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If you do not have a Google user name, you can create one when you sign up for the application. It’s
simple. Provide your e-mail address and a password, type the verification word from the graphic pro-
vided, and then read the Terms of Service and click “I accept. Create my account.”
Once you’ve created your user name and password, accessing the tracking capabilities of Google is
no problem. You’ll need to copy a snippet of text that Google provides into the coding of your web
site. Once you’ve added the code to your site it will take a few days for Google to gather enough
information to provide reports about your site, and as much as two months to gather enough data
to give you real insight into your site. But once there is enough data, you’ll have access to the key-
words that most often lead visitors to your site.
Google Analytics can also be combined with Google’s AdWords program to provide paid keyword
tracking and information. To learn more about Google Analytics, check out the book Google Analytics
2.0 by Mary Tyler and Jerri Ledford (Wiley, Aug 2007, ISBN: 978-0470175019). It should be noted
that Google Analytics doesn’t track spiders and crawlers at this time, however, so there may be some
limitations to its SEO functionality. Still, if you need a (free) tool to help you examine some of the
metrics surrounding your SEO efforts, Google Analytics is a good starting point.
Internal and external links
Another element of organic SEO that’s just as important as your web-site content is the links on your
pages. Links can be incoming, outgoing, or internal. And where those links lead or come from is as
important as the context in which the links are provided.
When links first became a criteria by which crawlers ranked web sites, many black-hat SEO users
rushed to create link farms. These were pages full of nothing but web links, some of which led to
relevant information and some of which led to sites in no way related to the topic of the web site. It
didn’t take long for search engine designers and programmers to catch on to these shady practices
and change the way that crawlers use links to rank sites.
Today, links must usually be related to the content of the page, and they must link to something
relevant to that content. In other words, if your links don’t go to or lead in from pages that match
the keywords that you’re using, they will be of little value to you.
The balance of links that are included on your page is also relevant. Too many links and your
site could be labeled as a link farm. Too few and you’ll lose out to sites that have more and
better-targeted links.
Your best option when including links on your web site is to link to the pages you know for sure
are relevant to your site content. Don’t include a link unless you’re sure it will have value to your
users, and then take the time to pursue links into your site from them as well.
One other type of link, the internal link, is also important. This is a navigational link that leads users
from one page to another on your site. The navigation of your site (which is what these links are,
essentially) should be intuitive, and natural in progression. And you should also include a site map.
26
Understanding SEO
Part I
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