It doesn’t take an online marketing company with a decades’ worth of experience to see that the relationship that SEO service providers have with Google is a complicated one. Of course much of this is owed to the recent string of Penguin and Panda algorithm updates (of which we discuss quite often), but there are also several other key aspects of the world’s biggest search engine company that makes our jobs equally challenging and exciting. Take for example the constant addition and removal of network features for Google’s numerous services.
Feature Report and Secrecy
Just this week, in fact, Google announced several changes will be made in the near future to a host of network functions. While these features include only a few select aps that generally aren’t being used all that often (don’t expect to see Maps go away, for example), this is still part of an ongoing trend with the company. It’s also a habit of Google’s that Microsoft even openly mocked earlier this year.
Aside from the constant adding and dropping of support for its applications, Google also tends to be incredibly secretive with everything it does. This is especially true with anything regarding the inner workings of its search engine. Although we shouldn’t expect the company to unveil how its algorithms work lest a new age of black hat SEO emerge, it still makes understanding what Google’s search engine deems worthy of high page rankings quite the task. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of its webspam division, does offer vague advice from time to time on his blog and on the Google Youtube account, but what constitutes a perfectly optimized page is still mostly conjecture at the present.
The SEO Back-and-Forth
Between Penguin and Panda, the apps, and the vague demands made of SEO companies, there are many ways that Google consistently impacts what we as online marketers and SEO consultants day-in and day-out. These days, the top SEO companies around are those that continue to hang on the company’s every word and attempt to predict its actions. While no one can know for sure what Google intends for the future, most of us do realize one important thing: staying ahead of the competition means constant innovation and revision.
It’s a problem I’ve seen time and time again from business owners that are new to search engine optimization. After a few months of striking out on their own and using popular SEO methods to increase their visibility on Google SERPs, they end up giving up seemingly out of the blue. They’ve gone through their company site and improved the presence of keywords, updated meta tags, set up their social media listings, and even run a fairly robust PPC campaign. Yet, despite their best efforts, they still aren’t seeing the conversions they want.
Regardless of whether the ultimate goal is to improve sales, generate leads, or to get people to simply subscribe to a newsletter, the metrics behind these objectives still don’t show any real improvement. If the business has been emphasizing both organic and inorganic marketing efforts for at least a few months it will see that site traffic has improved tremendously – and that’s about it. Isn’t a well-run SEO campaign supposed to lead to results? What am I doing wrong? These are questions I hear asked all the time.
Turning Potential into Actual Results
The one thing that many people fail to recognize is that SEO, like any other form of marketing, is engineered to get people in front of the business itself. Now, this isn’t to say that SEO and PPC aren’t crucial to maintaining a profitable online business. In fact, the truth is that many companies need to rely on these essential services in order to stand apart from the competition. So then what’s the problem?
In order to get conversion rates, businesses need to emphasis their product strongest at the final step of the sales process. This means having a point of conversion that has as strong and as concise a call-to-action as can possibly be mustered. For example, if a business wants to directly sell site visitors a product or service, then they need to be able to “seal the deal” by convincing the user in the following ways:
- Show the use or value of the point of conversion. Make it appealing in a way that isn’t forced but still very much direct.
- Display how you rate against competing services or businesses. Why should the end user give their time or attention to you instead of Brand X?
- Link to similar items or services that the user may be interested in. As an example, imagine you’re selling shoes. Wouldn’t it make sense to have links on the category page for Adidas go to socks or exercise shorts?
Top-ranked SEO agencies and consultants are able to raise site traffic to their clients’ domains, but the final task of improving the conversion rate is an equal responsibility for both the marketer and the business. Be exciting and provide a convincing case for your call-to-action and you’ll get those results you’ve been yearning for.
It’s an error in judgment that is often made by many business owners over the course of their careers. All too often a person is quick to dismiss a lack of results from a new initiative as being representative of a no-win battle. Before new strategies can be proven one way or the other, these operations end up being dropped in favor of tried-and-true tactics that yield consistent but altogether few results. Although there is certainly something to be said for cutting losses before they go spiraling out of control, most people poorly assess the potential strength of their advertising and miss out on the rewards they could reap with the right approach.
The same can easily be said about many businesses trying to tackle organic SEO marketing. After the recent developments with Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms, increasingly more companies are coming to the realization that the same old tactics that were once used to climb up search engine result pages (SERPs) have become antiquated or even completely useless. Now some companies are turning almost exclusively to pay-per-click and other forms of inorganic for the bulk of their internet advertising efforts. However, by eschewing full SEO campaigns, they too end up significant SERP presence.
