Measuring Your Web Content’s SEO Value

Most people are familiar with the term search engine optimization, or commonly termed, SEO.  This is a critical aspect in both design and success of your websites content and drawing people to it via search rankings. So consider it not the roof of the house but truly a part of the foundational structure of your website.  And there are great rewards if your website contains SEO rich keywording and proper tags.

“A website isn’t worth having, if no one can find it!

So if you really want to build traffic to your website or blog, you will be thinking of SEO as something paramount to your site’s developments. Majority of webmasters only do the things required to gain a good amount of search engine traffic, but very little actually measure their site’s SEO value.

You Are Being Out Ranked!
One of the best articles I’ve read about rankings comes for the industry gurus of HubSpot.  Rebecca Churt’s blog titled, “How to Conduct a Competitive SEO Audit to Outrank Industry Rivals” says it all.  In this article, she lists 5 Simple Steps to Perform Your Own Competitive SEO Analysis which include:
-articulate your buyer personas;
-identify key competitors;
-explore what the competition looks like; and more!

Measuring via Your Analytics

So much data is now available through the various analytics systems, and the one most commonly used (and respected) is Google Analytics.  The key to successful utilization of it is to focus on the data that matters most. By focusing on the reporting metrics, you can get a sense of the true ROI and the value of your SEO efforts.  Start your analysis by looking at the number of visitors to your site, where they came from, and most importantly, what search terms they used.  Just this preliminary information alone, will tell you is how well you are doing  at getting more people to visit your website while increasing the visibility of your business and/or service.

What’s the Hook in Link Building?

Within the SEO communities, you will often hear the term “links” and/ or link building.  What that really means is that a link from another website links to your company’s site.  SEO link building requires that the site linking to yours must indeed be trustworthy link and furthermore, related to your business. Valuable links come from trusted sites like:

  • Educational institutions that your company has a relationship with;
  • Local and national organizations you or your company has an affiliation to;
  • Any number of relatively unknown but reputable business and industry-related directories;
  • Similar industry online publications; and more!

The Key is Keywords

While considering the written content of your website, make a conscious selections of commonly used keywords and phrases to increase your chances of climbing the search engine ranks.  Think of yourself as the consumer and even consider looking up certain terms in a Thesaurus to determine commonly used words that most users in your industry might use.  A test run on your success at this would be search engine sites and paste them in the major search engine sites you want to be found on, then hit the search button. Whatever page your site is will determine how effective your SEO investments are.

Honk Your Horn For More Traffic!

Increased traffic for your website and if you’re not getting enough of traffic as evidenced by your analytics, it means you need to tweak your process (eg, keywording) and do more optimization. Try keeping a record (easy enough in an Excel spreadsheet) how much traffic your website increases after each new method is implemented.  Then move forward, scale back or consider a new method based on the data collected and analyzed.  This is a simple way to determine the true value of your SEO efforts.

The Sum of it All

SEO is instrumental to content builders whether you are a web designer or blogger.  We don’t have the luxury of ignoring the SEO value of our websites; investing time and resources into a zero-yielding ROI and a non-existent consumer base.

Publishing Content: Only When Necessary

Hand writing in cloudsOne of the major ideas that we push to our clients is to continue to create new content for their website. However this is sometimes tougher than it may seem on the surface. When we think of your website, we’re looking at slight changes either in strategic keywords, new pages, new products, and new posts. One of the easier things to publish would be blog posts. Though there has to be a level of consistency, it certainly does help your search rank when you publish great relevant content.

Lets first look at what would be considered relevant:

Consider how your post will be relevant to your target audience. It isn’t enough anymore just to put out content all on the wall and hope something sticks. Or hope that one of out every 10 will be seen by someone who will find it relevant while the rest are just “there”.

Post Linking. While you may have many posts on your website and blog, linking some of your keywords to other relevant posts or product pages on your main site is actually a great way to drive more traffic to other great and relevant content.

Keep an eye on your analytics.   Imagine getting behind the wheel of your car, and driving blind folded. It’s just as much of a bad idea as creating new content for your website, yet not paying attention to what keywords, links, and other data is bringing people to your website. Also seeing what your bounce rate is for your pages and dissecting them to find ways of either matching the expected content or installing new widgets like videos to keep visitors on your pages for a longer time.

