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There are a number of other useful tools that can be used for keyword research and they include the following:
The aroma of freshly ground coffee greeted delegates arriving for Web Directions South 2010. As one of the industry's most anticipated events it was with excitement that I planned out my schedule for the day. There was everything from digital publishing and design interactions using storytelling through to HTML5 and CSS3. But appropriately, after four coffees, the afternoon session I found myself jittering towards was "Even Faster Websites" by Steve Souder.
Steve is seriously nerdy. His obsession with finding the most efficient way of performing tasks become apparent when he recounted his university days and how he calculated the number of steps across a range of different routes to the computer room. Of course it wasn't just a case of straight step count: Steve would have factored in corridor bandwidth, student traffic levels, server load (i.e. his leg energy) and the numerous other considerations a great mind such as his might take into account. I would have been more concerned about my search visibility and ranking whilst passing by the female dormitories.
But I digress. Now employed at Google, Steve knows what works on the internet and so it was to a packed main auditorium that he starting explaining just how and why websites should be faster.
"Making websites faster affects the bottom line" Steve stated simply.
And he backed this up with statistics showing exactly how much of an affect it has. Thoroughly convinced, the audience willed him to reveal how we can make our websites faster. Our collective desperation was tangible.
Examples of sites that have harnessed this approach effectively are Google (of course), Facebook and Twitter. Bing apparently is the best, which is quite something coming from a Google employee. But you do get the sense that Steve is not swayed by corporate politics or bias. What he cares about more than anything is making websites faster.
From a technical perspective adopting this approach does require a fair bit of crafting by web developers. It also requires a lot of scoping to ensure correct implementation across larger sites - and, of course, testing. But if you have a need for speed (and who doesn't?) then the extra build time is worth it.
Steve finished off by providing some great tools for measuring website speed. These include:
You should also install Firebug in Firefox and then get the YSlow and Page Speed add-ons for more in-depth analysis and recommendations for improvement of live web pages.
Steve's session was my unexpected favourite of Web Directions South 2010. His unpretentious manner combined with his vast expertise and real passion for the subject made a long-lasting impression.
I'll leave this blog post here as I'm now getting far too excited about coding some Ferrari-fast web pages of my own.
One of the many pitfalls of AdWords campaign management is failing to monitor the actual search terms triggering your adwords ads.
Because irrelevant search terms could be sucking up your daily budget…You must take action now!
By regularly running search query reports you can reveal new keywords to include in your campaigns and also to identify those pesky irrelevant keywords you should be setting as negatives.
If you’re running broad match keywords in your campaign you’ll see a feature of broad match is the broad-session match keyword. Broad-session match looks at other queries that the user has entered during their current search session to target ads - these queries are marked as "Broad Match (Session-Based)”.
The problem with broad-session match is the lack of control you have over your ad appearing for what Google deems a ‘relevant’ search query in the same user’s session. It’s impossible to plan and exclude every possible search a user may type in during the same session.
Because Google’s mechanism for identifying relevant broad match and broad-session match keywords is far from perfect, it’s vital you keep a close eye on your search query reports and add irrelevant search queries as negative keywords where required. Your vigilance should extend across your entire campaign on a monthly basis at the very least.
Historically, the query match column within the search query report has shown how close a user's search query was (in terms of match type) to an actual keyword in your account. Now you’ll find query match data under the campaign tab within your account.
How can I see the actual search terms used to generate my ads?
Your search term data appears on the next page. And don’t forget to schedule the report to be sent to your email on a monthly basis.
OK, so you want to offer your clients pay-per-click but are unsure of the value in outsourcing it to a PPC agency. Convenience? Yep, that one’s an easy win. Cost? Yep, you’ll have to pay (sorry I couldn't resist that one) but of course cost is relative to ROI, so you’ll have to figure out what constitutes success in monetary terms to properly answer that. Value? What does the white label PPC agency bring to the table?
If you are an experienced PPC campaign manager, you will be able to identify missing strategies, analytics potential, and tactics such as keyword selection, keyword matching options, Ad text & variations, campaign settings, landing pages, etc... and you will be able to tell your client how you can help them.
