Website and Page Optimization

When one is dealing with website optimization he must also get the proper tools to measure the impact of his changes and test his hypothesis. Expert Data Miner allows you to fetch the history of any page and display the main inbound links behind the fluctuations associated with it. It provides you a group of customizable reports that can be incorporated in your optimization strategy

Someone can try to boost his position on Google in many ways. The best way is to receive a non reciprocal hyperlink from a 'heavyweight' website, but this is not always easy; sometimes it may take years before to appear in the top ten sites, at least for some keywords. If you are locked with a relatively low page rank, it is still possible to improve your site position on Google, and many will do it with keyword optimization. However this method has its limits, mainly because the page rank is a more important factor. But if someone succeed to double the number of his visitors after a few weeks of effort, it is still a major gain, isn't it?

 There is many theories about page optimization, however whatever is your approach you need to assess your hypothesis and see the impact on the pages that matter. In the report Most Popular Pages you have the whole list of your pages and you can sort your data by any field  if you click on a header's column. However if you need to focus on a specific page it is possible to retrieve a useful chart when you select the row associated with a page and right click with your mouse.

With this chart you can detect the variations associated with your target page, but also the contribution of the main referrers. In the above example all the referrers except one (the one that starts with http) are internal referrers. So whether you try to dispatch some people from one section of your website to another, or boost your position on Google, you can follow the evolution in one simple graph for any page.

Optimizing your keywords:

You can use several reports from Expert Data Miner to improve your strategy of optimization. Many people will only try to optimize their pages in order to be listed among the top 10 sites for the most relevant keywords. However this strategy has little chances to succeed without a decent page rank, especially when too much competitors have a similar goal for the same keywords. The reports on search phrases and word sets will often teach you which other word combinations are performing well. Several of them can be irrelevant, but some others can be interesting prospects. EDM allows you to check quickly your site position on Google or Yahoo for those word sets if you right click on a line and select the Fetch Position on Search Engine option from the context menu. This option is available in two of the three reports in the Search Strings section. This option is not suitable for a large number of requests, nor a follow up over weeks (Google Monitor is more appropriate for bulk requests) but it can give you an initial clue. You can quickly see how interesting is such a prospect with the column average number of pages/visitor and the distribution behind it.

You have then the choice to modify your text slightly and trying to improve your position for this unexpected set of keywords or stick to your initial strategy. You could also wait some days or weeks to see how stable is this position around a central point. Accounting for the fact that many websites who compete for those keywords are changing also (and the Google algorithm as well) it's absolutely possible to see strong variations in a short delay, especially for long phrases. Nevertheless there is groups of search words who will have a relatively stable position. But you need also to see if a sufficient number of users are typing those keywords, or even related word sets. You can use a filter on dates to study the pattern and get the number of hits or use the export option in EDM and store your results of the week in one or several HTML files before to take a decision.

 Most people will click on a few links at most when they perform a search. This is why a 6 th position on Yahoo is much better than a 87 th position on Google even if the latest engine is more popular. The same thing could be said about two competing groups of words. If your 87 th position is largely based on a low page rank or a huge number of competitors rather than a poor frequency of the relevant keywords in your text or your paragraph headers/page titles, it is hard to expect a miracle in the short term. One could change slightly his text and try to exploit promising word sets, or split his page in two pages, etc.. Whatever is the strategy, you will often need to test your hypothesis.

Two other reports in EDM can be very interesting; Hits/Phrases by Pages and  Hits by Pages by WordSets . If you focus on some specific pages and word sets, it might be of some interest to see how different search engines perform for a group of keywords for a specific page. Lets choose the first of those two reports and click on the button associated with the local configuration.

If we press on the button Define Action the following group of customizable columns is available:

The option 'Using a Search Engine' is selected from the combo box. In doing so the other combo box (Target) is filled with the list of all possible engines. One can select Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL search... the new columns will contain the percentage of the visitors who use Google and Yahoo. The log file is then re-scanned.

The main screen is now giving the percentage of the visitors who fetched a specific page and who used Yahoo and the percentage who used Google. With a sizeable sample, this percentage will be strongly connected with the position of the page for a search on each engine. But if you click on the hyperlink View Detail, the popup 'Detail for...' appears and show a distribution of this percentage on each group of words for that specific page.

As mentioned earlier, it is more profitable to get a 6 th position on Yahoo than a 88 th position on Google. Optimizing and changing your text to put more emphasis on some keywords will often work in the middle/long term, but you may loose ground on another front. Provided that you have a net gain regarding the visitors who matter everything is OK.

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