Posts Tagged ‘search engine optimization’

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


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.

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.

Marketing Your Website – Where to Begin

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

In the last few years, I have had a lot of companies approach me who have a website, but they have no idea of why they aren’t getting any sales. After reviewing their site analytics, my response is usually the same. You can have the best website in the world, but if no one knows about it, you will never get any sales. Now I know that not everyone has a large budget set aside to promote their site on the internet, but I am going to talking about some of my favorite advertising mediums, some of which require a budget and some which are free.

Social Mediums/Free Website Advertising – For those with or without a budget, social mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc. can be a great way to promote your business. The effectiveness all depends on your industry and can be particularly good for business to consumer selling.  The best part of social networking is that the only cost that is involved is your time. If you are going to set up a facebook page, it is important to keep the information updated. The same goes for blogging or twitter accounts. People are going to follow you for a reason and will expect to see fresh information as well as special offers from your business.

Don’t forget about those other free online mediums. Free online classified ads, relevant forum/blog participation and free directory listings can also be great ways to drive traffic to your site.  Also, if you have a store front, it’s a given to include your website address on any and all printed materials, including shopping bags, receipts or invoices, t-shirts, etc.

Pay Per Click Advertising. – Pay per click advertising is a great compliment to natural search engine placement. It is not recommended for business with little to no budget, because it can get very expensive, very quickly. There is a large variety of search engines that offer this type of advertising and the quality and quantity of traffic can vary greatly. From a volume standpoint, Google and Yahoo are the best places to start. They are both very easy to set up and while the average cost per clicks are typically a little more (varying by industry and keyword phrase), you are going to get the most volume of traffic. This is not to say that their traffic is necessarily going to convert the best. That is something that you will have to test to determine the best audience for what you sell. There are a lot of two and three tier advertising engines, which can cost a lot less but will generally bring in less traffic. I personally have not have a lot of success with the engines outside of the big guys (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Ad Center,, but that’s not to say that you won’t be able to get some good leads from the others.

Start using Google Ad Words: Click Here to see an example of where your Google Ads can appear.

Open a Yahoo Search Marketing Account

Open a Microsoft Ad Center Account

Open an Advertising Account

Tip: If you are going to set up a pay per click campaign, make sure that you have a designated person to keep an eye on your accounts, minimally on a daily basis. Tweaking keyword phrases, cost per click amounts by campaign and phrase and display times can be critical in reaching your desired cost per acquisition.

Display Advertising – Wanting to brand your company name? Are you promoting a special event that you want to be able to target to a certain community or demographic? If so, this is where I will recommend using a little display advertising on various websites. Websites will usually charge you based on impressions, or number of times that your display ad is shown to a web visitor. This doesn’t guarantee a click, but over time, the repetition of an ad can assist with branding efforts and/or get your promotion in front of someone at the right time. Lets say your offer carpet cleaning and are using some ads to promote a “Buy 2 rooms, get one free” promo.  Maybe the web shopper sees your ad today, and whereas they don’t need their carpets cleaned at that very moment, perhaps they will two weeks from now, when they see your ad again.

I recently had a customer who was needing to target 4 larger cities across the US for a 2 week promotion. We used about 25% of their online budget to display their ads on a series of local Television and Newspaper sites within those markets. Due to the nature of what they sell, the point of their marketing is to drive a phone call from the website to their inbound call center. Since we had a decent size ad displaying on those TV and newspaper sites, we were able to include a promo code for the customer to mention when they called. This is key for tracking.  We had also included a phone number on some of the ads to allow the customer to either call directly from the ad or click to visit the website. When the phone is involved, tracking is never 100%, but we were able to lift our website traffic, calls and sales as a result of our overall marketing campaign. I believe it is hard for display advertising to stand on it’s own, but combined with a new other mediums, it can be effective.

Tip: If your budget will allow for it, try to avoid run of site placement. This will allow the advertisers to place you anywhere within the site that they need an advertiser. This can cause your advertising to get buried on internal pages with very little traffic. Ask for fixed placement, above the fold to get the most exposure.

Email Advertising – I have one bit of advice pertaining to email advertising – do it. Email advertising can be one of the most cost effective means of advertising available. Find a good email platform, follow the rules for the Can-Spam act and start collecting opt-in emails today. If you are unfamiliar with the laws in regards to email, check with a professional. The last thing that you want is for your company to be labeled as a spammer.

Search Engine Optimization: Search Engine Optimization is a must with any website. Unless you are lucky enough to be selling something very unique with little online competition, you are going to need to invest some time and money in to getting your website to display “organically” in the search engines. What does it mean to be displayed organically? If your site is coming up organically, it means that your site is considered among the most relevant for a search term or phrase. You are not paying by click or by impression for this traffic. Beyond the work and investment is takes to get ranked highly in the engines, this traffic is free. Think about it. If you want to come up on page 1 for Google for the phrase “Indianapolis Pet Store”, the easiest and quickest way would be to purchase some Google pay per click advertising, as mentioned above. You are going to be paying a set price per click everytime someone clicks on your site, but you will have a solid presense. Now if your website is optimized correctly for Google, ideally you would also want to display in the organic results, as seen below.   These click are free and for the percentage of web shoppers who completely ignore the paid advertising sections, you can get some great traffic. Again, paid search can be displayed almost immediately. Achieving top organic results can take some time. Experiment with both until you can find the mix that works for you.

Google Organic Search Results Compared to Paid Search Results

Google Organic Search Results Compared to Paid Search Results

I could go on and on about all of the other advertising mediums available. There are many options, although I have found the above mentioned to be the most effective for my customers.