Top 10 Web Site Monitoring Tips

2005-09-15by Vadim Mazo

You’re not about to read anything new. In fact, you’ve probably come across these “steps” in some of your readings. Funny thing is, very few “SEO folk” follow them. Yes, I sometimes wonder myself why…

OK, so what happened to my previous declarations that “there are no rules to SEO”? Well, there aren’t. I’ve always preferred to use common sense, knowledge and a methodical plan of action when deciding on a SEO strategy.

So what does this “plan” consist of? Again, nothing groundbreaking. Some of you may already use a couple from my list below. Perhaps even all (I sure hope so!). But just in case you’ve fallen blind to the wealth of SEO information at your disposal, allow me to clear the air and share with you what I see as the fundamentals of any SEO campaign.

1. Review Your Site

You’d be surprised how many folk out there don’t actually review a site prior to digging into quotations and developing strategies. Some think that one successful strategy that worked for one site will be equally as successful for another site. Surprise dear reader; no two sites are ever the same!

It is imperative that your site be examined for any issues that might hinder good rankings on search engines. You should take this one step further by being aware of any issues that might make your site a user-nightmare. This includes your site’s style, design, architecture, and content.

Questions to ask yourself include: is it clear what the purpose of my site is? Is my site easy to navigate? Is my site too graphic intensive?

2. Research Your Target Market with Meticulous Keyword Research

I have always said that keywords are the heart of any search marketing campaign because they generate much of the life your online presence requires to sustain itself. They do this by generating traffic to your site. Without traffic, a website is merely an empty byte of unused bandwidth.

Nothing is as fundamentally important as choosing the right keywords for your website. These words will be used to make your site search engine and user friendly in a number of different ways.
Several proprietary keyword research tools are available. Wordtracker, for example, is an extensive tool that allows you to find popular search terms, the frequency with which they are entered into search engines, as well as the amount of indexed sites that are competing for that term.  There are however many other valuable sources available for researching your keywords.
3. Optimise Your Site Content

By optimising your site’s content for your target market and search engines, your site will benefit from high search engine rankings and good conversion rates.

The role of web content is to enlighten a reader and entice a desired response. In most cases this is to generate a lead; a name, phone number, or email address. This information will in turn feed your sales department with invaluable contacts, relying on their traditional selling techniques.

I am sure that you have come across the saying that “people read differently on the Net”. This is absolutely correct! People don’t read word for word on the Internet. They scan! They look for headings, bold text, hyperlinks, keywords, and short paragraphs. Time is of the essence on the Net and the one thing that comes between the array of information on the Web and the users that use the Internet is impatience. Contrary to my articles, – I am a verbose individual to say the least - web writing needs to be kept as brief as possible.

4. Optimise your site’s HTML coding

While keywords are the heart of a SEO campaign, HTML code is the core of every web page. Sure, Internet users don't see the actual HTML code, but search engine spiders do. In fact, this is all they see. For this reason, it’s important to optimise your site’s HTML coding for high search engine rankings.

I’m often surprised to learn that an otherwise proper looking page in Internet Explorer looks different in E-business websites need reliable website monitoring services. Here are 10 things to look for when choosing a solution:

1. Content Monitoring

Many companies offer only a connectivity test either by simple ping or by monitoring the HTTP port. This is not enough. As web applications become more and more complicated, there is need to verify more than connectivity. A good monitoring solution will read the server response, analyze content for errors and check for timeouts.

2. Content Analysis

Deep content analysis means analyzing each page for proper content and correct server response. 

3. "Full page" download versus HTML download

Many companies provide an option to monitor your web site. When you issue a server request, the web server responds with HTML that includes references to the images, applets and controls on the web page. Most services ignore the references to those components. An excellent monitoring service provides an option for monitoring the full page- meaning it downloads and checks every component of the page- providing the site owner with real information on user experience.

4. Business Transaction Monitoring

Many sites today contain dynamic processes, such as account logins, sign-up processes and shopping carts. Thorough “business process” monitoring checks that each page along the way is properly served by the web server. An excellent service monitors the complex business transactions and checks and records data for each page along the way. This provides a site summary on the whole transaction or slices of information on each individual process.

5. Performance Monitoring

Uptime/Downtime statistics are only part of the data that a good external monitoring tool collects.  Another important metric is performance of the site.  A service should record

performance data about each page and make that data available through real-time, online reports.

6. Location Monitoring

It is important to monitor websites from multiple locations. This gives better perspective on performance and availability of the site worldwide. Checking from multiple locations determines if a problem is localized to specific networks or if it is something that affects all users.

7. Problem Detection

An excellent monitoring service provides an algorithm for detecting errors. The internet is a large and ambiguous network, spanning multiple countries, networks and vendors.  Small, short outages are common, but a good web site monitoring service will determine the difference between real outages and short mishaps on the network. (You probably do not want to be notified at 3a.m. if a router in New Zealand went down for several seconds.) A good service will design a proprietary algorithm that compares results from your site to other sites, other locations and other checks run within short time intervals. The service then decides if it is a false alert.

8. Problem Analysis

When a problem occurs and is reported a good monitoring tool will provide information to the customer about the problem as well as additional information that allows the user to quickly and accurately determine the source of the problem. An excellent service will take a snapshot of the page and also perform a network trace route. Those two steps will determine if the problem is a network issue or a server problem.

9. Alerts and Notifications

A good service will provide notification options that include phone, pagers, SMS and wireless email.

10. More then just web site monitoring

Internet business consists of more then just a web server. There are DNSs (data name servers), Mail Servers and FTP servers. There are firewalls and routers. A good solution should offer monitoring of all those services, providing complete coverage to your e-business infrastructure.

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Vadim Mazo

Vadim Mazo, CTO, Dotcom-Monitor. Dotcom-Monitor www.dotcom-monitor.com is an advanced Web Site Testing and Monitoring Service that ensures the reputation and profitability of your e-business by bringing together Monitoring, Reporting, Notification, Escalation and Analysis in the combination best suited to your needs. View Vadim Mazo`s profile for more

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