PPC Blog has been renamed to Gordon Choi’s blog.
My Blog’s History
My work experience can be found on about Gordon Choi, and here is the history of my blog
- My blog with domain name
www.gordonchoi.comhas been active for over 4.5 years since June 2006.
- My blog was all about pay-per-click (PPC) related topics on tips, experiences and tools, and news topics on China Internet and China search engines.
- I started my blog 4 months after I moved from Johannesburg South Africa to Cape Town South Africa to join Clicks2Customers.com (an Incubeta company), which is still today one of the most experienced PPC companies with in-depth knowledge in global search engine marketing.
- I continued blogging on
www.gordonchoi.comafter I joined Alibaba.com in Hangzhou China where I managed the PPC team. I subsequently joined Ctrip.com in Shanghai China to take up PPC/SEO/Analytics.
- Google Adwords – Google Adwords Quality Score, Adwords Conversion Optimizer, Adwords conversion tracking, Google Adwords PPC optimization tips, Adwords Enhanced CPC
- Adwords Content Network – Adwords Remarketing, retargeting to Google Content Network
- Baidu PPC – Baidu Phoenix Nest PPC vs Google Adwords, Advertise on Baidu
- Bing Adcenter – Microsoft Adcenter Desktop, Adcenter conversion tracking, Bing Adcenter PPC optimization, Yahoo PPC to Adcenter tips
- Yahoo Search Marketing – Yahoo Search Marketing Problems
- SEM/PPC systems – Kenshoo Search, Google Adwords search ad auction system
- PPC – PPC metrics, PPC business models, Global PPC team structure
Non-PPC, All Over the Internet
Over the years, topics including search engine optimization (SEO, Google SEO, Bing SEO, Baidu SEO, Yahoo SEO), Web Analytics / Google Analytics, Google tools, Google Webmaster Tools, B2C websites, landing page optimization Microblogging, LinkedIn, China SNS (social network sites) have been added to
www.gordonchoi.com to compliment PPC topics:
- SEO – Google, Yahoo and Bing search algorithms revised, SEO glossary
- Google SEO – Google SEO for beginners, SEO geo targeting, Increase Google PageRank
- Bing SEO – Bing search algorithm, Bing Webmaster Tools, Submit site to Bing
- Baidu SEO – Baidu Robots.txt, Submit site to Baidu, www.Hao123.com
- Yahoo SEO – Yahoo Site Explorer
- Other search engines – Yandex Russian search engine, Submit site to Yandex
- Local search – Submit sites to Google, Yahoo, Bing local business search
- Google tools – Google SEM tools, Google Website Translator
- Keyword tools – SEM keyword research tools, Chinese keyword research tools, Baidu keyword research tool, Bing keyword tools
- Google Analytics – Google Analytics setup, Google Analytics metrics, Google Analytics direct traffic
- Web analytics – Web analytics bounce rate, Baidu Analytics, Yahoo Web Analytics
- B2C websites / Landing page optimization – SEO tips, marketing tips for small websites, Breadcrumb navigation, Optimize landing pages
- Social Media / Microblogging – Twitter vs Google Buzz, LinkedIn resume guide
Roads Ahead for Gordon Choi’s Blog
The roads ahead for Gordon Choi’s blog will be to provide a variety of Internet-related topics, focusing on useful tips, practical experiences, and insights. Of course, PPC, SEO, and web analytics are still going to have big parts on my blog.
Google Instant Previews
Google Instant Preview feature was launched to show the graphical view of a web page in Google’s search results, before you click on the search result and be taken to the web page.
Google Analytics Over-reports Visits, Pageviews
Google Instant Previews cause Google Analytics to over-report visit and pageview data to your sites:
- A user searches on Google and your web page appears in Google’s SERP
- The user hovers the Preview icon next to your site’s search results and Google Instant Preview displays a graphical view of your web page
- Google Analytics records the visit and pageview
Discussions on Webmaster World forum and Google Analytics forum have confirmed the visit and pageview inflation was caused by Google Instant Previews:
- Search Engine Spider and User Agent Identification – This Webmaster World Forum topic explains Google Web Preview bot not following instructions in Robots.txt and causing violations when visiting webmasters’ sites.
- Google Instant Previews are being tracked as pageviews in GA – A topic on the Official Google Analytics forum says the graphical views of your site’s pages through Google’s Instant Preview feature are reported as pageviews in Google Analytics.
Google Analytics Over-reporting Fixed
Google Analytics is not over-reporting visit and pageview data triggered by Google Instant Previews as the technical issue was fixed. However, Google Analytics would not reprocess your historical, over-reported visits and pageviews.
Submitting your Russian website to Yandex Russian search engine (Yandex.ru), the largest Russian language search engine, and submitting your English site to Yandex.com, Yandex’s English language search engine, is the first step for your site’s Yandex search engine optimization (SEO).
