Archive for September, 2010

How to Turn Google Analytics Into Your Own Rank Tracker Using Custom Variables

Posted by MikeCP

Today I want to talk about tracking organic ranking in Google Analytics. Previously, we were able to determine the page from which a Google organic click was coming from (detailed on the Distilled blog by Will Critchlow). This was nice because we could append this to the end of our keywords in Google Analytics for some interesting data (André Scholten’s post at has a step by step) as seen below.

Keyword Page Rankings
Image courtesy of

This solution provides limited utility, and if you’re like me, you implemented it, maybe checked it out once in a while, but never really turned this into actionable or otherwise meaningful data. I’m going to detail how rank tracking in Google Analytics can be made a lot more useful thanks to custom variables and a change in Google’s referring URLs. But first…

Some History

When Google began testing an AJAX search interface in early 2009 there was a flurry of concern that it could mean the end of traditional rank tracking, web analytics packages, and I’m sure someone said SEO was dead, too. The concern wasn’t without merit; Google was serving results in AJAX with the URL pattern as, … Read the rest

September 30, 2010  Tags: , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

So You Call Yourself an Analyst? Part 2: Analysis Redefined

Posted by JoannaLord

Well here we go, you ready to jump into analytics, part deux? Just a heads, up this is the second post of a three post series. The first post, "So You Call Yourself an Analyst, Part 1: Asking the Right Questions, walked through ways in which you could reevaluate the questions steering your analytical efforts.

The tough love truth is that most marketers are not analyzing the right data. We have so many tools to help us "analyze," that most of us are sitting in front of our dual monitor set-ups, staring at reports, excel grids, and pivot tables wondering what the hell we are supposed to be seeing. This is analysis paralysis, and I am here to help talk you back to a place of insight and action.

#1 Anomolies take precedence

I get asked a lot, "where should I start?" Simply put — start with the data that looks strange. The majority of your time should be spent on things that surprise you, things that concern you, and things that shift the momentum of your website’s performance.

For example, last week at SEOmoz, I was pulling our weekly stats and saw this:

I … Read the rest

September 29, 2010  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

The Danger of Overdoing SEO

Posted by randfish

During my first few years in the SEO field, half of the sites I’d visit – those my SEO brethren in the forums or over email owned – were what today we’d probably call "over-optimized." They tended to have features like:

  • Keyword after keyword stuffed into the title element of every page
  • Overly-lengthy and keyword rich URL strings
  • Page filled with "SEO’d" content that was never intended to be a focus for visitors
  • Backlink profiles that lacked a single high-quality, "editorial" link

At its best, our profession is about making amazing things that people are asking to see (via their search queries in the engines) and then marketing it in the most optimal ways. At its worst (excluding the crap-hat junk that doesn’t even deserve to be called "SEO"), it looks like this:

Keyword Stuffed Page

There’s a gigantic gap between this type of "SEO" and the industry’s best practices, but the individual recommendations and changes are so subtle that it’s not surprising many practitioners go a bit overboard. After all, the process of starting SEO often looks like:

  • Week 1: Notice in your analytics that search sends awesome traffic and start optimizing some meta tags (since you heard that’s
  • Read the rest

September 28, 2010  Tags: ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Replace Yahoo Linkdomain with Google Custom Search Engine

Posted by Justin Briggs

Hey everyone! My name is Justin Briggs, and I’m an SEO consultant at Distilled. A few weeks ago, I packed up and moved across the country to come to Seattle. Some of you might know me better as "seozombie" on Twitter. This is my first post on SEOmoz, but you can expect to see more from me here and on our blog at Distilled.

With the transition of Yahoo! to Microsoft’s Bing backend, webmasters have lost the ability to perform advanced searches using the link: and linkdomain: parameters. Rand Fishkin wrote a post about replacing the Yahoo! linkdomain: data with other data sources. Although Linkscape and Open Site Explorer provide a great data source, there is some functionality that Yahoo! had that isn’t present in other tools yet. The primary functionality I missed was the ability to perform searches against page content; not just page title, URL, and anchor text.

These link searches can help you identify link opportunities from other websites’ (such as competitors) backlinks.

Searching Content of Backlinks

To solve this problem, I setup a Google Custom Search Engine using data from Open Site Explorer. There are … Read the rest

September 27, 2010  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Video SEO Basics – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Aaron Wheeler

Video SEO isn’t something we always think about when optimizing, but we really should. In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Danny Dover reviews some of the video SEO basics that every SEO should know about. After all, it’s a largely untapped market, unlike the Canadian maple tree market. Which is very tapped. (The Canadian maple tree video market, however, is quite untapped, but based on my scientific and extremely boring research in YouTube, I don’t recommend you pursue that market at all).

Anyways, we have a very special visitor this week, what with all of Danny’s meta discussions this month. Great Scott! That’s what happens when you get all meta and self-referential on us, Danny.

Embed video

<object width="640" height="360" id="wistia_191141" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000"><param name="movie" value=""/><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true"/><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"/><param name="wmode" value="opaque"/><param name="flashvars" value="videoUrl="/><embed src="" width="640" height="360" name="wistia_191141" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" wmode="opaque" flashvars="videoUrl="></embed></object><script src="" charset="ISO-8859-1"></script><script>if(!navigator.mimeTypes['application/x-shockwave-flash'])Wistia.VideoEmbed(‘wistia_191141′,640,360,{videoUrl:’’,stillUrl:’’,distilleryUrl:’’,accountKey:’wistia-production_3161′,mediaId:’wistia-production_191141′,mediaDuration:570.5})</script> <a href="">SEOmoz – SEO Software</a>


Video Transcription

Hello, everybody. My name is Danny Dover. I work here at SEOmoz doing SEO. For today’s Whiteboard Friday we’re going to be talking about video SEO. Now, last week I mentioned that was the most meta video we’d ever

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September 24, 2010  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

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