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Better SEO through Google Analytics

There are many different methods of accomplishing effective SEO. One could easily fill hundreds of blog posts with techniques, tips and tricks for increasing your website’s ranking. Though the field can be diverse and sometimes intimidating, there is one thing that all of these methods always have in common: They are only as effective as the information that guides them.

As we all know, SEO’s generally target Google versus smaller players such as Bing or Yahoo. . Google’s vast market stranglehold means they are the first target on any SEO’s list. Fortunately, because of this they have provided a massive amount of tools to aid in the process of obtaining increased rankings, so long as those gains are legitimate. No tool is more powerful for this process than their very own software, Google Analytics.

It simply not in Google’s interests to allow artificially inflated rankings. Google wants you to be at the top of search engine result pages as much as you do, so long as you are providing actual content that is relevant to the search query. In order to facilitate this, Google Analytics gives you a massive amount of information related website traffic, queries, keywords, goals, content, and a massive host of other metrics. The amount of information available can sometimes be daunting, but with time and experience Google Analytics can be an invaluable tool.

One part of Search Engine Optimization is ensuring that your website ranks highly in search results, but converting the traffic into ROI requires an understanding your target demographic. Google Analytics reports can be used to determine what search queries are actually producing meaningful results, instead of driving confused searchers who didn’t actually have any interest in your content or products. While thousands of visitors might look impressive, if the bounce rate is enormous or there is a poor Goal Conversion Rate, it’s simply wasted bandwidth. Top Google analytics metrics include:

  • Traffic Sources

  • Audience Behavior

  • Content Overview

Traffic source reports can help you understand where time is best invested in future marketing efforts. Does Facebook drive a lot of traffic? It’s time to clean up that page and start updating it as frequently as possible. Seeing a lot of direct traffic, but very few referrals? A worthwhile strategy may be seeking out backlinking opportunities such as guest blogging or submission to relevant web directories. A Google Analytics traffic source report identify targets for Search Engine Optimization, forming a future strategy.

Audience behavior may be the first indication of a problem. It should be seen as a warning light, letting you know when current methods are working or if something is broken. For example, an exceptionally high bounce rate can indicate that the website is ranking for broad terms that are confusing searchers. Low amounts of new traffic, or returning visitors can also indicate problems. Seeing the breakdown of this can help you decide what needs to be done to improve whichever is more important to your website.

Lastly, the content overview report is like having a personal assistant, monitoring 24-7 with vital information about what’s good and what’s not good about your website.  The report will let you know what pages are getting a lot of visits and it will show which pages users are spending the longest time on.  These metrics measure user experience in an easily digestible report. The fastest way to improve this experience is to get your hands dirty in Google Analytics. While consumers vote with their wallets, Internet users vote with their time. The more time a visitor is willing to invest on a page, the better indication it is of highly relevant content.

This Guest Post Was Written by Vance Woodward at SearcherMagnet; an Adwords Certified Partner specializing in Google Analytics, SEO and PPC.

What's The Difference Between Micro And Mini USB?

Lately, many people have noticed an increasing trend to use Micro USB cables where, previously, companies would have used a Mini USB connector. There are a few different reasons as to why this makes more sense from a business perspective - smaller parts means less expense, for instance - but is it a good thing or a bad thing for the consumer? Well, rather than a simple yes or no answer, it's best to give a full explanation of the differences between the two standards.

First of all, let's get the obvious difference out of the way. Micro USB is smaller than Mini USB. The Micro connector is roughly half the size of its Mini counterpart. It is a similar width when viewed straight on from the top but much slimmer when viewed from the side. This has a benefit of decreasing the size change from cable to connector which helps prevent a somewhat serious problem. Cheaper Mini cables would, if used frequently enough, actually experience wire breakage inside the cable at the point where the cable and connector meet. The reason is a bit involved but the short version is that the size difference led to a stress point on the wire at the meeting point. The smaller size of the Micro's connector decreases this stress which leads to less wire breakages.

Micro USB connectors also have another significant advantage over Mini connectors. If you have a Micro connector nearby, take a careful look at it and you'll notice two small, thin strips, almost like hooks, on one of the flat sides. Mini connectors didn't have these which is a shame. You see, these small pieces of metal are actually there to help keep the cable securely in place inside whatever device they're plugged into. Due to their small size and particular shape, however, they manage to keep the cable secure without causing any problems with removal or insertion of the connector. If you've ever tried to plug in a power supply or data cable that uses a piece of plastic that must be pushed down to remove it, you'll instantly understand how nice a feature it is to keep the ease of insertion and removal without sacrificing connection security. Another design advantage that Micro has over Mini is simply the different shapes of the connectors. Mini, much like the original USB connectors, can sometimes refuse to go inside for whatever reason, regardless of whether it's right side up or not. With Micro, however, as long as the connector is right side up it will almost always slide in easily the first time, assuming no obstructions or debris are on the connector or in the slot.

