Top SEO Real Estate for Your Website
Where and what are the most important parts or elements of your website for top search engine optimization impact? What things can give you the most bang for your buck?
1. The most important element is your title tag. This is found in your source code between title and /title. What you put here appears on your browser screen at the very top just to the right of the IE icon near the edge of your monitor. It should be keyword dense, on topic to your website and NOT contain your business name.
3. The third most important is the meta description. This is found only in your page's source code. One of the biggest errors we see is the use of the same meta description and title tag site wide. Each of these elements should be unique for each page. Google did not for a period of time use the description that you created for you meta description tag, but is doing so now if you have header code to tell Google not to use what you have supplied to DMOZ.
4. Everyone asks about the meta keyword tags, but Google and we place no value on them right now. Should you still include them. Yes I guess you could, but I would not waste huge time on them, but I did feel the need to mention them but this field is not important.
If you have another element you think is important, just click comments and leave me one to share what you think is important.
The PPC Keyword Generator
I've found a great free application you can download that has saved me lots of time and wanted to pass it on to you. It's called the PPC Keyword Generator.
This application allows you to enter keywords and variables in a variety of fields and then with one click generate keywords, and then with one click change the placement of the keywords in the phrase.
For example let's say your keyword phrase was Taylor Dentist. You can make Taylor Dentist Dentist Taylor taylor dentist dentist taylor "Taylor Dentist" "Dentist Taylor" etc. the list goes on. You can phrase match the words and exact match them.
Previously I used to manually create these lists and then moved to an Excel application I created for my own use, but this free application is so easy to use and so fast that I prefer it now over all options.
Microsoft adCenter Affiliate Sign Up
Do you want to make money getting customers to sign up for Microsoft adCenter? Well now's your chance. This beta affiliate program will allow you to receive a $35 commission for new account set ups. Just click our blog post title to go there to apply for your account and start selling Microsoft adCenter.
For Microsoft adExcellence Members, I don't know why Microsoft didn't give us first notice, but get into the program now with our link.
This tool allows you to enter broad match terms in one window, click a button and make phrase match, exact match or both keywords that you can then copy and paste into the "Quick Add" screen in Google AdWords.
I find this tool very helpful and you may as well. Enjoy!
Advertising Globally on Google AdWords
Here's a quick tip for you on using global advertising on Google AdWords.
You can blow through your budget at an unprecedented rate when you advertise globally without any controls. It is far better to set up your architecture in this manner to be able to control your spend more effectively and in the global regions that really work for you.
First identify using your website analytics software where your traffic comes from and see if this meshes with your sales in the real world.
Second, group global areas into separate campaigns. Typically I will use a US & Canada market, an Asian market (includes Australia) and a European Market (includes Europe the Middle East and most of Russia). Then using my own time zone, I calculate the best times to show the ads in the grouped time zones. Typically I do not want my ads to show in the middle of the night in any of these markets as this is a way to encourage poor quality clicks. I want my budget to be spent in prime time. I am using ad scheduling to choose the best time zones. Remember in your control panel you enter your zone, but converted to the new time zone. I use this tool to help me arrive at those figures. http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html
Third, I assign campaign budgets by region. I have found that this is a crucial step towards effective advertising. Additionally you will be able to evaluate clicks and conversions to adjust your spend as your program progresses.
With a little bit of advanced planning you can have AdWords global advertising work effectively for you.
4. Stop spam with message rules in Outlook Hate spam, you can get a handle on it with these tips. If you have Outlook 2003 or 2007 you may want to consider instead using the Junk Mail definitions instead of this option. Additionally consider tagging mail you get as junk mail by right clicking on the message to add the sender to the blocked mail folder. Outlook will learn over time which items you consider junk mail. Link: http://www.mccordweb.com/newsletters/instructions/stop-spam-message-rules.php
5. How to add a signature in Outlook Here's how to set up a signature in Outlook. Right now the rage is to include an image in your signature, make sure before you do that to understand that some people you send email to will not receive your image intact, they may receive it as an attachment to the message so it's best to do an image if you like, but also include text in the signature to assure that all receivers will know who sent the mail without having to click on an image as an attachment which they may not do.
