SEO Spy Tools – 6 SEO Spy Tools to Research your Competitors

SEO Spy Tools

SEO Spy Tools

In a previous post, SEO Keyword Research – Choosing Keywords for SEO, I mentioned the ability to spy on your competitors for SEO purposes.  I’d like to expand on that in this post.  Below is a list of free research & spy  tools that will give you insight into a competitor’s SEO status.  Seeing which keywords your competitors are ranking or bidding on may give you a few ideas for your own campaigns. These tools should help you make more informed decisions for your search engine marketing campaigns.  Not being first in the game isn’t always a bad thing.  You can skip the growing pains and trial and error of the first comers have to endure and put all your time and resources into the proven methods, and avoiding the first-comer blunders.  Spy tools like this allow you to see which other sites are being visited by visitors to your website (as well as your competitor’s) can provide expanded knowledge on who your competitors are.

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It’s Official: Google’s Algorithm Factors in Site Speed

While rumors have floated around that Google was now considering site speed as one its ranking factors, Google finally christened the rumor with an announcement on its Webmaster Central Blog.  They also list tools for helping assist those looking to boost the speed of their sites.

Using site speed in web search ranking

Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don’t just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites.

Read entire post here

One way I’ve always tired to simplify Google’s ranking factors for friends and clients is to have them think of Google’s business model.  Google’s dominance depends on its ability to return the most relevant results to its users.  If users stop believing that Google is providing them with the most relevant results for their searches, they’ll go elsewhere (essentially what happened to Yahoo! in the late 90’s). It’s not hard to imagine why/how returning sites with extremely slow load times wouldn’t be so beneficial for Google.

A Big Deal

Often times, SEOs debate over what are really minute matters, and they spend time debunking the same myths over and over that very few SEOs believe anymore.  But the core of SEO never really changes: Good content, and good linking (and the second one is largely dependent on the first).  Most of what SEOs debate are in regards to factors within these two.  How important is article syndication?  Which link directories are still worth purchasing from and how do I get new/better links?  How many instances of keywords can/should I add before I start to devalue the quality of my content?  What ratio should I use for top domain linking vs deep linking?

What this does is give SEO a whole new factor to consider, and it’s hardly a minute detail.  No doubt, a stronger market will now exist for people who can optimize site speed and designer/developers will be pressured more than ever to code in an organized manner.

SEO Report Card – Google Grades itself

Google recently revealed an internal SEO Report Card, wherenby it grades its own product pages (whereby Analytics, AdaWords, Product Search, Profile, etc each count as a single product). While it doesn’t  reveal anything new, it does reinforce the importance of several on-page factors (ie. Images ALT text and filenames, H1 tags) that some argue are not worth taking the time to implement.  301 Redirects and the Canonical Link Rel element also make appearances.  Some of the scores are amazingly low and sometimes hilarious (ie. the ALT tags).  I guess that’s what happens when your brand is strong enough to get away with a lot of bad SEO.

SEO/Marketing Blogs/Articles for 2010-03-08

SEO/Marketing  Blogs/Articles for 2010-03-08

Spring Cleaning for those Analytics Profiles!

The ability to have multiple profiles in Analytics is extremely convenient.  You can flip back and forth without having to switch accounts.  And the ability to create duplicate profiles for the same domain name, gives you the option of viewing a site profile with a specific filter (for example; seeing only traffic that resulted from social media networks, seeing a profile that returns keyword information with actual search engine rankings, or treating email sign ups as keyword searches so as to track email addresses that are entered).

The problem of course is that the more profiles you add, the more sifting you may have to do in your drop downs.  This can be especially annoying for fellow account users who also have admin access, but have no need to see the umpteen duplicate profiles you created. Perhaps the easiest way to make this work for everyone (keeping your duplicate profiles AND not bogging down other admin access users) is to make sure the main profile comes up first.  Since Analytics automatically lists them alphabetically, this means making sure your main profile is alphabetically the first.  In the sample below, we have some legacy profiles that are kept for archiving purposes in case we ever need historical information.

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Canonical Link Rel vs 301 Redirects: Using Canonical Link Rel tag for SEO purposes

Back in February, Google announced their support of the Canonical Link Rel element, and it was also announced that Yahoo! and MSN would soon follow suit.  If you’re not familiar with it, think of the Canonical Link Rel element in terms of a 301 redirect–you can tell the search engines to ‘focus’ (though in this case, there’s no redirect) on a page you specify.  It is placed within the head tags of a web page, and is a great remedy for the duplicate content stigma.

Essentially it looks like this:

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Blogs/Articles for 2009-04-20

Blogs/Articles for 2009-04-20

SEO/SEM 2009 Trends

SEO/SEM 2009 Trends

In looking for new SEO trends for 2009 (specific to Google), I encountered a few new things. Most importantly of these are: Google is moving towards personalization, which means search results will be less universal and more personalized to specific users and possibly those Google deems have similar interests. Google is also giving more and more credit to authoritative and trusted websites and less and less credit to generic directories. Google’s search is becoming more and more diverse, as mapping results and YouTube videos are showing up more often.

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