3 Ways to Guarantee Getting a Link Request

Link Requests Are Not Always This Easy

I recently received the email below from a student who took my Maximizing Your Visibility: Search and Social Media Marketing courses at SF State College of Extended Learning last year.

Andy was an absolute gem to work with and I’m very excited that his business MealPro has finally launched. I’ve also become a customer and can testify that the meals are delicious, but that’s not what this post is about.

The email below is an example of a perfect link request. As you may know, having more inbound links, or links pointing to your website is important in terms of search engine optimization, because the engines see sites with more (and high quality) inbound links as more valuable when ranking them in search engine results.

Link building is one of the most time consuming and challenging areas of SEO, so its important to be strategic and understand the nuances of link requests.

When requesting a link, it helps to be personal and say something nice to the recipient of your message. Now I know Andy learned a lot in my class, but he didn’t have to say those nice things to ask for a link. In his email, he did three things correctly:

  1. Capture the recipients attention with a personal touch.

    The fact that he reached out though, remembered that I had asked him to keep in touch and went to my website to look around, makes me really want to add a link to his business on my site.

  2. Provide an easy way for the recipient to look at the site you are requesting a link for.

    Andy provided a quick and easy link with a picture and I was very impressed to see the latest version of his site with new logo and fully functioning order processing.

  3. Ask for a link in an unassuming way and show gratitude

    Andy says, “I noticed you have a section on your website for clients you have helped. Please feel free to add MealPro to the list.”
    Not only does he not assume that he will get the link, but he is also saying thank you for my help which makes me feel good and when I feel good it makes me want to help him more.

MealPro Email Screenshot

Well done Andy, you made me proud and I wish you every success with your new business and career!

Your Turn:

What are your favorite ways to ask for links back to your website?

External Linking: 6 Reasons Why Linking Out is a Good Idea

External Linking: To Link Out or Not to Link Out, Is That the Question?

Many clients ask me why I recommend linking to content that is not on their own site. Why do I encourage external linking? To many business managers and chief marketing officers, linking external seems counter productive. The thinking is that linking to another site is encouraging a visitor to leave your own site and why would anyone want to do that? You want to keep people on your site for as long as possible and have them learn as much about your company and product or service offerings as possible, correct? Well, actually, the answer is No. Incorrect. Nada. Niente. Wrong.

Why bother external linking?

Let me explain: It looks like this. Wanting to keep people on your site as long as possible so that they will stay and learn everything you have to offer, is like inviting friends to dinner and then requiring that the conversation be only about you and your house. Or worse, you welcome your guests into your home, and then do not allow them to look at the beautiful view you have outside and you dominate the conversation without letting them share anything.

Remember that the web is a communications tool and your website exists in a medium that is constantly dynamic, fluid and open. With a print brochure you may have developed for your company, your audience members, i.e. the people looking at your brochure, are not expecting to be able to click on a link and learn more or be referred to another interesting article. They are familiar with the brochure format and read a bit, look at the pictures and then likely visit your website for more information.

When a visitor is on your website, a search engine is a click away and people can quickly lose focus on your site and go and look for other information via their own search methods. If you provide them with other interesting content, however, (content that is not just your own,) they actually have more respect for you, not less interest. They intrinsically appreciate that you are referring them to information that you have curated and deemed important. And by sending people off your site to another site, you seem less desperate to keep their visit. They will therefore likely come back again, because of the value you offered them.

Another external linking perspective: Think of it like a department store. If Target offered only target brand products, then shoppers might want to look at other stores for non-Target brands. Instead, Target offers both Target branded products as well as other brands, providing a lot of variety, freedom of choice for the customer and ultimately more reasons to shop at target.

Your website is the same. If all the content you offer is only that which you have created and you are not linking to the sites where you may have found the information, then people will feel like you don’t really care what else is out there. You will be perceived as not providing a good overall perspective on your industry and that you are desperate for your visitors to stay on your site. To encourage repeat visitors, the key is to provide value and value comes in offering the most complete and useful information available. Value can come in the form of education, inspiration or entertainment and it doesn’t have to be your own creation. We are now in a sharing economy, and the web is a platform that thrives on linking. External linking is a way to show your visitors you want them to succeed. External linking is a way for your to add value.

