Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Search Engine Strategy Continued...

In my last post about Search Engine Strategy, I said "Honestly, when you're talking about thousands of web pages, it's a lot to keep up with!". I've spent the last couple of days getting it all organized, and I have to say... it really is A LOT to manage and keep up with - especially when you're looking at a large number of pages across multiple web sites.

I'm back to square one here. You may remember that I've been over this before - looking for that perfect piece of software to help me manage and track everything. I downloaded the trial version of Web Position Gold the other day, to see if perhaps that would do the job.

Honestly, it was a pretty cool program. You can put in any URL (specific web page), the keyword phrase you are optimizing that page for, and choose the queries that you want to run. For example I had it check Google, Yahoo & MSN for rankings and it returned a report that showed me where that page ranked in each engine for the specific phrase.

It also has a Page Critic built in, which will tell you what that page needs in order to rank higher in a specific engine. I asked it what it would take for the main page of my sswt site to rank higher in Yahoo for the term "learn internet marketing" and it gave me "Suggestions for making your page conform closer to the statistical averages for top ranking pages". It gave me everything from word count to keyword prominence to the link popularity score.

Obviously I would have to enter in every single page that I want to track, but then I could set up a "scheduler" so that it would run the report(s) once a month, or once a week.

The only thing holding me back is Google's guidelines, which specifically say: "Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google."

So there you have it... Back to square one ;)

I decided instead to create a spreadsheet in Excel so that I could keep up with all of the pages, their rankings (month to month), the number of inbound links and any notes per page (things I may want to track, analyze over time, etc).

This seems like a lot of work, right? I mean, it could take days to enter in all of the info... and then be a monster to keep up with (even if I only analyzed it once a month). But how do you know what to fix or improve... if you dont know what you have, and what it's position is?

Keep plugging onward full speed half hazard... or spend the time (or money) tracking & monitoring? Good question. And what if you spend months tracking, improving, etc... and the next big 'update' dumps you upside down?

All of this ties into the Link Strategy of course. Which pages should you focus on, when it comes to gaining high quality inbound links - how many links do you need and how important is it for that particular page, etc.

I said "half hazard", but what I have been doing is basically just going down the list of web pages I have online and checking their ranking manually, using Yahoo to analyze the backward links, and then focus on gaining links for that particular page... then move on to the next page. It's just sort of a continuous cycle where I go down through the list and then start at the top again.

How else would you do it? How else do you do it?

I printed out the SEO Book, by the way - so I'll go through that and see if there are any suggestions that may be helpful. I put together a new binder, specifically for all of my SEO info & guides, and am going to go back over Michael Wong's Search Engine Optimization Guide as well. I'll keep you posted ;)