SEO

How to Get the Most out of Your Web Site

Tom

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Discussing website project

The old adage “if you build it, they will come” at one time applied to web sites right up until the internet bubble shattered into a million soapy shards.

Nowadays if the web site is used as a marketing tool (electronic brochure) and the objective of your web site is to produce sales, the site has to be different and stand out from other web sites – something that no one else has thought of and has brought to the web.

That’s a very tough thing to do and will usually take a lot of hard work and maybe a venture capitalist or two to help with the development costs of your latest and greatest widget.

In today’s economy, the homeless are richer than most banks so to find a venture capitalist that will sink money into the web you better have more than just a what-if, if you build it, they will come (IYBI-TWC) rhetoric.

A service is tougher to sell to a customer because it isn’t a thing.

A customer can’t touch it or control it.

Service is not objective but subjective.

A customer can’t have a free trial download of service to test it out.

So how should the executive protection/security industry sell a service on the web and do it at a reasonable cost?

As an example, let’s take a look at two industry web sites.

The first Company, Company A, has a web site that contains high-end graphics; fancy action shots, and in there is a list of services that they provide and contact information.

Company A web site cost to build was $10,000.

The second Company, Company B, has low-end graphics – simple design, no fancy action shots, list of services with prices, and contact information.

Company B web site cost to build was $2,000.

Now which industry web site is getting more out of their web site?

One would naturally think the fancy, high-end brochure on the web, right?

But that is not necessarily the case.

The Company A web site is three years old and has the exact same content as day one.

Same services, same content information, same old, same old.

The Company has applied the IYBI-TWC principle.

Yes, it does get potential clients to use their services; but most of their clients have always used this industry service company for x amount of years, so why change.

Don’t get me wrong, this Company is making money, but the same money, from the same clients.

Same eyes are looking at the site, same eyes buying the services.

I call this approach the even keel – just hums along thinking everything is going great – but watch out for those icebergs.

Company B’s web site is also three years old; however, the Company is always updating the site with new services, new schedules maybe a couple of articles related to client feedback or the services they provide.

In other words, the Company is being proactive by managing their web site – keeping it fresh with new content.

This does bring to the web site fresh eyes, and maybe new clients.

But there is something else this Company is doing – looking over the web site statistics.

Web statistics sound like a college math course, but in reality, most Web Hosting Companies make it really easy for you.

Company B is getting the following information from visitors to their web site:

• What pages visitors look at and how often
• How often visitors stay on a page
• What time a day most visitors come to the site
• What web site referred their web site
• What search keywords led visitors to their site
• What country or state visitors are from
• Visitor ISP’s – military, government, education, commercial

Most of the information is standard, and the hosting provider puts the data into a nice bar and circle graphs.

So how does Company B make stats work for them? Let me give you a few practical examples.

Search Keywords

Search keywords are keywords that visitors have typed into Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc. and clicked a search result that led to the Company B web site.

For example, Joe the Plumber is looking for a defensive driving course for his teenage son, so he typed in Defensive Driving; Company B comes up in the search results. Joe, the Plumber, clicks the Company Blink and visits the site.

The upside for using this data is that Company B uses these keyword results to introduce new services and new content so that these visitors will purchase these services rather than continuing their search elsewhere.

Now you wouldn’t want to do too many new services as that wouldn’t be financially prudent, but even posting new information such as links to articles or writing your own is doing two things – keeping visitors on your site and potentially getting new clients.

Visitor ISP’s

This bit of data tells the Company what ISP’s people are using while visiting the site. Some are the usual suspects – Cox, Time Warner, Verizon, but a few might stand out like an ISP that ends with ‘.mil.’ or ‘.gov.’

Let’s put this to work for Company B.

In checking the web statistics for December, Company B notices several visits from an ISP named bragg.army.mil.

At the weekly Company B meeting, the web statistics are reviewed with staff.

A staff member knows someone over in Fort Bragg who does some training.

She places the call and gets Company B and Fort Bragg talking about some of their services.

Fort Bragg says they have gone with Company A for several years and are satisfied with their services, but are interested in what Company B can do for them.

Now in this hypothetical situation Company, A’s even-keel approach could be steering right into an iceberg, and Company B could be starting a long term partnership with Fort Bragg.

Some visitor ISP could be commercial like Raytheon, Fidelity or Starbucks.

Large companies like these run their own ISP’s and could also provide potential leads for clients.

One word on Starbucks though, they rent out their ISP at local coffee shops, so if you see Starbucks in your Visitor ISP data, it most likely means someone logged into the Starbucks ISP and visited your site.

