Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is no longer just an option for businesses wanting to stay ahead of their competition online. It is an essential component of the marketing toolbox. There has been much discussion on Google’s secretive algorithm changes that happen frequently (50 announced in March 2012!), and without notice, throwing some businesses into an SEO tailspin.
Before you feel that you have lost total control of your website rankings, here is one of the free tools that can help you look at your website through Google’s “eyes.” Remember that Google primarily wants to rank quality and relevant content higher in its search engine rankings.
To really understand the basic fundamentals of what Google sees when it looks at your site, what better place to start than Google’s Webmaster Tools? The service is free and as an added bonus it will also analyze mobile sites, which have become increasingly important.
Google’s Webmaster Tools allow you to see what keywords are being picked up by Google when it trawls through your site. Are you seeing the keywords you wanted or expected? If you are not, it may be time to rewrite your web content focusing on those keywords you want to see. This tool will also show you how many times the keywords listed are being searched for in queries, and their click through rate.
Links are an important part of any website and working links are essential for the Google bots to walk around your site. A broken link is like a car coming to a canyon without a bridge. The other side may be beautiful but will remain unexplored. In terms of your website, if you have links-to-nowhere pieces of it may be left invisible and unranked by the search engines. If they can’t see it how can they rank it? Google’s Webmaster Tools will report the links that are not working.
This tool will also tell you if you have any malware on your site. Malware can actually get your site blocked by Google. Now that really could set your business into an SEO tailspin.
If the SEO of your business website is draining your time, energy and resources, consider outsourcing to a reputable SEO specialist. Call Aligned Marketing at 1-800 707 9150.
“Google it!” has become part of our vocabulary, a new verb we take for granted. Type in a phrase or word and Google responds with related information and links. Wading through mountains of paperwork and printed books for answers is passé.
Finding favor with the search engines is serious business. Search engines are secretive creatures with mysterious algorithms that change almost daily. Yahoo, Bing and Google each have their own secret sauce for ranking web pages but Google is still the “gold-standard” of the search engines with a market share of about 65%.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complex subject. As users, when we make a web query on a search engine we want to see relevant answers and web links listed in the first few pages of results. The search engine companies know that if they feed us too many irrelevant results, we are inclined to “jump ship” to another search engine. Search engines are therefore constantly searching for the most relevant information by indexing websites using web crawlers or search engine bots.
The information they retrieve and index is prioritized. The higher your website is prioritized the better. It is a huge advantage if your business shows up higher than your competitors when a prospective customer types in a query. Approximately 80% of the click-thru’s are executed on the top 10 search results, the first page of Google’s search results.
Algorithms come and go, but content and inbound links are at the very heart of the ranking process. Here is what you can do with your website to get maximum exposure:
Content is king when it comes to web crawlers and bots, as they scan every page of your website. Not only will they be searching for the topics and key words that you use on each page, they will also peer behind the scenes to see the code you are using, for example, the tags and descriptions used.
Inbound links are under fierce scrutiny from the search engine bots and a website that has more incoming links will receive a higher ranking as it is deemed to have more influence. Remember that not all links are created equally. For example, an inbound link from Fox News will carry more weight that than an inbound link from a website that has 20 visitors a day!
Regardless of business size and structure, achieving good SEO for your website is an essential ongoing process and, like Rome, is “not built in a day”.
Do you have an effective SEO strategy? If you are finding your competitor’s names listed higher in queries than your business, call Aligned Marketing today at 1-800 707 9150 for a strategy that works!
Twenty years ago the big floppy Yellow Pages directory was our go-to source to find local businesses. It took two people to lift the thing and it wasn’t always easy to find what we were looking for. While the Internet has changed how we search for information, being found by new customers remains a critical task for all businesses. That means instead of paying for a listing or an ad in the Yellow Pages, every business needs to be easy to find on the web.