Think of what the Internet is. It’s a web of links really. One link leads to another and each link is a node on a vast web of information. If you believe in the power of connections, think about your LinkedIn profile and embrace community, you’ll want to nurture your relationships. That means connecting with people, and building your community.

Why Is External Linking Good?

1. Link Juice is Tasty

As mentioned above the web is all about linking. Search engines actually look at the number of inbound links, i.e. external links pointing back to your site, as a reference for how important your site is. This has a direct impact on your search engine ranking. The more inbound links you have, the higher your ranking opportunity. In order to be linkable, your site must offer great content and be considered an authority on the subject matter. In order to for that to happen, external linking is a best practice. Linking to other sites that offer more valuable information to your visitors and potential customers is a good.

External Linking will help you grow your business. Glass of juice making a chart.

External linking will help you grow your business

2. Always Add Value

Links to other sites show that you care about your visitor. Being willing to share a link that you think is valuable will earn you credibility with your visitors, customers and potential customers and also provide information about the relevance of your site to searchers. External linking allows you to add value. When you refer a friend to a vendor or product that you think is good, you are adding value to your friendship with that person. In the same way, external linking to great content is adding value to your relationship with your visitor and also adding value to your website.

3. Reciprocating

If you know a little about search engine optimization, you may have heard that reciprocal linking is no longer a valid strategy, because the engines can tell when two sites are linking to each other and may therefore negate any value. Link Building Jeddi Master, Eric Ward, says:

“You simply cannot make any sort of absolute statement as to what constitutes reciprocal link spam. Nor can you say that reciprocal links are always good, always bad, always suspicious, always helpful. They are never any of these and tey are always all of these. What you have to do is look at each case, at each site, and recognize the logical, natural linking potential and reciprocity tendencies.”

– Ultimate Guide to Link Building p 154.

It’s not a good idea to go out and ask every website owner you know to link to you regardless of the content they offer. However, if there is a site in your industry that adds value to your audience, then a reciprocal link is fine. The trick is to always be thinking of your audience and solving for “What’s In It For Them” – WIIFT.

4. Preciprocating

Instead of waiting for others to link to your site, consider preciprocating, i.e. performing a simple act of kindness before you need to ask for a favor later on. This works in social media as well as link building. If you comment on a blog and/or share a post, people feel like you have been kind to them. With this feeling they are much more likely to help you out in the future. There’s a great book by Gary Vaynerchuck called “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.” The concept here is to give, give, give, and then ask for something. Because you’ve given so much already, you’ll much more likely to get what you want when you finally ask for it. I talk about it in my classes and in my book as the L-O-V-E strategy: Listen-Offer-Visit-Engage. Give first and ask for what you want later. External linking is a L-O-V-E strategy.

5. Relevancy

Links to other sites show search engines and people more about the relevancy of your content. Just like citations in research papers indicate how much research has been done and the work that is behind the content of the article, external linking shows that you’ve done your homework and are citing your sources. Not only that, but you’re generously giving credit where credit is due and sharing even more valuable content with your audience.

6. Authority

Search engines place high value on the number of external links, also known as inbound links, that point to your site, so you want other sites to link to you. Like votes in politics or if you’re ever running for office, the more votes (think links) you have, the more respect and power you have in the search engine algorithm. Also, ponder this: Why would other sites link to your site, if you are not linking to any other site? Play by the rules. Sharing is caring. External linking should be part of your linking strategy.

Your turn: What do you think about external linking? Do you encourage it? Are you convinced you should do it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

2015 SEO and PPC Trends

I recently attended an excellent 2015 SEO and PPC Trends webinar by Krista LaRiviere of gShift and Chris Doran of Acquisio. Their presentation was packed with useful information and engaging graph-filled slides. Big thanks to both of them for such a well-planned and informative session! What follows is a summary of what Krista and Chris covered during the webinar.

5 SEO and PPC Trends to Watch in 2015:

1. Increase in Voice Search
Most consumers have smart phones these days, and in October 2014 the number of devices surpassed the number of people in the world. With that, more and more people are using voice-based search. When we use voice search, we tend to speak in full sentences. As search marketers, we need to account for the difference between conversational voice search and pared-down keyword phrases typically used in searches via desktop browsers.

