Articles in The 'Advanced SEO' Tag

February 21 2012

The Big Picture of SEO

by Michael Bergbauer

SEO is not a clear-cut concept, which is why many people — even marketing professionals — are mystified by it. Even at its basic elements, clients try very hard to quantify and prioritize optimization efforts. But, there is no clear path — no one thing — a company can do to increase its rankings. Good SEO is a conglomeration of factors. Google admits that its ranking algorithm examines hundreds of factors before ranking a page for search. However, Google is pretty tight-lipped about the weight of each factor. Is an optimized title tag “worth” more than the overall keyword density of the page? If so, by how much? What about in relation to the page’s load speed?

Although some elements of SEO carry obvious importance, all of them must work together to produce results. One great example lies in the basic SEO strategy of optimizing meta data. There are quite a few parts here, including:

  • The title tag — recognized as a very important ranking factor and part of user experience. It directly describes and categorizes the page, so it should be optimized with an appropriate keyword.
  • The H1 tag — usually the first piece of content on a page. It’s also another important ranking factor and leads into the following content.
  • The description tag — not a ranking factor, but still important. Google doesn’t give any ranking weight to a description tag no matter how well it’s written, but it’s still an important element for user experience. The description tag should be written like ad copy — it’s your chance to convince a user to click on your page. In addition, any search terms that were used which are also in the description tag get bolded by Google — compelling users even further. Description tags won’t help you rank better, but they can increase click-through rates.

As you can see, metadata is a great example of SEO elements working together. By looking at the big picture and optimizing your site as a whole, you can increase not only your rankings, but the quality and usability of your website.

April 27 2011

Latest Google Algorithm Update – Now People Panic!

by Darren Franks

The age old axiom of, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” has had so much meaning for me over the last few weeks with the latest “algorithm update”. In actuality, Google makes so many updates a year, that this isn’t really an “update”, just a reinforcement of SEO philosophies that I and other SEOs have been preaching for years: “low quality websites will be penalized in the long-run!” Don’t believe me? Read this blog post by SISTRIX:

Data aside, while I do feel a little sorry for some webmasters, I can see Google’s point of view. Google is a search engine that wants to serve pages in their results that are relevant and provide a favorable user experience. Good user experience can mean a multitude of things: interesting and relevant content, fast page load times etc. For Google to stay the number one search engine in the world, they need to ensure that their search results are the best search results you can find, anywhere. While other search engines like Bing and Ask may be a little less stringent in their webmaster guidelines, their algorithms just aren’t as sophisticated as Google’s in that they can be a little “naïve” with the results they serve.

Google’s algorithm was built on the foundation that the amount and quality of the inbound links pointing to a web document should be a major signal when ranking pages. Google also want to present the most relevant, topical (if need be) and compelling data that they can. With the plethora of Google algorithmic updates per year, it’s possible that Bing may fall by the wayside. The only real way to detect any obvious differences between the algorithms of both search engines is to simply compare search results for the same keyphrase.

With that being said, it’s safe to say that all search engines are always looking to serve pages in their SERPs that adhere to all of the same basic SEO best practice doctrines: well structured websites with good content, created for users and not just for the search engines, will always garner better rankings than ones that don’t.

January 3 2011

Five Keys to Landing Page Optimization

by Tiffany Weimar

Landing pages are critical to internet marketing campaigns.   Successful marketers know that optimizing landing pages is equally important as the offer itself.   Finding the balance between the amount of content, creative design, and form length are the key.

Design, content, and strategy all play a large role in the success of form fulfillment.   Keep in mind these five key optimization tips to improve your next marketing campaign.

  1. Design for your audience.
    Over the past several months, I have paid special attention to the landing page differences between b2b and b2c companies.   Flash and oversized images are just a few items typical of b2c pages.   While this may entice some consumer categories to act on a promotion, the often times overwhelming design would not have the same impact on a business prospect.   In fact, I’m sure you can agree that when it comes to b2b marketing, it’s always best to keep it simple.   Business people want to know the value added [and they want to know and see it quickly]!
  2. Offer multiple call-to-actions.
    It is important to offer multiple call-to-actions to provide viewers the opportunity to “act” from different areas of a promotion.   Certain audiences will click on the link that appears first (even before reading the content entirely).   Others will read through the entire offer and then click on the call-to-action.   Having a link at the top, bottom, and even possibly in the middle of the promotion generates multiple chances to convert a lead. For b2b landing pages, most businesses will outline the promotion and place a form alongside the offer.   This method can be successful as well.   Please note, however, the strategy behind form formulation (as illustrated in the fourth optimizing tip).
  3. Experiment with registration forms.
    When creating landing pages, you must be cognizant of what you are asking of your audience.   If you are just trying to get someone to sign up for a newsletter, a contact name, company name, and email address is sufficient.   If your promotion is more granular and specific to a service provided by your company, ask a question (or two, tops) that is relevant to the offer to help qualify your lead.   DO NOT ask anything more than what is absolutely needed.   Lengthy forms become cumbersome and may discourage the viewer from completing the form.
  4. Create and test several landing pages.
    Marketers test everything, right?   Why not run a test using two different landing pages for your next campaign? Experiment with different subject headers, form fields, and the length of your content.   Although I suggest you keep copy short, you may find that some viewers will not commit to filling out a form without additional information.   Running this test will shed some light on your target audiences’ behavior.
  5. Don’t forget to say “Thank You”…and more!
    What happens after your audience fills out a form on your landing page?   Creating a “Thank You” page to appear should be step one.   Keep in mind that this is a great opportunity to up-sell or direct the viewer to another page of your website.   You have their attention and interest.   Make an effort to further their engagement.
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