Referrals

Web referrals work like this: Company B posted an article related to their services but also gave good practical advice; another company, abc.com, put a link to Company B’s article on their web site.

The web statistics will show a referral from abc.com.

These statistics are also a good aide in garnering new eyes and potential new clients.

It also does something else – networking and potentially supplemental income.

Now that Company B knows that abc.com posts articles a dialogue has begun.

Company B and abc.com now post articles and shared services on each other’s web sites.

Things are going well between them; they are talking about putting referral finder’s fees for the referral traffic.

A Thing about Hits

All Company B activities are going on while Company A sits and waits for the phone to ring or the email to ping.

Company A has web statistics available, but they don’t think the data is important – except for hits.

They have a counter on their home page for all to see. One hundred twenty-nine thousand five hundred eighty-two hits – looks and sounds quite impressive.

But hits can be deceiving.

Technically speaking, a hit is a call to the server where the file is hosted and presents that file on the browser.

So what does that mean?

Let’s say there are 15 images on Company A’s web site home page if one visitor clicks on the home page, that produces 16 hits – 15 for the image files, and 1 for the page itself.

Now the counter will go up only one notch, but the web stats hit data for Company A will add sixteen.

Let’s say that one visitor clicked on the home page ten times; the counter goes up to ten – the hit data goes up to 160.

Company A thinks several different visitors went to their site when it actually was only one person.

So when you look at hits as a gauge on how your web site is doing – bigger isn’t always better.

Search Engine Optimization

Do a Google search for what your company is selling.

Chances are there will be millions of results.

You find company A’s web site ranked 20th and on the second page and Company B’s website ranked 2nd on the first page of results.

How can Company A improve its ranking?

SEO is the use of various techniques to improve a web site’s ranking in the search engines and thus attract more visitors.

Some of these techniques are free and help a great deal and some techniques you can pay for.

The free techniques are usually slower to move up your web site in rank but in my opinion, are longer-term results.

Here are a few free optimizations that you can do:

Go to Google.Com and do a search for Google site submission.

Enter your site and a one-sentence description of the site.

Do the same to other search engines like Yahoo, Bing, etc.
Whether you have designed a website for yourself or hired someone to develop it, there must be Meta tags for a description and keywords for each page.

I would also recommend that each title on a page represent what is on that page.

Sign up for Google’s Webmasters Tools.

Google has fantastic tools at you or your developer’s disposal such as what keywords searchers are using to get to your site, who is visiting what pages, setting up a site map, a robots.txt file to name a few, all of which will bring your website up and rank.

Sign up for Google analytics.

In addition to the webmaster tools, Google has specific tools to analyze your web site. Keywords, visitors, referrals, bounce rate, how long visitors are staying on your site, how many from what country, etc.

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SEO

What is Technical SEO?

Tom

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young businesswoman pointing at white blackboard and explain a project to her colleagues

Technical SEO is a term for improving a website’s technical aspects to rank better in search engine results.

With technical SEO, it is possible to make web pages easier for search engines to crawl and read.

Google’s objective, and the objective of search engines in general, is to give search engine users the best possible experience.

The best user experience refers to things like the relevance of the results, but it also includes technical factors such as:

Page Load Speed

One of the features that Google considers an important element in a web page is loading speed.

Users want web pages to open quickly.

According to Google, the likelihood of visitors leaving a website increases along with the page load time.

The bounce probability goes up by 32 percent as the page load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds, according to Google (https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-strategies/app-and-mobile/mobile-page-speed-new-industry-benchmarks/).

Google believes that websites that open slowly provide a sub-optimal user experience and will penalize that site with a lower ranking.

That website’s faster competitors will be ranked higher.

Secure

Google has announced that they want HTTPS everywhere.

The HTTPS at the start of the URL (as opposed to simply HTTP) indicates that the website uses a technology called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

SSL creates an encrypted connection between the web server and the visitors’ browsers.

The encrypted link ensures that the data sent over it cannot be intercepted.

No Duplicates

Having the same content on multiple pages of a website can confuse search engines.

The result of that confusion is that all of the duplicate pages get low rankings.

The solution will be to indicate which of these pages should be seen as the canonical URL.

Responsive

A responsive website design is one that allows the content on a website to be read on any device.

In other words, the website will be just as usable on a mobile device as it is on a PC.

Google considers responsiveness a key signal for ranking, especially since more of its users are gravitating towards mobile devices.