We’ll also likely begin seeing a change in ad formats as voice search continues to become more common. It will be interesting to see how digital marketing grows alongside user behavior!

2. Mobile Growth for Paid Search
Mobile paid search on Google properties is up 14%. And the amount of online purchasing occurring via mobile is huge: 79% of users make purchasing decisions via their phones and 50% make purchases on mobile devices with an hour of their search. As a comparison, the average delay between search and purchase on desktop is one month.

Why is purchasing behavior so different for mobile users? Customers conducting searches on mobile devices are looking to meet an immediate need, are doing price comparisons or looking for local products, and are looking for a streamlined experience. This means optimizing websites for mobile use is more important than ever.

3. Video Ads and Vlogs
You like watching videos on YouTube or Vimeo, right? Most of us do. And with that, more and more content marketing strategies contain a video component these days. Does your business offer a vlog? You will benefit from vlogging in the following ways: you’ll be offering your audience an alternate way to consume content; you’ll be expanding your digital footprint; your video can be indexed and discoverable within 15 minutes of uploading to YouTube. Your vlog does not have to be fancy, so why not get started today?

4. Native Ads
Native ads are becoming more and more popular because they look so natural. A lot of times, we don’t even realize we are looking at an advertisement when we see a native ad! LaRiviere projects that we’ll soon see a pivot point in which there will be more and more ads and therefore less integration.

Native advertising is growing quickly and will reach $5.7 billion this year. Yahoo, in particular, is investing in this trend. So how do we use it? Your SEO and content strategy can inform and drive your native advertising campaign. Consider boosting your owned and earned content with native ads. Why not?

5. Continued Growth in Digital Marketing Technology
There has been a 100% growth in digital vendors this year. Look at chiefmartec.com‘s 2015 Digital Marketing Landscape. Incredible!

When asked what marketers thought the year’s most exciting opportunity would be in 2014, here is what they predicted compared to what actually happened:

2014 digital marketing survey

What aspect of the digital marketing world are you most excited about this year?

How to Get Found with Search (and Hummingbird)

Google Search Updates, Algorithms, Pandas, Penguins and Hummingbirds

You may have heard of Google’s biggest most recent search engine update called Hummingbird, but do you know what it does and how it impacts your search engine results placement? In other words, how does Hummingbird affect your business?

This post covers a little history of algorithms, Hummingbird and what you need to do now to increase your search engine rankings.

Hummingbird | Google Search

First let’s understand what a search engine does. A good search engine will index all content available on the web and then serve up results based on any given search. So if you’re looking for organic blueberry chocolate (without quotes) the engine will provide you with what it considers to be the most appropriate results for your particular search. For a search on organic blueberry chocolate today, Google found about 37,900,000 results (in 0.32 seconds). That means there are 37,899,990 other web results competing for page one placement when people search for organic blueberry chocolate.

How does the engine know which sites to show the person searching (user)?
That’s where the algorithm comes in. An algorithm is a mathematical formula, which calculates the appropriateness of each search result based on each person’s search. So if someone searched for How to make organic blueberry chocolate we will see a different set of results, because Google understands that the search is different. The first search (for “Organic blueberry chocolate”) is likely being performed by someone interested in buying some chocolate and the other search is about learning how to make it. Those two things are quite different. Ponder on that for a minute.

I hope you’re starting to understand that the search engine is trying to be smart and doing it’s best to offer you as the user, the best experience by providing the most appropriate search results. So you want to know a couple of things.

1. How does the engine figure out which sites are the best ones to show?
2. How do you get your website or page to show on page one of Google?
Yes, well that’s where the Hummingbird comes in. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Before Hummingbird there were a few other updates that were talked about in search engine optimization and marketing circles. Most recently, these were Panda and Penguin. Both of them were Google’s way of getting rid of junk content or spammy websites that were cluttering up it’s index and muddying the search results. These were a couple of the bigger updates and gave the search engine marketing industry something to talk about, but in reality Google makes hundreds of algorithm changes per year. According to Moz, “Google makes 500 – 600 algorithm changes per year.”

