Archive for the ‘SEO Tools’ Category

Top Five Tools for Website Analysis

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Every SEO will, at one point or another, be confronted with the task of doing some in-depth website analysis.  Sometimes you need to get an idea of the health of on-page elements, at others you want to do comparative analysis.  Often you may simple need a “bigger picture” view of what is going on with a site.   When posed with questions such as – Why has my traffic dropped this month?  To – What areas do I need to focus on for improvement in SERP rankings?  A search engine optimizer will need to sift through some data to better understand the exact circumstances of a website’s performance in order to make accurate and educated recommendations.

SEO Tools for Website Analysis - Page 1 Solutions

There are a number of tools on the market that help with the SEO analysis process, some free, some paid.  What are the programs that can help the most, or are easiest to use and understand?  The following are five of my all-time favorite SEO Tools to use for site analysis and research:

  1. Raven Toolswww.raventools.com -  Raven Tools offers a paid set of marketing tools – their SEO Software is currently one of my favorite go-to programs for reporting.  Not only does it offer an immense amount of details and a wide range of reporting options, Raven Tools also makes it easy to incorporate your branding on reports.  It used to take me five or six open browser tabs to accomplish what Raven Tools can do with just one click.  It grabs the data, adds it to an easy to use reporting interface and makes accessing that data a snap with color graphics and clickable data links for delving further into the data it has retrieved.  A great tool and a huge time saver.  A busy SEOs dream.
  2. Google Analyticswww.google.com/analytics – Of course Google Analytics had to make my ‘top five’ list.  Any SEO who is not using Google Analytics is missing out on a boatload of valuable data.  You know the old saying that humans only use 20% of their brains?  Well, I kind of feel  the same way when I’m knee deep in numbers, digging through a client’s dashboard trying to figure out a current statistical anomaly.  It’s times like those when  I realize that most SEOs (including myself) only use a fraction of what Google Analytics can offer – there is just so much information to digest!   A girl (or boy) can get lost in there.  A word of advice – if you are using GA regularly, get certified by taking the  Google Analytics IQ Test and make sure you are using this tool to its greatest potential.   For research and statistics, it is second to none.  For reporting integration – it leaves something to be desired.  But to be fair, it’s not trying to be a branding tool like Raven Tools is – and for a FREE tool, it is one powerful vehicle.
  3. The Hubspot Marketing Grader Toolmarketing.grader.com – HubSpot’s Marketing Grader is a tool that analyzes your website and provides actionable insights to improve your online marketing tactics – for FREE!  It gives you insight into your on-page SEO (meta tag usage, headers, internal linking) as well as off site indicators like social media, blogging, and backlinks.  This is a one stop snapshot of how your site is doing, instantly!  A great place to start your research if you are not sure where to begin.
  4. Webmaster Tools (Bing www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster  and Google www.google.com/webmasters/tools ) – Often overlooked, Bing and Google webmaster tools are positioned to be one of the more info heavy (and reliable) of the data providers outside of Google Analytics.  While Bing may actually offer a bit more in the arena of data, both tools offer keywords, links, queries, and site issues so you can maintain a healthy web presence if you take the time to review the information within.  The tools are free, and super intuitive to use (unlike Google Analytics) so finding information fast is very doable from either of these interfaces.
  5. MySEOToolwww.myseotool.com - This is another set of analysis software that is incredibly user friendly.  MySEOTool shows keyword rank, social media monitoring, and backlink statistics all from a very visually appealing interface.  Reports are easy to export in pdf format.  This tool is my favorite for showing local rank.  It has become a go-to favorite in my SEO toolbox.  Google webmaster tools is integrated in their newest release, so you get two great tools in one!
To learn more about SEO, website analysis, or if you need help with your internet marketing, contact one of our experienced digital marketers at Page 1 Solutions or call 800-368-9910!  We can help with any of your online marketing and SEO questions.
by Tammy Smith SEO Analyst, Page 1 Solutions, LLC

Choosing the Right Content Management System for Your Website

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Content management systems are very appealing. Being able to give our clients the ability to make simple text changes and content updates on their own saves time for us and money for them. They’re also a slick way to manage large websites with lots of content, and can make theming a cinch for your designer/developer.

Once you decide to use a content management system, you have to choose one of the many available to you. Some are free, some are paid, and many have restrictions and flaws. Most systems are built to work very well with a specific subset of sites, and can be adapted for others (eg. WordPress.org is a blogging platform, but makes an excellent CMS with few modifications).

Factors to Consider

As you are exploring your content management system options, you should take into consideration what your website needs from the CMS and how it can make your job easier, faster, cheaper, or better.

