Tag SEO

Posts: 4

Switching CMS's Killed My Inbound Links!

It's no secret that I've switched CMS's so many times that it makes my head and my reader's heads spin.  Take a look at my CMS tag and you'll see my struggles with Wordpress, Expression Engine, Text Pattern, and Blot.

I made a big migration to Jekyll and loved the static type of CMS's ever since. Fast forward to today and I've pretty much settled on Pelican. Why? It's a static CMS and its python powered. It does a great job of streamlining the YAML front end of a post and it's fast to regenerate. The best part? I use rsync to upload new posts to my server and I use the S3 upload to make a backup of my site on Amazon. 

Yet, there's ONE big problem that I've noticed. 100's of my inbound links are all now dead and that messes with my SEO ranking. 

The solution is to create RewriteRules in my .htaccess file and here's some friendly tips on how to do it.

Moving away from Wordpress

The biggest inbound link killer on my Wordpress site was when I switched my permalink slug.  I went from a classic format of  '/year/month/day/my-post' to the simpler one '/my-post.'  Wordpress handles this change if you do it in Wordpress. If you migrate out of Wordpress, well all hell will break loose.

The simple fix is to add following regular expression to your .htaccess file:

RewriteRule /[0-9]+/[0-9]+/[0-9]+/(.*) /$1 [L,R=301] 

What this does is select any /year/month/day/my-post formated URL and returns /my-post!  Awesome, but what about those pesky /wp-content/uploads directory?  There are tons of images I put into my blog posts and now all those inserts don't work. 

The solution for me was to download the /wp-content folder and rename the folder as /_wp-content. I did this because I was using Blot.Im at the time and if I didn't add the _, it would generate 100's of images as blog posts.

RewriteRule /wp-content/uploads/(.*) /_wp-content/uploads/$1 [L,R=301] 

Of course, you don't have to do this. You can move the /wp-content folder to its final destination and have all the links resolve. 

Moving away from Expression Engine 

Oh Expression Engine (EE) how I love and loathe thee. EE is a serious CMS. You can do a lot with it if you spend the time to architect it out. It's powerful but complex. It's too powerful for running a small blog like mine, but I liked it when I used it. 

The thing with EE is that it creates /blog/entry/my-post permalinks. the /blog/ part is the name of the channel and it could be anything you like. It could be /radio/entry/my-post or /store/entry/my-post. For the extended time my blog ran EE, several inbound links went to /blog/entry/my-post.

To solve this problem I created the following rule:

RewriteRule /blog/entry/(.*) /$1 [L,R=301] 

Now EE also had a URL for each category and that created havoc too. Wordpress uses this method too and since I use Pelican now, the categories have become tags, or rather 'tag.'

The solution was this:

RewriteRule /category/(.*) /tag/$1.html [L,R=301] 

Moving away from Blot.Im

Blot.Im is a favorite of mine. It's simple to use and it's making improvements with every update. Still, it's not as feature rich enough for my taste. I'm sure one day it will be. 

Blot uses 'tagged' instead of 'tags' and to solution to that is doing"

RewriteRule /tagged/(.*) /tag/$1.html [L,R=301] 

End Notes

The one thing that I haven't done yet is rewriting changed permalinks. I'm editting my permalinks to remove any stopwords and I would need to update the .htacess file with 100's of them.  The Yoast plugin for Wordpress does this for you if you changed the permalink. That's a wonderful thing and the solution for my problem lies in writing a python script. 

While I ponder how to do that I will say that the simple changes above have already made an impact.

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Custom Reports in Google Analytics

Recently I imported some custom reports in Google Analytics that I found online. They have been eye opening indeed!  My most favorite ones are the Profit Index and Time of Day custom reports.

Google Analytics assigns a page value to each and every page you have, provided you use Goals. Without using Goals, this won’t work! In my previous post, I wrote about how I started using Goals to see how readers interacted with my site. I arbitrarily assigned a value of $1 each time the reader clicked on a tag or stayed on a post for more than 5 minutes.

I began searching through Google to see if could find a way to lower my bounce rates because I switched back to WordPress (that’s for another post altogether).  As soon as I switched back, I noticed an increase in bounce rates and that bothered me.