We often get asked to take over PPC campaigns on a white-label arrangement and there is a common theme to what needs to be fixed:Strategy
There are many cost-saving and revenue-producing aspects of pay-per-click campaigns you may not have considered important. It's vital that you understand the truth about an existing PPC campaign – and the pages to which its ads point, before you make promises to your client.
So, what is the secret? A: Honesty. A good white label PPC agency with high standards can help you set realistic expectations. Honesty is the best policy and the last thing you want to do is set yourself up for failure.
Search engine optimisation is a great industry to be in because it’s constantly evolving with search engines changing algorithms to enhance the quality of their results regularly and clients requiring constant monitoring and adjustment to maximise and respond to these changes. That is the joy and challenge of SEO and I’m sure there are plenty of SEO’s out there that would agree that it shouldn’t be any other way.
Surely I can’t be the only one that finds it strange that people seem to panic when something new is introduced to the industry such as Google Instant. Before that it was panic about Google and behavioural search or personalisation search or Google introducing more blended results (video, images, news, blogs, etc) into search but still the industry remains strong and quickly adapts. Working hard to stay up-to-date with the latest changes in SEO and improving your client’s organic traffic still remains the focus as was before these changes were introduced. So why the big alarm for concern now? Are people afraid of adapting their strategies for the benefits of their clients and if this wasn’t an option beforehand perhaps your SEO strategy is too narrow focused or ancient?
Since the release of Google Instant there has been mixed reactions from SEO’s worldwide. Some cringe at this news similarly to watching Tony Abbott appearing in the news in his speedo’s but others that have been around (not that kind of been around) know that this is merely another challenge to SEO and should be viewed positively rather than the doom and gloom of search engine optimisation. Personally I am a big fan of Google Instant and don’t see it as a threat to SEO but there is a case for it distracting searchers to other topics whilst typing what they originally intended to search for and lack of relevancy of results based on what’s popular at that time. For example, if somebody searches for “sydney hotels” only goes as far as the first 3 characters (“syd”) the following results appear:
These results would be great if searching for information about Sydney but if you specifically wanted “Sydney hotels” not so much in the organic search results. These results favour the Adwords sponsored links because they appear to be far more relevant to the searchers intent. The question that is a concern for SEO’s is does the searcher continue typing more of the keyword or will they be distracted enough to click on the top Instant results or sponsored links? This is difficult to determine without further study and analysis especially when it roles out in Google Australia but my personal opinion is that the common Internet user is generally quite savvy and are quick to realise what is relevant to them and what is not.
Therefore if more of the keywords were typed such as “sydney h” would this provide more organic search results?
Unfortunately the answer here is “no” for both organic and sponsored links but at least “sydney hotels” does appear in the suggestions box this time. Whilst this is not the case for every query it is pretty clear that for more than one keyword the full query is often required or selected from the suggestion box, thus no change to prior Google Instant.
As with any new changes in the industry the primary objective remains and that is how to achieve great traffic and results for our clients and not to fear changes but to embrace it.
Do you remember the days when you would have to phone friends on a landline to have a chat and if you didn't have their number you would either have to ask them for it and write it down with a pen on paper or get out that big bulky book called the White Pages? Obviously things have changed substantially since then with mobile phones and email but the introduction of these did nothing to negatively affect the way we communicate with each other. Now we have Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn and many more social media channels that we use for communication but has this made us lazy and restricted the way we verbally communicate with each other?
Firstly it is important to state that the introduction and evolving nature of social media is great for business and has no doubt had some very positive influence on many of our personal and professional lives. Whilst it is now relatively easy to keep track of what our friends or colleagues are doing through status updates and wall posts in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, it is more likely that this convenience has stopped you from calling a friend and having a chat simply because you already know what’s been happening in their life. It seems that at times we are too obsessed with using Facebook over picking up the phone and calling people simply because it’s more convenient, there is less time required to commit to that person and it’s generally easier. The argument could be made that it has reduced the level of spoken communication but enhanced written communication and general awareness of our friends or colleagues movements. Whilst these resources are good for online promotion and networking our ability to form substantial offline relationships is limited because the majority of the communication is not in person or verbal. Therefore there are obvious elements missing to the relationship and had social media not existed would we still be in contact with many of the friends that we are connected with?
