SEO: Content 1


Continuing our series of SEO blog posts, today we discuss the importance of GOOD CONTENT on your site.

In our view, good content is THE most important factor in SEO.

The content on your site should be the FIRST thing you think about when optimizing your website. Content is used to communicate information about your site to the Search Engines.

While some SEO techniques are aimed primarily at the Search Engines, writing, updating and maintaining good content on your site will attract BOTH visitors AND search engines to your site.

Please remember that we do not consider ourselves to be SEO experts. In this Beginner’s Guide to SEO we are simply aiming to demystify SEO for our members and to pass on some tips and information that we have picked up over the years.

Important Note 1!
Before we get into this topic further, it’s very important for you to note that (generally) Search Engines can NOT “see” pictures, videos or flash presentations. This means that the only way to communicate with them and tell them what your site is about is by providing them with basic text information.

Compare the images below to see the difference between how StatCounter appears to human visitors and to Search Engines!

 

Important Note 2!
In addition, let’s remember what Search Engines are trying to do… Search Engines want to provide their users with a listing of the very best, most helpful and relevant sites.

Important Note 3!
You can work WITH Search Engines by helping them to achieve their goals… or you can work against Search Engines and try to use tricks and underhand methods to promote your site.

In our view, the only way to promote your site is to do it legitimately by working with the Search Engines. While “dirty tricks” may provide some SEO benefits in the short term, you can rest assured that these benefits will not last and may have a detrimental long term effect on your site.

(a) Aim of SEO
It’s very important to remember that the point of SEO is NOT to be listed highly in Search Engines.

The aim of SEO is to:

  • get your site listed highly in Search Engines…
  • SO that you get more traffic…
  • SO that you obtain more conversions!

In other words, in the long term, the goal of SEO is to make your website successful. After all, ranking highly in Search Engines is pointless unless it’s bringing more conversions to your site.

You should NOT focus on promoting your website at the expense of actually building and developing your site.

Your primary focus should be on creating a great site. Publicising and promoting your site via SEO techniques should be a secondary concern.

Let’s take a look at SEO through the eyes of a Search Engine user…

(b) SEO – A User’s Perspective
SEO should not be about playing games or trying to “con” the Search Engines.

Think about it from your own perspective. When you look for something using a Search Engine, you want good quality, relevant results. Other users want the same thing!

If you “trick” your way to a good Search Engine ranking, then

  1. It won’t last. Search Engines are clever and it’s very difficult to fool them for long. Ultimately, your site may be dropped by the Search Engines altogether.
  2. Anyone who does visit your website, probably won’t buy anything or sign up i.e. you won’t get any conversions. After all, if you have “tricked” them into visiting your site, it’s not very likely that your site will have what they want, is it?
  3. You will have wasted time and effort for nothing.

So, when users search for a term or phrase, they are looking for high quality, relevant results… Since Search Engines want to provide their users with the results they are looking for, your first step in terms of achieving good SEO for your site is to start with a high quality, useful website!

And how do you develop a high quality, useful website? WITH CONTENT!

(c) So, what is Content exactly?
Content is the “value” or “substance” of your website. It is the information, tools or services available on your site. It is the reason why people come to your site.

GOOD CONTENT is content that YOUR VISITORS will find USEFUL.

Remember “good content” means different things for different websites. This is because what constitutes good content depends on the goal of your site and your target audience.

(d) Example of BAD Content
Let’s take a look at an (extreme) example. Consider the following (fictional) site. While this site does contain information about the site owner, Dave, this content is not useful or helpful to anyone else!

Let’s imagine that Joe Bloggs finds this site by searching for the term “first webpage” – this site is definitely not what Joe is looking for… the chances are that Joe wants help on building his own first webpage. That’s why this webpage won’t appear ANYWHERE in the top Search Engine Listings for “first webpage”.

Due to the poor content on this site, there is no reason for anyone to visit, definitely no reason for them to return, and I can’t imagine ANYONE recommending this site to a friend!

(e) Example of GOOD Content
Now consider the following site. This (real) site gives step-by-step written instructions and pictures on how to take a cutting from a Fuchsia plant.

It’s abundantly clear that this webpage would be very useful to anyone with an interest in gardening.

Let’s imagine now that someone found this site by searching for the term “fuchsia cuttings” – this webpage is probably exactly what they are looking for. That’s why this page has top ranking for the term “fuchsia cuttings” in many search engines.

This site is in fact a real-life example of how good content promotes itself – we will be returning to this example in a short while when we look at the importance of good content in section (g) below.

