Archive for October, 2008

Test your Website Visitors

Doing regular usability testing with your website visitors is a best practice in managing your agency’s website. In a typical approach, users one at a time or two working together use your website to perform tasks, while one or more people watch, listen, and take notes.

Usability testing allows you to measure of the quality of a user’s experience when they interact with your website. It’s one of the best ways to find out what is or isn’t working on your site.

Millions of Web sites offer users information, goods, services, and entertainment. But many of these sites are difficult to use, don’t work properly, and ultimately don’t attract or keep users. By following a usability engineering process, user’s abilities to find information and satisfaction with Web sites improve significantly.

Friday, October 31st, 2008 Search Engine Optimization No Comments

Effective and beneficial ways of link partners

Building links is, without a hesitation, one of the most effective ways of ensuring a successful web site. The benefits of linking are multi-faceted and can answer in better search engine ranking, increased targeted traffic, and improved content value for your site visitors.

To achieve the objective of better SE ranking, however, your linking strategy must focus on setting up the correct structure while obtaining links from the “right” partners. That is the single, most effective policy for elevating a page’s relevance – the key to top placement. Relevancy should be your most important principle in determining link partners.Since a search engine’s primary task is to offer the most relevant search results for your search query, your inbound links from other sites must, or should, assist the engines in defining the content of your site.

Relative linking will provide your site with links from pages that are utilize some of the same keywords or key phrases. This will assist in your achieving top placement for those keywords and phrases. It will also help drive the kind of targeted traffic that is previously, potentially, pre-sold on buying what you have to offer.

Friday, October 31st, 2008 Link Building No Comments

What is an authority link?

There are different types of authority links like absolute authority links and relative authority links. Absolute links are divided into two different groups like informative authority links and navigational authority links. Informative authority domain like CNN News has trusted domains that provide more information. Certain websites like Yahoo directory are navigational authority domain because it has the ability to pass topical relevance. Relative authority links are obtained from sites which have information content, that focus on niche, as a result of which all the rest of the websites in your niche automatically accept that website as the ultimate authority in your niche. Such websites get lot of traffic. Technorati is one of the favorite sites when it comes to authority sites. Due to its reputation and traffic, it offers fresh and highly relevant results in its search functions.

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 Link Building No Comments

Supplies for Search Engines

Providing a search function is one of the requirements for managing your agency’s website. A search engine will help the public find the government information and services available on your website.

In limited cases, such as small websites, a site map or subject index may be used as a substitute of a search function. The search purpose should allow visitors to:

  • Search all files on the website that are anticipated for public use
  • Display outcome in order of relevancy, based on search criterion
  • Offer a timely reaction, comparable to industry best follow
Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 Search Engine Optimization No Comments

Web Analytics Products and Services

There are many different commercial web analytics products and tools used by government agencies. Key criteria for selecting products are:
  • Price
  • Training available for your web staff
  • Ease of use
  • Vendor viability
  • Features and functionality

Because most leading metrics tools have similar features and functionality, you may find that other criteria such as vendor support and cost are more important.

Friday, October 24th, 2008 Search Engine Optimization No Comments

Major flaws in link popularity

Links below site level two doesn’t exist – Most search engines index only content in the top levels of your website. They have no idea that links exist beyond the secondary level simply because that they does not search beyond the secondary level. In other words, 5000 links pointing at your website, but all of them exist on pages beyond the second directory level, a search engine will determine that your website has zero links.
Email links can not be counted – Users have spend more time using email than they do surfing the web.
Free for Alls, Spoofers, and Link Schemes abound – Any time the search engine comes up with a new way to rank pages, someone has comes up with a way to trick the search engine.
Unauthorized URL has submitted to search engines – When the search engine folks first have decided to count links, I don’t think that they ever thought it would inspire people to begin submitting more links than they ever had, including other people’s pages.
Friday, October 24th, 2008 Link Building No Comments

What is link popularity?