Submit Sites to Yandex
When submitting sites to Yandex:
If your site has:
- Subdomains (e.g.
www.example.com, subdomain1.example.com, subdomain2.example.com), add your main site and subdomains separately in Yandex’s Webmaster Tool.
- Secured page in
https://, you will have to explicitly specify.
Site Verification on Yandex Webmaster Tool
Yandex Webmaster Tool requires you to verify your site through one of the 3 methods:
- Upload an empty file as specified in Yandex’s naming convention to your site’s root directory (e.g.
- Add META tag (e.g.
meta name='yandex-verification' content='XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX')
- Add DNS record in text format (e.g.
Once your site is verified in Yandex’s Webmaster Tool, it will be included in the site submission queue.
Submit XML Sitemap to Yandex
Submitting your site’s XML Sitemap will help Yandex’s spider to discover all your web pages.
Yandex Webmaster Tool
Yandex Webmaster Tool provides information about your website:
- Your site’s internal links
- External backlinks pointing to your site
- Validation of your site’s Robots.txt file
- Yandex’s organic search traffic statistics to your site, including average positions, impressions, clicks, and CTR
- Your web pages (URLs) that are eligible to show up as sitelinks (quick links) in Yandex’s SERP – Yandex’s sitelinks show up between page’s clickable title (headline) and description snippet of your search result’s
Through Yandex Webmaster Tool, you can:
- Submit your site’s XML Sitemap to Yandex
- Set regional targeting for your site – When searches are initiated from your region, your web pages may rank higher in Yandex’s organic search results
Google Analytics collects your website’s full traffic data, takes a subset of your site’s full traffic data and presents sampled data in your reports, if your Google Analytics setup is implemented on a large site that has hundreds of millions of monthly visitors.
Wikipedia defines data sampling:
Sampling is that part of statistical practice concerned with the selection of an unbiased or random subset of individual observations within a population of individuals intended to yield some knowledge about the population of concern, especially for the purposes of making predictions based on statistical inference. Sampling is an important aspect of data collection.
Google Analytics Sampled Data
Google Analytics and most top web analytics tools automatically use data sampling to ensure performance, as it is much easier to deliver fast answers from sampled data than it is from comprehensive data. Google Analytics samples data when your requested data size meets one of the conditions:
- Any non pre-computed ad hoc query that reaches 500,000 visits (sessions).
- Any query that exceeds 1,000,000 unique dimension combinations.
For example, Google Analytics may automatically display sampled data with any of the reports and/or segmenting methods:
- Keyword Report
- Top Content Report
- Top Landing Page Report
- Custom Reports
- Advanced Segments
Data sampling leads to inaccurate results when you run Google Analytics reports to segment conversions or do long tail analysis for keywords or landing pages. Your reports will show estimated range of error (with +/- percentages) for each Google Analytics metrics.
To avoid Google Analytics from providing sampled data reports, keep the time periods of your report queries under 500,000 visits (sessions).
Google Analytics Customized Data Sampling
Google Analytics allows client-side sampling by collecting a percentage of your site’s traffic rather than all the traffic:
- Client-side sampling occurs consistently across unique visitors to ensure your site’s traffic trending is correct.
- For large websites with heavy traffic spikes and/or receive hundreds of millions of monthly visitors, Google Analytics client-side sampling ensures uninterrupted report tracking.
To enable Google analytics client-side sampling, include the
_setSampleRate() method in your Google Analytics tracking code snippet (asynchronous):
The number you provide in
_setSampleRate() is the percentage of visitors by unique ID that will be tracked and included in your sample data. In the example above, the sampling rate is set to collect 25% of your website’s traffic. To get your site’s full “visits” and “pageviews” numbers, compute with:
- Total Visits = Sampled Visits / 0.25
- Total Pageviews = Sampled Pageviews / 0.25
Yandex’s brief introduction on Wikipedia:
Yandex is a Russian IT company which operates the largest search engine in Russia (with 64% market share, ranked eighth-largest in the world) and develops a number of Internet-based services and products. The Yandex.ru home page has been rated as the most popular web site in Russia.
10 Facts about Yandex
- The Yandex.ru site was launched in 1997 and has been the Russian language Yandex search engine’s domain.
- The first Russian context banner ad was placed on Yandex.ru in 2008.
- Yandex financially breaks even in 2003.
- Yandex.Direct is the first and largest keyword-based pay-per-click (ppc) search auction system in Russia that allows the placement of text-based advertising with real-time bidding.
- Yandex’s growth in search market share has been very fast and grew 91% to 1.9 billion searches between 2008 and 2009.
- Yandex launched music search in 2009.
