Archive for April, 2007

Apr 10
2007

A colleague of mine recently mentioned that he wasn’t able to get his Business Edge (DNN) based site to be indexed by search engines. The concern was that since pages are written virtually within the database and no real pages exist in the file structure, search engines would be prevented from indexing your site.

Actually this is a very common misconception. Business Edge builds URL’s that are virtual in nature and not representative of the underlying file structure. This is common amongst many Content Management Systems and doesn’t present any problems from a search engine perspective.

Whether you use the default friendly URL convention (static, but long and confusing) or the the much more elegant “human friendly” URL convention, the search engines should have no problem with virtual URL schemes.

Search engines see your Business Edge site (or any other site for that matter) in the same way that normal users see it – as a set of links and structured content – the rest is just presentation which the search engine doesn’t care about. The search engine has zero visibility into the underlying file structure and literally has no way of knowing whether the URL being shown to the search engine is real or virtual. It only cares that it works or doesn’t (in other words, is a page visible or not). Technically speaking, if a search engine gets back a status code of “200 OK” when it requests a page then the page is as real as a static html page.

In most cases though, you might have difficulty getting internal pages (pages that aren’t on the top level navigation menu) to be indexed by Google (or other search engines) for a couple of reasons:

  • the top level pages are indexed because they are direct links from your home page. As search engines come to your site, they see these links on your home page and “crawls” to them, resulting in those pages being indexed.
  • pages that exist in the site drop-down menu or what you refer to as “inside pages” aren’t being indexed because they aren’t main links off the home page. They are in the drop-down menu, but this menu is built using javascript which the search engine can’t interpret. Due to this, it is unable to navigate to those pages and thinks they don’t exist.

To get around this problem, there are a couple of possibilities:

  • One very easy method is to create a SiteMap link on the home page. This allows the search engine to “see” the link to the sitemap on the home page, which in turn brings all the inside pages into the search engine’s view. We’ve done this on www.noblelimo.com (see the top right corner).
  • Another method is to replace the out-of-box dropdown menu in Business Edge with a search engine friendly CSS based menu. A CSS menu will look and feel the same as a javascript menu, but is built using code that a search engine can parse and interpret, resulting in inside pages being visible. We are in the process of implementing this solution on several sites. Send me an email (shiraz at e-nor.com) and I’ll be happy to provide more information.

Hope that helps!    My thanks to Rehan Asif, one of my colleagues here at E-Nor, for the SEO knowledge that went into this post.

Apr 06
2007

I was traveling last week at my Ambassador Training Session and super swamped this week catching up, so I missed few days of reading my blogs and forums and it seems that I am two years behind! :-)

One the most important announcements this week from Google is the availability of Google Website Optimizer (GWO) to all AdWords users. The folks at Google did a fine job with this tool.

We were beta testing the GWO on a few of our accounts and the results were pretty amazing. I read somewhere today that this is like free money! The tool allows you to test various combinations of copy & images on your landing pages, manage all the combination juggling and crunching for you, and finally announce the winning combination when the experiment ends. We ran a quick experiment for one of our clients and achieved 129% improvement in conversion rate. This is just the beginning and it is on top of an already high performance landing page.

If you have a client that is investing money in Adwords, GWO is a must. You’ll improve their conversion rate and they’ll reward you for the improved Return on Investment (ROI). We offer Google Website Optimizer services to anyone that is interested. We’ll be more than glad to help you!

Apr 06
2007

Over the last few months it seems that a good percentage of the business we are getting is of the consulting or audit nature. Instead of clients asking us to implement PPC, they are actually complaining about PPC and how they are not realizing the anticipated ROI.

I once heard that “PPC is so easy to learn but it takes a lifetime to master”. That is so true! It only takes minutes to set up a campaign but few people invest the time to do the job right.

One of the most common mistakes we find when we audit an existing PPC account is the lack of meaningful account structure. The advertiser will create one campaign and then throw in all types of keywords in to one ad group. After turning the traffic on, they wonder why they are not seeing a good ROI!

It takes work and effort and creativity to implement a high performance PPC campaign. A recent post in the Inside Adwords blog addresses this issue of PPC Account Structure. Take look and re-examine how you set up your Adwords campaigns and see improvement & ease of management almost immediately.

We would love to hear your questions or comments!

Apr 06
2007

If a client has PPC campaigns in Google, Yahoo, and MSN, we want to make sure they are all tagged in such a way that Google Analytics can make the most sense out of all your marketing campaigns. In fact, this applies to e-mail and banner campaigns too.

For Google, you just need the auto tagging of URLs feature turned on inside of AdWords (and it should be turned on by default). For others like Yahoo, MSN, and e-mails, you need to go to Google URL builder. . Let us walk through one example of using this tool.

Let’s say your landing page is http://www.domain.com/landingpage1.htm and you are running a Yahoo PPC campaign for T1 internet services to it. Let’s also say that the keyword that triggers this ad is “t1″ without the quotes.

  1. Stick the landing page URL into the Website URL box.
  2. Campaign Source will be yahoo (note the lower case spelling).
  3. Campaign Medium will be cpc.
  4. Campaign Term will be different for every keyword inside your campaign. We are building a URL for the keyword of t1 so Campaign Term will be t1.
  5. Campaign Content would be left blank in this case but in another campaign such as e-mail you would use this field to differentiate between parts of your e-mail.
  6. Campaign Name would be whatever the campaign name was in Yahoo PPC. We add ysm_ as a prefix so we know it was a Yahoo campaign in any analytics reports we read later. So let’s put in ysm_T1_InternetServices.

Click on Generate URL and you get:
http://www.domain.com/landingpage1.htm?utm_source=yahoo
&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=t1&utm_campaign=ysm_T1_InternetServices

You have to disable auto tagging of URLs in Yahoo and instead manually give it these generated URLs. Now whenever someone clicks on that Yahoo ad to come to your landing page, Google Analytics will decipher all the utm variables in the landing page URL and sort the data appropriately.

For editing a large number of URLs it may make sense to use a spreadsheet like the one provided by our friends at epikone.com