Odyssey bloghelping you leverage the potential of the internet

What is Web Analytics?


19. June 2009 15:05

Web analytics is a term used to describe the processes involved in recording and analysing how visitors use and discover your website.

Here is the official definition according to the Web Analytics Association:

“Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.”

What kind of statistics will web analytics show me?

  • Geographical location of visitors to the website
  • How they found the website
  • If they found the website from a search engine, what keywords they searched for
  • How the visitors navigate through the website
  • What the most popular pages on the website are
  • The average time a visitor spends on the website
  • The effectiveness of your marketing campaigns
  • How many pages the average visitor browses
  • and many more…

Google Analytics – web analytics from Google

There are numerous web analytics software vendors, however if you intend to use Google Adwords pay-per-click advertising, Google Analytics will draw information from your Google Adwords campaigns and let you analyse how well your visitors are converting, so it makes sense to use Google’s analytics offering.

Google Analytics is a free but powerful web analytics tool.  Google describes it as “Enterprise-class”, but don’t let that put you off.  Even though Google Analytics has a lot of advanced features, it’s quite easy to just stick to the basics and get just the information you need right at your finger tips.

Google Analytics Dashboard

You can even customise reports to show only the data you are interested in and have them emailed to you or a colleague on a regular basis!

What’s more our Search Engine Marketer has passed the Google Analytics Individual Qualification, so we are well placed to help you make the most of Google Analytics.

What are SEM and SEO and do I need them?


15. June 2009 15:04

In the screenshot below is a results page from a Google search, often referred to in the industry as a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).  The blue highlighted region indicates the “natural” or “organic” search results, whereas the red highlighted area refers to the sponsored adverts.

PPC stands for Pay per click, which is another name for the sponsored adverts which appear on the search results page. As the term suggests you pay only when a user clicks on your advert.

To get your website featured in the sponsored adverts region, you will need to sign-up for Google Adwords and start a PPC campaign.  In as little as 15 minutes your adverts will go live on Google and you will start attracting visitors to your website!

 

Google SERPS - indicating PPC and Organic listings

To get your website featured in the organic listings Google will need to find your website and index it in its database. Your website’s ranking in a search engine will be based on many factors too complicated to cover here, but in order to improve your organic ranking it helps to have a search engine friendly or optimised website and promote your website using recognised SEO techniques.

SEO refers to Search Engine Optimisation the activities carried out to generate qualified traffic to a website in order to appear in the “organic” or “natural” results.

What’s the difference between SEO and SEM?

The term SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing and is used to describe all the activities that encompass the promotion of a website using search engines.  SEM can mean either SEO and PPC combined or one or the other.

How to get your Website in the Search Engines


25. May 2009 14:43

Search engines are a popular method of finding websites on the internet.  They DO NOT search the whole internet contrary to popular belief, instead they keep a very very large database of websites (known as the index) which they know about and search those, when you perform a text search.

Search engines such as Google have special programs called robots which continuously scour the internet.  These robots are used to retrieve information from websites on the internet.  This information is fed back to the search engine for processing and the output of this process is added to the search engine’s index.

Getting your website indexed

As such there are no guarantees your website will appear in search engines, the search engine must become aware of your website before it can be found in the search engine index.
There are a couple of ways of achieving this.  You can submit your site to a search engine and wait until it gets indexed, or you can wait until the search engine discovers your site by itself, which is the preferred method.
Either way you may have to wait up to 6 weeks for your website to be added to the index.

As long as your website is linked to from at least one other (indexed) website then your website will be found by the major search engines without you having to do any work whatsoever.

No need to submit to hundreds of search engines

In the UK, Google has almost a 90% share of the search market, the other major search engines are Live Search, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves.  So its best to avoid SEO companies or SEO computer programs that claim to submit your site to 500+ search engines.  Even if they do submit your site to that many search engines, what good will it do you if 98% of internet users use Google, Yahoo, Ask or Live Search?

Determine Your Long-Term Website Total Cost of Ownership


5. May 2009 15:02

Your website is a shop window for your business, which will need to grow and change with your business and be able to inform your customers of your latest products or services, news, awards etc.

A common pitfall sometimes overlooked by new website owners is the on-going cost of ownership. There are very few website owners who will be happy leaving their website unchanged since the day it went live, but they don’t often factor in the cost of maintaining and keeping the website up-to-date. 
Likewise many people forget that a website will not magically sell itself.  Time and money will need to be invested in search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) in order to bring new customers in.  The same can be said for retaining existing customers, where keeping a database of names and addresses can be very beneficial to communicate with your existing client base.

If you are looking to get a website built or re-designed it makes a lot of sense to spend a few minutes thinking about the total cost of ownership (TCO).  How much will your website actually cost beyond the initial design and build stage?

You should consider the following: 

  • Website design & build
  • Search engine optimisation (on-page and off-page) – Off-page SEO is an on-going specialist task which will help your site in Google’s “organic” listings
  • Search engine marketing (SEM) – Pay per click advertising e.g. Google Adwords
  • Website maintenance – Updating the site text, adding new sections etc
  • Content management systems – Enabling you to update the website yourself
  • HTML newsletters design, build and broadcast costs

Some web design companies will offer all of these services, whereas some agencies will specialise in only certain areas. 
It makes sense to look at the track record of companies you hire in order to make sure not only you can work with them, but that they can work with other agencies you hire to deliver the type of service you require, in the time-frames your business demands.

Domain Name Registration Length Can Impact Google Ranking


24. April 2009 14:35

Whether you’ve just bought a domain name for your website or its up for renewal, you may wish to consider the fact that Google and potentially other search engines take into consideration the length of time you’ve purchased the domain for during their ranking algorithms.

They do this and other domain related checks to try and determine whether the domain is potentially a throwaway or spam domain, rather than a quality website they wish to place in their index and send visitors to. 

So it is always wise to spend a little extra and renew a domain for longer than the minimal renewal length, which is normal between 1 and 2 years.  After all domain name purchases aren’t very expensive, and the benefits are clear.

Even if your domain is not up for renewal in the foreseeable future, most Domain Name Registrars will allow you to extend the domain registration period.