SEO Dos - The 10 Essential Techniques for Your Website

It can be very difficult for small businesses to compete on a global level for competitive terms with high profile companies, especially on a small business budget. But that doesn’t mean with hard work and determination that you can’t be competitive and build and market your brand and website successfully. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an opportunity for small businesses to enhance their performance within a limited budget. SEO now becomes a hot topic with a lot of debates. How do you get your web site within the first page or two of the search engines? How do you increase your Google page rank? Here are the 10 SEO tips that would be useful for your website.

1. Content

There is no surprise that content formatting and presentation for the content are the main part of SEO process to build up interest and create huge amount of traffic to a website. Quality content should be compelling, informative, relevant and updated. You can put all the keywords you want in the meta tags, titles, image tags, etc., but if the actual readable text on the page is not relevant to the target keywords, it ends up basically being a futile attempt. Quality content will bring people back and create word of mouth to get forward links from other sites. The more the better!

2. Website Design

First of all, spend some money on web design to attract more visitors. In addition, going hand in hand with web design is developing user experience. It is better to spend some time with a professional web developer who has experience with site usability. Placement of elements in a web design really do matter, and the navigation of your site is very important if you want your visitors to effectively find and meet your end goals.

3. Keyword Density

This is very important section of your SEO crusade. Keyword research can guide you about which keywords have high volume or least competition. However, you should be smart in keyword strategy, by not relying on popular keywords but also looking into long-tail keyword options and local search results. In addition, a look out on keyword density, which is the percent that your keyword or keyword phrase area of your web page text, is also important in SEO

4. Incoming Links

Link building is probably one of the most important parts of any SEO campaign. Back links must be collected from different off page SEO activities and only quality back links are considered by Google. The more links you have the more often you are going to be crawled. It is also important to make sure that you have content that is worth linking to on your site. Instead of spending the time, effort and money on artificial links, put that into your own site content or SEO budget and watch others link to you willingly and naturally.

5. Meta Tags

Meta tags are placed in the head section of a web page. Some people may tell that meta tags don’t matter. The biggest thing they matter for is click-through though. There will be a lot of times when Google will use your meta description as the copy that gets pulled with your search listing. This can help to attract the visitor to visit your web site if it is related to their search query. Therefore, meta tag content is actually known as a weapon for top search engine positions; however, this is not as easy as it looks like. For adding content, description and keywords in Meta tag it requires a lot of research. Be sure to include a few relevant keywords in this tag, but don’t stuff it with keywords either. The description tag should read like a sentence — not a keyword list.

6. Heading tags

Including title attributes on links is another important step that any good website will have. When you are laying out your site’s content you have to be sure that you are creating the content flow in such a way that the heading tags are based on prominence. The most prominent of course being the heading tag, which says this is what this block of copy is about. That’s the little “tooltip” that pops up when you place your mouse over a link. These are especially important for image links, but equally useful for text links.

Construction of your title tag is one of the most important things you need to do. Each page should have a different title with 2 or 3 of your keyword phrases at the beginning. When search engine results are displayed the title is the first thing people see.

7. Domain, URL Structure & Website Title

First, it can help to have keywords you are interested in ranking for within your domain, but only as much as the title, heading and content matters. One very important factor that is coming to light is that domain age is important. The older the site or domain, the better it is not spam and can do well in search results. The domain age definitely isn’t a make or break factor but it does help quite a bit.

Second, ensuring that your URL structure compliments the content that is on the corresponding page is pretty important. Complex URLs are often dubbed dirty URLs because they tend to be littered with punctuation and identifiers that are at best irrelevant to the search engines. Having a descriptive URL still assists search engines in determining what is on a page

Last, making sure that you have the right web site titles for your pages is extremely important. The keywords you place in your title are important in order to ensure that your topic is understood by Google. One of the primary factors for ranking is if the title is on-topic with the search results. Not only is it important for robots to index and understand the topic of the page either. Try to put keywords that describe your product / services optimally in title of a page to get good results. It is important for click-through rates in the search results.

8. Internal Linking & Sitemaps

Making sure that your internal linking helps robots and visitors to find the content on your site is huge. Using relevant copy throughout your site will tell the robots and of course, visitors more effectively what to expect on the corresponding page. You do want to make sure that on pages you don’t want to rank in Google that you add a no-follow tag to ensure that the ranking flow of your site corresponds with your site’s topic and interests. No one is going to be searching Google to find out what your terms of service or privacy policy are.

In addition, search engines also use XML Sitemaps in order to index through your site. For a dynamic website, use of xml sitemap is very much essential. Otherwise crawlers will not be able to search all the pages of your website.

9. Image Optimization

Through Image optimization search engines can drive many visitors who search for images. Putting alt attributes on your images actually serves two purposes. In terms of SEO, putting a brief yet descriptive alt attribute along with your image, places additional relevant text to your source code that the search engines can see when indexing your site. The more relevant text on your page the better chance you have of achieving higher search engine rankings. In addition, including image alt attributes help the visually impaired who access web sites using a screen reader. They can’t see the image, but with a descriptive alt attribute, they will be able to know what your image is.

10. Social Media Optimization

SMO is considered as the part of SEO these days. It actually focuses on driving traffic from sources other than search engines. There are many social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace, Digg, Stumbleupon etc. in which we can submit our web pages and gets a lot of unique visitors. This also includes participation in discussion groups, commenting on other websites, blogging and posting status updates on social networking websites etc.

Do you have any tips and tricks that you would like to add? How has traffic from search engines helped the development and growth of your website? Please leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you.

Better Get Your Holiday Shopping Ads Online NOW!

According to a recent article in Marketing Daily, research shows that online shoppers tend to be less receptive to holiday ads as the holiday shopping season progresses.

