Archive for the ‘Website Conversion’ Category
Saturday, August 25th, 2007 |
A search engine optimization company can sometimes forget about the little guy. Sometimes working for web sites who need search results for terms that have national competition can overwhelm you and blind you to the company who is competing for search terms in a local geographic area. I wrote a post on improving local search results a few weeks ago and in doing so discovered a new tip: Add Reviews. Or better yet ask your customers to add reviews.
For example I have done a search for Home Improvement in Richmond, Virginia. Click on the screenshot to the right and you can see the #1 search result is a client of ours, Creative Energy. You can also see they have 2 reviews listed. Local reviews can help boost your search engine rankings and if they are positive reviews they can boost your sales. imagine if you were looking at the results listed, wouldn’t you read the reviews? If they were positive you might visit their site or give them call. Every advantage helps.
So how do you add reviews? Visit Google Maps and do a search for you business by name and your city and state. When you find your business click the more information link. (Or you may see a review link to click from here, it depends on your search results). From there you will see a link to write a review. You can provide this link to customers and if they have a Google account, as many people do, they can add a review. You can also add reviews through other sites, Google will find them, such as Yelp and your local CitySearch.com, but they customers will need accounts to use these as well.
So am I telling you to manufacture or make up reviews? No, of course not. But if you have clients who have given you a written letter or verbal review it might be worth it to ask them to post a review online. Give them a coupon for future work or send them a gift of Virginia peanuts. Don’t think of it as bribery, think of it as good customer relations.
Friday, August 3rd, 2007 |
In SEO, local search should never be overlooked. It can provide a boost in traffic has a higher tendency to convert more visitors to customers since most people prefer working with local companies, even SEO companies.
Here are some factors that Big Oak SEO feels are important and should be considered when trying to get higher rankings for your site, whether or not you are marketing to a national or local market. I have tried to list them in order of importance but it really depends how important local traffic is to your site.
Location in the Title of your Pages
Including your city and state, especially if you are counting on local customers is imperative. Don’t overdue it, but be sure to include it. I talk about this in detail on my SEO Titles: Using the Title Tag post.
Link Building with City and State Keywords
When building links to your site, include some with local terms like we do in this example: Richmond Virginia Search Engine Optimization Company. You get the idea.
Tell the Search Engines Where You Work
The physical location of your site should be on the footer of every page. If you work from home, get a P.O. box and list that address. It is important for the city, state and zip code be on every page.
Submit Your Site to Google’s Local Business Center
You can’t get found in a search unless Google knows where you are. Submit your business to Google’s Local Business Center even if you don’t have a website…yet.
Keep Your Contact Page Connected
Your physical address should be at the top of the contact page, above your contact form. At the very least it should be easy to find and accurate.
Link to your address on the Google Maps and Yahoo Maps. For example, go to Google Maps and then do a search for you physical address. After finding your location you will see a “Link to this page” link. Click that and then copy and paste that link on your contact page.
Adding written driving directions will allow for many local keywords to be included so having this in addition to a link to maps.google.com is a good idea.
List Coverage Area
Big Oak SEO is located in Glen Allen, Virginia, but very few people have heard of or search for Glen Allen. We are in the Richmond, Virginia area so we use Richmond in our footer and mention it on our company page as well as other local locations. Try to include the metropolitan areas on your site if that is what people will be searching for.
Add Listings in Yellow Pages, Superpages & Similar Sites
While I don’t often feel the cost is warranted for phone book sites, if you can get a free listing or a discount because you are already paying for a printed listing it can help to have a link pointing to your site from the online listing.
Provide a Local Phone number on Every Page
It is a no-brainer to have your 800 present at the top of every page, but be sure to list your local number in the footer as well. Don’t forget to include the area code.
List your Site in Directories for Local businesses
Sites like Yelp.com and Citysearch.com are good places for local businesses. They can also provide real traffic and not just higher rankings. I’m looking more into Yelp and hope to write a post about them soon.
Get your site or business reviewed
I think this is undervalued in importance, but getting a few reviews from a site like CitySearch and Yelp is a good thing for search engine rankings. Submit your site and ask friends to review for you. Of course this isn’t applicable to all businesses, but it should be part of the marketing plan if you count on local consumers.
This isn’t new but not many people are using it. Google coupons was announced in August 2006. It may help your ranking, but it can’t hurt, especially if you have actual cost savings to offer over your competition.
Do you have any ideas or have any advice that has worked for you concerning local search. If so, send us an email or submit a comment to this post. We are always looking for new ideas to share.
Friday, July 6th, 2007 |
Why you should use a flat site architecture rather than a deep, or nested, site architecture if SEO is important to your site?
In my previous life as a website designer and HTML developer I loved to have a folder/directory for everything. While I’m not a organized person (ask my wife) I did like keeping my files structured in clearly labeled directories. So nesting directories 4 or 5 levels deep was common practice. When I transitioned to an SEO specialist my ideas on structuring files and site architecture began to change and here is why.
A flat site offers quick access to all the pages within the site. A minimal number of clicks are needed to find all the pages within your site, usually no more than three clicks is ideal. According to the views of the search engines (SEs), less clicks mean higher importance. The view of the SEs are that more important information will be easier to reach. Home page information is the most important, one click from the home page is secondary information and two clicks is tertiary information and so forth.
Think of it like bodies of water. Your home page is the ocean and off of the home page are large rivers and then smaller rivers, then streams, then creeks and brooks and finally the smallest trickle of water is all that is left. Don’t let you products, services or information be at the end of the trickle, drying up eventually. Closer to the ocean is always better and that is how the search engines will rank your pages too.
