Archive for the ‘Website Marketing’ Category

Is Your Website Relevant in the Search Engine’s Eyes?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

One of the most frequently asked questions that we hear is , “How do I improve my search engine rankings?” That’s a tough question to answer in a 60 minute meeting, but there are certain things that a client can keep in mind when creating or contributing to their website. This might include a combination of things including making sure your site has good page structure, making sure the pages have relevant content and most importantly, making sure your site is relevant for the keyword phrases that you are trying to target.

The search engines can look at several different factors when deciding if your site is relevant for your industry. Search engine optimization is an ever changing process, but there are several tips that we like to pass along to our clients as ‘good practice’:

  • Are you making an effort to generate credible inbound and outbound links? In the past, everyone advised for you to link to a site and get them to link back to you. Reciprocal links would help boost your website’s rankings. Now, while that practice is still important, you will now want to find linking partners who can provide a link that is actually relevant to you. For example, lets say that you are a doctor’s office. If you can develop some linking relationships from other medical professionals, the major search engines will see this partner site as saying, “We trust this site enough to refer our website visitors to them.” That’s bonus points for Google and Bing. If the referring site is a site that gets a decent amount of traffic and/or has a good page rank, that’s even better. When it makes sense, provide a link back to their website, but make sure to check these links from time to time to make sure their site is still functioning. Broken external links can negatively impact your search engine rankings.
  • Are you using Google Webmaster tools? If not, you should be . This free tool can give you some great insight as to broken pages on your site, which can also negatively affect your rankings. In addition, be sure to check your website traffic analytics to watch for site errors including broken images. Closely monitor any of these conditions which might affect your website credibility.
  • Are you getting any traffic to your site and is it proportional to the online marketing dollars that you spend? If you don’t know how to answer this question, quit spending your money until you can get an online marketing professional to give you some insight. Higher traffic numbers can contribute to your site relevance and you don’t want to throw away money if your traffic numbers aren’t increasing.
  • You may or may not be able to answer this without consulting an search engine optimization expert, but structurally, is your website search engine friendly? Are your pages coded in a way that the search engines can easily pick out your top keyword phrases? Is your navigation providing an easy way of getting around your site? Are you using search engine friendly page names? Do you have a sitemap? These are just a few of the factors that we analyze when optimizing an existing site and all of these are crucial to search engine ranking performance.
  • Are you using social media? Why you might be of the opinion that social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Google + and others are not a good fit for your business, these mediums can now affect how Google and Bing choose to rate your site. Over time, we feel like your social media presence will have more impact on rankings. As it stands, Google does use social media as a ranking factor, but Bing uses it more. Why not start utilizing it now by earning more ‘Likes’, gaining more followers and getting more participation from those in your circle? You will only be making your site stronger in the long run.

For more information on how we can make your site more relevant in the search engines, contact Indianapolis search engine company, a&g, at www.consultagc.com.

 

Click Fraud For Paid Search Up for Q3 2010

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

According to a recent report released by Click Forensics®, Inc., click fraud for paid search advertising mediums, including popular pay-per-click advertising programs, was up to 22.3% in the third quarter of 2010. These stats were gathered from Cost Per Click campaigns, also referred to as CPC, PPC or pay per click, across all of the major search engines, as well as comparison shopping engines and social network advertising platforms.

Here are some of the key statistics for the study:

  • Among small to large businesses,  the overall industry average click fraud rate was 22.3 percent,  up from the 18.6% for Q2 2010 and 14.1 % reported for Q3 2009.
  • In Q3 2010, the countries outside North America with significant CPC traffic producing the greatest volume of click fraud were Japan, The Netherlands, The Philippines and China, respectively.

These statistics are very concerning. Over the years, we have seen companies losing thousands of dollars on a monthly basis to fraudulent click traffic. This can happen right under the company’s nose and yet if they don’t know what to look for, it can continue to happen on a daily basis.

Although the major pay per click advertisers continue to implement better click fraud monitoring throughout their advertising systems, it is still important for any advertiser to be able to watch for trends in their analytics and web logs that might indicate that you are becoming a victim of fraudulent clicks.

If your business has active pay per click or other paid search campaigns, it is very important to monitor your activity on a weekly or monthly basis and to report any suspicious activity to your paid search representative.

For more information on how you can protect your monthly spend for the various paid search advertising platforms, contact a&g at www.consultagc.com.