What are these changes and why does Google make them you ask?
Sometimes the changes are small ones to shift the way the best quality search results are calculated and to keep search engine optimizers on their toes. Other times there are updates to penalize black hat (read unethical) SEOs for trying to game the engines. And yet other times there are major overhauls of the algorithm or engine to make it perform better in numerous ways. Hummingbird is such an update. It is like a replacement of the entire engine instead of just the replacement or repair of a part of it.

Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand.com says that one of the reasons for the name of the Hummingbird updates is because it is “precise and fast.” If you’ve ever seen a hummingbird, they are amazingly small birds with super powerful wings and thrust. They also seem to understand exactly where their food is based on color and scent and can quickly and efficiently retrieve the energy they need to sustain such an active little lifestyle.

While other updates focused on penalties to sites for keyword stuffing, bad inbound links and poor PageRank, Google’s Hummingbird’s main change is focused around understanding what the user wants. In search and web marketing this is known as user intent and a huge amount of energy has gone into being able to understand user intent in order to provide the most appropriate search results. According to Giselle Aguiar, “Hummingbird looks for natural language — well-written (no typos or grammatical errors), high-quality content on webpages.
Google’s goal in all this is to give the searcher exactly what they’re looking for. Google now wants fresh, relevant content written for the human reader.”

And in a recent case study, Giselle found a way to attract the Hummingbird to the feeder. How? She posted to a blog at least 3 times a week with one of them being a video. Because YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine after Google and YouTube is also owned by Google, “embedding video in a blog post combines the best of both worlds.” And Giselle is not a trailblazer there are many other SEOs backing her up. James Wedmore will tell you this as well. Just look at how many “How to…” articles he has posted on his homepage.

MarketingTypeGuys.com says “businesses that take the time to write content that addresses common questions from consumers, will find themselves naturally rising to the top of Google’s search results pages.”

And Salman Aslam writes: “This doesn’t change everything about the way we do SEO, but, we need to now put less focus on specific keywords and instead, think about what the user is thinking/needing/feeling when they’re searching – and then give them the most relevant content and experience possible. As a site owner, this is your responsibility too.”

Salman also brilliantly shows how there has been a significant increase in the number of “how” and “what” words in search queries over the last few years. Look at his chart here and read his thoughts on Hummingbird strategies.

Last but not least, we still have lots to learn from the pool salesman, Marcus Schneider who was able to sell tons of fiberglass pools in a dwindling economy just by understanding his audience’s needs.

So how do you get found with search?
In Summary:
1. Focus on good content that will be useful to your audience.
2. Answer questions that your customers are asking.
3. Write blog posts frequently and embed videos in them for your own Jab Jab, Right Hook combination.
4. Remember that SEO is a marathon and not a sprint. Content marketing takes time. Know your audience, understand your market and always provide value.
5. Help people find what they are looking for. Answer search questions.

SEO Tips for Blog Posts | SEO for You and Your Blog (not Spot)

SEO Tips for Blog Posts may not be something you search for everyday, but it is indeed something many small businesses are interested in. That’s the reason for this post and I hope you’ll find it useful.

8 SEO Tips for Blog Posts


  1. Determine the keywords your post will be focused on.

    When it comes to SEO tips for blog posts, your first and foremost priority is keywords. You already have a topic for your post in mind, so you likely have some ideas for a keywords, however, your first ideas may not be the best. For example, my first idea for this post was not “SEO Tips for Blog Posts,” so you may want to do a little research to understand which keywords are going to get you the most search volume for the lowest amount of competition.You can do that by entering your keyword ideas into the Google AdWords Keywords Tool.

    It’s meant for use with Google AdWords, but it’s also very helpful for SEO research as well.The first (SEO for you and your blog) tool is your friend Google.For example if you’re writing a post about “Search Engine Friendly Blog Posts” search for that keyword term and look at the results.
    Search Engine Optimization for Blog Posts

    What do you notice? The competition looks very high and the keywords aren’t exactly what you’re writing about.If at first you don’t succeed… try again!

    If we look at “SEO for blog posts” instead we see the following:

    SEO Tips for Blog Posts - Keyword Research

    This is starting to look more promising, because we are seeing low competition and high volume.

