Archive for the ‘SEO Tools’ Category

What Does Direct Traffic Mean in Google Analytics?

Monday, January 23rd, 2012 |

Since I’ve been looking this up for my own reaons, I thought I would share my findings. Direct Traffic means of course that there’s NO referrer when the visitor came to the site.

This could be because someone:

  • typed in the URL directly in their browser
  • used a bookmark in their browser
  • clicked a link from an email  with a non-web-based email client (like Outlook)
  • clicked a link in a document (PDF, Word)
  • clicked a link from within a secure site (https://)
  • used a mobile app (which could come from twitter, stumbleupon, email, etc.)
  • some JavaScript redirect links may not set a referrer
  • some corporate intranets may strip out referrers
  • if the user has browser plug-ins to mask their referrer
  • some banner/PPC campaigns may not pass a referrer correctly
  • The IE browser can sometimes be problematic & not send a referrer under certain conditions


Has anyone heard of any other reasons traffic would be identified as direct traffic in Google Analytics?

Link Building with Google Alerts and RSS Feeds

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 |

Link building is something a lot of people struggle to do effectively. The problem isn’t always knowing how to build links, it’s sticking to a couple of tactics and ensuring they yield results before moving onto  the next one. In this post I am going to discuss to one tactic you can implement straight away using Google Alerts & RSS Feeds.

1. Building Ideas

One of the biggest mistakes people make is treating link building as a numbers game. They build a bunch of links and never think about them again. You should treat every piece of content as a sales piece for the site you are promoting. The content should be topical and relevant to the industry you are in. It should be themed around popular subjects.. To get ideas for your content, build your own RSS Feeds as follows:


You can enter keywords in and build a social feed for them. If you use RT “keyword”, it will tell you what people are retweeting. The feed is available at the top right hand corner.

b. Digg / Delicious / PopURLS

These 3 sites are not only great sources of information, but can be used to highlight popular content around your target keyword. All of them allow you to search on a particular keyword and sign up to that RSS feed. Again this will allow you to quickly scan through content and see what is being marked as popular.

2. Stalking Article Writers

Once you have decided on your content from step one, do some investigating on where this kind of content gets picked up. Go to Ezine Articles and find a similar article. Click into it and check right down the bottom for “Most Published EzineArticles in the <Selected Category>”. Select a couple of those article titles and punch into Google [intitle:”<Article Title>”]. This will build you a list of sites (link targets) that accept content you are going to write and also popular writers in your market. For each writer you deem the most popular (you guessed it), sign up to their RSS Feed on Ezine.

3. Tracking Your Links

You should now have produced a batch of content that is already been picked up my 3rd party sites in your market. What most people do wrong at this point is seed the content and then forget about it. This is where Google Alerts come in. Create an alert for every piece of content you seed out. Simply track the article title (in quotes). Within your Google Alerts, set these as “Feed” and pull them into a folder named for the keyword you are targeting. The default for these is “Email”

Now you have a bunch of great articles out in the wild being picked up by 3rd party sites. Each time an article is picked up, review the site and offer more unique content if it’s worth getting a better link from them.

This is just one easy tactic you can implement straight way using RSS Feeds + Google Alerts. There are literally dozens of like these. offer custom link building services to increase your sites visibility and ROI. Check out the full range of SEO Services being offered.

Video SEO: 7 Quick Tips on How to Optimize Your Video for Search Engines

Friday, March 5th, 2010 |

Google has been more proactive in displaying videos, images, news, tweets, and other real time news items in search results.  Among all these pieces, video content is considered to be the one of the most valuable components because it can result in increased traffic and higher conversions for your business if it is done correctly.

