SEO & Analytics

Week 10: 

This week we learned all about Google Analytics and SEO! I had been wanting to learn more about this topic for a while now so I was really interested to see Suzanne walkthrough the backend of analytics as well as the more conceptual knowledge of SEO. This is definitely something I need to further investigate if I want to continue in Web Design and Development. 

Thinking about SEO: 

While I was vaguely aware of SEO as it relates to labelling content, I had to know the idea the depths of the field truly reach. I can understand how SEO in and of itself can be a whole job position. It takes a lot of effort and analysis to recognize the patterns and read through the data captured by google analytics. But I have to admit the nerd in me is just fascinated by how the whole process works. As a user of the internet, I seem to follow most of the SEO guidelines instinctively. However, as a creator, I truly haven’t put that much effort into abiding by SEO best practices. Even though I was aware of SEO, I never bothered to look into the SEO of my own website. Perhaps this is because I didn’t understand how important SEO would be, or because I had assumed that most of my traffic would be from direct links anyways. As a beginner still entering the field I know that my design portfolio will not likely appear on the first several pages of Google’s ranking. Also due to my problems niching down (read Niching Down For Audiences for more info), I don’t have a monopoly or specific area of design that I focus on. To me, this wasn’t a very big deal because I had expected this outcome right out of the gate. I am not expecting that people who are looking for designers would happen to organically scroll to my website. 

Instead, I believe that the power of my website is in the personal. My website being attached to my name was a personal choice, I want it to be the first thing that appears when you type my name into Google. When people look for me, Alyssa Lalani specifically, I want them to find my portfolio. In this case, anyone who wants to learn more about me, rather than design in general, will be able to find me. Luckily because I have a unique name I have already achieved this goal! Type in my name in Google search I dare you! If you do you’ll find that my website is the very entry, as noted below in the screenshot. Furthermore, my personal Instagram and YouTube accounts also show up on the first very page. While I find Instagram problematic since I would rather separate my personal and provisional lives, my youtube channel (which has only three videos) is also linked to my website. 

While I have achieved the SEO ranking that I wassailing for, it doesn’t mean that I can simply be complacent when it comes to SEO. If there is a way to improve my results I would be stupid not to try it! I think one of my main issues is going to be the titles of my portfolio pieces. As of now, the titles are very specific in regards to the project name, which I am learning is already confusing for viewers, as they don’t know anything about the type of project before clicking on it. I think I might experimenting with some category labels that group like projects together, but I also want to highlight my projects in the very specific order they are already in (best to worst). I plan on doing some additional research to figure out how best to rank.

Google Analytics:

I have to admit that I have been very impatient waiting for the lecture on Google Analytics and went directly there myself a few weeks ago to check out the stats. Oh, the man did I ever get confused! Google analytics has such a crazy amount of information I didn’t even know where to begin. It was a little overwhelming at first to see everything that was available and I really only touched the surface. Fortunately, I learned a lot about the terminology and some helpful tricks from Suzanne. I think after digesting the information I can share a bit of insight about my sight. 

As of right now, pretty much my entire audience (of 4 people) is concerned with my PUB101 specific content. If I’m being honest this was a little bit of a hot to the ego at first. I was disappointed that all the work I put into creating portfolio pieces and case studies was just completely overlooked by the academic content for the class. Upon reflecting on it further it does make sense that my classmates would be looking for the PUB101 content to see what I made for the mini assignments as well as peer reviews. I actually think half my audience might actually just be my reviewers since most of the top links were looking at my peer review write-ups. While this makes sense, especially since I am doing the same thing to my classmates, it is a little disheartening that none of my peers are looking through my portfolio pieces. I know this sounds whiny but I thought at least my peers might be interested in the stuff I created! Every time I work on my website I make it a point to check out what my classmates have been up to since I’m genially curious to see their progress. So far the only person I know who has actually looked at my content is Alex Massey (fairthing.net) since she so nicely mentioned it in her peer review! It made my day when she said she liked my content. 

The other insight I found interesting and also disappointing was the average session duration of 20 seconds. I know that people aren’t going to spend a whole lot of time on my website but wow 20 seconds is barely enough to read through my homepage! I really wish I could figure out how to make viewers stay on my page a little longer before they bounce. Some of my classmates had an average of 7 to 10 minutes which means their viewers must be engaging with their website and reading the content. According to my research the average session duration should be between 2-3 minutes, which in theory would give viewers enough time to go through my homepage and click on one portfolio piece. This is something I really hope to improve going forward because I want my website to encourage viewers to go through my work, that’s the whole point of the site! 

I still have a longs ways to go regarding my website, but at least I’m starting the process of learning all about website data!

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