Bing Webmaster Tools is rolling out the beta on some new services. These actually look pretty good and some of them have obviously come straight from Google’s playbook. Here’s the run down on the new Bing webmaster tools.
- Link Explorer – Similar to Yahoo!s old link tool, which was retired earlier this year, Bing is providing webmasters with a way to explore links pointing to any page on the Web.
- SEO Reports – A weekly report for any verified web domain.
- SEO Analyzer – Enter a link to any page on a verified domain and Bing will analyze that page to see if it has any SEO issues as measured against 15 Bing-defined best practices.
- Fetch as Bingbot – Just like Google’s fetch, you can see your web pages exactly how the Bingbot sees them.
- Canonical Alerts – Are you using the rel=canonical tag correctly? This tool will notify you if you aren’t.
- URL Removal Tool – Don’t want a web page listed in the Bing SERPs? Add the URL to the URL Removal Tool and Bing will remove it from the SERPs.
- Keyword Research Tool – I’d like to see another free keyword research tool that is comparable to Google’s keyword research tool.
I’m glad to see Bing taking webmaster data seriously. With Google moving its Webmaster Tools products into its Analytics service, I think Bing making this information available to webmasters is a good thing. Which one of these services do you think has the most potential?
Remember when Yahoo! killed its Site Explorer, a service that allowed anyone to view a website’s inbound links and analyze them? The product was useful to webmasters so that we could gauge the effectiveness of our link building campaigns. The downside was that competitors could spy on us and learn from our mistakes, or take advantage of our weaknesses. Of course, that was a two way street.
We all thought that was the end of Yahoo! But Yahoo! recently introduced a Small Business Marketing Dashboard that might be useful.
If the Small Business Marketing Dashboard does prove to be useful and people actually use it, then that could put Yahoo! back in the competitive game. Of course, not the search engine game, but the small business marketing game. The company has always tried to create products that are helpful to small businesses. Sometimes it has succeeded and other times not. But they’ve always gone after that market.
Services included in the free version of the Dashboard include:
- Yahoo! Local listings
- An online reputation tracker
- Local Visibility metrics
- Google Analytics retrieval
- E-mail marketing campaign tracking
All of these are useful services to small businesses. I like that Yahoo! is including a Google analytics component to the service. If you do use the Dashboard, then you can draw in your analytics and get all of your important metrics in one location.
On top of the free services, there are also premium services you can upgrade to for a fee. Currently, the e-mail marketing campaign tracking appears to interact only with Constant Contact. I consider that a weakness. Otherwise, it looks like a useful service.
What do you think? Would you use the Dashboard? Let us know why, or why not.
Google Analytics has built a reputation for itself for being the best free analytics tool on the Web. Many SEOs and webmasters rely on it daily and many of them wouldn’t even consider paying for analytics anywhere else. A recent announcement by Google means the service is even better than before.
The announcement is that Google has added a site speed metric to the product. That’s good because you may already know that site speed is an important ranking factor now.
Instead of guessing about whether your website loads fast, you can check it out through your Google Analytics account. The Site Speed Overview Report provides the following information:
- Average load time by browser
- Average load time by country/territory
- Average load time by page
Additionally, there are three tabs that provide information to you in as many ways including Explorer, Performance, and Map Overlay.
If that isn’t enough, you can now view site speed metrics on your Intelligence Reports, which notifies you when your website has a swing in statistical variations.
All of this should mean that your job as webmaster just got easier. And it also means that you can now get a leg up on your competition where site speed is concerned. If site speed has been a major concern of your, then you can fix any issues you have with page load times and use your Google Analytics account to see if your changes are working.
Items that can affect page load times include excessive images, image sizes, video content, too much code, Flash presentations, or server issues. Fix these issues and you can improve your website’s speed quickly.
If you do any kind of online marketing at all, then you need to measure your results. The best way to do that is by using analytics software. Google Analytics is the most popular free analytics tool online. Many Web marketers have opted instead to pay for a third-party solution rather than allow Google to keep tabs of what they are doing. Either way, analytics software is a useful tool.
