My Cheese… Who Moved It?

Lots of enquires here at SEO Liverpool in recent weeks from SEO’s and businesses alike, about falling rankings. Every time we have a major Google Algorithm update the Liverpool based SEO company‘s are bombarded with questions and help requests.

Consider This

If you’re familiar with the story, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson, you already know that when change happens, you either adapt or perish. If your cheese supply dries up, you have to go looking for new cheese. The gist of the story is; change happens and the cheese keeps moving. And like the little mice in the story, you must change and adapt, if you want to be keep ahead of the pack. The search engines are a lot like the cheese. Google in particular – with over 85% of all search – have changed the algorithm in relation to social, and most noticeably links… this has significantly impacted certain sites.

The Panda and Penguin updates which have really got to grips with spam links in particular, are considered a real test in SEO. Particularly those that have used poor SEO techniques to try and gain a sustainable competitive advantage.

Sometimes things change and they’re never the same again. According to Dr. Spencer Johnston, “If you do not change, you can become extinct. Get out of your comfort zone and adapt to change sooner. Take control, rather than let things happen to you.” According to Forrester Research, “Stop the denial. Get over it, get on with it, figure it out. Or end up in the dustbin of history.” Once upon a time, it would take up to three months to get properly spidered and indexed. Now that time has been reduced to just a few hours.

Over the past months I have achieved great SEO results. But the question everyone seems to be asking is… “Will it stick?” Will the marketing tactics that I’ve been using of late, lead to lasting search engine results? Maybe not, but it’s important to adapt and adopt new strategies and be innovative. If it’s a little spammy, then know that the next updates may devalue your work. Try new things and never stay static and test.

Google Sitemap

As a Liverpool based SEO company, sometimes you need to get a little bit of perspective in regards to tried and tested techniques.

This week I’ve been talking to my friends over at SEO Manchester about Google Sitemaps. Is there still a value in submitting a Sitemap to Google?  In our opinion, if a site has very poor navigation and on-page SEO, submitting a Sitemap might be your only alternative. But for well optimised sites, is there a benefit in submitting a Sitemap file to Google?

Here are some important points

  • The Last modification date field in the sitemap file can aid Google in quickly locating the actual change in the page. John at Google explained that Google might not have time to crawl all the pages you said changed, so if you specify the actual change in the Sitemap file, it will be easier for Google to pick up on those changes.
  • The Priority, Change frequency is a lot like the last mod date. If you give Google data that “makes sense”, i.e. don’t list 100% of your pages as the most important page on your site, then it can be useful to Google.

Googles Advice States;

   * Yes, please send us Sitemap files, preferably XML files!
   * Work on good URLs & use them to double-check your site's navigation
   * Optional: Date or change frequency? depends on how you work.
   * Also optional: Priority

In conclusion, if you have good solid navigation, you may not need them. But why take the risk! Webmaster tools is an incredibly valuable tool that enables you to check any issues with each indexed page.

Analytics – Basic Help We all Need

Analytics, it all sounds rather easy, but where do you start? Everyone should always be testing. But you need to start with the idea of a scent, and grow from there. Let’s take a look. Summit online marketing our Liverpool based SEO company, has always tried to provide tips for our readers. Read this post for some basic Analytics help.

Tip Focus on the high traffic areas with big revenue potentials: landing pages, site overall, internal site search pages, and leaky funnels.

How do you know if the page is actually broken, or the keywords?

Lets start with a metaphor: Imagine a map of Liverpool. Now you’ve just been hired you to minimise traffic accidents in the city. What will you do first? Look for: where is most of the traffic? Where are the most accidents occurring? Do we have wrong or no street signs? Seasonality issues like rain or snow? Timing: any events going on at the Echo arena?

It also helps to know your website. Maybe you want to watch a friend click about, and navigate through your site.

I know from experience that when you start going into the reports, the data is overwhelming.

Have a look at a standard Google Analytics report. Look across the top at the traffic over time for a selected date range. Do you know what bounce rate is? It’s when people leave right after coming to your website. Below that, we tell you geographically where people come from, and then virtually where people come from. On the left side navigation, we start with the visitors, the content, the goals, then the e-commerce.

Understanding that mental model and applying it can really help.

The most relevant part of the reports is in the content section. Any one of those sections will have great data for you to look at. Number of entrances and landing pages, bounces and bounce rate. Bounce rates are a big opportunity.

Next is funnel reports, one of my favorites, do you know about this? People can enter through the center or side of funnels and you want to look at where people are leaving the funnels, the leaky pages. It’s valuable to know something about your site. Where people are exiting is a great place to start.

Then I have a look at site overlays, where people are clicking, converting, buying. It’s very useful. Just looking at this you can come up with some great ideas. Maybe switch placements of products or services on the page. It will give you some ideas.

Internal site search: basically, if you have a search box on your website, are people using search within your website? We have a whole section of reports on site search. Where did visitors start their searches and which page did visitors find?

Back to the question: how do you know if it’s the ad or the page?

We have Analytics pages on landing page optimisations: shows keywords and entrances. You select “non-paid” keywords, and take a look at the bounce rates. Take a look to see if the page is the problem. Select “paid” keywords, and it tells you 0% bounce rate! So that means it’s not the ad copy that needs rewriting, it’s the page that needs attention.

One practical tip: I’ve worked for small and big companies; sometimes in a small company you can go to the main point of the website. But in a big company you sometimes need some consensus building: I believe in something but I really needed my client to believe in it. So start small, focus on improving one area of the site.