Here's another tip for website owners. When you post instructional information on your website like this, you are creating what is called link bait. It can be a huge traffic and link builder for your website. Not only do you provide interesting and helpful content for your readers but you build traffic into your website over time. Link: http://www.mccordweb.com/newsletters/instructions/signature-change.php
An Interesting Case Study on Black Hat Tactics
Click our blog post title to view the site that we will be talking about or visit it here at www.Mag-Gro.com. This site has been poorly treated by a number of professional webmasters. The client has a nice product, but has simply not been able to get the web exposure that he really needs. His site has been managed by at least two other webmasters before the client came to us.
The first and most severe issue that we uncovered when we analyzed the site on the server was then unbeknown to the client one of the previous webmasters had created over 100 doorway pages and had even installed them in a directory on the server in a directory called Doorway. Ouch, search engines really hate that. Clearly much time and effort had gone into creating these pages which consisted of line after line of on topic keywords some even linked to his website but in no order or with formatting. There was not even an effort to create keyword dense content, just gibberish on a page.
Many of these doorway pages pointed to the client's website and some to his MySpace site all in an effort to try to drive traffic. Additionally over 10 pages resided in the root of the server with keyword dense names that had been connected to the doorway pages or to the MySpace site. His real website consists of only ten pages but there were several hundred pages actually sitting on his server.
On top of that, no sitemaps had been created and conversion tracking for his pay per click program had not been installed.
Yikes, I am talking about not taking care of business for a client. We now have this client under our wing and are working to remediate the problems and to drive legitimate traffic to the site. We've already cleaned up the server and now our next step is to clean up the pages which we will be working on over the next several days.
Click into the site to see what you think and let us know your comments below.
Top Email E-Newsletter Tips
In my theme of top tips or best practices this week, here are my top tips for e-newsletters.
2. In your very first e-newsletter make sure to introduce yourself, provide one great article that subscribers will read to determine if they want to stay subscribed to your list, and ask readers to confirm their subscription or explain how to unsubscribe from your list. Transparency is crucial in keeping people on your list that you have automatically subscribed as business contacts when you set up your initial subscriber list.
3. Stay consistent. If you say that you will email to your list weekly with store specials do just that. If it is monthly don't slip to a quarterly blast. I even recommend going so far as to lock your delivery to a date. For example on my list, I always send my monthly e-newsletter on the first of every month, regardless what day of the week that is. My subscribers know to expect my newsletter on the first and contact me to ask if they had missed my newsletter and to resend it to them if I have sent it out late. So build readership by staying with a schedule for day and frequency.
4. Keep your e-newsletter short! This is not a place for boring dissertations. Short and sweet is the key. If your article is long, consider putting in a teaser and then linking to the full article back on your website. From my personal experience, it is best to do one larger article and maybe two small features. I have also found that typically if you post the rest of the article back on your website very few readers will actually go there to read the rest, so keep that in mind and keep your articles newsy but fairly short. That doesn't mean go light on content! Make sure to offer something of real value or interest to your audience. That leads to number 5.
5. Keep your articles unique and interesting. This dovetails nicely with number 4. Short is good, but interesting is crucial. I have come up with a combination for my own newsletter of one feature, one small article, and one "bright idea" tip. The tip article is fairly short, but sometimes I have to scour the Web to find one. I have had clients write in frequently to let me know how much they have enjoyed or benefited from the tip.
Try out some of these thoughts for your own e-newsletter program. E-newsletters are a great way to keep in regular contact in a meaningful way with clients and prospects. I have had several clients who have read my newsletter for as long as six months and then contacted me for a project, so I know that e-newsletters do work!
Top Blog Mistakes
Here's our short list of errors and common mistakes that blog owners make. Take a quick look to make sure that you are part of the "club".
1. Forgot to integrate the blog site into the main website. You can't get cross site traffic if you don't link! Make it easy for website visitors to read your blog and make it easy for blog visitors to find out more about you.
2. Don't forget to add the one click easy subscribe chicklets. You know the little icons that say "Add to My Yahoo" or "Add to My Google". Many blog readers do not understand the world of XML or RSS news feeds or even that the news portal that they are already using is feed enabled. Make it easy with a one click solution.
