Continuing with our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) discussion, it’s necessary to understand just how search engines see our WordPress sites. While the computation and algorithms are complicated and proprietary to each search engine, an understanding of the basics gives us the tools needed to optimize our sites.
A brief introduction to web crawlers
Hopefully, I’m not ruining any fantasies here, but there isn’t a room full of people at Google looking through web pages and indexing the contents of different sites. That would require way too many people and cost way too much. Instead, large search engines generally implement web crawlers, programs which quickly read web page data. This process called crawling or spidering generally performs the following actions:
Read the prominent* page data on the current page
Read all hyper-links to other web pages and add them to a list of future pages to crawl
Looking around at numerous other blogs I frequent, it becomes painfully clear just how little many people understand about SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. In this situation, ignorance is not bliss as these blogs are potentially sacrificing a large number of readers who can’t find the content contained within.
What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is the process by which the author of a web page (or blog in our case) organizes and formats their content to make it more accessible to search engines such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing. This sounds relatively simple, right? Well, let’s start off by making it clear that there is no such thing as a blog with perfect SEO simply because there is no 100% definition of exactly what “perfect SEO” really entails. However, there are a few simple things that can go a long way to making sure that your blog is at least getting indexed by search engines. Continue reading “What is SEO and why do I need it?”
In reading through Pro Blogger today, I found an interesting post entitled Rookie Lessons for New Bloggers, which was a guest post by Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship. As somewhat of a rookie myself, I decided to quickly jot down my thoughts. This soon turned into the following full post which I figured I’d share with you all.
Blogging is Difficult!
There. I said it. Blogging is difficult. Even more so for someone new to online publishing — the “blog rookie” if you will. Sure, there are tons of success stories, and great resources with tons of information. That’s enough, right? Perhaps. But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s easy to sit down and write a successful blog! The process of simply setting up a blog can be intimidating and time consuming, especially if you’re trying to setup a unique domain name and host the blog on a server as opposed to going through a ready made blog site such as WordPress.com or Blogger. We haven’t even begun to write yet, a task which for many, is harder then they anticipated. After an initial burst of energy and great ideas, finding topics, images and motivation can become difficult. And we’re not even to the part of this venture where you have to actually market your blog. That’s right. Sites don’t just take off and become profitable on their own. Along the way, mistakes are made. Lots of them. Yes. Everyone makes mistakes when blogging and anyone who claims they haven’t is lying to you.
Everyone attempts to market their blog. Some for money, some simply for personal satisfaction. While I’m really not serious about marketing my blog from a business perspective, I do have to say that the fact that I have had complete strangers comment on my blog has really been fun! And thus far, there have been some pretty good discussions!
Google Analytics — Tracking Website Visitors
With that said, most of us are tracking, to some degree or another, the people visiting our sites. And for most of us who don’t want to invest huge dollars into a custom analytics system, this means we’re using Google Analytics.
This tool is great. It tells me where my visitors come from (48 different countries over the past month), how long the average visitor spends on my site (around 2 minutes and 18 seconds) and what search keywords people are using to get here. It also tells me that 76% of my traffic is from people searching the Internet and just stumbling across my site. Plus, hundreds of other statistics that can be really useful of you know what you’re looking for. Continue reading “Campaign Tracking in Google Analytics”