- Yandex launched the English language search engine www.yandex.com in 2010 to compete for global search traffic against Google, Yahoo and Bing.
- Yandex has Yandex.ua in Ukraine, Yandex.by in Belarus, and Yandex.kz in Kazakhstan.
- Besides Russian language web search, Yandex offers local, national and international news on Yandex.News, comparison shopping resource on Yandex.Market, real time traffic monitoring system on Yandex.Traffic, free photo hosting on Yandex.Fotki, free video hosting on Yandex.Video, blog search engine on Yandex.Blogs, social networking site for professionals on MoiKrug.ru, online payment system on Yandex.Money, spam protection system on Spamooborona, and free Web hosting on Narod.
- Yandex had 64.6% Russian search market share, Google had 21.8%, Search.Mail.ru had 7.4%, and Rambler had 2.1% in October 2010.
Russian Search Tips offers Yandex search engine optimization tips through:
Other SEO tips for Yandex include:
- Yandex Webmaster Interface – Scotia Systems runs through Yandex’s Webmaster Tool from text file verification or META tag verification, to site submission, to statisitics of your websites.
- Yandex, the SEO Perspective – This Search Engine Watch article insists webmasters who work on Yandex SEO should focus on geo-targeted optimization, carefully using display advertisement on your web pages, Yandex’s thematic citation index, linguistic search, and Yandex’s similarities to Google.
- Yandex Global Search – the Good, the Bad, and the Yugly – SEO.com Blog says Yandex.com has relatively low spammed search results, but consists of few country specific search results.
- Yandex search commands for non-Russian speakers part 1 and part 2 – SEO Warrior’s advanced search commands for Yandex.
- Submit site to Yandex – Gordon Choi’s blog provides quick run-through on site submission, XML sitemap submission and site verification through Yandex Webmaster Tool.
Bing offers free clicks to Adcenter advertisers:
- Spend USD250-499 to get USD50 credits of free clicks
- Spend USD500-749 to get USD100 credits of free clicks
- Spend USD750 to get USD200 credits of free clicks
Bing Adcenter advertisers will have to meet the conditions below to qualify for the free credits:
- Receive and respond to Bing Adcenter’s invitation email about the offer on free credits.
- Submit your new campaign (with broadly different keywords and ads compared to your existing campaigns) using Microsoft’s online form through Bing Adcenter’s support team, between November 3, 2010 and November 24, 2010.
- Have a valid US / Canada billing address.
- Meet the minimum required spending.
When submitting your new Adcenter campaigns, ensure:
- All your keyword bids are set to USD0.05 or above.
- Ad groups names are within 60 characters.
- Campaign names are within 100 characters.
Bing Adcenter will email free clicks coupon details to advertisers who have qualified for the minimum spending after December 17, 2010. All free Clicks coupons are valid until January 31, 2011.
Bing Adcenter Tutorials
Review Bing Adcenter optimization and conversion tracking before creating new Adcenter campaigns and spending:
- Official Microsoft Advertising community
- Bing Adcenter PPC optimization, Yahoo PPC to Adcenter Tips
- Track Bing Adcenter PPC keyword conversions in Google Analytics
- Bing keyword tools
- Adcenter Conversion Tracking
- Bing-Yahoo search alliance update
- Microsoft Adcenter Desktop
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important technique for webmasters are responsible to create and manage websites. The basic SEO glossary is a reference for webmasters and SEO beginners to understand search engine terminologies.
200 Status Code
200 means status ok in which the file request was successful.
301 redirect means moved permanently and should be used when you are moving your entire site to a different location (e.g. moving your site to a new domain name).
302 redirect signals a temporary redirect. For example, the file was found but was temporarily located at another URI.
403 Server Code
403 means the document request was forbidden – Access to a URL was prevented.
404 Server Code
404 means a document was not found – The server could not find the URL requested.
Algorithm is a set of rules that a search engine uses to rank web pages according to user’s search queries. Google’s search algorithms use over 200 factors including Google PageRank to rank websites and Google regularly updates the search algorithms.
ALT attribute is a HTML tag (ALT tag) that uses with images and helps screen readers and search engines understand the meaning of an image by providing a text equivalent for the object. The image text description is visible when you “hover” the image.
ALT attribute is also called ALT text.
Anchor text is the text (words) that a user clicks on to follow a link.
Webmasters use anchor text as signals for search engines to determine a web page’s relevance. Search engines believe your web page is authoritative for the words that other sites include in links pointing at your website.
Backlinks are links pointing from one website to another website. The more high quality backlinks a web page receive, the higher the page ranks in the SERP.
Review the backlinks pointing to your site from other sites through Google Webmaster Tools.
Backlinks are also called inbound links.
