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Posts tagged with 'seo'

2017 Year in Review

January 01, 2018 mgroves 0 Comments
Tags: podcast analytics couchbase seo

This has been a good year for Cross Cutting Concerns. I had some amazing guests on the podcast. The C# Advent was also way more successful than I anticipated. And I also made some important technical improvements to the site.

Google Analytics

I pulled the top 50 most viewed page from Google Analytics. The top 10 pages that were viewed the most this year are listed below. The C# Advent page got over double the views of the second place page. (The second place page is a post from 2014 on ASP Classic that baffles me with the amount of traffic it gets).

The First C# Advent Calendar (2017) 5503
Using HTTP/Json endpoints in ASP Classic (2014) 2413
Command/Query Object pattern (2014) 2229
How I use Fluent Migrator (2014) 2010
ActionFilter in ASP.NET MVC - OnActionExecuting (2012) 1386
Parsing XML in ASP classic (2014) 974
Visual Studio Live Unit Testing: New to Visual Studio 2017 (2017, Couchbase Blog repost) 964
AOP vs decorator (2012) 954
SQL to JSON Data Modeling with Hackolade (2017, Couchbase Blog repost) 895

That's right, some of the most viewed pages on my site have to do with ASP Classic and XML. These are posts I did on a lark during a consulting gig back in 2014.

It always seems like the posts I do on a lark are the ones that take off. For instance, over at the Couchbase Blog, I believe I have the most viewed blog post of 2017 with Hyper-V: How to run Ubuntu (or any Linux) on Windows. This is a quick post I wrote as I was learning it myself, and it keeps raking in the views. It's #2 on Bing and Google when you search for "hyper-v ubuntu", so that helps.

I'm not just looking to raw views, though. I would like to have some measure of the quality of posts. If you know of any metrics that might help track that, please let me know. Google Analytics has a "Bounce Rate" which might be useful to look at. The 10 pages with the lowest bounce rate (out of the 50 most viewed pages) are all podcast posts!

PageBounce Rate
Podcast 060 - Dean Hume on Progressive Web Apps 67.21%
Podcast 056 - Jeremy Clark Convincing Your Boss on Unit Testing 70.65%
Podcast 053 - William Straub on Recruiting 71.76%
Podcast 052 - Angie Buccilli on Recruiting Secret Sauce 71.76%
Podcast 028 - Jeremy Miller on Marten 74.73%
Podcast 062 - Ted Neward on Akka 74.79%
Podcast 030 - Steven Murawski on Rust 76.47%
Podcast 041 - Eric Potter on C# Pattern Matching 81.54%
Podcast 061 - Eric Elliott on TDD 81.74%

I'm going to speculate and say that podcast pages have the lowest bounce rate because they a prominent and immediately useful call-to-action link (i.e. "listen to this podcast"). Excluding the podcasts, the top 10 links with the lowest bounce rate are:

PageBounce Rate
A Coryat scorekeeper for Jeopardy (2014) 82.35%
The First C# Advent Calendar (2017) 83.30%
Autocomplete multi-select of Geographical Places (2014) 85.39%
Lessons learned about Fluent Migrator (2014) 85.92%
AOP in JavaScript with jQuery (2012) 86.46%
Terminology: cross cutting concern (2012) 86.58%
Adventures in Yak Shaving: AsciiDoc with Visual Studio Code, Ruby, and Gem (2017) 87.42%
An Audit ActionFilter for ASP.NET MVC (2012) 88.13%
Using HTTP/Json endpoints in ASP Classic (2012) 88.95%

Once again, ASP Classic appears, but it's interesting to see a mostly different set of posts here. The average bounce rate for the top 50 most viewed pages is 90.80%. So these all beat the average (if that has any meaning).

Podcast Analytics

I've done a poor job of tracking podcast analytics since I started the podcast. I assumed I could grab download numbers from Azure (where I host my podcast files), but that turns out to be incredibly painful. I mainly do the podcast for fun and because I want to talk to enthusiatic tech people. But in my attempts to get sponsorship, I quickly realized that I needed a better solution for analytics. I signed up for PodTrac, but only after season 2 was finished. So these numbers aren't going to be very impressive. Season 3 onwards should provide more useful analytics. The top 10 are the 10 latest podcasts that I published (which makes sense).

The #1 most downloaded episode based solely on my better late than never PodTrac analytics is #061 - Eric Elliott on TDD.

