Part of our jobs as marketers of the new age is to understand and learn the popular platforms of the internet. You will be hard pressed to find a professional Search Engine Optimizer that isn’t familiar with Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, and simple table HTML websites. We preach about how to edit the background of your Twitter homepage for better branding and to include keywords on your Facebook fan page by renaming your images.
The new platform that I have been seeing more frequently is Magento. My responsibility as a freelancer is to understand the system, and utilize it to maximize its value. Here, you will find, not only where and how to optimize your Magento Client’s website, but how you can actually automate portions of it to save some time.
What is Magento?
For those unaware, Magento is the fastest growing e-commerce platform on the internet. Don’t be alarmed if you have yet to encounter it, because it is just new in comparison to WordPress or other CMS systems. Magento is Cross-Platform, written in PHP, that calls a series of SQL tables to fill the site. It is completely open-source, and much like WordPress there are a ton of extensions to customize any themes you desire.
Magento has a back end content management system, very similar to WordPress, but it is so much more robust. To truly optimize a Magento site, I recommend a working knowledge of PHP; if you want to be a Magento Pro, some SQL knowledge is necessary.
Based on SEOMoz’s Study: 2011 Search Engine Factors; the on-site factors that are estimated to most affect your SERP’s are Page-Level and Domain-Level Keyword Usage; adding up to a substantial 25.66%. Let’s get into how you can make that 25% work for you.
Let’s Get Started: Introducing the Back-End
Here is a look at the Magento Dashboard:
This is completely customizable, so these are the data points the client wanted to see. What important for me was the built-in analytics. Adding Paypal order tracking to Google Analytics is extremely difficult since Paypal transactions redirect you to the Paypal website where the final steps occur. Magento not only has a great system to allow for that sort of tracking, but with the right plugins, credit card data can be stored on Authorize.net’s servers. This allows your website to track the Customer ID’s, which you can see the last 5 orders on the left side. This data, in combination with GA, gives the SEO more data, which in my opinion makes better optimizing possible.
The “Reports” drop down menu gives you access to all of the data we’re seeing snippets of on the Dashboard. If you’re familiar with most tracking software, this one tab is worth spending the first couple of hours in, comparing to Google Analytics.
For Optimizing, we have to go to the Catalog menu:
The first place you need to go is “Manage Categories”. Unlike some CMS systems, categories are more-or-less required in Magento. This is where we can rewrite title tags, url’s, and the increasingly-useless Meta Description and Meta Keywords. I personally subscribe to the theory of completeness, so I fill all of these fields. Here is what you will see:
URL Key – This is to change the URL string, if you enter just a keyword, it will add it to the end of the URL in category order. (Ex. http://www.site.com/category1/URLKey) If you wish to rewrite the entire URL, just write the exact URL you want the category to have.
Thumbnail Image – I always name images keyword-friendly, and this is where you can upload and change the path of the thumbnail.
Description – Copy on the Page.
Page Title – Title Tag.
Meta Keywords – Meta Keywords.
Meta Description – Meta Description.
1) I do each category manually, since I optimize for each individual page’s best benefit, but if your website is smaller, or can use the same title tags throughout, please save yourself some time and use the “URL Rewrite Manager” tool, which can batch-rewrite categories to the same entry.
2) Save yourself some time and avoid the “Manage Products” category all together. The essential attributes that you will want to access are conveniently held in the “Category Products” tab in category management.
If you trust the SEOMoz data like I have come to; (I read every little case and footnote on that page, every year) the most important aspects of On-Site SEO can be accessed through that Catalog Menu, specifically the Manage Categories menu. For those SEO’s that want to dive into the nuts and bolts, Magento will blow you away.
Advanced Magento Optimization:
DISCLAIMER: SQL is needed in some form to really get the most out of these steps. At the very least, you’ll need to understand how to read it and how the tables are structured. Ideally, you are comfortable editing the actual tables in the database. For the rest of this tutorial, I will be providing real examples the client site.
Attributes are Magento’s way of describing a product, and how the system will handle it. For example, this is where the product page knows what information to display, and how to display it. You can organize attributes into sets, that will apply to a full category.
