Last week a collaborative team of Web Savvy Marketers launched the new blog WebSavvyMarketers.com. The team is made up of Rahna Barthelmess, Nancy Simonds, Beth Devine and me. Our goal is to explore and discuss the numerous online marketing options availabe for businesses today. Each of us operates our own marketing and web related business yet we all have different specialties. Check out websavvymarketers.com and feel free to comment and ask questions.
Is your Web site an effective marketing tool?
The New Year is a perfect time to evaluate the effectiveness of your Web content. Use this checklist to review your written content on these ten important points:
- Does the content clearly and honestly describe your product or service?
- Have you presented your core message concisely and effectively?
- Do you use meaningful page titles, sub-headings, and other techniques that help visitors find what they’re looking for as they scan the page?
- Are your Web pages viewable in a couple of screen views, without too much scrolling down?
- Does each page have a strong call to action?
- Are there key words and phrases that help potential customers find you through a search engine?
- Do you review your site statistics to see what page visitors enter on, what page they leave from, and whether or not they take any action?
- Does the content match the design in terms of tone and personality?
- Is the type in a size, style, and color that make it accessible to the widest possible audience?
- Is your content free of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors?
If you’re not sure whether your current Web content is clear, easily “scannable” by the visitor’s eye, and truly descriptive of your product and services, take advantage of our evaluation and consultation services.
Can your potential customers find you when they do an Internet search? In other words, is your web site optimized for search engine indexing? Use this checklist to evaluate your web site for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
- Have you developed a key word list that contains words and phrases that describe your product or service?
- Does each page on your web site have a keyword-rich page title that accurately describes the content on that page?
- Does each page on your web site have a meta description tag that clearly describes the content on that page in one or two sentences?
- Do you use keywords within the content on your pages?
- Do you use keyword-rich alt tags for each image on every page?
- Do you use keywords in text links on your site?
- Do you update your site on a regular basis?
- Do you take advantage of industry- or regional-specific on-line directories to list your business, with a link to your web site?
- Do you use on-line PR services to submit articles related to your business that link to your web site?
- Do you have a blog, or participate in forums, blogs or on-line business networking services like Linked In, Facebook or Plaxo?
With the goal of making search engine results more relevant to users, Google continues to work on new methods to provide personalized results. Users will have the opportunity to rank their own results and add comments when logged into their Google account.
What does this mean for SEO? Strategies should focus less on attaining top rank but should focus on enticing the consumer to the site. Once there, the website should clearly present the material the user will need to take the action the site owner desires. Focus needs to be on:
- Writing good page titles, accurate yet enticing
- Write a good meta description
- Clear, action oriented content that clearly presents your message and invites users to take action.
One easy way to use keywords in your website is to use them in your links. Too often I see content concluded with “click here for more information”. That’s just a wasted opportunity where a keyword phrase should be used.
So, if you find yourself writing “click here” … STOP! Use a keyword instead.
Search engine optimization is an art and a science and there are many things you can do in addition to what was done during the site build to continue to improve your search engine ranking. But keep in mind that SEO is an ongoing process and it can take time to get ranked and stay on the first page of a Search Engine.
Since search engines are trying to provide the most relevant search results to their clients, the best thing you can to do to improve your chance of ranking well is to build a content-rich, well organized website that is kept current with updated information.
Recommendations for keeping content fresh:
- Use a blog or user forum to make it easy to post new information and to encourage user participation
- Remove pages with outdated content, or pages without content.
- Use video – (customers and search engines like it)
Often you’ll notice that the sites that are coming up at the top of the SE list are directory sites. They have a distinct advantage over an individual or small business site because in addition to having fresh content that is updated regularly, they provide multiple resources for someone searching – thus the SE’s consider them the most relevant result to the search.
Things you should do:
- Research your keyword phrases to determine the best terms to use and regularly add keyword rich content to the website.
- Ensure that keywords are used in page titles, meta tags, content and content headings.
- Get listed on appropriate online directories (professional directories, yellow pages, chambers of commerce, etc.)
- Submit press releases to online PR services
- Set-up a Google Adwords or other PPC program
- Review your site statistics or a program like Google Analytics to analyze what is working – what pages people are landing on and where they go once they get there. Make adjustments based on analysis
- Maximize your virtual network with professional networking sites like Linked In or Plaxo
- Participate on professional forums and offer your expertise
Things to avoid:
- Pop-up windows
- Dead links
- Identical content posted in duplicate locations
- Overuse of Flash
Keywords are the building blocks to a well-built website. They should determine the navigation structure to the website, the content of the site and if used wisely will have a positive impact in how well your website is ranked by search engines and more importantly will lead qualified prospects to your websites.
There are a number of tools online to help you determine seed keywords based on your products or services, but the first step you should take when developing your initial list is to brainstorm. Make a list of terms that you think your clients, customers or prospects might use to find a company that offers your product or solution.
It’s possible, in fact likely, that you may be too close to your topic. It’s wise to seek the advice of someone not familiar with your product to find out what terms they would use to find the solution you are providing. There is a website called seedkeywords.com that can help facilitate that process.
It’s also a good idea to step away from the computer and go to the library. Find your topic in the library and see the different phrases that are used to reference your topic. Better yet, ask a reference librarian what terms real people use to ask about a topic.
Once you have an initial list of keywords, you’ll want to develop a secondary and tertiary set of keywords. For example, as I revamp my own website, the table below might be similar to this partial list of my keywords.
|web development||web design||custom web designs, small business websites, html / CSS coding, ?custom web design solutions, website packages,?build your own website, web design tools, web designer, web developer, html editor, domain registration, web hosting|
|E-commerce websites||Shopping carts, online store, online shopping cart, merchant accounts, e-commerce security, SSL, build your own shopping cart|
|website applications?||blogs, wordpress, bulletin board, forum, knowledgebase, membership directory, custom applications, content management systems|
|Internet services||POP mail accounts, webmail, email defense, spam filters, e-mail marketing|
|internet marketing||Search Engine Optimization, SEO, email marketing, RSS feeds, PPC, SERP, pay per click programs, google adwords programs,|
As you can see by laying out the keywords in primary, secondary and tertiary columns it can help you determine the architecture or navigational structure of the website. Additionally it will help you to focus on the terms you need to include in your content to make it easy for people visiting your site and for search engine bots to determine the services or products that you are offering on your website. The easier you make it for people and bots to know what you’re talking about, the easier it will be to get targeted customers to your website and to improve your bottom line.