3. Make sure to add a Feedburner "get posts by email". This is the same issue as above, to syndicate your content and get readers, you need to make it easy. Some people want to get posts the old way by email. Feedburner makes it easy by setting up a subscription service that allows your reader to get your posts in their email box complete with pictures. It is very easy to use and another way that you can encourage regular readership.
4. Keep your posts on topic! Keep your readers interested by offering something helpful or newsworthy based on your industry. People do not go to a GPS blog to read about teen angst or about their Daddy buying them a car! Social blogging should stay in the social arena on forums and on personal websites, these type of posts simply do not have a place in the professional business blog.
Top Web Design Mistakes
In my experience in working with clients, reviewing and replacing older websites, and search engine optimization work and practice, I have found some common mistakes in websites that affect consumer confidence and performance. Here is my short list:
1. Poor use of navigation. The best place for navigation is the left side bar and then at the top under the banner. This is where research shows that clients will look to find site navigation. It is best to utilize this research when setting up a new site to make it easy for clients to find your pages.
2. Poor use of prime real estate. Eye tracking research shows that a prime spot for attention is the top right of the content block. This is an excellent place for a feature or highlight box. After viewing navigation scanning from the left column down and then across the page horizontally from left to right, the eye lingers in this prime spot. Make sure you are using it for your site's benefit.
3. No address or phone number on the website. Ouch, are you trying to hide from customers? Make sure your address is on your website, you want people to have confidence that you are a real business. I recommend putting your phone number at the bottom of your page in the footer. More often than not, I will have someone on my site who picks up the phone to call and chat with me right then with my site open in front of them. In fact typically even my clients who find me by pay per click ads like to pick up the phone for the immediacy of response. Make sure you understand that this is how many prospects and clients will contact you and don't make it hard for them to phone right when they want to.
5. No about page on the website. You may think that this information may be superfluous, but put yourself in the reader's shoes. You really should take time to identify yourself, explain who you are and what your background is, who is on your team, and about the products and services you sell or offer. All this is a part of creating confidence and trust which are cornerstones to closing a sale.
All of the items on the above list are easy to implement and easy to correct. Now's the time to take a very candid look at your own website through your customers' and prospects' eyes to see where you have areas of improvement.
Links broken in Outlook
There is a very simple fix for this pesky problem when links for some reason stop being clickable in Outlook. Here are two things to try to resolve the problem when this happens to you.
1. Go to your start menu and select default programs. Set Internet Explorer as your default browser. You can do this by either clicking Microsoft or open up custom and then checking make Internet Explorer my default browser. Simple enough, but why do that to turn on links in OUTLOOK? It is simple Outlook is a Microsoft application and when a link is clicked in Outlook, Outlook cannot seem to find the connection of what application to open to use to view the link. Personally I have had this intermittent link problem when I have been using or updating Firefox on my computer. Microsoft just does not play nice with other applications.
2. In Outlook try right clicking on the message and then select Junk Mail and then click add sender to safe sender's list. This will turn on links and images for that sender.
Both of these options may help you to get back in business when it comes to clicking links in Outlook. For those of you who just really want to use Firefox and not Outlook, well you can try making Firefox the default browser and see if you can click links in Outlook, but you may be using Thunderbird as your default mail program in that case.
Good luck and leave me a comment if you've found another way that you like better than mine to turn on links.
Social Bookmarking the New SEO Plan?
I am very closely taking a look at social bookmarking this month and will be writing a piece and possibly a white paper on it this month. You can click my post title to subscribe to my e-newsletter which goes out once a month so you will be sure to have first review of the article.
Social bookmarking has been around for about two years or so but has really caught my eye this last year as a way to drive more website traffic and to create a viral component for new products and services. It is not a silver bullet for traffic and possibly even search engine placement, but it does hold strong consideration and review for use on all new websites.
Right now I am reviewing just how a site should use social bookmarking and how traffic can be driven to a site. I am evaluating Digg and Del.icio.us - (gosh that is a hard name to remember where to put the periods) and will be reviewing numerous others as well. If you have a comment or a social bookmarking site that you like, just click comments and let me know in the meantime. I have embedded a YouTube video that I thought was particularly well done that very clearly explains social bookmarking using Del.icio.us as an example.