Food for thought.....
Well the latest update has nothing to do with consuming coffee, tea, soft drinks or energy drinks but just as caffeine is a stimulant to our central nervous system, Google Caffeine boosts Google’s previous index by providing “50 percent fresher results for web searches” and has provided Google with the ability to add to it’s already large index. Google claims that their latest index is "the largest collection of web content we've offered". More information on this release can be found at the Google Webmaster Central Blog.
So what does this mean for us? It simply means that Google is capable of indexing new content such as news releases, twitter posts, blogs, etc much faster and this provides more relevant and fresher content for us users. For searchers this is great news and very beneficial but what about business owners who pride themselves on their high search engine rankings and are concerned that a fresher index may affect their site traffic?
Photo via Creative Commons
In the search engine optimisation business there are constant changes to search engine's ranking algorithms and this latest update from Google should be viewed no differently. Change should not be looked upon negatively but rather embraced and adapted to. In the SEO world, change is a good thing and nothing new. The best advice for business owners is to stay on the path of creating good user content, making sure that it is optimised effectively, and keep your efforts focused on a good user experience. Sure the possibility exists for some rankings to be lost but in the long term your informative and useful content on your products or services will out rank new content that has just been added to the index. It also means that blogs, twitter posts and news releases should be continually updated with new content (if it’s worthy of being updated, releasing content for the hell of it is not recommended) to keep your content fresh and because Google loves indexing new fresh content it can be indexed and found by users quicker.
Therefore this latest update is great news from Google and business owners should continue to optimise their content as before but with an increased effort in keeping content informative and useful to site visitors whilst also new and refreshing.
Recently I had the pleasure of attending SMX Sydney 2010 and was especially excited to hear that the conference was going to focus on a more unique advanced track this year. The number of search marketing conferences in Australia are relatively still limited, so they often contain information targeted at beginners or people in business that are seeking a better understanding of what search engine optimisation is and how it can help their business. In my opinion conferences such as SMX, Search Engine Room, ad:tech and CEBIT, despite being very professional and well organised, have become stagnant and far too similar rather than advancing with the industry and representing the current state of search engine marketing in Australia. It has been a known fact for the last few years that Australia trails the USA and the UK in the search world and until there are conferences that can advance our knowledge and experience with the latest developments overseas this will continue to remain so. Therefore the prospect of experiencing more advanced content from speakers at SMX had increased my expectations or had it?
It’s true, the content at SMX Sydney in 2010 was more advanced but this was only evident in the sessions involving the international speakers and was not reflected by many of the Australian speakers. I’m not sure how the selection of Australian speakers takes place but I really hope they took the time to watch the presentation and speaking skills of their international counterparts. They also failed to back up their data/statistics with enough factual evidence by simply stating claims such as, “they have done internal tests that support this”. Anybody can do an internal test but where is the data to back this claim? Has this been tested externally? If so, what were the results? Australia is not going to advance on the USA and UK if we continue down this path.
This is why Australia really needs only one search engine marketing conference (for the time being) that is not held once a year but quarterly in different cities of Australia (ie Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth). We need one brand of search engine marketing conference to attract the best search industry experts to them, which will subsequently produce more knowledge and more sharing of information. These conferences need to start focusing more on learning and the education of the local search industry rather than the networking aspects and the scrumptious food in the breaks.
It’s definitely a positive that SMX has distinguished itself from the other conferences by taking the unique direction of featuring more advanced SEO topics but the Australian speakers also need to be at a similar level of the content and this unfortunately was not apparent. The industry in Australia continues to grow but the only way we can advance further is with more experts leading the way and this can only be done for the time being by attracting more quality international speakers and one conference brand that is more frequent in different cities throughout the year (like in the USA).
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