(f) Turning “Bad” into “Good”
Now let’s look at another (fictional) site. Most of us have come across sites like this:

While Carol is trying to be welcoming and friendly, she has omitted large amounts of key information from her home page. For example, she hasn’t told us:

  • What is she selling?
  • Is there anything different/unusual about her products?
  • Where are they made?
  • Where does she deliver?
  • What price range are the products in?

Let’s take a look at how Carol could improve the content of her site:

Note that the revised website content contains only 16 extra words compared to the initial version, however, the amount of information conveyed is hugely increased.

(g) But What’s so Important about Good Content anyway?
Good content is very important because good content promotes itself.

Let’s return for a moment to our Good Content example in section (e) above about Fuchsia Plants. John, the owner of this site, strongly believes in the importance of useful content. He writes about his own experiences and shares useful information that he has gathered.

John’s article about ‘How to Take Fuchsia Cuttings’, has become one of the most highly visited pages on his site. Check this out:

John’s site is #1 out of over 600,000!

You should note though that John did not employ fancy techniques or tricks to achieve this ranking. The article was not written for SEO purposes, but rather to share useful information. John created a high quality, content-rich webpage and the high Search Engine ranking then followed naturally…

How did that happen?

That happened because many people have found the page helpful and posted it in forums and blogs, they’ve linked to it on their own sites and they have told their friends about it. It’s even referred to by several authoritative gardening sites.

At StatCounter, we share John’s view that if your content is GOOD, people will want it … and if people want it, then the Search Engines will want it (and list it highly) too.

Good Content could therefore be considered to be self-promoting – it provides its own SEO.

(h) Any other SEO benefits from Improving my Content?

YES!

  • A Search Engine’s preferred format for learning about a site is basic text content – the more content you have the more the Search Engines can learn about your site.

    Remember, we want to work with the Search Engines – make it easy for them to understand your site and you certainly stand a better chance of ranking highly with them! Wouldn’t you be more likely to help someone who helps you, rather than someone who won’t co-operate?


  • The more and better content you have, the more likely you are to rank highly in Search Engines and so the more likely it is that your site will be successful. Lots of high quality content proves that your site is serious and here to stay. This is true for both your visitors and for Search Engines.

    Remember users WANT and therefore Search Engines WANT TO PROVIDE a listing of the very best, most helpful and useful sites – by making your site helpful and useful to your visitors, you’re on your way to better rankings.

Glossary

Conversion Every website has a purpose.

You may want to:

  • sell a product (e.g. an online store may want to sell books globally )
  • sign up recipients for your newsletter (e.g. a real estate agent in Florida might want to obtain addresses to email people with a monthly update about properties for sale in the area.)
  • get people to download your brochure (e.g. a school may make an assignment available for download on their website and want pupils to download it.)

Whatever the goal of a site, if a visitor completes the desired action (i.e. buys a book, subscribes for the newsletter, downloads the document) this is called a “conversion”.

In other words, “conversion” is the generic name for the “goal” of a website.


Our second post about SEO and Content will follow shortly folks and will cover how to write good content and other tips. If you have comments or questions on any of the above, please do post below.

Related Posts:
(1) SEO: Intro
(2) SEO: Content 1

Chrome Latest Stats – Global/US/UK

Hi folks,

As many of you requested, here are updated browser usage stats. We’ve broken the stats down into Global, US and UK figures. These stats are based on a total sample for the period of over 450 million page views globally. All daily stats are based on the relevant GMT 24 hour periods.

Global Stats – Browser Usage
IE Firefox Safari Chrome Other
Sep 01 66.92% 25.26% 2.99% n/a 4.84%
change
Sep 02* 67.58% 24.36% 2.91% n/a 5.06%
change 0.66% (0.90%) (0.08%) n/a 0.22%
Sep 03 67.81% 23.54% 2.70% 1.11% 4.87%
change 0.23% (0.82%) (0.21%) 1.11% (0.19%)
Sep 04 68.59% 23.20% 2.56% 1.16% 4.51%
change 0.78% (0.34%) (0.14%) 0.05% (0.36%)
Sep 05 68.44% 23.22% 2.56% 1.12% 4.66%
change (0.15%) 0.02% 0.00% (0.04%) 0.15%
Sep 06 65.46% 25.43% 2.81% 1.16% 5.14%
change (2.98%) 2.21% 0.25% 0.04% 0.48%
Sep 07 63.15% 26.69% 3.02% 1.18% 5.96%
change (2.31%) 1.26% 0.21% 0.02% 0.82%
Sep 08 65.89% 24.46% 2.69% 1.10% 5.86%
change 2.74% (2.23%) (0.33%) (0.08%) (0.10%)
Sep 09 66.27% 24.17% 2.66% 1.07% 5.83%
change 0.38% (0.29%) (0.03%) (0.03%) (0.03%)
Sep 10 66.28% 24.31% 2.62% 1.05% 5.75%
change 0.01% 0.14% (0.04%) (0.02%) (0.08%)
Sep 11 66.67% 23.95% 2.59% 1.02% 5.77%
change 0.39% (0.36%) (0.03%) (0.03%) 0.02%
Total Change (0.25%) (1.31%) (0.40%) 1.02% 0.93%

*The Chrome browser was launched late in the day GMT time on Sept 2nd so the first full day of tracking for Chrome is Sept 3rd.

