|5 September 2008:All about keywords|
In this issue
Summer is over, and my apologies for not creating a newsletter for a while. We have been horrendously busy for the last few months and this just plain slipped. But we are back and I will do my best to stick to the monthly schedule.
All about keywords
When you go to Google and type something into the search box, what you type is called a 'keyword' or 'key phrase'.
You get two sorts of results back;
I assume we all knew that, but I was just making sure we were on the same page.
"I want to be at the top of Google search results"
Don't we all. But this is not a simple statement.
Your position in the natural results will depend on the keyword or key phrase. You may be high up for one phrase and lost on page 55 for another. So statements like 'I want to be at the top of the Google listing', is by itself meaningless. It only makes sense if you add 'for the key phrase xxx'.
Here are a few obvious statements:
These are very simple and obvious statements, but they are the foundation of the first step in Search Engine Optimisation - discovering the important keywords. We need to identify for each candidate phrase:
Ideally you want to focus on phrases that a lot of people search for, that no-one else has on their website, and that are used by searchers who are valuable to you.
OK life is not fair, you are in a jungle, and you have to work at this.
How many people search for that phrase each month?
The phrase that people search for may not be the one that your marketing department thinks is right. Let us take an example. We did some work for a project management consultancy who wanted to do well in search. Now 'project management' doesn't really describe what they do (they would say). They are really in the business of change management. Their work only makes sense in the context of introducing change to a company and in the process helps the company meet its business objectives.
So their web site was 'change management' this and 'change management' that and the benefits of 'change management'. All fine and dandy, except that the people who needed their services searched for 'project management' nine times out of ten. (200,000 vs 33,000 searches in August)
So they needed to talk about project management somewhere on their site. As this is what they actually do, you may think this is no bad thing.
How do you get this data?
http://www.google.com/trends is rather cool. It gives you long-term trends on keyword usage. However this is not a lot of practical use.
How many other websites use the phrase
To take the last example, there are 56 million web pages with the phrase 'project management' in it somewhere. There are only 10 million with 'change management'. So maybe change management was not so bad. There is less competition that is for sure. So my company should not neglect this phrase but make sure it is covered as well.
To find out how popular phrases are search for the phrase in Google with quotation marks.
One of our customers sells door handles online. As the MD explained to me "if someone searches on 'door handles' they might want to refurbish a whole house. If they search on 'brass hinge' they want to spend 50 pence on a set of hinges."
So different search terms have different value. How to do value each phrase?
Is this the whole story?
Not really. Having done all this work, a very high proportion of your target market will search on a bunch of phrases you have not thought of. There is a definite long tail effect to worry about.
Because this is unpredictable, make sure your website has a lot of relevant, varied and interesting content. Deep down in your website might be product details that your marketing department may feel is over the top. However if (for example) your project management services include expertise in the Prince2 methodology, then go ahead and put that on the site. Someone is going to search on 'prince2 expert' and you want them to find you. They may search on 'process-based development' so your words on the process-based nature of Prince2 will do the job for you.
If your website is flash-based and full of marketing fluff with no real solid content, just a list of business benefits and how great you are, then you can't really add SEO on top. You are doomed in this department. But a well-structured site:
will be naturally search engine optimised and will only need a little tuning. It will also be a website with good content for your human visitors.
More on tuning your site in future issues.
USA Today interviewed Matt Cutts of Google and he spilled the beans about search engine optimisation. Well, not exactly spilled the beans because what he had to say was pretty much common knowledge. There is even a video.
There is now a Google blog which you will find at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/.
The big news is a whole new browser from Google called Chrome. Find it at www.google.com/chrome. The first thing that strikes you is that it is fast. It opens up and renders pages quickly. It is short on bells and whistles but the big benefit is speed.
The layout is very simple with clear large text. I think it is a winner - but no Mac version yet, even though the page rendering is done by the Safari software.
A nice innovation - which points the way in which this is going, is called 'create application shortcut'. This takes the page you are on, and creates a shortcut on your desktop which will open with no browser controls at all, just a window with the page in it. If you create an application shortcut for gmail, for example, the result is something that looks very like an email program running on your computer rather than a webpage.
So it looks like this new browser is going to come into its own as a container for Google Apps; spreadsheet, word processor, email etc all delivered via the web. It would not surprise me if Chrome develops to facilitate more advanced functions for the apps that a regular browser will not provide.
Internet Explorer 8
The new version of IE8 will have three modes of operation. Quirks, standard, and super-standard. These roughly correspond to compatibility with IE4/5/6; IE7 and W3C standards. They are making super-standards the default.
The good news (for some) is that you can add a meta-tag to tell IE8 to revert to IE7 standards. So it is fairly simple to get by if you are having problems with IE8. This gives you a let-out if you had to go non-standard to make your design work with IE7.
More information here.
Is Internet radio dying? Royalties are killing the business model for most stations.
Ebay can be a useful site for more than just selling stuff. An Australian woman put her husband's lover's knickers and a used condom on ebay titled: "Empty condom packet & a photo of 'The Tart's' knickers," . If she was a well-known installation artist, she could probably put a six-figure price on the items. As it is, she is putting her husband's Harley on Ebay as well with a price of 99 cents and no reserve.
A major flaw in the internet infrastructure was discovered and leaked to the public before it could be patched. A user loading a web page could be redirected to another site entirely, an undetectable way for Phishing criminals to obtain personal information. So this is bad. Patching is proceeding.
Facebook is suing a German website claiming that their site is a "knockoff" of Facebook. Why select this one out of the thousands of knockoff sites - beats me.
BT is investing £1.5m in a super-fast broadband. The water company just dug up the road, now along comes BT! The fibre will go as far as the street cabinet, and you will get around 50 meg when you connect to it using existing copper. If you can get fibre to the building you may get 100mb.
The mobile operating system world is changing fast with Nokia buying the Symbian operating system and planning to make it open source. The Linux phone standards forum (LiPS) is merging with the Linux Mobile Foundation (LiMF).
Google will be providing a tool to help media buyers target their ads to the best web sites based on visitor demographics.
The big news is that the whole domain name thing is being opened up at the top level. So instead of being limited to .co.uk or .com we can all create our own, I think .textor sounds nice but sadly it won't be cheap because you are booking a slot at the very top level of the structure.
What nicer present to get for your 11 year old Narnia fan than a domain name narnia.mobi. It all turned nasty when the C.S. Lewis estate decided to sue. That nice ever-so-Christian, ever-so-spiritual CSL - sadly his successors a bit less so.
Skype 4.0 is being tested. The big deal is that your picture is going to be bigger... and it will do video - hold on; it already does.
Linkedin has just had another round of funding which values them at $1 billion. Plaxo is heading to the same market with now Comcast behind it, so there is no shortage of resources in the business networking space. Xing is the European contender, but can it survive against these 800 pound gorillas?
Netsuite has a great suite of on-demand software for e-commerce, accounting, order entry, stock control and CRM. (Have to declare an interest, we can source Netsuite via a partner.) The one area of weakness has been recognised as manufacturing. Now they have added Assembly, work order and Bill of materials. For more information contact us.
Firefox version 3 is here. The first impression is of speed. It is very fast. But Chrome beats it - see above.
I have often wondered how anyone is going to make money out of YouTube. The cost of running an awesome amount of technology has to be balanced against revenue from what? Advertising? Now their new owner is wondering the same thing, some might say a bit late.
The worlds oldest blogger signs off at age 108.