The latest in Search engine optimization, including Joomla but not limited to

Wednesday, 20 January 2016 00:00

You are most likely using some type of online tool to track the traffic and hits on your Joomla site. Chances are that tool is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free tool designed to help you measure the customer traffic to your website.  These metrics can help you determine which of your SEO strategies are working and which need to be tweaked a bit or refined. There are many resources and articles available online which recommend Google Analytics.  There is also information on how to use Google Analytics effectively to improve traffic to your website.

Google Analytics has a variety of reports you can use to improve the effectiveness of your website. There are also instructions in how to read these reports, advice in choosing the right report, and the best ways to use the data to improve your website hits and traffic. When working with Joomla websites, I used Google Analytics to help improve the performance of the site, resulting in increased traffic and sales. This is a step-by-step guide to help you improve the effectiveness of your Joomla website. The three primary ways to improve traffic and the effectiveness of your Joomla website include:

Increasing the traffic from various sources.

Improve the quality of traffic coming in from your AdWords campaigns.

Improve the quality of your organic traffic from search engines.

Increase your traffic by more than 10,000 sessions.

To see the effectiveness of these strategies, below are comparisons in traffic for our website:  

The first set of numbers is from Sep 19 to Oct 19 2015. Compare these to the second set of numbers which are from Aug 19 to Sep 18 2015.

You can see that the number of hits to our website increased to above 10,000.

Increase or bring back traffic from an old or existing source.

When you are selecting parameters for this report, pay close attention to the source of the traffic. Compare a previous period to a current one and check the numbers. You should check the source because of the following three reasons:

The source is already sending you traffic.

This source is effective and you know the quality of the hits.

You can take action to improve the traffic coming in from this source.

You can analyze the data from Google Analytics on each of these traffic sources to determine why the number of hits is down. Here's how to find these traffic sources:

1. Under the tab Reporting, first select Acquisition, then select Source/Medium.

source medium report

This will bring you to the report for Source/Medium.

2. Select the "Compare to” box. This turns on the comparison function. Next, select two time ranges for comparison.

compare time range
View and compare the data from each time range.

3. When you select the different time ranges, the report will display the percentage of change as a value under each source.

The Change in Percentage Report

4. If you have more than 50 sources of traffic, create a filter to select the ones you want for the report. If there are less than 50, you just select the sources with a negative percentage change. If you need to create a filter, you will need to download the report to Microsoft Excel and then  sort by the negative percentage column.

To download the report to Excel, go to All Traffic under the menu, then select Export as a CSV file.

csv report

Microsoft Excel will read the CSV file, but you may have to rearrange the columns and data. To save this report in Excel, save as a .xls file.

5. While still in the Excel file, you can find the changes in the percentage by subtracting the current value from the last period's value. This is done with a formula. In our example, the formula is "=C6-C9". You would then put this formula into all the percentage of change cells for each source.

csv report with changes
The Report With The Changes

6. To create this report in Excel, select Data from the top menu, then select Filter. This provides you the option to filter the numbers in each column. Next, select Change, then Number of Filter, then Less Than 0. Now, you should be able to see this in the Custom AutoFilter box.
custom autofilter
7. 7. This report has the data filtered by negative percentage of value changes for each traffic source.
decreased source
8. 8. You can use the information in these reports to develop strategies for improving traffic to and sales from your website. These increased traffic and sales revenue strategies may include news releases, guest blogs, keyword and key phrase placement, and linking.

Improve the numbers and quality of traffic sourced from your Adwords campaign.

Google Analytics has metrics which can help you analyze the effectiveness of any Adwords campaign that you have on your website. These metrics include the bounce rate, the e-commerce statistics such as hits and conversions, and the name and number of pages visited and for how long. You should also have your Google Analytics account and your Google Webmaster accounts linked for the best data results. Below are detailed instructions from the Google Webmaster Team.

1. First, link your Google Analytics and your Google Webmaster accounts together. Next, select Acquisition, then Adwords, then Campaigns.
bounce rate adword campaign
The first report to check is the bounce rate data.

Comparing bounce rates can tell you a great deal about the type of traffic your Adwords campaign is bringing to the site. For example, if you have two campaigns with the same CPC and one has a lower bounce rate than the other, then you may want to spend more money on the campaign with the lower bounce rate since these are better quality clicks.

