Following Yahoo!’s recent acquisition of IndexTools, Yahoo! have launched their competitor to Google Analytics at Yahoo! Web Analytics. Yahoo! Web Analytics, like Google Analytics is free but boasts real-time analytics as opposed to 24 hour delayed tracking offered by Google.
Apparently the package is currently only available to Yahoo! Small Business customers who host e-commerce sites on Yahoo and Yahoo! Custom Solutions/Yahoo! Buzz Marketing advertising partners.
The IndexTools package that Yahoo! Web Analytics is based on was $400 a month so that gives you some insight into how powerful a tool this could be when used correctly. I certainly be trialling it in the near future so watch out for a compare and contrast article to follow!
Google has updated it’s guidelines on how to “submit your content” to Google. Basically they’ve detailed a 3 stage process for webmasters:
1) Submit an URL for inclusion in Google’s index.
2) Submit a stiemap through Webmaster Tools.
3) List your business in Local Business Center.
Also supplied are links to various other means of adding content to the Google index such as through YouTube, the Book Search program, Google Base (for shops), Travel and much more.
The Official Google Webmaster Central Blog has a very interesting post on “Dynamic URLs vs. static URLs” and how Google deals with them as well as demystifying some of the rumours surrounding dynamic URLs.
The article starts by explaining the basic difference between the two types of URL and goes on to explain that, yes, Google can crawl and index dynamic URLs and has been able to do for a very long time. Personally I’ve known that and observed it in practice for several years whilst performing SEO on Action Figure Supplies, a site that uses dynamic URLs and has a very large number of number 1 rankings on all the major search engines.
A few parts of the article in particular caught my eye:
“One recommendation is to avoid reformatting a dynamic URL to make it look static. It’s always advisable to use static content with static URLs as much as possible, but in cases where you decide to use dynamic content, you should give us the possibility to analyze your URL structure and not remove information by hiding parameters and making them look static.”
“Does that mean I should avoid rewriting dynamic URLs at all?
That’s our recommendation, unless your rewrites are limited to removing unnecessary parameters, or you are very diligent in removing all parameters that could cause problems. If you transform your dynamic URL to make it look static you should be aware that we might not be able to interpret the information correctly in all cases… However, if you’re using URL rewriting (rather than making a copy of the content) to produce static-looking URLs from a dynamic site, you could be doing harm rather than good.”
These recommendations certainly underline the results of a recent experiment I did with URL rewriting on a client’s site, Rainbow Signs and Safety. I installed a third-party rewriting module into the customer’s third-party shopping cart software to create “SEO friendly URLs” which I hoped would help improve the site’s rankings for it’s sub-pages and large product catalogue. Basically it took URLs such as:
and turned it into:
Useful as it’s putting the product name in the URL, which has to help rankings, right? Wrong. Apart from the numerous sitemap errors that Google Sitemaps threw up (mainly about 302 redirects) and the incorrect stats that Google Analytics reported it also adversely affected the site’s rankings. Although the effect wasn’t massive, it was noticeable and also happened on MSN and Yahoo rankings as well. So I recently turned the module off and resubmitted the un-rewritten URLs to Google, Yahoo and MSN and the rankings are returning.
The Official Google Blog team has posted “A fresh take on the browser” which is a teaser for Google Chrome, a new, open-source, browser from Google. Promising a browser that will enable us to use the web browser to chat, watch multi-media content, view email, interact with friends and more, the beta version (windows only for now with a Mac and Linux version in the works) will be released later today.
Live Search has updated it’s webmasters’ tools console with new features. Now those handy folks at MSN (sorry Live Search) can tell you how many backlinks your site has, and also if there are any issues with your site to stop it being indexed. Whilst the interface is not as easy to use, nice to look at or as polished as Google’s equivalent it certainly does the job.
A new tab has been added to the console called “Crawl Issues” and this shows a form where you can choose from “File Not Found (404)”, “Blocked by REP” (that’s Robots Exclusion Protocol), “Long Dynamic URL” or “Unsupported Content Type.” There’s also an option to filter your results by sub-domain or sub-folder.
The backlinks section has been expanded to now showhow many backlinks you have and the ability to download the data of all the links as a CSV file. However the console itself only shows the first 20 backlinks but there is the option to filter by domain, sub-domain or sub-folder. Downloading the list gives you the same comprehensive information such as page title, url, page score (from 1 to 5), region and language as the console.
Overall a welcome addition to their console and gives me much more reason to use what was a pretty useless application until now. All we need now is for Yahoo! SiteExplorer to start giving us some useful info and all will be good.