Consider these questions when you are investigating:

  • How does this system work for the type of website you run (ecommerce, blog, forum, etc)?
  • How easy is it to install, administer, and update? Can you or do you know someone who can do this?
  • How strong and helpful is the user community for this CMS?
  • Is this CMS still updated, or is it on its way out?
  • Is this CMS SEO-friendly?

This last item is very important to the success of your website. By not considering SEO-friendliness as one of the most important factors, you may end up stuck with a beautifully functioning website that no one can find.

By choosing a CMS that is SEO-friendly, you ensure that your optimizer can effectively market your website and the search engines can crawl and display it correctly.

Some of the most important CMS features include:

  • Clean URLs – Session tracking or dynamic URLs make it difficult for search engines to crawl and properly link to your website. Without clean URLs, you may end up with duplicate content problems or incomplete indexation. This includes customizable URLs, so you can reference the article name instead of database ID number. URLs that look static are best.
  • H1 tags – Header markup is important to split your content appropriately. Having an H1 instead of strong text at the beginning of a piece of content signals that this is the title of the content.
  • Redirects – 301 redirects are essential to SEO if the content on your site might ever change (this is everyone!). If your CMS can automatically handle changes in URL structure and content with 301s, your life will be much simpler.

Not essential, but if your CMS can gracefully handle meta tags, robots.txt files, and bulk uploads, you will thank yourself later.

Content Management Systems

There are quite a few content management systems to choose from:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla!
  • Expression Engine
  • Drupal
  • DotNetNuke
  • Radiant
  • Magento
  • and many more

Each system is built to suit a different type of consumer, and most have dedicated followings.

Drupal

At Page 1 Solutions, we use Drupal as our CMS of choice. We now program all of our new designs into Drupal, and have spent many hours training the company and our clients on how to use it.

Drupal was a great choice because it is pretty SEO-friendly out of the box. With just a few additional free modules available through the community, it is highly customizable and ready for search engine optimization. The Drupal community is also very active and helpful, and have always come through for us if we had a question.

Drupal Modules for SEO

Drupal already offers clean URLs and tight, clean coding out of the box. Fellow ninja, John Donnelly and I presented at this year’s Drupal Camp Colorado, going over basics of SEO and modules we recommend for Drupal. See the video and slides for our presentation by visiting the Drupal Camp Colorado 2011 site.

The modules we recommend are:

Your Website

As a Drupal fan-girl, I will recommend Drupal to nearly everyone. It is highly customizable and can handle the most important of websites, including the White House’s website. The community is very supportive, and folks who can help figure out Drupal problems are easy to find.

Choosing the right CMS is personal, though, and it is important that you choose the right content management system to run your website. Do not forget to consider SEO when making a selection, and choose wisely!

Friday Link Love 9/24/10 – The Musical Chairs Edition

Friday, September 24th, 2010

It’s been a crazy week here at the ninja lair. The bosses decided to rearrange us, and now we’re all sitting in new cubicles, adjusting to new neighbors and new surroundings. I suppose it’s good to always keep your ninjas on their toes, eh? Now that I’m all settled into my new digs (I have a window!) it’s time to get this week’s link love flowing. (more…)

Friday Link Love for 9/10/10: The Shaken, Not Stirred Edition

Friday, September 10th, 2010

It seems like the entire Internet world has changed this week. SEOmoz introduced us to a keyword/content relevancy tool which has many in the SEO and IR communities in an uproar and turned “LDA” into an SEO buzz word. Google Instant rolled out, possibly upending several search marketing conventions. And here at the secret ninja lair, we’ve watched breathlessly as our blog traffic skyrocketed unexpectedly and everyone is getting new cubicle and office assignments. Internally and externally, everything has been shaken up – and hopefully for the better! Here’s the weekly round up of our favorite posts.

Becky’s Links:
It’s impossible for me not to talk about SEOmoz’s new LDA tool. Heck, we did our own post about it here after it was announced at the Mozinar in Seattle, and another one here after we realized what a controversy it was turning out to be. Rand Fishkin explains it quite well in his article, Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) and Google’s Rankings are Remarkably Well Correlated. While there has been a lot of heated debate over nearly every aspect of the tool (which is still just in Labs), including methodology, the meaning of “well correlated” and the tool’s user-friendliness or lack thereof, we’re excited about having a new tool in our arsenal.

I’m also going to throw some love at two other posts: Scott Brinker’s thoughts about effective microsites, a strategy we rather like for many of our clients with more diversified services, and David Kauzlaric’s article, Google Analytics + Heat Map Analytics + Good Designer = Sexy Conversions. I love heatmapping, and combining it with analytics data just pushes me over the edge!

Debby’s Link:
Google Instant- What Now
Much needed advice in the time of  confusion. I agree with the writer – we need to wait and get more information about the  effects of Google Instant.

