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Browsing "search engine optimization"

Basic Search Engine Optimization Information

Jun 24, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   search engine, search engine optimization, seo, seo techniques  //  55 Comments

Life is full of do’s and don’ts, and SEO is no exception. Out of all of the tactics available to companies to improve your visibility in the online world, some tactics are ideal, some are highly frowned upon, and some are disputed or on the edge. The industry has applied a lable, or buzz term to these methods, referred as White Hat, Black Hat, and Grey Hat SEO techniques.

White Hat tactics are considered 100% totally safe and they are most often directly recommended by the search engine companies themselves. They are centered around the ideas of sound website building strategies, and not on the flexible nature of any given search engine.

White Hat typically includes:

* Solid, regularly updated content
* Relevant metatags
* Friendly, interactive page design
* Honest linking strategies

In terms of time investment, White Hat techniques take the longest to implement, but all are held in high regard in the search engine optimization world.

Black Hat tactics are forbidden or deeply frowned on by the search engines. These can, and most certainly will, get your site, or your clients site, banned from the index if you are found to be using any of them. The philosophy behind Black Hat SEO revolves around trying to manipulate the search engines to direct traffic instead of earning it.

Black Hat SEO is generally used by people who sell illegal or immoral content. This on it’s own should be reason enough to steer clear, because your reputation WILL be forever tarnished if you associate yourself with these unethical practices.

Black Hat tactics include (but are not limited to):

* Buying links in huge numbers, ignoring relevance, for fast inbound links
* Invisible, or hidden text on your pages; ie the text is identical to your background
* Misleading meta tags

Using any of the above methods will more than likely flag your website within the search index and get the site banned!

Grey Hat SEO tends to fall in between the cracks of the search engines rules. some experts might deem them as highly controversial, while the next may be unconcerned. There is no clear rule set about Grey hat SEO strategies, because there is no clear indication about whether they do harm to your websites presence. You must study the information, and decide for yourself, which side you think is telling the truth.

Grey Hat techniques can include:

* Owning a number of sites and cross linking them back to each other
* Purchasing links on every page of a smaller, relevant site
* Working for links on a high quality site, that may not be relevant to your site

There are a lot of Grey Hat techniques, and you’ll find that usually they are highly debated in the search engine optimization world.

In the end, the only “unknown” is the search engine algorithms (the code that helps the search engine decide what is legit and what is not), are not predictable, and they are constantly changing, so a technique that works one day may not work the next and vice versa.

In the end, the only real answer is, research all available information, and then make a decision based on how much risk you are willing to assume.

However, if you don’t have the time to put into the deluge of online resources available about SEO and the proper way to implement it, that’s where we comes in.

Some basic SEO instructions

Jun 13, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   Google, search engine optimization, seo  //  149 Comments

SEO is everywhere, and there’s millions of pages out there telling you how to meta tag this and hyperlink that, and you’ve slowly found yourself drowning a sea of technical jargon. What about SEO made easy? Take a moment, and think about how magazines are put together.

The Table Of Contents tells you story titles, often times gives a brief description, and provides the page number telling you where you can find any particular story. In relation to SEO, the table of contents could be considered the sitemap.

Now flipping over to a story page, the titles will be printed in big, bold font. Occasionally, there will be a brief synopsis about the story, in an italicized font that is a bit bigger than the rest of the story. This in relation to Search Engine Optimization could be considered the title tags.

Pictures throughout the story are found with captions that tend to further develop the story, by describing the picture. When it comes to optimization, this could be considered providing a tag for all of your pictures.

In a longer story there will typically be subheadings, in either a larger, or italicized font. The primary body of the story will be a in regular plain text, with the occasional bolded or italicized word or phrase. Keywords!!

A person who is flipping through the pages can by analyzing the title and other large text on the page, can quickly assess the content and make the decision as to whether they want to read the full story. People are GoogleBots?

When all of the fancy words, and technical jargon are stripped away, the above pattern is a portion of what tickles Googles fancy. Sadly, the rest is that stuff I told you to forget in the first place.

Success vs Failure in Internet Marketing

Jun 4, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   internet marketing, keyword, search engine optimization, seo  //  357 Comments

You might have heard of SEO on the net, or in an email or from a business partner. Often, you hear that SEO and SEM are about getting your site in the top 10 in major search engines for a set of keywords.

SEO is partly about that, but getting your site at the top of the SERPs is the means to a goal and not an objective in itself. SEO is about getting qualified traffic to your website and converting as much of it as possible into sales.

