Category Archives: Uncategorized

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Don’t Forget Your Pencil Case: Supplies You Need for SEO in 2014

Posted on January 8, 2014 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

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With the recent changes to the data available for keyword research and other cosmic shifts to

search engine algorithms, it’s more important than ever to stay focused on SEO strategy for

the coming year. Like having the right binder or the coolest lunchbox, starting the year off

right with the correct tools in hand is essential.

 

First, get all the information you can for your website’s performance. Reporting has never

been more important to analyze, especially as Google has become more opaque. Check your

site regularly for problems. Evaluate your competitors’ progress in the marketplace regularly.

Do on page analyses frequently to see what’s working for specific areas of your website-and

what’s not.

 

Performing regular link clean up, prospecting and competitive URL comparisons are just as

important. Whether you entrust that to Captain Marketing or take care of it yourself, it must

be done if you want to rank well on the SERPs.

 

Things for SEO have changed a lot in the past 3 years-and they will continue to evolve in the

months ahead. This process can be frustrating enough without having the right tools to

decipher all the clues that indicate where you should go. Take control of your strategy today.

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I Spy for 2014: Uncloaking Keyword Information from Google

Posted on January 2, 2014 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

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With recent headlines focusing on privacy and the impact of NSA activities on the search all

engines, Google has rushed to encrypt all organic search engine activity. This new policy,

while welcomed by many concerned about government encroachment on their browsing

habits, effectively ended the convenient analytics marketers relied upon to evaluate keywords

and their search potential. Don’t despair. It’s still possible to effectively analyze the traffic

coming into your website for the terms they used to do so.

 

First, pull traffic information for your individual landing pages. You can access the previous

month’s data using the Behavior report feature on your Google Analytics dashboard. Next,

using an online keyword analytics app, come up with the keyword rankings for the landing

page you’re looking at. Next log onto Google’s new Keyword Planner and drop in the relevant

terms found using the other app to get traffic estimates for these keywords. Make sure you’ve

turned up the bid range all the way. Finally, consider using an online CTR analysis tool for

information on CTR ratios and even more precise data.

 

While Google’s changes to keyword data does provide new challenges, there are nevertheless

ways to identify keyword winners for your website. Focus on the content that organically

works with your products and services, and you’ll find the terms you should use recur

naturally as well.

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Mobile Friendly Sites: What You Need to Know

Posted on December 30, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

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With everyone talking about ways to streamline your marketing plan for 2014, it may be a little

daunting to consider all the changes you need to make in coming months. However, before

implementing new features or strategies for your online campaigns, start with the basics:

what’s happening with your mobile website?

 

Assuming that you’ve verified mobile users are indeed directed to your mobile site (and make

no mistake, this is a huge win), make sure your web design is as clear and simple as possible

for these consumers. It should load quickly, with a minimum of fuss.

 

Eliminate all unnecessary images and information from your layouts, and keep the message

clear. Avoid annoying popups and complicated forms as well. Colors should be crisp and clear,

with fonts that are easily read outdoors or inside from a tiny screen.

 

It’s no secret that most consumers are on smartphones and/or tablets most of the day, ready

to order products, look for information and compare prices. If you haven’t road tested your

mobile platform capabilities recently, you could be turning away customers with one click.

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Small Business SEO: What You Need to Know

Posted on December 26, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

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The days of the Yellow Pages have gone the way of the steam engine and the Telex machine.

Even if you’re just a brick and mortar with a few employees and a purely informational website,

you must show up in the search results pages to get noticed.

 

While SEO is not always easy, there are a few things a smaller company can do to ensure

their appearance on the SERPs. First, make sure you’re listed in all the online directories and

geographical listings you can. Google+ Local and Google Places for Business are great places

to start.

 

Next, check to see if you’ve selected some local cities to use as keywords on your website. If

you cater largely to an Austin clientele, for example, make sure the city of Austin is mentioned

in your content throughout the relevant landing pages.

 

Finally, make it easy on your tablet and smartphone customers by having a website that’s fully

optimized for mobile traffic. Google ranks these mobile friendly sites far better than those that

aren’t-and if you’re a local dry cleaner, for example, you can expect much of your online traffic

to be from mobile customers trying to find your location, hours of operation, etc. Ensure they

can access that information quickly and easily without having to wait on a long loading time

from your site.

 

The statistics show that the Internet is the primary information source for most Americans

when it comes to finding the products and services they plan to buy online-or in the store.

Today’s SEO is your digital billboard along the information superhighway-make it count.

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Online Experience: Going the Extra Mile for Your Customers

Posted on December 23, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

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Most companies don’t set out to make their website user-unfriendly. After all, who would in

their right mind want to make it difficult for customers to find or purchase their products

online? And yet, many businesses do just that, with outdated navigation, poorly designed

shopping carts or counterintuitive layouts.

 

Typography should be clear and attractive, with easy-on-the-eyes colors and no visual

distractions from the main event: buying your stuff. Think uncluttered and clean, simple and

straightforward throughout your landing pages.

 

Navigation should focus on a few choices-not dozens. Ever been to a restaurant with

hundreds of items on the menu, from tacos to smoothies to teriyaki? Think about that

overwhelm you feel when trying to order quickly from that list. In trying to appeal to

everyone, frequently a company can end up catering to exactly no one.

 

Shopping carts should be easy to fill, with simple data like “how much is this going to cost”

available to your customers at all times without having to check out first. Great visuals and an

attractive design are also significant pluses.

 

Don’t drive yourself-or your site visitors nuts. Optimize your website for conversion by making

the selection and purchasing process as easy as possible.

