I don’t know everything. I don’t know how planes stay in the air or how to make flaky biscuits or whether we’ll be able to upload copies of ourselves to computers in our lifetimes.
But I know a lot about search engine optimization.
I didn’t initially set out to learn so much about search engines and how audiences and organizations connect through them. In college, I thought I’d end up as a newspaper reporter. Not like for the Huffington Post or something. For a news organization that printed stories on paper. We didn’t have HuffPo back then. Or the web. No one had any idea the internet would turn into anything like this.
I didn’t become a newspaper reporter. I became a technical writer. These days, we think of “tech writers” as people who write for TechCrunch or Gizmodo. I wrote about point of sale systems for retail stores and network monitoring software for SS7 telecom networks and programming interactive voice response applications.
I needed to learn how to code.
So I did.
In 1995 I worked for a telecom startup in Dallas, TX. It was my second real job after college. I wrote programming documentation and end-user documentation and sales and marketing brochures. We created an API and the founders had me find a shop that would publish the reference guide as a leather-bound, gold-trimmed book. (This is completely true.)
I got this crazy idea to build a web site for the company. A web site! You can imagine how well this went over. Anyway, I built it. I had no idea what I was doing. And once I built it, I had no idea how to let anyone know it existed. I put in the meta tags and submitted it to directories and tried sneaking the URL into our marketing brochures.
Nearly 10 years later (after building a lot more web sites and doing a lot more writing and product development), I found myself working at Google. Turns out, a lot of people were interested in knowing how to get people to find out their web sites existed.
While I was at Google, I was lucky enough to be involved in the creation of some tools you’ve probably heard of to help people with this challenge: Webmaster Tools, XML Sitemaps, the webmaster help center, the blog, the discussion forums.
And I talked to people. Lots of people. About their challenges, their needs, their internal business issues.
Search was like a prism: I could see the perspective of Google’s search engineers, who were trying to generate the perfect results to make searchers happy. I could see the frustration of site owners and marketers and developers who needed to reach their customers. And I could see how technical infrastructure and usability and audience analysis were all intertwined.
I was asked the same questions over and over.
After I left Google, I wrote a book to help answer those questions and to pull together the facets of this search prism. I didn’t get it leather bound though. You can buy it on Kindle.
I’ve worked with hundreds of companies since then. Huge enterprise-level companies, tiny startups. Everything in between. And I’ve been asked a lot more questions over and over.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I want to do next. I love learning. I love building technology. I love helping people.
We’ve come so far since those days in 1995 when I was looking for information on how to get people to find my web site. But so much misinformation and speculation exists and so much advice is based around manipulating search engine algorithms rather than creating great sites that users love.
Then there are the technical details. They matter for SEO. A lot. And they can be really complicated.
On top of all of that, we all need tools that can crunch the data and provide analysis but we’re still trying to figure out what data is important. SEO tools are everywhere, but what’s really useful and what’s just measuring the speculation?
There’s great stuff out there, but it can be overwhelming to sort it all out. I just. I mean this is exhausting.
Information is great, but we also need tools. Good data can surface exactly how well things are going and what the problems are with a site’s SEO. And after spending so much time thinking about what was needed in webmaster tools and what was needed in the last search analytics software I built, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned about what data is most useful and how to get it and how to process it quickly and scalably. So my team and I have built cool tools to surface this useful data.
Keylime Toolbox has just launched and includes integrated Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools data analysis that:
- Recovers significant portions of “not provided” data
- Segments data into topic areas so you can better track branded vs. unbranded traffic and understand your audience needs
- Provides keyword-level and segment-level reports that follow the query from impression, to click, to on site engagement
And this is just the beginning. Now that we’ve built this foundation, we’ve got lots more great stuff in the works.
Get Started Now With A Free Trial!
Sign up now for your free trial and check out Keylime Toolbox for yourself.
If you’d like to include log analysis or are an agency managing lots of sites, contact us for details of what we have to offer and discounted pricing that’s available.
I’m excited about what we’ve built and I hope you like it too!