Well it’s couched in very nice, polite, calm tones, but you can read between the lines, a bunch of Google engineers would like nothing more than to travel to Redmond and open a can of whoop-butt on some Bing developers. You’ve got to love the title on their recent blog entry…
Microsoft Bing uses Google search results – and denies it
Give these guys paint guns and keycard access to MS and let them have at it!
Lots of companies have seen their websites hacked this past year, thanks to SQL insertion vulnerabilities, where commands could be inserted into search boxes to return all database info including minor items like admin passwords (nice), and for some sites actually insert code into the site that did little things like run invisible malware scripts when you visited (even nicer).
With new browser releases and their anti-phishing features, when this happens you get the dreaded “this site may harm your computer, it is known to have malware on it” message when you browse to it. It’s not something you want to see.
Guess what, that’s what you saw this morning for every single web site, thanks to one erroneous mouse click by some employee at Google. Yup, one click made every single web site unreachable through current browsers. Ooops!
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I’m thankful I installed Akismet on this blog some time ago.
I get the very rare comment I need to moderate that’s actually spam. So far I haven’t noticed any false positives, although some may have happened if someone posted a comment with a lot of HTML code or link. But that’s unlikely.
It’s a sad comment on the state of the web, but everybody has to protect themselves, even on a blog.
I took a vacation from blogging for almost 6 weeks. My expectation was that visits would stay at the current level for a few days, then start dropping. Makes sense, right?
Well, August dropped a bit (less than I expected), but September to date is actually higher – 485 visits per day surprised me.
Webalizer doesn’t tell me much more, so I delved into Google Analytics for more detail. Turns out what I expected happened, but only in direct traffic, and it was more than made up by increased search traffic. Here are recent stats from the past month, you can see that direct traffic (including any RSS feeds of course) is very low overall while I’m not posting.
So it turns out that after only blogging for 10 months, I have enough presence and ranking in Google that my search engine traffic continues to increase, even with no new posts – I has inertia!
And as you can see above, Google is still #1 in consumer search engines – I received traffic from over 20 other search engines, and Google far outranked the sum of all the others. Having said that, the other search engines sent as much traffic to my site as did direct browsing, so it’s still nothing to sneeze at (Yahoo, Ask, and MSN were the next 3 by volume, in case you’re wondering – I was surprised to see Ask at #3).
By the way, a special thanks again to Ernie of Watchuseek, RJ of FratelloWatches, Ariel of ABlogToRead for their continued links; and a new thanks to Robert Ruegger who I don’t know but whose blog DiveIntoWatches is very popular – these are the top non-search sites my traffic came from recently. Also thanks to all the other blogs and forums whose traffic to me is still increasing, I really appreciate your links thank you so much!
I know I’m not exercising the hard drives too much, my numbers are still small compared to the big sites, but 15,000 visitors a month is still a number I’m real happy with, thank you.
It’s been interesting to follow the stats on this blog these past 6 months, it’s given me some real-life insight into a number of online trends, which are useful to know when designing for the web. We’ve heard about web trends before, but the real-world figures truly drive them home. The screen shots below are from the last day and a bit of traffic, just as an example to show you.
(1) Search is everything. After 6 months I’m getting about 350-400 readers per day, and you might think most of you are repeat visitors. Actually, I currently get over 80% of my traffic from search engines! Despite the social web, people still find sites with search far more than anything else.
(2) Google is #1 for consumers. Google is SO winning the search engine wars it’s not even funny. I know general stats show it leading but not overwhelmingly, due to specialty business search engines, but for a general consumer search such as would find my blog, I have consistently seen Google at over 95% of total searches.
(3) If you’re trying to reach an audience outside of the US, the “regional” Google sites are very important. Only 1/3 of the Google searches to my blog come from Google.com, the other 2/3 came from the regional Google sites. If you’re doing paid ads on Google, you can specify geography, so keep this in mind.
(4) Consumer systems have left the old 800×600 small screen size way behind, consistently being less than 2-4% of total viewers to my blog (second example image). The exception would be if you’re dealing with a core industrial marketplace, where old size systems still exist in larger numbers.
(5) Google image search is much more important than I anticipated for consumer items. For me 1/4 of search visitors to my blog find it from image search. This obviously does not apply for every client, but web design should consider the importance of images to search traffic.
(6) Flash should be used in moderation only, and not for any copy. Pages that are fully in Flash, or copy in Flash, are not getting indexed high by Google, and are not getting search visits. I’ve tried a few flash-heavy posts on my blog, and without adding the appropriate content in text they get considerably less search traffic. Our microsites show a similar skew in stats.
For all target audiences, search engines are the big target, minimize Flash and write good content.
If you’re marketing on the web to an industrial business audience then you still have to think in terms of specialty search engines and smaller screens, but for any client dealing with consumers, it’s all about Google, forget designing for smaller screens, and remember images as well as content.
It’s all stuff we’ve heard before, but I’ve learned from this site that consumer trends are even more pronounced than general stats show, since those include specialty markets. I hope this info is useful for you.
I’ve mentioned Aaron Wall’s SEO Book site before, and he continues to publish very valuable articles that anybody in online marketing should read. Here is another one.
Very interesting stats – a #1 ranking (Yahoo in this example, but the results should be fairly representative) gets 5 times as many clicks as a #3 ranking.
What I find more interesting is how little difference between the number of clicks a #2 or #3 gets, and between #4 through #10. To me I see three tiers…
- If you want #1 results you’re going to have to pay for it, but it might just be worth it.
- The next section is the other “above the line” rankings – this might be a better goal, if the competition is too high for you to get top place.
- Then there is the top 10 – you could probably break into this with a fairly cost effective strategy, other than for the more highly competitive commercial terms.
There is a whole lot of other data in this article.
But there is also a lot of content – it’s a 37 page article if you print it out! So this is not a quick skim, or a top 10 list. What it is, if you’re not yet an SEO pro, is something you need to take time to site down and read carefully, probably in sections, and start putting to use.
To add to yesterday’s post, here is another extension from Aaron Wall’s SEO site. This one opens a separate window if you click a small icon (it looks for some reason like a blue sphere spewing lava) at the bottom right of your Firebox window.
So what comes up? A separate Firefox application window that lets you enter a site URL, a list of phrases, and then click and see how that site ranks for all of them.
You can configure which search engines to check against. It’s a nice little tool to speed up some ranking research, nothing complicated, but still quite useful.
Aaron Wall of The SEO Book fame, has an “SEO for Firefox” extension available for free, that’s useful if you’re doing SEO ranking analysis or research.
What you’ll notice, is beneath every result when you do a Google or Yahoo search, is a summary of useful SEO type info such as Google PageRank, age, and ranking on various other lists.
I’d highly recommend that you configure it other than to defaults if you’re doing other than just SEO on your browser … having “nofollow” links all highlighted in bright red can be distressing if you don’t know what it is.
This download is available at http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/seo-for-firefox.html.