I’ve seen some site place everything in the root folder and this isn’t good practice either. Structure your sites as to what makes sense, but be aware that more clicks can mean less viewers, both for search engine traffic and visitors on your site.
Friday, April 6th, 2007 |
Every page on your web site should have its own story and clear message. You must be sure that the search engines have no doubt what each page should rank well for. Do not mix signals or too keyword phrases on a page. If you are selling vinyl replacement windows, have a page directly focused on that product line. If you look at this example link from Creative Energy, a local client of Big Oak, you can see the focus on vinyl replacement windows is clear from the content.. Being a local Richmond, VA company, their goal for this page was top placement in Google for the search term ‘Richmond vinyl replacement windows’. They have the #1 and #2 listing. But we also have them ranked #12 for the term ‘vinyl replacement windows’. How did we accomplish this?
We gave this page individual attention and that made the difference. Let’s look deeper and check out the factors that make a web page unique in your web site.
The title sets up the page for the search engine. Short and direct, this is a good title that states clearly what the page is about to the search engines.
<title>Vinyl Replacement Windows from Simonton Window | Creative Energy of Richmond, Virginia</title>
While the importance of meta tags is questioned, using the description tag has its uses. And if you are going to use it, make sure it mentions your targeted key phrases. Thr meta description tag on our example page also contains the key phrase vinyl replacement windows.
<meta name=“description” http-equiv=“description” content=“Creative Energy, the exterior experts, installs vinyl replacement windows in the Richmond, Virginia region and recommends Simonton Windows to homeowners in central Virginia.”>
Even though the meta keyword tag is ignored for the most part, if it is part of your plan, make it count and make it different for each page.
<meta name=“keywords” http-equiv=“keywords” content=“vinyl replacement window, simonton window, replacement window, replacement window, vinyl window richmond virginia “>
I just wrote post on the myth of OPTIMAL keyword density, but having the keyword phrase on the page, of course, makes good sense. If you check out the keyword density for this page for the term vinyl replacement windows it is 4.21%. This may be a little high but if you read the page it doesn’t feel “spammy” so it is acceptable. Remember, you are writing for the search engines and people.
Linking, External and Internal
Make sure you have a few keyword-rich links to your important pages from external sites and your internal links. This is referred to as deep linking and will help your site’s ranking.
Here you can see an article written for the replacement windows with the exact link text we want in the author’s box. For the internal linking, the footer on Creative Energy’s web site contains a link to the Vinyl Replacement Window page with the link text ‘REPLACEMENT WINDOWS‘, a good text link even without the keyword ‘vinyl’ included.
Building Your Web Site One Page at a Time
As you can see this page was given the individual attention it needed to show high in the search engine rankings, but the real message of this SEO tip is that this page is has its own voice on the client’s site. If you view the other product web pages for Creative Energy you will find they follow suit with targted titles, meta tags, content and linking. Take the time to craft each web page individually and take care to spend time on the components I’ve listed.
Wednesday, March 21st, 2007 |
Finding your site in the search engines isn’t enough, we all know this. But once they get to your site, the real work begins. If a potential customer can’t find the product they will move on to easier pastures. Adding a search box or alphbetized links to products can help guide your customers to the right product.
In a study provided by Marketing Sherpas 46% of product marketers say tweaking internal site search is “very effective,” second only to shopping cart design as the most valuable site test.
See how a discount fragrance retailer increased conversion rates with an A-Z search tool that gets seven times more traffic than their regular search box. With the new feature working in tandem with the basic search tool, conversions are up 16.2%.
Monday, February 12th, 2007 |
Our head researcher/copywriter and SEO strategis, Alyssa Duvall, wrote an article on Increasing Conversions for our SEO newsletter that I felt should be included in our blog. I didn’t place the entire artilce but you can read the entire article on our site if this introduction peaks your interest.
I recently attended the Persuasive Online Copywriting Seminar at Future Now‘s offices in Brooklyn, NY. They are a great bunch of folks who work from the customer’s point of view to adjust the messaging and sales process on a website to increase the site’s conversion rate.
I learned a great deal during my two days with the Future Now team and will be integrating this knowledge into Big Oak’s site optimization process. One of the many light-bulb moments I had during the seminar came when I was presented with this idea:
Many online businesses fail to consider their customer’s buying process and instead force their customers to adapt to the company’s selling process.
Talk about a powerful and true criticism. The sales process or the item being sold doesn’t have to be complicated for a company to follow this flawed mentality. A simple purchase online can be an arduous task if the seller has put roadblocks in the way of the buyer ultimately making the purchase.
How many times have you hunted around on a website looking for shipping policies or specific product information? When this happens, more often that not, the company is including the information they think is important, in a way that makes sense to them, without asking what the customer needs or where they would intuitively look for it. When I was shopping for my LCD HDTV, I was very concerned about each model’s height and width because I have an entertainment cabinet that the TV was going to have to fit in. A few inches here or there for the set’s speakers or stand made a huge difference in the models I would even consider. Finding this information wasn’t always easy or where I expected to find it.
So what is a company to do? The solution is to alter your company’s selling process so that it allows your customers to easily step through their buying process. Sounds impossible, I know, and it is going to take some effort and customer insight to change your company-centric thinking. But the reward of higher conversion is well worth the effort.
Read the entire article on Increasing Conversions