Birthday Googol

It’s wild to think Google is only 15 years old. To think how libraries were back then. Now any information you need can mostly be found at the touch of your finger tips.

So here’s to you, Google, with the information of ten libraries raised to the power of 100. Happy 15th!

Setup Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools like a pro

First steps to setting up Google Analytics for your Web site

Make sure you have the Web site tracking code in the <head> tag on every Web page for your site.

Then setup Google Webmaster Tools for your Web site.

In the Admin tab on Google Analytics, navigate to Property -> Property Settings so you can connect Webmaster Tools for your site to your Google Analytics.

This enables organic keyword average positions to be tracked in your Google Analytics.

Once you have it connected and after 2 calendar days or more have past, navigate to Traffic Sources -> Sources -> Search -> Search Engine Optimization -> Queries in Google Analytics.

This displays any queries your site has organically appeared for in Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP, for short).

With these few steps you have setup your Google Analytics account to track the necessary data for an SEO to begin optimizing your site.

Bonus points

If your site serves a purpose, you can create Goals within Google Analytics to track conversions for the intended purpose of your site, so you can better optimize around the intended point of conversion you’d like people take.

A simple example of this is a Checkout page for a shopping cart, or a Success page for form submissions.

If you have these setup properly in Google Analytics, you’re already way ahead of the game to help improve your site over time for your customers/viewers.

How Social Helps Answer some of the Problems of Search

What search results would you anticipate to see if you searched for ‘eli’ on Google?

Believe it or not, this is actually a very big problem for search engines to try and figure out. The problem is that one word searches do not generally target a unique enough topic to effectively narrow search results.

Am I looking for baby name meanings? Do I want to find someone in particular named Eli? Is there a Bible passage I want to find? Who knows?

The problem is a lack of deeper understanding for what the searcher is looking for. So how do you go about finding out? Ultimately one word searches will always be a hit or miss chance to properly answer a query, but one area search engines can improve upon is in better knowing topics of interest for the search user.

Enter in, the Social era of Search

There is a serious ambiguity problem with a lot of search results. Some have a hard time properly explaining to a search engine what it is they are looking for. And Google has a solution to this problem, or at least a good idea how to better narrow the results for those pesky vague keywords it normally would have trouble determining what to display.

By tracking the history of a unique searchers activity, a search engine can better gage what it is they are most likely looking for in situations where the query just isn’t specific enough to narrow the results list to exactly what the user is looking for. But in order to do this, the user must be logged in.

This is where Social Media becomes a search engines best friend – by tracking the history of a users activity with a social network that they interact with, over time the user will give you enough data to better understand there main topics of interest.

Open memo to graphic designers

I don’t want to be the jerk who hurts your feelings, but you have to be told. Pretty sites are pretty – don’t get me wrong. But function matters more than artistic merit.

A Web site’s sole purpose is to easily convey a message, share information, engage interaction, or guide a point of conversion (or “know,” “go,” and “do” as Google defines them).

And if your design impedes on any of these purposes, then I do not care how pretty your pretty gets – it’s wrong.

I’m saying this on behalf of all the future smart phone users who just want to call the company of your pretty web site with flowers, just want directions to a popular restaurant in a town they are not familiar with, etc.

Make it simple first, Mobile First, and from this find your pretty Responsive Design you seek artistically.

Paid Search Theory #1

If Google AdWords is an impression based model, paid for on a Cost Per Click metric, but if the amount of potential any one Ad has to reach users searching a particular Search Term is relative to the time of search and the amount of budget left for the day in the Campaign, then what connects relevant keywords to the ones you are targeting is also, more likely than not, restricted. As such, by targeting more long-tail keywords you should fill the gap of the slow spending Campaign budgets, because unless you specifically target a long-tail keyword, Google AdWords should not impression an Ad for every single relevant Search Term (in the best interest of the Campaign budget). You must specifically set your Campaign to target as many clicks as soon as possible (via Settings -> General -> Type -> Search Network – All features, and then Ad delivery -> Ad rotation -> Optimize for clicks).

Google Search Commands not for SEO’s faint of heart

The following are a few examples of some search operator commands Google has to help power users cut to the chase in finding information on whatever query their weary heart desires – more or less, these are SEO tools to asess the competition. You simply type these into Google’s search as you would any other query, only these are specifically meant to filter down your results in a much more targeted way.

Google search command: keyworda -keywordb

Google search command: keyworda -keywordb

keyworda -keywordb
This will show you pages with keyworda in them, but do not include keywordb.

~keyword
This will display Web pages with keywords that Google considers related in some way.

I explain it this way to specifically point out that this relation is not necessarily based on definition of a keyword, but that Google’s learning algorithms may make connections to keywords that by definition are not relevant to each other – rather, they have a search relation in some way. This speaks to the level of depth Google’s search engine has gone to understand the intent behind the search of their users.

keyworda * keywordb
This search operator is a request for Google to display results with whatever keywords you place in your query, and depending on where you place the asterisk, Google makes an educated guess at displaying the best results with other relevant and/or popular keywords.

link:yoursite.com
This will show you pages that are linking to that site.

related:yoursite.com
This shows you sites Google believes are related to that site.

site:yoursite.com
This displays all pages Google currently has indexed for that site.

cache:yoursite.com
This will show you the most recent snapshot Google has cached for that Web page.

inurl:keyword
This will show you pages Google has indexed with that keyword in it’s URL (Uniform Resource Locator, better known as the link).

allinurl:keyworda keywordb keywordc
This will show you pages Google has indexed with all of the keywords in it’s URL.

intitle:keyword
Like the allinurl command, this will show you results with the keyword in the <title>.

allintitle:keyworda keywordb keywordc
Like the allinurl command, this will show you results with all of the keywords in the title – intended for multiple keyword searches.

inanchor:keyword
This displays pages with the keyword in anchor text.

allinanchor:keyworda keywordb keywordc
This displays pages with all of the keywords in anchor text.

intext:keyword
As the above, this command will display pages with the keyword in text, but not in links or page titles.

allintext:keyworda keywordb keywordc
Displays pages with all of the keywords in text, but not in links or page titles.

links:keyword
This displays pages with links containing the keyword, not titles or text.

allinlinks:keyworda keywordb keywordc
This displays pages with links containing all of the keywords, not titles or text.

Combining commands can be much more powerful if done correctly. For example, using the site: command with &as_qdr= can give you insight into how frequently Google is crawling a site.

An example of placing the following commands into a search URL for Google would look like the following:

Search results for the previous day:
http://google.com/search?q=site%3Ayoursite.com&as_qdr=d

Search results for the past week:
http://google.com/search?q=site%3Ayoursite.com&as_qdr=w

Search results for the past month:
http://google.com/search?q=site%3Ayoursite.com&as_qdr=m

Search results for the past 2 months:
http://google.com/search?q=site%3Ayoursite.com&as_qdr=m2

Search results for the past 3 months:
http://google.com/search?q=site%3Ayoursite.com&as_qdr=m3

Search results for the past 4 months:
http://google.com/search?q=site%3Ayoursite.com&as_qdr=m4

Please keep in mind these few examples are of the kinds of search tricks an SEO can pull off in trying to measure the level of competition for a particular keyword of interest, but these tools are only as good as the person using them. So kids, don’t try this at home. :D