Sunday, 31 August 2008

Further thoughts on Google Sitelinks

Thinking about it a bit more, my feeling is that Google needed knowledge of where people went after landing on the SliQTools homepage in order to choose the sitelinks. The only way Google could have this knowledge is by using Google Analytics data. I wonder if sitelinks have ever been given to a site that did not use Analytics?

One of the search terms for which sitelinks are displayed is used by people revisiting the site to see if there is a new release. After landing on the homepage, they go to the Release History Page.

I did a rejig of the homepage a couple of weeks ago and shuffled around some of the thumbnails to make people go to a better page after the homepage, i.e. the Invoice Software page instead of the Invoices & Payments page. I think the Invoices & Payments sitelink was generated before this reshuffle. Perhaps after 90 days the sitelinks will be regenerated inline with the new site linking stucture.

SliQTools now has SiteLinks

Today I noticed that for a couple of search terms, the SliQTools website now has sitelinks on Google. The links aren't really to the pages I would have wished to highlight to users.

If I could generate the sitelinks manually - which isn't possible with Google sitelinks - I'd have chosen the invoice software page, download trial page, invoice templates page and sales pages. Instead, Google has chosen the Invoices & Payments page, Invoice Templates page and Release History pages.

It's interesting how Google has chosen the names for the links too.

The names aren't the first words in the page titles, i.e. in the HTML title tags. Also, in the case of the Invoice Templates link, the link text isn't the anchor text used for links to the pages within the site either. Interestingly, the Invoices & Payments link has only one text link pointing to it within the SliQTools website - mostly it's linked from a thumbnail. I thnk the sitelinks persist for 3 months, i.e. the links won't change for 90 days.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Different sites, different visitor profiles

I thought I'd make a record of the share of visitors two of my sites get from different search engines. The profiles are very different and not really what I'd expected. the first sets gets over 90% of its traffic from direct addresses/ bookmarks but here are its search engine stats:-

  1. Windows Live - 53%
  2. Google - 32%
  3. Yahoo - 10%
  4. AltaVista - 2%
  5. Alexa,Google Images,Tiscali,Dogpile,AllTheWeb - 3%

The second site gets less than 5% of visitors from direct traffic. Its search engine stats are:-

  1. Google - 77%
  2. Yahoo - 10%
  3. Unknown - 8%
  4. AOL - 2%
  5. MSN, Tiscali, Ask Jeeves, Alexa, AltaVista - 3%

The search engine stats are very different between the sites. The second site is my oldest. For both sites Google is very important but I'm surprised to see Windows Live heading up the list for the first site. The first site is quite new - less than 2 months old. In another couple of months I'll see how the search engine stats are looking then.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Google PageRank - Second Update

I'd been confused by the visible Pagerank of this blog as shown on the Google toolbar. After the last export of rank values at the end of July this blog had still not been assigned a rank value by Google and was still showing PR N/A. However today - Aug 23rd - the rank is showing as PR 3! This is great news and much more in line with what I was expecting. I'd been doing a mixture of different types of link-building and had also been doing directory submissions using SliQ Submitter, my directory submission software. This now looks as though it has paid off - at least in terms of PR - and ties up with the increase in the number of visitors to the blog over the past 4 weeks.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Tracking performance in SERPS for keywords

A few day ago I was speaking to a friend who was testing out SliQ Submitter for me and providing some useful, constructive feedback. He was wondering what tools I used to check the ranking of my site on Google for different keywords. I don't use anything other than Google searches by hand but I thought I'd look to see if there was anything on the market.

I soon found a tool called WebPosition Gold or WPG for short. This tool allows you to automatically track the performance of sites on Google and show nice graphs of the historical trend. Trouble is that with a bit more reading online, it turns out that Google mentions that use of WPG is against Google's terms of service. the terms specifically name WPG as well as saying that similar tools are also not to be used.

To use WPG you have to a Google API key for their SOAP search API. Google no longer issue such keys and there are stories online saying that WPG users are now finding that WPG gets blocked. The future doesn't look good for WPG.

When I think about, it seems fairly clear that tracking a few keywords is interesting but not necessarily informative anyway. What really matters is traffic to your site and conversion of visitors to sales. You could be performing really well for certain keywords - and improving in performance too - but really you need to measure traffic. Google itself provides a better measurement tool - Google Analytics. If you have the time, Google Analytics can provide valuable data about the performance of your website - traffic figures, how people got to your site (not just SE performance) and where they went went they landed on your site.

Monday, 18 August 2008

SliQ Submitter - New Release

SliQTools have released an updated version of their free directory submission tool SliQ Submitter.

After feedback from beta testers, a number of enhancements have been made:-
  1. SliQ Submitter now attempts to learn directory categories selected by the user on the directory page. This means that the user is no longer restricted to a small, fixed set of categories to be filled in automatically - the more categories you use when submitting to directories, the more categories SliQ will learn.
  2. If SliQ Submitter can detect that a website has been successfully submitted, SliQ will load the next directory automatically.
  3. A number of GUI enhancements have also been made.

The end results of these improvements is that SliQ Submitter is now easier to use and makes the process of web directory submission faster.

Read the original release post for SliQ Submitter.