In October of 2012 many sites including Search Engine Land uncovered that not only was Google hiding keyword data within the dreaded “(not provided)” keyword set, but Google was totally missing the boat on recording organic traffic from Safari iOS users as well.
The reason behind this shift was the fact that the default browser for the iPhone is Safari. Google searches being done on the mobile Safari browser started generating secure search result. Not only were these searches secure, but they weren’t passing any referrer data at all.
One of our clients, the Cleveland Clinic, noticed an interesting trend starting ever since the mobile version of iOS 6 was introduced. Here you can see the chart they referred to.
Have you been underestimating your organic traffic? As mobile continues to grow chances are the answer is “yes”. So how are online marketers supposed to show the true numbers for organic traffic? I’ll tell you how in this step-by-step process. (Google Analytics is required for this estimation, and having MS Excel is also very useful)
- Access Google Analytics and select Traffic Source > Sources > Search > Organic
- For the Primary Dimension select “Source”
- For your Secondary Dimension select “Operating System”.
- Add up all of the iOS referral visits to get your iOS Organic Traffic
- Next you’ll need your direct iOS traffic. To get that go to Traffic Source > Source > Direct.
- For your Secondary Dimension select “Operating System”.
- Perform an advanced filter Operating System matches “iOS” and add up all of the iOS visits to arrive at your iOS Direct Traffic
Now that you have your total iOS Organic Traffic and iOS Direct Traffic just a few formulas and you’ll have your Adjusted Organic Traffic Total.
Next you’ll need the Percent of Direct Traffic Over Total iOS Traffic. To accomplish this you do the following:
= iOS Direct Traffic / (iOS Organic Traffic + iOS Direct Traffic)
The next step will help you arrive at Recovered Organic Search Visits. To accomplish this you use the following formula:
= (iOS Direct Traffic – (iOS Direct Traffic + iOS Organic Traffic) * X)
In order to calculate X you need to take the average Percent of Direct Traffic Over Total iOS Traffic from January 2012 to September 2012. That number is then applied as “X” to the Recovered Organic Search Visits equation above.
Almost there! The final step is to arrive at the Adjusted Total Organic Search Traffic. To arrive at your final calculation you do the following:
= (Overall Search Traffic Including All Operating Systems + Recovered Organic Search Visits)
This is an awful lot of calculation to do even on a monthly basis, so be sure to use Google Analytics Advanced Segments, dashboards or shorcuts to set up this type of calculation to be easily accessible.
Thank you for reading. Please comment below to let me know if you have any feedback or corrections with the process laid out here.
If you’re going to SMX Advanced in Seattle next month (June 11-12), you’re in for a treat. And even if you’re not going (it’s sold out!), there are plenty of ways to see recaps and summaries of the panels you’ll miss.
I’m speaking on the “Getting Mobile SEO Right” panel, and the speakers are an impressive lot. While we’ve not yet compared formal notes on our specific presentations, here’s a general overview of what you can expect from the panelists:
Michael Martin of Covario. Michael has a firm grasp of the numbers behind the numbers in mobile. In one of his latest articles, for example, he discusses how mobile search is outpacing overall mobile growth by a factor of 2:1. Expect a firm understanding of where the market is going (and how you need to prepare for it) in Michael’s discussion.
Bryson Munier of Resolution Media. Bryson is well known in the Mobile SEO world as an expert on how to intelligently build a mobile architecture for your business’s specific needs. He’s saddled with a reputation of being a responsive-design “basher,” although that’s a vast oversimplification of his perspective. Bryson will leave you with ways to know what type of mobile setup is appropriate for you, and he can justify the claims.
Dave Roth of Move.com. Of the four panelists, Dave is the only “in-houser” of the bunch (even though he has experience both at Yahoo and on the agency side), and that’s valuable. Audiences love panelists who work in house (i.e., not on the agency side) since they’re deeper in the trenches than most. Expect a lot of very concrete tactics that you can implement right away.
In my portion of the panel, I’ll be pulling from audience research, analytics, design, and coding to pull up some informative recommendations. The working title is “Mobile SEO: Five Dumb Things You’re Doing, and Five Smart Things You’re Not.”
