Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Opting Out of Analytics

Google has released this week two options with regards your searches being recorded/tracked and therefore used in...well, any which way they choose, really.
First was the https search, meaning you can search google with a secure web page and this does not third parties to be able to see what you're searching for - but Google yes.

Secure Search with SSL - BarcelonaSEO Blog

The second announcement is a plug-in/add-on meaning your computer will ignore any website which has Google Analytics on there. Any visit with the plug in would not register in your Analytics as a visit. I'm not entirely sure that the majority of the general public even know to what extent their visits to websites are indeed monitored, spied on and recorded, let alone if there is a method for their clicks to be removed and not recorded. So I can't see this having a massive impact on search logs, etc. (apart from within SEOs!) but it must be there for a reason, and Google tries to be transparent with regards privacy, etc. - or at least as much as Facebook (tongue firmly in cheek).

Are you looking to fumble through your web analytics to gain knowledge about your visitors? I can help. At Barcelona SEO we can check through your site together and work on a strategy to capture more clients and convert the existing ones. Website Promotion and refining is a logical process which we can all review from time to time.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Google Stars

Today's blog post over at google relays yet another improvement to the Webmaster Tools interface which has seen some steady improvements over the past few weeks.

Search queries - Barcelona SEO Blog

Today's post includes average positions of the keywords you're tracking, and interestingly, a tab showing starred results form your logged in starred pages. Oh, and they've taken off the word "top" from your search queries. This information (although remember not 100% accurate) can help with checking some of your keywords that you're targeting. You can see the number of impressions, the clickthrough rate and then the average position. Maybe you're stressing to be top 3 for a certain keyword which isn't actually receiving as many impressions as you think it would. And maybe even then, the clickthrough rate is poor.

What's interesting to me, is that they've dedicated a whole tab to starred results. I'm not sure exactly how many people use this feature - you have to be logged in to star a page - and many people who are logged in and know what the star is are savvy enough to remember a particular site anyway. The implications are of course with personalised search, which is default nowadays.

Patrick over at Blogstorm has been testing this method recently to find out whether this starred method could affect organic results, and if you haven't already taken part in his little experiment, I suggest you do - the more results the better we can understand if there might be a small impact. Unless (as a couple of comments have suggested) Google gets wind, and scuppers the plans just to annoy us all!!

I remember thinking that when searchwiki was launched, if it was that easy to game, people would create bots and programs to mark up results. I can't see the star system being much different (Google just want's to be seen as fresh as Facebook's "I like this" buttons?), but we'll have to wait and see.

Are you looking to improve rankings in the search results? I can help. Get in tough with me at Barcelona SEO and we can chat about the possibilities. If you're looking for instant traffic, then I can also help with AdWords managment and training (or other pay per click campaigns).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New AdWords Certification

This week saw Google introduce a new method of certification for their AdWords platform. They have introduced a very thorough set of training pages for anyone to work through, and then you need to take the Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam, plus one more Advanced Advertising Exam. The exams have also been re-vamped with more ideal situations of best practices and real-time situations rather than a simple recall of knowledge like the ones in the past. Full details here.

Google Certification - Barcelona SEO

The benefits of having a clickable badge with your credentials shown to the public directly from Google can have a massive impact on sales for an SEO, but it's also a great thing for any in-house advertising professional to have, and can help in cutting out your budget and getting the most from your advertising budget. Even if you have no intention of taking the exam, you can work your way through the training programme to improve your overall knowledge.

I offer Barcelona AdWords managment and set up, as well as long term website optimisation. Contact me for a chat about your website and how we can drive more traffic together.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Information in Webmaster Tools

Google's Webmaster tools is a valuable resource for any website owner, not just someone who is embarking on an seo campaign. The site's interface has slowly got betterand better at providing you with information about your site, and more importantly possible errors, broken urls and possible malware issues.

Top Search Queries - Barcelona SEO Blog

It's also a great way to check for backlinks which Google approve (although it's not 100% accurate) and just recently, Google has started to show the top search queries that your site is ranking for. This is a great way to check within the dashboard of your webmaster tools, the actual clickthrough rates of your top queries. Any information like this is a fantastic way to check your click through rates, and then try and improve.

