SEO

Three SEO Metrics You Should Monitor, or, “PageRank Is Still Mostly Useless”

It’s been pretty commonly agreed for quite a while that PageRank (in the form that’s publically viewable) is a number that just doesn’t match up to the real authority of a particular site. The latest post from the Webmaster Tools blog solidifies that fact that this just isn’t something to base your success metrics on.

The key phrase of the article?

…PageRank comes in a number. Relevance doesn’t.

Anybody with any marked SEM experience would agree that conversions are the ultimate goal. Beyond the obvious (conversion rates, bounce rate, number of conversions), there are a few numerical metrics that I like to keep tabs on.

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Top 3 WordPress SEO Tips For 2011

WordPress is an excellent CMS for building easily edited and updated websites. It also has a well-structured architecture that performs reasonably well and is mostly well-optimized for search engines. However, depending on your use of WordPress, there are a few tips to keep in mind when building your WordPress website.

Well Written Content

Without decent content on a page, getting a page to rank organically is an extremely tough and often fruitless endeavor. Simply stuffing keywords has been proven countless times to cause a page to perform very poorly, and provides no real value to a human who finds your page. The best rule of thumb is to write for people first, and fill their need before considering any SEO implications.

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Twitter As An Authoritative Backlink

A while back, I did an experiment trying to prove that while Twitter links are marked as nofollow, that they actually ARE followed.

I had a registered, but never-used domain. Google searches for the domain name yielded zero results. I published a simple, static HTML page (no possibility of trackbacks/pinging/RSS/etc.), and tweeted a link from a public Twitter account (the published link was nofollowed). Within 16 hours, the page was picked up and indexed.

This alone tells us multiple things:

  1. Links on Twitter accounts can be followed, regardless of the link state. I’m sure that some spammy accounts are “sandboxed” and not followed, but for the sake of discussion, we’re referring to good accounts.
  2. The next logical step here is to push for a self-hosted short URL service. Even though most services (like bit.ly) do 301-redirects, it’s better for it to redirect from your own domain.
  3. Links from good Twitter accounts are a probable ranking metric.

My personal Twitter account currently has a SEOMoz Page Authority of 58. That’s pretty respectable. So, it’s not crazy to assume some of that will get passed (Google did crawl the link, after all). If nothing else, it’s a great way to get a site indexed quickly!

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Site Speed As A Ranking Metric

Site speed is important from a usability standpoint. If you’ve got a Flash-heavy site, or large images, the bounce rate tends to go up, given that people are, by nature, impatient. So, for Google to announce that they’re taking page load speed into account is no surprise.

I’ve said many, many times before that the ultimate goal of Google is to see the web as a real person does, and rank accordingly. They’re getting quicker and better at it. People need information and want data quickly. They want it to be updated and as efficient to access as possible. Attention spans are simply shrinking, and unlikely the surfer will stay very long if the page takes forever to load.

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