Link popularity is a process of search engine optimization where you try to get a large number of links that point to your web site from other websites which have a very high page rank. It is the quality of links that really matter and not the quantity of the links that matter. Building quality links through reciprocal link exchanges is a simple but very powerful website promotion solution. Reciprocal link building will increase traffic, improve visibility, promotional resource, saves advertisement money, and saves time for your website. Links from anchor text is much more important than Google PageRank. Certain other features can increase link popularity for your site like directory links, press releases, news items and links. Increase in link popularity can benefit your business.

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 Link Building No Comments

Keyword Analysis

If you imagine that building an optimized site is like cooking a meal, then keywords are the essential ingredients. Would you attempt to cook a complex new dish without first referring to a recipe? Would you start before you had all the ingredients available and properly prepared?
In our analogy, key words are your ingredients and the rest of the guide (after this part) is your recipe. It is vital that you start by investing time in key word research. This may surprise you, but I would recommend you spend at least 25% of your time on this activity alone! That’s 25% of all your time, including the time you spend designing your site, building it, optimising and promoting it! Quite an investment, eh? But believe me, if you din’t get this part right your meal will not be a very satisfying one and no-one will want to eat it!

What are your 10 key words?

You may think you know straight off. You are likely to be right about most of them but you will almost certainly make three common mistakes. Firstly, you will tend to pick single words (rather than chains of words). Secondly, you will tend to pick the same words used by other people. Thirdly, you will compound this by overusing these key words on your site and underusing related key words. The result will be a poor finished product and sub-optimal ranking or traffic.

So please be patient and walk through the following steps. From part two , you will remember Doug (who sells antique doors, door handles, knockers, door bells or pulls and fitting services).

Like Doug, you should start with a visit to the Overture Keyword Selector Tool (which I recommend in preference to Wordtracker, which is a paid service, and the Google Adwords: Keyword Suggestion Tool, which does not indicate the popularity count of each search phrase). This tool allows you to check for recent word search combinations (and their derivatives) on the Overture search engine, returning search frequencies for each.

Doug enters “antique doors” and is surprized to find that “antique door knob” and “antique door hinge” score higher than “antique door knocker” (his best selling product in the high street store). But far higher still is the category level combination “antique door hardware”. He had never guessed searchers could be so savvy.

Next he tries “antique door knocker” and finds a single derivative “antique brass door knocker”. He had not thought seriously about making brass a keyword. Now it is pencilled in on his list.

Trying “antique door bell” and playing around, he discovers “antique door chime” is about as popular (reflecting a difference between UK and US english). This is also very enlightening, as he is hoping to sell to the US audience by mail order.

Perhaps you begin to see my point. As you will see later in the guide, I recommend a separate page for each product, service or information topic on your site. Through your Overture search, you should come up with an “A” list of about 10 key words for each page. At least four of them are likely to be site-wide in their applicability and common to each page. The remaining six will be page-specific. Put any left-over words onto a second page entitled “B” list.

In Doug’s example, he decides he wants antique, door, brass and hardware on each page in the site. On the door knocker page, he wants (in addition) the key words knocker, iron, decorative, engraved, pineapple and lion.

You too should do the same. If you find this activity overly difficult, can I suggest you revisit your proposition? It is quite possible you have not yet properly thought that through!

Which key words do your competitors use?

Through searching for door knockers on Google and focusing on the top 15 results, Doug brings up their pages. He uses the menu option “view-source” in Internet Explorer to look at the key words used in the page metadata.

He is surpised to find some consistent themes. For example, almost all of the sites he finds whilst searching for “door knockers” also include “door knobs” in their metadata for that page. He also finds that several have used old as one of their kewords, in addition to antique.

Don’t read me wrong here. Metadata (particularly in isolation) is not the route to high search engine rankings (as you will see later). However, top 10 sites generally have done well with their optimization more generally (and their metadata is likely to reflect quality keyword analysis, repeated throughout the site in other ways).

Another key tool is the Google Smackdown, permitting you to compare the overall frequency of two competing keyword sets across the whole of Google’s results. Doug compares “antique door knob” with “antique door knocker” and finds the former is hugely overrepresented on the web compared to the latter (with over 2,000 results vs. under 200). He knows that knob is not searched on ten times more (from his earlier work) so decides to concentrate on knocker as a word where he has less competition.

