Saturday, April 26, 2008

My math pages are sinking, sigh. Live and learn.

Do you believe in link inflation? Got any data?

For you SEO learners, elementary and middle level, consider this a little course in link building. Note that an algorithmic spider based in Mountain View will come by and see that the title of this post contains the words: math and learn. That little creepy crawly will "understand", based on that title, that this article is about math education. I reinforce this idea by peppering the writing with keyphrases related to schools and education. For instance, I can ask the question, is this helping you to learn? Am I teaching you something useful.

The reader feels that I'm writing for his edification, the search engine understands that this is relevant to math education. You might now see how this related to building the education business...

I know that the math pages on my website use to pull oodles and ooldes of traffic from google but somehow, they've slipped. Time for a little educational reinforcement. So here, I'm putting in a plug. Don't you want to know what the math standards are for each year of education: K-8th grade? Here are the math standards are spelt out in plain english. You should mention them as a valuable resource on your educational websites and perhaps steer people towards them. G-D forbid that I should ask you to link to them. Please.

PreSchool Math At this level, the math and language arts are integrated.
Kindergarten Math Curriculum mapping at the K to first grade level is tricky since there's alot of repetition and reinforcement required.
Elementary Math
First Grade Math
Second Grade Math By second grade, the curriculum stops spiraling back so often and so deep.
Third Grade Math
Fourth Grade Math
Fifth Grade Math Hear, algebraic concepts start to come into their own.
Sixth Grade Math
Seventh Grade Math This is essentially prealegebra but at a slow pace. Faster students might jump right to the algebra class which includes prealgebra.
Eighth Grade Math


Webanalytics 1 - Back Story

I'm getting geared up to install Google Analytics on our site: Time4Learning. I'm trying to learn enough so that we do it right the first time. Have I got some history? Oh, yea.

Adwords Conversion Measuring
I've long been haunted by a mistake that we made when we set up Google adwords. Adwords lets you set up several types of conversions to measure. In our case, we wanted to measure how many people signed up for our free newsletter and how many people joined (ie paid for) our educational learning service. BUT, all types of conversions are not equally supported by Adwords tool chain. We made our most important conversion, the payment, to equal the variable "sales count". It seemed logical at the time. But, as we worked with adwords, they have all sorts of automated tool support for one type of conversion, unfortunately, the one that we set up as signing up for our newsletter. Over time, we've stopped even tracking newsletter sign-ups and we continue to invest all sorts of time in optimizing our "sales count" conversions by keyword, by bid, by landing page, by type of demo shown. For instance, should we bid more for the term learning games or educational games? Which one converts at a higher rate? And can we change it by having landing pages optimized for those terms.

Sadly, the conversion that we care about requires us to download reports from Adwords, not to use their convenient tools. This problem chews about about 15 extra minutes everytime we have the slightest question on adwords and keywords. After three years, that's alot of time and more importantly, it's alot of research that we didn't bother to do since we tend to be in a hurry.

Other Time4Learning history to consider in setting up analytics.

We have adwords under one google account, webmaster tools under another. Which one should we put analytics in? Answer: Adwords. there's more synergy of tools.

We have more than just one site that we care about. For instance, many visitors (we think) visit our parents forum which is hosted on as part of the process of checking us out. How would we track this?

We sign alot of people for our newsletter and we hope, that it is step towards signing up with us eventually, We 'd like to track that.

Lastly, we have several types of pages: .htm, .shtml, .html, .aspx, and some secure ones (https). We use includes. How does this affect the implementation process?

So stick with us as we work through these problems. A real live case study. More reality blogging. And of course, if any of you have great advice on these questions, I'm interested. I have hired a SEO guru to come visit us periodically at "lawerly" rates per hour. After session one, I'm pleased.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Search Engine Relationships

People will do the most amazing things for links. Here is one of the most interesting linkbaits that I've seen: An interactive chart showing the relationship between the search engines over time!

You can see who is using whose search results and advertising at what point in history.

It's very cool. I'm pleased to reference this useless intriguing amusing gadget. It does make the point that there are only a few sources of search engine results and not that many more sources of context sensitive advertising.

See it for yourself. Now! Free! The amazing Search Engine Relationship Chart!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The SEO Process

I found a great series of articles on the SEO process that I'll share with my staff to give them an overview of what we do, day in and day out.

It's a ten part series of articles run by WebProNews. Below is the table of contents from article 6.
  1. Keyword Research & Selection
  2. Competitor Analysis
  3. Site Structure
  4. Content Optimization
  5. Link Building
  6. Social Media
  7. PPC
  8. Statistics Analysis
  9. Conversion Optimization
  10. Keeping It Up
BTW - I wouldn't organize the topics this way. I would have an article on "on-page" issues which, perhaps, is what content optimization is actually about. Stay tuned while I read these articles...


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Twitter monitoring

There are many social media to choose among. The oddest social media is Twitter. Twitter makes you keep it short.

You can even monitor Twitter. Here's the twitter monitor for SpellingCity.

Makes me feel old.


Friday, April 04, 2008

24/7 Support - Don't LIE to me.

Everybody has vendors. Some we love, some we tolerate. My pet peeve these days is vendors who advertise on their site 24/7 support and it's just not true. I'll name some names but not all of them.

Webstream - They were my initial hosting service. Their site when I joined had 24/7 all of their website. The fact is, nobody answered phones or emails at night. They started around 8am and finished around 8pm at night. That was not the only dispute I had with them but it one of the one that finally convinced me to ditch them and move to a vendor that does provide the 24/7 support that they promise.

My Credit Card processor - Their site also said 24/7 support. As Time4Learning got big, there were a number of times when we got very frustrated when things went down over the weekend and in the evening and we had to wait until someone started working. Since we got quite large, I eventually had a conversation with them and they provided a phone number which, when we had to, we could call at any hours. I am no insanely happy with them. (Although I do watch my credit card fees from them, the bank, and visa like a hawk)

One of my current hosting companies - which I won't mention since I haven't ditched them yet - is actually based abroad and works regular business hours which seem to start around 6pm our time and last through the night. It's incredibly inconvenient. We will migrate away from them this year.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Before the WorldWideWeb, there was Move!

In 1992, I was in marketing at SGI and there was an internal product developed called Move! It could be used to post information or for presentations. It had a client-server model so you could view content on one computer, but host it elsewhere. It could handle text, images, audio, vector imagery, video, and 3D objects. New data types could be added. It was operating system, network, and hardware independent. It was called Move! (sometimes it was called Showcase).

We didn't really know what to do with Move!. I was one of the early and big users of Move!. I used it for presentations. Some of the engineers that it was the future of computing but I couldn't really see why.

It had an integrated authoring tool which was great.

In retrospect, it was basically the technology for the world wide web which we developed, played with, and then moved on to other more immediate projects. I sometimes think back to Move! and wonder if anyone else remembers it. Surely, the engineers who put it together must think about. I wonder if the technology was robust enough to have gone all the way.

I wrote this post after looking at an article by Alex Vorn which notes today is the tenth anniversary of Mozilla.


Free SEO tools

These free tools are tremendous. I've not yet paid for an SEO tool.

Web Site Grader - It says that I'm doing a great job. 93%.

Quantcast - It gives you amazing stats on your site.

Yahoo's site explorer - Gives info on links.

Google's Keyword rating tool - The adwords tools made available for everyone.

This article somewhat obsoletes the previous one on SEO Free Tools.