Tuesday, October 25, 2005

SEO: Controlling Entry Pages

One of the most important aspects of keyword strategy for search engine optimization is getting the right search terms onto the right page. Among many things, my team does keyword research and discovery for a lot of websites. This is an important first step, but too often we see folks take our report, pick the search terms they think they can get ranked for right away, and stick those search terms on their home page because it's "easier" to get "fast results."

But what kind of results will you get?

Let me give you a hypothetical scenario... let's say you have an online store that sells office products of all kinds. Because you haven't had an effective linking and promotion strategy in the past, you're going to have a hard time competing for "office products" right away. So you decide to target a less competitive search term like "electric staplers" for now, and go after the big tuna later on.

So far, you're doing fine. Recognize your limitations, and go after something you can get. No problem. However, if you want to target "electric staplers," make sure that the page you optimize is the one where you sell staplers... not your home page. If you bring untargeted traffic to your home page, the visitors just bounce right off and go somewhere else - if you bring them to the right page, a lot more of them will buy something. It's as simple as that.

You can control which page search engines send people to by optimizing the right page, and supporting that page's keywords with links from inside and outside of your website. Okay, maybe it's a little more complicated than that, but not by much. The point here is that you want to control the entry page, where the search engine sends the visitor, and you do that by getting the right page ranked in the first place.

You can learn a lot more about keyword strategy by downloading a free 75-minute video, from the third week of my Advanced SEO class. To download, first decide if you are a Windows Person or a Mac Person. Windows people, grab this archive - that's a 25 megabyte file, containing a Windows executable that will automagically install the required video codec and run the video in Windows Media Player. Mac people, download this archive instead, and get the Ensharpen decoder from Techsmith to run the video in Quicktime.

Off Topic:
A favor, please... I'm looking at a few options for promotional items to give away at SES in December - let me know what you think:
  • A cool USB beverage warmer for the poor folks in the laptop lounge, where we hope the wireless access will be improved this year.
  • A travel coffee mug for the folks who want to bring hot coffee into a 90-minute session, where coffee will otherwise get cold.
  • A combination compass & thermometer to help navigate from the hotel to the conference hall, which in Chicago is a very long journey.
If these don't look good, take a look around that site and let me know what you think would work. I'm looking for a promotional gift that people will remember, and hopefully something that they will actually use. Bonus points if they use it in public places at the conference. :D

We'll talk more soon.

12 Comments:

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Eamon Rodeck said...

Definitly the travel coffee mug. I doubt anyone will have brought one and they'll use it throughout the SES.

Thanks for starting the blog.

 
At 7:11 PM, Blogger CyberCelt said...

I second the travel mug. You do not want to encourage drinking coffee with an open cup next to your computer.

Welcome to the blogosphere.

 
At 5:53 AM, Blogger guppy said...

Hi Dan, Thanks for the video , It's about time I learn some posiitive keyword strategies. Need to get me some more traffic.
By the way I don't drink coffee, so no mug for me.

 
At 7:11 AM, Blogger Thomas Holmes said...

Dan - thanks for the great video! The content quality is a great advertisement for your courses... tempting ... tempting...

One question - you mentioned somewhere in the video (to paraphrase you) that 'alexa unique web hosts' was one of the best measures of competitor strength.

Does one find this figure from the 'Sites Linking in' feature on Alexa or from somewhere else?

Thanks in advance!

 
At 8:41 AM, Blogger Dan Thies said...

Yes, that number is the "sites linking in" from Alexa stats. If you are using the Alexa Web Information Service API from Amazon, you would use LinksInCount in your ResponseGroup.

The real goal is to find out how many unique web sites or hosts are linking in. You can get this kind of information in other ways, such as with Backlink Analyzer, when you analyze a site look at the number of Class C links.

We use Alexa's data in our keyword reports because it's the only API that allows us enough queries to do the job.

We would like to use the Yahoo APIs, because their crawl is a little fresher than Alexa's, but they limit queries to 5000 per IP address per day, and don't give you a "unique hosts" count directly. We might need to run as many as 1000 queries to fetch the backlinks for a single report.

The solution is to redesign the reports a bit. I am thinking of pulling the top 100 or so competitors from the (as many as) 1000 that we look at currently, and showing unique host links for those. That will probably require another dedicated server or two to process, but well worth it if we can provide more useful data.

 
At 9:11 AM, Blogger Thomas Holmes said...

Thanks Dan!

I noticed that problem with the query limit on the Yahoo API with SEOBook's Hub Finder Tool.

You'd wonder why Yahoo don't do the same as Amazon and just charge per query.

 
At 9:35 AM, Blogger Dan Thies said...

Yahoo and Google both, I don't get it. Millions of automated queries are run every day. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd gladly pay a penny a query for reliable access.

 
At 7:08 PM, Blogger Orlando said...

I've been in the marketing business for quite sometime now. However, just began marketing my business in the internet. I've been reading alot of information about Dan Thies, his "SEO" knowledge has been a great help to me. Before I decide to purchase an SEO software, first go and see what Dan Thies has to offer.

 
At 12:09 AM, Blogger Dudung Saduloh said...

Good insight!

Thanks, for your sharing...
and The Video is very impresive..

Dudung
My Home Businesses site

 
At 5:23 PM, Blogger Apple Oracle said...

Definately the mug!

Thanks for the video!

Cheers,

M

 
At 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A combination compass & thermometer
would be better.

Thanks for such a helpful video.
Dan you know what, you are a Great guy..

Keep it up!

 
At 8:40 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Travel Coffee Mug - Not only will it be appreciated and used there, it will also be used around the world as people go back home from the conferences :)

Ah... maybe a compass on the lid of a travel coffee Mug ;)

Off to view the Video.

 

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