However, Doug confirms the effectiveness of all competitor combinations using the Overture tool and revises his list to include some of these new words, relegating “pineapple” and “lion” to his B-list, in favour of “old” and “knobs”.

How many related keywords can you identify?

Now for an important third step. Navigate your browser to the GoRank Ontology Finder – Related Keywords Lookup Tool. Like Doug, try entering “antique door knocker” and look at the results. For “antique”, the tool suggests related keywords of old, classic, antique, furniture, vintage, rare, victorian, antiques, collectible.

Hmmm. Now he can see why his competitors use old in their list! Doug runs these related words back through the Overture tool and finds that “Victorian door” yields some decent results, so adds Victorian and Edwardian to his B-list (something he had never thought of previously).

Imagine if Doug had started with victorian door knockers as his gane plan. The Ontology finder would have shown him that antique door knockers was a much more sensible combination. He would then have been changing his A-list.

As Search Engines move ever further towards the use of semantic intelligence in their ranking systems, the use of relared keywords will become ever more important. Make sure you future-proof your site through the liberal use of such words in page text content. More on this later in the guide.

Building key word chains

Perhaps it might surprise you to learn that (based on research by OneStat.com), 33% of all searches on Search Engines are for two word combinations, 26% for three words and 21% for four or more words. Just 20% search on single words! Why does it surprise you, though? Isn’t that what you yourself do when you are searching? Even if you start with one word, the results you get are generally not specific enough (so you try adding further words to refine your search).

Bearing this in mind, it is vitally important to come up with 3-5 keyword chains for each separate page on your site. When you write your page copy later, you will need to ensure that these keyword chains appear with reasonable density in your overall text.

Like Doug, pay a visit to the ABAKUS Topword Keyword Check Tool. Put in your competitor sites one after another and check out the results (using the default search settings). Study closely the two-word and three-word combinations that come up most frequently for each of your key pages in turn.

Through Doug’s exploration (for his door knockers page), he comes up with three favorite two-letter combinations: “door knockers”, “antique door” and “antique hardware”. For three-letter combinations, he settles on “house antique hardware” and “brass door knocker”.

Doug is surprised to note that “door knockers” is more popular than “door knocker”. He has learnt another key lesson; always pluralise your key words where you can. You will achieve higher traffic this way (becuase of the way search engines handle queries).

For a typical 10-page site, you should now have approximately 65-70 A-list words (with four of those being site wide) and perhaps as many as 200 B-list words (many of which will be related key words). You will have perhaps as many as 50 key word chains. Congratulations. You now have all the ingredients you need to get cooking.

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 Link Building No Comments

Build traffic, value through reciprocal link exchanges

Reciprocal links catches on in popularity. It’s a way of site owners to share each other’s traffic, a simple “let’s trade links” deal that can help to widen your web audience. Swapping link helps you with your search engine traffic. Some of the search engines calculate the number of links to your site from other sites and use it to determine your ranking.
Another way of reciprocal links can benefit you is by drawing repeat traffic back to your website. If you offer a high quality list of relevant links, visitors will return often because they know that they can quickly find that what they are looking for.
One of the way is approaching the reciprocal link is be proactive. Make sure that site owners may get several link requests everyday. Reciprocal linking is basically sit back and wait for others to approach or link to you. Reciprocal link is one of the way to steadily build targeted traffic and add value to your website.
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 Link Building No Comments

Don’t Duplicate Existing Content

Avoid duplicating or recreating content that already exists on your own or another federal public website. This is a best practice for managing your agency’s website.

Your audience can become confused if they find overlapping or inconsistent information on the same subject, either on your own website or on another federal website. The best practice to ensure accurate and quality web content is to create it once by the organization having the greatest expertise and use it many times, through links. By focus your efforts on creating content related to your own mission and using links to related content you save time and resources. It normally takes much less effort to spend some time looking to see if content already exists than (re)creating it.

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 Search Engine Optimization No Comments