Do Not Drop Your Web Site Off the Search Engine Cliff
If you've been feeling like Tom Cruise climbing up the side of some remote jagged mountain in the blazing hot sun and concerned you're facing "mission impossible", chances are you own a web site.
Adding to the intense thrill of web site ownership are keyword comparisons and bidding for good keyword positions in search engines. You might hire a search engine optimization specialist who can track elusive algorithm clues and is unfazed by page rank drama. Your programmers and designers insist they get along. The marketing department actually believes deadlines are met. The new bank account is waiting for fresh revenue. And oh yes, it's assumed someone will come looking for your web site and wants to use it.
You did build it for them, right?
For every search result, there is the possibility that:
a. The engine will display a description that makes sense. Or not.
b. The page the search engine refers to does what the description said it would do and is about what the search engine said it would cover. Or not.
Your SEO/SEM, if you hired a good one, helped you write your title tag statement and Meta page description and structured it so it makes sense in SERPs (search engine results pages).
Your Usability professional, if you hired one, evaluated the page to make sure it would meet customer expectations and convince visitors there are other hot pages inside the web site to look at too. Without call to action prompts, well displayed, logically labeled navigation links and credible content, the chance of someone remaining on that page is pretty slim.
Says Gordon Hotchkiss, President and CEO of Enquiro Search Solutions, Inc., in a recent Search Day article written by Shari Thurow, called Creating Compelling Search Engine Ads and Landing Pages, "Once searchers arrive on your landing pages, you have 13.2 seconds to convince visitors that they are on the right site."
Had enough of web page abandonment? Are those cost per click fees putting you further in credit card debt and not producing any bang for your buck? Which part of "understand your web site visitor" didn't make it to the drawing board?
I know this is hard. You're not a mind reader. Unless you have access to costly studies and data about who to build your web site for and their computer usage habits, chances are you simply wanted a web site and hoped people would find it and use it. By incorporating the skills and expertise of an SEO/SEM along with a user centered design specialist, you will not be wastefully tossing your web site off the search engine cliff. Rather, your adoring fans will clamor up the cliff to get to it.
Sometimes a web designer is also trained in these fields or is partnered with people who are. This is something to consider when shopping around for web site assistance.
Here are some things to keep in mind when studying your web site. You can also ask your team to consider these points.
1. What happens after your site reaches top rank? It's lonely up there, if nobody notices your page or understands the page description. How effective is high rank? Do people really click on "sponsored" pages vs. natural results?
2. Pay attention to inside "landing" pages. Optimize them for easy indexing and point visitors to your homepage, sale products or free stuff.
3. Be wise about what you invest. Every cost per click must be productive. If not, a usability web site review can locate roadblocks.
4. It's about the user experience. Really. It's a common habit for web site owners to create the site for themselves based on what they like and want. When you receive a complaint, consider it a favor. Yes, some people are mean and critical. But, enhancements are improvements that sometimes benefit a lot of people, and you too, in the long run.
5. Don't settle for minimum effort. One of your goals is to reach potential customers and readers. Your optimized pages reach people looking for them. Your user centered pages reach people wanting to use them and will refer them to friends.
6. Your competition does it better. Not by packing hidden keywords and buying links, but by carefully targeting keywords, providing cleverly written content and delivering user centered design.
7. Think sustainability. If you plan on your web site being around for a while, make this a checkpoint for every future decision related to your site. If someone has an idea that won't impact the long-term sustainability of the site, the site may disappear out of sheer user boredom. And search do engines notice.
8. Understanding your visitors and customers allows for more creative keyword combinations. Put a feedback form on your web site. Ask them how they found your web site. Ask them what keywords they used. Ask them why they came or what they wanted to find. Ask them if they found what they were looking for and if not, provide room for comments so they can explain what happened. This information is a gold mine for you.
9. Never mislead your visitors. Be accurate with what you say a site or page is about. Search results relevancy establishes trust from the start.
