6 Ways To Ensure SEO and User Satisfaction with Your Content

customer satisfaction surveyIt’s a thin line to walk between ensuring search engine optimization and keeping your readers satisfied with your content.

If your content awkwardly uses SEO keywords you can easily turn off your readers.

Also, too many SEO keywords can hurt your ranking on Google and other search engines as well.

Follow these six tips to help your content maintain the balance between marketable and valuable.

Continue reading 6 Ways To Ensure SEO and User Satisfaction with Your Content

One Site Fits All or Better Having Microsites?

micrositeMany website owners as their businesses expand they come to the dilemma of splitting their sites into a few microsites so they can rank better for their targeted terms.

This is not really an easy topic and before you make such a radical move there is a lot to take into consideration.

The first thing you need to ask yourselves is why would you want do something like that?

Continue reading One Site Fits All or Better Having Microsites?

Web Visitors Flock to Career Sites

For career sites, there’s no business like the recession business!

With the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting an over 9% unemployment rate in June 2009, it appears that job search sites will continue to show an accelerated growth during this economic recession.

On August 6th, 2009 eMarketer reported that more than 65 million visitors have rushed to job search sites in June 2009.  Most of the top 10 career service and development websites in the U.S. (ranked by unique visitors) have experienced double digit percentage increases in the number of unique visitors from June 2008 to June 2009.

June 2009 data from comScore pegged growth in unique visitors to career resource sites at 10% over the previous year, with seven of the top 10 sites seeing at least double-digit increases. More than 65 million visitors checked out career sites in June.

“The top three sites in the category—CareerBuilder, HotJobs and Monster—have maintained their leadership positions for several years now, but there are also a few upstarts in the industry making some noise,” said Jeff Hackett, comScore senior vice president, in a statement. “Certainly with millions of Americans reevaluating their careers right now there is opportunity for continued growth and innovation in this segment of the online marketplace.”

What are the most common search terms at career sites? Here’s the list:

These job search terms are closely aligned with the job categories of the list of over 3 million jobs that can’t be filled, released by Fortune back in February 2009.

Among all the excitement from career sites, there appears to be no discussion about this fact: the combined number of page views from the top career sites wasn’t even close to that of Craigslist back in 2007.

craigslist.org monster.com careerbuilder.com

According to data from Compete, lately Monster has been able to start getting closer to the number of unique monthly visitors of Craigslist, however it’s important to remember that Craigslist doesn’t operate the large marketing and advertising expenditures that Monster does. Furthermore, the other 3 sites that showed healthy numbers of unique visitors from June 2008 to June 2009 (Careerbuilder, Indeed, and Hotjobs) have a long way to go to reach the monthly unique visitor numbers of Craigslist and Monster.

How to target your audience using Facebook Ads


For the last week, I have been pretty busy creating and tweaking online ads at Google Adwords and Facebook Ads, so I thought it would be useful to provide a bit of advice from my personal experience using Facebook Ads.

Why did I choose Facebook Ads?  Consider the following bar graph from Venture Beat’s article titled Facebook’s traffic growth leaving rivals in the dust.

socnets010709

For simplicity, I will assume that you want to drive visitors to a single website.


facebook-advertising

  1. Do your research: You cannot expect Facebook Ads to do miracles for you.  It will do a pretty decent job at providing impressions but the “clickability” of your ad is 100% up to you.  Forget one-size-fits-all approaches, you will require to develop at least 5 ads (I am currently working with 8).  You need to think about the profiles of your website visitors.  For a quick video tutorial of this idea, take the quick tour of the web attitudinal web analytics firm iPerceptions from Canada.  (Avinash Kaushik is on their Advisory Council, so yes, you have to listen).  Is your ad audience: female? male? young? old? English speaking? Time-constrained? Etc, etc, etc.  Preparation of audience profiles should be about 60% of your time dedicated to develop online ads.target-your-audience
  2. Select your text and image for your ad: As you can see from the two ads below, you can have a subject line of 25 characters, text of 135 characters, and you can upload an image (there are appear no limits on the image file size because Facebook will resize it to fit the add).  example-of-adsIt is important that you have a variety of images available because you will be needing as you A/B test your ads.  Notice that Facebook users can give your ad a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down to your ad!  Don’t try to fully capitalize words (e.g. FREE), or use strange characters (keep to the regular alphabet, both using different languages is ok, actually I encourage it!).  Remember to use proper punctuation, otherwise your ad won’t be approved.  great-widgets
  3. Think of the keyword(s) of your ad: This step is critical because it will allow you to use SEO and SEM tools such as Google Trends.  Let’s assume that you want to promote your great widgets at www.widgets.com.  So an important keyword to consider would be “widgets”.  Let’s check out what is the search volume index of “widgets” at Google Trends.  widgetsWow, this is a lot of useful information!  Notice that we get a couple of relevant news that show what drove queries for this term.  Company names and product names are useful because then you can go into their websites and see what are their current SEO and SEM practices.  Also, you should look if the already have ads around Facebook.  Don’t try to reinvent the wheel and keep an eye on the current practices of your competitors.  It is also important to check out what keywords are related to your keyword, what regions (or countries or cities) provide the most queries for your keyword, and what languages are those queries made on.  Another important source of information is Google Ad Planner.  For a discussion on how to use Google Ad Planner, refer to this web analytics analysis of Flickr, Photobucket, Shutterlfly, Snapfish, and Slide using Google Ad Planner.
  4. Reach the (exact) audience you want: facebook-audienceUsing the information from the previous steps, you can fill in the fields on step 3.  Notice that not all keywords are available at Facebook, so its important that you look for keywords related to your own keyword(s) of choice.
  5. Price your ad: I will skip this step for now, because it deserves a whole post of its own.  If this is your first time creating Facebook ads, then I would recommend setting the price towards the  lower limit and setting a total budget for 1 month.  Keep track of your A/B testing and then you will have enough information to develop a more detailed pricing strategy.

