Archive for the ‘search’ Category

Why You Need a Meta Description

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

This weekend I was checking out some organic search results for higher education sites. I was astonished by the number of higher ed sites that do not use a meta description.

Why the meta description is still important. The meta description won’t help your ranking in the top search engines, but it’s still very important.

It describes your page. According to an old SEOmoz post, the meta description is used:

  1. To describe the content of the page accurately and succinctly
  2. To serve as a short, text “advertisement” to click on your results in the search results
  3. To display targeted keywords, not for ranking purposes, but to indicate the content to searchers

The meta description is usually listed beneath the linked title in most search engine results. Key for click-throughs.  The keywords users search for in the top search engines are also bolded in the search result (the meta description and title tag). Again, key for click-throughs.
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Google Changes Mean Major Implications for Analytics Tools

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Google has started testing using Ajax to power their search. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is for those who care about web analytics. Why? It completely breaks the way web analytics tools tracks keywords from Google.

How?

If someone searched for this blog on Google in the past, the search string would look like this:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=trending+upward&btnG=Search

Today, it looks like this:

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=trending+upward&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=trending+upward&fp=3WTwdsC3GPc

Notice the difference? The second one uses a hashtag (#) instead of the more familiar “search?.” The problem lies in the fact that nothing after the hashtag is passed through to the analytics tool, so your referrals look like they’re from http://www.google.com instead of the actual search string. This also means that there are no search keywords associated with it. Not good. How do we know how users are searching on Google to find us?

From what I’ve read, this is just a test, but who knows how long it will go on?

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Measuring the Success of the Online Course Catalog

Monday, January 12th, 2009

The online course catalog is the place where prospects and students go to not only see what courses are offered, but what the prerequisites are, who the instructor is, how many seats are left and more.

The bottom line is the online course catalog is essential for higher education websites. Creating and maintaining a *usable* course catalog is as important. So how do you know if the catalog is usable?
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Must Subscribe Blogs – December 2008

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

For this month, I’ve subscribed to 3 great blogs (well, 2, I’ll explain below)  that I hope you find useful and entertaining. It’s worth noting that I was introduced to all these blogs via the people I follow on Twitter. Yet another reason why Twitter is invaluable to me.
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Real World Example – Search Engine Traffic

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Let’s get back to talking analytics with a real-world example.

Last week a colleague of mine came to me with a problem. He was optimizing his program website for a few keyword phrases (via organic and paid SEO) that pertain to a specific program he was promoting to prospective students. Although those keyword phrases were getting a *ton* of traffic to his site, he was getting a lot of click-throughs, but nothing else. Why?
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Instantly Actionable – Internal Site Search

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Internal site search can give you so many great insights. Remember, this is how your users are searching your site. I can see you reading this saying, “Duh. Thank you, miss obvious!” Think about it, though. What does that tell you? What does it scream?

Pay attention! That’s what it tells you. Internal site search is like a mini usability test. Instead of formally asking users what they are looking for on your website, they’re telling you … in their own words … without you asking them!

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