Local businesses often struggle to compete with the big nationals for search engine rankings. The good news the search engines are shifting their focus towards more localized SEO results. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing know that most people searching for a product or service are searching for someone close to their home, someone local. Social platforms Yelp and Foursquare are focused entirely on reviews and comments about local businesses.
Google Places is still the number one place to list and search for local businesses. With so many people using their phones to search the web, Google Places is a great tool because it gets the most traffic, about 65% of all searches, and provides maps, directions and contact information. It’s a one-stop shop. A listing on Google Places does not, however, automatically guarantee you a place high in Google’s search rankings - Google’s algorithm is “secret” and changes often.
Bing Local is growing slowly in popularity. Local listings are entered into their database through the Bing Business Portal. By listing your business on Bing’s Portal you can generate sales leads from those that choose not to use Google. Bing Local is integrated with a maps feature similar to Google Maps.
Yahoo Local Listings is a very basic service and does not include maps and directions. It is free and still worth your time to get listed. Just be aware that the number of people searching on Yahoo is no where near the number using Google.
With the focus on local search results growing, it is important to use local terms in your keywords and content. Include the name of your city, a downtown area, and other “local” identifier on your website, in your blogs, and on your social media properties.
For more information on how a local SEO strategy could benefit your business, please contact Aligned Marketing at 1-800-707-9150.
If your business is not showing up in the search engines there are several ways to improve your search engine optimization (SEO). One strategy is to be a guest blogger. You may be wondering why you should give great content to another business blog so let me explain.
Guest blogging allows you to have links that point to your website, increasing your own web traffic and capturing a new following of blog readers. You also gain instant access to an audience and community that are already interested, reading and commenting on your blog topic. Writing great content about a hot–topic helps you establish yourself as a subject matter expert.
Research the top blogs in your industry. A competitor may see you as a threat, but you can align yourself with another industry expert who targets the same consumers with a different product or service. For example, a company manufacturing phones may want guest blog posts from someone that writes great content about the latest and greatest (phone) apps.
It is a waste of your time to write content that does not attract readers in your target market; you wouldn’t want to read about the latest computer software on a blog that talks about pet food! A guest blogger provides new content and a different perspective. It is important not to hold back, to save your best writing for your own blog. This is the web so everything you do is available for viewing, whether it’s on your site or someone else’s site.
The same planning and consideration is required for a guest blog post as for your own blog. Think about the SEO phrases that you want to optimize and make sure to include them liberally, but not too much, in your post.
Have you been a guest blogger in your industry? Share your guest blog experience on our Facebook page.
We recently talked about keyword research and keyword selection. Finding the right balance between relevancy and competition can be a challenge. It’s easy to pick words that will rank on page 1 or 2 but if they’re not relevant to your products and services and your target audience then you really haven’t accomplished your business goals. Similarly, if your keywords are spot on for your business and your target customer but the competition is so intense that you can barely rank on page 9, then no one will find you and all your hard work is wasted.
Striking the right balance between relevancy and competition is critical and here’s where a little known fact can help you, the most popular keywords are less than 30% of the searches. The remaining 70% are what we call “long-tail” keywords (see illustrative chart below).
The long-tail contains hundreds of millions of unique searches that are conducted a few times each day. This is where most businesses belong. This is where you need to target your SEO work, in the long-tail.
There’s more! Research has shown that long-tail searches convert at a higher rate than the more popular words because those searching for specific words tend to be further along in the buying cycle. A person searching for “blue pin-striped long-sleeved cotton dress shirt” is probably more likely to buy than someone searching for a more popular and more generic term like “shirts.”
Understanding the long-tail search demand curve is important. If you’d like to learn more about long-tail searches and how they can help your business, please contact us at 1-800-707-9150.
Selecting the right keywords for your search engine optimization tactics is as much art as science, perhaps more. Most companies conduct a bit of research but, in the end, they tend to rely on gut-instinct as much as data. There’s nothing wrong with that approach. If that’s your approach and you’re pleased with the results then keep doing what you’re doing.