Canonicalization, according to Matt Cutts, is:
The process of picking the best URL when there are several choices; this usually refers to home pages.
SEO Book explains canonical URLs are caused by:
- Different host names i.e.
- Redirects pointing to different URLs i.e. 302 used inappropriately
- Forwarding multiple URLs to the same content, and/or publishing the same content on multiple domains
- Improperly configured dynamic URLs i.e. any url rewriting based on changing conditions
- Two index pages appearing in the same location i.e.
- Different protocols i.e.
- Multiple slashes in the filepath i.e.
- Scripts that generate alternate URLs for the same content i.e. some blogging and forum software, ecommerce software that adds tracking URLs
- Port numbers in the domain name i.e.
example.com/4430 :can sometimes be seen in virtual hosting environments.
- Capitalization – i.e.
- URLs “built” from the path you take to reach a page i.e. tracking software may incorporate the click path in the URL for statistical purposes.
- Trailing questions marks, with or without parameters i.e.
www.example.com/?source=cnn(a common tagging strategy amongst ad buys)
Webmasters should use consistent internal site linking structure to help search engines index the canonical (correct) version of your site’s URLs and prevent link juice leaking through canonical URLs.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
CSS is a method to add styles to HTML web pages and contains information including paragraph layout, colors and font sizes about your HTML documents.
Cloaking is when a site shows different versions of a web page to search engines and users. Unless the objective is to SEO geo-target users based locations, search engines regard other types of cloaking illegal and may ban your sites from showing up on SERP.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
CMS is a web application that makes it easy for webmasters to update information to websites.
Crawlability refers to the ability of a website to be indexed by a search engine’s crawler. Your site is fully crawlable when search engine crawlers can follow all the links on your website.
Crawlers are also known as spiders or bots. Search engine crawlers search the web for pages / content to include in the search engine index. Crawlers are automated programs that follow links on web pages to other web pages. The spider names of Google, Bing, Yahoo and Baidu are:
- Google: GoogleBot
- Bing: MSNBot
- Yahoo: Slurp
- Baidu: Baiduspider
To include your site in search engines index, ensure crawlers can follow links on your site.
Domain refers to a specific website address.
Doorway pages are web pages created to rank for highly targeted keywords, to redirect users to another web page with other content than they expect. Doorway page is also called bridge page or gateway page.
Entry page is the first page a user lands when visiting your site, and is also called landing page.
With Flash, animation and interactivity can be added to web pages. However, most search engine spiders have issues crawling content in Flash files.
With frames, more than one web pages can be embedded and displayed in one browser window.
Avoid creating your web pages with frames as search engine spiders have issues crawling / determining the text content on web pages embedded in frames.
Forward DNS is the process to translate domain/host names to the numeric addresses of websites, IP addresses.
Head terms are search queries that receive extremely high search volume, for example, “phone”, “music”.
Google Webmaster Tools search queries report allows you to view users’ head term search queries.
Hidden text (or invisible text) is text that is invisible to users but visible to search engines, and is a technique applied to fool search engine spiders.
Google has methods to detect hidden text and regards using hidden text as a way to spam SERP.
.htaccess file is an Apache directory-level configuration file that can be used to password protect or redirect files. .htaccess file consists of one or more configuration directives located in a website document directory. The directives apply to that directory and all sub-directories.
HTML Site Map
HTML sitemap is a web page that:
- Consists of links pointing to all the web pages of your site.
- Serves as an alternative route (other than the main site navigation) for search engine spiders to crawl your web pages.
Examples of HTML site map documents:
Http represents Hypertext Transfer Protocol.
Https represents Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.
Http Referrer is a program that returns the source of traffic coming to the user’s site.
A search engine’s index is a organized and informative database that stores extremely large amount of web documents found by the search engine’s crawler from the web.
For example, your web pages have to be in Google’s index before they can show up in Google’s SERP.
Internet Protocol Addresses (IP Addresses) are unique sets of location-based numbers assigned to networks or computers for communicating across the Internet using TCP/IP protocol. An IP consists of a 32-bit numeric address with 4 numbers separated by periods. The value of each number ranges from 0 to 255.
For example, 192.168.8.1 up to 192.168.15.254 are valid IP addresses.
Keyword is a word that implies a specific topic. For example, “PPC” is the main topic of this blog.
Keyword density is the number of times a keyword or keyword phrase that is used within the content of a web page.
Keyword Density = A Specific Keyword / Total number of keywords
The higher the number of times a keyword appears in a web page, the higher the keyword density.
Keyword stemming is to expand from a “stem” word and create additional keywords related to the “stem” keyword.