10. The elegance of action. The act of landing on a relevant, accurate, persuasive, interesting page leads to the fluid, unencumbered desire to know more and click deeper. Aim for this.
Do not drop your web site over the search engine cliff without considering the usability effect. Design it to be productive and user centered. This will pay off in many ways. Remember your original requirements and goals and trace back every dollar you spend to meeting them. Marketing efforts are strengthened when you make your visitors feel welcome, informed and productive once they arrive at your web site.
Usability Consultant, Kimberly Krause Berg, is the owner of http://www.UsabilityEffect.com, http://www.Cre8pc.com & http://www.Cre8asiteForums.com Her background in organic search engine optimization, combined with web site usability consulting, offers unique insight into web site development.
Copyright 2004 Cre8pc.com
SEO #4: Off-page Optimization
Yesterday you should have read the third course out of 6 courses that will help you get a TOP rank in the search engines and get EXPLOSIVE LASER TARGETED TRAFFIC for Free. Today we move on to course #4 and study off-page Optimization. Please read today's course very carefully and take some time to test what I'm about to tell you on your own webpage. Alright let's start!
Forget SEO ? It?s All About Conversion!
Which SEO hat do you wear? Is it white or black? Or perhaps it's a subtle shade of gray. Well, wherever you are on this spectrum, if you are like 99% of the SEO-fixated webmasters out there, you are doing all you can to get visitors to your site. Where you used to optimize your keywords meta tags, you now worry about anchor text and XML site maps.So, you finesse your site, schmooze the algorithm du jour and begin to climb the slippery search engine rankings pole. But this is where you have to leave your SEO tricks behind and start thinking conversion.Whoa there! Conversion? That's all about making sales on shopping sites. My site's a forum! I don't sell anything. What has conversion got to do with me?Everything, my friend. Everything?.SERP ConversionYou want visitors to come your site, right? That's why you climb greasy SERP pole, after all. (And why you lay awake at night wondering when the next Florida, Hilltop or Bourbon algorithm earthquake is going to hit.) But what does it matter if you reach the peak, but no one clicks through to your site anyway?The fact is that you have to convert prospective visitors even before they arrive. You have to pique their interest, tweak their curiosity and make sure they click your link and not the other guy's. And all you have to use are words. No technical tricks will help you now ? your only tools are plain ol' words.The SERPs will show words from two of three places. Two of these you can control and one you can't:1.Your title tag.2.Your meta description tag.3.A directory description.(For example, Google is known to use DMOZ descriptions in their SERPs, and Yahoo uses their directory descriptions in theirs.)Now, there's not much you can do about how Yahoo or DMOZ editors describe your site, so don't worry about number 3. But do what you can do: Place your value propositions clearly in 1 and 2, and use them to lure searchers into your website.So you have to convert people before they even get to your site. But that's not all?. You want them to stay, right?Flash ConversionNo, this has nothing to do with being blinded by bright lights on the road to Damascus. Nor am I telling you to go and make a 100% animated website.This "flash" is that split second, that tiny window of opportunity that opens up when a searcher arrives at your site and decides whether they have actually found what they are looking for? or not.Typically, you'll have a couple of seconds to persuade the new visitor to stay and hang out. That's all you get. It's the ultimate in speed-dating. So, how do you wow your "date"? Do you show him a page of scraped "content" interspersed with Adsense ads? Not if you want this to be a lasting relationship.Follow these tips and be sure to impress your "date":1. Have a clear themeRanking high for "blue widgets"? Then be sure your visible title, copy and images are clearly focused on them.2. Have a clean designImagine you are taking a first date to a movie. Do you pick her up wearing your pajamas in a dirty, trash-filled car? Or do you clean the car, wash your face and dress to impress? Of course you want to impress her, so you make sure you look (and smell) good. It's the same with your site: Clean design, a nice text size and pages that don't scroll from here to eternity are going to float your first-time visitor-date's boat.3. Write clearly and focus on your "date"Waffle on about yourself and your date will get bored. She wants you to be interested in her. And in terms of your site, that means giving her what she wants to know as quickly and succinctly as possible. This comes down to your ability to write and communicate. So, if