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Tag Archives: Information Architecture

A definition of information architecture

Search Analytics – Unique visitors to social networking web sites

Compete is a web based search engine optimisation (SEO) tool that provides a range of services to developers. Compete offers various packages, many of which are paid services, the level of service you receive from Compete depends on the amount you pay for your subscription. Compete does however offer a limited number of useful services for free, one of which is tracking the number of unique visitors to a web site. The number of unique visitors is determined by how many distinct individuals visit a site each month, visitors are only counted once no matter how many times they may visit a site.

I have utilized the unique visitor tool that Compete offers to compare some of the popular social networking web sites. The sites that are compared for their unique visitors are Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and delicious. As Google+ has not been open to the public for that long, Google+ is a little misrepresented in the line graphs below. There has been a lot of interest in Google+ but there has also been difficulty for people to join see this long list of comments in response to this article.

The comparison is being made over four months from April 2011 to July 2011 inclusive. The charts below show the number of unique visitors to each site as generated by unique.

April 2011
Social Networks 04/2011

May 2011
Social Networks 05/2011

June 2011
Social Networks 06/2011

July 2011
Social Networks 07/2011

April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011
FacebookFacebook 137,917,539 142,666,563 146,178,617 149,820,491
TwitterTwitter 27,504,233 28,741,503 31,653,497 32,420,163
LinkedInLinkedIn 16,189,190 19,285,889 21,152,051 21,358,653
DeliciousDelicious 50,622 40,136 40,859 97,963
Google+Google+ N/A N/A 298,508 5316,388

Table 1

As you can see from table 1 above and the line graphs generated by Compete, all of the social networking sites have seen increased traffic from unique visitors. Delicious had less in May and June than April but in July, there were considerably more visitors than the previous months. Although this comparison has been made over a relatively short time frame, it highlights the ever increasing growth in traffic that social networking sites have been obtaining for some time. You can see from this article from January 2008, that the growth of these web sites is somewhat of a phenomenon.

The social networking sites being discussed here have enjoyed growth, but not all social networking sites have grown. MySpace has seen its market share decline in recent years, though it seems to now have more of a niche market in the music industry then for the general user. This BBC article shows a few other sites that are experiencing a decline in market share; it also shows some interesting data about the use of social networks in different countries.

In spite of some sites experiencing a decline in popularity, social networking web sites are still experiencing a growth in the number of visitors. People are using these sites more and more, and the availability of the sites is increasing. According to Comscore there has been a large increase in access to social networks in the previous year (U.S), with Facebook via a mobile device growing by 112% and Twitter at a 347% growth. With this kind of access, it is convenient for users to access their social networks anywhere and anytime, while the growth in the use of these kinds of devices continues, so with it will be the growth in the use of social networking web sites.


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Search Engine Optimisation for Blogs

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving a web sites visibility to search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. By improving the visibility to search engines SEO aims to have a web page appear higher in the list of search results of any given appropriate search, thereby increasing traffic on the site or page. SEO may target different types of searches e.g. News or Images and these different searches can be made using most general purpose search engines such as Google.

Search Engine Optimisation

Generally, optimising a website involves editing the content and the coding to increase the relevance to specific keywords (aslo known as “index terms“) and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. It can also involve increasing the number of incoming links to the page or site and increasing the number of outgoing links.

In this post, I am going to look at ways to make a blog more search engine friendly and how to utilise SEO techniques to improve a blogs visibility to search engines on the web. Blogs are naturally search engine friendly because they are rich in text, links and are frequently-updated, they are web pages that use cascading style sheets (CSS). As blogs are web pages, SEO on a blog is similar to SEO for web pages but for Blogs, SEO is focused on giving something to talk about and something worthy of attention.

There are a number of ways that you can make your blog more search engine friendly

  1. Use the primary keyword of you blog in the domain name (the URL of your blog).
  2. When you set up the domain of your blog, ensure that you have used the keyword in the domain name. For example if you were doing a blog on “metasearching” and you wanted to be found with the keyword “metasearching” then ensure that this appears somewhere in the domain name.

