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These are notes for my own little reference. Metrics to track if you really want to makes changes that the customers want, not your boss.

Conversion Rate

Customer satisfaction,

Average order value (AOV),

Market Share,

Number of active customers,

Visitor Loyalty & Visitor Recency

Task Completion Rate 

Measuring Days & Visits to Purchase

Share of Search (share of shelf space at the Google supermarket)

Recently I had to do some research on SEO and how to improve the performance of one’s website. Below is a list of questions. I have also added links to websites and editorial articles that cover this topic.

Converting traffic into sales;

http://www.ecommercewebsites.com.au/blog/selling-online-converting-traffic-into-sales/

http://www.insideview.com/

http://www.gshiftlabs.com/sew-readers-gshift-score-a/

http://www.alterian.com/socialmedia/

http://www.socialmention.com/search?q=ashburydesigns.com&t=all&btnG=Search

http://www.labnol.org/trends/

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-to-do-a-site-audit

Good dialog here to study;

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/building-faceted-navigation-that-doesnt-suck

http://www.distilled.net/excel-for-seo/

http://www.conversationmarketing.com/2011/01/marketing-dungeons-dragons-2011.htm

WordPress SEO

WordPress out of the box is already technically quite a good platform for SEO, this was true when I wrote my original WordPress SEO article in 2008 and it’s still true today, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve it further! This plugin is written from the ground up by WordPress SEO consultant andWordPress developer Joost de Valk to improve your site’s SEO on allneeded aspects. While this WordPress SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. WordPress SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.

Write better content with WordPress SEO

Using the snippet preview you can see a rendering of what your post or page will look like in the search results, whether your title is too long or too short and your meta description makes sense in the context of a search result. This way the plugin will help you not only increase rankings but also increase the click through for organic search results.

Page Analysis

The WordPress SEO plugins Linkdex Page Analysis functionality checks simple things you’re bound to forget. It checks, for instance, if you have images in your post and whether they have an alt tag containing the focus keyword for that post. It also checks whether your posts are long enough, if you’ve written a meta description and if that meta description contains your focus keyword, if you’ve used any subheadings within your post, etc. etc.

The plugin also allows you to write meta titles and descriptions for all your category, tag and custom taxonomy archives, giving you the option to further optimize those pages.

Combined, this plugin makes sure that your content is the type of content search engines will love!

Technical WordPress Search Engine Optimization

While out of the box WordPress is pretty good for SEO, it needs some tweaks here and there. This WordPress SEO plugin guides you through some of the settings needed, for instance by reminding you to enable pretty permalinks. But it also goes beyond that, by automatically optimizing and inserting the meta tags and link elements that Google and other search engines like so much:

Meta & Link Elements

With the WordPress SEO plugin you can control which pages Google shows in its search results and which pages it doesn’t show. By default, it will tell search engines to index all of your pages, including category and tag archives, but only show the first pages in the search results. It’s not very useful for a user to end up on the third page of your “personal” category, right?

WordPress itself only shows canonical link elements on single pages, WordPress SEO makes it output canonical link elements everywhere. Google has recently announced they would also use rel=”next” and rel=”prev” link elements in the head section of your paginated archives, this plugin adds those automatically, see [this post](http://yoast.com/rel-next-prev-paginated-archives/ title=”rel=next & rel=prev for paginated archives”) for more info.

XML Sitemaps

WordPress SEO has the most advanced XML Sitemaps functionality in any WordPress plugin. Once you check the box, it automatically creates XML sitemaps and notifies Google & Bing of the sitemaps existence. These XML sitemaps include the images in your posts & pages too, so that your images may be found better in the search engines too.

These XML Sitemaps will even work on large sites, because of how they’re created, using one index sitemap that links to sub-sitemaps for each 1,000 posts. They will also work with custom post types and custom taxonomies automatically, while giving you the option to remove those from the XML sitemap should you wish to.

Because of using XSL stylesheets for these XML Sitemaps, the XML sitemaps are easily readable for the human eye too, so you can spot things that shouldn’t be in there.