It’s just as useful in social media as it is in search.
Recently, Twitter has acquired its own analytics service. That’s good news for Twitter users.
The reason you want to use analytics with your Twitter is because Twitter has become such a useful marketing tool. And you can be a lot more effective in using it if you know how successful your tweets are. That is particularly true if you can measure click throughs on your links, retweets, and which short URL services you use are most effective.
While Twitter is important, other social media services like LinkedIn and Facebook are equally important. And I envision there someday being a social media analytics tool as effective as Google Analytics that will allow you to measure results across all of your social media. Maybe Backtweets, owned by Backtype, or a similar service, will be that tool. But one thing is for sure. Social media analytics is as necessary as search analytics and it’s just a matter of time before someone introduces the breakthrough service we all need.
Heat maps are useful web analytics tools. If you are into metrics – and you should be – then you might consider using a heat map to help you plan and develop your website beyond its current incarnation.
So what can a heat map tell you? A lot, actually.
One of the most useful bits of information you’ll get from a heat map is knowing which parts of your web pages are the hottest. That is, where do visitors’ eyes go?
The heat map gives you a graphical representation, in colors, regarding the behavior of your website visitors. For instance, your heat map will display the hottest parts of your website in red, the next hottest parts in yellow, then the lesser hot parts in green and blue, and so on. When you see red splotches on the heat map, you know those are the parts of your web pages where visitor eyeballs travel. That’s where you want your most important links.
Another thing a heat map will tell you is which links are clicked on the most. If you have a part of your web page that is the hottest yet your hottest link is in another section of the web page, then that should tell you something. Maybe that hot link would be even hotter if you moved it.
I am sold on heat maps. You should be too. They tell a real story where your website is concerned, and you can take that story and use it to improve your website for your visitors.
Google Analytics recently announced that they’ve started tracking page load time. This is great news for website owners and there are a few good reasons why you want to start measuring page load time (if you haven’t already).
- Conversion Rate – The first reason you want to measure page load time is because it can affect your conversion rate. A slower loading website or landing page means more bounced traffic. As a result, you’ll make fewer conversions.
- Lower PPC Quality Score – A slow loading landing page will also affect your PPC quality score. That could mean lower ad placements. Your competitors will fill the gap and push you down while taking traffic that was meant for you.
- Lower Search Engine Rankings – Google’s organic search results are based in part on page load time. All other things being equal, if one of two competing websites has a slower loading landing page, then that page will likely rank lower. Increase your page load times and you’ll see an increase in search engine rankings.
Is is important to measure your page load times. If you have slow loading web pages on your website that are dragging the rest of your site down, then you should fix those ASAP. You can now measure your page load times individually, across your entire website, within sections of your website, geographically, according to traffic sources, and by browser type. Don’t pass up this opportunity to make your website better than ever before and increase your search engine ranking opportunities.
If you are a keen user of Google’s Webmaster Tools then you’ll already be aware of some of the new features. To begin with, users can now link their Google Analytics sites to their Webmaster Tools sites. This will certainly make life a little easier with many of the important SEO tools all on one page.
What is more interesting is the updated top queries section in Webmaster Tools. This has been expanded from the 100 queries limit to a virtual unlimited number of queries. To add further oomph, you can open each query to see how many times your pages appeared in search results, and how many times your search listing was clicked.
This all makes interesting reading, especially if you collect this data for long term comparisons. If those stats aren’t enough, you can break them down even further to show which pages were listed for each search phrase, that page’s search position, how many times it appeared in search results, and how many times it was clicked through. You can also define a date range which can be important for comparing before and after situations.
What makes this feature handy is that you are able to see which of your own pages are competing against each other and whether or not this is putting your site at a disadvantage. Often, while pages may complete against each other, if the traffic is converting, then you may need to look at the issue favourably. However, if the same page is appearing, but with different URLs, then you may have a duplicate content issue that could cost you in the future.
