Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Site Architecture Issues & Comments

Some words of wisdom followed by questions of how to consider them on the time4learning site.

"The homepage is generally considered the most important page of a site - it is the top level document and usually attracts the most inbound links. From here, search engine robots can normally reach pages that are within three clicks of the homepage. Therefore, your most important pages should be one click away, the next important two clicks away and so forth.
" - quoted from entireweb & Craig Broadbent - see below

But, on my site - many critical pages such as HomeSchool Curriculum or Special Needs Learning are two steps from the homepage (at best) via the sitemap. There are 13 links from my home page to the following pages. NONE of these pages reachable from the first page are SEO-optimized page.

2x MemberLogin - PR5
1x Privacy Policy - this link has a https link. As a plain http page, its PR5 Learn More -
http://www.time4learning.com/Start/page2.htm - FreeLessons demos - PR3
Learn More - http://www.time4learning.com/start/page3.htm - oldstyle demos - PR2 2x
Sign Up - https://www.time4learning.com/alpha/Signup_Parent_Information.aspx
Sign Up Now - https://www.time4learning.com/alpha/Signup_Parent_Information.aspx
Try It, Risk Free - www.time4learning.com/alpha/Signup_Parent_Information.aspx
Start Helping My Children Now - ~/alpha/Signup_Parent_Information.aspx
Homeschooling - http://www.time4learning.com/homeSchool-online.htm - PR4 SiteMap - http://www.time4learning.com/siteMap.htm PR5 Contact Us - http://www.time4learning.com/contactUs.htm PR5 Internal Links -

"The next thing to consider is how to link the pages together. Search engine robots can only follow generic HTML href links, meaning Flash links, JavaScript links, dropdown menus and submit buttons will all be inaccessible to robots. Links with query strings that have two or more parameters are also typically ignored, so be aware of this if you run a dynamically generated website. " quoted again from Entireweb & Broadbent

SiteMap - How important? So, here are some questions which I would like to find answers to. I'd particularly like to find a combination of SEO / marketing expertise that will help me figure out how best to write for both my human and Araneidae visitors.

Specifically: 1. Should I put a few links to my key (for SEO purposes) pages on the front page? But, I generally want my visitors to follow the "learn more" buttons, not go wandering thru all my internal pages. In fact, I'm about to reduce the prominance of my sitemap link. - check out http://www.webworkshop.net/pagerank.html#internal_linking 2. Should my links to non SEO'd page be put into a format that will not be crawled? If so, how would I do that? Since I don't know how to do it, I have tried to put internal links onto all the pages reached from the home page so that they function as a sort of sitemap. Example: look at the links on: http://www.time4learning.com/contactUs.htm http://www.time4learning.com/alpha/Policies.aspx

Original article sent by entireweb - written by : Craig Broadbent is Search Engine Optimisation Executive for UK-based internet marketing company, WebEvents Ltd. Clients of WebEvents benefit from a range of services designed to maximise ROI from internet marketing activities. To find out more, visit http://www.webeventseurope.com/.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

PPC Analytics - a POOL Tool

Web site owners love the Adwords conversion data. If you haven't tried using Adwords PPC (pay per click) with the google tracking data, you should.

When you are purchasing clicks from google by keyword, it provides you data on the conversion rate and cost per click by keywork. For example, it would allow you to tell that visitors who typed in "3rd grade math help" convert twice as often into customers than people who typed in "1st grade math help". The marketing possibilities become endless: you can try directing each different type of add to individual pages tweeked for the different interests of visitors to get the highest conversion rates.

Additionally, you can adjust your bidding based on this data. For instance, one might find that "3rd grade reading comprehension help" converts at an amazingly high rate but has very few clicks. What keyphrases are worth more? Which ones are we overbidding on? Underbidding? Its somewhat addictive to go in and start bidding more or less per keyphrase. But small business people suddenly need to become statistically sophisticated.

With 14 clicks on the phrase "2nd grade math help" and none of them have converted into customers, is it time to drop that phrase or should I wait for a bigger sample size?

For most of us that are in the under 2% conversion-to-customer rate, you would need alot of data to make statistically reliable decisions if you are looking at each keyphrase independently.

I'm hoping google or some third party will build a tool that does what I'm currently doing by hand with a spreadsheet. Specifically, a POOL Tool (a POlynumeric Optimizer for the Lazy Tool) that :

- Analyses my conversion rate in multiple overlapping pools for the most effective use of my data
- Provide info on statistical reliability (the input would be what our conversion rate is and other variables along with google stats, output would be with what reliability a decision could be made).

Lets return to my problem of being 0 for 14 clicks on "2nd grade math help". This phrase, like most of the ones that I bid one, are constructed out of 3 types of words:

Grade level words such as first grade, 2nd grade, 6th grade etc
Subject type words such as language arts, reading, reading comprehension, math, arithmetic, geometry, science, etc
Other words such as help, tutoring, improve, worksheets, learning games, activities, learning activities, online learning, curriculum, standards, homeschool, etc etc

While most of us don't have enough data on a specific search phrase (ie "2nd grade math help"), we probably do have enough data if we look by pool. For instance, we can compare all the first grade words against the fifth grade words and as a group, we can probably find that generally, one group does better (we can also group first and second together and compare them with 4th & 5th but thats another question....)

We can also compare all the math words (first grade math, second grade math etc) versus another group (perhaps against the average) and find whether math does better or worse.

And of course, we can compare all the ****help phrases against the ****learning games phrases to decide where our best conversions are.

In reality, few of us have enough data to make a statistically meaningful decision comparing "6th grade reading comprehension worksheets" vs "3rd grade math help" but, using the POOL Strategy, it gets alot easier.

Now what we need are some tools (the POOL TOOL) so that the pool strategy can be implemented without the massive ongoing spreadsheet analytical exercise that I seem to run thru periodically.