Some SEOs only offer top rankings, this is their sales pitch. They qualify achieving that as wild success. However, your site can rank #1 for targeted keywords and fail to make a single sale. This can be a a result of poor communication with your audience or technical and usability website errors. Therefore, an accurate measurement of whether the SEO campaign was a success or a failure is necessary.

It’s best to stick to a SEO that has a good understanding of what success means and can actually measure it for you. However, it’s useful to know some things yourself to give you a chance to determine whether your investment was profitable or not.

Correlating Rankings with Traffic

The first thing to do is to correlate rankings with traffic. Monitor the positions your site holds in search engines for keywords and the corresponding traffic. Compare traffic on a week to week basis. On some keywords your web site might drop and lose traffic but it may gain positions for other keywords and compensate as a result. It’s normal in a search engine optimisation campaign to have fluctuations.
Your site can target and rank on a variety of keywords in various search engines. Your traffic will be made up of several streams from various sources. Some of the keywords will be “money keywords”, meaning keywords that people use when they’re ready to make a purchase or make an inquiry.

Another type of keywords are “information keywords”. Each of these are used by people just looking for information on a certain product or service but are not ready or informed enough to make a purchase or an inquiry. More often than not this traffic helps promote your site through viral marketing (mouth to mouth marketing) but will not bring any immediate revenue.

Another type of keywords are “incidental keywords”. These are keywords that are hardly relevant to your content, off topic or mentioned as a comparison term etc. Some of these keywords bring useless traffic. Most users will probably leave as soon as they get to your site because they realize that what they are looking for is not there. Some of these keywords, however, are an excellent chance to widen the set of keywords to target. These keywords will be used by the SEO to attract more targeted traffic.

Analyzing Traffic

The next step in your success assessment is to analyze traffic. This should be broken down into sources of traffic: by search engines, by keywords and by third party sites. Success at this stage means an increase in quality traffic. Targeted traffic are visitors who arrive at your website and find what they are looking for, be it information on products or making a purchase or inquiry.
You should not guide yourself purely by numbers as that might include traffic from irrelevant keywords or sources. For example clicks from ad networks may bring in a lot of traffic but if your site doesn’t provide what they are looking for, then the traffic is useless.

Traffic That Converts

In this phase you’re only interested in the traffic that converts, e.g. turns into customers or potential customers. Your SEO should be able to give you a monitoring program that allows to see how many visitors have made a purchase or an inquiry or and which keywords they’ve used to get to your site.
You’re not interested in analyzing every visitor that made a purchase but you, as well as your SEO, should know what your most profitable keywords are. The most profitable keywords bring in the best ROI and this is, after all, the best measuring tool of any SEO campaign. Judging by how ROI rises or drops you can tell if the SEO are doing their job properly or not.

To summarize, targeted traffic and ROI are the two things to analyze in your success measurement process. If targeted traffic rises, then you’ve got a successful site. Targeted traffic is made up of users that recommend your site to their friends and of users that actually make a sale. Increasing ROI means turning more visitors into customers. If your ROI drops or is not very good, then it means that your site isn’t performing as well as it could and your SEO has failed in their task to bring you extra leads and revenue

Bloggers ‘as important as the press’ for business

Jun 4, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   blogger, online advertising, search engine optimization  //  197 Comments

Bloggers have become a “very important” target for press releases, according to the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) study.

More than two thirds (67.7 per cent) of firms rated reaching bloggers as “important to very important” less than six per cent below the number that held traditional media in the same regard.

The research also indicates that small to medium-sized enterprises are increasingly attempting to engage bloggers with press releases and become part of the online marketing conversation.

Just under one quarter of those issuing online press releases were small businesses.

SNCR research fellow, Dr Michaela Vorvoreanu, the results suggest the standard press release has become an important “news release” targeting the public “directly”.

She explained: “News releases are not just for the Fortune 500, but have become a valuable tool for smaller businesses to increase their sales and create publicity.”

However, affordability remains an issue for many firms taking this approach. Perhaps search engine optimisation (SEO) would be a better option?

Content: Too much of a good thing?

May 13, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   content, search engine optimization, website principles  //  Comments Off

You hear a lot about content. It’s king right?. Right?

Well, cliches become cliches because there is a touch of truth in them. But what exactly is “content” and how much of it do you need on your site? Do your web pages need to be 250 words or longer? Should they be shorter than 1,000?

To put it bluntly, no. You can include all the content you like on your pages as you begin website design. Search engines don’t actually count the words, and if your site visitors are counting then they need to find something better to do with their time. Visitors are probably more interested in the quality over the quantity.

