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After the work is done or is it?

Published August 14, 2007

Last Updated: 08/06/2003

You have built your site, optimized the pages for your targeted keywords and submitted your site to Web directories. The next step is to review your progress and make the necessary improvements. Monitoring your progress with various online reporting tools is a critical stage in your SEO campaign. One should track site statistics, keyword positioning and other criteria to better gauge your sites strong and weak properties.

It is thus important to realize that your job as a search engine optimization consultant is not done after your make the code revisions. It can take several months before one site achieves its projected goals. And even when you achieve those goals, you must monitor the various statistics and indicators to stay on top.

This article will cover the following post-optimization reporting and monitoring topics:

Keyword Position Reporting

Keyword position reporting and search engine optimization go hand in hand. One of the first tasks done before search engine optimization begins is a keyword ranking or positioning report. One of the last tasks done after search engine optimization is completed is a keyword ranking or positioning report. And, search engine optimization experts are constantly tracking keyword placement on search engines – almost on a daily basis.

What tracking keyword or keyword phrases on search engines means can be explained by the following example. Widget Company A would like to rank in the top 6 positions for the keyword phrase "Best Widgets". Widget Company A decides to hire RustyBrick (like there is a better company to hire :) ) to optimize its site for the keyword phrase "Best Widgets". RustyBrick will do a pre-screening of the site's current ranking for that keyword phrase by searching for that keyword phrase on various search engines. Let's say that Widget Company A's Web sites on the sixth page at the 55th position. RustyBrick will write that down and then do work to have Widget Company A's Web site rank higher for that keyword. Miraculously, a month later the same Web site, with a little optimization, ranks on the first page at the 4th position for the same keyword. RustyBrick will then report its findings to Widget Company A to display the success.

The reporting does not end there! Search engines are constantly changing their search engine algorithms to bring back "more relevant" results. Search engines also locate new sites and new pages that might be considered as relevant or more relevant for your targeted keywords or phrases. Therefore, a search engine optimization consultant must constantly watch these changes in the search engine results and re-optimize based on the new metrics.

As you can imagine, constant reporting can take a lot of time and resources. RustyBrick has released a Web-based application that not only locates the position of the keywords for your URL but also reports, analyzes and archives data. This tool utilizes the Google Web API, which allows you to monitor your rankings under the Google TOC without having to worry about having your site banned from the Google index. Due to the fact that 80% of all search engine traffic is driven by Google (in fact, Yahoo, AOL and many other search engines use Google's search engine), Google's results are all a search engine optimization consultant needs to track.seocount.com (I won't delve more into the issues with the other reporting applications out there. If you want more specifics please post your concerns at SEO Chat.) The Web based application can be found at http://www.seocount.com/. The application is named SEO Count and was built by a search engine optimization firm to reduce the amount of time and resources required to process reports. For more information on SEO Count the Web based Google™ search engine positioning and ranking reporting tool, please visit http://www.seocount.com/.

Pages Indexed Reporting

An important criterion in optimizing your site for search engines is to make certain that your pages are "search engine friendly". There are a few tools that you can use to track how search engine friendly your pages are. The first tool that I will mention in this article is the search engine itself and the second tool is Darrin Ward's SpyderTrax script. There are other tools available. If you like more information on them please post this question at SEO Chat's forums.

The first and most accurate tool is the search engine itself. To find out which pages from your site are included in the search engine, one can go directly to the search engine of choice and type a simple command.

Search Engines:

Google: http://www.google.com/
syntax: site:www.domainname.com keyword
example: site:www.rustybrick.com rustybrick

Google will bring back all the pages on your site that contain the keyword on it. Now you are asking, what if I do not have that keyword on my page? Simple, make sure to add a footer to each page that contains a copyright with the company name that links back to the homepage.

AlltheWeb (FastSearch): http://www.alltheweb.com/
syntax: site:www.domainname.com keyword
example: site:www.rustybrick.com rustybrick

AlltheWeb will bring back all the pages on your site that contains the keyword on it. Now you are asking, what if I do not have that keyword on my page? Simple, make sure to add a footer to each page that contains a copyright with the company name that links back to the homepage.

AltaVista: http://www.altavista.com/
syntax: host:www.domainname.com/
example: host:www.rustybrick.com/

AltaVista will bring back all the pages on your site that contains the keyword on it. Now you are asking, what if I do not have that keyword on my page? Simple, make sure to add a footer to each page that contains a copyright with the company name that links back to the homepage.

MSN Search: http://search.msn.com/advanced.asp

Go to the link above and scroll down to where it says "Restrict your results to those of a particular origin" and put your domain name in the "Domain" field. Also make sure to include a keyword at the top of the page in the search box. Press search and there you go.

For more syntaxes or search engines please go to SEO Chat and ask for them in the forum.

Darrin Ward's SpyderTrax

A search engine optimization professional built an excellent free script that enables you to track the search engine robots travels throughout your site's pages. This tool empowers you to see where the search engine robots are crawling and how often they are visiting those pages. Search engine optimization consultants are then able to predict which pages will be listed in the next index update. For more information or to download this script please visit: http://www.darrinward.com/cgi-scripts/spydertrax.htm.

PageRank Reporting

PageRank is one of the factors within Google's search engine algorithm that determines a page's positioning in Google's search results. Google explains its PageRank as follows:

PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."

Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query.

PageRank, for simplistic terms, is scored from a scale of 0 through 10. Having a site with a PageRank of 9 that links to a site with a PageRank of 3 will greatly help increase the PageRank of the site with a PageRank of 3. For more information on PageRank please visit SEOChat.