For example, “digital camera” is a stem keyword, and we expand to create new keywords:
Nikon digital camera 14MP
Canon digital camera
Nikon digital camera 3X
Used Nikon digital camera
Keyword stuffing is a black hat SEO technique used by webmasters to boost a website’s organic search engine ranking. Webmasters “stuff keywords” by ensuring the same keywords appear on a web page excessive number of times where user experience is usually sacrificed.
Keyword stuffing is completely outdated and adds no value to a website’s search engine rankings today.
Link popularity is the quantity and quality of links pointing to your website from other websites. When many high quality links from other websites (external inbound links) and from your own websites (internal inbound links) link to your site, search engines believe your site is important and your web pages may ranked higher in SERP.
Link bait is when you create content on your site that people will find “valuable” and very interested. Your content have created “values”, eventually other webmasters / people will link to your content.
A Log file (or web server log) records all information about a website’s incoming and outgoing traffic, including search engine spider activities, that can be analyzed by webmasters to improve a site’s SEO.
Long Tail Keyword
Long tail keywords are highly specific search queries that receive low search volume, for example, “Canon PowerShot SD980 12.1 Megapixel”. Long tail search queries that trigger long tail keywords usually have very high click through rates.
META Description Tag
META description tag is where you place a brief description of your web page.
In Google’s SERP, META description tags appear for the web pages that are in the search results. Writing a relevant and unique META description tag for each of your web page is important and can increase your search results’ click through rates.
META Keywords Tag
META keywords tag is an HTML tag that holds keyword phrases, separated by commas on your web pages.
Most search engines do not find META keywords tag useful. Google confirmed META keywords tags do not contribute to organic search rankings.
rel="nofollow") is an attribute for webmasters to tell search engines:
- Not to follow any links on a web page
- Not to follow a specific link on a web page
Google suggests webmasters should consider using “nofollow” for untrusted content, paid links or crawl prioritization.
Organic results are non-paid search results of web pages that appear in the SERPs.
PageRank is Google’s patented technology that was developed at Stanford University and is Google’s SEO ranking algorithm that reflects Google’s view of the importance of web pages. Important web pages in Google’s index are:
- Assigned higher PageRank
- More likely to rank higher in Google’s search engine results pages (SERP)
Increase Google PageRank explains:
- When a linked web page that receives two links, one from a more important web page and the other from a less important web page, the link juice from the more important page is considered to be a higher value vote to the linked page.
- Based on the entire web’s link structures, Google uses over 200 signals/factors including the PageRank algorithm to identify which web pages are most important. Then Google combines web pages’ importance, page-based text matching techniques and search query specific relevance to rank web pages in SERP.
Penalties are actions algorithmically or manually applied to a site suspected of using spamming techniques and prevent the website from ranking high in the SERP.
Search engines give penalties to websites that implement spamming techniques.
The ban/penalty may be lifted after you have fixed the issues for being penalized. For example, webmasters can submit a reinclusion request to Google.
Reverse DNS is the process to translate the numeric addresses of websites, IP addresses, to domain/host names. Find out:
- What Reverse DNS serves for
- How to configure the Reverse DNS
- Where to get Reverse DNS lookup tools
Robots.txt is a text file in the root directory of a website that tells search engines:
- The part of a site that should allow search engine spiders’ crawling.
- The part of a site that should be blocked from search engine spiders’ access.
You can configure robots.txt with instructions to block crawl access from:
- Google’s GoogleBot, Yahoo’s Slurp and Bing’s MSNbot, as the big 3 search engines obey the instructions in Robots.txt.
- Baiduspider: Review Baidu Robots.txt
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a search engine marketing technique to improve a website’s visibility within one or more search engines.
Fine more official and unofficial definitions for SEO from Google SEO for beginners.
Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
A search engine results page (SERP) is the page with search results that is returned to a user, after the user entered a search query into search engine’s search box.
For example, Google’s SERP consists of both organic search results (SEO) and paid search results (PPC).
Search Engine Submission
Search engine submission is a method for search engines to “know” the existence of your new website. Google, Yahoo Bing and Baidu all provide submission pages to webmasters:
Google, Bing and Yahoo allow local-based businesses to manually submit websites to local business search:
Search engines defined by Wikipedia:
A search engine is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web and FTP servers. The search results are presented in a list of results. The information may consist of web pages, images, information and other types of files. Search engines operate algorithmically or are a mixture of algorithmic and human input.
A search query is a keyword or keyword phrase that a user enters into a search engine’s search box field. The search engine then determines the search results to return to the user.
For example, Google Webmaster Tools search queries report shows you users’ search queries in which your web pages showed up in Google’s SERP.
Server-side tracking refers to monitoring web traffic through web server’s log files.
Session ID is a unique number assigned to each individual user’s visit (or session) to a website.
Websites that use session IDs can cause duplicate content issues for search engines, as every time a search engine spider requests/crawls a web page from the site, a different URL (with a different session ID) is generated.
