The first SEO class of Katie James Pixelated was a success! Fifteen women with companies or working for companies attended, and it was held at the boardroom in the lovely In Good Company (with use of their super fun projector to project my laptop).
We covered everything from the 5 top areas of each web page that you must pay attention to if you want effective SEO, to why the 1 random search term that someone used can be your next big traffic hit, and should not be ignored. My trusty strategy partner Melissa took notes on our official dry erase board so that we can design more and better classes. Here's who was there: Sara from PopJudaica (hip Jewish t-shirts and gifts), Robyn from ChiqueLife (women's plus size clothing), Nicole from Lucky for Baby (cute baby cloths boutique), Kathleen from Kathlin Argiro (fab bridal designer), Betty from Betty Newman's Trendspotting (blog of amazing and unique product finds), Judith from ReelInvitations (dvd wedding invitations), Renee, an Intellectual Property Attorney, Kim Do, the New York based wedding and makeup artist, and Jill from Fretzels (chocolate covered pretzels) (who brought us some of her chocolate covered fretzles!! yumm!!)
What I wanted everyone to know about SEO, so that you can get control of it and feel like you are confidently steering a ship in sea of swelling competition, is to keep track of what you do. This can be done in the simplest of Excel documents. This way, when you are looking in your Google Analytics, or some other stat program, you can know what happened at the same time of a spike in traffic earlier in the month, or why your traffic for a certain keyword has started to decline (goodness forbid).
Here are the columns that I use to keep dated track of things:
Date , Detail of Change, Page Changed, Notes ,Results
When you put this in Excel, you can look down the list to easily find the date, then quickly see what you did. Here are some sample data entries I entered that have helped explain traffic spikes:
6/21/08 | Emailed Katja at @skimbaco that I posted about her shirt
6/22/08 | @skimbaco tweeted "don't bug me" post | Got X number of hits
8/24/06 | Posted 1st desktop art design to Sumbleupon at night | Got 200 hits
4/9/08 | Put up newsletter signup in side column. | No signups. Still dry. :(
4/20/08 | Put up new design of newsletter signup. | Signups!! Dryspell over!
5/08/08 | Sent Mothers Day email to newsletter subscribers. Subject line had "shipping coupon" in it. | No sales. However, higher open rate than usual. ChicagoTribune.com featured dog treat bag with mysteriously same copy I wrote in the newsletter. Hmm...Must have a subscriber at Tribune!
Because I do this for my own sites (shopping cart site + 2 blogs), as well as those of clients, I keep these changes on Worksheets on the same Excel document. That way, I don't have tons of documents floating around. But this is my personal organization style that might not work for you.
Just remember: Be mindful of changes you make to your website, so that if you do something good, you can repeat it, and if you do something bad, you can try to revert back to how it was and stop the bleeding!