you are like Steve Martin in "Roxanne", make sure you get a someone else (a copywriter) to compose the lines to wow your "date" for you.OK, so let's say you have successfully wooed your first-time visitor date. He's here and he has decided to stick around. You're going steady, getting to know each other a little more. That's all you want, isn't it?No, it isn't! You want to pop the question, of course!Getting hitchedYou've made all this effort and spent money on getting your "date" this far, so you want to get the most out of your investment, right? You want to hear those sweet words, "I do":I do? want to click your Adsense ads. I do? want to become a forum member. I do? want to buy that cool digital thingy.So how do you turn a whirlwind romance into a successful proposal? Try these ideas for size:Have clear navigationYou want to make your date dizzy with excitement, not frustration! Make sure you have clear, consistent, well-labeled navigation and make your visitor-date's time with you a pleasure, and not a reason to reach for the Advil.Have a clear propositionWhat do you want your visitor to do? Buy something? Sign up for something? Join something? Whatever the point of your site is, it does have a point, right? So don't beat about the bush, and don't hold back waiting for the right moment: Make your "proposal", and make it clear and direct.Happily Ever After?You thought that was the end of the story? Wait a minute, it's not over yet! I thought you were in this for a long-term relationship, not a one night stand? I know, you were thinking that having made all that effort while you were dating, you could ease off now that you're "married". But don't you know that the real rewards start here?So what are the secrets of a long, blissful relationship with your visitors?1. Feed them!You convinced him to come visit once. But how often will he come back if all you give him are the same old leftovers? Cook him up something juicy and delicious, and have him salivating for more:Enliven your content with new, relevant pages and, not only will you set the search engine robots drooling, but you will also find you have a hoard of visitors coming back for seconds. And in this age of fast-(visitor)-food creation tools called blogs, there's really no excuse anymore.2. Shower them with giftsEveryone likes a gift - and not just on birthdays, anniversaries and at Christmas:Money talks, and if you are selling anything through your site, then discounts and other offers to previous visitors and customers will draw them back like magnets. Throw in tempting freebies as well and you will have a potent marketing mix.3. Send them "love" lettersAnyone who has been in a long-distance relationship (like my wife and I were for a year and a half), knows that if you can't be together, the next best thing is a letter or email. For your website, this means an interesting ezine that is light on sales pitch and rich in information.4. Start a family!Not literally! But you can create a "family" atmosphere by adding a forum where your visitors can interact with each other ? not just with you and your site. People are social animals, so use a forum to keep them coming back.OK, so perhaps I overstated it a little in my title. SEO is not dead, so don't forget about it quite yet. Just remember that it will only get you so far: If you want to actually achieve anything with your site, then you need to focus on conversion like a laser.
Diary of a Google Gazumpee
Back in November, when the Google Dance began, Barry Lloyd of makemetop.co.uk wrote an article entitled "Been Gazumped by Google?" GAZUMPED! What a wonderfully descriptive term. In fact, it succinctly describes what happened to us when our website went from #1 to oblivion a few months ago.
SEO For Ecommerce
Ranking well under the free listings in the major search engines basically mean one thing ? Lots of free, recurring, and targeted traffic. Major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN can be very powerful weapons in your internet marketing, if you know how to optimize your website to rank highly for your keywords. This article will focus on how you can optimize your website to rank on the top positions in search engines.
Developing A List Of Keywords For Marketing
Keywords aren't just some words that allow search engines, like Google, to find your web site. They are also key elements for creating attractive language to use in your marketing or advertising material. For instance places such as: brochures, business cards, flyers, and ads. Keywords can also fit well into speaking engagements scripts or audiotapes scripts as well as audience handouts.
Do-It-Yourself Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is big business. If you rely on search engines to bring visitors to your business website, you need to rely on more than luck. Your business will lag far short of its potential unless your site is optimized and re-optimized for search engine results.