In the end, what it really comes down to is do you reach your site visitors in a way that they like being spoken to? Is your content relevant to their interests? The idea that every web page needs to have 250 words in order to be effective is a myth. There is no limit on words per page. You just need good, relevant content as part of your Search Engine Optimization.

By the same token, long pages won’t help you either if the content is terrible. One 150 word page that kills sales records, is significantly better than fifty mediocre pages that do nothing but driving people away from my website.

In the end? Quality > Quantity. But there is no reason you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

SEO’s Help Google’s Appeal

May 9, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   Google, search engine, search engine optimization  //  198 Comments

Search optimization may be a Google asset

In theory, any company should be able to compete with Google on search. Yet Google owns some two-thirds of the queries made in the US search engine market.

Scenarios where another search site gains enough share at Google’s expense don’t present themselves readily to us. People use Google for search, and keep on using it.

Jupiter Research considered the question of why Google has no real competition in search. Sorry Yahoo, Microsoft, and everyone else, the numbers are what they are.

But the apparent barriers to entry that David Schatsky discussed shouldn’t keep any site from competing handily with Google. Why they don’t remains a mystery, with one suggestion by Schatsky’s colleague Emily Riley hinting at search optimization being part of the issue:

The kind of benefits that accrue to incumbent market makers like eBay are somewhat weaker in search. After all, a lack of advertisers shouldn’t necessarily make a search engine less appealing to users, who are more sensitive to organic results and performance. Emily points out, though, that the relevance of Google’s organic results may benefit in part by all of the SEO benefits that focus on them–a level of focus they attract because of their market leadership.

Webmasters want to be in Google because the traffic is there. Searchers wish to use Google as they know the content will be there. All in all, a nice circle of supply and demand, tailored to suit Google best, keeps it at the top of the search engine world.

Your SEO May Be More Important Than Your CEO

May 1, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   internet strategy, search engine optimization, seo  //  182 Comments

In this new media age, if a company’s products or services can not be found within the first page of search engine results, they may be doomed to failure. Search engine optimization should be a major focus for any company that relies on attracting new customers.

“If your company does not have a solid search engine optimization strategy, your CEO may be looking for a new job,” warned John Spagnuolo, President of the New Media Institute. “Your organization needs to be found when potential customers are looking for information online.”

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of optimizing a web site or specific content to be found in search engines and placed higher in natural organic search results.

Reputation Management

Companies are also using SEO when managing the reputations of brands, products and executives. When searching for a company, product or person, most people search online. Negative messaging could be at the top of search results. A good SEO strategy can boost a company’s web site and messaging to the top of those results.

IT or Communications Function?

Many companies are trying to figure out where the SEO should sit in the organization. Typically, the SEO position will exist within IT or communications. “Wherever the position is filed within an organization, a good SEO executive should have both a strong technical background and strong marketing/communications skills to be able to develop an effective SEO strategy.

Professional Website Design

Apr 29, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   search engine optimization, website principles  //  1 Comment

If you think hiring a professional is expensive, you should try hiring an amateur.”

As far as the average web surfer is concerned, you are your website. You interact with the public, do business, air your thoughts and grievances. Even if you believe in “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover”, that adage does not hold true on the World Wide Web unfortunately.

If you have a professionally designed website, with engaging and relevant (to their search) content, then it stands to reason that visitors will spend time reading your website. If, however, you’ve personally built your website, with a website template on a free hosting site, odds are *if* anyone finds your site, they won’t be staying for long. “The first impression is the lasting impression” should be on your mind as you plan your website.

A professional web development service will work with your concepts, content, and needs and will produce a web site built for you.

As professionals, search engine optimization can easily be incorporated into your new websites design. Search engine marketing can also be addressed. In the end, contracting a professional web design company is very important! Investing your time, and your money on the best services are never lost, because your site stands a better chance of succeeding on all fronts of online marketing.

Trying to have a unique presence on the Internet is becoming more and more difficult as the web grows. Only the Freshest web designs, which have had search engine optimization performed, stand a genuine fighting chance in the Internet of tomorrow.

–Nathan

Rankings Make or Break Online Businesses

Apr 24, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   internet advertising, online marketing, search engine optimization, seo  //  147 Comments

While some would argue that the need for search engine optimization for a website can vary website to website, it is becoming more and clearer that search engine rankings can actually make or break a business. Every good businessman will agree that marketing is everything in a business, besides a quality product or service. Search engine optimization is high quality marketing for your website.