Other – this includes numerous browsers including Konqueror, Opera, Playstation, Blackberry, Iphone, Seamonkey etc.

US Stats – Browser Usage
IE Firefox Safari Chrome Other
Sep 01 61.88% 28.02% 5.77% N/A 4.32%
change
Sep 02* 64.92% 25.81% 5.31% N/A 3.86%
change 3.04% (2.21%) (0.46%) n/a (0.46%)
Sep 03 64.84% 24.94% 5.31% 0.98% 3.90%
change (0.08%) (0.87%) 0.00% 0.98% 0.04%
Sep 04 66.48% 23.92% 4.88% 1.13% 3.57%
change 1.64% (1.02%) (0.43%) 0.15% (0.33%)
Sep 05 65.85% 24.44% 5.07% 1.08% 3.55%
change (0.63%) 0.52% 0.19% (0.05%) (0.02%)
Sep 06 62.74% 26.51% 5.66% 1.05% 4.05%
change (3.11%) 2.07% 0.59% (0.03%) 0.50%
Sep 07 60.64% 28.00% 6.26% 1.07% 4.04%
change (2.10%) 1.49% 0.60% 0.02% (0.01%)
Sep 08 63.17% 26.42% 5.57% 1.02% 3.84%
change 2.53% (1.58%) (0.69%) (0.05%) (0.20%)
Sep 09 64.46% 25.49% 5.33% 0.99% 3.73%
change 1.29% (0.93%) (0.24%) (0.03%) (0.11%)
Sep 10 63.94% 25.99% 5.29% 1.03% 3.74%
change (0.52%) 0.50% (0.04%) 0.04% 0.01%
Sep 11 66.32% 24.07% 4.99% 0.96% 3.65%
change 2.38% (1.92%) (0.30%) (0.07%) (0.09%)
Total Change 4.44% (3.95%) (0.78%) 0.96% (0.67%)

*The Chrome browser was launched late in the day GMT time on Sept 2nd so the first full day of tracking for Chrome is Sept 3rd.

Other – this includes numerous browsers including Konqueror, Opera, Playstation, Blackberry, Iphone, Seamonkey etc.

UK Stats – Browser Usage
IE Firefox Safari Chrome Other
Sep 01 68.33% 22.77% 4.09% N/A 4.80%
change
Sep 02* 67.95% 23.13% 3.96% N/A 4.79%
change (0.38%) 0.36% (0.13%) n/a (0.01%)
Sep 03 70.02% 21.34% 3.26% 1.12% 4.26%
change 2.07% (1.79%) (0.70%) 1.12% (0.53%)
Sep 04 69.22% 21.91% 3.31% 1.27% 4.28%
change (0.80%) 0.57% 0.05% 0.15% 0.02%
Sep 05 69.33% 21.81% 3.18% 1.10% 4.59%
change 0.11% (0.10%) (0.13%) (0.17%) 0.31%
Sep 06 67.73% 22.91% 3.41% 1.15% 4.79%
change (1.60%) 1.10% 0.23% 0.05% 0.20%
Sep 07 67.83% 23.11% 3.31% 1.16% 4.59%
change 0.10% 0.20% (0.10%) 0.01% (0.20%)
Sep 08 69.04% 22.20% 3.32% 0.99% 4.44%
change 1.21% (0.91%) 0.01% (0.17%) (0.15%)
Sep 09 69.34% 21.83% 3.23% 0.89% 4.71%
change 0.30% (0.37%) (0.09%) (0.10%) 0.27%
Sep 10 69.14% 21.92% 3.19% 1.02% 4.73%
change (0.20%) 0.09% (0.04%) 0.13% 0.02%
Sep 11 68.71% 22.41% 3.16% 1.01% 4.73%
change (0.43%) 0.49% (0.03%) (0.01%) 0.00%
Total Change 0.38% (0.36%) (0.93%) 1.01% (0.07%)

*The Chrome browser was launched late in the day GMT time on Sept 2nd so the first full day of tracking for Chrome is Sept 3rd.

Other – this includes numerous browsers including Konqueror, Opera, Playstation, Blackberry, Iphone, Seamonkey etc.