XML Sitemap

XML sitemaps help search engines to figure a website out as they crawl it.

It tells them where to find each page, the last time that page was modified, and how often it gets updated.

These are just a few basic aspects of technical SEO.

The technical SEO field covers all the areas wherein a website must conform to search engine requirements.

Not only will meeting the requirements help with a website’s ranking, but it will also provide a better user experience.

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Content

Three Types of Posts for Your Company Blog

Tom

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Positive coach ready to squat with kettlebells during webinar

The majority of brands now realise they need a robust content marketing strategy, and a company blog is a critical component within that. The following article explores some different types of blog posts to use.

It’s crucial to vary content to keep your audience engaged, and this piece will show you how.

Industry news and reaction

As stated, your company blog should be varied with the different types of content you use. Getting the balance right is crucial here. Your audience wants to be informed, so you should focus some of your attention on providing the latest news from your industry.

Keep in mind the intense competition in the marketplace for this type of content. Remember your competitors may be sharing the same news as you. Therefore, you also want to include some of your own commentary.

It’s crucial to pinpoint what this piece of news means for your business or how you are taking advantage of the latest industry trend.

Share your news

Another way to make your blog stand out is to include content that only you can write. The obvious example of this is sharing your own news. There are various ways you can do this, such as publishing a case study of the work you have done for a particular client.

An approach like this works well for marketing agencies; it’s not a hard sell but it does provide an opportunity to show what you can do.

There are other options as well, such as a report from a recent event of yours – you can even include video highlights or an interview you did. Always think about what your audience is interested in and which type of content they will engage best with.

Sharing good news makes your brand more personable and encourages engagement with your audience. Be careful though to avoid writing promotional posts regularly, and always look to add value through your company blog.

List-style evergreen posts

Latest industry and company news should certainly be shared regularly to keep your audience informed. However, one of the problems with this type of content is it only typically gains short-term views over a day or two when it’s fresh.

It’s also crucial to publish content that doesn’t age in the same way.

The best approach for this is list-style evergreen posts. To put it simply, this is content that stays fresh for months or even years after it is published. Again, ensure you are providing value to your audience by covering the topics they are most interested in.

Remember blog posts like this are fun to write, easy to promote and can be shared over and over again.

Content marketing is a significant trend and something most brands need to be involved in.

If you’re serious about this type of marketing, you will want to have a company blog that you update regularly.

It’s necessary to find the right balance with the content you publish, so this article has explored the topic in greater detail.

Remember to provide commentary on industry news, share your own news and create list-style evergreen posts.

 

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SEO

Three Keys to a Great Infographic

Tom

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business team with scheme on flipboard at office

If your brand wants to master Pinterest, then it’s essential to create great infographics. It’s well worth doing this because Pinterest is an incredibly valuable social media site if you can get the hang of it. Therefore, this article focuses on some essential tips to create the best infographics.

Write an engaging title.

It’s easy to think that infographics are all about imagery. However, the words and language you use are also crucially important. Of course, this process all starts with the title you choose to use.

Therefore, spend some time on a descriptive title for your content while also keeping SEO in mind.

Remember, there are different ways you can create an engaging title, and these can include the use of numbers, which can draw attention. For example, you can focus on a particular year or several tips if that works for the rest of the content of your infographic.

Another thing you can do is ask a question in your title, which aims to educate as well as giving users a reason to read on.

Make your infographic visually appealing.

It may seem an obvious point as infographics are a type of imagery in themselves. However, the way you present your information can play a crucial part in the success of it. In general, you should be creative with your infographic to ensure it stands out.

Remember, it isn’t a restrictive type of content so you can add images, charts and text effects.

Keep it consistent though by following a plan and formula. For example, data is common in an infographic, but using data visualisation techniques can bring a lot more attention to your content.

Keep in mind you are presenting information and the more appealing you make it; the more likely others will want to share it.

Think about the use of colour.

It’s striking how much more appealing an infographic incorporating a range of different colours is compared to one that is black and white or using only one colour. Of course, it’s vital to strike the right balance though because too many colours could look messy and detract from your core message.

One concept that can be effective is to take advantage of different contrasts between colours.

Remember. you want to pick colours that complement each other; the right blend can make specific colours stand out.

In fact, this can be a very effective way of using bold colours to create the maximum effect.

Pinterest can be a tricky social media site for brands to master.

Of course, this is partly because it looks complicated at first. One type of content that performs particularly well is infographics.

Remember to write an engaging title, make your infographic visually appealing and think about the use of colour.

 

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