There are many ways to look at this method. Maybe your landing page is a poor match for the keywords you have targeted or maybe the information is below the fold. Perhaps the calls to action are not good enough, or your snippets have not been marked up, as Google has also recently recommended. Remember that a click through is measured from how your site is displayed in the SERPS, so it's important to check the results pages yourself. Maybe your site is showing below 3 or 4 local listings, so it might be time to invest some time in Local SEO. Also remember that each data centre in Google will show different results depending on location, so this can never be 100% accurate, either, but it's a great start!

If you're looking to improve your web's click through rates, get in touch with me and I can help. Contact me through Barcelona SEO website.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools Google Joke

I noticed something slightly odd when logging into gmail today. See image below:

Gmail April Fool's Joke 2010

Yes, at first glance it looks gibberish, but it seems all the voewls have been taken out of the usual log-in page.

A quick check in the SERPS confirms that it is indeed an April Fool's joke from Google, something which they've done in previous years, too.

As you can see from the screenshot there, the Query Deserves Freshness has been triggered, and the one box is mid-way down the page, with tweets confirming my suspicion!

Are you not getting the rankings you want in the search engines? Barcelona SEO can help. Contact me for a chat about your site and its goals.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Speed Up Your Site, and Your Google Crawl Rate

A recent interview with Google's head of webspam, Matt Cutts, has had a lot of SEOs disecting the replies to the clever questions posed by Eric Enge. There are some interesting things to be taken away from the interview regarding link juice passing through 301 and 302 redirects, Cutt's reaffirmation that Page Rank Sclupting is largely a waste of time, and some other little things, but not really any big juicy tips (to be expected from Cutts, who is very good at being diplomatic).

Servers - Barcelona SEO

However, another small thing to come out of the interview was that Cutts also confirmed that crawling may be affected by the server you decide to use as well as the PageRank of your site and it's internal architecture. Using shared servers means that crawl rate will be slower, as googlebot will be crawling other sites possibly on the same server, and will then abandon the crawl if things are slow.

For more details on Speeding up your site for Google, see my other posts:

Speed up your page with htaccess file.

Speed up your page with gzip compression.

Are you looking to improve your site in Google? I offer website optimisation and conversion optimisation for sites, and would be happy to have a chat about the possibilities. I also offer AdWords Managment in Barcelona and around.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Goodbye to SearchWiki!

Even more personalisation this week coming straight from the Google Blog. They're now introducing stars to flag results so that they always show up for you. The example given is so that your favourite American Football team always shows up if you type NFL, for example. Starring your results can be done right in the SERP page of through the toolbar.

The good news is that this (along with sidewiki for those who like to leave comments) is to replace Google's silly "searchwiki" idea. I hope no-one was workingon that niche software I was thinking about?! hehe. According to the official post,

"In our testing, we learned that people really liked the idea of marking a website for future reference, but they didn't like changing the order of Google's organic search results."

Wow. People reaaaaalllllyyyy trust Google, and their search results, and I suppose there's the idea that if you change your results and can never change it back again, you might be missing out on new websites, news, current trends, etc. etc. It's a sensible move from google.

Results Without Personalisation - Barcelona SEO

And just so that you know, personalised results are ALWAYS on. You can, of course, see the results WITHOUT this personalisation. Look at the image above, and you'll see a screen shot of being able to view the search results for Barcelona Restaurants without your personal history, for example. To reach this screen, you first have to click the "view customizations" link, which is cleverly positioned top right, where many people won't notice it (space usually reserved for AdWords).

View Customizations - Barcelona SEO Blog

As of today, I'm still seeing the searchwiki links at the bottom of the results pages, so maybe it'll be rolled out slowly over certain data centres before eliminating completely.

Are you unhappy with your website's position in the search engines? I can offer website promotion and help move your site up in the list. And for an instant traffic boost, I also manage Pay Per Click campaigns, too.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Google Experimental Search

Google is always experimenting with it's own site. Yesterday saw the release of their SEO Report Card (and they're not as good as they should/could be!), and who can forget the admitting of the 41 shades of blue experiment?

Well, there are some smaller little experiments going on, as well. Head on over to Google Experimental and you can opt in to some of the experiments going on.

