Archive for December, 2006

To Get Google to Find You, Start Writing

December 31, 2006

Google ImagePeople often ask me how they can improve their search engine rankings.  The response most give is to employ a Search Engine Optimization strategy which includes a host of many credible, as well as a few voodoo tactics.  One sure fire way to increase your search engine visibility and your credibility is to write articles for media publications.  Google Eastonsweb Multimedia and see what comes up.

Media outlets (newspapers, magazines, web publishers and others) are always on the lookout for useful information or a unique spin on an existing story.  If your story gets picked up chances are it will appear on the web as well as in print.  If you compose your story with relevant keywords and your website’s link in the article byline; the keywords could hook the search engine which will  scan your article following the embedded link back to your website. 

Search engines love text content (not images), so the more text-rich articles you distribute, the more attractive your website will look to the search engines.  You can use Google Alerts to track your keyword search strategy.  As an example I have set one up for my company, Eastonsweb Multimedia.

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SEO Marketer Increases Web Conversion Rates by 400%

December 28, 2006

Web publishing blogger, Andrew Johnson interviewed search engine marketer, Brandon Sinclair about how he improved his website conversion rates over 300% by using online video.  Brandon deflates many common misconceptions about using streaming video as a marketing tool (perceived cost, limited effectiveness, complexity, etc) and experiences exceptional results in the process.

As Brandon implies several in the interview the key is to have a product or service your prospective customers are interested in; include compelling content in your video that speaks to what your audience WANTS and make sure the content visually conveys, “shows” why the product or service is a must have. As a video production specialist, these are tenants I live by and aggressively encourage my clients to follow.

Website Owners: Your Content is King

December 26, 2006

Website ContentI often work with clients who request graphics-heavy, Flashy websites but they sometimes fail to realize that it is the content that will ultimately make their site successful; not the “Flash”.  First, your website content is critical because text is a primary search engine hook.  Search engines cannot see graphics but they can and do scan text. Properly layering relevant keywords throughout your web pages will grab the attention of search engines and rank  your site higher is search results.

In addition to search engines, your prospective customers are attracted to useful, relevant content.  When was the last time you remember someone saying, “I just had to buy that new doohickey because that flashy, popping graphic looked so good.”  You have not heard anyone say this because it is not why customers buy and your site should be designed from the ground up to convert browsers into buyers.

The managers over at amazon.com understand the point above. Amazon is certainly not going to win any design contests but it consistently transacts more business than just about any other web property.  Amazon wins because they understand their customers and consistently provide content that their customers want.

Website Statistics: Turning Browsers Into Buyers

December 21, 2006

A critical website management task that often goes unattended is monitoring site traffic.  Most of us make a mistake by limiting tracking efforts to recording the number online orders received.  Another common mistake is using inaccurate measures to estimate site traffic, hits for example.  Small business owners can get a better sense of what content and marketing activities are working by monitoring a small set of site metrics on a regular basis (at least monthly).  Almost all web hosting packages offer basic site traffic analysis tools that, if used, will get the job done.

 At a minimum, you want to know how much traffic you receive; where your traffic is coming from; what content is being viewed and the number of visitors who buy or engage a desired action . Some important measures are:

  1. Total Visitors: This number represents the total number of individuals who visit your site in a given time period. If a visitor leaves the site and returns within the selected time range, they are only counted once.  A tracking code (cookie) might be placed on the visitors machine to uniquely identify them.
  2. Total Visits:  A visit is recorded each time an individual accesses your website.  A single visitor can generate multiple visits.  Important here are the number of repeat visits.  This is a good estimate of your site’s popularity.  Flashy sites typically have low repeat visit numbers (remember this).
  3. Page Views:  A page view is recorded each time a web page is loaded in a visitor’s web browser.  A single visit can generate multiple page views.  Reports ranking your top 10 or 20 page views will flag content your visitors find valuable or alert you to areas of improvement.  If page 3 hosts your dynamite sales video but the page is not receiving much traffic, it might be time to move it to a more popular page.
  4. Referrers:  Shows where your traffic is coming from.  Referrers can come from online ad placements, links on partner or affiliate sites, online press releases and many other sources.  Referrer stats can reveal web properties you might consider building or deepening relationships with.
  5. Path Analysis:  Path stats show common page sequences visitors use to move through your site.  The most important path to understand is the “buy path”.  This is the path browsers take to become buyers.

There are many other helpful web statistics but following these few on a regular basis will deliver more bottom line value than adding the next Flashy, popping web doohickey to your site.  This data will help you understand your visitors behavior which is critical to the success of your website efforts.

Ben McConnell Talks About Citizen Marketers (CBS News)

December 17, 2006

Ordinary people like you and I are having a tremendous impact on media and culture.  Word of Mouth marketing specialist, Ben McConnell talks with CBS News about how ” Citizen Marketers “, regular people are shaping today’s discussions.  Click the following link to watch the video:  Ben McConnell on CBS

I am talking about this today because just as ordinary individuals are getting heard, small business owners can leverage citizen marketing also.  Let’s take Ben McConnell’s example.  Ben recently released a new book, Citizen Marketers (which I am going to read soon).  I am not psychic but I bet he did some of the following:

  1. Launched the book
  2. Started a discussion about the book at his blog (engages citizen marketers on his behalf)
  3. He or his publicist engaged the press and got among other opportunities, the CBS interview (read “how to get a free marketing video” )
  4. CBS and other press mentions drive book sales, create new citizen marketers for him and stimulates the network of current citizen marketers.

The end result of all of this is great buzz and increased sales.  No matter what your product or service, you can do the same thing.  It does not cost much money to do.  It takes a bit of planning, the right tools and time.