Category Archives: search engine optimization

Bloggers ‘as important as the press’ for business

Bloggers have become a “very important” target for press releases, according to the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) study.

More than two thirds (67.7 per cent) of firms rated reaching bloggers as “important to very important” less than six per cent below the number that held traditional media in the same regard.

The research also indicates that small to medium-sized enterprises are increasingly attempting to engage bloggers with press releases and become part of the online marketing conversation.

Just under one quarter of those issuing online press releases were small businesses.

SNCR research fellow, Dr Michaela Vorvoreanu, the results suggest the standard press release has become an important “news release” targeting the public “directly”.

She explained: “News releases are not just for the Fortune 500, but have become a valuable tool for smaller businesses to increase their sales and create publicity.”

However, affordability remains an issue for many firms taking this approach. Perhaps search engine optimization (SEO) would be a better option?

Content: Too much of a good thing?

You hear a lot about content. It’s king right?. Right?

Well, cliches become cliches because there is a touch of truth in them. But what exactly is “content” and how much of it do you need on your site? Do your web pages need to be 250 words or longer? Should they be shorter than 1,000?

To put it bluntly, no. You can include all the content you like on your pages as you begin website design. Search engines don’t actually count the words, and if your site visitors are counting then they need to find something better to do with their time. Visitors are probably more interested in the quality over the quantity.

In the end, what it really comes down to is do you reach your site visitors in a way that they like being spoken to? Is your content relevant to their interests? The idea that every web page needs to have 250 words in order to be effective is a myth. There is no limit on words per page. You just need good, relevant content as part of your Search Engine Optimization.

By the same token, long pages won’t help you either if the content is terrible. One 150 word page that kills sales records, is significantly better than fifty mediocre pages that do nothing but driving people away from my website.

In the end? Quality > Quantity. But there is no reason you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

SEO's Help Google's Appeal

Search optimization may be a Google asset

In theory, any company should be able to compete with Google on search. Yet Google owns some two-thirds of the queries made in the US search engine market.

Scenarios where another search site gains enough share at Google’s expense don’t present themselves readily to us. People use Google for search, and keep on using it.

Jupiter Research considered the question of why Google has no real competition in search. Sorry Yahoo, Microsoft, and everyone else, the numbers are what they are.

But the apparent barriers to entry that David Schatsky discussed shouldn’t keep any site from competing handily with Google. Why they don’t remains a mystery, with one suggestion by Schatsky’s colleague Emily Riley hinting at search optimization being part of the issue:

The kind of benefits that accrue to incumbent market makers like eBay are somewhat weaker in search. After all, a lack of advertisers shouldn’t necessarily make a search engine less appealing to users, who are more sensitive to organic results and performance. Emily points out, though, that the relevance of Google’s organic results may benefit in part by all of the SEO benefits that focus on them–a level of focus they attract because of their market leadership.

Webmasters want to be in Google because the traffic is there. Searchers wish to use Google as they know the content will be there. All in all, a nice circle of supply and demand, tailored to suit Google best, keeps it at the top of the search engine world.

Your SEO May Be More Important Than Your CEO

In this new media age, if a company’s products or services can not be found within the first page of search engine results, they may be doomed to failure. Search engine optimization should be a major focus for any company that relies on attracting new customers.

“If your company does not have a solid search engine optimization strategy, your CEO may be looking for a new job,” warned John Spagnuolo, President of the New Media Institute. “Your organization needs to be found when potential customers are looking for information online.”

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of optimizing a web site or specific content to be found in search engines and placed higher in natural organic search results.

Reputation Management

Companies are also using SEO when managing the reputations of brands, products and executives. When searching for a company, product or person, most people search online. Negative messaging could be at the top of search results. A good SEO strategy can boost a company’s web site and messaging to the top of those results.

IT or Communications Function?

Many companies are trying to figure out where the SEO should sit in the organization. Typically, the SEO position will exist within IT or communications. “Wherever the position is filed within an organization, a good SEO executive should have both a strong technical background and strong marketing/communications skills to be able to develop an effective SEO strategy.

Professional Website Design

If you think hiring a professional is expensive, you should try hiring an amateur.”

As far as the average web surfer is concerned, you are your website. You interact with the public, do business, air your thoughts and grievances. Even if you believe in “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover”, that adage does not hold true on the World Wide Web unfortunately.

If you have a professionally designed website, with engaging and relevant (to their search) content, then it stands to reason that visitors will spend time reading your website. If, however, you’ve personally built your website, with a website template on a free hosting site, odds are *if* anyone finds your site, they won’t be staying for long. “The first impression is the lasting impression” should be on your mind as you plan your website.