John’s Link:
As conversion rate optimization becomes more and more a plurality with SEO, I would like to give a nod to SEOmoz’s Dr. Pete with his post “Priceless CRO Advice for $224.” I really like the first two options, which allow for cheap yet effective analysis of your company’s or client’s website. Review things like brand recognition, goal conversion and all sorts of visitor behavior.

Friday Link Love: July 23

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

I find myself wondering how the heck I made it to Friday again so quickly. Is it just me, or is July moving at the speed of light?

Either way, it’s time for some link lovin’s for our favorite SEO writers this week!

Patti: There’s another startup on the horizon, and this one comes with FREE DATA! I, like our former ninja Tara, love data, especially when it’s free. Blekko is a search engine currently sitting in beta which promises to share it’s data for free, including inbound links, duplicated content, and associated metatags, for each and every domain they have indexed! Provided their index is comparable to that of Yahoo! or Google, this will be a great tool for SEO! Swoon

Becky: Last January, I got very interested in Foursquare and after poking it with a stick for awhile I wrote SEO for Foursquare. I was pretty excited about the possible implications for local search, and wrote that, “The clean, clear address and map hint that a citation is certainly possible. If a lot of people are checking in to a venue, those could be construed as votes in favor that make it more worthy of a higher position in the 7-pack. At the very least, the search engines are taking some serious notice.” So of course I was excited all over again when Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land posted Foursquare In Discussions With “Everyone” To Enhance Search With Its Data. Can I get away with saying I told you so? Cuz I kinda want to. ;-)

Seven Reasons Why You Need a BBB.org Listing

Monday, April 5th, 2010

There are many of us who see the BBB sticker posted on trucks and business buildings around town, and the meaning of it kind of surpasses those of us who are less savvy with internet marketing. Yes, the Better Business Bureau has some awesome implications for your business in the physical world, if anyone knows what it is or what it stands for. But the real power of the BBB can be seen in your web presence. Being a member of the BBB and having a listing on BBB.org can be one of the strongest things you can do for your online presence. The most important “person” to see your online influence with the BBB is Google, and other search engines. Here’s seven reasons why your BBB listing will improve your search engine results!

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The Right Tool for The Right Job

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

I may be a total girl when it comes to actually using most of the tools in anyone’s garage, but I absolutely love them. I love the magic that happens when a painstaking task becomes effortless thanks to a brilliantly engineered device. Since I like to nerd-out about my favorite things while talking about SEO, let’s see if I can draw some parallels between my three favorite actual tools, and their theoretical SEO counterparts!

The “mini power tool” (shown in the photo) that was developed and used by NASA for the last repair of the Hubble Space Telescope combined with the fastener capture plate developed for many uses on the same mission is an awesomely specific and effective combination. The mini power tool was developed specifically to allow astronauts to remove tiny screws from one panel of the Hubble telescope. It had to be made smaller than previous power tools in order to gently remove the small screws, and a light was installed in the front of it so astronauts could clearly see them. The fastener capture plate allows for the screws to be removed cleanly, capturing all the screws as they are removed so they don’t drift off into space… or worse, inside the telescope.

This tool reminds me a lot of Yahoo! Site Explorer. It is an invaluable tool to SEOs for either evaluating your own backlinks or looking at the backlinks of a competitor. There’s really no better tool for the job. SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer is a close replacement, and certainly offers some nice metrics in addition to links, but we’ve found that it doesn’t give as complete or accurate a list as YSE. We are devastated with the thought that it might go away. Both of these tools are great examples of tools engineered to a very specific purpose. However, they also both share a ginourmous fault – being a one-trick pony. Yahoo! Site Explorer only shows us backlinks – why not also show local citations and reviews? Why not allow an option to see social media citations? Yahoo could also take a page out of SEOmoz’s book and show some trust rankings. My next favorite is a much, much more versatile tool…

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Conversion Rate Optimization: The Mantra for 2010?

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Whether it’s on blogs or articles or any Internet Marketing related news, the message seems to be that CRO or conversion rate optimization is the  new SEO. SEOMoz’s Rand Fishkin recently declared that conversion optimization is the most underused and highest ROI activity in the marketing department.

So what is CRO?  Is this within the realm of SEO or does this fall more in the  design and web development area? How do we as optimizers conquer this new mountain and get success for our clients.

CRO In broad terms, conversion optimization is the implementation of techniques on a website that enhance a vistor’s experience when they visit the website, so they can  quickly find what they’re looking for,  move without delay through the site and get to the point where they  get converted into potential clients.

Optimizing for Conversion

The first step in improving conversion rates is to define the site’s objective – Is it to sell products or services,  provide information or generate click-throughs ?

Once the  site’s objective is defined, the next step is to develop metrics and carry out regular tests  to identify problems and trends.

Once the data has beeen gathered, immediate action needs to be taken to address problems and enhance the overall site usability.