A few weeks after the panel, I’ll be hosting a webinar that summarizes the key elements of the presentations. We’ll post the information here and our Twitter account, so stay tuned.
I was just reading an article on Search Engine Land yesterday about a study regarding drops from Google Image referrer traffic since Google changed its Image results design. So, I decided to take a look at a couple of our clients to see what affect Google’s design change had on their traffic.
As a brief overview, prior to Google’s design change for Image search, clicking on a thumbnail in the image search results would load the source page in the background, behind a larger image of the image result clicked at Google. The loading of pages in the background, only for users to go back to the image results or close the page is referred to as a “phantom visit”. In the new design, Google still displays thumbnails on the results page, but clicking an image now enlarges it into a preview window. While the source page no longer loads in the background, the preview window does include four different links to the source page. I’ve pointed these links out in the example below where I performed a Google Image search for my name:
I chose to examine a couple of our clients from completely separate industries, and since the design change occurred in late January, I decided to take a look at referrer traffic from November through March. This gave me a chance to see two complete months both before and after the change, along with January when the change occurred. The chart below displays the steep decline in referrer traffic from Google Images for Client A:
If we average the referrer traffic from November through December, and again for February through March, we see an 85% decrease in referrer traffic from Google Images after the design change. Further, I checked year-over-year February-March Google Image referrer traffic to account for any seasonal search pattern changes, and this resulted in a 65% decrease. The 85% decrease is higher than the 63% average cited by Define Media Group, but the 65% year-over-year decrease is obviously very close to average.
The chart below for Client B displays a very similar decline compared to that of Client A:
In doing the same for Client B that we did for Client A, the post-design change drop comes to an 84% decrease in February and March compared to November and December. However, unlike Client A, Client B’s year-over-year drop is a staggering 91% decrease in referral traffic from Google Images.
The major question this design change begs from an SEO standpoint is whether you should still place any effort or strategy behind optimizing your images for search. If most sites are generating less than half the traffic to their sites from image search compared to just a few months ago, what’s the point? First off, optimizing your images for search does still benefit your site’s overall SEO, even if you’re not seeing that traffic directly from image search referrals. Engines are still crawling image text information, and using those keywords in their ranking algorithms. Further, optimizing images so that they perform well in image results is still going to positively affect your site’s traffic, but more likely through indirect, rather than direct, means. For instance, staying at the top of image search results can help keep your brand in the forefront of users’ minds, and hosting quality, engaging images on your site can promote engagement, share-ability, and potentially higher CTRs.
As an SEO, am I disappointed I’m not seeing as much traffic to clients’ sites as before? Sure. Do I think slightly less time and/or effort should be spent considering image SEO strategy because of Google’s design change? Again, sure. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like this change as a user. I may be in the minority of SEOs on this, but personally, I prefer the new design, and do believe it truly improves the user experience. Many times when I’m performing an image search, it’s because I’m looking for an image (weird, right?), not necessarily a web page with content. Of course, that isn’t always the case, and if I find an interesting image or just what I’m looking for, I’m more likely to click through to the site.
Ultimately, this means those of us in SEO are likely going to have to work smarter (not harder) optimizing images and ensuring clients’ sites have engaging images, but when has Google ever made things easy on us?
About a week ago, Schema.org rolled out some new data types and properties, most notably within the CreativeWork and Intangible data types. This correlates with an announcement that Schema “is approaching a full 1.0 release but that we still have a few additions to make before we declare we’re at a full 1.0.” (I recommend reading through this entire thread for further context on my post.)
Following are a few screen shots that show the new types and properties highlighted in yellow. The first show shows several changes within CreativeWork:
The next shot shows changes made to child types within Intangible:
Here is the global list of types that are new or have new child types or properties:
- CreativeWork shows changes made to the following:
- Product (now includes “audience” as a property)
We obviously haven’t seen usage in the wild yet, but we’ll certainly let you know if we do. We watch the Schema.org hierarchy pretty closely, and we’ll continue to post updates.
Your “Solid Link Building Plan for 2013” so far has discussed the significance of keyword research and performing site optimization for those keywords. Now it’s time to build a solid link foundation or what I like to call “The Link Building Fundamentals.”