Google Experimental - Barcelona SEO

At the moment, for example, there are some funny experiments with quick keys on your keyboard - like using "/" key to put the cursor in the search box, for example. On my own keyboard this isn't really a shortcut at all, as I have to press shift and 7 for that to work, so it's probably just as quick to move the mouse and click. There's also a way to move up and down results and then hit the enter key to open - thus leaving the seprs page. Maybe it's me, but with the inclusion of tabs in all browsers, I always open any result in a new browser, because if I follow a few deep links in, but want to go back to the SERP page, then I don't have to hit "back" so many times, just go back to the tab. But anyway...there are still some cool little experiments you can play around with to improve your experience, and with such fantastic amounts of visitors using Google each day, they have perfect situations in which to carry out these experiments.

Are you looking to improve your own website's performance? Contact me at Barcelona SEO for a chat to see how we can improve conversions. Or if you prefer to get down to the nitty gritty, I also offer SEO Training in Barcelona.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Adding Social Bookmarking Icons to Your Site

With the rise of social search, it's important for your website to offer the possibility of sharing its content with the users who visit your site. While it's important to remember that the majority of social sites have a nofollow attribute attached to outbound links, and thereofre pass no link juice, it's still remains a mention of your business, and can drive traffic. There is also some belief that despite not affecting rankings through any Page Rank that could pass from these kind of links, there may be something in Google's algorithm which looks at social mentions, citiations - similar to local search.

Addthis - Barcelona SEO

There is also the added reason that Google has been adding Tweets into it's search results for a couple of months now, and Yahoo! recently announced a deal with Twitter to do the same - meaning it's all the more important for people to be able to share your great content across the web. So how?

Well, the easiest way to add social buttons to your site is through addthis. The clever guys over at addthis have developed a series of customisable buttons for you to download and add to your blog or website. They can even combine the buttons with analytics to show how and through which mediums your work is shared or passed along. All for free! Good eh?

Are you puzzled about your social media strategy and presence online? Contact me for a chat and we can work towards a strategy together. I also offer affordable website optimisation or SEO Training in Barcelona.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Removing Personalisation From Your Google Results - Any Good?

OK, this might be a bit of a techie post - i.e. not just for the everyday user of the internet, and in fact might be a little silly, given recent finds from Dr Pete over at SEOMoz. Still it's an important metric to be aware of within search.

Google has been using personalised search for more than a couple of years now, and recently decided that they will deliver you personalised results in the serps even when you're not signed in. This means that your search history will influence future results, as will other sites tyou visit on a regular basis. In a similar way that GMail scans your mail to provide you with "appropriate" adwords ads within your email, Google likes to control what they present to you in the serps.

Personalised Search - Barcelona SEO

So for people like us seos who need to check "reliable" serps for reporting on clients, etc. this can be a bit of a pain. Sure, Webmaster Tools recently intorduced a time-saving "your-site-is-ranking-position-X-for-these-keywords" kind of tool, which is veerrryyy handy, but not always reliable.

So, there is simple way to ensure your results are NOT personalised. You make a search and then add "&pws=0" to the end of the search string in the direction bar at the top of your browser. So for example, if you make a search like this for Barcelona SEO Training you can add on a &pws=0 to the end to DE-Personalise the results. Depending on your IP and your previous search history, you may or many not see a difference here. And as the post from SEOMoz describes above (although hardly exhaustive), it can appear to have little effect anyway - it's just good to know the possibility exists and for this to be exaplianed to clients, too.

Are you looking to improve your website's performance? I can help. Contact me at Barcelona SEO for an informal chat about your site and its possibilities.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Great Free Eye-Tracking Tool

As I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of improving conversions. There are various methods for testing content and appearances of websites, such as A/B testing, heatmaps, videos of your site viewers as well as looking at your analytics and logs. So what about at the design stage? Sometimes if your company has SEO in mind from the beginning, you can start to save valuable time with testing. Sure, A/B testing is a fantastic way of letting your users decide which page they prefer to help in the conversion tunnel, but it can take time for an experiment to run. Real eye-tracking equipment and testing is very expensive, and again, is better with a website already designed. This is where attentionwizard steps in.

SEO home page - Barcelona SEO Blog

Attention wizard allows you to quickly upload any .jpeg file and then creates a pdf eyemap on the image. So this is a great way to see, even at the design phase, if you're getting it right with the calls to actions, etc. The process claims to have a 75% accuracy rate, and having seen other tools at a preview or at an introductory price, I'd have to say that it's good enough as an indicator, and a fantastic addition for any design stage for free.