Basic Do’s and Don’ts for Optimizing Your Website

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

For those of you who remember the good ol’ days of search engine optimization, you know how dramatically things have changed. I remember that back in the 90′s, the goal was to jam your keywords in to a particular page as much as possible, as well as blanket your meta tags with every keyword imaginable. Today, the rules are much different.  While there are many techniques  and best practices that you can use to increase your search engine placement, here are a few tips to get you started.

1. DON’T think that adding keyword mega tags to the pages in your website will make a huge different in Google’s eyes.  Google has actually stated on their blog that adding keyword meta tags to your site will not affect your ranking in their engine.

DO created a targeted and description title and description for your website. This information is used to determine how your particular listing is displayed and while it might not help your rankings, it will help the user get a better idea of the contents of your website. Also, just because Google doesn’t use the keyword tag, doesn’t mean that other engines won’t. Try to keep your tag to around 15 keywords to less, with copy targeted to that particular page.

2. DON’T stuff your pages full of keywords from top to bottom. This creates a bad user experience and even if it helps your site move up in the rankings, you may lose the customer because the page is cluttered and unfriendly to use.

DO choose 4 or 5 keywords that pertain to each individual page and work them in to the prominent areas including header and sub header tags and title tags.  Try to look at the page like a consumer and ask yourself, “Would I want to stay on this page or move on to a cleaner site?”

3. DON’T fall for link building scams. Have you ever received any of those random emails which ask you to swap links with a website that little or nothing to do with your website? These emails are typically sent from those who are building links in an intentional attempt to increase their rankings and Google frowns upon that technique.

DO build quality relationships with other websites that may be of use to your website visitors.  For example, we are currently working on some websites for a group of real estate agents. A great way to build a linking relationship is for them to contact some of their partners in the industry, such as mortgage companies, home repair businesses or moving companies, and ask them if they would like to add each other’s websites to their own as a preferred vendor. Not only will your customers appreciate the resources, but you will also show Google that your website is being promoted by another website.

4. DON’T create a blog just because you think you need to have one. Blogs can be a great way to add relevant content to your site but you need to be aware of the purpose of each post.

DO post information that will be useful for customers who could potentially be looking for your company or business type and utilize the post tags function for each entry. Post tags are great way to tell the searches engines about the content of your particular entry so keep your top search phrases in mind as you are writing your copy.

Find Online Shoppers on Facebook

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

According to a December of 2009 study by ForeSee Results, Facebook leads the pack for online shopping in social media, with 56% of online shoppers using Facebook. EMarketer.com referenced that according to the “2010 Social Media Report” from ForeSee Results, 69% of online shoppers regularly use social media sites, which helps support the need for etailers to turn their attention to social network marketing.


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While the numbers show that many consumers are using social media to shop online, another report shows that the consumers are loyal to just a handful of brands. 61% of shoppers focus their attention on 1-5 retailers or brands, while only 21% focus on 6-10 brands.


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To find out how you can create a social network marketing plan for your business, contact a&g Digital Consulting.

Tips to Creating an Effective Landing Page

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

If your business is spending marketing dollars on search engine optimization, paid search campaigns and social network marketing, the creation of landing pages can be a great way to increase your conversion rates.  The idea behind a landing page is to create a place to direct your customers that is customized to whatever search phrase or marketing promotion that you you are advertising.

Your business will want to present a clear path to the visitor which will direct them to whatever you consider your conversion point. This can be anything you wish, but you want to focus on something that is measurable. Some examples include driving a visitor to fill out a lead generation form, make an online purchase or even call a specific phone number on the page.

Here are a few tips to create better converting landing pages:

1. Keep it targeted – Keep the copy on your landing page targeted to the source of the lead. For example, if you are using pay per click advertising, and a customer clicks on your ad for the keyword “Geist Web Design”, the resulting landing page should reflect your web design services that you offer to Geist businesses. Another example would be if you were to send out a mail piece, driving the recipient to a specific landing page with a 25% off discount. For the best conversion possible, reflect that same 25% offer on the landing page and offer a conversion point, such as a lead gen form or online ordering option.

2. Keep it simple – The last thing that you want on a landing page is for the visitor to be distracted. Your goal is to make the page clean and to the point and make it very clear as to what you would like them to do. This would include excluding any loud backgrounds, visual embellishments, online video or animations that could distract them from the conversion point.

3. Track your results – If you are an active follower of your website analytics, you will quickly be able to spot the traffic that is being directed to your landing page. This is typically monitored through the entry page portion of your analytic program. This will help you gauge the number of visitors that coming in to your page, but from there, it is important to monitor your conversions. Again, this can be an online order, an online inquiry or a phone call. If you are using a phone number, try to use a unique number, if at all possible. If you are using a lead generation form, be sure to customize the form so that you know where it came from.