Max Mead, VP of Business Development & Analytics for PointRoll, who conducted the recent study, told Marketing Daily, "On average, anywhere between 4 and 6% of online shoppers interacted with retail ads in the fourth quarter -- beginning in November at 6%, then drifting lower, with interaction rates hitting their lowest points in early December, most likely due to the heavy levels of online ads. In the final weeks of December, interaction rises to 5% again".

The likely culprit for the fall after early November:  Online retailers offering greater discounts for early buying. 

Why the rise on the backend?  Because late online shoppers can also take advantage of last minute sales from retailers trying to move extra inventory.

Christmas shopping has become a year long process for many.  Though the convenience of shopping online hasn't reduced the cattle drives at the mall.  Personally, while I enjoy the "spirit" of holiday shopping; I can do without the long lines of traffic trying to get into the mall and the longer lines trying to get out!

However, while my online shopping has increased over the past few years, I'm a traditionalist at heart, and I will never stop shopping at brick & mortar stores during the holiday season.  Regardless of the hassles; the decorations and the music at the malls just make it feel more like Christmas.  I guess it still brings out the kid in me.

If you want to get a head start on the holiday bargains though, begin your e-shopping right after Halloween.  If you're a retailer, you better get those online ads placed now!

Yes, Social Media is the Future, but Here are 10 Reasons Why Traditional Media Still Rules…For Now

10. Terrestrial radio is still a powerful tool for reaching a highly targeted local (or national) audience

9. Television is still the primary entertainment and news medium of choice for baby boomers and gen-Xers

8. Celebrities will provide endorsements through traditional media, but few, if any, will utilize social media to promote a product or service

7. Print media coupon distribution is a great support channel for targeted radio or TV buys and a preferred coupon distribution channel for baby boomers

6. Prices for traditional broadcast media are much more competitive today than they have been in years (However, print is still overpriced)

5. Most TV and radio stations will still write and produce your spots for you at little to no additional cost

4. Direct mail is still a very cost effective medium for geo-targeted, call-to-action marketing campaigns and for measuring coupon redemption

3. While intrusive (unless you have Tivo), broadcast media advertising still reaches large numbers of consumers and continues to be impactful

2. You can still leverage the use of social media through your traditional media buys, enhancing your reach, frequency and ability to engage and activate your target market

1. You should never put all of your marketing “eggs” in one basket. Social media can generate powerful and measurable results, but in most instances should still be integrated into a broader multi-channel approach that includes and is often led by traditional media

Convenience Rocks My World!

In a recent article in Advertising Age, Hulu CEO, Jason Kilar, was critical of Jeff Zucker, CEO of NBC Universal, for trying to protect outdated business models. Kilar was quoted as saying to Zucker that, “Content is discretionary, so you better focus on convenience.”

The point Kilar was trying to make with that comment was simple: People may want NBC’s content, but they don’t need NBC’s content. If Zucker doesn’t make it easy for viewers to access the network’s programming online, they'll simply find their entertainment elsewhere.

We no longer live in an age of three television networks that basically share a monopoly on mass entertainment. Internet based programming is virtually endless and new content is being created every minute of every day. Therefore, the more convenient you make accessing your content, the more likely people are to view it.

Marketing other more tangible products is no different. The easier you make it for consumers to find, browse and purchase your product or service, the more likely they are to do so.

Goodwill of Greater Washington is about to launch a new mobile web app. The goal behind the development of this app is simple: convenience. Goodwill hopes to make it easier for donors and shoppers to find its retail stores and donation centers. They want to make it easier for fashionistas to find the DC Goodwill fashion blog and for friends of Goodwill to engage them on Twitter and Facebook, or learn about Goodwill's regional workforce development programs. Want to get exclusive discounts on already low prices at a DC area Goodwill store?  Just check-in on Foursquare!

Goodwill understands that its constituents have a lot of options available to them.  By making it more convenient to support the charitable agency while providing rewards for doing so, Goodwill is much more likely to build loyalty among its followers while gaining new advocates.

Convenience is a strategy that businesses have been implementing for years.  Many just haven't yet made the digital transition.

Here's a simple equation to live by:  Convenience equals value. Value equals loyalty. Loyalty equals revenue.

Why do celebs promote products, but not social media sites?

Companies have been using celebrity endorsements to promote products and services almost since the advent of advertising.  Today celebrities are promoting everything from skin care products to automobiles.

However, while celebrities seem very willing to promote products, shouldn't the manufacturers also be requesting that celebrities  promote their social media channels as well?  If social media sites are being used to develop and cultivate relationships with customers and prospects, wouldn't it make sense to have the celebrities who are endorsing the products communicating directly with the product's users? 

Why aren't Katy Perry, Jessica Simpson or Justin Bieber posting a few comments on the Proactiv Facebook page, or writing guest blogs about skin care and how readers may benefit from Proactiv.  Sure, there are short video snippets from the celebrities on the company's website and Facebook page, similar to what you see in the Proactiv TV ads, but those videos aren't interactive. 

If Katy Perry were guest blogging on the Proactive site, can you imagine how many new visitors it would draw to the site and how many new fans it would generate?  If Justin Bieber commented even once a month on the Proactive Facebook site, how many customers would return regularly hoping for an opportunity to read his comments and seek feedback?  Talk about a strong endorsement, customer experience and relationship building opportunity?!  Why doesn't Kate Walsh blog about the luxury of her "Cadillac driving experience"?  Wouldn't that be a nice supportive effort to what most customers know are "paid" endorsement ads?

I'm not sure why more companies haven't already integrated these efforts into their celebrity endorsement deals, but believe me, its only a matter of time.  Digital cross promotion between the company and the celebrity endorser seems like a logical next step in the evolution of social media as a marketing channel.