Monthly Archives: February 2014

What Lies Ahead For SEO and Search Marketing In 2014

2013 was a significant year for search engine optimization (SEO) professionals, with one of the largest algorithm changes made by Google in nearly a decade. Some predicted SEO was all but dead. Fear not. SEO is not dead, but it is once again evolving; and with these changes it is best to have diversified sources of traffic because organic SEO is going to get more difficult. Going forward in 2014, much of what you learned in 2013 is still going to be relevant. However, there are definitely several key things you should keep in mind with respect to search engine optimization this year:

1. Content marketing is going to be more important than ever. According to one study, the most effective B2B marketers allocate 39% of their budget on it. This same 2014 study also shows that 78% of these marketers are planning to create more content this year over the prior year. However, providing just any content is not sufficient. Rather than rankings, a focus on the addressing the topic at hand in-depth and clearly will be given priority by Google. Short and poor-quality posts are going to be pushed aside. Offering regular, quality, helpful content not only keeps current readers engaged, but it will be shared naturally, and bring in new readers as well. The fact is, by writing for the audience you are trying to attract, you are also writing in a way preferred by Google which can only help your SEO ranking.

2. Authorship is becoming more important too. Google is going to look at your entire portfolio of work across the net and assign an “author rank” if you will. Exactly how this is being measured is unknown, but they can potentially measure the responses to an author’s work via sharing, links, posted comments, etc. Being relevant and in tune with your customers not only on your site, but in the social space as well can help build your reputation within an industry. Furthermore, by building a community within the social space, you can keep your audience engaged, and up-to-date about your brand.

3. Speaking of social media, it should be a required part of your search engine optimization strategy. Ask yourself; are you active on all the social networks that matter to your customers? If the answer is no, begin fixing it immediately. According to one study, successful BSB marketers were linked up to an average of seven social media networks. Organic SEO goes in hand with social media with users sharing content. Just remember that while content is king, the same content will not work across all networks equally well. Some platforms, for example, are more suited for visuals than written content. Don’t forget to enable an easy way for people to share your content across these social networks.

4. It is truly a mobile world we live in. 91 percent of American adults own a cell phone, with 56 percent of them owning a smart phone. 61 percent already access the Internet via their phone. As the mobile market continues to grow, so will the importance of a mobile search engine optimization strategy in 2014. Optimizing your website for mobile phones and tablets is an absolute must as part of that strategy.

If this seems overwhelming, just remember Google’s search engine objective: to retain and add new users, encourage its users to utilize the search engine frequently, and of course click on their ads. To do this, they diligently work to remove black-hat techniques and seek out real, quality results for a search. So, as long as you continue to focus on the customer, and on offering content which speaks to them, you can remain on top of the rankings game.

Your Landing Page Must Be Properly Optimized To Generate Leads

To understand why page optimization is so important for generating online leads, let’s go back to what a landing page is in the first place. For our purpose, a landing page is defined as a customized web page a prospect sees, after clicking a link from either a paid or organic search result, which contains a lead form to capture visitor information. When you need to capture leads, a landing page is critical to the process. Think about it. The visitor must take the time and energy to digest what is being presented and fill out a form.

Without an leads, a landing page is critical to the process. Think about it. The visitor must take the time and energy to digest what is being presented and fill out a form. Without an optimized landing page, you are may be losing a significant number of leads. Look at it this way, if your site’s conversion rate is five percent, and with well optimized landing pages you increased it to seven percent, that’s a 40 percent increase in conversions! And yes, you read that correctly – pages – as in more than one landing page. Why? Landing pages should be aimed at a particular audience; therefore each offer you create requires a unique landing page.

No matter how much money and effort you spend on your web campaign, if the landing page created for it does not resonate with the intended audience, they will bounce. There are some basic “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to optimizing a landing page. Here are a few you should take into consideration:

1. Since visitors generally take seconds to decide whether or not they will stay on your landing page, the page should make sense immediately. Ask yourself; is this page clean and easy to read? Is the page relevant to the search term the visitor used to arrive at the landing page? Is important information accentuated in a bulleted list for the prospect to quickly scan? Bottom line – first impressions do matter.

2. Remove the navigation links. While you might be tempted to think giving your prospect quick access to the rest of your site is a good thing; it also allows your prospect to quickly move away from the landing page. It is better to provide additional information to your prospect after the conversion. The fact is, the simpler the page, the better the conversion.

3. Consider your graphics carefully. Graphics are the number one thing an eye is drawn toward on a web page. Are the graphics in tune with the offer? Are they well placed on the landing page? While many people tend to click on graphics, since the idea is to keep the prospect on the landing page, linking graphics to another page is not recommended.

4. Make your headline stand out. Captions are the number one item read by people arriving to a landing page. Just remember the first “do” and keep the headline clean and easily digestible.

5. Ask for only what you absolutely need. If the intent of the landing page is to capture a name and valid email address, only ask for those two pieces of information from the prospect. People tend to feel more uncomfortable as they are asked to give out more and more personal information. Here’s another fact: the more fields in a form, the lower the conversion rate.

