Online Marketing – Monkey See Monkey Do.
With the wide acceptance of social media use in business, a lot of small business owners are getting on board with a blog, with social media accounts, with mobile marketing and more. Their goals tend to be similar – they want to improve business. Unfortunately for many, what they wind up with is less business and a lot of wasted money. If they’re lucky they maintain the status quo.
So what’s the problem?
The main issue copycat marketing. A business owner sees a competitor doing something and they decide to try the same thing because it seems to work so well. This goes on all the time with social media marketing through Facebook and Twitter. It’s also the reason why many small business owners start up a blog.
I often find myself wondering the point of having a website if no one can find it. The occasional visitor might stumble on it, but is there a reason to pay for hosting if you cannot get your site up to the front page with your keywords? Small business owners are typically the worst offenders, though it’s not intentional.
In most cases, they feel they don’t have the time or budget to build and maintain a professional website for their business. Instead they settle for less. The result is an unpolished, unprofessional website that simply isn’t visible in search. Whatever time and money put into it is wasted. If those unprofessional sites do gain some traffic and visibility, they’re likely doing more harm than good because of the quality of the design (or lack thereof).
Not only do you have to think about the aesthetics of your site but you need to think about the content and how you can optimize and supplement your website content in order to improve your visibility -and- your conversion rates. (i.e. turning visitors into customers)
Here are some simple tips to get you thinking about how you can improve your search presence and the user experience to boost your SEO efforts.
- Get your own domain, do not co-host somewhere else. Do not use free domains. Having your own domain shows professionalism.
- Keep an eye on your performance. Google Analytics will help you determine the point of origin for your best traffic, how long they stay, how they exit and other metrics.
- Get involved in the community such as through forums. When you participate there are opportunities for giving out links to your site to build your link profile.
- Use a blog you’ve started for blog marketing – link back to your site pages in your post.
- Update your blog on a regular basis, you never know when it will take off and people could start linking to it.
- DMOZ may not be as popular as other major search engines since it is edited by humans, but many of the major search engines still use this site for indexing.
- Complex java script can confuse search engines when they are indexing your site, avoid it at all costs.
- Flash sites can cause similar issues with search engine indexing. Keep dynamic content that is strictly visual to a minimum.
- Target good keywords with low competition. Use tools for research such as Google Adwords keyword research tool.
- Include your keywords in all areas of your site. This includes your title and Meta description, alt tags, footer, and the body of the content. This greatly increases your relevancy when indexing.
- Surround your keywords with relevant words that pertain specifically to the topic. Sometimes site excerpts are displayed in search results as opposed to the meta description. Keep the info in context and help them find what they are looking for. Be the solution.
- Avoid keyword stuffing – Keyword stuffing is considered a spammy practice used to manipulate search results. If your content is flagged for keyword stuffing you can suffer a penalty to your rank and even have your domain removed from the search index.
- Door way pages or splash pages are tools commonly used in black hat and gray hat SEO. The search engines, particularly Google, frown on their use. If you use one, drop it and create a home page that offers real value.
This certainly is no master primer, but these little things are good to keep in the back of your mind as reminders on how to handle yourself and your marketing campaign. Try not to get your eyes glued on the big picture and remember the little things that have a tremendous impact on conversion, site design, visibility and SEO.