Spams (or webspams) are deliberate search engine marketing techniques to improve search engine rankings by violating search engines’ guidelines. Spamming techniques include:
- Keyword stuffing
- Hidden text
- Doorway pages
- Link farms
- Duplicate content
Stop words are words that search engines consider no importance to a web page’s ranking in SERP and do not contribute to keyword density of your web pages.
Examples of stop words include “the”, “and”, “of”, “is”, “for”.
A theme is an overall topic of a web page. Having an obvious topic for your web page will help search engines determine the theme of your page and rank your page in the SERP.
For example, Google looks at the keyword density and keyword stemming of a web page and determines the web page’s theme.
Title tag in an HTML document is where you place the page title of a web page.
- In Google SERP, the content of your web page’s title tag usually shows up in the first line of a search result.
- Using a relevant and unique title tag for each web page is important and can increase the click through rate of your search results.
- Title tag is one of the factors in organic search engine’s ranking algorithm.
Traffic is the number of unique visitors or visits (sessions) that a website receives. Programs that can provide traffic information of your site:
- Website’s log file
- Google Analytics
URL rewrite is a method, mod_rewrite, that is applied to a site’s URLs. Webmasters apply URL rewrites to:
- Change dynamic URLs that are difficult for search engines’ spiders to index to static URLs.
- Sites that are to change directory structures for content re-organization.
User agent refers to the software programs’ identity when visiting a website. Spiders and browsers are classified as user agents.
- Spiders: e.g. GoogleBot, Baiduspider
- Browsers: e.g. Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer
XML Site Map
An XML site map is a document in XML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) format that lists all the web pages of your site. Google encourages webmasters using XML site maps:
Creating and submitting a Sitemap helps make sure that Google knows about all the pages on your site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by Google’s normal crawling process.
SEO Glossary Lists
Webmasters should also review SEO glossary lists created by other SEO experts.
- SEO Book – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5
- SEOmoz Blog
- SEO Theory
- Search Engine Dictionary
SEO Tips for Webmasters
- Google SEO for beginners: Offers Google’s official SEO definition and fundamental SEO tips, including SEO ranking factors, SEO guides for download and why you should use Google Webmaster Tools.
- Best Google SEO resources Offers tips on domain names and web hosting selection criteria, keyword research, site architecture and url structure, site navigation, canonicalization and content duplication, linking building and paid link issues, google penalties, seo geo-targeting, social media for seo, seo for blogs, universal search, and google sitelinks.
- Google SEO beginners guide update: Google updated the SEO starter guide for all webmasters.
Direct Traffic is a Google Analytics dimension that appears in your Google Analytics reports:
- All Traffic Sources report
- Direct Traffic report
Google Analytics Direct Traffic Definition
Google provides a simple definition for the direct traffic dimension:
Direct Traffic: How do the people who clicked a bookmark to come to your site or typed your site URL into their browser compare to the “average” visitor to your site? Direct traffic can include visitors recruited via offline (i.e. print, television) campaigns.
Google Analytics Blog defines direct traffic as:
(direct)[(none)] – Visitors who visited the site by typing the URL directly into their browser. ‘Direct’ can also refer to the visitors who clicked on the links from their bookmarks/favorites, untagged links within emails, or links from documents that don’t include tracking variables (such as PDFs or Word documents).
Direct Traffic in Google Analytics Reports
If your Google Analytics setup is correct, visits in Google Analytics reports will show up as direct traffic when users:
- Enter your site’s URL (e.g. www.gordonchoi.com) directly in browsers.
- Visit your website directly from bookmarks.
- Click on untagged URL links (e.g. www.gordonchoi.com) in emails or instant messaging conversations (including MSN Messenger, Skype).
- Click on untagged URL links (e.g. www.gordonchoi.com) embedded in PDF documents, Word documents or Excel spreadsheets.
- Click on untagged URL links (e.g. www.gordonchoi.com) in Android phone applications (e.g. Facebook app, Twitter app).
- Click on a 302 redirect link (temporary redirect link) in which the redirect server returns a blank referrer (direct).
- Click on URL links on secured web pages that are unable to pass referral information through to the URL links’ destination pages.
If your Google Analytics setup is correct, but some of your web pages are missing Google Analytics tracking code snippets:
- When visitors enter your site through landing pages that are missing Google Analytics tracking code snippets, and then click on an internal link pointing to another web page on your site that has the tracking code correctly inserted, visits will be credited to direct traffic.
For the definition of “visits”, refer to Google Analytics metrics.
