Shifting of Google’s Algorithm

I had to share this article from Search Engine Watch about how they see Google’s Algorithm shifting. The important parts to note are:

  1. Google’s focus on the uptime of your website (keeping the server that runs your site up is more important than ever)
  2. The important of keeping your website bounce rate low (bounce rate are the number of visitors who come to your site and leave within 5 secs, or only look at one page). From the article: “If you’re bouncing over 80 percent of the time back to the search results, it’s highly likely that the rankings will either be demoted or drop off completely.”
  3. Google’s monitoring of the # of RSS subscribers you have and ranking blog articles higher if the blog has more subscribers….Considering that Google has acquired Feedburner, this changing focus on RSS subscribers as a measurement of the value of your site should not be all that surprising.

This has huge implications for nonprofits.

Website Uptime and SEO

If you don’t monitor your website’s uptime, you should. Create a free account on Pingdom today.

Bouncerate and Google Ranking

Look at your bounce rate within Google analytics. If you have a high number, there are two possible explanations:

  • One, you might be ranking for keywords that aren’t related to your core mission. This is where optimizing that page strategically with keywords related to your mission comes in. You can find older articles on this blog that talk about keyword research & and where to put those keywords on your page.
  • Two, your homepage might be just plain confusing. This is where running a usabilty test comes in. The simple 8 second test is to take print out of your homepage, give it to a person who hasn’t seen the site before and let them look at it for 8 seconds. Then take it away and ask them three questions: 1. who owns the site? 2. What is the site about? 3. What can I do on this site? If you get answers not aligned with the goals of your site, you’re in trouble.  It’s best to get a professional firm to run an un-biased usability test of your site, but if you’re financial strapped, you can get volunteers and run a test yourself. Jakob Neilson’s usit.com site has usuabilty testing resources you can use.

RSS Subscribers

If you have a blog and haven’t created an RSS feed using Feedburner’s tools, you should do that today. It will allow you to create a widget on your blog where readers can receive blog updates via email – and those emails are then captured by you and exportable through the Feedburner interface. While I’m talking about RSS, here are a few other free tools I like to use to evaluate the popularity of blog posts. The first is Aids RSS is shows you how popular each of your blog posts are and where they are being bookmarked and shared.

The second is FeedCompare which lets you compare your subscriber #s to your competitors. This is really valuable. And finally here’s a listing of places where you can submit your RSS feeds to promote your site. You might also submit your blog to Wikio which ranks popular blogs by subject matter. It’s also a good idea to follow those popular blogs & provide appropriate comments on posts you like with a link back to the blog you own.

So while nonprofits would rather not think about things like website uptime, the usability of their site, or engaging in social media, all of those items are becoming even more important, and an avoidance of dealing with some of those issues might result in you being booted off the Google index…something you shold avoid.

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