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Our free click-through in the newsletters of www.matamata-info.co.nz - www.tearoha-info.co.nz - www.thames-info.co.nz - www.morrinsville-info.co.nz goes to the following town websites - www.matamata-info.co.nz/MatamataClubInc (check out what's on at the Club!) - www.thames-info.co.nz/temata (fancy an Autumn break?) - www.tearoha-info.co.nz/HolidayPark (consistently Te Aroha's most popular website) - www.morrinsville-info.co.nz/market (definitely worth a visit!)

April Stats - 8846 Pageviews from 4234 unique visitors.
April's top directories in order of popularity were -
www.thames-info.co.nz/RapauraWatergardens
www.thames-info.co.nz/HuiaLodge
www.thames-info.co.nz/windows
www.thames-info.co.nz/KauaerangaCountry
www.thames-info.co.nz/Harcourts
www.thames-info.co.nz/temata

www.thames-info.co.nz/thorold


Our most visited index pages, in order of popularity were: ACCOMMODATION - BUSINESSES - INFORMATION - ACTIVITIES - MAP - COROMANDEL

Some extra statistical info:
The information below shows us the top 10 entry, and exit pages for www.thames-info.co.nz. As expected the index page ranks No. 1 and also, not surprisingly includes some of our top sites and indexes. The exit pages are an indication that the visitor has found what they are looking for and exited via that page. We can see that 38.18% of visitors arrive via the index page and 22.38% leave via that page ... an indication that many visitors may have gone on to find what they want! (You can visit these pages by clicking on the links below). Also very encouraging to see that almost 62% of visitors are going directly to the pages with the information they require and bypassing the index page.

Top 10 of 35 Total Entry Pages
# Hits Visits URL
1 1397 5.64% 1223 38.18% /
2 391 1.58% 247 7.71% /businesses.htm
3 223 0.90% 161 5.03% /map.html
4 247 1.00% 133 4.15% /windows/
5 217 0.88% 124 3.87% /coromandel.htm
6 339 1.37% 120 3.75% /information.htm
7 285 1.15% 107 3.34% /HuiaLodge/
8 471 1.90% 105 3.28% /accommodation.htm
9 291 1.18% 98 3.06% /RapauraWatergardens/
10 216 0.87% 92 2.87% /KauaerangaCountry/

Top 10 of 35 Total Exit Pages
# Hits Visits URL
1 1397 5.64% 856 22.38% /
2 391 1.58% 279 7.29% /businesses.htm
3 247 1.00% 211 5.52% /windows/
4 471 1.90% 185 4.84% /accommodation.htm
5 291 1.18% 171 4.47% /RapauraWatergardens/
6 223 0.90% 171 4.47% /map.html
7 339 1.37% 169 4.42% /information.htm
8 210 0.85% 152 3.97% /Harcourts/
9 216 0.87% 146 3.82% /KauaerangaCountry/
10 285 1.15% 137 3.58% /HuiaLodge/


Natural Search - The Great Equaliser

You scroll down past the banner ads and enter your search term. You pass the "sponsored results" without a glance. You ignore the shaded results to the right, as well as the additional "sponsored results" at bottom. Hiding somewhere in the middle of it all, you finally find the results you came for. Welcome to the world of natural search - a world where small businesses compete with million dollar companies, where million dollar companies compete with billion dollar corporations. And, while many will argue to the contrary, the playing field is more or less level. Small companies can and do dominate their multi-million dollar competitors online for a variety of reasons.

What Is Natural Search? For those who aren't quite clear what the term means, "natural" or "organic" search describes the "editorial" search results on any particular engine. These results are purported to be completely non-biased, meaning that the engine will not accept any amount of money to influence the rankings of any individual sites. This is quite different from the paid advertising that appears in "sponsored" or "featured" results, in which higher positions are rewarded to the companies willing to pay the most per visitor.

Why Is Natural Search Important? Savvy searchers who understand the difference between paid and natural results are more likely to hold the natural results in a higher regard, much like a person reading a magazine would probably be more positively influenced by an article about a particular company or product than by a paid advertisement from the company or about the product. Average searchers are learning the differences between paid and natural search results, and many will instinctively favour the latter.