If you’re not pleased with your SEO results, then here’s another approach you can use:
Ask yourself: Is the suggested keyword relevant to your website’s content? Will your target audience use this keyword when searching for your products or services? Will searchers find what they are looking for on your site when they use this keyword? Will the traffic you receive from this keyword help you reach your goals, financial or otherwise? If you answered “Yes” to these questions then proceed to the next step.
Experiment yourself: Type your keywords into the major search engines, primarily Google since it has over 60% of the search engine market, and evaluate the results. This kind of competitive analysis will help you understand how hard it’s going to be for you to rank high, which means page 1 or 2, on the search results. If you’re a small company and in your keyword research you discover that pages 1 and 2 are all multi-billion dollar companies then you’ll want to test a different keyword. Are there paid ads next to and at the top of the page? Typically that means it’s a high-value keyword that converts well so you need to keep that “relevancy” in mind as well as the “competitive” aspect of the keyword when making your final decision.
Buying ad-space: If larger companies have your keyword blocked out of page 1 and 2 then maybe a modest test ad campaign is worth testing? In Google Adwords or Bing Adcenter choose “exact match” and point traffic (click-through’s) to the page on your site with the most relevant content for that keyword. Measure contacts, sales, downloads, or whatever call-to-action you’re using over at least a week or 50-100 clicks and before deciding if the campaign is successful or not.
Data and the Bottom Line: The final step is to use the data you’ve collected to determine if the keyword’s value. To illustrate, if your ad generated 1,000 impressions, 100 click-through visitors to your site, and 10 customers with a total net profit of $250, you now know if paid search engine marketing can be a profit adder or just another expense for your business.
Search engine marketing and keyword selection require constant testing and analysis. If you’d like to learn more about keyword selection and paid search engine marketing, please contact us at 1 800 707-9150.
Traffic is no longer a word just associated with wheels and freeways. Online traffic and SEO are two of the most talked about topics on the web. Businesses want more of traffic but many are not sure how to get it. Driving more traffic to your website means more opportunity for consumers to read about your services and products, hopefully making a purchasing decision and telling others how fabulous you are. If you are not showing up in the search engines, which is why SEO is so important, you are like a store located on a dirt road that nobody knows about. You want your store in a busy area (“location, location, location”) that attracts your target market. You need to be EASILY found.
On the web one way to achieve this is by using backlinks, also called incoming links or inbound links. The more links you have pointing (back) to your website the higher the opportunity to rank higher on the search engine, which can create sales leads and expand your brand awareness. Social media is one of the more effective strategies for increasing your backlinks.
Your social media needs to be, well, SOCIAL. That means prominently displaying social media buttons on your website so visitors can easily share your site on their social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
You want your content to be shared with others. You want potential customers to learn about your website from their social contacts and then visit your site in search of great content. So install the main social media platform buttons and review how many shares you have.
You can test and measure your social media efforts using an online tool such as Hootsuite or SocialOomph. Your social media analytics help you focus your efforts on the content that drives the most traffic and social links through the various social media platforms.
If you need assistance getting your website off the dirt road and onto the cyber freeway, contact Aligned Marketing at 1 800 707-9150 today.
You've probably already set up your website, you've proof-read your web pages one by one, double checked your download and image links, even optimized your keywords. But none of those brought you the kind of traffic you need.
Increased web traffic means more business for your site and ultimately more money in your pocket. The problem is, getting this type of traffic happens to be one of the most difficult tasks the majority of new website owners face.
You need to end this traffic drought right here, right now!
As long as there's no traffic coming to your website, your products and your business are simply going unnoticed. So how about we infuse your site with fresh, big volumes of qualified traffic?
Remember, every new visitor is a potential lead!
There are many creative ways to increase traffic to your website. Some will cost you money, and some won't. I’ve created a 10 day program which will cost you only $199 to boost the number of visitors to your website. Sounds incredible, doesn’t it? Download our Free 44 PAGE E-Book and find out what we’re going to do in 10 days…..
