user entered on Google.
  • Label: [landing page] – the label will be the landing page that the user landed on.
  • Value: [SERP rank] – rank of the search result will be collected for each keyword. More on this in a second.
  • Noninteractive: TRUE – this event will NOT change your bounce rate calculations.
The most important thing to understand is that the rank of the search engine result will be tracked as the value of the event. So as you get more and more visits from a keyword the TOTAL VALUE of the event for that keyword will increase.
Google Analytics will also create an Average Value metric for each keyword event. This value will actually represent the Average Rank for each search result.
Let me say that again.
Using this technique Google Analytics will automatically calculate the average position of your content in the search results.
I also want to point out that this data is generated from real clicks to your site. It’s actual people visiting your site and (hopefully) converting. To me, this makes it a lot more valuable than just tracking ranking that does not result in clicks or conversions.
So that’s how this technique actually works. As I mentioned, all you need to get the data is install the code on your site. Just make sure it appears AFTER the standard Google Analytics page tag.

Raw Ranking data in Google Analytics

Ok, let’s look at some data. It’s all event data, so let’s go to the Content > Events > Top Events report. I’m looking for the RankTracker event category.
Rank tracking data in Google Analytics.
You can find rank tracking data in the Google Analytics Event report.
Clicking on RankTracker I see all the actions for that event, which are really just the search terms.
The search terms and ranking are stored as Google Analytics Events.
The search terms and ranking are stored as Google Analytics Events.
Here’s the cool thing. Remember that the Average Value metric is actually the Average Position for each of those keywords. So for the time range that I’m looking at I’m seeing the average position for each keyword.
Let’s play with this.
Change the data over time graph to plot the metrics Average value. Now you can see the average ranking for all your search terms over time.
Plot your average search result rank.
Change the plotted metric to see your average search result rank change over time.
You can also select multiple rows and plot the Average Value to see how the ranking changes for specific keywords over time.
Plot the keyword rank of multiple keywords.
You can view the changing rank of your keywords by plotting multiple rows.
Another cool type of analysis you can do is use a secondary dimension to view the landing page for each keyword. The landing page is stored in the Label portion of the event. This is something a lot of people do to measure (not provided)
Keyword, landing page and Average SEO rank.
View keyword, landing page and Average SEO rank in Google Analytics.
Now we have keyword, landing page and the average ranking in one report.
We can also group keywords together into an index. The easiest way to do this in Google Analytics is using an Advanced segment. Again, a lot of credit to AJ for explaining how he does this.
For something simple like my blog I can create a segment based on my name and the Analytics Talk brand. That makes it easy to view the performance of that group of keywords.
Advanced segment for a keyword index.
Create an Google Analytics Advanced Segment to group keywords together into an index.
While I can do analysis within Google Analytics, the real value is exporting this data to excel and producing more detailed report. AJ covers that nicely in his post. I’ll post some other methods next week.


The entire reason you should collect this data is to measure how your actual content-creation tactics are working. It’s granular data that helps support your overall strategy of “content marketing.”
If you’re not getting valuable traffic from content and keywords that you are optimizing for then you need to re-evaluate your tactics and change.

Caveats & Things to Remember

First, this data is only for traffic coming to your site. It does not give you the ranking for search terms if you are not getting traffic.
As mentioned above I actually like this approach. If I’m not getting traffic/conversions then my ranking sucks. I need to create better content.
Second, Google blocks the referring keyword data for secure search queries. This includes logged in users, people using Safari on iOS 6 and Firefox. There are no analytics tools in existence that will provide the blocked keywords. In Google Analytics you’ll see the keyword (not provided) in your data. You’ll also see (not provided) in this data.
So there you have it. We (me and AJ) hope that this techniques helps people track rank freely and more effectively. Feel free to innovate and develop on top of it and let us know what you think.
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