A professional web development service will work with your concepts, content, and needs and will produce a web site built for you.

As professionals, search engine optimization can easily be incorporated into your new websites design. Search engine marketing can also be addressed. In the end, contracting a professional web design company is very important! Investing your time, and your money on the best services are never lost, because your site stands a better chance of succeeding on all fronts of online marketing.

Trying to have a unique presence on the Internet is becoming more and more difficult as the web grows. Only the Freshest web designs, which have had search engine optimization performed, stand a genuine fighting chance in the Internet of tomorrow.

–Nathan

Rankings Make or Break Online Businesses

While some would argue that the need for search engine optimization for a website can vary website to website, it is becoming more and clearer that search engine rankings can actually make or break a business. Every good businessman will agree that marketing is everything in a business, besides a quality product or service. Search engine optimization is high quality marketing for your website.

Let’s take a look at an example of how SEO can directly affect your business:

A freelance marketing copywriter set up a website to market herself and her services. She mainly used brochures and word of mouth, and while this worked in bringing in clients, she was not making a solid living off the clients that did make it to her website. Someone mentioned SEO to her and she researched and found an SEO company to optimize her website. Upon first analyzing her website, the SEO company had a hard time locating her website within search engine result pages. The SEO team began the optimization which resulted in the copywriter’s website ranking within the top 10 on most major search engine results under the major keyword searches intended. And while the search engine optimization company could happily step back and consider this story a success, the true measure of success after search engine optimization is how successful the website and/or business is after optimization has occurred. The SEO company contacts the copywriter with a follow up and discovers that not only has her traffic significantly increased, she is making a fairly decent living and has had to hire on an extra copywriter to help manage the incoming workload. Only now can the SEO company truly claim success on this search engine optimization project.

If more SEO companies took the time to send out a follow up email just to check in and see how optimization has affected their business clients, the revelations will be astonishing. These companies are spending twice as much on advertising campaigns and techniques, when, for half the cost, proper search engine optimization can actually provide bigger and better overall results. One of our recent clients, for example, is spending $70,000 a year on yellow pages advertising. This gives them a nice page ad in the LOCAL yellow pages. After we finish their new ecommerce website containing all of their parts and products they hope to do away with yellow pages and have little or no further investment while reaching a NATIONAL customer base. As more and more customers go online to search for products and services local advertising paper books are sure to struggle.

Having said this there still seems to be a large number of business owners who still rely on old methods of marketing using paper products. We feel that this is likely because it is hard for long-time business owners to give up on methods that used to work very well for them. There is a strong sense of fear when they consider giving up on paper and going digital. Some feel safer paying out a lot of money for something they know has worked for them in the past. Unfortunately it is not working as well for many of them any longer.

Other online business website owners are hurting because they chose the wrong firm to design their E-commerce website and perform SEO on the new website. Many thousands of dollars later and often many firms later they are still struggling to make any return on investment from their website. Be sure to find the right SEO and design firm before you spend any money. Make them prove their SEO capability with current high ranking websites. Examine their designs carefully to make sure they are clean and easy to navigate. This is one investment you cannot afford to go cheap on. Get the best.

Think of it this way: With regular, everyday advertising, you are only reaching the area within the boundary that you advertise in. With search engine optimization of your website, you are literally advertising to the world—an endless opportunity for success!

It is important to understand that even the best search engine optimization cannot help you if your website is poorly constructed, difficult to navigate, or the content does not contain and maintain fresh, up-to-date information. A major part of overall search engine optimization lies within professionally written and fresh marketing text. And, unfortunately, not all businesses will see such a huge turn-around after search engine optimization. However, considering that regular marketing can be substantially more expensive than SEO, it is safe to say that SEO is a more cost effective way to approach marketing where your business website is concerned. And as we stated earlier, with search engine optimization you are marketing to an entire world of potential customers.

Fresh Traffic Optimize can help bring the world to your website. Call us today for a free consultation and website analysis at 204-942-4200

Website Design Process

So, you have a great product, a perfect pitch; it’s so great it could sell itself. The only problem being you live in a tiny market, and have already reached saturation. The next step? Take it online of course!

Website design can be a frightening prospect if your knowledge of the internet extends only to reading your email and news daily. There is however, a few basic guidelines that should be followed that will allow even the internet novice to become visible with their own website.