2. 2. The next report is the Keyword Report.
keywords adwords campaign
First select Acquisition, then Adwords, then Keywords.

Analyze the report to determine the effectiveness of your keywords.  In this example, two keywords have the same CPC, but one keyword is getting a larger number of sessions and page views, as well as transactions.  This may mean you should invest more money in that keyword.

Improving The Type And Quality Of Traffic From The Search Engines

To check the effectiveness of your organic search engine traffic, Google Analytics provides data in the Source/Medium report. One of the disadvantages of using Google Analytics for keyword reporting is that it does not list all of the keywords used to search for your site. Google Analytics will only show the top keywords used to find your site. The rest of the keywords used by individuals searching the internet are hidden and not displayed by Google Analytics. This is not helpful since almost 97 percent of the organic traffic to your website will be from these hidden keywords. This is where Google Webmaster can help.

1. Login into your Google Webmaster Search console and select the website you are analyzing. To view the search queries report, select Search Traffic, then select Search Analytics.
search analytics
2. Once you have the Search Analytics Screen, then select the following boxes:

search analytics metrics
These are the set of metrics which can provide the best picture of your current organic search results. Once you have the data for these metrics, you can do an analysis and develop strategies for improving your keyword search results.

3. To generate the report, select Dates, then Compare Date Ranges, then Custom. This will show you how search engine traffic and keywords change over time.
select dates comparison
4. 4. This report will tell you which keywords are working and which are not. You will then know which keywords to concentrate on when doing your website SEO.

If you follow these step-by-step instructions and look at the examples, you should have a good idea on how to improve the traffic to your website. These tips on which reports to analyze will help you develop the best strategies for improving your sales and growing your online business. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I would also be interested in any ideas you may have on how to increase quality traffic  to your website by using Google Analytics. We appreciate hearing from you, it helps us a great deal.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016 00:00

Joomla websites provides an excellent way to be found online more quickly and easily than other search engine optimization methods. Joomla puts your brand in with its target audience by harnessing rankings that are close to the first page of the search results. Typically, it is ideal to be on the first page of search results, but it is not something that can be guaranteed.

Google, the largest and most powerful of all of the search engines, will seemingly overnight change algorithms that yank or place sites closer or farther down in the rankings. That is part of the reason no guarantees can be made.

In one of its most sweeping algorithm changes, in 2012, Google switched the emphasis to high-quality content. For that reason, the algorithms are still set up to crawl for readability with a watchful eye for how searchers respond to the content.

If the searchers read the results, click on the site, and then return back to the search results, it is unfavorable for the website. Here is how to work favorably with the search engines using Joomla website.   
Optimize that Joomla website with these tips. Use short and easily understood URLs. This makes for more readable links that are SEO-friendly. It creates faster indexing. Always stick with one tag for each title and keep them under 60 characters in length.

Do use at least one primary header, called an H1 in HTML, within your site. This alone improves the indexing process. The ability to be indexed is one of the primary ways Google considers a site a success for SEO purposes.

In addition, take the time to create a meta description of 160 characters. Also, make sure that you alt tags to images you use on your site so visitors who cannot see the images can still know what they are missing. The alt tags should be between four and eight words and incorporate one keyword.
Less is best with the world of keywords. Stick to between three to five per page only. Keyword stuffing is not only unkindly looked upon by the search engines, but it will drop your site ranking.

In addition, use anchor text along with the keywords rather than relying upon "click here”. It is important to continue building links internally and externally. If you use too many external links it can be too much.

Make the site filled with evergreen content that continues to make the site relevant and informative. It makes it more enticing for other bloggers to link to it.

Take time out to create a well-organized site map. This assists search engines to find you and access the site. Use the Joomla Extensions Directory that are related to SEO. Do use SH404SEF, which prevents duplicate content.

A great help is the SEO-GENERATOR, which creates descriptions of the articles. Joomla's SEOSIMPLE uses text from individual pages and assigns values for the purposes of the meta description tag. Also use the EASY FRONTEND SEO to control metadata.

Google Webmaster Tools enhances your SEO work. After all, if Google is not happy, then no one is going to be happy. The Webmaster Tools will provide feedback on your site. Robots.txt file is great for indexing the images from your website.