What Advantages Do Huge Corporations Have? Certainly, large companies do have some specific advantages when it comes to natural search.

a. Links - the primary advantage that large corporations have is their ability to obtain large amounts of inbound links, which can have a huge impact on search engine rankings. Often these links are given freely without the company asking (or being aware that it is happening). Many of the huge corporation's vendors, affiliates, partners, etc. are eager to show their association with the company and link to the corporate site readily and non-reciprocally. Large corporations can also facilitate huge increases in link popularity through a simple corporate policy requiring inbound links from any companies wishing to work with them. In addition, very large corporations may have several websites, which can sometimes be effectively linked together for additional link popularity.
b. Budget - although history shows that a large percentage of major corporations do not spend wisely in this arena, larger corporations typically have larger marketing budgets then their smaller competitors. However, this does not necessarily mean that they will readily allocate a portion of that budget for search engine optimisation, as discussed below.

What Advantages Do Smaller Companies Have? While the advantages of huge corporations, particularly in the area of link popularity, can be difficult to overcome, it is often unnecessary to try. A large percentage of such companies consistently seem to “shoot themselves in the foot” when it comes to natural search engine optimisation, a primary reason why small companies can often outperform them. Specific advantages include:

a. A willingness to pursue the channel - Smaller companies are typically more willing to devote resources to natural search than large corporations. Huge things have to happen for a major corporation to get involved in this "new" channel, a channel far removed from the traditional marketing methodologies used to build the giant. Few corporate employees want to be the one to put their neck on the line and recommend something completely new and "unproven". Even when a large corporation looks into natural search engine optimisation as a potential marketing tool, it can take many months, and sometimes years, for a final decision to be made.
b. A willingness to change the company website - Huge corporations face similar problems when it comes to changing to the corporate website. Within such entities, a person can often not get so much as a comma removed from the text of a secondary page without holding several upper-level management meetings and, ultimately, making a board presentation. Smaller, leaner companies are able to approve necessary website changes more quickly, and are almost always more willing to quickly adapt to the needs of both visitors and search engines.
c. The willingness to outsource - Larger companies have more internal resources at their disposal, and are less likely to outsource this specialised service to someone with proven experience. Often, search engine optimisation is treated as an afterthought and dumped on an IT person, who typically has too much to do already and will approach the problem solely from a technical standpoint as they may not have specific SEO knowledge. Natural search engine optimisation is by necessity a combination of marketing and technology. Newcomers to the field (especially those who treat the discipline as strictly a technical issue) often make fundamental mistakes that at best do not get results and at worst put sites at risk of penalisation.
d. A lack of technical hurdles - Huge corporations are more likely to have technical issues on their website that can prevent search engines from indexing all of their pages. Often the pages of corporate websites are generated "on the fly" from large databases, and such pages (without modification to the URLs) are sometimes never indexed. In addition, (although usability studies are making this happen less often), some huge corporations have their sites built entirely in flash or use other technologies that are virtually invisible to search engines.

The Bottom Line - To most huge corporations, search engine optimisation is often a very small piece of an enormous puzzle - and it is a piece they have been doing without for years. The necessary steps required to fully embrace the channel are often enough to stop any well-intentioned initiative in its tracks. As most search engine optimisation experts will tell you, some of the most flagrant search engine mistakes are consistently made by household name companies - leaving their smaller, leaner competitors the opportunity to take full advantage.

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If it's been a long time since we designed your website, made any changes, or carried out a directory and search engine submission (directory and search engine submissions should be carried out at least annually), then we have a special deal for you ...  for just $99 & GST we will revamp your website using any new image/s* (if applicable) that you have available and would like included, optimise the metatags (Title, Description & Keywords) and complete a comprehensive submission to around 200 of the top NZ and International search engines and directoriesThe normal cost for this is $120 + GST, so this special offer represents a saving of $21 + GST and is only available during May 2007, so don't delay, contact us now to have this done.
*Cost quoted covers replacing existing images - extra images cost an additional $10 + GST each

Site of the Month is the HireQuip - and they receive a free direct click through and feature image from www.thames-info.co.nz to their website.
Leanne Taylor
:: www.wwwdesign.co.nz ::
Award Winning Website Design, Hosting & Maintenance
Phone/Fax (09) 817 9656 ~ Mobile (0274) 701990
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