Here are the 7 quick tips on how to perform Video SEO:

  1. As far as on-page factors are concerned, the video SEO is similar to webpage SEO.  Title of your video is the most important aspect of on-page video SEO.  If possible, it is best to have your main keyword as the early in your title as possible.
  2. Description of your video should have the relevant keywords as well.  If you are planning on hosting your video on third-party video platforms, write up your video description so that it has relevant keywords as well as a link to your website.
  3. For third party platforms like YouTube, it is important to choose as many relevant tags as possible.  Google will rank the videos both for your target keywords and your tags.
  4. Google’s algorithm is not sophisticated enough to analyze the content of your video, however, if your video does not offer any real value, it will result in higher bounce rate and fewer views and subscriptions, which in turn will negatively affect your rankings.  So don’t just create a video to get links, instead, think of it as a dynamic content.   Add engaging and relevant background music tracks to your video to keep your viewers attention.  Visit to browse cost-effective and engaging background music tracks.
  5. Distribute your video to mainstream video platforms.  One of the best video distribution services is offered by TubeMogul.  It encodes and distributes your video to dozens of video platforms and saves you a lot of time.   The best part is that it is free of charge!
  6. Fire backlinks to your videos.  If your video is related to any of the vertical directories, social bookmarking would help too.  It is best to start off with your YouTube video when you are building links and doing social bookmarking activities.  If you are uploading your video on your site along with the third-party video sites, make sure that your site has unique content (description, transcript etc.) compared to the third-party video platforms.  Offering a transcript of your video is helpful too.
  7. If uploading the video on your site, make sure to offer the “embed video” code to your viewers.   A well done video can serve as an effective link-bait and help you in increasing your authority and presence in your marketplace.

Video marketing is going to be one of the most effective marketing techniques in 2010 and beyond.  Best of all, it allows you to engage with your customers in a way that was never possible before.  Applying the 7 techniques mentioned above would definitely get you started with solid Video SEO.

About the author:
Amy Chokshi offers her consulting services to Phoenix Internet Marketing firm, Niche Solutions, LLC.  She also owns an e-commerce store where she offers beautiful collection of indoor fountains.

Will Yahoo Site Explorer (as we know it) go the way of the Dodo Bird?

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 |

Yahoo-dodoNow that Microsoft will power Yahoo! Search for at least the next ten years, many SEOs (and people who love backlink data in general) are wondering aloud whether the current incarnation of Yahoo! Site Explorer, which shows more backlink data than any available tool, will die right along with Yahoo’s search technology.

If Yahoo is going to farm out all of their search technology–and lay off many engineers in the process—it is logical to assume that Yahoo! Site Explorer will also evaporate.  I can’t imagine why anyone, expect Microsoft, would take pleasure in this.  But what Microsoft needs to understand is that this doesn’t have to happen.  Microsoft can surprise everyone by stepping up to the plate and showing more Bing backlink data.  If they did, they would win many fans not only in the SEO community but in every community that values the freedom of information.  Ultimately, Microsoft should want their search technology to be loved by all people, not hated by SEOs who will blame them for the destruction of Yahoo’s backlink information.

Thankfully, Bing won’t be fully integrated into Yahoo! search for 24 months.  Microsoft has a lot to think about over those months.  Do they want to embrace openness as Yahoo has for many years by showing hordes of information about the links going to the sites in their index?  Do they want to reap the benefits of lifting the veil of secrecy on the backlink information they’ve gathered? Or do they want to be more like Google and show precious little information about the sites in their index?

Microsoft’s search market share will only jump to about 28 percent in the U.S. after their Yahoo integration is complete.  If I was them, I would want to please as many people as possible, not enrage them by completely dismantling a superior product.

We’ll see what Microsoft decides in the next 24 months.  What direction do you think they’ll go in?  Is the slow, inglorious death of the Yahoo! Site Explorer tool inevitable?

Google Analytics Gets an Update with Motion Charts & More

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 |

Google already had the most user-friendly analytics program (you are using it, right?), and now they have added even more features to this wonderful and free tool. Yes, Google Analytics is free and it is invaluable in helping you understand your website’s traffic. You can find more videos showing off these new features, but I have included my favorite below which shows off the new motion charts in Google Analytics.

Checking a Webpage for SEO Quality (According to Google)

Friday, October 17th, 2008 |

My colleague, Will Paoletto, wrote an excellent post about using logic to prove that directory submission was still a valid SEO tactic, despite what you may have heard from other SEO companies. I thought I would take this a bit further and help you decide if the directory submission is really worthwhile by showing you how to judge the quality of the placement page your site would be listed on in the directory.

