Article Archive by Shelby Nousain


December 6 2013

3 Critical SEO Elements Webmasters Commonly Overlook During a Redesign

by Shelby Nousain

Redesigning a website is a major task in itself. There are branding, design, and functionality considerations in addition to a handful of others; and on top of all that you’ve got to ensure the site is launched properly from a technical standpoint to ensure all marketing initiatives will continue to operate smoothly. Among these are ensuring that the organic health of the website remains stable, and is in a position to grow after launch.

At MoreVisibility, we’ve helped lots of webmasters properly plan for and launch their newly designed websites as well as help repair sites that were launched without a proper SEO site transition plan.

Below we’ve compiled a list of 3 of the most critical factors we see webmasters not doing correctly during the design & launch phase that caused them to see a significant loss of organic traffic after the new site launch.

1. Not Properly Benchmarking Against Current Site

How can webmasters best identify traffic changes, and troubleshoot specific issues on the new site if there hasn’t been a proper benchmark of activity established on the current site? It can be easy to get so caught up in the excitement of design mockups, wireframes, and anticipation of seeing your new site live that you completely forget about properly benchmarking your current site’s activity; but you shouldn’t – this step is vital.

A thorough “snapshot” of the website’s organic health should be taken in the several months leading up to launch. This includes mining data from Google Analytics, Google/Bing Webmaster Tools, and various other keyword trending tools to help provide a comprehensive picture of how the website is performing organically today.

After the new website is launched, this data can be tremendously helpful in evaluating the success of the launch, and also to identify additional opportunities for continued organic growth.

2. Not Recognizing the Importance of URL changes

When a search engine crawls your site it’ll search through your pages, content and URLs, and store the information it finds in it’s “memory,” also known as it’s index. When a user enters a keyword into the search engine bar, the search engine then references it’s index to determine which webpages to display to the user.

If the URL of one of your page changes, and you don’t directly inform the search engine about it, then it has no way of knowing that anything has changed. It’ll continue to show your old page URL in the search results for a period of time, and when users click on it, they’ll be sent to a non-existent page on your website. Now you’ve got an unsatisfied web searcher, and a search engine that will continually send users to URLs that don’t exist within your site.

When your site is re-crawled by the search engine it won’t find the page it was looking for, and the previously high ranking page could drop completely from the top listings for the keyword, and all of your traffic will go with it.

To fix this problem it’s vital to ensure proper implementation of 301 redirects, which brings us to issue #3…

3. Incorrectly Implementing 301 Redirects

A 301 redirect is essentially a signal to search engines that an existing page on your website has permanently moved to a new location. When it comes to site redesigns they can either be your best friend, or worst nightmare if not implemented correctly.

Improperly implementing 301 redirects (or not doing them at all) will essentially cause a search engine to not know where to go to find the page on your website. The page will be temporarily lost from the search engine’s index, and as already mentioned, when the page isn’t indexed it also drops from the search results. After this has been done it’s increasingly difficult to get the page to rank as high as it once was. Traffic that was once flowing to this page along with all of the inbound links you’ve built to the page will be lost until 301 redirects are implemented properly.

On the flipside, proper implementation of 301 redirects ensures that search engines know where to go to find the existing page on your new website, and also that all link juice (links pointing toward the URL) are now contributed to the new page URL instead of the old non-existent URL.

It’s important to have a strategic plan in place prior to the new site launch, and also to monitor the site closely for a period of time after launch to ensure a successful transition has taken place.

Below is a search engine report from a website that overlooked these factors when launching their new website.

GA-in-decline

Don’t let it happen to you!

September 30 2013

How To Boost Engagement on Your Facebook Page

by Shelby Nousain

One of the advantages of participating in social media with your brand is the opportunity to interact with your customer base and prospective customers. It’s a chance to build relationships, and further your brand. But how do you do this if no one is interacting with anything that you’re posting? Well, Facebook has created a few different tools and reports specifically designed to help you boost engagement on your page. Here’s a simple 3 step process for using those tools to create more engagement on your Facebook page.