The first step, of any website may not seem important initially, but it can make all the world of difference. You need to decide upon your websites domain name. Something that shouldn’t be taken lightly at any degree, as it has been said, “It’s all in the name”

Once you’ve chosen a name, you should then decide on a website host. You can start with a free host, which will place ads on your site, or you can pay monthly for your very own domain name and have no ads running (aside from your own).

Typically a free host will have a variety of premade sites which require you only to fill in the blanks. You can literally be up and running your site in an hour or two if you have all of your information organized and ready. Even if you’ve decided to pay monthly for hosting, there is a plethora of templates out there, ranging in price from free, to hundreds of dollars.

Bear in mind now, the more you have on your website the longer it will take to load. Text is not a problem, pictures, sounds/songs, and little movies can slow down your page load speed dramatically, depending on your hosting.

And that’s just the beginning of an online presence!

Then there’s online marketing, constant updating, and search engine optimization to consider.

You could of course, just let someone with some Fresh ideas do all of the aforementioned work for you.

-Nathan

10 Simple Steps to Boost Search Engine Rankings

There are several steps to follow to ensure top rankings in search engines. Sites that follow these simple steps will likely see their traffic and search engine rankings soar through the roof. The better optimized your site is for the search engines, the better results you can expect.

1. Implement Title Tags and Meta Tags
Title tags are an important aspect of search engine optimization as they are the way to convey your marketing skills to your target audience. The wording should flow smoothly while containing important keywords. This is where the search engines and your target audience get a feel for what your Web site is about.

You want to stress all the viral information in this limited area of space. This is your area for free advertising, so take full advantage of this. Insert information like company name and your targeted keywords that you have chosen for this page. Every page on your site should have unique title tags and meta tags.

2. Offer Quality Content
Your content is very useful for the search engines in determining whether or not your Web site is relevant to your topic. You want quality, keyword rich content. You do not want to stuff your keywords, but place them sporadically throughout you site.

Keyword stuffing is a black hat technique that will get you permanently banned from the search engines. Make sure that your content flows smoothly and rolls off the tongue easily. Remember, humans — not search engines — have the ultimate decision to purchase your product or service. Write your content first for your audience and then add keywords where it makes sense to.

3. Acquire Quality Links
Links are a valuable tool for gaining top search engine rankings. Links (backlinks) are viewed as a vote from one site to another, so the more links to your site, the more popular the search engines think your site is. Higher-quality links from authority Web sites are weighed more heavily when ranking your site. So, acquire links from reputable Web sites that are popular.

You want to get links that are related to your line of work to increase rankings. Make sure all your links are related in one way or another to your Web site. If not, then your site will be penalized in the rankings, which is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

4. Strive for Quality Backlinks
Recently, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) began to crack down on link farm sites (sites where you buy links) by penalizing them in the search engine rankings. Avoid link farms or buying links from non-authority sites, as they will only do more harm than good.

Remember, it’s not the quantity of links you have, but the quality of those links you do have. Make sure your links appear natural, not like they have been paid for. You must have something of quality to offer others so they will link to your site and increase your search engine rankings.

5. Have a Keyword Relevant Domain Name
Before purchasing a domain name, you should look for a URL that has relevant keywords to your company. Ensure that your domain name has some relevancy to your Web site.

Your sub domains should not be long and full of strange characters and symbols. This will only confuse the search engines and your human visitors. The simple domain that has your keyword specific to your page is great for the search engines and human readers.

6. Use HTML
Search engine spiders have a hard time reading coding other than HTML (hypertext markup language). To avoid any confusion for the spider, have your Web site written in HTML — not Flash. If you are a large, well-known company, this does not play as big a role, but if you’re a small company trying to make a name for yourself, ensure that your programmer is using HTML.

7. Make Site Navigation Easy
You want a Web site that is easy to navigate through. The more confusing and broken links to your site, the less likely it is that the spider will fully crawl and index all your pages.

You want to submit a xml sitemap for Google so it can find and index all the pages in your Web site. Sitemaps are a necessity for Web sites getting all your pages indexed and included in the search engines.

8. Use Fresh, New Content
Search engines do not want old, outdated content on their search results, so you must make sure to add new content to your site on a consistent basis. Both humans and spiders like to see new content on your Web site. Make sure to update your content to make sure it is up to date and relevant.

You can make simple grammatical changes to your site or add pages — anything counts as new content. If you stop adding new content to your Web site, your rankings will start to slip and fall way below your desired results. If you see your rankings start to slip, make sure you add new content to your site.

9. Add a Blog to Your Site
A blog is a great tool for keeping visitors up to date to with your site. Blogs help promote your site and give your visitors another way to locate your Web site. Blogs and blog posts get indexed in the search engines quite quickly as well.