Blog posts should be consistent. When considering a blog for your website, understand first that it is not an easy job. You’ll need to create great content on a regular basis. So your first few posts will be a breeze because they’ll most likely be things you talk about in your sales pitches, but in the long run it will be challenging. So you may want to start with 1 or 2 posts a week and on strategic days of the week and at strategic times. For example Mondays and Tuesdays around 9-11AM are great times for business and marketing articles, while weekend late mornings are great for other posts.

Trending topics within your industry. You should already have your finger to the pulse of your industry. New developments on the horizon, software updates pending for release; these are all great topics that many professionals in your audience will be talking about. So give them something to talk about, but from your own company perspective. Everyone may be looking forward to Windows 8 mobile coming out, but what if you have some constructive points about it that no one has yet discovered.

So we’ve covered a good few things today. Do you have some additions to what we’ve discussed? Please feel free and add your comments below.

Image credit: noomhh / 123RF Stock Photo

Analyzing Your Trends – What They Really Tell You

Last week Design Theory allowed the outside world an inside look at our audience numbers for our weekly blog postings via Peeking Underneath the Hood at Your Blog #’s.  It was great to get feedback by email and comments on the blog as to what people thought of our exposure and how that helped them to consider the importance of analytics. Most companies should know that tracking their visitors through a source like Google Analytics includes hits from search engines, pay-per-click networks, email marketing, displayed advertising and the like.  Off-site analytics, like the ones I’ve demonstrated here, are to measure not just the website’s current audience but also it’s potential audience and what we at Design Theory can do to create more opportunities, exposure and buzz (aka comments) about our services. So, the analysis of our web data helps to improve the website and our blog content for Design Theory and it’s visitors.

During the last week of September
887 Page Views vs. preceding week’s 994 Page Views

As opposed to last week, this week we see a significant increase in readership directly from  Additionally, the top referring website is still Google but there seems to be a little less traffic via Google UK than the week preceding and jumped 46 more than last week as well.   Last week there were very few unique readers on Monday & Tuesday (how readers are tagged via a persistent cookie that stores and returns a unique id value so that Client V is always the same Client V whenever he/she comes back to the website) but this week, there are definitely more than its predecessor (361 vs. 221).  That’s great because that tells us we are reaching new people and therefore more potential clientele.  As far as the blogs go, Daphne & I are still neck & neck, which once again confirms that our blogs and tags are working well for us. Lastly, as ironic as it is, our top view location moved from Ulaanbaatar, New Mexico last week to Meriden, CT this week.  I can’t explain that one at all!  But at least it reflects the diversity of our readers and confirms that Design Theory has a worldwide presence.

During the first week of October
717 Page Views

What I also notice right off the bat is that Tuesdays readership fell drastically and I know exactly why.  I was on vacation and didn’t blog.  Yes that’s right, I did it…I took a vacation and I’m not sorry about it.  And although I’m not happy the numbers dipped, it did provide us with some solid intel.  It shows that I have a reading audience and there is value in the content I create weekly for the blog.  So Daphne metaphorically DUNKED on me HARD but that’s ok.  Despite having different titles and talents, we have the same goal.  And that ultimate goal is increasing the ROI that those talents provide via the blogs and the work we do for our clients.

As detailed in the Audience Stats, our number of visits/readers let us know that people are accessing our website and whether or not we are capturing new audiences.  However, something this particular report doesn’t reflect (but should definitely be considered) is the bounce rate.  The bounce rate tells us how many people come to our site and quickly left it.  Now there are plenty of reasons that happens.  Maybe someone had to answer their door or walk their dog…but most often it reflects that they didn’t find what they needed or became bored with the content. There’s no room for ego when looking at these numbers I must tell you.  Because what it does is identify areas that we could improve on like imagery, written content and the ease of navigation throughout the website.

So once again we learn, we grow and do better.  I’m encouraged by our numbers while knowing there’s ALWAYS room for improvement and I look forward to continue to write and put out great content & tidbits to our readers and clients.

~ Content Writing Inspiration ~
The beginning is easy; what happens next is much harder. ~ Anonymous

Feed the Spiders HTML5

Spider on the HTML5 logo
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  is important to any website.  Being able to show up in the top of search rankings heightens visitor traffic to your site and may have a significant impact on conversions–sales, subscriptions, and so on.   While content has an enormous impact on a site’s ranking, one of the factors you may not consider is how the code itself may affect it.  HTML5,  while not fully supported in all browsers, can be helpful in getting search engine’s “spiders” to rank your content as more relevant.

What’s going on now?