That’s it for now and happy experimenting with Facebook Ads!

How to Install Google Analytics at a Real Estate Brokerage Website

I know, I know, I promised that the next 5 postings would be about the 5 key factors that determine that your website appears on a search engine query, but I really, really, really have to discuss about the implementation of Google Analytics at www.srbienesraices.com.

The main reason is that this will serve as guide for real estate brokers to implement their own Google Analytics code in their websites.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS:

  1. SYLVIA ROJAS BIENES RAÍCES is a 100% Ecuadorean-owned company specialized in the the negotiation of real estate in the provinces of Guayas, Manabí, Los Ríos, El Oro and with representatives in Azuay.  The home page is www.srbienesraices.com and is in Spanish.
  2. Since August 2007 I have served as the webmaster of this website.
  3. Sylvia Rojas is my mother.
  4. Since August 2007 I have not received any form of payment for maintaining this website and I have incurred in all hosting payments.
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Let’s get to work!
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  1. Check that your website works properly!  For example, check for broken links.  There is really no sense to track a website that is full of errors.  In our case, Sylvia Rojas Bienes Raices (from now on referred as SRBR) consists of only 6 pages so it was real simple to check that the website works like it should.
  2. Once you have make sure that your web site works (if not, then DO IT NOW!), open a Google Analytics account at www.google.com/analytics.  If you have an existing Gmail account, you can use that one. If not, then you can create one.  In either case, keep things simple, use an existing Gmail account (no need to have 2 Gmail accounts), or when creating a new one, use a name that you can relate your website to.  In our case, I already have an existing Gmail account.
  3. Add your Website Profile.  You will need your web domain.  In our case is www.srbienesraices.com/, please note that I have added the “/” at the end.  I am not sure of the importance of this parameter, but I have always included it.  (Note to self:  look up why we need it!)
  4. Make sure that you indicate what is the default page of your website (e.g. index.html).  This is important because otherwise Google Analytics would account www.srbienesraices.com and www.srbienesraices.com/index.html as 2 hits!  Unfortunately, that would be cheating!
  5. Google Analytics will provide a Java script code that will look like this:
    http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/03/traffic-stats-for-your-google-documents.html

    Sample Google Analytics code. Source: http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/03/traffic-stats-for-your-google-documents.html

    Please note that the red underlined text will be different.  This will be your own Google Analytics account number.

  6. Copy this code.
  7. Open index.html page (home page) using the html editor of your choice.  In my case, I use Macromedia Dreamweaver 8.  Switch to the code or source view.  You cannot paste the Google Analytics code on design view.  You must do it on code or source view.  Make sure that you don’t see the code when you’re viewing your page in preview view.
  8. Paste the code right before the </body> tag.  In our case, it is the second to last line of code.
  9. Save your page.  Make sure that you save the changes!
  10. Repeat steps 6, 7 and 8 with all the pages in your existing website.
  11. Sign up to your FTP server of your hosting service and upload all your updated pages that now include the Google Analytics code.  Note:  yes, you have to replace the existing pages for the Google Analytics to start working.
  12. Confirm that you have entered the tracking code correctly. No idea how to do it? Then try the SiteScan tool from EpikOne, available at www.sitescanga.com, you will just need your home page and an e-mail address to use this free tool.  You will receive an e-mail confirming the status of your tracking code, also you will be able to download a report in CSV format (that means you can open it with Microsoft Excel).  In our case, the report took 3 minutes and all URLS (6 in total).
  13. Wait 24 hours for the code to kick in!  According to Google:
Google Analytics generally updates your reports every 24 hours.  This means that it could take 24 hours for data to appear in your account after you have first installed the tracking code.
Conclusions:
  • The whole process took about 1 hour.
  • After 2 hours of installation, I have not received any data.  This is ok because I am still within the 24 hours. I will check whether Google Analytics has received any data tomorrow.
  • Google Analytics is a Java script based code so make sure that your browser and hosting accepts Java script.
Now, do it yourself!
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