We’ll start out with idea that you  have an accounting site and you are looking for quality directory submissions.

While a directory may have a decent PR ranking (3-5) you also want to check to make sure the page your listing will be placed on is a quality page. You can use this method for any potential page you are requesting a link for, but this is especially helpful when deciding whether a page within a directory is worth your money.


Use LinkedIn for Link Building

Thursday, September 4th, 2008 |

Many of you may know about LinkedIn. If you don’t, then let me enlighten. Linkedin is a social networking site that targets business professionals. It is helpful in setting up relationships for business opportunities and partnerships. It also has a more social aspect that is gaining in popularity. You can read more about LinkedIn here: What is LinkedIn?

And while the business networking aspect is great, I’m writing to tell you it can be useful for your SEO efforts too, specifically link building. You may not know this, but LinkedIn does not employ the nofollow attribute on its links, like most other social networking sites. So that means we can use LinkedIn responsibly to build some nice one-way links to our sites and blogs. Even better your employees can use this to build some SEO-friendly links to your company site.


The Best Blog Directories

Thursday, August 28th, 2008 |

Okay, I fully admit I got this from Search Engine Journal. It was written by Loren Baker, Editor. So be sure to read the original list there with full content. Thank you, Loren.

I put the list I here so I would always know where to find it, since it is our company blog. I did abbreviate the content and I plan on adding more. I hope if any readers find better blog directories, that are particularly excellent,  they will  add them by commenting below. If they are really good I’ll add them to this list officially.

  1. Best of the Web Blog Search La Crem de la Crem, Best of the Web’s Blog Directory is very selective and only lists aged and valuable blogs.
  2. EatonWeb Blog Directory is a real jewel with many aged inbound links and a blog rating system.
  3. Blog Hub offers a drop down category and member blog list.
  4. Upon visiting Bloggernity, you find a crisp, clean, and easy to navigate site.
  5. Blogarama has an impressive listing of over 65,000 blogs.
  6. Blog Search Engine is owned by Performancing’s parent company and serves search results powered by IceRocket.
  7. Blog Catalog features a vast directory of categories, from academic to writing, while offering the ability to search by country, language, or user.
  8. Globe of Blogs has too many features to list. In order to be listed on the site, the blog must not be commercial.
  9. Blog Universe is the perfect place to promote your video or podcast themed blog.
  10. Bigger Blogs is a relatively new blog directory with only a few blogs registered. The blog is intertwined with a business directory.
  11. Bloggeries has the best categories and subcategories home page on the internet
  12. Bloggapedia has an interesting and eye catching homepage.
  13. Spillbean is a well-designed blog directory site with categories such as health, society, internet, and personal.
  14. Blogging Fusion is a blog with over sixty categories.
  15. Blogflux is not only a tool for bloggers, but a directory that has the listings in alphabetic order.
  16. Bloglisting are fun, colourful, and catch the attention of the reader.
  17. Blogio may be a small blog directory with few listings, but it worthy of a submission.
  18. Blog Explosion claims to be the largest blog promoter on the internet.
  19. Super Blog Directory is a great site that offers tools to posters that others do not.

URL Rewriting for IIS – SEO-Friendly URLS for ASP & .Net

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008 |

We often have clients that host their dynamic sites on IIS which means the file extensions are .asp or .aspx (.Net). This also means the dynamic URLs are SEO unfriendly with many parameters such as: “″. If this were hosted on a Unix platmform with PHP then a mod_rewrite would be in order to clean up the URL structure making it SEO friendly: “”, which is a much nicer URL with descriptive terms. Search engines love that stuff.

So, with a Unix/Apache platform hosting PHP pages, a rewrite is simple. You can read more about it here: Mod_Rewrites.

But for asp and .Net pages it is a bit of a chore. To help with this we have listed a few sources that can help get your URLs rewritten in a jiffy…most of the time. Sometimes is depends if the server has other applications that don’t play well with the ISAPI (Internet Server Application Programming Interface) rewrite module, but you’ll have to ask your host and/or developer about that.

Here are some of the modules that can do URL rewriting on IIS.