For these basic reasons, it's easy to see why Micro is replacing Mini as the USB cable of choice for such frequent use devices as cell phones, bluetooth headsets, and the like. That's not to say, however, that Mini is going away any time soon. Mini is a perfect choice for devices that use thicker cables and aren't being frequently moved, such as external CD, DVD, and hard drives. That being said, the choice to switch from Mini to Micro isn't just good for the companies making that switch. In the end, it's also a good move for anyone who uses their products.

About the Author

Michael Alvarez has been working in the electronics and technology field for over 20 years.  He enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise of micro and mini usb cables with others; while continuing to grow his knowledge.

Ways to Recover Files From a Dying or Dead Computer

Are you worried about the booting issue and on top of that, your important files are trapped inside? We have made an attempt to help you out in recovering those files. However it cannot be assured, as the cause of booting could be a hard disk failure and in this case, it would be hard to get the files recovered. Probably, you can seek the help of some professional data recovery service.

Option: Use a Linux Live CD or a Windows Installation disc

Before you get started with this process, bear a fact in mind that this process will not work for a hardware failed computer. Good to go? Alright! Booting issue may occur due to a damaged Windows Installation and this doesn’t mean a dead computer, so you can make use of an installation disc to make an attempt to recover the files.

Insert the disc and it will start its work. If it boots from the disc, then it shows that your hardware is not still dead. To continue with the recovery process, you have to make use of the Linux or Windows environment. Connect any external USB device and get your files copied.

Do not worry about issues while copying the files, as you will have a Linux desktop to carry out the process. This method is awfully helpful, the moment you realize that your hard disk is on the verge of failure. Computer may not boot, but you will be able to pull all important files of your dying hard disk.

Option: Pull the hard drive out and transfer it to another computer

There are chances that the Linux disc doesn’t boot. Don’t be disappointed, there is yet another way that you can try. Chance of most of the hardware components failure is a possible cause that Linux disc is not booting, but your hard disk might not be affected. In that case, you can transfer the hard disk from the existing system to a properly working system, so that you can pull out the files. If it is a laptop, then be careful because you may void the warranty, but it is not risky to open up an old computer. Of course, opening desktops is not a problem.

It is not a daunting task to remove the hard disk from the inside of a computer. Unplug the cable from the power outlet, before opening the case. Locate the hard drive, remove the cables and unscrew it completely and pull it out of its slot.

Once the hard disk has been pulled out, you can place it in another system in the reverse process, as you did while removing it. If it is the hard drive of a laptop and you have a desktop to put it into, then you need to get drive bays, so that you can connect it to another computer. Turn on this computer, let it boot from its hard disk and copy the files from the old hard drive.

This process is simple for desktops, but you may have a tough time with the laptops, even tougher with the closed laptops. If it is a closed laptop, it is better to call over a technician.

The best thing that you can do to avoid this headache is to take frequent backups. It might be disappointing upon a computer or a hard disk failure, but it will scare you of any loss with a fear of losing the files.

About the Author

Robert R. is an avid guest blogger who writes on behalf of My Tech Gurus. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with the everyday computer user, by helping them with common errors, especially Windows installer errors and slow computer problems. Check out his articles at the Mytechgurus blog.

Cloud: The Forward-Thinking Backup

Just three years ago, "the cloud" was a buzzword few used and even fewer understood. But don't use its recent immaturity as more reason to ignore it. Although only a third of respondents to an Information Week survey claimed they used it in 2011, nearly half use the cloud today, and another 13 percent plan on it by next year.

What does this all mean? I'll tell you what it means. It means the rate of cloud adoption is doubling. Perhaps it's time to give the soon-to-be only form of data storage and backup a once over – whether you're well informed or not.

What's a Cloud?

Cloud computing is the newest form of digital storage, meant to reflect the lifestyle of the typical web-based individual by unifying the information of his/her multiple devices at one common rally point, often managed directly by the user, through the Internet.

The concept eliminates things like wire connections to share and transfer information, so that data is accessible from any device tethered to the cloud once it's created. Common examples include a song or a photo, downloaded or taken from one device and inherently available on another.

Also known as the new era of "virtualization," the practice effectively reinvents file security, which affords firms like Mozy online backup services in an industry even professionals struggle to master. Depending on the user, clouds can be public, private or hybrid…

    • Public – Cloud provided/managed by external service provider
    • Private – Cloud devoid of external assistance, managed by user in-house
    • Hybrid – Some cloud data managed personally, other items managed by provider

Why Cloud?

