Yes, there are both paid (Omniture’s SiteCatalyst) and free (Google Analytics) website tracking solutions. Both are extremely robust and have advantages and I find myself working in Google Analytics 99% of the time. The primary reason being that GA is free. I always remember two things when someone says that.
1) It’s only free if you don’t value your time.
2) You get what you pay for.
I like to compare free analytics to a free private jet. While it is great to have, it’s never “free”. You need to have a pilot at the helm, mechanics to maintain & upgrade, fuel in the tank and an actual reason to use it. If it sits in a hangar, what’s the point?
I’ve had “Helvetica” in my Netflix queue for a while now. I haven’t gotten around to watching it because the topic is insanely boring for my wife. To quote, “They are talking about fonts?!?”
It was in her shock that I discovered something brilliant. These people LOVED typography. Not to the point where they are just graphic designers and it is another tool in their set. They LOVED typography. They loved creating, analyzing, deconstructing, studying, cataloguing, spotting and discussing fonts. They loved every single detail, and their enthusiasm poured out of the television.
This same enthusiasm is the driving force behind SEOs. The finest details and changes are analyzed, deconstructed, studied and heavily debated. There is a passion for details and the impact of the smallest change. Without this passion, an SEO would be dead in the water.
And just as I immediately begin analyzing any site for SEO value, I now see Helvetica everywhere.
Reacting to, disproving or otherwise going head-to-head with spammy “SEOs” who reach out to my clients is a nearly daily activity. And these spammers primarily feed on incorrect or outdated knowledge.
This poor advice is bad for the industry because it make legitimate SEOs look like snake oil salesmen. Jill Whalen did a great job of pointing out 7 Reasons Why Bad SEO Advice Spreads Like Wildfire.
Read these & recognize if/when it happens to you.
This blog was just posted to SEOmoz.org, and it’s well deserved. It provides a funny and insanely accurate/depressing view how different SEO environments. All of them are spot on and shines a light on how we, as SEOs, can improve our field.
Do yourself a favor and read this SEO blog today!
Most SEO’s have a penchant for being analytical & nerdy. While this is mostly true, it is also a requirement to be an extremely creative bunch. Not only do most SEO problem require reverse engineering to diagnose a problem, they also require creative solutions to overcome the problem. There is also a need for creative copywriting, as well as overall content generation that makes for great linkbait.
So, for all SEOs out there who are feeling like your left brain overpowers your right brain, here is a great video with ideas for jumpstarting creativity:
Today is the best day to review performance from last month and compare it to previous months. See what sections of your site have increase, what traffic sources have improved and review all engagement metrics.
What converted? What didn’t?
Do you have new referrals, and therefore new links?
Take this time to review performance, analyze activity, and most importantly: ACT ON THE DATA. Make these revisions so you know what to look for on July 1st!
Those who know me know that I am a HUGE Beatles fan. I am also a huge search geek. Hidden within their lyrics are great SEO lessons to keep in mind.
Hard Day’s Night
“It’s been a hard day’s night and I’ve been workin’ like dog. It’s been a hard day’s night; I should be sleepin’ like a log”
Some in-house SEO gigs are different, but most SEOs don’t punch out at 5:00. Hell, some don’t even punch out at all! Instead, they stay up way too late reading, experimenting, sharing, programming, testing, reviewing, analyzing and much, much more. An SEO doesn’t sleep because search engines don’t sleep. And yes, right now I should be sleepin’ like a log.
Can’t Buy Me Love
“Tell me that you want those kinds of things that money just can’t buy”
Good rankings are earned. They are the fruit of hours, days, weeks & months of building good content and creating a relevant site. This creates leads from fans to boost your site. Yes, you can buy “link love”, but it is usually short-lived & ultimately detrimental to your site.
Don’t Let Me Down
“Don’t let me down”
I’ve written about SEO expectations in the past, and this type of comment comes up often. Clients don’t want to be let down when they aren’t ranking #1 for a certain high-volume term. It’s important to set Client expectations in the beginning so they know what in involved in your SEO program.
With A Little Help From My Friends
“I get by with a little help from my friends”
SEO is a team effort that is driven by a community of peers. Since the search engines don’t publish their algorithm, we are left with case studies, deciphering Matt Cutts, or relying on expert Q&A from sites like SEOmoz. These are all great resources, but you really can’t learn it until you roll up your sleeves and get started.
“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”
In all honesty, SEO gets a bad wrap. We are constantly compared to lowlife spammers or used car salesmen. We are viewed as selling snake oil or manipulating search engines. SEOs are trashed so often because so many of them are trashy. The few ruin the industry for the honest, hard-working SEOs who genuinely want to do great work and want your website to succeed. So for those who are ruining the industry, you will get your comeuppance.
Warning! Nerdy Advertising History Lesson:
In 1956, a young copywriter (and future ad legend) at Foote, Cone & Belding (You may recognize the FCB moniker) named Shirley Polykoff was visiting her future mother-in-law, a very conservative Old World Orthodox. She disapproved of Shirley on the primary reason that she “painted her hair.” Shortly afterward, Shirley was placed on the Clairol account and was tasked with launching the Miss Clairol brand, the first at-home hair color bath. Remembering the Yiddish statement of her disapproving mother-in-law, Shirley translated the quote: “Does she or doesn’t she?”.
Unlike the humiliation that she felt from that quote, Shirley created the phrase with a sense of empowerment. She wanted women to embrace the fact that they can change their color…and ultimately change their life. “Blonds have more fun.”, “If I only live once, let it be as a blond!”, etc. She wanted hair color to be a seamless part of the woman. Something completely natural and not jarring. Something that “only her hairdresser knows for sure”. Something that would cause an onlooker to ask “Does she or doesn’t she?”
Nerdy Advertising History Lesson Over
Just as Shirly Polykoff wanted people to wonder, your SEO strategy should cause the same reaction. Just like Miss Clairol looked natural, the SEO’d version of your website should look natural too. Your content should be helpful, fresh and relevant. It should make the view want to look closer and visit often. If there are black hat or spam techniques employed on your site, the visitor will be able to tell & you will immediately lose their trust.
Following this rule of thumb will also make the search engines like you and boost rankings. Even though Google may tweak it’s algorithm hundreds of times per year and roll out big updates like Caffeine, Instant & Panda, the tenets remain the same. Create good content that is good for users. Don’t overly apply SEO tactics that look like spam (or legitimately are spam). You get penalized accordingly.