Monday, March 30, 2009

Heat Maps - Google is not the be-all and end-all

Google analytics has a nifty feature that it'll tell you what links people are clicking on. But, it's not the be-all and end-all. It falls short in that it:
- groups all the links that go to the same page from a page. So you have no idea if they clicked on the "more info" link at the top or bottom
- it only tracks clicks onto links. Not confused clicks onto things that look like links.

Does anyone track such things? Apparently they do;
Crazy Egg & Click Density.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

School pages into the search engines - ?

According to webmaster tools, the SpellingCity page on First Presbyterian Church School is not listed. I'll do a google search to see whether this school can be found on First Presbyterian Church School The answer is that while some other school pages are found which have links to that page, First P's home page is not yet in the Google index.

Why isn't First Presbyterian Church School's home page on in the index?

This is weird in that:
  1. There are at least two schools that I found that link to this home page which have links to them from their schools (Tinsley Elementary School & Greenville Elementary School). Of course, the links at the bottom of these pages in which the local schools link to each other should ideally have well-less than 100 links on the page. Unfortunately, these pages seem to have about 260 other schools listed which could account for the links not being counted.
  2. There are two blog posts from twenty days ago which have direct links to this First Presbyterian Church School. School pages not appearing and School home pages.
  3. I have been hoping that this page would appear in the index and mostly, my dreams do come true.

Any ideas? Since we have 125K school homepages that we're hoping will begin to get listed, this is a question of some importance. I could imagine that Google is reluctant to include these pages since they are short on content and links. Still, over 5K of these schools have links directly from the schools to them so it's hard to imagine why they don't get listed. Maybe, too many of these links are images?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Public School Review is a partner site of Boarding School Review, the leading online resource for evaluating private secondary boarding schools, and Private School Review, a unique resource for researching private day schools across the USA. They have pages competing for each school in the country and try to make money through partners in a variety of ways:

Their find a classmate link goes directly to
They have google adsense on the website.
Mostly, the partner sites are not filled in: they are "under construction". Maybe the site has a good business model but needs a goosing.


Global might be a good vehicle for my plans. They are:

  1. Well-financed. They have Milken money and involvement (Mike and Lowell) through Knowledge Universe plus Ignition VC and some well-heeled xMicrosoft guys.
  2. They're trying to get educational traffic but not succeeding.
  3. They're competing with a page for each school in the US and not succeeding. I looked at their rankings and they're failing to hit the first page in every spot check that I look at. They are the 32K most trafficked site in the US with 43K visitors last month which makes them nobody. In contrast, my site is at the 3K rank, rising every month (except the summer) and got 600K visitors last month., the leader for these things, is 459th and had an even 3 million visitors last month. I figure that I can match them in October 2009.

- they are at the far end of the country
- they have the appearance of a company that is difficult to do business with.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

School rankings 2

I thought I'd peek at the rankings for BCC high school. I'll just note what's different from Somerset.

Wikipedia ranks very high. 11th 14th 18th 25th - 28th - a partner site of Boarding School Review, the leading online resource for evaluating private secondary boarding schools, and Private School Review, - not ranking but using some clever feeds...

School Rankings

I'm taking a look at who ranks for a lot of schools and why. I just entered a random school (Somerset Elementary School) on Google and found, listing only the big players, who was in the top 30:

I should then figure out the business model and approach of each of these to see if one wants to partner, take investments, buy ads, or can be imitated. Note, I should do this for a few elementary schools to find out the major players. Then check to see if it's dramatically different for high schools or private schools. - 5th - 7th - 8th - 9th - 11th - 12 - 13th 14th - 15th - 16th - 17th - 18th - 19th - 20th 21 22 23 25 26 27 (again) 28 29th - Their content is a complex mashup of:
- public database of schools including public domain test scores, etc
- info pulled on the local real estate market which is provided by Sperlings Best Places.
- They partner with to raise money for the schools.
- They have oodles of articles.

The business model is advertising. The ads are handled by double-click ad and are solicited on the website. Current advertisers: MSN, K12, cafemom, sylvan, and FishHawkRanch.

Advertise on and get your message in front of our large audience of active, educated and affluent parents. GreatSchools can target your campaign by state or grade level; we offer all traditional ad units as well as newsletter sponsorships. Advertisers include Crayola, Century 21, Disney, Johnson & Johnson, K-12, Kaplan, Nissan, Quaker, SCORE! Educational Centers, Staples, Target, Zip Realty and many more. There are some plain google ads on specific pages.
GreatSchools is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with a very professional management team and board of directors. It seems to be SF-based. Bill Jackson is the Founder, President and CEO. GreatSchools, an independent nonprofit initiative that empowers parents to support their children's educational success, has been awarded $20 million to use Internet and social media technologies to empower needy parents with the insights they need to prepare their kids for college and beyond. The funding was from: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robertson Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.
1. Can I see the financials for a 501C3. I'm very curious as to how much they bring in through advertising.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

free tools for seo update

Here are three sites that allow you to estimate other sites' traffic:  CompeteAlexa, and Quantcast. I'd say Alexa is the most skewed since it's based on easily manipulated toolbar installations.

There are also tools for looking at incoming links:   Yahoo Site Explorer,  Linkscape, and .... HELP _ I"ve lost the others....

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

School pages not appearing

On, there are a lot of school pages. Say 100,000.
But most of them are not active. But many are and they have links from the schools. Yet they are not showing up in webmaster tools as page with incoming and outgoing links.
I think they should.

Time to test: First Presbyterian Church School as of March 3, 2009 now has a link to it's home page. There are no teachers listed so presumably it's only one link in. Is this enough for it to show up in webmaster tools.

Spirit will look for this. And just to be sure, I'll build a similiar link from another blog.