Tag Archives: Search Engine Optimization
That Americans like acronyms is not really a surprise to those who have worked for an American company. Acronyms are extremely useful as a conversational shorthand especially when working with unwieldy terms like search engine optimization. SEO is just so much easier to roll off the tongue. The problem with acronyms is that it is very easy to lose the original meaning – a significant communication problem. In the world of search marketing, SEM is a good case in point.
The following search-marketing glossary highlights common acronyms often used by the search marketing community.
- Search Engine Optimization. Indicates the activities undertaken to generate traffic, usually qualified, to a website through the “natural” results in a search engine. In Google, ~80% of user clicks are on the natural (also called organic) results.
In the not too distant past when we spoke of search engine marketing, we focused mainly on search engine rankings (SERPS) or, in other words, of being top in Google. A nice phrase, concise and effective. Visibility in search engines is very important, no doubt.
But in the top spots in Google for what? Here lies the big trap. It is not uncommon that the keywords identified for SEO or PPC campaigns are part of the jargon used by business professionals inside a company to describe their products and services. Yet a typical person generally uses much simpler language to describe what they are searching for in Google or another search engine. Consequently a business can find itself in the top Google search results, but for keywords which are only used by competitors when they fall into the same trap. Ouch.
In three short years 1 Google Analytics has become an important tool for many companies looking to get more out of their presence on the web. Google Analytics’ wide range of website reports, from traffic sources to conversion rates, provide invaluable insight into a site’s business performance for an initial cost which is difficult to beat.
One particular report, the Search Engine report, is of particular interest to companies looking to optimize their organic search engine marketing activity. This report identifies sources of search traffic that brought visitors to the website.
For each search engine source, a drill-down feature shows the keywords people used – the very keywords which express a visitor’s intent as they came to your website.
Just to clarify, for the purpose of this article, by search engine or search engine source, we mean search driven traffic – whether it be from a pure search engine like Google, or from an ISP portal which offers a search function, such as Earthlink or Virgin Media.
The following is a list of search engines and significant sites incorporating a search engine, such as ISP portals, which provide site traffic attributable to web search. The list can be used to verify if your Web Analytics system recognizes all the sources of organic search traffic and keywords important in your market – or for other SEO activities.
The last two table columns indicate if a search engine is recognized by Google Analytics and Microsoft adCenter Analytics. See these related articles for more information about search engine and keyword detection in these two Web Analytics systems:
- Improve search engine and keyword reporting in Google Analytics, a SEO best practice
- Microsoft adCenter Analytics search engine recognition & keyword reporting
This information is provided “as-is” without any representation made as to its accuracy. Use at your own risk.
Last updated: 7 October 2008
Microsoft is the other main player, after Google Analytics, in the area of free Web Analytics tools for the analysis of browser centric web data. Microsoft’s adCenter Analytics is the successor to the former LiveSTATS thanks to Microsoft’s acquisition of DeepMetrix in April 20061.
Why search engines offer Web Analytics
Certainly the name Microsoft choose for its Web Analytics tool says a lot: with adCenter Analytics you know the priority is on advertising. Google has taken a softer approach with Google Analytics; sure there is and will be strong integration with AdWords, yet everyone is welcome to take advantage of Google Analytics even if they aren’t (yet) an AdWords client. The official line is that having experienced the power of measuring business results derived from a company’s web presence, marketing professionals will be more inclined to become AdWords clients. One presumes as well that the data collected by Google Analytics is used inside Google to measure the overall state of traffic on the web (including Google’s competitor’s market share – the benchmarking with other sites feature gives an idea of the possibilities). I hope that Microsoft will adopt a more enlightened Internet strategy and aggressively promote adCenter Analytics usage among non-adCenter clients. Google is a great company but could use some competition.
An important consideration for Google AdWords advertisers is to understand just where their contextual ads might appear. Google notes that AdWords ads can appear on the:
- Google search engine
- Partner search engines (e.g. Aol, Ask.com, Libero / Arianna, Virgilio / Alice)
- Google owned web content sites (e.g. Gmail, Google Groups)
- Third party web content sites (practically any site wishing to display Google ads)
While Google has recently improved information about participants in the Google content network2, it isn’t so easy to find an updated listing of which major generalist portals and pure search engines rely on Google for their organic and paid search results. The following table aims to rectify this, at least for the Italian market.
Two significant impediments have historically hindered the uptake of Web Analytics by businesses. The first has been cost. Professional Web Analytics systems have been fairly expensive, both in server and hosted forms. The second issue has been the great quantity and complexity of available reports in commercial systems, sufficiently intimidating many business professionals away from Web Analytics.
Google’s Google Analytics
Google, with their release of Google Analytics in November 2005, removed the first obstacle, cost, by releasing the first free “full featured” Web Analytics system. Previous free tools, such as AWStats, lack robust visitor recognition and click stream analysis, among other things. Yet a significant obstacle still remained to general Web Analytics usage: how to find the “important” data, without getting lost in a sea of confusing and often redundant reports? In May 2007 Google released an updated Google Analytics with a significant focus on the user interface, specifically as a response to this need.
While analyzing web analytics log files, I noticed that
the Ask.com bot, Ask Jeeves/Teoma, stopped crawling my Antezeta web sites on February 22/23, 2008. Yet I see a post from early May in the Ask.com search results.