It’s simple to get a site crawled by Google, but it’s hard to get people to visit it. A large part of a webmaster’s job is making sure that the site’s visibility remains high, and a lot of that has to do with the design of the site itself.
Another part of the process is using tools dedicated to traffic analysis, keyword research, and other things that affect site rank on Google and other major search engines. This process is called search engine optimization, or SEO.
Most of the weapons in a webmaster’s arsenal analyze site traffic. They can be used to keep an eye on who is visiting a site and what source referred them there. A site can be modified based on this information to drive further traffic to it.
Let’s use an online tea store as an example. If the webmaster of this store finds that his customers are also interested in coffee by analyzing their traffic, that webmaster will know that it’s possible to profit by expanding into this neighboring market.
As another example, let’s say that this tea shop is getting a lot of traffic from searches related to Japanese culture. If the site already sells green teas, the webmaster can capitalize on the large number of searches about Japan by writing about Japanese culture and tea etiquette, which will increase his search engine ranking for keywords related to that topic. This will ultimately bring sales to the site’s tea selection, which hasn’t changed a bit.
Some of the most prominent web analytic tools listed below will enable more SEO strategies like those just mentioned.
Tool 1: Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a tool that allows a webmaster to analyze how much traffic is coming to a site and from which sources. This is the primary factor influencing how a site ranks on Google.
It also provides information about which parts of the site are being used most frequently. Additionally, this tool lists the geographic location of visitors, among other vital variables.
Google has added a feature to Analytics that provides information about users on a site in real time, although it’s limited to domains that have fewer than five million visitors per month.
Tool 2: Google Search Console
This is another free tool provided by Google. Instead of analyzing traffic to your site, it provides information about the factors that are influencing your search engine ranking.
From the Search Console, a site’s listing status can be determined, as well as what rank it currently has for certain keywords. Further, it explains which keywords are most commonly associated with a site.
Both Analytics and Search Console services from Google are essential to understanding and optimizing web traffic. They’re the bread and butter of all webmaster tools.
Tool 3: Moz
Moz is an SEO suite with an abundance of features. Moz provides clear, complete, and detailed reports on a site’s keywords. It monitors search engine rankings in real time and provides a number of other useful reports to aid in decision making that will increase a site’s traffic.
This tool comes with too many features to list in detail, but the bottom line is that it’s indispensable for SEO, especially with its modest price point.
One of the best features of Moz is its keyword research tool. It provides a lot of information that Analytics and Web Console will not. Keyword research is possibly the most important aspect of an SEO strategy, affecting every part of a website.
Moz’s reports on keywords are complete and detailed, providing all the information webmasters will need to make effective decisions about their site’s content.
Tool 4: SpyFu
SpyFu monitors and analyzes competing sites’ SEO efforts in as much detail as one’s own. With this tool, webmasters can see keywords that competitors have previously bought on Google Ads plus every SERP (search engine results page) they’ve had for the last 12 years.
With this information, the webmaster can either compete for certain keywords or look for other more effective strategies. In any case, knowledge is power, and this tool offers plenty of both.
This is another software suite that a webmaster will want to keep on hand for any SEO endeavor. It goes hand-in-hand with all the aforementioned services.
Tool 5: Google Trends
This is a great resource for researching niches. It can be used before a site has gone live to find out what search terms are currently popular and which ones are growing.
When you plug in a query, Google Trends will show you what other search terms are related to your query, what other topics are closely associated with it and, most importantly, which ones are shooting up in popularity.
There’s an art to selecting a niche which is separate and yet intrinsically tied with your search engine optimization efforts. This is a tool that should not be ignored, especially since it can be used by anyone for free.
Tool 6: Bing Webmaster Tools
Microsoft’s services are similar to the Google Search Console, providing the same information for Bing. A good SEO strategy won’t ignore Google’s largest competitor.
Other competing search engines are appearing as well, some with their own analytic services. It might seem like a lot of work to optimize your site for two complex and sophisticated search platforms, but it’s best to cast your net as wide as possible. However, if you only have time to focus on one search platform, start with Google.
This has been a sprawling overview of the tools of the SEO trade. The most commonly used tools are the free ones provided by Google. There are many ancillary tools besides the ones listed that can also be helpful.
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The Web Application Design and Development program at Hunter Business School is an introduction to the latest industry leading website development practices. It teaches the basics of web development, starting with building basic HyperText Markup Language (HTML) web pages.
Web Application Design and Development program students learn to edit HTML code using plain text editors, the basics of HTTP(S), FTP protocols, and troubleshooting techniques.
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