Let’s take a look at an example of how SEO can directly affect your business:

A freelance marketing copywriter set up a website to market herself and her services. She mainly used brochures and word of mouth, and while this worked in bringing in clients, she was not making a solid living off the clients that did make it to her website. Someone mentioned SEO to her and she researched and found an SEO company to optimize her website. Upon first analyzing her website, the SEO company had a hard time locating her website within search engine result pages. The SEO team began the optimization which resulted in the copywriter’s website ranking within the top 10 on most major search engine results under the major keyword searches intended. And while the search engine optimization company could happily step back and consider this story a success, the true measure of success after search engine optimization is how successful the website and/or business is after optimization has occurred. The SEO company contacts the copywriter with a follow up and discovers that not only has her traffic significantly increased, she is making a fairly decent living and has had to hire on an extra copywriter to help manage the incoming workload. Only now can the SEO company truly claim success on this search engine optimization project.

If more SEO companies took the time to send out a follow up email just to check in and see how optimization has affected their business clients, the revelations will be astonishing. These companies are spending twice as much on advertising campaigns and techniques, when, for half the cost, proper search engine optimization can actually provide bigger and better overall results. One of our recent clients, for example, is spending $70,000 a year on yellow pages advertising. This gives them a nice page ad in the LOCAL yellow pages. After we finish their new ecommerce website containing all of their parts and products they hope to do away with yellow pages and have little or no further investment while reaching a NATIONAL customer base. As more and more customers go online to search for products and services local advertising paper books are sure to struggle.

Having said this there still seems to be a large number of business owners who still rely on old methods of marketing using paper products. We feel that this is likely because it is hard for long-time business owners to give up on methods that used to work very well for them. There is a strong sense of fear when they consider giving up on paper and going digital. Some feel safer paying out a lot of money for something they know has worked for them in the past. Unfortunately it is not working as well for many of them any longer.

Other online business website owners are hurting because they chose the wrong firm to design their E-commerce website and perform SEO on the new website. Many thousands of dollars later and often many firms later they are still struggling to make any return on investment from their website. Be sure to find the right SEO and design firm before you spend any money. Make them prove their SEO capability with current high ranking websites. Examine their designs carefully to make sure they are clean and easy to navigate. This is one investment you cannot afford to go cheap on. Get the best.

Think of it this way: With regular, everyday advertising, you are only reaching the area within the boundary that you advertise in. With search engine optimization of your website, you are literally advertising to the world—an endless opportunity for success!

It is important to understand that even the best search engine optimization cannot help you if your website is poorly constructed, difficult to navigate, or the content does not contain and maintain fresh, up-to-date information. A major part of overall search engine optimization lies within professionally written and fresh marketing text. And, unfortunately, not all businesses will see such a huge turn-around after search engine optimization. However, considering that regular marketing can be substantially more expensive than SEO, it is safe to say that SEO is a more cost effective way to approach marketing where your business website is concerned. And as we stated earlier, with search engine optimization you are marketing to an entire world of potential customers.

Fresh Traffic Optimize can help bring the world to your website. Call us today for a free consultation and website analysis at 204-942-4200

Website Design Process

Apr 18, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   internet strategy, online marketing, search engine optimization, website principles  //  175 Comments

So, you have a great product, a perfect pitch; it’s so great it could sell itself. The only problem being you live in a tiny market, and have already reached saturation. The next step? Take it online of course!

Website design can be a frightening prospect if your knowledge of the internet extends only to reading your email and news daily. There is however, a few basic guidelines that should be followed that will allow even the internet novice to become visible with their own website.

The first step, of any website may not seem important initially, but it can make all the world of difference. You need to decide upon your websites domain name. Something that shouldn’t be taken lightly at any degree, as it has been said, “It’s all in the name”

Once you’ve chosen a name, you should then decide on a website host. You can start with a free host, which will place ads on your site, or you can pay monthly for your very own domain name and have no ads running (aside from your own).

Typically a free host will have a variety of premade sites which require you only to fill in the blanks. You can literally be up and running your site in an hour or two if you have all of your information organized and ready. Even if you’ve decided to pay monthly for hosting, there is a plethora of templates out there, ranging in price from free, to hundreds of dollars.

Bear in mind now, the more you have on your website the longer it will take to load. Text is not a problem, pictures, sounds/songs, and little movies can slow down your page load speed dramatically, depending on your hosting.

And that’s just the beginning of an online presence!

Then there’s online marketing, constant updating, and search engine optimization to consider.

You could of course, just let someone with some Fresh ideas do all of the aforementioned work for you.

-Nathan