I’m sure many of you have placed the query of “how to build links” or “link building strategies” or even “how to get links fast” in the search engine. If you used the last query, you probably stumbled across a lot of services promising that very claim. (Just to be clear, I’d personally avoid those since “getting links fast” will surely raise Google’s eyebrows on your site). If you used one of the first two queries, then you probably found a bunch of articles (posted by link building and SEO agencies of course) that share a common piece of advice: reach out to sites within your niche or industry and ask them for a link. Unfortunately, this is a statement that is by far much easier said than done.
Despite the straightforward advice of reaching out to sites and asking for a link, there are actions that you can take immediately that will provide a solid foundation and boost in your current link building efforts. Take advantage of the 5 link building fundamentals below to provide a solid base to begin your link building campaign.
Directories have forever been part of the link building and SEO industry. I’m going to be straightforward with you: most of them are pure garbage. Nevertheless, there are of course a few that will provide you some value. Recall that the ultimate goal is to build a natural link portfolio. A natural link portfolio will contain some directories, and the Big G will appreciate that.
Start with the reputable, general directories.
- Yahoo Directory – $299 annually may be pricey for some, but it’s a quick link to acquire from an authoritative directory
- Best of the Web – $199.95 annual fee, but another trusted directory
- DMOZ – Arguably the most reputable directory, however, listings are required to be approved by an editor. Larger, recognized companies and brands can expect to be approved rather quickly. The rest of us can submit and just hope that our listing gets approved days, weeks, months, maybe even a year or so later
- Joeant – One-time Fee of $39.99, a trusted directory that has been around for a long time
- UBL – They offer various packages. Choose one that fits your need and budget.
- Better Business Bureau (BBB) – Find your city and apply for BBB accreditation and a listing on the BBB site (Submission is rather pricey and is within the range of $400+ annually)
After you get into some of the general directories listed above, try looking for some directories that are specific to your niche. SEOmoz has a pretty good list to start your search.
2.) Social Bookmarking
Submitting to social bookmarking sites is a quick and free method to acquire a link and some traffic. If you regularly post content like blog posts, articles, videos, media, or pictures, then look to create a social bookmarking account and submit content to be posted. If one of your posts catches fire and popularity, then you’ll get the traffic on top of the link value. Start with Delicious, Reddit, and Digg to gain some social bookmarking traction.
3.) Press Releases
This is an area where I think some companies spend either too much time and money or not enough time and money. I’m going to get straight to the point. Those who submit press releases on a weekly basis – you don’t have that much to talk about. Those not submitting any press releases – you need something to talk about.
A good balance would be to have a goal of one press release per month. Discuss changes within your company, industry, or a new product you may have.
Once you have the press release, it’s time to find somewhere to submit it. You could use services like PR Newswire or Marketwire to help with the distribution of press releases. However, I recommend finding major news site or blogs within your industry and building relationships with editors and submit your press releases to them. You’ll find that the quality of the site combined with the traffic will do wonders for your site.
Blogging is an excellent way to start generating content on your site and possibly attracting links. Search engines really appreciate dynamic content and will crawl your site more often if it sees that your site is constantly adding information. Blogging weekly or even monthly would be a great way to start some traction and build quality content. Sometimes people forget that part of link building is also developing your own site.
5.) Social Media
Social Media would not have been a link building fundamental I would’ve mentioned a few years ago. Today it’s a whole new ball game. Sites like Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram have changed the SEO game. Search engines have incorporated a powerful social presence as part of its ranking factor. It’s the reason why you often see Twitter and Facebook profiles appear in search results when searching for people and/or companies. Develop your social profiles and reap the link value, rankings, and traffic benefits.
These are 5 link building fundamental tactics that you can implement immediately. Athletes are always told to master the fundamentals first. By mastering the fundamentals, the more advanced moves and tactics become much easier to perform and benefit from. Link building is no different in this area. Apply these fundamental link building strategies, and you’ll provide a solid foundation for the rest of your link building campaign.
The growth of internet users in China, along with the large population, make that region an increasingly obvious target for global brands. However, while the idea of courting this huge population can seem appealing, targeting and marketing to those users should not be treated the same way as it is in most other parts of the world. To support this, we’ll walk through some general information on Chinese internet usage and the SEO considerations for the market.
