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Articles in The 'optimization' Tag


January 31 2011

Want Good SEO Results? Patience is a Requirement

by Marni Weinberg

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 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.
September 15 2010

Will Google Instant Change Keyword Research and Targeting Strategies?

by Khrysti Nazzaro

With the launch of Google Instant last week, Google took its “suggested search” feature to a whole new level with search results flickering and populating as the user types. As each letter is entered into the search query box, the results shift and change until the user lands on just the right information; either through completing the original thought or becoming interested in something different that’s flashing across the screen or being suggested by the query box suggestions.

This new interactive search interface has prompted a variety of questions about keyword strategies. Do these “interruptions” in lengthier queries mean that sites should optimize for “shorter tail” words”? Will Google Instant be such a “distraction” that it will change or sidetrack a user’s original intent? Should keyword researchers change their methodologies and approaches to keyword selection in response to Google Instant? Some folks speculating about the “impact” of Instant have gone so far as to say that sites may now want to optimize for single letters in order to capture attention and interest at the moment that users begin typing.

Focusing too heavily on the “short tail” and dramatically altering keyword targeting strategies is likely ill advised, however. First, let’s address the most outlandish musings. It’s important to realize that the results displayed in Google Instant are being displayed for the predicted query, not for the limited string of letters the user is typing. That means that if you start a search in Google with the letter “a” the results that populate are not pages targeting “a” but rather those targeting “aol” as that’s the top keyword that Google is “predicting” intent for, as shown here:

Google Instant

Only if you hit “enter” after typing “a” will you see the results for that single letter query. Second, Google Instant does not eliminate the basic principles that apply to quality in keyword selection. Ranking for a non-qualified, high-volume keyword (or letter in this case) could generate traffic, but traffic doesn’t equal conversions. Ultimately, just because the search landscape has changed in Google, doesn’t mean we have to jump to nonsense tactics to “improve” SEO.

That said, there is something to the theories and speculation that Google Instant could change users’ intentions or the trajectory of their search behaviors. Ideally, Instant should expand the depth of a user’s search quality and help users refine their searches and utilize more multi-dimensional, multi-step queries to gain greater details on their target. However, there are a few things that could go “wrong”. One, some people, could get distracted and totally veer off course. This could occur with some people, but it’s not much different than those who did so just as a result of Google “search suggest” features, which have been around for a while. More likely, though, are those who would have used a truly “long tail” search but now “settle” for something in the “mid-tail” because the instant-populating results draw their attention before they are able to complete their “longer” thought. This is where it may make sense to revisit keyword targeting (and matching to specific and best-fitting landing pages) on your site. If you rank for keywords in this mid-range you will, in Google Instant’s updating results, be able to capture attention, and possibly clicks, sooner. Any Google-Instant-inspired changes in behavior, however, aren’t going to be evident right away. It will take some time to spot trends and sort out the keyword targeting impact, based on analysis of changes in actual traffic patterns and keyword usage by those visitors. This is something to watch for over the coming weeks, and adjust strategies accordingly.

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