    Further down in the list we see

    “seo for you” with low competition and search volume of 60,500.


    “seo tips for blogs” with low competition and search volume of 1,300.

    and a combination of these should serve us well, so now we’re ready for Step 2.

  2. Include keywords in your post title/heading.
    Since we found a couple of phrases with low competition and high search volume, we are going to go with “SEO for You and Your Blog | SEO Tips for Blog Posts.”  This allows us to get more volume of searches with “SEO for You” and also target our audience or people who are looking for help writing SEO friendly blog posts, with “SEO Tips for Blogs.”

  3. Search for your title ideas in Google (SEO Tips for Blog Posts) to see what your competition is.
    ReSearch your competition based on the title your have defined to understand what you’re up against. Remember there are no competitors, only teachers.  What do the results you see from this search teach you?

    Search for Your Competition: "SEO Tips for Blog Posts"

  4. Include keywords in hyperlinks in your post.
    Can you link to a related article, video or site using your keywords in a hyperlink?  If so, this will give you a boost in your search rankings.

  5. Include the keyword phrase several times within the post, but no more than 5% of the post.
    Yoast is the best WordPress plugin for SEO for your blog. The plugin will tell you exactly what changes to make in order for each blog post to be SEO friendly.

  6. Make sure the post is 400 – 800 words long
    Too short and there won’t be enough words for the search engine to understand the relevance of the article.  Too long and you will dilute the relationship between your keyword phrase and the rest of your content.  Don’t overload your post with the keyword phrase you have chosen. Just be sure that appears about 5% of the time throughout the content. The Yoast plugin for WordPress tells you exactly how much you are over.

  7. Add alt tags to any images
    These help human visitors understand what each image is if they are viewing with images turned off and/or if they are visually challenged.  Search engine don’t mind if you include keywords in alt tags, but it is best to be as descriptive of the image as possible so that your blog post is most accessible.

  8. Embed videos and/or add links to videos and other related content
    As with any blog post, it’s always good to add value and offer as much as you can to support your idea.  After all, good content is what people like to share and link to and those inbound links are also extremely helpful in SEO and your search engine rankings.

What are your biggest SEO and blog related tips and/or questions?

How Can You Compete?

I love teaching. It’s one of my favorite things to do on a list that includes playing the clarinet, oil painting, snorkeling in Maui, running marathons, hiking and snowboarding. And it’s up there in my top three.

I just taught the second in a three part class called Maximizing Search Engine Marketing at SF State for the Integrated Marketing Program. In the first class last Tuesday I had such a great time I almost lost my voice. Tonight’s was less intense, but just as fun and a few of the students even came up and told me how much they enjoyed the reader I created for the class. That reader is in addition to the recommended “Inbound Marketing” book, which is excellent and I am honored to recommend, so I feel really grateful for those kind remarks.

George Kao mentioned a something to me in one of his webinars which I really like and am shameless sharing in almost every presentation I make. He said: “There is no such thing as competitors, only teachers.” It is so true. It is very easy to learn from competitors on the web and indeed they are our very best teachers.

I learn from teaching, from competing and from listening to the people that participate in my industry. I hope I am conveying this way of learning to my students. And most of all, to my students, I hope you realize and appreciate how much I learn from you. Thank you.

Here’s a reminder link to that excellent resource for beginner SEOs, thanks to @NealShaeffer

When you love what you do…

When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. In fact it feels more like being on vacation. Last week I was on vacation in Salt Lake City Utah. I was snowboarding at a fabulous resort called Snowbird. Snowboarding Snowbird! Lucky me indeed!

I snowboarded for three days and then took a day off from vacation to get some work done. If work is work for you, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy, but if you really love what you do, you understand the meaning of work being fun. When work is fun and fulfilling it makes you smile, it’s motivating, it can make you laugh and feel happy. Admittedly I was a bit concerned that I enjoyed my day off from vacation so much, but then I looked at this video created by Click to Play Media and saw how happy this work makes me.

Susan Barnes snowboarding at Snowbird, Utah

The video came out of an opportunity to consult with a very interesting start-up called iConfident. The make dental implant software to help dental professionals improve communication, build loyalty, and grow their practice. We looked at their website in terms of search engine optimization and discussed social media opportunities. Susby was collaborating with Click to Play Media who graciously produced this one minute video about Susby in the process. I think you can tell that how much fun it was. On days like this I really love my job.