Avoid using Flash on Joomla. Again, this will upset the search engines, so avoid using Flash.

Look at this as a great resource as you work through development of your Joomla website. This is the recipe for success with search engines.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016 00:00

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is a complex aspect of web development.  After working for several years with SEO, and in particular 4 years with SEO and Joomla, I have acquired a great deal of experience in these areas.  In this article, I will be sharing with you: 10 important factors to consider when optimizing your website.  

In my opinion, SEO is a long term strategy and not a quick fix.  It is something that you do on a daily basis.  If you implement these factors exactly, your website will see an increase in traffic from the search engines.  So let's get started.  

Title Tag

The Title tag is extremely important.  It is what is displayed in the search engines as your page's clickable headline. Google does take notice of this, so make sure to incorporate your main keywords into your title tag if possible.  It is definitely worth it to take the time to come up with a title tag that includes your main keyword in it.

Don't use too many keywords

Most webmasters are very well aware of the fact that having the most important keywords on a page several times in the article is critical if you are wanting to compete for the top positions in the search results.  However, too much is not good.  You need to keep in mind that the text needs to be fluent and readable for your readers.  Stuffing too many keywords into your pages is not pleasing to the search engines.  Readers find it annoying and it can also backfire on you if the search engines exclude your pages and website from their search results.

To help you deal with this issue, Scribe SEO for Joomla can be used.  This is a tool that analyzes your content and also helps to remind you of all the content rules that can have an impact on your SEO.

Get plenty of inbound links

Another really important factor is getting inbound links for your pages.  The best way to obtain inbound links is creating compelling content so that readers will want to share it.  Use StumbleUpon, Digg and other services for spreading the word about your pages.  If you have good content, other site owners and blog will want to link to them.

Wikipedia is a really good example.  People link like crazy to it.  That's because it contains a lot of relevant information on just about any topic.

External and internal linking

If you have pages on your site with content that is relevant to what you are currently writing about, you can link to the new content internally.  This will help to improve your rankings.  

When you are linking externally, you may want to add the rel=”nofollow” tag to your links.  Having too many links on a page can hurt your SEO, so it can be a good idea to set some of them as nofollow.  

Anchor text

Pay close attention here.  In order to get the most that you can from a link, carefully consider the text you are using (anchor text).  For example, if you have a link that uses the word product as the anchor text it will not be as efficient as having an anchor text of iPhone 4.  The keyword or keyword phrase you are linking from will be what Google uses for improving your ranking.  Therefore, the page you are linking will be given a boost for the keyword phrase iPhone 4 whenever you create the link with that anchor text.

XML Sitemap

This is an XML file showing all of the pages on your website so that the search engines can easily include them.  If you don't have a lot of pages, a service such as can be used for free to create your XML sitemap.  Or XMap can be installed on your website to automatically create your sitemap on your Joomla menu.

Use your robots.txt file

This is a file that is located inside your website's root folder.  There is information contained on which folders are to be indexed and which ones are not.  There may also be information on your XML sitemap included also.

Tip: Remove the lines that excludes the Joomla/images folder.  If you don't, none of the images on your site will be indexed in Google image search utility.

Use Google Webmaster Tools

This tool from Google helps to analyze and improve your website.  If you somehow missed putting in any titles or description, the tools make it easy for you to spot the places on your website where you may have missed these.  You can also test your robots.txt file and submit your site's sitemap XML.  

Track and analyze

It is very important track your site's traffic and also analyze it on a regular basis in order to make improvements to your website.  Google Analytics can be used for reporting.  Look at its reports regularly.  The following are some of important things you will want to consider:

Traffic sources (referring sites, direct traffic, search engines)
Bounce rate (how many visitors see just one page)
Most common exit pages
Most popular pages
What keywords generate the most traffic (get ore traffic to those keywords and get ideas for new content)

Use the segmentation tools that are part of Google Analytics for SEO work you will be doing in the future.

Keyword research

The first thing you need to do is keyword research.  It can be a big advantage when you know what individuals are searching for so that you will know which keywords and keywords you should optimize your website for.  The Google Adwords keywords tool can be used for doing your keyword research or you can use specialized software such as Market Samurai.

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