RSS Optimization

Are you being outranked by scrapers? Instead of cursing at them, use them to your advantage! By automatically adding a link to your RSS feed pointing back to the original article, you’re telling the search engine where they should be looking for the original. This way, the WordPress SEO plugin increases your own chance of ranking for your chosen keywords and gets rid of scrapers in one go!

Breadcrumbs

If your theme is compatible, like most Genesis and WooThemes themes are for instance, you can use the built-in Breadcrumbs functionality. This allows you to create an easy navigation that is great for both users and search engines and will support the search engines in understanding the structure of your site.

Making your theme compatible isn’t hard either, check these instructions.

Edit your .htaccess and robots.txt file

Using the built-in file editor you can edit your WordPress blogs .htaccess and robots.txt file, giving you direct access to the two most powerful files, from an SEO perspective, in your WordPress install.

Social Integration

SEO and Social Media are heavily intertwined, that’s why this plugin also comes with a Facebook OpenGraph implementation and will soon also support Google+ sharing tags.

Multi-Site Compatible

This WordPress SEO plugin, unlike some others, is fully Multi-Site compatible. The XML Sitemaps work fine in all setups and you even have the option, in the Network settings, to copy the settings from one blog to another, or make blogs default to the settings for a specific blog.

Import & Export functionality

If you have multiple blogs, setting up plugins like this one on all of them might seem like a daunting task. Except that it’s not, because what you can do is simple: you set up the plugin once. You then export your settings and simply import them on all your other sites. It’s that simple!

Import functionality for other WordPress SEO plugins

If you’ve used All In One SEO Pack or HeadSpace2 before using this plugin, you might want to import all your old titles and descriptions. You can do that easily using the built-in import functionality. There’s also import functionality for some of the older Yoast plugins like Robots Meta and RSS footer.

Should you have a need to import from another SEO plugin or from a theme like Genesis or Thesis, you can use the SEO Data Transporter plugin, that’ll easily convert your SEO meta data from and to a whole set of plugins like Platinum SEO, SEO Ultimate, Greg’s High Performance SEO and themes like Headway, Hybrid, WooFramework, Catalyst etc.

Read this migration guide if you still have questions about migrating from another SEO plugin to WordPress SEO.

WordPress SEO Plugin in your Language!

Currently a huge translation project is underway, translating WordPress SEO in as much as 24 languages. So far, the translations for French and Dutch are complete, but we still need help on a lot of other languages, so if you’re good at translating, please join us at translate.yoast.com.

News SEO

Be sure to also check out the News SEO module if you need Google News Sitemaps. It tightly integrates with WordPress SEO to give you the combined power of News Sitemaps and full Search Engine Optimization.

.Survey questions for seo usage;

http://blog.maydayhq.com/

Your Google Analytics Usage

As part of the on-going development we’re interested in hearing how people are currently using Google Analytics. We would be extremely grateful if you could answer the following questions.

How often do you login to Google Analytics? *

2-3 times a day Once a day 2-3 times a week 2-3 times a month Once a month Rarely

What is the main type of website you are tracking? *

  • E-Commerce
  • Blog / Content / CMS driven
  • Mobile Application
  • Other:

Who accesses the Google Analytics account?

Which features do you currently use? *

  • Visits / Page Views
  • Dashboards
  • Custom Reports
  • A/B Testing
  • Events
  • Cohorts / Custom Variables
  • Segmentation / Filters
  • Goal Tracking
  • Ecommerce (purchase tracking)
  • Funnel Analysis
  • Site Speed
  • Other:

Which metrics are you most interested in? *

  • Visitors
  • Page views
  • Traffic Sources
  • Conversions
  • Events
  • E-Commerce purchases
  • Other:

What decisions have you made based on your Google Analytics metrics?

What metrics are missing from Google Analytics?

What would you like to know?

Do you use other analytics tools alongside Google Analytics? *

There you go. Ian’s Three Principles of D&D Marketing. Help your audience:

Slay monsters
Take their treasure
Tell the tale

http://www.google.com/webmasters/checklist/

http://www.google.com/analytics/discover_analytics.html

This is a very comprehensive checklist of website best practices.