StatCounter on Blogger/Blogspot

We have been receiving a HUGE volume of support tickets lately from members who are having trouble installing StatCounter on Blogger (previously known as Blogspot).

Installing StatCounter on Blogger/Blogspot is really quick and easy… when you know how! So we’ve decided to post step-by-step instructions here for anyone having trouble…

First Things First…

It’s really important to choose Blogger/Blogspot as your Blog/Web Page Editor when generating your StatCounter code – see the screenshot below taken from StatCounter – so please don’t forget!

Now let’s get on with how to install your StatCounter code on Blogger/Blogspot…

Step 1
Log into your Blogger/Blogspot Account and go to the “Layout” area of your blog. To do this, click the “Layout” link in your Blogger/Blogspot Account as indicated in the picture.




Step 2
We need to add a “gadget” to your Blogger/Blogspot Account. Click one of the “Add a Gadget” links at the bottom or to the right of your blog layout area (as indicated in the picture). (Note from the screenshot that we are in the “Page Elements” tab of the “Layout” area.)




Step 3
Clicking “Add a Gadget” opens a new window similar to the one pictured below.

Scroll down through the list of Basic gadgets to find the HTML/Javascript gadget as shown in the picture below. Click the text (that says HTML/JavaScript) to add the gadget to your blog.




Step 4
When you add the gadget to your blog, the gadget will open in a new window as shown below. Paste your StatCounter code into the white space indicated by the red arrow (below) and click “Save” to close the gadget window.

(Note you must paste your StatCounter code here – typing the word “StatCounter” is not sufficient!!)

Click “Save” again back in the “Layout” area of your blog (see Step 2 above) and that’s it!

Your StatCounter will now begin recording visitor information and, if you chose the visible option, your counter will be visible on your blog!

(Of course if anyone is STILL having trouble with installing StatCounter on Blogger/Blogspot please log into your StatCounter account, click the “Support” link and submit a ticket to us so that we can help you further. 😉 )

Chrome – Who’s Losing?

Hi folks,

Here are the Global Browser Market Share stats for the last few days.

Looking at these numbers we can begin to identify which browsers are losing market share to Chrome.

IE FireFox Safari Chrome Other
Aug 28 68.17% 24.66% 2.83% N/A 4.33%
Aug 29 67.81% 24.78% 2.84% N/A 4.57%
Aug 30 65.41% 26.38% 3.04% N/A 5.17%
Aug 31 64.49% 26.91% 3.06% N/A 5.56%
Sep 01 66.92% 25.26% 2.99% N/A 4.84%
Sep 02* 67.58% 24.36% 2.91% N/A 5.06%
Sep 03 67.81% 23.54% 2.70% 1.11% 4.87%
Sep 04 70.87% 21.26% 2.48% 1.15% 4.25%




The below table outlines the changes in market share over the period:

IE FireFox Safari Chrome Other
Aug 28
Aug 29 (0.36%) +0.12% +0.01% N/A +0.24%
Aug 30 (2.40%) +1.60% +0.20% N/A +0.60%
Aug 31 (0.92%) +0.53% +0.02% N/A +0.39%
Sep 01 +2.43% (1.65%) (0.07%) N/A (0.72%)
Sep 02* +0.66% (0.90%) (0.08%) N/A +0.22%
Sep 03 +0.23% (0.82%) (0.21%) +1.11% (0.19%)
Sep 04 +3.06% (2.28%) (0.22%) +0.04% (0.62%)

*The Chrome browser was launched late in the day GMT time on Sept 2nd so the first full day of tracking for Chrome is Sept 3rd.

This information is based on a total sample for the period of over 250 million page views globally. All daily stats are based on 24 hour periods, bar the stats for today, September 4th, which are based on a 12 hour sample to 12noon GMT.




Update September 5, 2008, 4.30pm GMT

Further to several requests from journalists, the latest stats for Global Browser Market Share (up to 3pm GMT today) are available for download here:
Excel Version (.xls)
PDF Version (.pdf)

Chrome Grabs 1% in One Day!

According to research conducted by us here at StatCounter, Google’s new browser, Chrome, has taken 1% of the global browser market within a day of launch.

Google’s unusual step of publicising the Chrome browser on its notoriously clutter-free homepage is an indication of the plans that Google has for this browser…

“This is a phenomenal performance,” commented Aodhan Cullen, “this is war on Microsoft but the big loser could be Firefox.”

While Google may have the Internet Explorer market share in its sights, the fact that many Firefox users are more “mobile” as far as browser use is concerned, may impact on the current Firefox market share.

Note: The StatCounter analysis was conducted today, Wednesday, 03 September 2008, and was based on a sample of 18.5 million page views globally. The analysis identified that Internet Explorer holds 70% of the global browser market followed by Firefox with 22%.