For more information about creating effective landing pages for your online and offline marketing campaigns, contact Angie Commorato at 317-417-7070.


Angie Commorato is an Indianapolis website marketing consultant and owner of a&g Digital Consulting, LLC.

Fun and useful WordPress plugins for your blog

Monday, January 18th, 2010

As WordPress blogs gain in popularity, the extensive list of plugins continues to grow. Here are a few WordPress plugins that can be great additions to your blog.

1. WPtouch iPhone theme plugin: Are you unhappy with the way that your WordPress blog looks on your iPhone, Droid or Blackberry? This plugin allows you to view your site on your mobile device using an alternate iPhone style theme. This theme also allows the user to switch to your regular theme if they choose.

Download it at: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wptouch/

2. Sexy comments plugin: According to the description, this plugin allows you to “sexify your comments” section of your blog, including optional avatars, an Ajax comment preview and CSS override. There are lots of customization options and this plugin will save some coding time.

Download it at: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sexy-comments/

3. My Page Order plugin: If you are not a PHP coder or don’t want to mess with the actual theme code, use this plugin to set the display order of your pages with a drag and drop interface. It’s easy to use and again, saves some coding time.

Download it at: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/my-page-order/

4. Google Analyticator plugin: This plugin allows you to easily implement your Google Analytics code to your blog, adding the necessary Javascript to the pages. It also allows you to pull basic stats through your WordPress admin.

Download it at: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-analyticator/

5. Broken Link Checker plugin: If you are not regularly checking your blog analytics, be sure to download this plugin. It will alert you to any broken pages or images on your blog. No one enjoys the dreaded 404 error.

Download it at: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/broken-link-checker/

These are just a few of the nearly 8,000 plugins available. To shop the full list, visit the WordPress plugin directory.


Angie Commorato is a indianapolis based web consultant and web designer and owner of a&g Digital Consulting, LLC.

Promote Your Existing Business Commercials on the Web

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Check your stack of CDs on your desk. Do you have any disk laying around with TV commercials, infomercials or other business videos that you have produced for your company? If so, they could be bringing in more traffic to your website through online video promotion and marketing.

1. Get Your Money’s Worth for Your Video Production: If you have already paid to have a commercial produced for television, ask your media company for a web-ready version of your video. You can not only upload your video to YouTube to promote, but you can also add the video to your company’s website, business blog or email marketing campaigns.

2. Invite Your Existing or Potential Customers to Watch Your Commercials: If you are currently collecting opt-in emails from your website or have opt-in emails from your existing customers, send an email, inviting them to watch your commercials. You can either direct them to your uploaded clip on YouTube or to the media section of your website for added exposure. If you are not using email marketing, contact us to find out how you can send email marketing messages to thousand for customers for less a penny an email.

3. Use YouTube to Save Bandwidth on Your Website Hosting Account: Every time a website visitor views one of your videos on your website, you are going to be using bandwidth from your monthly website hosting allowance. However, if you were to add your clip to YouTube and embed the clip in to your website, you will be using Youtube’s bandwidth. This is a great option for small businesses who may not have unlimited bandwidth available.

3. Always Tag Your Video Posts on YouTube: When you upload a video to YouTube, you will see a field for tags. These tags are very important because they help visitors to the site find your video clip. Try to think about what your customers would search to find you and don’t forget to separate them with a comma. We recently posted some clips for a jewelry store in Logansport, Indiana, which is a smaller town. Here is an example of the tags that we used on their clip:

Tags:
Arnold’s Jewelry and Gifts, Arnold’s Jewelry, Logansport Indiana, Rochester Indiana, Rochester jewelry store, Logansport Jewelry Store, Indiana Jewelry Store

To view their clip, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7ATRrjnKOM

4. Use a Press Release to Promote Your Video: If your company video is something that is particularly newsworthy, consider writing and releasing a press release with a link to your online video clip. Search for press release sites that will allow you to post your press release for free to gain added exposure. Keep the search engines in mind when writing the press release and incorporate pertinent keyword phrases for your business and products or services.

5. As Always, Post A Link to Your Video on Your Social Networking Sites: Add a link to your online commercial on any of your company’s social networking accounts including your Facebook business page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile and other accounts that you may have.

For more information about how to promote your videos on the web, online video production or how to set up an email marketing campaign, contact Angie Commorato at www.ConsultAGC.com.


Angie Commorato, an Indianapolis web designer and online marketing consultant, is the owner of a&g Digital Consulting, LLC. She offers website marketing consulting and web design solutions for Indiana businesses, as well as businesses across the United States.