For SEO’s, this functionality is best used for inventory management. If you have gone through the Categories and optimized each product, then when that product is no longer in stock, you want to avoid sending customers to a useless page.
In the picture above, you see an attribute under General called “Status”. This is the attribute in this particular system that calls the Inventory table. Once you know exactly what table that attribute is calling, you can then set it to remove the product from the site when the inventory value = 0.
Instead of diving into the .htaccess file of the website to do all of your 301’s and 302’s, you can create redirects right in the back end. These rewrites are for the search function specifically, and you avoid having to do the redirects on the page level.
For example, my client sells wallpaper and wallpaper borders. For their Sports category, the number of wallpaper styles far outnumbers wallpaper borders. For SEO purposes, there are two separate pages; however, we found out through Analytics that most users are finding those borders in the “Related Borders” section on the bottom of the sports wallpaper page.
So, instead of trying to sculpt the traffic the way we wanted it, it was decided to just model it after the users. Go to Catalog -> Search Terms, and you see a page like this:
Here, you can see that we set a redirect when someone searches for the term “sports wallpaper borders.” It redirects to the redesigned sports wallpaper page that includes the limited selection of wallpaper borders; this can be done for any search term.
Unique Batch Category Title Tag Rewrites:
For those that know SQL, instead of going to each individual category and product to change the title tags, there is a command you can run to help automate it. In my case, there were 700 wallpaper categories, and these were mirrored in an equal amount of “wall mural” and “wallpaper border” categories. Instead of rewriting 2100 title tags manually, I did the wallpaper category manually, and then used this function to apply it to the corresponding Mural and Border category:
Here, you see that the Wallpaper category was used as a template, and then scanned the attributes of the other categories. Since there were Floral Wallpapers, along with Floral Wall Murals and Floral Wallpaper Borders, there would be a common attribute between them.
When that common attribute was found, it would take the title tags from the Page Title field of Wallpaper and fill that field for murals and borders. (Category ID 1149 and 1151 respectively.) This can be done any number of times as long as there is a common established attribute between the products or categories you wish to edit.
That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is my tutorial to Magento SEO. Depending on your coding skill, Magento can be an relatively effortless optimization project, or it can be a tedious reminder of how SEO can be. Either way Magento is a CMS system that is here to stay, given the amount of sites converting to Magento and the popularity of the Extension Marketplace; http://www.magentocommerce.com/magento-connect/.
So go do what we SEO’s are best at; adaptation, and get yourself some Magento Clients!
As we enter the last week of the month I sit here and look back at what I’ve learned this year in the world of internet marketing. From the Panda update to Twitter rolling out changes to their platform, our industry has seen quite a few changes this year. Many things stand out in my mind but at the core are eleven that I thought I’d share.
Lesson #1 – I never realized I could hate link farms more than I already did.
Ever since I first started working in this industry I was taught that link farms are bad news. Anyone who would link out to another site without any qualms or cares for whom they are linking to isn’t a site that we want our clients affiliated with. This year the point was hammered home even more after Panda. After you’ve been on an hour long conference call with a client whose previous SEO only built content farm links you’ll understand why I hate link farms.
Who you link to is certainly important and who links to you even more so. Avoid link farms like the plague and conduct a bit of link reclamation for any links in your backlink profile that shouldn’t be there.
Lesson #2 – How much I really love (good) content.
I’ve dealt with a few clients this year that suffered from Panda and others that didn’t. The difference? Great backlinks and great onsite content. Last year our focus at Vertical Measures switched from mostly link building to an equal distribution of link building and content marketing. Being ahead of the curve and focusing on content has helped not only our own rankings avoid hits from Panda but also ranking hits for clients. I can’t stress enough how important good content is.
Lesson #3 – The industry certainly has its ups and downs…but it’s all about the long haul.
If you want to succeed online you really have to be in it for the long haul. Half-assed attempts at improving your website conversion rates, developing social media presence, building links, writing on a blog, or promoting your website online aren’t going to cut it. Year after year this proves to be true and for me 2011 cemented in my mind that I was meant to work in the field. I just plain love it!