I found out that bounce rates are really just people going to one page (usually my home page) and then dropping off. The majority of the visitors have no desire or incentive to continue through the site. The ones that do usually end up on my Tutorial or Archive page.

In my sleuthing I found something called the Profit Index. This is a fantastic report you can build for you Google Analytics as a custom report. The Profit Index can show you what posts have a high value but have the highest bounce rates! You can also see which pages have the highest Adsense revenue vs bounce rates. Once you know where the problem is, you can work to fix it.

pagevaluevsbouncerate

For the most part all my posts are incredibly sticky and OK page value vs bounce rate, but I never dreamed that the Stock Trend Following post has such a high drop off rate.

Time of Day

This custom report is a fun one for me. It let’s me look at what time of day readers come to my site, what day the come to my site, and most importantly what time AND day they come to my site. Originally written by Dan Barker, it’s very enlightening for me!

timeofdayweek

Over the course of the last 30 days, my most popular visit days have been Thursdays at 11AM, 1PM, and 5PM. The numbers change when I look at them from across the year but Thursday at 11AM appears to be the winner. Is it any wonder why I scheduled this post for today and at this time?

Note: Day 0 is Sunday.

Get Custom Reports in Google Analytics

Getting custom reports in Google Analytics is pretty easy if the creator has shared them. With the exception of the Profit Index, the Time of Day report is shareable and easy to install in your Google Analytics dashboard. You can easily rebuild the Profit Index report by following the instructions on the their website, it’s pretty easy but eye opening!

If you want more reports, just visit this page here. They have some great free ones!

 

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SEO Results - Alexa Rankings

Twitter; neuralmarket

Ever since I analyzed my blog's traffic using data mining and neural nets and began implementing a lot of the SEO tips and tricks I've read, I started to see a steady rise in my Alexa Rankings. I was tickled pink to see that my weekly average broke through their 100,000 barrier this weekend! I suspect this is because of the niche nature of my blog and my tutorials on building an AI financial model.

Alexa Rankings, 07/09/2007

Thanks to all my readers and those your have subscribed to my feed! If you haven't subscribed to my feed, now is a great time!

Update: Feeds are SO dead these days. Sign up for my newsletter instead.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Data Mining

Growth SEO

I posted about the power of Data Mining when analyzing your blog's traffic and how to maximize your Google Adword advertising relative to your Adsense earnings, but I forgot to mention one critical thing! Search Engine Optimization (SEO)!

SEO is just a process to organize your blog, or website, in such a way that you'll end up at the top when ever an Internet user searches for something that is relative to your site. If you advertise your blog using a Pay Per Click method, like Google Adwords, then being ranked at the top of searches is really important as Ms. Danielle points out!

It won't come as a shock to readers of this blog that Data Mining can really help with your SEO! Techniques like associative analysis and cluster data mining are great ways to discover who's clicking what on your site. Associative analysis is used to estimate the probability of whether a person will purchase a product given that they own a particular product or group of products.

Cluster data mining, on the other hand, can identify the profile or group of customers that are associated with a particular type of Web site [via Data Mining and Business Productivity, by Stephan Kudyba]. These two techniques are critical if you want to maximize any e-business!

Now here's the caveat, before you can start data mining your site, you spend a few months gathering website statistics and data. However, this doesn't preclude your ability to start optimizing your website for better web searching. Here are a 5 tips that I've been using that have had a great traffic impact in my blog's short life.

5 SEO Tips:

  1. Write valuable content or offer a valuable service. I can't stress this enough;
  2. If you run a blog, spend considerable time selecting the right categories, those help search engines effectively index your site. Over time I've modified my category list to create relevant descriptions for my blog posts;
  3. Create a Crawl List and XML sitemap for Google. Doing this let's the Google spider index your site easier and faster;
  4. Use Google Webmaster tools to manage your sitemap and clean out old URLs;
  5. Try to keep the size of your content on your site under 30k so your site can load in under 8 seconds for 56.6k modems. This helps your page load under 8 seconds.

Hat tip to Ms. Danielle for the photo!

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