PageRank plays a large factor in determining which sites rank highest for competitive keywords. For example, the keyword phrase "Web Design" is an extremely competitive keyword, the keyword brings back over 7 million results. For a site that is equal on all levels of SEO relevant factors, PageRank will be the deciding factor as to which site is listed higher. Thus it is important to work towards a high PageRank.

To determine your PageRank please download the Google Toolbar at: http://toolbar.google.com

Back Link Reporting

Back links or links you have coming in to your site from external site is another fundamental metric to track in your SEO package. Back Links are important for two reasons, (1) the more links you have coming in to your site, the more traffic you have and (2) the more back links you have coming into your site, the more search engines consider your site important (i.e. PageRank).

Back links have obvious benefits, but how does one measure the number of backlinks? Below are the various search engines and syntaxes to determine back links.

Google: http://www.google.com/
syntax: link:www.domainname.com
example: link:www.rustybrick.com

Google will bring back all the pages that link to your site with a PageRank of 4 out of 10 or above. Back links include links from internal pages that link to the URL entered after the link:. Other search engines show all the back links that are coming in to the URL.

AlltheWeb (FastSearch): http://www.alltheweb.com/
syntax: link:www.domainname.com
example: link:www.rustybrick.com

AlltheWeb does an excellent job bringing back each and every page in its index that links to the URL you entered after the "link:". This is an excellent method of determining the number of links to your site.

AltaVista: http://www.altavista.com/
syntax: link:www.domainname.com
example: link:www.rustybrick.com

AltaVista does an 'ok' job with this as well. AltaVista tends to filter out more a lot more of the results than AllTheWeb. Test both and see which one you like to report on.

For more syntaxes or search engines please go to SEO Chat and ask for them in the forum.

General Server and Site Statistics Reporting

There are hundreds of Web site statistics and analytics software available to choose from. They all provide the basic functions of tracking visitors or traffic, pages visited, referrer sites, keyword phrases and browser/computer types. Many programs offer more options and features that can cost more, so we will just review the basic features available.

The first statistic one can monitor is daily traffic and visitor patters. Normally a search engine optimization consultant will ask to view any available Web statistics before and after beginning the job of optimizing ones site. What one would like to see is an increase of traffic to the site over time. Monitoring traffic and visitors will allow you to easily see if your search engine optimization techniques applied to your client's site has had an impact on traffic. It is also important to watch and track if your traffic has spiked but sales have remained constant. If this is the case, you can be certain that you have optimized for the wrong keywords!

Monitoring pages visited helps determine which pages are most popular and which just stand in the shadows. Many search engine optimizers try to drive traffic to specific internal pages and not just the homepage. The purpose of driving traffic to a specific page is two fold. The first reason is that it is best to optimize pages for unique keywords by spreading out the targeted keywords over several pages. The second reason is to send the searcher to the page of his or her interest and not require a user to navigate through your site to find the information he or she is looking for. If you notice that some pages are doing well and have a high amount of traffic versus other pages that are doing poorly, then you will need to make some changes. Most search engine optimization consultants leave the pages that have high traffic alone and work on the pages that need help. Readjust the keywords on the slow pages, build more back links to them and revise the copy. There is a lot one can do to improve each and every page of ones site.

Referrers or referring sites statistics is an excellent way to find out which sites your traffic is coming from. Normally the top referrer is "no referrer", which means that the traffic is coming from people who enter in your URL into the browser's address bar. Directly under that you will find sites where your referring traffic is coming from. For many sites the second referrer will be from Google. You can track and see which search engines and sites are bringing in the most traffic. So if you have a link from a popular organizational site, you can drive a lot of traffic from that site. This statistic gives you the ability to determine your strong areas and weak areas as well as the sites you should focus on the most. By knowing that 10 visitors came from site A and 1 visitor came from site B, you are able to pull your listing (if it costs you money) from site B and focus on more sites like site A. In search engine optimization terms, if you know most of your traffic is coming from Google as compared to other search engines you can focus on optimizing the site for Google as opposed to other engines (keep in mind that Yahoo!, AOL and other popular search engines use Google's index).

Most Web site statistics software comes with a way to monitor search engine driven traffic and the keywords or keyword phrases used to find your Web pages. By monitoring the amount of traffic delivered by specific keywords one can adjust his or her strategy to include more relevant keywords. For example, if you see that a service or product is popular to your customers but not popular in the keyword list then you should spend more time optimizing for a similar keyword that might drive traffic to those pages. In addition, if you have keywords that are not related to your site's copy then why waste your bandwidth, use this report to re-structure your keyword selection campaign.

The last report, which really does not have much to do with SEO, is the browser and computer type report. This is generally important to keep track of when testing your site. Now that Netscape announced that it would no longer be releasing newer versions of its browser and Microsoft announced that is will not longer release Apple Internet Explorer browsers, the number of browser types have declined. It is however important to see what your current users are viewing your site in. If 80% of your Web users are using Windows computers with Internet Explorer 5, then you want to make sure that your site works with that configuration. And if 15% of your users are using Macintosh Safari browsers, you better make sure it works on that platform. It's the 1% or smaller that you might consider cutting corners on.


That covers the following topics in regard to search engine optimization reporting:

Please be sure to visit SEO Count at http://www.seocount.com/.

For more information on Barry Schwartz and RustyBrick please visit http://www.rustybrick.com

Best of luck with your reporting and search engine efforts!

RustyBrick SEO Articles

For more information on our search engine optimization and search engine placement services, please contact us at 877-GO-RUSTY or 845-369-6869 or via email at our contact page.

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Barry Schwartz is the CEO of RustyBrick, a New York Web service firm specializing in customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales. Barry is also the founder of the Search Engine Roundtable and the News Editor of Search Engine Land. He is well known & respected for his expertise in the search marketing industry. Barry graduated from the City University of New York and lives with his family in the NYC region.

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