1. Understand the types of posts your audience likes best.

There are a few different types of posts you can include on your timeline; namely pictures, links, and text status updates. Knowing what types your audience likes to click on, share, and comment on is the first step to getting them engaged. Facebook has a report in the “Insights” tab of your admin interface designed to hand feed this data to you. You’ll see a screenshot of this data below.

Once you know what types of updates your audience likes best you’ve got to…

2. Know when your audience is online.

How are your fans supposed to click on, share, and comment on your updates if they don’t see it? You can post the most interesting content and eye catching photos to your page, but if your fans never see it, then there’s no way they’ll be able to interact with it.

Lucky for you Facebook has a great reporting tool for discovering when most of your fans are online. In fact, this info is on the same tab as the “Best Post Types” report, so it’s very easy to connect steps 1 and 2 quickly. Once you know the best post types, and when your audience is online, the rest is a piece of cake.

Now, all you’ve got to do is…

3. Post engaging content when your audience is online.

This seems simple enough based on the last 2 steps, but what if you can’t be in front of a computer when your fans are? Luckily Facebook’s got you covered here too. To complete this process, they’ve built in a tool that lets you schedule a post to be published to your timeline anytime, night or day. You’ll see it when you begin adding a new post to your wall. Instead of publishing immediately, it’ll be scheduled to post whenever you choose.

Implementing this easy 3 step process is guaranteed to help you increase user engagement on your page. Go try it out!

September 30 2013

5 Tips For Designing a High Converting PPC Landing Page

by Shelby Nousain

Have you ever thought about the mass amounts of web traffic that click on one of your PPC ads, view the landing page, then quickly click away before you could even realize how much money was just wasted? With average conversion rates hovering somewhere in the 3% to 5% range, a lot of your advertising dollars are not yielding a return. Every click is valuable, and increasing your conversion rates by only a few percentage points can translate into incredible things for the return on your campaigns. To help you capture more conversions here are 5 tips for creating better performing landing pages.

1. Use Directional Cues

Directional cues on landing pages are like road maps for our eyes. They can direct our focus to important info on the page, and more importantly the conversion point (lead form, buy now button, etc). Often times marketers place so much content, images, and widgets on a landing page that it can be easy for the design to lose visual focus on the conversion point. Using directional cues helps point a visitor’s attention where you want it to go. Many times this comes in the form of arrows (or hands such as in the example below) pointing towards the conversion point.

2. Place The Conversion Point Above The Fold of The Page

Once a visitor has clicked on your ad, and has come to your page, you’ve got very little time to capture & pique their attention. With only a couple seconds to do this before they’ll lose interest and click away, it’s very important to place the most important/eye catching info along with conversion point above the fold on the page. If visitors have to scroll down on your page to see the lead form or download button, then it’s possible they may not see it at all.

3. Include Ad Message Continuity

The idea here is simple. If you’re advertising a free software trial in your PPC ad, then the messaging on the landing page should very clearly reinforce the free trial software offer. That’s likely a large reason they clicked on your ad in the first place. If a visitor hits your landing page and expects a different experience than what you’re providing them on the page, then it’s very likely they’ll lose interest and hit the back button. The example below does a great job of clearly reinforcing the value proposition from their PPC ad.

4. Clearly Tell Visitors What You Want Them To Do

You can build a landing page with incredible graphics, helpful info, and a sleek design, but if they’re not sure what they’re supposed to do when they’re on the page, then you’ve likely wasted your advertising dollars to get them there. If you want visitors to pick up the phone and give you a call, then including large “Call Now” text at the top of the page will help ensure they know how to get in touch with you. If you want them to sign up for a free trial as in the example below, then placing text at the top of the form both reinforces the value of why they should convert, and also clearly instructs the visitor on what to do next. Landing pages that communicate clearly, and specifically what they want visitors to do are the ones with the highest conversion rates.

5. Test!

And finally, testing your landing pages is the only way to discover how to create the best landing page for your audience. The testing opportunities are limitless. You could implement an A/B test to determine whether a multi-page website, or a single page experience converts better. Or, you could go more granular and test variations of headlines, different types of imagery, form layouts, and so much more. There are also software packages that can help save you a lot of time with the testing process. Simply doing a search for “landing page testing software” will yield you lots of options.

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