Lesson #4 – Don’t put all your eggs in Google’s basket.
The inbound traffic you receive should not all be from one place. Sure, this seems obvious but for many the sole focus is Google as an inbound traffic source. This year I learned that referral traffic from Bing and Yahoo is important. When conducting keyword research or looking to improve website SEO don’t forget about Bing/Yahoo.
Even traffic from a site like Yahoo Answers can make a huge difference to your bottom line. Forums, social sites, guest blog posts and comments are all great ways to diversify your efforts so you aren’t 100% dependent on Google. After some websites took huge hits due to Panda they had to close their doors or inject massive sums of money to other efforts. One solution is to expand your efforts and diversify your inbound traffic sources so you aren’t so reliant on one exclusively.
Lesson #5 – The more data the better.
Any opportunity you have to collect data do it. You’ll have the opportunity to segment that data and analyze when using a web analytics program like Google Analytics. Set up filters using regular expressions, use event tracking, examine social analytics such as Facebook Insights, anything that has data. Facebook rolled out their advanced insights; Twitter rumored at doing something similar soon. Then there’s Google – taking data away with keywords showing ‘not provided’ when visitors to your site are signed into their Google profiles and/or using encrypted search. You don’t miss it until it’s gone so take advantage of data as much as possible – a good lesson for 2011.
Lesson #6 – Long tail keywords can turn a bad year into a good one.
Focusing on single keywords or short tail phrases is certainly more competitive in some industries. Long tail phrases can prove to bring in just as much traffic cumulatively and in some instances convert at higher percentages.
Lesson #7 – Domain Authority > Page Rank
I’ve never given Page Rank much credence – it can be fairly simple to artificially inflate Page Rank. But more so this year than ever I’ve found that domain authority is the best metric to utilize when trying to establish a sites authority ‘score’ (as measured by SEOMoz).
Lesson #8 – Social links matter more than we know.
Bing admitted it, Google eluded to it – social links may influence search engine rankings. This year we’ve seen that social links matter and in my opinion I think they matter more than we know. This makes participating on social platforms and having something to share all the more important for brands in 2012.
Lesson #9 – Weak content = Weak rankings
Post-Panda website content must provide value which means: links, social mentions, comments, and traffic. If most of the content on your site provides no use, receives very little traffic, has very few links and has never been mentioned on social sites then you need a revamp. Weak content can directly correlate to weak rankings.
Lesson #10 – Exact match anchor text is the kiss of death.
Seen a dramatic decrease in rankings for a keyword? Look at the distribution of anchor text to the site. This is one of the most common reasons for ranking decreases I’ve seen in 2011. Natural anchor text is the way to go – vary it up with these 12 ways to vary your anchor text (a post I wrote last year).
Lesson #11 – Editorial links can change lives – or maybe just bottom lines.
Link building can be harder to do year after year. This year guest blogging and editorial link building was brought to the forefront. Links in the content of an article, blog, or content piece on a site that doesn’t just link out to anyone and everyone can be the best links out there. Also they’re sometimes the only way to get a link on certain sites (think a guest blog post on your competitors website…).
What are the internet marketing lessons you learned this year?
If you have been in the link building business over the past years, you must have noticed that things don’t work the same way any longer.
Generating tons of search engine traffic by slapping a few reciprocal links on your page simply does not work.
Before you embark on your SEO link building quest, it’s useful to understand what strategies DID matter a while ago, but are merely obsolete today – learn from the history, you know.
#1: PRECISE ANCHOR TEXTS
Previously, SEOs used to optimize their sites by using the same anchor text for all their links.
Well, this strategy is not that hot these days; as a matter of fact, you can be penalized by Google for doing it and not even know it.
Natural anchor texts are the key today.
But what is natural you might ask?
Basically, a natural link looks like it was built by a user, not an SEO. Normal users would not use a precise anchor text in their links, and neither should you – ALL the time, anyway.