  3. Use the key phrase that you want to be found by in header tags and in the title of blog posts.
  4. If your primary key phrase is “search engine optimization”, you need to ensure that this appears in whole or part in the blog headers and in the title of each post. Most blogging software will create permalink posts with these keywords in them, but for server side software such as WordPress (used for this blog) you may need to change the permalink structure to maximise findability.

  5. Use your secondary keywords in the body of your post.
  6. When writing the content of your post, consider the words and phrases that someone may use when conducting a search. These are the secondary keywords that you want to include, try to use them throughout your blog. Do not overdo it, as overuse of your keywords can reduce the apparent value of your content. You should also use these keywords wherever possible as “alt” and “title” in your images and outgoing links in the blog. By carefully wording you content you ensure that you have an appropriate keyword density.

    Search Engine Spiders

  7. Make sure every page is linked to every other page by using sidebars and linking old posts.
  8. By having every page linked in such a way ensures that the search engine spider can crawl over your blog and index the pages more effectively. This makes them (the pages) more available to anyone conducting a search for your content.

  9. Try to establish inbound links to your blog.
  10. Incoming links help to increase your Pagerank and help to increase your blogs ranking in search engines. Although you may have less control over this than other factors, there are still some things that you can do:

      Submit your blog to blog search engines and directories.
      Exchange Links with similarly themed blogs.
      Add your blogs URL to your signature on forum posts on other sites.

    Of course, quality content will entice other bloggers and sites to link to your site, so a focus on developing the content of your blog will assist in generating inbound links.

  11. Once you have set up your blogs domain, don’t change it.
  12. If you change your domain name or system, any links that you have generated will be lost and you blog will become more difficult to find. This is the opposite of what we are aiming for when considering SEO for a blog.

There are many SEO tools available for you to use, here is a good list. These can assist you when you are optimizing your blog and many of them are free to use. You can easily gain valuable information about your domain, the use of keywords in your content; the amount of incoming links to your site and many other aspects relating to the SEO techniques described is this post.


Useful information can be obtained from the following links

 

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Welcome

Information architecture is an important factor when designing web sites for usability. Users of sites are bombarded with information, and to ensure that they are not overloaded with information the structure of the information must be managed to allow them to find what they are looking for.

The way that web sites are designed and constructed causes us to react. This reaction can be good or bad, depending on the usability of the site. If a web site has a logical structure that helps us to find the information we are looking for then we find it easy to use and are usually satisfied with the result. If a site is not logically laid out and seems to lack intelligible organisation, users become frustrated whilst attempting to navigate through them. They get lost in a mountain of information that is not pertinent to their requirements.

Information architecture is defined by Peter Moreville and Louis Rosenfeld in their book “Information Architecture” – 3rd edition as:

  1. The structural design of shared information environments.
  2. The combination of organisation, labelling, search and navigation systems within web sites and intranets.
  3. The art and science of shaping information products and experiences to support usability and findability.
  4. An emerging discipline and community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.

By conducting a Google search “how much information is produced each year” a BBC news article was retrieved, the article states that US researchers estimate that 800mb of data is produced each year for every person on the planet, as we are approaching 7 billion people, that is approximately 5600000000 gigabytes of information each year. The research also found that the amount of data being produced is increasing by approximately 30% each year.

See the article http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3227467.stm

Although we have been structuring and organising information for a long time, in the digital age it is more important than ever. Due to the penetration of internet connectivity and such an abundance of information, the infrastructure for communication is in place. Unfortunately in spite of the available information, it can be difficult to find and integrate.

In this blog, I will be discussing some aspects of the World Wide Web. I will look into search engines like Google, Yahoo and some special search engines. I will discuss blogging, and in particular, how to make a blog search engine friendly. That is, how you can make your blog easily discoverable by web search engines. I will post about the use of search analytic tools, using one to chart the number of unique visitors to popular social networking sites. And, I will look into and post about the use of wikis for the purpose of information sharing and collaboration.

Welcome to my information architecture and content management WordPress blog.

 

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