Search Engine Optimisation - Getting Targeted Traffic
Getting SEO right is an art and it's based on theory and best practice. The search engines don't publish their algorithms so getting it right is like finding the exact formula for Coca Cola.
Search Engine Optimization - A Beginners Guide
Getting your site listed in the top search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN is no small job. There is lots of work that needs to be done to guarantee the highest placement possible, and even more work is needed to keep your ranking for any period of time. Here are some simple tips and strategies to keep your site listed, and listed well, without spending any extra cash on pay per clicks.
Crash Course in Getting a #1 Google Ranking
First, here's the rundown of some of the terminology I'm going to use ?
List Building vs. Search Engine Optimization
It seems the excitement about search engine optimization fades in and out from time to time. The more people talk about search engine optimization (SEO) the more it seems to be the logical choice for bringing customers to your site. However, there are some points that I haven't seen anyone else make as of yet about the effectiveness of SEO versus the effectiveness of building a responsive list. I think you'll be surprised to see which one comes out on top.
Keep Your Content Fresh with this Quick and Easy Tip
Some of the Search engines want only original content. So if the Search Engine Get's to your web Page on your Site and realize they have already seen this Page they won't Index it again, This can be a real hazard if you submit Articles for free Re-Distribution. It is not only possible but highly probable that a site with a higher Page Rank then yours will get your page Indexed First.
The Google Sandbox Explained
The Google Sandbox is a metaphorical term to explain why most new websites have very poor rankings in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Very few people know for sure if the 'sandbox' actually exists, but it seems to be a filter added to the Google algorithms sometime around March 2004. What is the function of the Google Sandbox?
The Great Search Engine Experiment Revisited Who is the Coolest Guy in the Universe
A recent Search Engine Experiment Demonstrates how by combining Key Word Rich Web Pages and Blog Entries (for a Highly Targeted Keyword Phrases) with Article Submissions to Top Ranked Article Directories anyone can Dominant the First Page of the Search Results in the Big 3 Search Engines.
7 Steps to Highly Relevant, Search Engine Friendly, and People Useful Web Site Content
The task is to build a Content Rich Search Friendly and People Friendly Web Site Quickly. These 7 Steps will show you how with about 10 Hours work you can build over 50 pages of rich, Search Engine relevant content for your web Site
Why SEO (as we know it) is Doomed to Failure and How You Can Avoid the Trap
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become one of the biggest internet buzz-words recently. Everyone is talking about it. These days it seems there's an "expert" around every corner promising all kinds of wonderful things to online business owners. Beware! If you are interested in building a long term successful online business, there are few things you should know when it comes to search engine optimization.
Get More Cosmetic Surgery Patients From The Web
It's no surprise that dominant cosmetic surgery practices also have a dominant web site and presence. More than ever, cosmetic surgery patients utilize the Internet to help select a credible surgeon. If you want more quality leads and patients, it's time to upgrade your web site marketing efforts.
SEO Made Easy!
Search engine optimization remains a minefield of old advice, outdated ideas and outright dangerous techniques that can get you banned. Here's the main points to great search engine optimization.
Youve Got The Power, Why Arent You Promoting It?
Like all things, theft is theft, misery loves company, negative people are everywhere, business is sometimes bad, things go up and others go down.
Table Structures For Top Search Engine Positioning
So you have a beautiful website that you paid a pretty penny for and you are completely happy with it ? except no one can find it. Many web designers do not understand search engine positioning, so when they design your website little or no thought is given to the elements of design that may affect your rankings on search engines. On the other hand some search engine positioning companies offer services that will boost your rankings but at the expense of your design. A good search engine positioning company can get your website ranking for key phrases without affecting the overall design and navigation of your site. You can make small changes to your website on your own as well utilizing the tips noted in this article. There is a happy medium, you can "have your cake and eat it too."
3.5 Tips To Help You Avoid Becoming The Next Search Engine Outlaw
Tip 1 - Hide And Seek
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