6. Say thank you. When prospects have taken the time to fill out and submit their information, it important to thank them and let them know their information was received. After they press the submit button, make sure they land on a thank you page. (This can also be a good opportunity to make another offer.

While there are other things you can do in addition to those listed above, by taking these six you are better optimizing your landing page and improving your chances of increasing the conversion rate. However, by now you should clearly understand why it is so important to optimize your landing pages.

Why Are Sitemaps Important To Get Large Websites To Rank In Google or Yahoo

Many website owners are constantly on the lookout for ways to get their websites to rank on Google and Yahoo search engines. The larger the website is, the more pages of content that need to get indexed in order to move the site up the organic search rankings. Utilizing many of the tips and tricks that you find only can offer a temporary solution, but many times those efforts are short lived and the pages fall in the rankings quickly. Implementing a sitemap on larger sites is one of the best ways to get a website ranked. Here are some of the reasons that your website simply must have a sitemap if you want to rank in your niche.

The more content that is on your website, the more the search engine spiders will crawl your pages. The more you add fresh content, the more frequently your content is crawled and indexed. The sitemap is similar to a road map showing you how to travel along the highway to your destination. This sitemap is the tool that the search engine spiders use to easily navigate their way around the pages of your website. The sitemap is a single page of content that the search engines use to understand the overall structure of the website. Without a sitemap, the spiders just crawl the pages aimlessly without giving any authority to pages that have similar content or relevant content.

The sitemap shows the search engines spiders at Google and Yahoo all the pages on your website and the links within those pages to additional content. This makes navigation easier and helps to get all the pages indexed much faster than if the spiders had to crawl and find those pages on their own. Using the sitemap like a road map, the spiders can find relevant and linked content instantly. In the past the sitemap was designed to help users quickly find pages on the website they needed. Now that the search engine spiders rely so heavily on them, is is even more important that larger websites have one in place.

The biggest benefit to having a sitemap on larger sites is that as soon as you add new content to the website the search engines are notified. Regardless of the changes to the pages on the website, the spiders are notified by the sitemap and crawl the pages again. This ensures that not only is fresh content getting ranked faster, but that the searchers will find the website much faster when there are constant updates being made by the search engines. The sitemap will allow larger websites to stop relying so heavily on external links to attract visitors because the spiders will add more content to the organic search results.

Here is an example of a sitemap we put together for a loan customer using a plugin from wordpress designed to update weekly or monthly.

Learn Why Site Architecture Is Important In Determing Your Website Rankings

The structure of your website, or website architecture is critical when it comes to ranking well in not only Google, but every major search engine such as Bing and Yahoo. Website architecture has effects on your viewers experience and usability as well as how visible your site is to search engines and rankings. We will discuss some important factors of web design and architecture, and why they are important to your search ranking or on site search optimization in this article.

The number one key to website structure is making your website easy to navigate. The reason this is crucial for higher search rankings is Googles search bots for example, called spiders, will crawl your website much like your end website user will. If Google or Bing for example find your site structure confusing or clunky to navigate, it will reflect in a lower search ranking. A good website is one that is easy to navigate, where both users and search engines can find your content easily. key factors to this are is the websites page structure, the webpages readability and content, as well as the actual layout of the navigational elements of a websites user interface or simply put UI (User interface).

A websites taxonomy is also of key importance. Taxonomy is the layout, flow and grouping of key words, terms and subjects into groups, sections or hierarchies. A good site hierarchy of pages with clear easy to navigate interface elements helps users, both site viewers and search engine spiders find the pages or products they want with ease. A good website taxonomy makes your website not only easier to manage, but will make navigation of your website intuitive for both website viewers and search engine spiders.

User friendly URLs are also of key importance. You want your URLs to be readable, make sense and be understandable. URLs also should give the search spiders information. A URL for example of http://example.com/product.php?id=3434 means nothing to a search engine or an end user. A good URL example would be http://example.com/product.php?id=ultrashovel that tells the user and search engine the page is related to the product ” Ultra Shovel”, which is much better then “product id = 3434″. User friendly URLs will make your website look professional to both the end user and search engines, and help ensure that search engines get a better understanding of your webpages content. If you have dynamic URLs, you can look into URL rewriting for your websites server to get the user friendly URLs that you need. For WordPress sites and other CMS applications, making user friendly permalinks is easy to accomplish and will ensure that search engines crawling your website get the best understanding of your content.

Canonicals is another important factor of your website. You want your webpages to be accessible by only one URL per page, not multiple URLs to reach the same page. Not doing so can cause issues with search engine indexing of your site. If your webpages have several addresses to reach each page, set up 301 redirects or use the canonical tag on the proper main URL for that webpage.

One last factor to good on site optimization of your website is that of Meta Data. While meta data carries less weight with search engines these days, it is still a key factor to any successful website. These days meta data information will appear as snippets and link anchor texts in search engine result pages, so you want to have clear and concise meta data on every single webpage. This is especially important for eCommerce websites.