Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What are sitelinks

One of the common questions that I get from my clients is - "How can I get my sub-page links listed along with my website URL in Google search result when I search for my company name?". Phew! such a long question. To begin with, these links that appear along with your domain name in Google search results are called "Site-links".

Basically, it is out of the Search engine optimizer's control to enable sitelinks in organic search result. Google has a process that produces these sitelinks which is executed through its algorithm based on various criterias. This typically occurs when someone searches for a brand or a company name in Google. It should be understood that not all sites get these sitelinks, it occurs mainly for websites that are huge, meaning sites with multiple subpages which should also be indexed by Google robots. Few of the criterias that enables these sitelinks are - the navigation format, the main navigation links and the popularity of these links. So it is obvious that one has no control which links of your website will appear in a sitelink.

If you had guessed 'relevance' also plays an important role, then you are right.

Hope this information was useful to people who wanted to know what sitelinks was.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Does Web Analytics help SEO?

Yes Yes Yes. It definitely does help SEO.

Very recently, I faced a situation where the client was adamant that he is only concerned about SEO and how his keywords rank. He was not interested in understanding how web analytics will be useful for his business and how it helps SEO. For him Web analytics is not important. Only if he had a little bit of sense, he would understand that reaching his target audience and serving them better would be beneficial, rather than just pleasing his boss.

So with no luck, I was trying my best in educating this educated fool and explaining to him that selecting keywords and achieve high rankings is not enough. We should understand the traffic our SEO efforts are generating and the valuable data's that we could get to analyze further and come up with strategies to improve the website performance. Though I convinced him, he was still not willing to implement it. I am sure he will learn his lesson, become a bit more prudent and understand the power of web analytics and will seek my assistance in a short while.

There are many web analytics Gurus who talk in depth about what we can derive from web analytics. But let me just brush through the benefits and let you understand some basics.

You can find out the following if you have web analytics set up in your website.
1. Find out how many people visited your website.
2. Understand where your customers come from (country and city) and which markets are most profitable to you.
3. How much time they are spending in your website.
4. What keywords they used to find your website.
5. Which domain is getting you the largest traffic.
6. What is the most visited page in your website and what was not. Analyze it further and understand why people are leaving your website.
7. Find out how much traffic is generated through organic search engines.
8. How new visitors came to the website and what was the source they used to visit you.
9. Analyze your online marketing campaign performance and how much traffic they brought you. Whether if was effective or not.
10. If you have ecommerce - you can find out how many people purchased through your web-store.
11. Find out the navigations patterns of users.

After you understand all these data's, there would be many questions arising in your head. You can infact dig deep into these data using your analytical tool and uncover many of your unsolved issues. In fact, I love to measure performance by comparing two periods and understand what has changed, whether organic search engine traffic has improved, which campaigns brought in higher ROI, what has improved and what to do next. It definitely gives a lot of insight if you analyze it in a micro level which takes you to the next level.

Keep tracking!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Why do SEO results take time?

There are two ways for your website to appear in search engines, one through organic search results (SEO) the other through Pay per click (PPC) campaigns also referred as Search Engine Marketing SEM. Few things common among these two are - they display quality listings and most importantly they are displayed through relevance. The difference are - organic results take time to deliver results but is a great method to practice as it would increase your targeted traffic to your website over a period of time, a kind of good long term investment. Whereas PPC results are instant but the life time is short and an expensive exercise compared to SEO as you need to continously invest money for your advertisements to appear.

Organic SEO will give you good results if you are willing to wait instead of gaining immediate results. It is much more valuable to be listed highly in the organic results than in the PPC advertisements. Practice patience when going with organic SEO. It may take time but it will be worth the long term results you reap. The best reason to use organic SEO is that it is a low-cost method to promote your website. It can take up to three to six months to see results after optimizing your website. The major part of the work is completed once you have optimized the website. Use an analytical tool find how visitors are finding your website and what keywords they are using to find you.

If your submitting your website in search engines for the first time, you can expect a three to six month wait before your website gets indexed. But if you have a link pointing back at your URL from a website that is being crawled regularly then the wait is not that long.

However if you want to see immediate results you need to start investing in PPC campaigns, better still, use both SEO and PPC. The best combination for success involves using both SEO and PPC services. If you do not want to use PPC and see results using organic SEO only, then you need to wait a long time as it takes more time to achieve results.

When you run a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaign, your Ads/results are show up quicker than SEO. PPC results are displayed as soon as you create and submit them, it would be available for users who are searching for your product/service. PPC requires a budget allocated on a monthly basis for your advertisement to appear.

To conclude "If Patience is not your virtue then I would recommed that you should implement PPC campaigns simultaneously with your SEO. Because you cannot receive immediate results through SEO activity."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

SEO results - its not that easy!

The heading says it all. Today, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a very important role in the Internet business world andit is the most refined medium to reach your precise target audience. But very seldom do organisations make use of this huge opportunity as most of them are unaware of its benefits and its long standing effectivess. The less serious they are - the tougher it would be in the long run. Companies/individuals who are aware of this strong and powerful medium are fighting in the online world to capture search engine visibility for their industry related (competitive) keywords. When i say competitive - it means the phrases and keywords that are commonly used and searched by your target audience. They do know that if they are to reach the millions of customers who are searching for their services/products that it is important to be available to them when they are searching for you.

So how are they fairing up in India? A good question! To answer it short, I would say the awareness is slowly catching up, but way behind. It takes time to educate them about the effectivess of SEO, as they all believe that SEO is an easy process. The first question that I am normally asked when I meet a new client is - When will my website be no.1 in Google? How many visitors would I get in 3 months time? Very valuable questionfrom any business point of view. But they do come to know after the educational meetings that organic results take time, the process we follow most importantly an ongoing process.

So if your services/products are to be found, you have to make sure that your site is properly optimized and be available in the most powerful tool used by customer today - the "SEARCH ENGINES".