Internet Usage In China
China has over 1.3 billion people making it the world’s most populous country. Its internet user population stands at over 513 million as of the end of 2011, and has great potential for growth. From 2000 to 2005, China’s number of internet users increased from 22.5 million to 103 million, resulting in growth of over 350%. The internet usage in China from 2000 to 2011 is shown in the graph below for further illustration (Data source: ITU, CNNIC, IWS).
By the end of 2011, although Chinese internet users had grown to 513 million, its penetration rate was only 38%, much lower than the penetration rate of 78% in the US (with 250 million internet users) and 82.5% in the UK (with 51 million users). The number of Chinese internet users is expected to continue growing at a rapid rate over the next decade.
Search Market Growth in China
According to the 29th Statistical Report on Internet Development in China, which was published in Jan 2012 by CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center), the number of search engine users reached 407 million by the end of 2011 and search engine usage had a penetration rate of 79.4% of the internet users. Search engines were the 2nd most popular internet application after instant messaging.
Search Engine Market Share in China
Below is an image showing the Chinese search engine market share from Q1 2012 based on revenue derived from search engines. According to Analysis International, a Chinese internet research company, the market share for Baidu was 78.6%, and 16.6% for Google, with the remaining search engines being small players.
It is clear from the above graph that those working in Chinese SEO should primarily target Baidu and Google, with particular emphasis on Baidu. Now that we’ve got some general search engine market information out of the way for China, let’s take a look at SEO considerations specifically for Baidu, and how those compare to Google.
Baidu Ranking Factors and Google Comparison
Naturally, most search engines share many foundational algorithmic and ranking factors, and Google and Baidu are no different. The below list is not comprehensive, but does highlight many similar ranking factors between the two:
- Positive user experience
- Unique, quality content
- Keyword usage, both on-page and placement within meta tags
- Existence of internal, inbound, and outbound links (especially from quality, authoritative sources)
- Punishment for employing black hat SEO techniques and “over-optimization”
- Local result delivery by sometimes tailoring results based on a user’s geographic location
- Avoid elements not easily crawled, such as Flash and iFrames
The above list likely comes as no surprise, but with those out of the way, let’s point out some of the particular considerations for optimizing your site for Baidu. First, while Baidu similarly places importance on keywords in your site content, the language used should be Simplified Chinese. This is the common language of China, so it will be applicable to the largest number of users, and is also fully recognized by Baidu. Due to government censorship, however, it should be noted that sites should not include any keywords censored by the government, as your site will not be indexed.
While on the topic of keywords, we should also point out the differences between Baidu and Google’s spiders. Baidu’s crawl spider is not as strong as Googlebot, so it has a more difficult time crawling deeply into a site. For instance, as of fall 2012, Google had a capacity of 48 billion indexed pages while Baidu had a capacity of 800 million. Therefore, a site with thousands of pages indexed in Google might only have a few hundred indexed in Baidu. This means making the content on your top-level pages powerful, and even placing your most important content near the top of the page to help Baidu’s spider easily find it, and therefore index the page.
If at all possible, locally hosting your site is China is recommended. This allows for increased site speed, making it a positive aspect for the user experience, and correspondingly, your site’s rankings. Further, Baidu also appears to place more weight on URL extensions, so utilizing a .cn or .com.cn URL extension off the TLD is important.
The Chinese government blocks users from accessing Facebook and Twitter, but this certainly does not mean Chinese users are not active on social media. The popular outlet Sina Weibo is utilized by about 30% of the active Chinese internet user population. Similar to current and past efforts by Google and Bing with Twitter and Facebook, Baidu has partnered with Sina Weibo that serves to link social content with search results. This means utilizing Chinese social media outlets helps to expand your reach and influence your organic search results, which at a foundational level is not significantly different than an integrated search and social strategy outside of China.
In summary, setting your global brand’s sites on targeting the growing Chinese internet user market may seem very appealing and make very good business sense. However, entering into this market with a solid Chinese- and Baidu-specific SEO strategy will be very important to your success. While many foundational similarities exist between an SEO program targeted at Google compared to Baidu, there are several intricacies worth accounting for to ensure a successful Chinese search campaign as possible.