Helicon Tech ISAPI_Rewrite

“ISAPI_Rewrite is a powerful URL manipulation engine based on regular expressions. It acts mostly like Apache’s mod_Rewrite, but is designed specifically for Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS). ISAPI_Rewrite is an ISAPI filter written in pure C/C++ so it is extremely fast. ISAPI_Rewrite gives you the freedom to go beyond the standard URL schemes and develop your own scheme.”

QwerkSoft IISRewrite

IISRewrite is a stripped down implementation of Apache’s mod_rewrite modules for IIS. Webmasters who have used Apache’s mod_rewrite in the past will find that much of the configuration and functionality is the same. IISRewrite is compatible with Microsoft’s ISAPI specification and has been tested on Windows NT Server 4.0 running IIS 4 and Windows 2000 Server running IIS 5.


“An ISAPI filter that provides powerful, integrated URL re-writing for IIS. OpUrl has many benefits, including helping to ensure search engines crawl even the dynamic parts of your site. Most search engine crawlers don’t index dynamic pages, e.g. page.asp?item=1 so OpUrl allows you to use static URLs instead. The functionality is very similar to Apache’s mod_rewrite.”

URL Replacer

“The ISAPI filter rewrites/replaces defined parts of URL from browser. It enables url to scripts (.asp, .cgi, .idc) with parameters look like static html pages or specify exact download filename generated by script. You can also create a simple proxy server with IIS and any script engine (.asp,. aspx, …) using URL replacer.”

Microsoft Article on URL Rewriting in ASP.NET

“Examines how to perform dynamic URL rewriting with Microsoft ASP.NET. URL rewriting is the process of intercepting an incoming Web request and automatically redirecting it to a different URL. Discusses the various techniques for implementing URL rewriting, and examines real-world scenarios of URL rewriting. (31 printed pages)”

SEO Tips to Last a Year

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 |

52 SEO TipsIn 2007 I wrote a SEO tip every week. Okay, sometimes I was a little late but at the end of the year I had compiled 52 pretty good search engine optimization tips. A few are out of date, but I have listed which ones and given some information to explain why. Of course you can see all the tips in the 52 SEO tips category on this SEO blog, but to make things easier and to fulfill a few requests I have placed them all in a PDF.

Finding software that would build the PDF easily was not an easy task. In the end, the software did a credible job, but it isn’t exactly like I wanted it. But rather than tweak it endlessly I have decided to release it as is. The good news is it is free and I think most of those in the SEO industry can learn from it. I certainly learned something while putting it together.

So please visit the download page: 52 SEO Tips Download. Give a link back to us if you find it helpful.

Shell Harris

Twitter can be Profitable on Ebay

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008 |

A very resourceful gentleman by the name of Andrew Baron put his Twitter account on ebay. This account has 1,400 followers who have also been put on the auction block whether they like it or not. You can see the auction on eBay. It was up to $1,550 when I took this screen shot, with 7 days to go. Amazing!

Ebay auction for Twitter Account

Why is he sellng his account? From his own words:

I really love my Twitter account but I feel like I haven’t been using it the way I want to. Quite honestly, I feel sorry for all of my followers because they wind up with my tweets in their timelines and I haven’t been able to utilize the medium the way I want to. I also participate in another Twitter account over on Rocketboom so I’m thinking I’ll post more over there and start up a new account to do what I want to do next.

So I guess Twitter does have monetary value and you can throw your “twits” under than bus when you sell it. I would personally be a little upset if I was following him, but you have to appreciate the genius of this auction. What is your Twitter account worth?

If anyone has a twitter account they think I might like to follow please submit it in a comment. I’m still not sold on its value.

Big Oak SEO Blog

This SEO blog is provided by Big Oak SEO, a SEO Company. Most blog posts are related to search engine optimization, short reviews, SEO tips and increasing site conversions. Email us at or give us a call 804-741-6776 to see how we can help your company. More

Want to know what Shell is doing?
Follow Shell with Twitter, just don't expect too much.

Want to subscribe?

 Subscribe in a reader Or, subscribe via email:    
Enter your email address:  
Find entries :