Articles written in January, 2011

January 31 2011

Want Good SEO Results? Patience is a Requirement


Wouldn’t it be totally amazing IF…you optimized your website to be perfectly aligned with everything that the search engines (namely Google) wanted? Then, almost like magic, your efforts were instantaneously rewarded with top positions on every keyword that mattered to you? Amazing – yes. Realistic – hardly. Rome was not built in a day and neither is top organic placement. This is one of the most challenging things to explain to a client who wants results yesterday and quite frankly, who doesn’t? We’ve all become so used to instant gratification that we don’t find it acceptable to have to wait for anything, especially when it comes to the free positions in Google. Although, I always try to set the right expectation, patience is not one of my best attributes and I feel their pain when clients expect to see northward shifts in positions immediately, but don’t.

Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to “speed up the process” and the way in which Google determines positions (aka their algorithm) can shift and change. As a result, your website should not remain stagnant and will never be 100% optimized, but more like a work in progress, with ongoing tweaks along the way. It would behoove you to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible with respect to what Google is currently (currently being the important word here) looking for when determining rank, as well as identify how Search Engine Friendly your website is. This exercise is one of the first steps our SEO Engineers take when a new client comes through the door for SEO. Commonly referred to as “the cornerstone of our Natural Search Program”, our Website Optimization Review is — for lack of better words — a report card on your website from an organic perspective. In addition to multiple other factors, it will address these four primary areas of optimization: Technical, Design, Content and Marketing. After providing a score of how your site ranks (per the current standards of Google) a priority list rounds out the Review, which pinpoints where your efforts should be placed in prioritized order.

When it comes to SEO, no matter what your path, it is advisable to gain a clear understanding of what Google is looking for and where your site is lacking before trying to optimize it, as you could do more harm than good. One example that comes to mind is Domain Trust. Often, clients will want to change their domain name to make it “sound better” or “be catchier”. This would not be a recommended practice if you’ve had the domain for 5+ years, as it’s likely to be considered a trusted domain by the major search engines. Trusted domains typically rank higher in the SERPS so you might want to think twice before changing it.

Everyone wants prominent placement in Google for their core keywords and everyone seems to want it to happen overnight. Invest the time in your website and be patient; the fruits of your labor will pay off over time.

January 20 2011

How to Effectively Reach all of Your Mobile Users


Is it possible that mobile marketers are neglecting individuals who don’t own a Smartphone? We all know by now that mobile marketing is the dawn of the new age and before we know it everyone will have a Smartphone, but until that day how do we make sure to capitalize on all mobile users?

Despite the extreme growth in Smartphones, standard text messaging is still the standard in the majority of mobile contracts. According to ABI Research, more than 7 trillion text messages will be sent around the world in 2011. Until the day that flip phones become extinct, the most effective way to obtain and carry on a two-way engagement via a mobile device with a large audience is through text messaging.

Successful SMS campaigns require strategic planning and consideration, but when executed properly you can achieve great success. SMS campaigns allow businesses to interact with customers on all different levels, whether it’s supplying them with advance notice of an upcoming promotion, a reminder of an event, or a special exclusive offer only for them, you can achieve instant communication on all levels.

The more you know about each of your consumers the more effectively you can target them. Ask your database for additional demographic information, personal interests, location and/or behavioral habits. This will make it easier for you to market to a person rather than just a number. Making sure the message is pertinent to your customer is key; otherwise you will become an annoyance and potentially lose fans.

Effectively segmenting out your audience and delivering them unique messages based on the profiles you created will help you most effectively capitalize on their needs and wants. Knowing your customers will help you maximize your marketing spend; create higher customer engagement and loyalty. Just be sure to monitor your frequency of messaging and avoid bombarding or overwhelming your customers.

January 17 2011

Google Webmaster Tools: Using it for Keyword Research


In my last blog post, I discussed “Five Things to Know About Google Webmaster Tools” and certain aspects of it that I find useful for my search engine optimization efforts. In today’s blog post, I will discuss its usefulness for performing one of the most important aspects of SEO; keyword research.

In Google Webmaster Tools you are able to find keywords that you are actually ranking for right now. For example, once signed in to Webmaster Tools, go to “Your site on the web>>Search Queries>>Top Pages” to see your best performing pages and their associated keyphrases. With this new section, you will be able to determine which phrases currently get you the most impressions, CTR (click through rate) and what their average positions are within Google.

Another useful section, “Your site on the web>> Links to your site >> How your data is linked>> Anchor text” lets you see what anchor text the external links are utilizing to point to your website. Put simply, anchor text is the word(s) that you click on to open the hyperlink. Anchor text is weighted (ranked) highly in search engine algorithms, because the linked text is usually relevant to the landing page.

The general idea behind using these tools is to identify which words get you the most ROI (return on investment) so that when performing new keyword research you won’t actually hurt your current rankings. Sometimes, overzealous “SEOers” will completely alter the keyword targeting of their site and will unwittingly substitute the great words they already have for lesser ones. Just because all of your keyword research tools are telling you these words have a good KEI (keyword effectiveness index) number, it doesn’t actually mean they will perform for your specific demographic.

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