HTML is not a programming language.  It’s abbreviation gives it away as “hypertext markup language” which is a fancy way of saying that it tells your browser how to display the information–kind of like a graphic designer might layout a page, adding images and breaking text into paragraphs and headings.  What search engine spiders (a.k.a. bots or crawlers) do is feed that information, gathering relevant bits of text so that the search engine can feed that, plus some other factors, into an algorithm which ranks your website accordingly.

In HTML4 –the version  currently supported by all major browsers, though Internet Explorer is debatable sometimes (ha ha)— div tags are used to denote sections of the page–perhaps for styling reasons, or so the designer/developer can tell where he or she is.  This is an example (though not the full markup for the page) and I have added comments to mark the end of divs:

<div id=”header”>
<h1>Page Title</h1>
<div id=”nav”>
<a href=””>Link to somewhere</a>
</div><!–end nav–>
</div><!–end header–>
<div class=”article”>
<p>This is some important main content–perhaps a blog post, or just the main portion of the website</p>
</div><!–end article–>
<div id=”sidebar”>
<p>This is not a portion of the main text.</p>
</div><!–end sidebar–>
<div id=”footer”>(c) 2012
</div><!–end footer–>

Did that take you a minute to get through?  Imagine if I hadn’t commented–would you have been able to understand as quickly what was going on with the code?  Admittedly, a spider is designed specifically to glean information off of a webpage, but it might not most relevant content.  Also, in our example, our divs had relatively easy to understand names and was commented, which is not always the case and makes the interpreting job that much harder.

How does HTML5 change that?

With HTML5, the generic div is joined by a myriad other descriptive tags.  These tags are used for areas found on most websites–like headers and footers .  Here’s that same markup again in HTML5:

<h1>Page Title</h1>
<a href=””>Link to somewhere</a>
<p>This is some important main content–perhaps a blog post, or just the main portion of the website</p>
<p>This is not a portion of the main text.*</p>
<footer>(c) 2012</footer>

*Note the change from id=”sidebar” to <aside>. <aside> merely denotes an area that is not part of the main content, which could be a sidebar.

See how much easier that is to follow? The same is true for search engine spiders. They are able to identify exactly what is important and what might be lesser content on the page.

Because neither version of our example has any styling information, both would display (in an HTML5 supporting browser) as:

It has no impact on mere mortals not viewing the site’s source code, but can make life easier for developers and spiders alike.

It should be said that HTML5 is not yet supported in all browsers, so I wouldn’t recommend dropping HTML4 immediately. However, as browsers update to support these new tags, it is beneficial for business owners, site creators, and SEO ninjas alike to be aware that content might be king, but code is still the poet laureate.

Blah, Blah, Blog!

For a modern lesson on a classic fundamental, let’s take it back to elementary school for the 5 W’s (and 1 H) for a moment shall we?  Who, What, Where, When, Why & How…although not in that particular order.
WHO…you of course!  Don’t think blogging is for you or beneficial to your company?  Read on my friend…
WHAT’s the point of business blogging?  To communicate clearly to a wide variety of readers (either from your business sector or to one who is interested in acquiring your company’s expertise) and reach them on a virtual yet tangible level that says  wanna do lunch…via Skype?

HOW can a blog work for your company?  Let me pass on what I’ve come to understand. Basically, if you are a small to medium-sized company, more than likely you have a limited advertising/marketing budget if any.  This may in turn affect your ability to rub elbows with your industry-related business colleagues and the frequency of networking opportunities.  But guess what? If you have a semi-talented employee who can write pretty well or hire a content writer like myself (hint, hint-plug, plug) you can be well on your way to leveraging social media to your advantage and profit margin.
WHY and the WHAT points are somewhat synonymous. You (or your superiors) want to have a corporate blog which elevates you/your company to a WORLDWIDE PRESENCE.  This taps you into the local and global business market by creating dialogue via your company website to an UNLIMITED number of people for almost FREE.  Need I say more?  Ok but just because I can hear the anticipation…
WHERE is Waldo, Jane, Bob or whatever your name is?  Where do you pow-wow and have your swank & usually expensive lunch meeting to seal your deals?  Your couch if you’re lucky!  In 2012, most freelance and small business owners work from home or out of a local Starbucks.  You can save time and money with this fantastic networking tool by using a little of Father Time and a smidge of talent to take your business to the next level and into an unlimited marketplace.  No expense account required.
WHEN you choose to use social media to your advantage, you win-plain & simple.  Oh and today is a great day to start.

Still saying blah, blah, blah?????