Earthquake in Haiti January 12, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti January 12, 2010

via YouTube – Earthquake in Haiti January 12, 2010.

Help in Haiti through RedCross, Donate to help.

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Google Analytics, Keywords Research and Showdown

Few years back I was doing the keyword research for one of my website where I used to publish information and updates about the services offered by Indian Railways, my offerings included every kind of rich and text media that I collected, studied, modified and worked upon according to my own needs. But the most important of them all was the ‘keyword’ in my domain name and proper use of them in ‘text’ articles and information that was retrievable in text from by both ‘search engine’ spiders and humans.

Statcounter Inside View

Inside view of a Statcounter Traffic Report

I was blissfully unaware about Google Analytics at that time and was using some other free and paid services available for the tracking of my webpages and analyzing them. One such service was Statcounter‘s free account. Though there were few limitations like I can not keep log for more than 500 entries and once they are deleted can not use them for analysis on long term basis. Only numbers were available but no the actual data. There were few advantages though that it tracked my webpages live and was able to see the activity on my pages almost in real time (Google Analytics still doesn’t offer it). Though it was not very useful for the long term keyword research and knowing/understanding the keyword trends.

Still today Statcounter doesn’t offer more than 500 log entries for free accounts and Google Analytics doesn’t offer live traffic analysis of the webpages, but there are few things that make Google Analytics slightly more useful a service compared to Statcounter. It is a good idea to keep record of the keywords that send you some traffic 3 weeks ago, 3 moths ago as well as 3 years ago as it offers great insights into the trends. Google Analytics wins here and of course the service is free. You also may integrate it with your Google Adwords account if you want to use SEM services offered by google in future.

Now back to the case we were talking about on SEO and usefulness of long term analysis of the keyword trends that may help you sustain your search engine rank for long time. My domain was placed on the first page of the google for keywords like ‘indian railways’, ‘indiarail’, ‘indian railways ticket booking’, etc. At that time I didn’t even aware about the Search Engine Optimization and SEM and never knew that such thins exists that can help me boost my rankings in Search Engines. I also was unaware about my placement in the search results until I started using Google Adsense and earned a bit because of that Indian Railways website.

That was the first time when I realized the power of better search engine rankings and how it can be useful to professional bloggers and small webmasters. After that I started studying about Search Engine Optimization in particular and Search Engines in general to utilize its power for running professional websites. It is very important to understand how major search engines like Google and Yahoo works and operates in order to understand Search Engine Optimization and ranking better in search results.

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Keyword Research using Google Analytics

In my previous post about Google Analytics we discussed how we can create an account with Google Analytics and can add tracking code to our website. Once we have tracking code in our website we start receiving data from the website and it is stored in our Google Analytics account for the future reference and analysis. There is lot of information stored in google analytics account and many of them are not even needed by small website owners or bloggers. Detailed analysis like screen resolutions and operating systems and setting up different goals or linking your Analytics account with your Google Adwords Account are for experts users and we are not concerned with it right now.

Now once you are logged into your Analytics account you find all your website profiles that you have created are listed there with data linked to them like Visits, Average Time on Site, Bounce Rate, Completed Goals, etc. Click on the website profile that you want to analyse for the keyword Research, you need to click on the ‘view report’ link for the default  monthly view of the profile. A visual description is shown here in the image below for the better clarity of the topic in hand.

Screenshot Analytics Settings - Google Analytics

Screenshot Analytics Settings - Google Analytics

Once you click on this view report link you are presented with lot of visual information, charts, graphs and figures that may overload your sense, but don’t worry as they are pretty simple to understand. Follow this blog with screenshots and it would be very easy for you to under stand how you can use Google Analytics to find good keywords that are already in your site and can optimize them for the better search engine results and rankings.

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Tags Keywords and Categories – SEO Surf View

Many People confuse Tags for Categories or a Subject but they are not. There are few things that keep them different from Categories and they make them more useful for SEO purposes than Categories, especially in WordPress. The most important thing related to SEO that makes the real difference is that Tags provide meta-information, Categories need not. Tags content some meta information as well as can be used as a label to filter certain kind of or type of messages or blog posts and put them under one ‘meta keyword’. Categories in WordPress can not do that atleast for the time being there are limitations.

Though there are few advantages related to categories that we can’t enjoy with Tags. Categories organize, hierarchically and Tags can’t. This is not very important for most of the bloggers who don’t need categories below the depth of one level (Most of us don’t in the real world blogging). So Tags are more important from the SEO point of view than Categories in WordPress, but that is may be not true for all other blogging platforms or CMSes that we need to optimize for Search Engines.