Not Direct Traffic in Google Analytics Reports
Visits that will not contribute to direct traffic in Google Analytics:
- A visitor’s first visit to your site was through organic search engines, referring sites, or all other tagged traffic sources (e.g. Adwords ads, Bing Adcenter ads, Baidu Phoenix Nest ads, Facebook ads, Twitter links). Subsequently, the same visitor directly lands on your site (e.g. bookmark) which makes a second visit. As the campaign tracking’s cookie (utmz) of Google Analytics is set to expire in 6 months in the visitor’s browser, the second visit will be assigned a non-direct referrer.
- When Adwords auto-tagging is turned off, and your Adwords keywords and/or ads are not tagged with Google Analytics’ utm parameters, the visits will be credited to organic (unpaid search).
- Other PPC (paid search) campaigns (e.g. Bing Adcenter, Yahoo Search Marketing, Baidu Phoenix Nest) that are not tagged with Google Analytics’ utm parameters will have visits credited to organic (unpaid search).
- Display ad campaigns that are not tagged with Google Analytics’ utm parameters will have visits credited to referring sites.
- Internet browsers that support tabbed browsing (e.g. Firefox, Google’s Chrome) pass referrers’ information to links subsequently opened in all the new tabs.
To track PPC campaigns correctly, refer to Google Analytics PPC conversion tracking.
Set Brand Keywords through Search Engines as Direct Traffic
In Google Analytics, you may re-define keywords through search engine visits as direct traffic.
When visitors reach your website from search engines through your site’s brand keywords (e.g. Gordon Choi, for site www.gordonchoi.com), you may remove keyword “gordon choi” from Google Analytics Keyword Report and assign the visits to direct traffic.
- Use the
_addIgnoredOrganic()method to treat a keyword as direct traffic.
- Use the
_clearIgnoredOrganic()method to revert the
_clearIgnoredOrganic()method will clear out your keyword ignore list and make all search engine traffic to re-appear as keywords again.
This reference describes how you can customize search engine traffic with the
Tips from Other Web Analysts
Other web analytics experts offer opinions on Google Analytics direct traffic dimension:
- Excellent analytics tip #18 make love to your direct traffic: Avinash Kaushik offers comprehensive explanations on what direct traffic really is, the importance of direct traffic, and how to correctly track direct traffic with your web analytics tools, including Google Analytics and Omniture’s Site Catalyst.
- Web Analytics Demystified: Avinash Kaushik explains direct traffic can be non-direct due to badly coded redirects or vanity urls or improperly coded campaigns.
- Analytics direct traffic is not what you think it is: Jonny Longden of Actionable Analytics believes direct traffic is not only visitors that enter your website’s URL directly in the browsers.
- Direct Traffic 5 Reasons Why You Should Care: Daily Blog Tips shows why direct traffic is important and how to increase direct traffic.
Social media / microblogging marketers can now use Google’s URL shortener at goo.gl which is a free, simple tool/service that takes long URLs and squeezes them into fewer characters.
- Web links or URLs with fewer characters provide better usability to users who may want to share, tweet, retweet or email your URLs.
- Google URL shortener provides click reports on the number of clickthroughs your links receive.
Wikipedia defines URL shortening as:
URL shortening is a technique on the World Wide Web in which a URL may be made substantially shorter in length. This involves using an HTTP Redirect on a domain name that is short to link to a Webpage which has a long URL.
Google URL Shortener’s History
Brief history about Google’s URL shortener:
- December 2009: Google made the URL shortener available to Google Toolbar and FeedBurner.
- Between December 2009 and September 2010: The URL shortening feature was integrated to Google News, Blogger, Google Maps, Picasa Web Albums, and Google Moderator.
- September 2010: Google launched the URL shortening tool (goo.gl) to everyone globally.
Google URL shortener’s major objective is to provide stability, security and speed to users.
- Stability: We’ve had near 100% uptime since our initial launch, and we’ve worked behind the scenes to make goo.gl even stabler and more robust.
- Security: We’ve added automatic spam detection based on the same type of filtering technology we use in Gmail.
- Speed: We’ve more than doubled our speed in just over nine months.
Why Using URL Shortener
Google needed a url shortener for its own products where we knew the shortener wouldn’t go away. We also wanted a shortener that we knew would do things the right way (e.g. 301/permanent redirects), and that would be fast, stable, and secure.
Danny Sullivan provides a thorough story through Search Engine Land about different URL shorteners:
- Google’s URL shortener
- Twitter’s t.co
How to Use Google’s URL Shortener
Use Google’s URL shortener through the web version:
- Go to http://goo.gl/.
- Log on to your Google account.
- Copy and past your long URL on to Google’s URL shortener.
- Click the “Shorten” button.
- Copy the shortened URL and use it for your campaigns on social media sites / microblogging sites (e.g. Twitter, Google Buzz).
- Review your shortened URL’s click statistics.
