Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Optimizing For Long Tail Keywords

Why this should be an important part of your SEO campaign?

When talking about the long tail keyword, many people dismiss optimizing your site for these phrases. The most commonly cited reason is that they simply don't have enough search volume.

Well, it's time to rethink that, and we're going to tell you why.

Recently we attended a niche SEO seminar, and one statistic really caught my attention. When looking at keywords in general, there are typically your "core" keywords, then the long tail keywords. The "core" keywords are your ultra competitive keywords and phrases. Additionally, these are the high volume keywords.

For the average niche, only 20% of all search volume comes from the top 10 "core" keywords, the other 80% of the traffic comes from the long tail keywords. That's the bulk of the available traffic, 80%. Why aren't we capturing that huge amount of traffic? Because we are overlooking the long tail keywords.

For many businesses and individuals, there is a budget for advertising, and for every business, there are other, bigger fish out there with a larger budget. Those budgets are invariably going after the top ten or "core" keywords in that particular niche. Everyone in your niche wants to rank well for the same keywords, making those core phrases ultra competitive. The more competitive your niche, the more work you will need to do, and the more money you will need to spend to rank well for these core terms.

Now I'm not saying you should abandon your high volume "core" keywords, but think about this. 75% of internet searchers do not leave the first page of the search results. So if you are not on the first page of Google for your term, 75% of searchers will never have a chance to see your site. If you're not on the second page, that 75% grows.

Instead of spending all of your efforts focusing on the large keyword phrases, spend some time going after the long tail phrases. These are phrases with less search volume, but also less competition. Ranking at the top of the search engines for "weather resistant red widget" will be much less time consuming than ranking for "widget".

Additionally, the modifiers that make these phrases "long tail" phrases actually will increase your conversion rates. If you are selling weather resistant red widgets, you may only get 20 people to your site for that term, as opposed to the higher volume you would get if you ranked well for "widget", but those 20 people will be highly qualified leads, and will convert at higher levels.

The sum of these long tail keyword phrases is massive, and ranking well very quickly is a huge benefit of going after this traffic. If you have not been going after the long tail keyword traffic, give it a try. Your conversions will likely be better, you will rank more quickly, and over time, you can drive a lot of traffic with this technique.

Keep an eye out for more helpful hints, tips and ideas to generate traffic and rank better in the search engines. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

How to stop Google Analytics from tracking your own visits

If you use Google Analytics to track visitors to your websites, it’s important to have Analytics filter out and exclude your own visits to your sites in order to get a true picture of your sites’ visitor count and demographic. You might be visiting a dozen pages on your site everyday and all these visits and page views can grossly inflate the visitor data of your sites. Unlike tracking services like Statcounter and Sitemeter, Google Analytics does not have an easy way of excluding your visits, particularly if you are on a dynamic IP.

If your net connection has a static IP, you can filter out that IP from being tracked. But if you are on a dynamic IP, like most of us are, you will need a different solution.

The solution is this: we will set a cookie on our browser and then use Analytics’ filter to ignore visits from all machines that has this cookie set. In order to create this cookie, create a page on your website with the following code on it.

If you use the old urchin tracker

If you use the new Ga.js tracker

Replace ignore_cookie_name with any name of your choice. The name should be unique because if any other visitor has a cookie of the same name, his visits will be ignored too. Throw in some random numbers to nullify any chance of somebody coincidentally naming their cookie the same.

The next step is the create a filter on Google Analytics. To do this, follow these steps:

1.Click ‘Analytics Settings’ and then click on ‘Filter Manager’ at the bottom of the page.
2.Click ‘Add Filter’
3.On the Create New Filter page, create a new filter with the following settings:

Filter Type: Custom filter > Exclude
Filter Field: User Defined
Filter Pattern: ignore_cookie_name (replace with actual name)
Case Sensitive: No

4.Under the ‘Apply Filter to Website Profiles’ section, select the website you want to apply this filter to.

The final step is to set this cookie on your browser. For this, simply visit the page having the JavaScript code. Make sure no visitors to your site has access to this page, otherwise the cookie will be set on their machines too.

To verify this is working correctly, place Analytics tracking code on this page and visit it a couple of times each day. Then try to find data about this page on Analytics report. If you can’t find any, it means that the ignore cookie is working.