Checking the speed of your pages for SEO

UbiKann tested on GTMetrix

You may have recently seen articles that explain how Google will be checking the speed at which your pages load and will be using it in their page ranking system. I had read about it on the Register’s article “Google tweaks search results with mystery site speedometer“.

I then realised that a company I have worked with in the past has a tool that allows you to test this type of issue for your site and even allows you to record the results over time…

UbiKann tested on GTMetrix
UbiKann tested on GTMetrix

Check out Gossamer Threads GTMetrix Site Performance Analyzer. They have just added a new system that allows you compare up to 4 reports/URLs. Oh and it’s free, oh yeah… :)

360° Advertising: the lack of synergies online

HSBC Premier

I was just flicking through “The Economist” (An old edition from May 10th Edition 2008) and got stuck on the adverts. Well I work in an interactive Ad agency so I suppose that it’s a professional misfortune to make this type of comment. Even though this is from a year ago it still happens that you see ads like this with no URL or at the best a URL that is for the company and not the product. I can’t understand why, on so many adverts, which will have cost the companies advertising a fair amount of money, there is no continuity or synergy with the online, no link to a website. I checked 2 consecutive adverts with no URLs, (no links to websites). I then looked through several pages and many had URLs but these two were for HSBC and Chevron had nothing and I can’t understand why there would be an advert created for a magazine that could not/would not be relayed on line.

HSBC Premier

When I was working on an automobile account in a web agency recently I found out that less than 5% of the ad budget was spent for online advertising, the majority being spent for TV then outdoors with online getting below 5%. I know many people still spend a lot of time in front of the TV but is 5% a real fit for the Internet currently ? Can you really create an effective online campaign to reach the numbers that are currently spending a large amount of their time online with such a small amount of the overall Ad budget ?

Even if it is an appropriate reflection of how people spend their time, I still deplore the lack of synergy that occurs between TV and outdoor ads versus online. Triggering people’s appetite to engage and continue the experience of a well thought through campaign online is so easy and yet so few companies actually do it. How many full blown campaigns that really use the potential for intelligently using TV, outdoors, radio etc. and online come to mind. Very few for most people because that type of synergy between Medias is very rare. Search Engine Optimisation may be a buzz word at the moment as it provides increased numbers of visitors when done properly but synergies the 360° type synergies between offline and online are way more effective in immersing people in your message!

If you can think of some cool synergies in your country please let me know and share the examples !

:)

Quick SEO checklist

Just came across an interesting article that provides some good tips for people looking a simple checklist of the key areas to review with regards to SEO. The main parts are:
1. URL canonicalization and 301 re-directions.
2. Unique Title Tags and Meta Data.
3. Search Engine Friendly.
4. Has the site been submitted to Google Webmaster Central?
5. Check for Duplicate Content.

There are also details for each section that are in this article called “5 Minute SEO Site Audit“.

Also there is a tendancy to see SEO as the “be all and end all” solution when behavioural targeting versus SEO is a subject I would recommend you look into

Behavioural targeting vs SEO

So if there were some type of celebrity match ‘show down’, SEO would at the moment win against behavioural marketing. SEO is for many just a buzzword, to throw in front of the client without understanding what it entails, in the same way that mentioning Twitter is the hip thing to do at the moment.
But when clients start to understand that most SEO efforts are far more difficult to analyse from an ROI perspective than behavioural marketing, the latter being far easier to analyse when used properly, this should change.

When you realise that the technology exists to tailor content ‘on the fly’ to a visitor of your web site that can try to learn click by click or even by the movement of the mouse what a visitor is interested in, and subsequently serve them more appropriate content, you shudder to think what is coming next. I was interviewed and blown away by a company called Touch Clarity that was gobbled up by Omniture several years ago, and still wonder whether I should have pushed forward with them to this day but hey life is full of surprises. ;)

You can easily see how serving content will not only help companies spend their money more efficiently (both ad and site development using behavioural targeting) but should also provide them with better analytical data to better understand their clients. Kind of explains why Omniture invested in a company like Touch Clarity. But only time will tell whether Behavioural targeting (or BT among friends) will win the competition with SEO.

Note: just read that the Marketing Sherpa report has behavioural marketing placed just below SEO in terms of efficiency. Funny story when trying to find out more information about it, the page I was served stopped me from getting to the site.

Google SEO Lessons

Google, via it’s evangelist Adam Lasnik is starting to provide SEO classes. As you can see here the seminars are cheap and open to all.
It begs the question about Google asking people to create web sites for people and not for their robots. However, it is true that the best idea is to build your web sites for your target population while respecting W3C standards, and then optimise your code for search engines.
Once you have read a fair amount about Search Engine Optimization, you realise that most people are just guessing what is working and then try to make you think they have the real deal when it’s likely that they only have half the story. Optimising pages is partly logical on the basics and then guess work on what may be used by Google to define the order of their results. I personally think they should spend more time dealing with the weeds like domain name parking with pages full of adverts/links…