Article Archive by Emily Creech


August 6 2010

The Anatomy of a Search Result

by Emily Creech

Meta data is a critical component of SEO. Meta data consists of primarily the title tag, the description tag and the keyowrd tag of a page.   This information, when properly used for SEO, can help to tell the search engine spiders and the searcher a bit more about what they will find on the page.

Let’s start by breaking down a listing in a search engine results page.

The clickable, blue link in Google’s search engine results pages is the title tag.   This is usually the actual title tag of your page, which is also visible when viewing the page (shown in the top of your browser).   As you can imagine, since this is the clickable link, it’s important to make sure that it includes keywords.   This can help with rankings and it can also encourage someone to click through to the page of your site listed.

The snippet of text just below the title is displayed to show a bit more information about the page to the searcher. This text can be pulled from a few places.   If Google’s spiders are not able to crawl the page or if they are not finding text that they think will be valuable to the searcher, they may rely on the Open Directory Project for this information.   Other times they may use the description tag that you assign to the page.   Lastly, Google may pull this text from a place within the page’s content.   For instance, if the specific search query is most related to a piece of the content located at the bottom of the page, Google may display content from the bottom of the page as the search snippet.

One bit of confusion is that Google will not always display the description tag that you have assigned to the page.   As mentioned earlier, if a piece of content on the page is more relevant to the search query, the search engine may choose to display that instead of your description tag.   This does not mean you should ignore the description tag by any means.   It can still add weight to your page. As Google is trying to create the best experience for the searcher, there are some elements such as the descriptive snippet, that they will tweak in order to create what they believe makes best search experience.   The next question that usually arises is: can I tell Google to only use my description tag?   Since it’s an algorithm that determines this, you can’t. However, if the text pulled is from the Open Directory Project, you can use the META NODP tag, which essentially lets you opt out of the Open Directory Project title and description.

Other elements of a snippet that are within the search engine results page are the URL and sometimes site links. The URL is pretty self explanatory — it is the destination URL of the page listed in the search engine results page. The site links are additional non-paid links into a few other pages on your site that Google feels is relevant for searchers.

Review your website’s meta data and be sure that the content on your page and meta data are in sync.   Even conduct searches for your keywords and see what displays in the search results. This can help you to find out what Google is telling searchers about your pages.

May 20 2010

Mobile Marketing Tactics

by Emily Creech

There is no doubt that mobile phones, particularly smartphones, are becoming more popular. According to IDC, sales of smartphones grew 56.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, far exceeding the growth of the overall mobile market, which grew by 21.7 percent.

As the mobile market continues to grow, marketers are presented with greater opportunities to reach customers.   When considering mobile marketing opportunities for your business, there are few things to take into consideration.

First, think about what the goals of your mobile marketing initiatives will be.   Will someone using a mobile device be interested in what you have to offer, and more importantly, will they be able to complete the desired action?   For instance, if you are a locksmith or are selling ring tones, there could certainly be opportunities for you to have a mobile presence.   However, if you offer something that has an in depth conversion process, such as a form with multiple steps, mobile may be a bit more difficult to justify.

If you have decided that a mobile strategy is appropriate for your business, be sure to set your mobile campaigns separately from your other campaigns. This way you can have targeting flexibility and can tailor the message, and possibly the landing page, specifically to mobile users.     You can even select which types of mobile carriers and/or devices where you want your ads to appear.   For instance, a marketer selling only iPhone accessories my not wish to have their ads appear on Blackberry devices.   Keep in mind that the iPad, while not a phone, can be targeted separately as a mobile device.

You will also want to think about how users will find your ads.   Long tail queries are not as common on mobile devices.   A mobile user is less likely to type out a long search term on their mobile device as they would on a desktop or laptop. Many of us who are smartphone owners know how typing on a tiny or virtual keyboard is still difficult.

Where will you drive traffic to?   Will it be to your website?   How does your website look on a mobile device?   If you plan on driving mobile traffic to your website, it is highly recommended to have a mobile version.   While smartphones can render full websites (with the exception of flash-based sites), mobile websites are much easier to navigate. Check out our website, www.morevisibility.com, from an iPhone or Blackberry and you will see an example of how much simpler it is to get around.

Lastly, bid aggressively to make sure that your visibility is prominent on mobile devices. There is limited space so you will want to beat the competition to get those valuable spots.   This can lead to more visibility for branding purposes and more clicks to lead to conversions.

April 22 2010

Ecommerce and SEO

by Emily Creech

Search engine optimization (SEO) varies by site and industry. Some industries are extremely competitive in the online space, whereas others may be less competitive. With ecommerce sites in particular, there are often challenges when discussing SEO. As a result, we find that many ecommerce sites instead turn to paid search as the quick solution.

Why do ecommerce sites typically have a difficult time for SEO?  
First, there is often very little content on these site’s pages. Usually the pages consist of images, product names and manufacturer information that are used as product descriptions.   Due to this lack of unique content, ecommerce sites at times have a difficult time attracting inbound links (although this isn’t an issue for the giants such as Amazon.com and Zappos.com). Another problem is that on ecommerce sites, non-SEO friendly URLs may be dynamically created. These are URLs that are tremendously lengthy or URLs that don’t contain keywords.   And, to top it off, sometimes the URLs are duplicated, which is where there is more than one URL for one page of content. Multiple URLs create duplicate content on one site, and using the same manufacturer information for product descriptions creates duplicate content across many sites.   (If you’re familiar at all with SEO, you already know that this is not good for your SEO efforts).

So, what can be done to overcome these obstacles?
The good news is that even though these issues mentioned above are commonly seen, there are ways to help ecommerce sites compete in the organic search results.   First and foremost, the site must have a well organized and logical structure for users and search engines. There should be levels of your site — such as category and product level pages.   You should also take into consideration the assets you have available. Ecommerce sites have many pages. Use these to your advantage. Add unique content to category level pages. Content is still one of the most important aspects of SEO, and giving the search engines lots of it will be to your benefit.   Also, creating content that your competition does not feature can give you a distinct advantage. Don’t forget about those product pages that contain the generic (duplicated) manufacturing information. Try incorporating customer reviews. This way your customers will do the work for you.

Also, don’t forget about other opportunities to add unique content.   Blogs, articles, how-tos are all great ways to accomplish this.   Keep in mind, your customer should be at the heart of all of your efforts.   Therefore with blog posts, how-tos, etc. create content that people are searching for or that will encourage them to share that info elsewhere on the internet (helping you to build your inbound links, which can be viewed as “votes” for your site).

Although not always easy, SEO can be worked into ecommerce websites with a little time and effort. Adding unique content and following SEO Best Practices will lead you to positive results.

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