Anyone who understands basic store inventory knows companies factor in risk when designing their quotas. In other words, whatever they have, they expect to sell x percent, and they reluctantly expect to lose y percent – via theft, breakage, aliens, and so forth. The higher their inventory, the higher the latter percent. The same goes for data in a computer, which is why users are asked to intermittently "back up" their data to accommodate similar losses.

NPD Group holds that the average U.S. home now contains over five Internet-connected devices, or half a billion total nationally, according to ZDNet. Convert that to terabytes, and even computers stop counting. The point is more devices bring more data, and more data demands a more efficient method of backup, especially when trafficking through a still rising number of personal products.

How to Ride the Cloud

For those who "get it" so far, don't get comfortable. In spite (or perhaps because) of the cloud's inclusiveness, many users polled by Information Week employ the facilities of more than one cloud – 79 percent, and six or more, to be exact. Though probably due to the demands of a diverse workload, that is nonetheless excessive, and one more reason to know if a cloud service is helpful or impractical.

Mozy was able to stifle this problem with a portfolio of services that back up computers and mobile devices to a cloud whose structure reflects the specific needs of the user or organization. Their flagships:

MozyHome – Perfect for the non-commercial security of personal files, from music to tax records.

MozyPro – For businesses whose data consists in a shared server or group of systems, including 24/7 phone support.

MozyEnterprise – MozyPro on steroids? Maybe. Made for larger companies requiring more personal security settings and a number of sub-configurations.

About the Author

Allen Chamberswrites about how the world of business and mobile intersect.

Ecommerce Website User Expectations

Ecommerce Website User Expectations

Wikipedia defines user expectations as the consistency that users expect from products. In terms of ecommerce website design, user expectations are very important because users are known to form expectations based on their experience with similar kinds of websites. In this regard it would make the most sense to design an ecommerce website that was consistent with the prevailing norms that were indicated by research into user behavior. In other words, if your users are used to doing something one way, you should base the experience of your site to mimic that which they are already familiar to give them a sense of comfort and familiarization.

There are many expectations that users may have that can be examined. One of the most prevailing expectations of any website is load speed. In fact, people will visit a website less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds. Fast load times should therefore be the goal of every website. But what are the user expectations of ecommerce websites specifically?

User Expectation Study for Ecommerce Websites

Below we will examine where users expect certain elements of an ecommerce website to be located based on a study done by students at Wichita State University. These aspects include where users expect the following elements:

    • Back to homepage links

    • Advertisement banners

    • Internal Links

    • External Links

    • Shopping Cart

    • Help Link

In the below illustrations, we can see how users interpreted where they believed certain elements of an ecommerce website should be located. The participants were presented with a depiction of a browser window that contained a 7x6 grid of squares. Participants were asked to move tiles that represented each of the corresponding elements (mentioned above) where they expected them to be located on a typical ecommerce web page.

The darker the shade of blue, the greater percentage a particular square was selected.

Figure 1 - Back to Homepage Links



Figure 1 Above - Back to Homepage Link

Figure 2 Above - Advertising Banners


Figure 3 Above - Internal Links

Figure 4 Above - External Links

Figure 5 Above - Shopping Cart


Figure 6 Above - Help Link

Ecommerce User Expectation Findings

As witnessed from the above illustrations that examined user expectations regarding the placement of common ecommerce web elements we see that there are relatively common expectations as to where these elements should be placed. The consistency in which participants selected the various locations for the six above-mentioned elements underscores the importance of ecommerce website design for user expectations. User expectations are an aspect of internet marketing that also is related to conversion rate optimization. Taking the guesswork out of navigating websites results in more time spent on websites, a decreased bounce-rate, and can ultimately result in more conversions (sales).

Study Review

Based on the above illustrations, we can infer that ecommerce website users expect the following:

  • Back to homepage links be located in the top left

  • Advertisement banners be located at the top of the page

  • Internal links be located on the left sidebar

  • External links be located at the right and left sides of the page

  • Shopping carts be located at the top right of the page

  • Help links be located at the top right of the page

In addition to the above expectations we can also see that the user expectations are similar for users in the four geographic regions that were used in the study – North America, Europe, India and Commonwealth. Perhaps the most indicative aspect of the study is that the participants also revealed that their expectations for the locations of the ecommerce elements were the same as where they would prefer the objects to be located. It is not surprising to see a correlation between expectation and preference as designated in this study.

About the Author

Daniel E. Lofaso is a SEO Consultant and search engine marketer for Digital Elevator. He frequently covers topics on SEO, internet marketing and conversion rate optimization.

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