Analytics are important for measuring both the success of your website and the success of your SEO and social media marketing campaigns. For a free tool, Google Webmaster Tools has a lot to offer most webmasters.
Do you know which days of the week are the busiest for your website? Or which hours for that matter? Being able to tell when your website’s peak hour is can be a big help in your marketing tactics – and the data is easy to find as well.
Most web hosting packages include a small program called AWStats. This program will give you a graphical view of what is happening on your site when it comes to traffic. You can see a breakdown of traffic based on days of the week, hours of the day, and days of the month. Using this data, you can determine if one day is more popular than another, and if there is a particular time of the day when traffic is heavier.
You can also use this data to compare your own activities. If you publish a blog post at 6pm each day, does your traffic peak at 7pm? Likewise, if you are busy on social media at a particular time of day, is that reflected by a spike in traffic around that time?
Some websites receive more hits due to the nature of the niche. A pizza site may get more traffic between 6pm and 10pm while a site offering recipes may get more hits in the afternoon. If you are in business, you can use this data to try and increase your business. One method frequently used is to offer discounts during the quieter periods – these can be promoted through Twitter and Facebook.
Your website is no different to a bricks and mortar business. It has quiet times and busy times. To be successful, you may need to find a way of increasing your traffic during the quiet times. Web analytics are not tools to purely measure the success of your SEO campaigns – they can also be used to make real business decisions.
While much has been said about the changes to search and social in 2010, one of the biggest changes, from an SEO perspective, has been the changes in web analytics. This is particularly true of the Google stable of Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics and even the Google Adsense reports. For a free set of tools, the pairing of Google’s Webmaster Tools and Analytics provides all the basic information that most website owners need.
Webmaster Tools has become a must have for all website owners. Simple jobs like defining the region in the world that your site targets is an important option. Submitting sitemaps, reviewing crawler access and pages indexed is also valuable information.
One of the new features in 2010 was the inclusion of search statistics. Which keyword phrases appeared in search results, their position in search results, and how many clicks each search phrase received is a powerful set of statistics. Many website owners get quite a surprise when they review those statistics. Keywords and phrases they have optimised are often overshadowed by longer tail phrases – phrases they have probably not even thought about.
While there are reported to be several hundred different factors used to determine search results, it is interesting to note the correlation between search impressions, search positions and click through rates. I have noticed on several sites that increased click through rates seem to have a slight affect on search position.
By making modifications to areas such as meta descriptions, and you can often improve those click through rates and your search position over time. Without good web analytics, you are not aware of data such as long tail phrases, your search position, and your click through rates. These are important, especially if you want to measure the effect of any changes you make to your website.
Web analytics is an important tool in any online business owner’s toolbox. Knowing which marketing channels are delivering the best quality traffic can help any web site owner when it comes to decision making and allocating funds for further marketing. It’s pointless expending time, energy, and perhaps money on a channel that is failing to deliver, especially if that time and energy could be better spent further developing a channel that was delivering. Tracking codes are just little addition to inbound links that help with those analytics.
The principle behind tracking is very simple. By adding a code to a link, you are making that link unique when it comes to web analytics software. Because that link is unique, it can be recorded and reported. At the end of any marketing campaign you can call up your analytics report to see which links have delivered the most traffic. You should also be able to see at a glance which links have converted and so produced results.
Tracking codes are easy to create. Simply add a forward slash to the end of your inbound link and follow that with a question mark and a unique code. If you were wanting to see how much traffic comes from your blog, then you could add /?blog to the end of every link from your blog to your website. You can make each link unique by changing the code slightly, for example, /?blog1 or /?bloghome.
It’s easy to add to links you want to measure and can often be added to banner advertisements, some pay-per-click advertising, images, videos, and of course general text links. The data provided should help you to refine your marketing efforts, either to increase traffic and conversions from channels that are failing, or by concentrating on channels that are delivering.