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Web analytics software - beware html5!

HTML5, CSS3 and IE9 are coming. How will software vendors ensure that their products deliver what they say on the tin?

So you want to measure your site’s usage and how your campaigns are performing. First, the good news - best place to start is with the free search engine tools - take a good look at Google, Bing and Yahoo webmasters tools:

These show you what the search engines see on your site and how they see other sites that link to you - remember, relevance of inbound links is key to SEO. Cross reference these with performance reports (Search engine ranking reports/analytics) and you should be able to determine the success of individual campaigns.

There are software applications that will crawl your site and generate a site report based on w3c and simple negatives in the coding of pages. These can be good but it depends on how up to date they are. There are significant changes coming at the coding level for all sites as we move towards html5 and the changes in browsers will be rapid over the next 12 months. IE9 is already out for developers, Firefox is rapidly adopting css3 and Chrome is set to be the base for Google’s new operating system. So how “true” any of these bots will be over the next 12 months will be based on how well they keep up and handle the massive code change brought in by html 5.

What about tools like Website optimizer? Very useful but if you’re talking or other software then you should consider that this 3rd party software and what it measures are based on the builder’s interpretation of seo, not the search engines’ actual practice which changes regularly. Ask yourself, how do they keep up and if a $500 piece of software is the answer, why is SEO a booming industry?

Google and SEO practitioners make uncomfortable bedfellows.

Both know that there will always be a correct answer to the Google algorithm - every sum must have an answer so as long as you can determine the correct answer or get near to it, you’ll be able to manipulate or influence their ranking.

So their current policy is to enable a level playing field by outlining best practice and basically telling people how to optimise their sites.

Its also part of their policy to improve where possible all web content and it seems that they are trying to do this by offering help to those who look via their webmasters website. Matt Cutts, one of their senior engineers, is pretty revealing on his blog.

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