Complete Tools for DIYers

Thought I would provide a quick link to a video presentation on the Google TrifectaGoogle Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer that I finally got around to viewing last week. I was quite impressed with the Website Optimizer as I never looked at it in detail before. I thought the whole presentation was a great introduction to website owners to these free tools available to them. Understanding that these tools are out there is key to deciding to move and do it yourself or hire someone with the expertise to assist you with the setup and management of the tools. Many people with brick and mortar stores expanding onto the web don’t realize there are these powerful tools that will help them tremendously during the initial stages of their Internet expansion.

Microsoft also recently updated their Live Search Webmaster Center tools to provide much of the same information available in Google’s Webmaster Tools. If you haven’t signed up or been using Live Search Webmaster Center, you should check it out now.

On another note, I continuously have to remind clients about the importance of their content, of making it permanent, findable, and relevant. Too often people want to tear everything down and start from scratch. Unless you are on an old system that doesn’t provide a lot of features and content that is not worth saving, it is important to not remove old content even if it is no longer relevant. Updates that make note of the changes and direct visitors to other relevant areas is a much better idea for maintaining traffic, especially from search engines. But don’t listen to me, listen to Jonathon Snook.

New Feed Reader Options For Free

A while back, I spoke of the importance of using a feed reader as part of a regular routine for non-web industry folks for them to gain a better understanding of how web publishing is changing. In that article I advocated using free on-line readers to get started. Well, today, if you have started with an on-line service or not, you have more options available. As stated in this announcement, NewsGator has released their popular RSS reader applications for the Mac and Windows for free with their latest updates. Now you have no excuse. If you haven’t yet, head over to the NetNewsWire (Mac) or FeedDemon (Windows) sites for the free download. It will change the way you read the web.

Quick Tools and Niche Content Notes

I wanted to make a quick post to make my clients aware of a change to the Google Webmaster Tools. The addition of a content analysis section and sitemap details page will not show much information if everything is OK, but will be valuable if you are experiencing any issues with your site.

I also wanted to highlight a summary of Richard Rosenblatt’s keynote from a recent WebmasterWorld conference in a recent Yahoo! Search Blog post.

… most content online today is about sports, politics, news, and other common topics, leaving long tail topics underserved. He emphasized that there is significant demand for quality content in the long tail and therefore an unaddressed opportunity to create content and capitalize on the monetization opportunities.

Dealing with many small non-profit and individuals, this viewpoint cannot be emphasized enough. The fact is information (or content) is what is in demand on the Internet. People search for information. Providing that information provides the opportunity to spin contacts off into your primary business or focus, whether that be goods or services. Check out the book The Long Tail by Chris Anderson for more information on how the Internet helps the niche topic reach its market.

Another Google Webmaster Tools Update

Webmaster Tools was recently updated with a new tool to allow specification of a geographic location to associate with your website. This will be useful to organizations whose sites server a specific area and do not wish to reach the full world wide web but want to be more relevant to specific geographic search queries. When not specified, Google continues the current practice of associating content with the top level domain (e.g. .ca) and the IP address of the server where the content was served from.

I also just took a look at the graphs of Googlebot activity in the Set crawl rate tool now that I have enough data to show graphs. It looks very clean, with the information presented in a nice, uncluttered fashion.

New Google Webmaster Tools

Google introduced two improvements to the Google Webmaster Console this week. First, Top Search Queries now has historical data and other improvements. In addition to data going back up to six months, the data is updated more frequently, sometimes daily. Secondly, sites which display SiteLinks in Google search results can now manage SiteLinks with the new SiteLinks tool in the console.

I am always impressed with the speed of the tools in the Webmaster Console. Adding historical data does not seem to be a problem for Google, even considering the number of sites they must need to aggregate this for. Google’s systems seem more than capable of keeping up with what ever data the Webmaster tools team wants to throw at them to serve to their users.