In practical terms, when working on your link building, don’t just use your high value keywords in your links, but throw in a few “natural speech” words in there as well, like “cool site”, “click here”, etc.
#2: GOOGLE PAGERANK
I can’t believe there are still so many discussions about the validity of PageRank in the SEO world these days. I suppose if so much is written about it, somebody wants to read it, right?
As far as link building is concerned, PageRank is not the best indicator of the page strength.
The famous green bar has been a JOKE ever since Matt Cutts of Google confirmed that Google “takes care of people querying the PR data too much or too heavily.” (The source is a bit old, but if anything changed since then, it would be the fact that Google tried to downplay PageRank even more.)
Sounds like Google returns random page rank data if they feel like it – just because it’s fun to fool SEOs.
But why did I list PageRank as one of the factors I look for in a perfect link?
Simply because we don’t have too many alternatives to measure page authority aside from PR and maybe SEOMoz Page Authority metric, which I use quite a bit as well.
Either one of those metrics can be used as an indicator of the page strength, but not the primary factor by any means.
#3: ALEXA RANK
This metric is geared towards online marketers and does not truly measure ALL the traffic that might come to your site.
It’s based on the sample of Alexa toolbar users, is browser-specific and can be easily manipulated (from what I’ve heard anyway).
Plus, the formula Alexa uses to determine its page rank is overwhelmingly debated.
Once again, it’s a good indicator of the site authority, but should be used along with other factors to determine if any given site is truly a good link building candidate.
#4: GOOGLE BACKLINK DATA
Referring to the link:somedomain.com Google query.
Don’t ever trust Google to really tell you how many links a specific website has. Plus, when you do a Google search on your links, random samples are returned, so you might see the spammiest of all the links you have.
Yahoo! Site Explorer used to be a great backlink research tool, but alas, it’s out of commission.
I’ve done a lot of research on the alternatives, and so far my two best suggestions for link research are:
1. Market Samurai: if you already own Market Samurai, look no further.
I love their SEO competition section. It used to be powered by Yahoo! Site Explorer, but was recently changed to Majestic SEO – another great backlink checker that otherwise requires a monthly subscription to use.
Here’s a video on how to use the SEO Competition module of Market Samurai:
2. SEOSpyGlass: this software goes a few steps further than Market Samurai as far as backlink analysis is concerned.
My favorite part is the fact that it measures the VALUE of a link, plus the fact that their free version is free for life.
#5: GOOGLE CACHE DATE
This metric has also been used and abused by SEOs to the point that it can’t be relied upon. Juicy pages that rank are often returned as having no cache set.
So forget about the cache date as well.
Simple: if you are heavily relying upon any one of the above metrics to determine whether any given site/page is a good one to get a link from, stop it.
Effective link building is all about diversity.
Are you ever curiuos about your standings on social networks? See things like who has been sharing your content, how many shares / votes it has received, and more with the following URLs or Google search queries. Just replace domain.com with your domain!
There are two ways you can see your tweets on Twitter. The first is to perform a real time search on Twitter itself using the following URL (be sure to use the dropdown to see All tweets). Use the Save this search button to save it to your Twitter profile or create a column for this search in HootSuite / Tweetdeck.
The second is to use Topsy.com, which will show you the tweet count next to results from your domain. Change the time range to see tweets from the past hour to all time, and click on the tweet count of a particular post will let you see who has tweeted it.
Facebook search is a bit trickier – using their search bar, you will only get results when someone has typed your domain.com in the comment of their share, and only within the last 30 days. If you want to see a sampling of who is sharing your posts, try the following on Google.
site:facebook.com inurl:posts “domain.com”
When you search using Google+, you will get mentions of links from your domain that have been shared as well as anyone who has mentioned your domain in their comments.
Topsy also has a search that will show the number of times a post has been shared on Google+. Just like the Twitter results, you can change the time range to see tweets from the past hour to all time, and click on the tweet count of a particular post will let you see who has tweeted it.