BIG thank yous to Anna, Brad and Stephanie at Click to Play Media and also to Rob, Robbie and Karoline of iConfident for allowing us to shoot.

My advice to you if you’re not enjoying what you do: Find a way to play more. Do something that makes you smile, i.e. Do what you love, the money will follow. Connect, collaborate and start some conversations. The world revolves around relationships and communication and both are equally important.

Are you working or playing?

Susan Barnes

Hello, my name is Susan Barnes.

Since you’re reading this post, you either already know that I am Susan Barnes, or you found me through a search for “Susan Barnes.”

“So what?” you say. Well, as of the date of this post there are 1,130,000 results for a search on “Susan Barnes.” This number is likely to continue growing dramatically, so if you’re stumbling upon this post months or years after it was uploaded, look at the number of search results for Susan Barnes now.

1,130,000 search results for Susan Barnes on Google

How many search results does your name show on Google? Simply enter your name into the search box, and you’ll see either how common your name is, or how famous you are on Google. The higher the number of search results, the more common your name, and the more challenging it will be for you to get a first page ranking on Google or any other search engine for that matter, unless you control all the listings, because no-one else with your name is doing anything worth mentioning.

Since Susan Barnes is a very common name and there are several Susan Barnes’ with strong online presences (and also quite importantly that I am passionate about search engines,) I am intrigued by the phenomenon of getting a good ranking for your name on Google.

A recent book called Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah of HubSpot recommend that if you are hiring anyone to do any web, social media or online marketing work for you, you must confirm that they have a good digital footprint. This means that if you were looking to hire Susan Barnes to help you with Internet Marketing or Social Media, you would want her name and profile to have a high ranking on the first page of Google.

Today (January 6, 2010) if you Google “Susan Barnes” you’ll see results for Susan Barnes the actress, Susan Barnes the author, who also has the Susan Barnes Twitter handle. There’s Susan Barnes the realtor in Orlando, Florida, Susan Barnes the Firegoddess jewelry maker, Susan Barnes the painter in Mendocino, California, (incidentally I used to do a lot of oil painting in college too,) Susan Barnes the writer, Susan Barnes the art historian, Susan Barnes the social media expert on the east coast, among 1,129,990 others. There’s even a Susan Barnes somewhere back east who has no period in her gmail account (susanbarnes @ gmail . com) where my personal email is susan . barnes @ gmail . com and for I frequently get her mail.  This is very disconcerting, since I’m sure she is likely getting my mail as well. When is Google going to fix this problem? Larry? Sergei?

As I write this post, the Susan Barnes that is me, is indeed listed on the first page of Google, but currently only because I have a Google profile. So lesson number one for those of you with common names like “Susan Barnes,” make sure you create your public Google profile.

Susan Barnes' Google Profile

Susan Barnes

Other ways to get your name listed at the top of a Google search:
2. Be someone that other people want to write about, i.e. get your name eg. Susan Barnes linked from websites that don’t belong to you. This is the same for keywords and search engine optimization. If your keyword appears in link text, it has more value to a search engine.
3. Use your name as your handle in Social Networks. This particular Susan Barnes did not do that, because there are too many Susan Barnes’ in the world (yes I am a bit bitter… grrrrrrr) and when I tried to get SusanBarnes on Facebook, SusanBarnes on Twitter they were already taken. I am Susan Barnes Internet Solutions Consultant on LinkedIn, where I was able to use my name as my handle. I am using Susby on Facebook, Susby on Twitter and Susan Barnes on LinkedIn.
For good examples/role models, see George Kao, Chris Brogan, or Brian Solis.
4. Write a blog post about yourself like this one.
5. Register a domain name with your name it, like susanbarnes.com, susanbarnes.net or susanbarnesauthor.com or susanbarneswriter.com.
6. Use your name in the title tag and meta description of your page or post.
7. Participate in social networks, because reputation is the new currency. Every time you post to Twitter for example, Google is still picking it up and indexing it. What does that tell those of you who can’t fathom why anyone would use Twitter?
8. If all else fails, start a new presence with a catchy name like Shoemoney, Daggle or Susby, but you’ll still need to spend a ton of time blogging, tweeting, updating and participating in order to be considered someone worth listing to Google.