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5 Ways to Track SEO Practices in Google Analytics

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Did you know that you can use web analytics to track different SEO and internet marketing practices? You bet your sweet giraffe you can! Here are five really great ways to track your efforts as an optimizer.

5. Event Tracking. This is a method you can use where, by adding a small snippet of code to select areas of your site, you can very specifically track visitor clicks on certain areas of your site. This is especially handy with things like Calls-To-Action that go to your social media pages (buttons to your Twitter profile, for example). This is also handy in doing things like experimenting with the location of certain links or buttons on a page, to see if they get more clicks. Although you should definitely read Google Code’s guide on Event Tracking, implementing the Event Tracking code is not as difficult as they make it sound.  Simply add this code:

onClick="pageTracker._trackEvent('Category', 'Action', 'Label');"

Within the code of whatever you want to track. For images, this is within the <img> tag, for links this is within the <a> tag. Swap out the “Category, Action, Label” tags with your own custom tags. One example might be, “Twitter” for Category, “Follow” for Action, and “SideNav” for Label. You will start to see hits on these spots in the “Content” section of Google Analytics, under the “Event Tracking” report!

4. Custom URLs. Custom URLs using Google’s URL Builder are a great way to track external content, or content that you send off into the world with a link back to your client’s site. This can be anything from a Press Release, to a Linkbait Article, to a banner ad on an external website.

It won’t track how many views a page gets, but it will track how many times the URL that you create is clicked, and it will add specific labels so that you know where the clicks came from. Our Account Managers wrote a great blog post outlining how to use the Google URL Builder to this purpose.

Once the URL has been set up, you will start to see hits come in the “Traffic Sources” section of Google Analytics, in the “Campaigns” report.

3. Search Engines Report. The value of this report to an optimizer is so self-explanatory that I won’t even bother explaining it. It is also found in the “Traffic Sources” section. Check it out.

2. Referring Sites Report. This is a really simple report, found in the “Traffic Sources” section of Google Analytics, but it can have a treasure trove of information on your link building efforts! This report will show you all the non-search engine websites that send traffic to your site. If one of your link building sites is sending a lot of traffic, then you know it is a valuable resource. Conversely, if you’re spending money on a link resource that never sends you traffic, you might want to reconsider investing in that website…

1. Keywords Report. One use of the keywords report that you might not have considered is that if a keyword has a lot of visits but a really high bounce rate (the % of people who visit your site then leave without viewing any other pages) then it may be that you don’t have a good page for that keyword, or that the page isn’t well optimized. This can be extremely valuable for making sure that your website’s pages are really well targeted towards your chosen keywords. I usually like to complement the Keywords report with Google Insights for Search, to compare keyword popularity across all of Google.

For more information on analyzing data in Google Analytics, you can check out my other recent blog entry, “Quickly and Visually Interpret Data in Google Analytics.”

How do you use Google Analytics to measure your SEO practices? We’d love to hear it! Please feel free to share your knowledge in our comments.

New Year, New SEO Goals!

Monday, February 8th, 2010

I have been looking forward to getting back to blogging and it’s great to begin the new year with our new and improved site.
We have an exciting year ahead at Page 1 Solutions, we have set some big targets and the SEO team is gearing up towards achieving our goals for this year.

In our quest toward further refining our processes, our team is working on testing the different variables we use as part of our optimization. This will help get scientific data for our optimization techniques which will be useful in gaining even even more success for our clients. While the benefits of testing are obvious, there are some important points that we need to keep in mind as we work on the different tests we have set up.

It is important to define clear and measurable criteria for the tests and to detemine what kind of testing is best suited for the situation.

  1. We should assess our goals and determine a reasonable number of scenarios to test in a relatively short time period.
  2. We need to prioritize the elements to be tested and use appropriate testing tools.
  3. It is vital to methodically track and evaluate results, to assess the results, carry out follow up tests if needed and to use the results to standardize processes.

Some of the different testing processes include A/B testing, split run testing, multivariate testing, and something I’ve recently heard about called called Taguchi testing.

  • A/B Split Testing involves testing one element of a page against another to see which is more effective.
  • Multiple Variable Testing or Multivariate Testing involves Testing more than one element at a time to test the
  • Advanced Testing using statistics to determine the ideal configuration of elements using the smallest possible number of visitors.
  • Advanced Testing and Automated Optimization using the Taguchi Method – The Taguchi Method was developed 50 years ago and is supposed to be the most powerful and successful testing method to create a significant improvement without creating a large load of work.

Designing a good test scenario requires time and preparation. Successful tests are those that can be completed in short periods of time yet yield greatest possible improvements in results. While the tests may not give us all the answers we need, they will surely help get us closer to achieving optimum results for our clients.


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