You can search domain mentions on LinkedIn using the following URL. While it might not be that exciting because a lot of people feed their Twitter into their LinkedIn profile, the nice part is you can use the left side options to see people who tweet your content by location, company, industry, connections, and more. It may actually be a great way to meet new people that you can connect with – just check the box next to 3rd + Everyone under Network!
If you’ve tagged a lot of your videos with your link, these will come up as well. But I did find that if you search for your domain, you might find some people who have mentioned or referenced it in their videos.
There were two ways to find out which pages from your site have been stumbled. The first was the long way which will allow you to use the Stumble button to go through pages from your domain on the StumbleUpon network, one by one. When I last tried this, I got a message that SU was “testing” some new feature and it didn’t work like it was supposed to. Not sure if that is a temporary thing or not.
As a substitute, you can use this Google search instead.
This URL will show you the pages from your domain that have been bookmarked by users on Delicious, the number of times each page has been saved, and the tags / descriptions that people have added.
This URL will show you any pages dugg from your domain, including vote counts.
The results may not always be pleasant with this network, but using this URL will help you find any mentions of your domain on Reddit.
BizSugar is a great network for business news, so if your site has great business content, it may have ended up here. See which pages have been sugared using this URL!
Pinterest is the latest and greatest social bookmarking site that allows you to create vision boards with images on the web (hint: you should optimize for it). This URL will let you see if any photos from your domain have been pinned by Pinterest users.
Do you keep up with your site mentions on social media or bookmarking networks? What other ones do you follow?
When I’m approached with a client who heavily relies on business from a specific geographic area may seem daunting to come up with advanced strategy for SEO without a bit of out-of-the-box thinking. There are only so many profiles you can submit, customers who review your business, citations you can claim, and onsite optimization changes to make. Eventually there comes a time when you need a strategic link building campaign that focuses on giving search algorithms the signals needed to improve your geospecific rankings.
Through the use of content marketing, social media, and traditional link building you can compete against the rest of that 7 pack. The concept is simple: look for sites that are designed and used almost exclusively by those in your geospecific area. Those signals can help improve local rankings. Here are a few tips to help you with your geospecific link building.
If you have the luxury of being a business in a large metropolis or heavily populated area you stand a chance to integrate your business into the local community through a variety of avenues. Reach out to local bloggers, influencers, artists, photographers, business owners and PR professionals. These are the people who will want to link to your site, share the good word about your brand, and of course become your customers too. Many of them likely have websites or blogs where they can link back to you.
Contact local organizations like Local First Arizona, here in Phoenix where I live. Their goal is to work to support the local economy. Organizations like this, promoting the local movement, exist in many other areas too.
Government and Local Resources
The department of commerce websites often contain large lists of local businesses with information such as phone, address and website. Submit your business to sites like this and to local resource sites also. Using an advanced search command such as “phoenix” “list” “businesses” “add your company” or “phoenix” “list” “add your company” “pizza” can yield some decent results for local resource pages.
Targeted Local Directories & Libraries
Many local directories exist still today. More commonly used prior to the popularity of search engines, local directories are a great place to obtain a link. Advanced search commands, just as described above, can showcase some opportunities. Try adding “add your link” to the searches listed above to find additional sites.
Libraries often have local resources linked to from their sites as well. Again, advanced search commands come in handy to track these sites down.
Online newspapers and news sites offer a great way for businesses to highlight their businesses – allowing them to become contributors. A news site like NowPublic.com are crowd powered sites, relying on citizen journalists to help tell the news. They are looking for experts to help contribute and as an expert in your own field you can apply. Bio pages on these reputable sites often have in content do-follow link building opportunities, along with of course the content itself.
More and more radio stations are becoming content publishers. Many have entire forums and social components to their sites where users can drop links. Additionally some rely on citizen journalism as well. Apply to become a writer or search around the site to see if they have a local resource list to add your business to.
These are just a few of MANY strategies that work to reinvigorate a geospecific link building campaign. Have you done much geospecific link building? Tell us about some of the ways you were able to find some great local links in the comments below.
I recently stumbled upon a search engine ranking report from Chitika, an online advertising network, that focused on answering one question: how valuable prime search ranking positions really are.