Thank you for reading about the many Susan Barnes’.

Now it’s your turn:  What’s your name and how often do you appear in search results?

Search Meets Social

Google recognizes the power of the social connectors (aka social media) by showing real-time search results including content from Facebook and Twitter. Google is unveiling the “Latest Results” which will show tweets from Twitter streams, updates from Facebook, answers from YahooAnswers and more. To me this indicates the power of real-time results. The freshest content and opinions are what searchers are interested in. Google obviously respects the power of the crowd and continues to believe in us. After all, we are the people who power Google. Google both serves us and we serve them by clicking on ads. It’s a symbiotic relationship.  I wonder if they will start showing Aardvark results as well.

How to add Google Analytics to your website or blog

Remember, without measurement, there is no success. You have to measure and track whatever you are doing to know how much progress you are making.

Without a goal, there is no where to go, no finish line, no end, and without benchmarks you have no idea where you are, or where the starting line is. So, let’s see where we are in terms of traffic to our websites and blogs and then set some goals so that we can start our journey to accomplish them.

tracking visits to your website or blog with Google Analytics

Below is a step by step process for putting a Google Analytics tracking code on your site or blog. If you don’t have a website or blog, then this post is probably not for you, but it you are interested in learning more about how to track visits to your site or blog, for free and with less than 15 minutes of set up time, please follow the instructions below.

  1. If you don’t have a blog, set one up at http://www.blogger.com
    You may need to create a Google Account to do this.
  2. Once you have set up your blog. Create a few posts or entries about something you are interested in.
  3. View your blog and copy the URL (from the address bar) of your blog

    Copy your URL

  4. Open a new tab or window and go to http://analytics.google.com and press the blue “Access Analytics” button

    Access Google Analytics

  5. Once you are logged in, look for the “Add Website Profile” link

    Add a Website Profile link in Google Analytics

    2011-11-11 Update: If you don’t see the Add Website Profile link, look on the right hand side of the screen for “My Analytics Accounts: Select an account” and a drop down menu. Select “Create New Account” at the bottom of the drop down menu.

  6. Click the Sign Up >> button
  7. Paste your URL into the Add a Profile for a new domain field. It is important that you paste YOUR URL, i.e. only a website address or blog address that you have control of. You can NOT track a website or blog that you do not control. You may only track your own sites and blog.

    Add a profile for a new domain

  8. Click the Continue >> button
  9. Enter your Last Name and First Name and select your country, then click the Continue >> button
  10. Agree to the terms and conditions by checking the box and then click the Create New Account >> button
  11. Copy the script code on the following screen where you see “2. Paste this code onto your site.”

    Paste Analytics Code

  12. In blogger, go back to your blog and get to the dashboard, i.e. click new post or edit posts. In your website, you will be copying the script into each page, just before the closing </head> tag. If you have a website set up with a template, you may only need to do this once in a footer file. (If you are not using Blogger, skip to step 15.)
  13. In Blogger, click on the Design tab, and then
  14. Click on the Edit HTML link

    Design Tab on Blogger with Edit HTML Link

  15. Do a find [on a Windows machine, hold down the Ctrl + F keys at the same time, on a Mac hold down Command +F] for </head> in the HTML code page.  Add a line break before you paste so that it works well.

    Find the close head tag
    Analytics script pasted into blog

  16. Save the template and/or your work if you are not in blogger.
  17. Go back to Google Analytics, which you still have open in another window or tab, and click “Save and Finish”
  18. Alert triangle showing that the analytics are not running yet.You will see a yellow triangle with an exclamation point in it. IMPORTANT: It takes 24 hours for the tracking to start happening. If everything is working correctly, in an hour or two, you should see a clock symbol, meaning that Google is “waiting for data.” Check back in 24 hours to make sure the tracking is working and ask your friends to visit your site or blog so that you can see some activity. When everything is working correctly, you’ll see a green checkmark next to the site when you next log into Google Analytics.

If you have any questions about any of the above steps, please leave a comment. Happy tracking!

1 2