There are few good wordpress articles that can help you to understand the Tags better, few of them are listed below:

Tags and Categories at WordPress.com

Categories v/s Tags at WordPress.com Support

The Problems with Tags and Tagging

Tags have many advantages over categories, as they can describe your blog post in more detailed manner than a category ever could. You can have more number of Tags so more ‘keywords’ and the number is not limited so you can have as many Tags as you want. Tag clouds can give a visitor of your blog a visual idea about what is discussed the most in the blog or the blog is about what topic or topics and hence can generate more traffic for you.

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Google Analytics and Keyword Research

How do your blog is discovered  by various users on internet who use search engines like Goolge and Yahoo to find things and information they want on Internet? It is through the “keywords” that you have in your blog and blogposts and at various places and in meta data of your small website or blog. This keywords are of two kinds, meta keywords targeted basically towards the search engines to tell them what the blog or website is all about and are mostly invisible on page itself from the eyes of regular visitors but can be seen by viewing the source of the page. And there are keywords on your actual content that you use on your website or blog.

For instance a Dog related websites in India should concentrate on two keywords more than any other “Dog” and “India”, and they are (those websites serving content related to Dogs in India) more ‘discoverable’ by users of search engines if they use these keywords properly on their pages. Excessive use of same keyword on a page or on various similar pages may bring search engine bans on some particular pages by de-indexing it or on whole of the domain. This is due to ‘keyword stuffing’ that should be avoided by webmasters for better performance of their websites in Search Engines and to achieve good search rankings.

Google Analytics Access Screen

Google Analytics Access

How do we manage this? There are various tools available for the purpose but the easiest to use is Google Analytics. There are many other advantages related to Google Analytics apart from basic keyword research and we are going to discuss about them at length in near future but our basic goal toady is to understand how Google Analytics is used for the ‘keyword analysis’ on some particular page or on whole of your website domain.

First of all you need to create a Google Account (If you are using Gmail for a while you don’t need to create it as you already have it) to get started with Google Analytics. After you have created a google account you need to login to your Google Analytics account to get started with all the SEO work and keyword research you are going to do using it. Once you are logged into your  google account and click on the Access Analytics button you are prompted to sign up for google analytics account with a screen similar to the one shown in this picture:

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SEO for WordPress and small Websites/Blogs

SEO for WordPress is a good website that provides information about self hosted wordpress blogs. WordPress has evolved a lot in recent years and no more a simple blogging component for your nanny any more. It is a strong tool that web-masters can use for many purposes including small websites, corporate portals, personal blogs, photo and video galleries, online community forums and many more. And this is more true for the self hosted version of the WordPress blog rather than the free one offered by WordPress.com

There are certain advantages of WordPress self hosted blog like greater control over your permalink structure and hence better quality SEF – Search Engine Friendly URLs compared to the wordpress.com hosted one. And it is not very difficult to manage a small wordpress blog with a .com or .net domain name, a top level .tld, and a small shared hosting account that offers few GB or storage at very cheap rates.

Wordpress Upgrade Button on Dashboard

Wordpress Upgrade

You may also use the upgrade options available with the wordpress.com blogs. Here you can have a custom domain name for just $5 a year and very cheap hosting too. You may also enable custom CSS for the theme you are using to have a nice visual effects. Though it may not affect your Search Engine Ranking a lot but they certainly attract more visitors and probably tempt a random surfer to stay for a minute or two on your blog.

There are few things, like submitting your blog to popular search engines like Yahoo, Google and Bing, are very important to any small website owner or webmaster as this is the first step towards making your presence felt to the outer world. Make sure that your Blog, if created through wordpress or any other means, is visible to major search engines. Submitting blog to major search eninges are enough and don’t waste your time on submitting them to small or foreign language search engines unless you are offering proper translated version of your blog.

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Few Good SEO links

OverView of SEO (Search Engine Optimization):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_search_engines

Google Guidelines, Links and Videos for Webmasters/SEO experts:

Google HelpWebmasters/Site owners HelpMy site and GoogleSite management

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Link:
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291

Check out Google’s Search
Engine Optimization Starter Guide
!

Google HelpWebmasters/Site owners HelpMy site and GoogleSite management

Webmaster guidelines Link:
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769

Google Basics: How Google Works:

Google HelpWebmasters/Site owners HelpWebmaster essentials

Google Basics Link:

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=70897

Great Google Videos on SEO:

http://services.google.com/breeze/webmasters/googleforwebmasters/

SEO CHAT:

http://www.seochat.com/

SEO moz:

http://www.seomoz.org/