If you start a blog about the industry you are in, you can quickly build up your rankings. Blogs are especially useful for adding fresh content to your site. Blog posts are seen as new content, so post in your blog at least once a week to keep your content new. Blog postings do not have to be relevant to your Web site, but it does help to keep the content somewhat relevant to build up and authority blog.

10. Make Your Web Site for Humans – Not Spiders
This is probably one of the biggest mistakes committed by newcomers to Internet marketing. They write and organize their Web site for the search engines to achieve high rankings, yet the traffic that comes in does not make a purchase.

You want to have a Web site that is easy to read and comprehend — not a site that is made for the spiders to read. Ultimately, your site is viewed by humans who hold the purchasing power. Ensure that your Web site is easy to read and does not have any misspellings.

When SEO Isn't Really SEO

A potential client recently asked a good question. She regularly reads various search-engine-optimization websites, and she was confused as to the current meaning of the term “SEO.” What, she wondered, was the difference between SEO and online marketing?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is constantly changing. As the major search engines update their algorithms and redefine how their search results will be determined and displayed, the SEO industry must adjust and redefine to follow those trends. But there is a new trend as well: Search optimizers going well beyond search engine results and into other marketing areas but still calling it SEO. It gets a bit confusing.

By definition, SEO refers to the process of optimizing a website with the goal of having major search engines (primarily Google, Yahoo! and MSN Live Search) return pages from that website in highly-ranked search engine results. SEO is almost always employed as a form of marketing, but it is a very specific form of marketing that takes place within the search engines.

Lately, some industry blogs have suggested that SEO has grown beyond its primary parameters, suggesting that successful SEO includes expanding into other realms of marketing. I don’t think that makes any sense. By definition, SEO – search engine optimization – does not include any form of marketing that goes outside of search engines. The use of the term SEO in such a way is disingenuous and confuses many webmasters and owners of ecommerce sites.

Let’s be clear: Online marketing (also referred to as web marketing and Internet marketing) is a term that includes SEO as one marketing aspect among many and not the other way around. It may be a matter of semantics, but as there are well-defined terms to describe the wider practices of marketing on the Internet, why is there a need to redefine SEO to reflect that process? It’s a very useful term as is!

Some SEO professionals may be recognizing that search engine optimization is moving away from a stand-alone industry and towards being one arrow in the quiver of the online marketing industry. They are compensating for this by simply including more forms of online marketing under the SEO heading.

But SEO practitioners shouldn’t fear this move. If the natural path of SEO is to interact with other forms of online marketing, so be it. One can hold this SEO position quite confidently because SEO is not going away. Or, SEO practitioners can expand their boundaries to become more general online marketers – and call themselves just that. But, it should be one or the other; there is no point in redefining terms.

What does this imply for ecommerce sites that are simply trying to employ some SEO to boost sales? Well, first and foremost, a well-optimized and usable site is still priority number one. The best bang for your buck (or your time) is addressing the basic SEO assets of an ecommerce site because natural search engine results are still one of the best ways to drive traffic and sales.

If the SEO is solid for a website, look to augment it by incorporating other forms of online marketing, especially social media. Get involved in the blogosphere whether you do it yourself or hire an outside firm. Taking into consideration a website’s focus and demeanor, consider using YouTube and other video sharing sites to promote a website and drive traffic directly. Remember that PPC (pay per click) search advertising, while often overpriced, can augment a natural search campaign.

But don’t be confused by those who are twisting terms. SEO is still SEO – search engine optimization. Make SEO the skeleton of your online marketing efforts, but don’t be afraid to hang a little muscle and meat on those bones. If your optimization is strong, other online marketing avenues may be a natural – and logical – step towards more sales.

Local Optimization – Local SEO

Local search engine optimization is something that every business with a website should take very seriously. Advertising locally can only get you so far, having your website optimized with geo-targeting and proper keywords in mind, you can bring in a lot of traffic that you would otherwise miss.

Using a single keyword phrase in geo-targeted optimization could mean that you lose out on a lot of traffic and potential customers. While it may be the most widely used phrase in terms of your business, bear in mind that not everyone searches the same way. As an example, “local restaurants” may be the most obvious of search terms, but some people will search for those same restaurants as “best eatery” or “local hotspots”, the terms are many; it pays off in the end to remember that.

Local SEO can definitely be focused around a single main search term, but add others throughout the site. This can help boost your ranking on the search engines and you´ll find that your traffic will increase.

–N