A guide to tracking performance and monitoring competitive intelligence for search campaigns in China.
Successful search engine optimisation (SEO) campaigns require online marketers to set up analytics to reflect performance and analyse user behaviour to your websites. We will need SEO analytics that can give us:
Besides jumping into specific tools/systems to analyse your website's organic search engine performance, you should always refer to the information/reports that are given to you for free from Google's Webmaster Tools.
Google's Webmaster Tools offers site information such as various reports by domain and sub-domain. The reports provided include issues discovered by Google's spider/bot to your site's Robots.txt, XML Sitemaps, sitelinks, geographic/country targeting, malware, crawl errors, and crawl statistics.
Google's Webmaster Tools also shows you reports on the average time when loading a web page on your site, HTML suggestions to your web pages, search queries that have led visitors to your site, internal links and external links that are pointing to your site, keyword themes of your site, subscribers to your site's RSS feeds (if your website offers content in RSS feeds), and Google +1 metrics (new reports).
The Google Webmaster Central Blogprovides feature updates to Google's Webmaster Tools and is a great reference for all webmasters on common and general search engine optimisation issues.
Organic Search Engine Bot Behaviour
Depending on how much traffic your site is getting every day from all traffic sources and from organic search engines, your website's raw log file records almost all activities of visitors and search engine robots to your site and can contain from giga-bytes to tera-bytes of raw data on a single day.
Nihuo Web Log Analyzerallows you to process your website's daily log files and returns analytics reports to reflect behaviour of search engine robots/spiders and human visitors. Though for human visitors' behaviour, you may want to stick with using Google Analytics or other free or paid analytics tools; the main point of using Nihuo is to look at and analyse search engine bots' behaviour (i.e., Baiduspider, GoogleBot, YoudaoBot, Sogou Web Spider, etc.).
Besides providing data on top referring sites and top referring URLs, Nihuo gives you data about your website on search engine statistics including top search engines, top search keywords, and top search phrases by country (IP address), by browser type, total bandwidth consumed by all visitors, bandwidth consumed by search engine bots, time spent of each search engine bot on your website, and any individual web pages.
By analysing search engine bot-related data, you will be able to identify crawling and indexing issues per search engine, and take action to improve your site's visibility in organic search engine results.
Organic Search Engine Keyword Ranking
How much traffic your website gets from organic search engines (Baidu/Google) depends on your keywords' rankings within Baidu/Google's organic search engine results pages.
The Rank Tracker softwarein Link-Assistant's SEO PowerSuite allows you to keep track of any website's search engine keyword rankings.
You should have a keyword list of core/profitable keywords for your website that you expect to rank organically in Baidu, Google, Sogou, Soso, and other organic Chinese search engines. Run your keyword list through Rank Tracker against your website's domain name and Rank Tracker will show you information including keyword, keyword's organic ranking, and landing page URL by search engine of the current day.
Running Rank Tracker with the same set of keyword list against your competitors' domain names will allow you to set up competitive intelligence about your competitors' organic search engine rankings.
If most of your core/profitable keywords have rankings far behind the top 20 organic ranking and/or far behind your major competitors, it is time to take action.
Gordon Choi has paid search experience in Google AdWords and Baidu since 2003; Yahoo/Bing since 2002 and SEO and web analytics experience since 2005 across China, Asia, U.S., U.K. and Australian markets. He gathered China Internet experience through working in-house at Ctrip.com and Alibaba.com and now specializes in setting up SEM/SEO strategies, managing online campaign operations, and implementing web analytics solutions for clients.
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