(Courtesy of SEOMoz)

Check indexed pages

  • Do a site: search
  • How many pages are returned (this can be way off so don’t put too much stock in this)?
  • Is the homepage showing up as the first result?
  • If the homepage isn’t showing up as the first result, there could be issues, like a penalty or poor site architecture/internal linking, affecting the site.

Search for the brand and branded terms

  • Is the homepage showing up at the top, or are correct pages showing up.
  • If the proper pages aren’t showing up as the first result, there could be issues, like a penalty, in play.

Check Google’s cache for key pages

  • Is the content showing up?
  • Are navigation links present?
  • Are there links that aren’t visible on the site?

PRO Tip: Don’t forget to check the text only version of the cached page.

Content

Homepage content

  • Does the homepage have at least one paragraph?

Landing pages

  • Do these pages have at least a few paragraphs?
  • Is it template text or is it completely unique?

Site contains real and substantial content

  • Is there real content on the site or is the “content” simply a list of links.

Proper keyword targeting

  • Is the intent right?
  • Are there pages targeting head terms, mid-tail, and long-tail keywords?

Keyword cannibalization

  • Do a site: search Google for important keyword phrases.
  • Check for duplicate content/page titles in the SEOmoz Pro Campaign App.

Formatting

  • Is the content formatted well and easy to read quickly?
  • Are H tags used?
  • Are images used?
  • Is the text broken down into easy to read paragraphs?

Good Headlines on Blog Posts

  • Good headlines go a long way. Make sure the headlines are well written and draw users in.

Amount of content v ads

  • Since the implementation of Panda, the amount of ad-space on a page has become important to evaluate.
  • Make sure there is significant unique content above the fold.
  • If you have more ads than unique content, you are probably going to have a problem.

Additional Reading:

How to Write Magnetic Headlines

SEO Copywriting Tips for Improved Link Building 

The Ultimate Blogger Writing Guide 

Tips to Earn Links and Tweets to Your Blog Post

Duplicate Content

There should be one URL for each piece of content

  • Do URLs include parameters or tracking code – This will result in multiple URLs for a piece of content.
  • Does the same content reside on completely different URLs?

Pro Tip:Exclude common parameters, such as those used to designate tracking code, in Google Webmaster Tools. Read more at Search Engine Land.

Do a search to check for duplicate content

  • Take a content snippet, put it in quotes and search for it.
  • Does the content show up elsewhere on the domain?
  • Has it been scraped? – If the content has been scraped, you should file a content removal request with Google.

Sub-domain duplicate content

  • Does the same content exist on different sub-domains?

Check for a secure version of the site

  • Does the content exist on a secure version of the site?

Check other sites owned by the company

  • Is the content replicated on other domains owned by the company?

Accessibility

Check the robots.txt

  • Has the entire site, or important content been blocked? Is link equity being orphaned due to pages being blocked via the robots.txt?

Turn off JavaScript, cookies, and CSS

Now change your user agent to Googlebot.

PRO Tip:Use SEO Browser to do a quick spot check.

Check the SEOmoz PRO Campaign

  • Check for 4xx errors and 5xx errors.

Site Architecture

Hierarchy

  • Are category pages set up in the appropriate way to flow link equity to key pages?

Landing pages

  • Do they have landing pages high enough in the architecture to receive enough link equity to compete for competitive terms?

Number of category pages

  • How many category pages are there?
  • Have they been scaled out too much?
  • Category pages should be built out only when there is enough demand for new or sub category pages.

Pagination/Faceted Navigation

  • Is pagination or faceted navigation more appropriate? Or, should they be used in tandem?
  • Does pagination exist to help long tail content get indexed?
  • Is the pagination prohibitive to crawling (uses JavaScript).

Number of clicks to content

  • Pages targeting really competitive head terms should be one or two clicks from the homepage.
  • Pages targeting moderately competitive keywords should be 2 or three clicks from the homepage.
  • Pages targeting the long tail should be 5 clicks away (obviously exceptions must be made here for sites with a ton of content).