Google’s URL shortener is unofficially available as Mozilla’s firefox add-on and Google’s Chrome extension:
Google URL Shortener Example
Short URL created through Google URL shortener:
The Google URL shortner reports will show:
- The number of clicks on the short URL
- The total number of clicks on all goo.gl short URLs pointing to the long URL
Other URL Shorteners
Besides Google’s URL shortener, other URL shortening tools are also popular to social media marketing users:
Let us look at the definitions for the major PPC metrics that are different from Google Analytics metrics.
- Click Through Rate (CTR)
- Maximum Cost-per-click (Max. CPC)
- Average Cost-per-click (Avg. CPC)
- Actual Cost-per-click (Actual CPC)
- Cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM)
- Impression Share
- Conversion Rate
- Cost-per-action (CPA)
- Earnings Per Click (EPC)
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- Keyword Match Type
- Quality Score
A Click is a user action when the user clicks on a PPC ad. A PPC ad showing up above organic search results will receive more clicks than a PPC ad appearing below (e.g. bottom Adwords ad).
Impression is the number of times your ad is displayed to the target audience. When your PPC ad is shown, an impression is counted. Impressions are measured differently for Google Instant.
Cost is the actual advertising amount that you spend on your PPC campaigns or ad groups or ads or keywords. In PPC (pay-per-click) auction systems, cost is incurred when a user clicks on an advertiser’s ad.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
Click through rate (CTR) is the number of clicks your ad receives over the number of impressions within a specific period of time.
CTR (%) = Clicks / Impressions
In PPC auction systems, CTR is used as a factor to determine quality score and calculate ad rank. One of the major ad ranking factors in Google Adwords Quality Score is CTR. The higher the CTR, the higher the ad ranks.
Both keywords and ads can have click through rates:
- Keyword CTR
- Ad CTR
Maximum Cost-per-click (Max. CPC)
Maximum CPC bid is the highest bidding amount you set at the keyword level or ad group level for the keyword or ad that you are willing to pay for a click on your ad. PPC auction systems automatically reduce the bidding amount, so you are not charged for maximum CPC but actual CPC.
Average Cost-per-click (Avg. CPC)
Average cost-per-click is the cost of all clicks over the number of clicks received by your ad. Average CPC is different to maximum CPC.
Actual Cost-per-click (Actual CPC)
Actual CPC is the minimum required bid for your ad to stay one position above the ad immediately below in a PPC search ad auction and is how much you actually pay for your ad’s click (with no more than the maximum bid you specify for your ad group or keyword). Actual cost-per-click is determined by this formula:
Actual CPC = (Ad Rank to beat / Quality Score) + USD 0.01
Google Adwords search ad auction system describes how actual CPC and ad rank are calculated.
CPM means cost-per-thousand-impressions which is an advertising metric mostly used in display ad campaigns. Google used to only offer CPM as the pricing model for text ads running within Adwords content network.
Impression share is a metric that represents the share of all impressions an ad acquired against other ads that are competing for the impressions. Google provides Adwords impression share data to advertisers.
A conversion is a user action that takes place on your website, including a purchase, sign-up, lead or pageview. PPC auction systems offers tools to measure conversions:
- Adwords conversion tracking – Default conversion tracking tool in Adwords
- Adcenter conversion tracking – Bing Adcenter’s built-in conversion tracking tool
- Yahoo Search Marketing conversion tracking – Built-in conversion tracking feature for Yahoo PPC
- Baidu PPC conversion tracking – Baidu Phoenix Nest’s official conversion tracking tool
- Google Analytics PPC Conversion tracking
- Track Bing Adcenter PPC keyword conversions in Google Analytics
Conversion rate is the number of conversions through your ad over the number of times that your ad is clicked.
Conversion Rate (%) = Conversions x Click
Cost-per-action (CPA) measures the effectiveness of your ad based on actions taken by your site’s visitors. An action on a site can be defined as a purchase, sign-up, lead or pageview.
CPA = Cost / Action
Action = purchase or sign-up or lead or pageview or any other pre-defined action
Earnings Per Click (EPC)
EPC is the amount your PPC advertising earns from each click.
EPC = Revenue / Click
Profit refers to the dollar amount earned after taking cost into account or is revenue less cost.
Profit = Revenue - Cost
Return on Investment (ROI)
ROI measures how much profit you make from each marketing dollar you spend on your PPC ads.
ROI (%) = (Revenue / Cost) - 1
Keyword Match Type
PPC auction systems allow you to control who sees your search ads with keyword match types:
- Broad match
- Phrase match
- Exact match
- Negative match
Quality score is a factor that determines your ad’s ranking in the PPC search ad auction systems. For example, Google Adwords Quality Score is calculated by factors including CTR of keywords, ads and PPC account.« Newer Posts — Older Posts »