Image Copyrights - Don't Get Sued
I read about a young woman today in the Washington Post who had posted her picture with a friend on Yahoo's Flickr. The photo was in turn used by Virgin in a text messaging ad without her consent. Her friend was cropped out, but clearly her image was used. Well that's a law suit right there! The parents say that they are suing.
I have blogged about this before, but it needs repeating - Everything on the Web is copyrighted by someone! You can not just right click a picture and use it on a commercial website. In some cases you can use images that you find on the Web for personal use, but never oh never for a commercial use. You are just setting yourself up for a suit when you do that. The bigger company are the more you will be a target and so need to stay squeaky clean on that issue.
There are some terrific photo sites where you can buy a one time one use image for as low as $1 so there is just no excuse for snatching photos from Google images, from someone else's website, or from a place like Flickr.
Keeping Blog Subscribers Happy
I blog professionally for a living and also employ about five writers to blog for me for a variety of clients so I've seen it all and have experienced many blog related problems for myself on my own blog.
One of the big problems that I have experienced is loss of readership in 2007. Readers simply want to keep tabs on blogs that are updated frequently. This past year, my own blog readership has suffered due to my own posting inconsistency. My business grew tremendously in 2007, I had personnel problems, and I posted on a very inconsistent basis on my own blog. As a result my website traffic dropped significantly in 2007 and most of my decrease in traffic came from my lack of blog activity.
It is a very tough thing to keep posting to your own business blog when you are busy or have a limited amount of time. I have seen this first hand. Although I still write my own blog and am working to keep it updated this year, it is tough. This is our value for own clients, we do the heavy lifting for them on their blog. Really I should have taken my own advice shouldn't I have, and employed one of my writers to ghost blog for me instead of stopping. :0)
Blogging on a consistent basis can be very tough, but it is a time tested fact that good blogging done on a consistent basis will bring a website more overall traffic, improve stickiness, and may add to the authority of a website overtime improving organic placement. This has been my own personal winning combination.
So how do you keep blog subscribers happy? 1. Post on a regular basis 2. Post at a regular time - for me this is in the morning 3. Post at least three days a week - for me I shoot for five, but three should be your minimum 4. Write information that is helpful and targeted to your readers 5. Provide interesting content but not too long or a dissertation. 250 to 350 words is best
Every site should have one. Yours doesn't need to be as detailed as ours, (click our post title to see ours), but it should cover what you do and how you will use a reader's information such as an email address even if you don't collect them on the website.
2. Use a professional subscription service for your list. This will allow for easy subscribe and unsubscribes and allow for users to self manage their subscription. The key to keeping and adding subscribers is to make it easy to enroll and to unsubscribe. Do not use MailMan as your subscription list. If you have ever tried to manage your own subscription through this open source application you will experience a high level of frustration . Once you have used it you will know that you should not use this for your own list. Stay user friendly!
3. Make sure to install an auto subscription box throughout your website. Let your website work for you in getting new subscribers. Personally I have found the best way to build a list is to do a white paper and then require an email address to download the white paper. I have added nearly 600 subscribers to my list this way alone.
5. Make sure you understand e-newsletters in today's world. It is important to understand that e-newsletters can still be great marketing tools in today's business environment, but the typical open rate will be between 10% to 30%. Don't expect that everyone will open your mail and be prepared for that. Make sure that this is not your only marketing endeavor. Internet service providers are making the delivery of e-newsletters more and more difficult so make sure that you are using alternatives as well. Some of those alternatives would be RSS feeds of your e-newsletter content, online e-newsletter archives accessed from your own website, and a blog that points to your e-newsletter articles or announces when one is posted. It is very important to note that if you are emailing to a large corporation or any state or federal government entity that the reality is that your subscribers will simply not get your email. It will be filtered at the IT staff level.
E-newsletters can still be great marketing tools for your business but should not be your only marketing vehicle.
Our January Newsletter is Out
Click our blog post title to view our January e-newsletter. Topics this month are the new improved Microsoft adCenter, Nancy's new adCenter credential, and new ghost blogging projects to review.