Check out the first image above, which is my home page for Barcelona SEO. Then check out the below image (click for greater detail).

eyetracking on Home Page - Barcelona SEO Blog

You can see clearly the position that the eye would naturally follow, and the numbers over the lines tell you (the estimated) trajectory of the eye scanning your page. Good news is that people are drawn to the subscribe box, and after quickly looking at the translation flag, move back to reading the text. This reinforces the need for a good site structure, with the majority of users expecting navigation to the left.

Are you looking to improve conversions on your website? Contact me for ideas and a review of your site, or ask about my Barcelona SEO Training sessions.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Couple of New Twitter Tools.

Keeping up with all things social is difficult. Many small businesses are torn between allocating budget and time between traditional marketing methods, SEO and Social Media. Social Media is a much larger and longer strategy than traditional SEO mentods, or conversion optimisation and needs specific goals to warrant the time and effort spent. This is again difficult to measure - how can you set goals for twitter, for example? Number of followers? brand mentions? it all depends, and I still maintain that time can be better spent for the majority of small businesses on other seo strategies to drive more traffic or increase conversions on the traffic you already have. By all means, claim all your brand names as soon as you can, and maintain a small presence so accounts don't get deleted, but if you're struggling on man power for a B2C (business to customer) venture, don't go overboard.

TweetBeep - Barcelona SEO Blog

There are a couple of great tools to make things that little bit easier for you to try and keep up with things if social media is new to you. Twitter itself has an internal search, but there are a couple of other supplemental tools which can help.

Firstly, in terms of reputation managment, and finding out when you, your name, or your product and website are mentioned, you can use TweetBeep. This is a handy way of tracking your online presence and will become a more important tool as your social strategy continues along the way. Sign up as you start, and then wait until things get moving before you'll see important data. Kind of like google alerts, but for twitter.

Twitturly - Barcelona SEO

For trending topics, try Twitturly. If you want to stay on top of what's being re-tweeted the most, or fing out particular notions in your niche, then try this service as well as twitter search. The main difference is that twitter search will give you a real-time vertical list of the things you seacrh for, and twitturly gives you trending topics with amount of retweets, etc. It's very handy for stripping down urls, for example (so you can see the destination url) and also if you type your own username in there, it will give you a drilldown of your tweets, who has retweeted, who clicked through to the link, etc. handy.

Are you struggling to cope with the idea of a social strategy? for affordable SEO in Barcelona contact me for more details. Also, if you're interested in SEO Training in Barcelona, I can offer in house sessions and workshops.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

AdWords Invitation Again

While it seems many are still feeling the effects of a the financial downturn, the monster that is Google reported 6.6 billion dollars revenue recently. No-one is denying the firm's amazing grasp on today's current market share, and if anyone can topple Apple's current iphone monopoly, it could just be Google (but maybe not with the nexus one). Indeed, CEO Eric Schmidt will be touching down in Barcelona next month for the 3GSM Mobile Phone conference.

75 Euros Invitiation from Google - Barcelona SEO Blog
However, maybe the above article has more to tell, as investors were less than pleased with the revenue created in the last release. Cue my typical letter through the post for an invitation to Google's AdWords programme. I'm not quite sure why Google assume I'm not already using AdWords, or have not in the past, but still the letters come.

This time, the offer was for 75 Euros to spend on AdWords, with the usual annoyance of this only applying to new accounts of less than 14 days validity. So that's really 75 Euros minus the $5 Google makes you pay to set up the account then? The amount goes down if I don't "claim" my credit before 28th February - a clever trick to get users in the door asap.

As I've explained before, this "hook" is an easy way for Google to make more money, given that the majority of small businesses would leap at the chance to have a free 75 Euros spend on AdWords, perhaps not knowing the cost per click of their chosen keywords. AdWords interface is sufficiently complicated for you to plug away until you have a campaign and a couple of adgroups set up for a free 75 Euros, but the enticement is there once that 75 Euros is spent - they already have your credit card, and you have your campaign set up, so all you need to do is leave it live - temptation is great.

Depsite there being some great online resources from Google themselves to learn more about AdWords, it's not all that well publicised, and I suspect that many people will be sucked into throwing away lots of cash on campaigns which are not optimised, or which they have no idea of how to manage. It's also fairly well known that ads can appear on poor choices of the content network, and that default settings such as broad match are always left on, meaning an initial 2 or 3 day campaign can throw away money before refinement is carried out.

