Thursday, September 29, 2011

Website Performance, Content Monitoring, and Search Engine Ranking

As everyone in the search engine optimization (SEO) world knows, Panda is the tidal wave of confusion that most website owners never saw coming. We've heard stories of people losing ranking entirely, becoming completely de-indexed, and being out-ranked by websites that are less relevant than theirs. In the website monitoring world, we've done a little bit of research into how our services can help your website rank better; and here's what we've come up with.

Monitoring Website Performance

In case you haven't heard. Google's obsessed with speed. They built a browser that would be the fastest. They show you the amount of time it takes to load their search results. In case you never saw their Google Chrome promotional videos, check this out:

One of Google's new ranking factors is website speed - how quickly your site loads for a visitor. For website owners, if your website's performance is extremely slow, you're going to be shooting yourself in the foot twice.

First, Google, in an effort to ensure that poor load times aren't negatively affecting a website visitor's experience, tracks the amount of time it takes for your site to load. That means content, images, external files, etc. Slow loads times - AKA poor website performance - means worse rankings and possibly being weeded out of your niche search term.

Second, Google is also ensuring the highest quality content for its users. How do they do that? They measure bounce rates. A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your site that view one page then leave. They don't commit any other actions. (Read this Google Blog on Bounce Rate Success Tips) Websites with high bounce rates reflect to the search engine that the content, design, or something is wrong with the website and visitors simply aren't finding what they're looking for. However, we all know that slow load times can make users simply jump back to the search engine. And although they technically didn't visit your website because it was loading before they left, they've still registered a session and so were marked as a "bounce".

So how does Are We Online website performance monitoring help?

Easy. We monitor your site. We report to you when your response time passes a certain threshold. So, for example, you set the threshold for poor load time to 3.5 seconds. When we open a monitoring session for you, and it takes us more than 3.5 seconds to pull up your website we send you an email alert. As the old PSAs used to tell us, "and now you know. And knowing is half the battle." Being alerted to the problem gives you a chance to fix it before it becomes a serious issue.

Website Content Checking

One of the important statistics in your Google Webmaster Central panel is error pages. We all know that websites with a high number of error pages tend to be ranked poorly in user experience. In addition, errors block Google from indexing that page's actual content. So how does content checking and error checking have anything to do with each other?

Are We Online monitors your website's content

When we access your website, we don't just ping your server like some website monitoring tools, rather we download the actual HTML file that the server returns for your homepage and then we search that document for the specific queues you've given us.

Technically, an error page is an actual page. And if we were simply pinging your server, we would see a response and know that the website is mapped correctly in your DNS settings. With our method, we can tell you if your website's not functioning because of some error, and we can ensure that when Google's crawling your site you'll know whether or not you're having technical problems.

As a website performance monitoring service, a website content monitoring service, and a website response time monitoring service, Are We Online is designed to help you improve user experience. When your website is down, slow, or throwing errors left and right, you can't get visitors to convert into customers. It just so happens, with the Google Panda Update, user experience has become a quality ranking factor. Are you sure that your users are getting to what they want from your site, and getting their quickly?

Are We Online Website Performance and Content Monitoring

... to the rescue!! Right? Well, hopefully, this will give you something to think about with your website and how you can improve it, your users experience, and your search engine rankings. There's some more information available here:

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