Prioritized content

  • Most important content should be higher up in the pagination

Additional Reading:

Successful Site Architecture for SEO

The SEO Guide to Site Architecture

Information Architecture and Faceted Navigation

Technical Issues

Proper use of 301’s

  • Are 301’s being used for all redirects?
  • If the root is being directed to a landing page, are they using a 301 instead of a 302?
  • Use Live HTTP Headers FireFox plugin to check 301s.

Use of JavaScript

  • Is content being served in JavaScript?
  • Are links being served in JavaScript? Is this to do PR sculpting or is it accidental?

Use of iframes

  • Is content being pulled in via iframes?

Use of Flash

  • Is the entire site done in flash, or is flash used sparingly in a way that doesn’t hinder crawling?

PRO Tip:Flash is like garlic. A little bit of garlic in your food can make it taste better. Eating a plate full of garlic would be quite terrible. Likewise, Flash can be added to a site in a way that improves the user’s experience, but creating the entire site in flash is not a good idea.

Site Speed

Alt text

  • Is alt text present?
  • Does the alt text use keyword phrases?
  • Does the alt text reinforce the topical themes presented in the content?

Check for Errors in Google Webmaster Tools

  • Google WMT will give you a good list of technical problems showing up on your site that they are encountering (such as: 4xx and 5xx errors, inaccessible pages in the XML sitemap, and soft 404’s)

XML Sitemaps

  • Are XML sitemaps in place?
  • Are XML sitemaps covering for poor site architecture?
  • Are XML sitemaps structured to show indexation problems?
  • Do the sitemaps follow proper XML protocols?

Canonicalization

Canonical version of the site established through 301’s

Canonical version of site is specified in Google Webmaster Tools

Rel canonical link tag is properly implemented across the site

Uses absolute URLs instead of relative URLs

  • This can cause a lot of problems if you have a root domain with secure sections.

URLs

Clean URLs

  • No excessive parameters or session ID’s
  • URLs exposed to search engines should be static.

Short URLs

  • 115 characters or shorter – this character limit isn’t set in stone, but shorter URLs are better for usability.

Descriptive URLs

  • Get your primary keyword phrase in there.

Additional Reading:

Best Practices for URLs

URL Rewriting Tool

mod_rewrite Cheat Sheet

Creating 301 Redirects With .htaccess

Internal Linking

Number of links on a page

Vertical Links

  • Homepage links to category pages.
  • Category pages link to sub-category and product pages as appropriate.
  • Product pages link to relevant category pages.

Horizontal Links

  • Category pages link to other relevant category pages.
  • Product pages link to other relevant product pages.

Links are in content

  • Does not utilize massive blocks of links stuck in the content to do internal linking.

Footer links

  • Does not use a block of footer links instead of proper navigation.
  • Does not link to landing pages with optimized anchors.

Good internal anchor text

Check for broken links

  • Link Checker and Xenu are good tools for this.

Additional Reading:

Importance of Internal Linking

Internal Linking Tactics

Using Anchor Links to Make Google Ignore The First Link

Title Tags

Unique title tags

  • Every page should have a unique title tag.

Keyword rich

  • Pages should contain the primary keyword phrase.
  • Is possible to use the secondary keyword phrase in a non spammy way?

Primary keyword phrase at the beginning of the title tag

Page titles include branding

  • In most cases the brand should be included at the end of the page title to help build a brand or entice users if you are a well known brand

65 – 70 characters in length

  • If the title is longer than this, the entirety will not be displayed in the SERPs.

Have they been keyword stuffed by someone else?

Meta Tags

Meta keywords tag used

  • This data should be removed as competitors can scrape this data.

Meta description is appropriate

  • Each page has a unique meta description.
  • Meta descriptions are representative of the content and entice users.

Rewrite meta descriptions for key pages

  • For key landing pages, write meta descriptions by hand instead of systemically implementing.

Meta robots tag

  • Noindex pages only appropriate pages.
  • Not blocking important pages.