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August 31, 2010

SEO Hot Tub – 20th August 2010

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The SEO Hot Tub is not just a way for us to talk about the latest and most important search engine optimisation (SEO) articles, but also a way to share our SEO knowledge and client learning’s. Reading articles from other SEO sources not only keeps you updated with what is going on in the industry, but also drives you to do your own testing to see how what is happening on sites may affect your own.

My favourite topics and articles from this week’s session include the following:

1.  Michael Gray: Hosting your Videos – Vzaar Video Hosting Service Review

Michael suggests using the third party video player Vzaar rather YouTube. This is because YouTube usually shows related videos to keep viewers watching. Related videos can become a distraction to users. YouTube has also started showing advertising overlays so you never know when a competitor might show up on your video. These can keep people from entering in your conversion channels.

2. SEO by the SEA: How Google Might Fight Web Spam Based upon Classifications and Click Data

A Google patent (filed in 2006) was granted last week. The patent presents an automated process that might be used by the search engines to classify (as on topic, off topic and spam) documents based in part upon user-behavior data. Points that will be considered are:

  • Click-through rates – how often certain pages are selected in search results in response to a query, compared to how often those pages are shown in response to that query.
  • Click durations – the amount of time that someone remains on a given page after finding it in search results.  In my view, “click durations” might also consider bounce rate as a factor. Bounce rate (BR %) represents the % of initial visitors to a site who “bounce” to a different site rather than continuing on to other pages within the same site. You will find that sites that have high BR% will also have low conversion rate. BR% might be influenced by driving users to the wrong landing page and targeting the wrong keywords.

3. Bruce Clay US Blog: SEO is a Waste without Conversions

This post raises some great points about conversion but one point I would like to make is that an important part of conversion optimisation is about targeting the right keywords. This has been a common practice when optimising PPC campaigns and it should affect the way you do your keyword research for SEO. For example, when doing keyword research we don’t generally target keywords that have low search volumes, but we might decide to opt for lower search volume terms if these drive targeted and converting traffic to our site. For example, if your site offers “broadband” and “phone” packages, both which are highly trafficked and relevant terms, you might initially decide to optimise and silo your pages for “broadband” and “phone”. From your tracking system, you might find out that those users entering “broadband & phone bundles” are the ones that are most likely to convert on your site. This might be because users are more interested in finding bundle offers rather than standalone products. In this case although “broadband & phone bundle” will have a much lower search volume, it may be a better keyword to target for your business and deserve a landing page of its own.

Driving a high volume of traffic to your site is good, however if that doesn’t help your ROI, you should probably ask yourself what you are doing wrong. If you have already done testing, and your shopping cart is functional and easy to complete, consider the quality of your traffic. If you have PPC conversion data, consider it as a factor in your keyword research.

Another example of this is a “gold tours” company ranking for the keyword “gold” in google.com.au:

The monthly search volume (phrase match) for the term “gold” in Australia is 7,480,000. The site that is appearing in position 8 is a small site that specialises in gold tours. For a small site, appearing in position 8 is a good achievement, however would the term “gold” be a converting term for a company that specialises in “gold tours”? Targeting terms that have lower search volumes such as “day tours” or “adventure tours” could drive more conversions/booking enquiries.

4. Updated Google Keyword Tool coming out of beta:

Google announced on August 9th that they are taking the new keyword tool out of beta and the old tool will be phased out on the 1st of September 2010. The benefits of the new keyword tool include flexible search options, easy keyword refinements, advanced statistics as well as additional functionality to remove duplicate and add negative keywords.

The new keyword tool was initially rolled out in Google Adwords then it became available in the external tool.

One thing I have noticed is that there is a discrepancy of data if you use the Google Keyword Tool and the Google Adwords Tool. For the keyword “mobile phone deals”, the search volume is 135,000 per month in the Google Keyword Tool and 60,000 per month in the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.

Google Keyword Tool External:

Google Keyword Tool Adwords:

5. Tonyadams.com: Site Speed: Reducing Page Load Times and Increasing Pages Crawled

Tony Adams conducted an experiment to identify any correlation between site speed and pages crawled. According to Tony, as the amount of time spent downloading a page increases, the number of pages crawled and content downloaded decreases. This is Tony’s graph:

I found this very interesting as I came across the same findings in one of my sites:

The Google Webmaster Tool also gives you information about speed in the Site Performance Tab, however be aware that the site performance data in the Google Webmaster tool is collected directly from users who have installed the Google Toolbar and have enabled the optional PageRank feature. I presume the sample of users that have a Google toolbar with the PR feature is probably small and this may not give a representative sample.

6. SERoundTable: n:language tag

You can now set the language in the News Sitemap file using the n:language tag. This is useful for multilingual sites that can separate different language versions of pages in XML Sitemaps.

7. Google Places Updates

Google Places is now offering verified business owners a mechanism to respond to user reviews.

And that’s a wrap!

If you want to learn more about SEO, Bruce Clay Australia presents two training courses. To find out more, head to the SEO training information page.





2 responses to “SEO Hot Tub – 20th August 2010”

  1. Andy @ FirstFound writes:

    The new Keyword Tool is out of Beta? Great stuff!

    Oh, and I’ll check out some of the other articles too.

  2. Geno Prussakov writes:

    Excellent collection of articles, Raffaella.

    Regarding Google’s new keyword tool, it is important to point out one thing that hasn’t changed (and important to remember, especially for those who may think of relying on it for SEO purposes): in the “searches” columns (both global and local) the new tool is still showing the total number of searches across the whole Google search network. This number is often significantly less on Google proper.



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