Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Re-writing hubs to produce better ads

I finally re-wrote my Sarkozy hub, because though it was about President Sarkozy, his many wives and much gossip about them all, the ads served up were dating ads such as "get a thai bride" (!), and clearly people interested in Sarko gossip wouldn't be interested at all in the ads (and hence no clicks).

I initially thought the problem was the use of the word "wives" in the title, but changing the title made no difference. Anyway, I then put the hub through a keyword density tool, which advised me that I had used the words 'married', 'divorce' and 'wives' a few times (each occuring about 1.5% of the time), as you would when talking about a man constantly marrying and divorcing. But these were what was triggering the "find a wife" ads. So I went through and used synonyms and reworked the text, and also played up the celebrity aspect of Carla Bruni to get more celeb type ads.

It was a success - the ads are now relevant at last (though the change didn't show up till I had cleared my cookies - Google's personalised ad cookie must have concluded that I wanted to see dating ads after I refreshed that page a few times LOL).

Note to self for the future: I need to use the keyword density tool when I create future hubs to make sure I've actually got the right collection of words dominating.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Should you optimise for more than one search engine?

Have been reading a very interesting SEO theory blog by Michael Martinez, who said that we should distinguish between the number of searches done by each search engine and the number of individual visitors to the search engines.

He wrote an article quoting figures from Quantcast showing that in Dec 2008, there were about 103 million US visitors to Live/Search.msn and 136 million US visitors to Google. Google's share of the total visitors is about 33%, and Live/Search/msn's is about 22%.

Now lots of people are reporting that in the total number of searches, (as opposed to visitors), Google handles some 67%-70%. He thinks this is because people use Google for other things than search (eg to check spellings, perform calculations, find phone numbers), but these are not things that result in click throughs to websites. Also, the SEO community uses Google resources heavily, bombarding the search engine with automatic tools that are trying to find out where in the listing certain pages are. A good number of searches on Google are just down to these tools making queries.

I decided to have a look at Quantcast for myself. For Feb 2008, Quantcast is showing 109.2 million US visitors to live, 141.1 million US visitors to Google and 125 million US visitors to Yahoo.

Which means that Yahoo plus MSN/Live have 234.2 million visitors, overwhelming Google.

Martinez also says you should look at the demographics of your own site before deciding which search engine to target. On another post, by way of illustration he showed the top ten searches on Yahoo for 2008 and Google for 2008. They were different. Yahoo was heavily celeb oriented (the only non-celebrity on their list was Barack Obama). Google showed a more tech based audience - in their top ten was the iphone and Facebook.

This struck a chord with me - my Sarkozy hubpage is getting a lot of hits from Yahoo, but the Get out of debt page is getting hits from Google.

The Quantcast profiles provide fascinating information about what pages visitors to the respective search engines also visit. MSN people seem to like visiting Fox Sports, Newsweek and PC World. Yahoo people seem to be visiting Ebay, paypal, recruitment websites, plus dating sites like lovingyou.com and reallycute.com. Google visitors are into lyrics, cartoons and reference sites such as brainyquote.com

My head is absolutely buzzing with this. Of course it makes sense to optimise your site for the engine that delivers the best demographic. But it's hard to get onto MSN/Live or Yahoo. Google is kinder to the little guy. You start a blog and they will index it and feature it for at least a day, to give you a chance to make an impact (later they may drop you, but at least they gave you your initial chance). The other serach engines don't seem to like the little site and only give you traffic once you are really established.

Getting back to my problem of getting targetted traffic to my hubs - maybe I shouldn't be worrying too much about dating ads on my Sarkozy hub, if Yahoo visitors like both celebs and dating sites. Maybe Adsense served up the right sites after all...

My next step is to try to find out how to optimise for Yahoo and MSN when I'm targeting the type of demographics they deliver.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Titles of Hubpages and Blog posts - some thoughts

Though I put adsense on my Nicholas Sarkozy hubpage, I found I was still getting dating ads. It suddenly dawned on me that it was because I had used the word "wives" in the title. So if I want different ads to show up, I need to think up a new title.

Serves me right for writing that hub in the first place! My original plan was to write hubs on things people would Google in a recession, and my get out of debt hub fitted that strategy. But then I thought it would be "fun" to write something a little topical and gossip like.

And it was fun to write, and I am getting readers. But the people who read hubs like that don't click ads, why would they. There isn't anything for them to buy, their "need" was one for gossip, which I neatly fulfilled by writing the hub. They leave satisfied, I sit here wondering why I am still poor.

Moral of the story: they only things that make you money are the bread-and-butter things - how to get out of debt, how to make a chocolate cake, that sort of thing, where people need to buy a service or good to complete their need, whether it is a cookbook or some flour. News and gossip doesn't make anyone any money, because the people who read it don't necessarily have any need that would be fulfilled by the ads.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Update on Hubpages

It's been a month since I started this experiment. The good news is that I am starting to get search traffic for my hubs. I'm on the first page of the search results for the keyword, Do It Yourself Debt Management. OK, there is not a lot of search volume for that, but still we have to start somewhere and it's nice to be ranked for something.

The bad news is that Kontera isn't really working out. The ads seem to be inappropriate. I have turned it off on my hubs and have put Adsense on. I will report back in a month as to how that has gone.