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When It Comes to SEO, What You Don’t Know Might Hurt You.

Posted on December 17, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

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With multiple updates and rumors swirling about the best ways to improve position on the

SERPs, misinformation is perhaps the norm when it comes to development of a viable digital

marketing strategy. However, in this era of change, it’s important to keep a few things in mind

no matter what your plan.

 

Continue to build links-but don’t let that define the extent of your SEO campaign. Focus as

well on creating strong content that consumers can use and share. With Facebook, Twitter,

Google+ and Pinterest, it’s never been easier to show consumers the videos, articles and

blogs that convey who you are and what you do. Take advantage of these social media

platforms to get the word out about your company. The social shares you’ll get out of it will

in turn help your own inbound linking program too.

 

It’s not just about keywords anymore. The days of term rich but otherwise meaningless

content have disappeared-if they ever existed in the first place. Keep your landing pages

interesting, and useful. Make the content relevant-and the contextual clues will take care

of themselves.

 

The world of SEO will continue to evolve, and quickly. Stay focused on the things that matter,

and you’ll find your company’s Internet presence doesn’t just endure, but blossoms over time.

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What You Need to Know About Landing Page Testing

Posted on December 16, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

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It’s easy to get carried away with the details of a web page redesign. Like a home remodel,

anyone can obsess over “cyber countertops” and the accent colors. Nevertheless, effective

consumer testing is critical for establishing what works and what just looks pretty.

 

First, make sure you implement both A/B and multivariate testing on the site. The difference

between the two? A/B testing requires dividing up your site traffic evenly between two

versions of the same page, and then evaluating which one works better in terms of

conversions or clicks. Multivariate evaluation, in contrast, tests for the effectiveness of

multiple elements (e.g. a call to action button, a headline) within the same web page. Make

sure you do both kinds of tests for your website to get the best data on what works well,

and why.

 

Second, remember it’s the little things. While most of your competitors will test for the big

things (basic layout, colors, headlines)on their websites, go the extra mile and test for the

little things too. You’d be amazed how differently customers react to the simplest changes

in a “contact us” form, for example. Don’t be afraid to try different versions and test for

performance.

 

Unlike a house makeover, precise data on a website’s effectiveness is available, and you don’t

even have to call a realtor. Get the right information to ensure your new website will really

work for you.

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Unwrap Your Google Holiday Surprise: PageRank Updates

Posted on December 11, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

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Many holiday revelers were surprised one recent morning to see the changes in their Toolbar

PageRank values. With many pundits (as well as Google Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts)

saying that any further updates were unlikely before 2014, the shift was largely unexpected.

 

As you may already know, Google defines the value of a strong PageRank as follows: “web

pages with a higher PageRank are more likely to appear at the top of Google search results.”

While not always true for every page with every update, this measurement can have a

significant impact on your SERP performance.

 

How to improve yours? Rather than focus on the numbers themselves-focus on improving the

number of quality sites that link to you and vice versa. Trust the process. Get quality content

onto your website and distributed onto social media sites that will be seen by your potential

customers.

 

Remember, PageRank is only one of the metrics used by the search engine to measure the

value and relevance of your website. While a jarring and perhaps unwelcome end of the year

surprise to some, it shouldn’t be too much of a worry for those already committed to a solid,

long term SEO strategy.

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Did You Know? Good Pictures Sell Product.

Posted on December 9, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

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In the race to maximize conversions while saving as much money as possible, the stock images

available online have been a mainstay of any web designer’s budget. After all, surveys show

that the right picture can make a huge difference in garnering consumer attention, with one

recent case study demonstrating that changing to a more relevant photo increased the CTR

for a subsidiary of SalesForce.com by 40.1%.

 

Nevertheless, no one wants to pay more than necessary for the right image. That’s why the

recent decision by Getty Images to update their iStockPhoto property comes as such good

news. Previously the repository of images ranging from the sublime to the old, dated and not

so good, Getty is not only adding to their inventory, but streamlining the search process on

the new site, renamed iStock.com.

 

With free and inexpensive photographs, illustrations and videos suitable for almost any

business, it’s now a relevant resource for anyone looking for the right visuals to accompany

their products online. Sound files are also available. It’s definitely worth a look (or a listen),

and may help to bring your website’s products the extra zing! they need for increased sales

this holiday season.

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Got More Than One Brick and Mortar Store? Optimize for Multi Location Search

Posted on December 3, 2013 in Uncategorized by cmblogger

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It’s not rocket science to understand why most shoppers prefer to purchase goods and

services locally. But many digital marketing campaigns don’t seem to consider this reality

when crafting an effective SEO strategy. Nevertheless, optimizing for local search-and multiple

locations, if you have more than one store-is critical to any digital marketing plan. Without it,

you’re going to lose the many customers who search for a nearby brick and mortar on the SERPs.

 

To take advantage of this marketing opportunity, first identify which locations are most

important to your business. Pick the top areas, and make sure you have local business listings

with all their relevant location data (address, hours, sales promotions, etc) on Google+ Local,

the Bing Business Portal, and Yahoo Local. Along with having local keywords, the more

specific, real information you include in these entries the better you’ll do with the search

engines as they match user queries with the appropriate results.

 

Make sure your social media presence also references these locations, as well as external

review sites like Yelp and CitySearch. Remember, as consultants at BIA Kelsey recently noted

in a widely referenced study, more than 97% of all consumers use online media to find the

brick and mortar locations where they’ll be shopping. As Steve Marshall, research director of

BIA Kelsey explains, “The Internet has indeed become an integral part of consumers’ local

commercial activity.” Today, your multi location search performance matters. Take steps to

ensure its success.