Although the report was published a while ago, I believe that little has changed since then, and the following results are definitely something to pay attention to.
Of course we all know that it’s great to have #1 Google search engine ranking for your keyword.
But how much is it really worth in terms of traffic generation?
According to the data from the Chitika network, it’s worth a great deal – double the search engine traffic of the #2 spot, to be precise.
Let me put it another way:
The #1 Google search engine ranking spot gets as many visitors as positions 2-4 combined!
To come up with these impressive numbers, Chitika analyzed a sample of 8,253,240 impressions across their network.
“In order to find out the value of SEO, we looked at a sample of traffic coming into our advertising network from Google and broke it down by Google results placement.
The top spot drove 34.35% of all traffic in the sample, almost as much as the numbers 2 through 4 slots combined, and more than the numbers 5 through 20 (the end of page 2) put together.”
Search engine ranking #10 gets 143% more clicks than #11.
“The biggest jump, percentage-wise, is from the top of page 2 to the bottom of page 1.
Going from the 11th spot to 10th sees a 143% jump in traffic. However, the base number is very low – that 143% jump is from 1.11% of all Google traffic to 2.71%.
As you go up the top page, the raw jumps get bigger and bigger, culminating in that desired top position.”
Here are the search engine ranking numbers:
Show Me the Money!
I admit, having a number 1 search engine ranking on Google is very exciting and all, but if you are ranking of the wrong keyword, it won’t help your business much.
How do you know when it’s worth to improve google ranking?
To determine that, you can do one of the following:
Test your keywords with Google Adwords
- Start a Google AdWords campaign for the keyword, select “exact match” and point the ad to the page on your website that is most relevant to the keyword.
- Track the impressions and the conversion rate of the ad. To get useful data, you should track at least 500 clicks.
- With that data, you can make a guess about the value of a visitor that finds your website through that keyword.
For example, your ad might have had 10,000 impressions during a week and 200 visitors have come to your website. Six of them purchased something of your website and the total profit was $500.
That means that the average single visitor who finds your website through that keyword is worth $2.50 to your business ($500 / 200). The 10,000 ad impressions in a week can create a click-through rate of 34.35% (see table above) if you have the number 1 ranking for that keyword.
That means that you would get about 3,435 visitors per week. Based on the average value of $2.50/visitor you would earn $8,587.50 per week or $446,500 per year just with a single keyword.
Getting Market Value figures in Market Samurai
If you already own a copy of Market Samurai, the task of gathering all this info becomes even more of a breeze.
This data is gathered under you Keyword Analysis Data in Keyword Research tool.
Here are the numbers we are interested in:
• SEO Value (SEOV) – This is the maximum total value of traffic that the #1 ranked web page for this keyword (based on search results) is likely to receive – per month.
• Adwords Value (AWV) - This is the maximum total value of traffic that the #1 ranked advertiser (in Google Adwords) is likely to receive – per month.
In both cases, Market Samurai is taking the Market Value benchmark to the next step…
…by breaking down the Market Value number into how much #1 ranked web site will bring through organic SEO and Google Adwords respectively.
If you don’t have Market Samurai, I would recommend you get a copy – it will save you a lot of time (and money) doing market research and give you access to a lot of really powerful keyword research tools.
Image credit: ICanHasCheezburger.com
Back in October, I wrote an article on optimizing your social media profiles for SEO which included a detailed look at YouTube channels. And of course, here we are in December and YouTube has completely revamped their channel design. If you haven’t been to your channel recently, I’d suggest you go take a look at it now as it has all changed.
Here are some highlights as to what you need to go in and modify.
The first thing I noticed right away was my set featured video was nowhere to be found, and the channel was displaying my latest videos in the order they were uploaded. So if you’re like me and you want that featured video back, be sure to go in and set it. Click on the Edit button above the top video on your channel.
Use the dropdown to select whether your featured video is in Uploaded videos, Favorite videos, or a custom playlist. Then uncheck the box for Most Recent Video in Featured Set to see all of your videos in the category you chose. Click on the video you want as featured and then click Apply.