Do you have an AdWords account which needs attention? I offer AdWords set up and management in Barcelona as well as other Pay Per click campaigns. Contact me at Barcelona SEO for more details.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Query Deserves Freshness

Fresh? Barcelona SEO Blog I've talked before about the importance of real time search and the engines have been trying their hardest to keep up with the speed of the internet, especially with breaking news stories - things like Michael Jackson's death and even going far back as the elections in Iran. While Google likes to think they're keeping up with real time search, and Matt Cutts comes out gloating as soon as something worthwhile occurs, the fact of the matter is that google is still having to rely on Twitter updates in their new "onebox".

The whole idea stems from something within Google's algorithm which is known as QDF or "Query Deserves Freshness". So basically if a load of people start to search for something similar, then this can trigger something within the algorithm to search for more current documents. Let me give you a concrete example.

Imagine we're in mid-July, and you perform a search on google for "Golden Globes". The likelihood is that you'll get a pretty standard SERP with 10 results (likely no local results here), possibly a video? OK, but we're not in July, we're in January, and the Golden Globes have just finished last Sunday. So this is the kind of query that searchers want to return "fresh" results, get it? Check out the image below.
Google onebox - Barcelona SEO Blog

You can see that the SERP is returning the scrollable "onebox" with tweets from 2 minutes ago. This one box appeared around half way down the page. First was news results, then 4 organic results, then the onebox. I assume that google is still taking high preference with the news results as obviously they are much more credible and trustworthy than people's tweets. In fact, I'd bet my bottom dollar that it's why they're doing that - check out this worrying post on real time spam from sugarrea and a couple of others.

So what's the takeaway from this? Well, if your niche within your sector is currently not being exploited and you run a very "current" business, think about staying REALLY up to date with news and breaking stories - obviously without spamming. If no-one else within your industry is doing it (or no-one in your area) then the chances are you'll establish yourself as an authority on that niche, and if google decides to experiment more with the onebox away from the QDF algorithm , then you'll be right placed to scoop up all the traffic.

Need help planning a campaign to stay on top of the current real-time search? Contact me at Barcelona SEO for a chat about your business and website. I offer affordable organic website optimisation for your website as well as SEO Training, PPC campaings and link building campaigns.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Increase Subscriptions with Email Sign up

Despite the varied attempts at making RSS an open and easy thing for everyone to use, it's still pretty complicated to the everyday internet user. Most people recognise the difference between a typical website and a blog, and often people can stumble upon blogs when searching for something on the web. Now maybe the blog doesn't fulfill the original query's desire, but is still of interest and is something a user might want to look back on at a later date, with more time. This is what bookmarking is all about. But what about if you love the content on a site and want to subscribe?

Well, up to now there's been RSS, which is the norm for any site publishing new content on a regular basis. News, reviews, blogs all use RSS, and the unfortunate thing is that not everyone knows what it is or how it works. However, help is at hand. We're talking about e-mail subscription.

Adding meial subscribers through Feedburner - Barcelona SEO blog

Not only did hubspot recently find that if you're looking to add subscribers to your blog or your news feed, then 12 times more people will subscribe if compared to RSS, but it's a hell of a lot easier to simply type your email address into a box and subscribe than work out how to read your RSS feeds if you've never used a reader before, or have an intention to. What could be easier than opening an email in your inbox from your favourite blog?

For some strange reason, blog hosts like Blogger and WordPress don't use the email subscription widget as a default (although RSS is there). There is more than one free tool to enable email subscription, and despite Feedburner getting a little bit of a hard time over this sometimes, it's dead easy to set up.

First you need to set up a feedburner account, or if you have RSS through blogger, it's likely you already have one. Next you need to go into the feed itself from the default page, and then click the publicize tab, top middle. From here you'll see the third option down should be Email subscriptions. Click here, and then you have a couple of choices. If you're using typepad or blogger, you can simply convert the code into a widget and blogger will add that to your html template you already have in place (you may want to move the widget around - usually up to near the top). And that's it! from then on, you can manage your feed subscriptions and look into the stats any time you like. Given hubspot's anaylsis and the general idea of it being easier than RSS, I'd be surprised if you didn't see an increase in subscribers.

Are you looking to optimise your website or blog? Barcelona SEO has many techniques which can raise your web's profile and move your pages up in the organic listings. Or would you prefer to lear yourself? Barcelona SEO Training is another option for in-house sessions tailor made for your website and needs.