Developing your small business on the internet through great internet marketing with a well structured, content rich website is a tremendously cost effective and smart strategy.
Once you have your website up and running you will need to keep an eye on some key metrics and sources of data.
This will allow you to tweak your site and online marketing strategy, if necessary, or perhaps target new and related content topics
There are three free tools that will assist you greatly and provide you with rich sources of data and feedback. These three tools/services are
- Awstats (or Webalizer) in your cPanel;
- Google Analytics
- Google Webmaster tools.
Awstats is my preferred log program which comes as standard with most good hosting packages. The type of information you will get from Awstats includes
- Unique visitors
- Number of visits
- How many pages have been visited
- The countries from which you are getting your traffic
- Your most viewed pages/content
- What sites or search engines sent those visitors to your site
- And most critically of all, the search keyphrases which those visitors used to find your site.
This latter data is of huge benefit as it shows what your site is currently being found for and can be a great source of ideas for new content creation.
Google analytics will also provide you with great information about your
- most popular/most read content,
- the source of your traffic,
- your bounce rate (how long someone stays on your site once they land),
- how many other pages they visit,
- the amount of time spent on your site,
- the keywords that people found your site for(entrance keywords),
- the way people find their way around your site and so on.
You can also set up Goals within Google Analytics and track how many visitors carried out a predefined goal or conversion that you will have set up. This could be anything ranging from how many signed up as a subscriber to purchasing a product.
Another cool feature of Analytics is the In Page Analytics which shows you in graphical form where people clicked on any given page of your site. This can provide great feedback to allow you to move stuff around (for example sign up forms) if the existing location seems to be ignored.
Google Webmaster Tools
Webmaster tools from Google provides great information about
- Backlinks (sites linking to your site)
- Search queries (and your average position and click through rate for those queries)
- Information about your sitemaps, number of indexed pages and any errors in your site maps
- Crawl errors such as pages not found when Google crawled your site
- And much more.
Submitting a site map for your site will ensure that your site is crawled by Googlebot and you can submit sitemaps for images, videos, your rss feed and the regular site map.
The feedback and useful data that you will receive from the 3 resources above should not be ignored by any website owner who is serious about his/her internet marketing and growing his/her website traffic and conversions.
Google Webmaster tools provide a lot of really useful information for webmasters and website owners and most people only use it in a very limited fashion such as to check the back links going to their site which is a big mistake.
Google webmaster tools
One of the first things you should do with your new website is to head over to Google webmaster tools at www.google.com/webmasters/tools.
When you set up your blog or website it is incredibly foolish not to register your site with Google Webmaster tools. It provides you with a lot of valuable information about your site such as the number of back links to your various posts/pages.
It allows you to submit the feed from your site which tells Google that there is a new website which you want indexed and included in their search results.
There are actually many site maps from your site that you can submit but the 3 most important ones are the regular xml site map from your site which can be easily created with a great plug in called Google XML site maps. You can also submit an image site map, a video site map and an rss site map.
But the most important one is the xml site map and the submission of this site map shows Google that you are serious about your website, that it is not a spam or duplicate content site and that you take your responsibilities as webmaster of your site seriously.
In addition to this benefit your webmaster tools account will also give you lots of useful information about your site and how Google or Googlebot (Google’s robot which crawls the web) perceives your site and any problems encountered in crawling it or the presence of any malware and other issues.
It also tells you about problem pages for the Google robot as to which pages could not be found, what parts of your site are restricted incorrectly by your robots text file and so on.
There is another benefit of your webmaster account also and..
If you look at the top left of the page for analysis of a particular site you will see a table of “top search queries”. Unlike the stats in your Awstats program in cPanel, these queries show the key phrases and their ranking or position according to the Google robot.
The first important point about this is that you will see that your site might be found or ranked for a search term that you had not targeted. This affords you the opportunity to provide content based around that particular term, which will obviously be mentioned somewhere on your site but not focussed on, to boost your rankings and rank for that particular key phrase.
It is incredible to study this table and see phrases or keywords on your site which were written naturally into a post or page and to see them ranking in the top 20 in Google.
Now the trick to which I referred above is as follows:
Click on the “more” link at the bottom of this “top searches queries” table and this will expand the list to maybe 20 key words.
Scan through this list and see what phrases are ranking on page 2 of Google, in other words are top 20, and then check out the number of searches for that keyword.
Make sure that there is a decent number of searches for that phrase but once you are satisfied that there is, write a post/page based around that key phrase and write some articles targeting that post.
Without too much effort you should be able to nudge your position from page 2 of Google to page 1..all for a word that you may never have considered or targeted.
Next time, check your Google webmaster account and check out that table because you would not know what little gem you will find of a search term or phrase for which Google is already ranking some part of your site but which you did not target.
And remember you are not trying to get a keyword from page 15 or 20 onto page 1; you only need to shove it from page 2 which should be very realisable with a little bit of judicious back linking.
So don’t underestimate the value of utilizing fully the tools and data in Google webmaster tools which can help you better understand what Google is looking for in a high ranking website.
Filed under Search Engine Optimisaton Ireland