Beneath your featured video is a playlist, usually set to your most recent uploads or another playlist. Click on the Edit button above this playlist to choose what you want displayed.
Select the playlist (Uploaded videos, Favorite videos, or a custom playlist) you want displayed below your featured video and then click Apply.
About You and Your Links
To edit your channel’s information, click on the Edit button in the right sidebar above the About You text.
The downside to the new changes is that there is no longer any customizable field that counts as the meta description for your channel and your links are no longer dofollow. The upside is you can include more links on your channel to your website, social profiles, etc. While they may not have SEO value, they are in a great position to be clicked upon by visitors to your channel.
Beneath your links are additional fields about you as the user, your hometown, occupation, companies, schools, and interests. The most important area to fill out is the top About box and your links as the rest of the information will be hidden unless someone clicks on the more link.
Featured Playlists and Channels
Underneath your information and links are two areas where you can highlight your featured playlists and featured channels (or links to other YouTube channels). Click on the Edit button above each section to set these in the order you prefer.
Have you updated your YouTube channel? Do you love it or hate it? Please share your thoughts on the new design in the comments!
We want what we want when we want it. This on demand nature can impact the success of your website and your business. From website speed to free downloads, there are a few things you can do today that can live up to the on demand requirements of today’s society.
Nothing frustrates savvy online users more than a slow website (pop-ups are certainly up there on the list too!). Increasing the speed of your website will help users download content faster, view photos with ease, watch videos quickly too and of course buy products.
A few areas you can increase speed today:
- Compress images and specify image dimensions in HTML code
- Minify HTML
- Test your host – upgrade if necessary
- 10PoundGorilla.com provides a few more tips here
Have you ever asked your sales people, customer service agents, or other employees what the number one question they’re asked is? Find out what it is and make sure the answer is on your site. Seems simple enough but is often overlooked. And for those on demand folks they won’t wait to find the answer and many won’t even call – they’ll just go onto the next site that has the answers.
While an often debated premise, putting prices up on your site for your services and products can bode well for your bottom line. Certainly it depends on your services and industry, but many experts suggest adding prices to your website. For an on demand society they don’t want to wait to see what your prices are, or fill out a form just to get directed to a sales person. Give them what they want – prices!
Using free guides or white papers as a way to bring visitors to your site is a great concept. Where some businesses may slip up is by making their content only accessible after a lead form is filled out. Check out these 9 epic free eBooks. Quite a few of them from large content marketing agencies aren’t opt-in. Before you automatically assume you should have an opt-in form think about making it 100% free to your visitors.
When I happen to land on a site that allows me to login with Facebook or Twitter I usually do. One less form for me to fill out? Yes please! Using the login button for Facebook or for Twitter promotes a more engaged user base and makes the process of signing into your site much easier too. If a user wants to log in then let them do it quickly and easily by integrating these buttons onto your site.
Creating the easiest possible shopping process is ideal for eCommerce sites. Easy to access add to cart buttons, personalization options, ship-to-store availability, quick browsing, and reviews at the ready are all parts of making the shopping process easier on your site.
Sharing a new purchase with a friend or getting feedback from a family member on a possible purchase is a regular occurrence these days. Make it easier for prospective customers by adding share buttons to each of your product pages and thank you pages as well.
How do you deal with marketing to an on demand demographic? Let us know, in the comments below!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never liked doing keyword research.
Let’s face it: it’s tedious, time-consuming, and overwhelming, and that’s not even the biggest problem.
The core aspect of keyword research that many webmasters get wrong is finding keywords that THEIR readers search for when looking for information about their niche subject.
There’s a huge difference between THINKING you know what your readers are searching for and KNOWING what they are searching for, wouldn’t you say?
The following keyword research method is the easiest way I’ve even found to identify such search terms.
Oh, and did I mention it’s entirely hands-off, apart from setting it up, and entirely free?
Google Site Search
Chances are you have a search box on your site, and it’s most likely used by your readers to look up the kind of information they would expect to find on your site. Also, chances are your search box is powered by Google Site Search.