Tech improvements

I've made some changes to Cross Cutting Concerns to hopefully improve SEO and your experience as a reader/listener.

  • HTTPS. I host this site on a shared website on Azure, so it's not exactly straightforward. But I used CloudFlare and followed this blog post from Troy Hunt.
  • HTML Meta. I added Twitter cards, tagging, description, and so forth. This makes my posts look a little nicer on Twitter and search engines, and hopefully will improve my search rankings. If you want to see what I did, hit CTRL+U/View Source right now and check out all the <meta />
  • If you clicked on some of the top 10 posts earlier, you might have noticed a new green box with a call to action. I've put this on some of my most popular posts to try and drive some additional engagement, page views, and podcast subscribers.
  • Image optimization. pngcrush, gifsicle, and jpegtran losslessly optimize images so they are smaller downloads. This will help with my Azure bill a little bit, and also improve page speed. It's currently a manual process, so sometimes I will forget.

What's next?

Based on the analytics I'm seeing so far, I'm going to:


  • Reposting my Couchbase blog posts. These help drive traffic back to my employer's site and increase awareness of Couchbase. Which is my job!
  • Podcasting. I'm enjoying it, some people are listening to it.
  • Keep podcast episodes short. I get comments in person about how the length of the shows (10-15 minutes) is just right. I'm going to expand by a few minutes (see below), but episodes will not increase in length by much more than that (unless I feel like making a longer special episode).
  • C# Advent. I've heard that this helps people get traffic to their blogs. I'm definitely happy with it, and it helps the C# / Microsoft MVP community. I'll start recruiting writers a little earlier in November 2018.


  • Adding some more fun to podcast episodes. I've got an idea to add a little humor to each podcast. Stay tuned!
  • Podcast sponsorship. I've lined up a sponsor for 6 months of episodes. Let's see how it goes. I'd like to use this money to buy better equipment, pay for hosting, and maybe even purchase tokens of appreciation for guests.


  • Tracking podcast downloads with Azure and FeedBurner.
  • People from using ASP Classic. Somehow.

#Hashtags in blog post titles

August 09, 2016 mgroves 0 Comments
Tags: seo twitter

As a developer advocate, part of my job is starting conversations: on blogs, on twitter, on forums, etc.

Twitter and #hashtags - image licensed through Creative Commons -

And for better or for worse, my company's flagship product is measured on by hashtags and twitter activity.

This has had a side-effect of making me twitch a bit when I see a tweet that says "Couchbase" but not "#Couchbase". On one hand: I want Couchbase's ranking to improve. On the other hand: it's none of my darn business what you tweet or how you tweet it. But it occurred to me that maybe some people would put in a hashtag if they thought about it. Maybe they are just forgetting, or copy/pasting, or using an automated "share" button (or app), and calling it good enough. Or maybe they're a link aggregation bot.

This got me thinking that maybe by putting hashtags in blog post titles, it would increase the number of tweets with "#Couchbase" in them.

So instead of "Couchbase for Windows and .NET" I would title my blog post "#Couchbase for Windows and .NET". This isn't a terribly new idea. I experimented with it once, but I'm afraid to continue doing so because:

It might hurt SEO

I have no evidence to support this yet one way or the other (this post discussing it suggests that hashtags might actually help SEO), but Google/Bing might not ignore that '#' symbol in the post. It might help Twitter, but it might hurt search engine ranking. Which could be a net loss (in both db-engines and in general).

It might be obnoxious

I like hashtags. When they are used properly. When #every #single #word #is #hashtagged, I find that extremely annoying. I also find "hashtag as punchline" annoying #UsingAHashTagDoesntMakeItFunnier. A hashtag is something that should be used to help find tweets with similar content and ultimately find more interesting people to tweet with. Is a hashtag in a blog post title obnoxious? Would it increase the likelihood that you would bail on reading the post or watching the video?

It might become obsolete

Blog page and HTML titles probably won't be obsolete in 10 years. Hashtags, on the other hand, might be. Twitter (or Facebook or Google+) goes away or ditches hashtags, and now I have a huge archive full of blog post titles that have hashtags for no reason.

I would definitely like to hear your thoughts and opinions on hashtags in general, and especially hashtags in blog post titles. Tweet at me or leave a comment below.

Some other views on the topic:


Matthew D. Groves

About the Author

Matthew D. Groves lives in Central Ohio. He works remotely, loves to code, and is a Microsoft MVP.

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