Free Tools to Better Your Paid Search Campaigns

Monday, December 7th, 2009

As more and more businesses turn to paid search to generate cost effective leads, the resources are not always available to cover expensive software subscriptions for keyword research. This is where the free keyword and advertising tools from Google can come in handy.

Google Sets

Google Sets is a free tool which can help to expand your search phrases for your businesses. This tool allows you to enter up to five keyword phrases which pertain to your business. You can then choose a small set, which will generate 15 or fewer items, or a large set, which will provide a much more extensive list of phrases.

In my experience, you would not want to cut and paste the list of results to your pay per click campaign because the results are not always going to be exactly what you need. However, the results can help you come up with extended keywords and phrases to add to your paid search campaign.

Try it now at http://labs.google.com/sets

Google Ad Preview Tool

If you are a Google pay per click advertiser, how many times a day to you find yourself searching your keywords, just to find out who might be bidding against you? If you are monitoring your placement, as well as competitor placement, Google’s Ad Preview tool is something that you should be using. When you continuously run a search for your bidding keywords, without clicking on your ads, Google may determine your own ads are irrelevant to you and stop showing them to you.

Try it now at https://adwords.google.com/select/AdTargetingPreviewTool

Google External Keyword Tool

I have always used Google’s External Keyword Generator when I am formulating my list of keywords and keyword phrases to target for a search engine optimization campaign, as well as my paid search campaigns. This is a scaled down version of the tool that is available to you when you log in to your Google Ad Words campaign, but if you are not a Google advertiser, you can still use the tool to not only generate ideas for your other campaigns, but also export the results in a easy to manage form. If you are a Google Ad Words advertiser, log in to your account to use their keyword generator. It is much more in depth.

Try it now at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal


Angie Commorato is an Indianapolis web designer and online marketing specialist and owner of Indianapolis web design and marketing company, a&g Digital Consulting, LLC.

Consider Using a Twitter Promotion to Build Brand Awareness

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Today, many businesses are using Twitter as part of their online social networking strategy and in fact, the addition of a Twitter contest can be a great way to build brand awareness for your business. There are several different ways to run a Twitter contest.

1. Ask for Retweets: The goal of this type of contest is to ask your followers to get your message in front of as many of their Twitter followers as possible. The idea is for a company to post some type of promotional message and when a Twitter follower Retweets that message, they will be entered to win a prize. When asking followers to retweet, realize that they are going to putting this message in front of their loyal followers. Try to make the message have some sort of meaning or interest and hopefully you can get a chain reaction with the retweets.

(What is a retweet? A retweet is when you republish someone else’s tweet. The most common way to retweet, is to start your tweet with RT followed by the username of the original poster. For example, if I had a tweet under my username commorato that says “a&g Digital Consulting is the best!” and you wanted to retweet, you would tweet the following: RT @commorato a&g Digital Consulting is the best!)

2. Using Hashtags: Asking Twitter users to use hashtags is similar to asking for retweets in that your Twitter followers will be doing most of the work in the contest. If you have never used hashtags on Twitter,  a hashtag is when you use a pound sign (#) before a particular word in your Tweet. Once it the pound sign is added, it becomes a hashtag, which becomes a clickable link to all other mentions of that word. A user can click on the hashtag in someone’s twitter stream and see everything everyone else has said with that hashtag. In contest use, a company will usually allow a customer to Tweet whatever they want as long as they add a particular hastag to their post. For example, Live Nation, an online ticketing company, recently ran a contest asking their followers to post a Tweet about a recent contest, adding the #LiveNation hashtag somewhere in their post. This would enter a folllower in a contest to win free concert tickets.

3. Use Sign Up Forms: This is a new spin on the classic online contest format. In this case, you would be asking Twitter users to come to your website and sign up for the contest. This can be a great way to get more exposure for your website, especially if you can incorporate a trivia question, requiring the user to hunt around your website. For the best results, keep your entry form short and to the point and include contest terms which address how the participants personal information will be used after the conclusion of the contest.

4. Gathering More Followers: The final way to start a Twitter contest is to announce that your followers are going to be entered to win a prize once your number of followers reaches a certain level. The idea is that your followers will tell their followers to start following you to help you reach your goal and in turn, give out a prize. There are also varieties of this contest where bigger and better prizes are given as your different goals are reached.

No matter which type of Twitter contest you decide to run, expect to get your brand name in front of a lot of people in a relatively quick period of time. Aim to offer some desirable contest prizes and your name can spread very quickly across the Twitter network.