If you DON’T have a search box, stop right here and install it immediately! There’s nothing more frustrating than being on a site and not being able to find the information you are looking for. Search boxes keep your readers happy and your bounce rate low.
So, now that you definitely have the search box on your blog, have you ever checked what your readers are searching for?
If not, you are missing out on a vital piece of information that could tell you exactly what kind of content your readers want to see on your site.
In other words, TARGETED keywords.
Now let’s get down to business and set up a way for you to tap into this valuable information by tracking it in Google Analytics.
How to Track Site Search in Google Analytics
Setting up this process is very simple.
Note: since the new Google Analytics interface will soon become the default one for everyone, that’s the version I’ll use in the instructions below.
1. From “Profiles” go into “Profile Settings”.
2. Scroll down just a bit till you see”Site Search Settings” and set up the parameters like you see them in the screenshot below:
Note: set “s” as the Query Parameter.
Just in case you are wondering why, “s” stands for “search” and is found in any search URL.
For instance, when I do a search for “web traffic” on my blog, this is what the URL for the search looks like:
4. Click “Apply” and you are all set.
I told you it would be easy, right?
Site Search Results
Depending on how busy your blog is, it might take some time to accumulate any actionable results.
My blog gets about 400 site searches per month, which is plenty enough to determine what kind of content my readers tend to search for.
Here’s where to find these stats in Google Analytics:
And there you have it.
Not only do you know now what content you need to write about, but also what content you might need to make more accessible to your readers, for instance in your sidebar.
Easy, perfectly targeted, hands-free keyword research – check.
Social media marketing can be a daunting task which takes time away from other important responsibilities. This is especially the case for small business owners who don’t have the staffing power to fully maximize the benefits of social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In. Buzz, etc.) with regard to their online marketing strategy. Such benefits include increased brand awareness, networking, customer interaction which can turn leads into sales.
- Formulate a strategy. According to Diana Huff, a leading Internet Marketing expert, there are strategies that small business owners can implement that will help them manage their social media campaigns effectively and save time.
Before interacting on Facebook or Twitter, know why you wish to maintain a presence on each site. Without a strategy you will not be able to market your product or service effectively. The following are some key questions to ask as your create your online strategy:
- What is your company’s marketing objective?
- What results do you wish to achieve?
- How will success be measured?
- Who on your team will be responsible for monitoring your firm’s online presence and interacting with prospects and customers?
- How much time will this employee be able to devote exclusively to social media?
- Which of the platforms are best for your business?
- Start slowly with one platform. Many small business owners mistakenly believe that they must jump into all social media platforms at one time. This is simply not the case. You can start with any of the sites and once comfortable on that site, build a presence on the others. It is also fine to elect not to participate in some sites at all. What is most important is that you develop a consistent presence on those sites you do choose to use. It does not good to develop a page or profile, post a couple of comments and then disappear. It takes time to develop a following but well worth the effort once you recognize the viral effect of online marketing.
- Set a social media schedule. Tim Ferriss, author of the 4 hour Work Week, includes much discussion on how to manage email overload. One of his suggestions is to simply stop checking it 50 times per day. The same advice can be followed with regard to social media. Schedule a set period of time each day when you will post a question for your Facebook fans, post a comment to your LinkedIn group, check your Google feed, or post and article to your company blog. As per Diana Huff, setting aside as little as 30 minutes twice per week should suffice for carrying out each of these tasks. Grouping your social media time in this way lessens the anxiety associated with building a social media presence.
- Use tools to help manage multiple platforms. If you have several employees posting to the sites or if you are an Internet marketer with several accounts, it helps to use such tools as HootSuite or TweekDeck. These tools shorten your URL and eliminate the need to log in and out to multiple platforms
- Outsource if necessary. While there is much discussion on the ethics of ghost-blogging, it is a fact that many small companies are not able to manage their social media campaigns effectively while trying to grow their business. In light of this, hiring ghostwriters is a smart move when trying to balance the competing needs of your firm.
An effective social media campaign is managed in the same way as any marketing effort: with a strategy in place based on your business model and objectives.