“90% of all web traffic will be video” was the bold statement made by YouTube’s head of Global Partnership in 2012. Wow, that is an impressive prediction! Before you start brushing your hair, working on your perfect smile and picking up your flip video camera, STOP for a moment and think about what that means to your business.
You have to be found online! It is imperative that your video is optimized, so that the 90% can actually find you out there in cyberspace. We will assume for the moment that you have created your video and are asking that all important question, “Now what?”
If your website has high traffic, you can upload your video directly onto your website. However, if you are looking to increase your web site visits significantly, consider uploading your video onto YouTube, where you can brand, title and tag your video. You do, after all, want the search engines to love you!
Be sure to enter keywords when you upload your video, but don’t overdo it. Your title should include a keyword or two, but keep it catchy. For example, a title such as “5 Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ social media Tips and strategies and marketing points” is overflowing with keywords, but it doesn’t make any sense. You could instead call it “5 Tips for Social Media Marketing Strategies”.
Don’t forget to tag your video with keywords that describe what is in the video. This will help users find you more easily when they search. For example, if you are marketing social media strategies specifically to the realty market in New York, ensure that you have the tagged keywords New York, Realty and Marketing.
Time for an impressive statistic! In May 2011 YouTube had 3 billion views per day! Let’s not forget that Google owns YouTube and they know a thing or two about search engine optimization. Get even more traffic to your website by posting your video on your website or blog, and share it on your social media sites. YouTube have recently added a Google+ button that allows you to promote and share your Google+ profile or page on your YouTube channel.
Let’s take a step back in the process and think about creating that video. Time to go ahead and brush your hair and find your perfect smile. Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov conducted research that suggests we form an impression of someone in as little as one tenth of second! This puts new meaning to the phrase “make every second count”.
When you create your video consider your message, facial and hand gestures, and what you are wearing. For example, it may take a while for viewers to get past the red reindeer sweater aunt Mildred knitted for you years ago! It may hold their attention, but for all the wrong reasons. Have a clear message and a call to action on the video, and do not let it run over 5 minutes. Let your personality shine through.
The good news is that not only do humans like videos, so do the search engines. Without a doubt, video CAN be powerful, and it CAN help to convey your message and branding clearly and quickly to your prospects and clients online. Enjoy the creative process, and if you have a question regarding optimizing your video online please let us know at facebook.com/AlignedMarket. Lights, Camera, Search Engine ACTION!
Sales communication can take on many forms such as sales letters, ads, direct marketing pieces, product brochures, marketing collateral and press releases. What connects them all is the need for quality copywriting.
Copywriting has morphed over the last two decades while migrating from the offline to the online world. The purpose, however, remains the same, to generate interest for products and services that ultimately leads to sales. However, sometimes, writing in the style of offline copywriters can actually be counterproductive to online sales.
The great thing about online copy is that it is always selling for you, 24 x 7. Online ads are extremely inexpensive and effective, as compared to the cost of a printed document (which may cost about $1.00 a page or even more).
A good sales letter typically produces a 2%-4% conversion rate. So if you send out a 1,000 good sales letters, you should expect them to generate between 20 and 40 orders. If it cost you at least $1,000 to produce and mail these letters, then you need to generate more than $1,000 in profit, to generate a reasonable return on your investment (assuming an average of $50.00 per order)
As you can see, the conversion rate is critical to financial success and the conversion rate is directly (though not exclusively) related to the quality of your copywriting. Good copy gets the attention of your prospects, retains that attention and entices them to invest in your product or service. Better writing equals more conversions.
Great copy can sell. Poor copy, conversely, may not only lower conversion rates but it may turn away your target audience. It implies lack of professionalism and can distract a vital section of the audience.
Most people haven't learned how to write the words that appeal to the Internet buying public.
They haven't figured out that the Web has a culture all its own. What works well in the offline world does not necessarily work in the online world. We invite you to download our free How-To Guide - From Visitor to Customer where we share valuable insight on good online copywriting.
Remember - Great Copy Sells!