Having the Right Response to the New Environment
While we’ve already covered how to work within the new constraints set by Google over at Penguin Watch, what is really going to matter most for companies looking to maintain or improve their standings is the approach itself. Yes, duplicate content, hidden links, and other unethical SEO development methods have fallen by the wayside (rightly so), but it’s the mentality that’s being applied to the new content that will ultimately determine how the future unfolds.
When in doubt, business owners should be producing websites that follow a strict set of guidelines:
- All new content made, be they blogs or additional webpages, should be interesting and useful to readers. This will encourage shares on social media and help give the content real web presence.
- All content should be original in both copy and purpose. This keeps pages from getting de-ranked by Google and also improves the likelihood of certain keyword groups leading to immediate search results.
- The end user is your focus, not a site crawler. When all is said and done, Google’s algorithms are intended to get its users to get to pages they want in as little time as possible. If you can get these users to find your page and then stay on it, you’ve succeeded in your efforts.
Finally, it’s important that companies new to the world of SEO and online marketing turn to experts in the field instead of going it alone. While there is a wealth of advice and general tips out there for how to run your own organic campaigns, the best methods and techniques change constantly. Always seek out the aid of a SEO company with years of experience for the results you want.
Although much of the organic web traffic funneling that SEO companies do is through backlinks in articles and partner sites, the majority of your website visitors end up seeing the landing page before anything else. Even when using search phrases that incorporate long tail keywords or other specified terms, Google and Bing both tend to serve up the front page of a company’s site rather than subdirectories or blogs. Because of this, online marketing consultants always instruct their clients to create a welcome entrance to their website for would-be customers.
Of course there will always be some debate regarding what constitutes a well-made landing page. While there are plenty of choices to be made when settling on the final design of a front page, there are also quite a few mistakes that businesses commonly make. When looking at the main address of your company’s site, try asking yourself the following questions.
Is my Website an Assault on the Senses?
Sometimes businesses get overzealous in producing big, vibrant entrances to their websites that actually end up driving away potential customers. If you’ve ever been to a site that features excessive levels of flash, giant banners, or a video intro that starts up the second the page finishes loading, then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. While it is tempting to use eye-catching imagery and heavy design elements to engage site visitors, this amount of effort is better spent on improving the actual content of the landing page itself.
Does my Front Page Lack a Purpose?
SEO companies that provide landing page design for their clients always make sure that a site’s front page has value to both visitors and site crawlers. Some companies subscribe to the idea that the main page of a site should be more of a photo gallery than an info dump. While it’s true that no one wants to read a wall of text, that doesn’t mean that visitors shouldn’t be greeted immediately with information worth knowing. One should always find a happy balance between visual elements and text.
Is my Landing Page Disconnected from our Site?
As strange though it may sound, some companies design front pages that are missing important links to other sections of the site. While I’m not suggesting that a landing page should have links to every page in the domain (a terrible idea), it is always smart to include links that go to much sought-after content. This can include blogs, the site map, FAQs and other well-trafficked pages.
If you’re finding that your company’s landing page simply isn’t up to snuff and needs an overhaul, I can be contacted at email@example.com for more information.
By now, business owners have learned a thing or two about what a SEO company can achieve. However, the services needed to further a company’s online presence and drive conversion rates differ from entity to entity. While each situation differs, there are a still several elements found in any successful SEO campaign that will always have a positive impact.
Marketing content online is a far different process from creating standard ads. A brand’s content does not have to specifically focus on offered products or services but may simply emphasize the company or industry itself. While press releases and other traditional forms of marketing certainly come to mind, there are in fact other ways to present a business than simply puffing out one’s chest and boasting of accomplishments. Increasingly more websites are creating original content for their online properties that includes, but is not limited to, blogs, case studies, articles by respectable industry members, and more.
Social media offers a wealth of marketing strategies for almost any business. Beyond being able to connect directly to potential customers and partners, networks like Facebook and Google+ also function as delivery platforms for the content your business has created. Although your web domains may see decent traffic without the aid of social networks, it never hurts to post your original content on these sites. If anything, the structure of social media means that anything shared or “liked” by users will receive temporary spotlights. This can prove invaluable in getting more people to see your content.
PPC (or pay-per-click) services are geared toward traditional advertising, much like billboards, and yet are much easier to track in metrics. PPC is a great initiative for companies that need startup traffic for their site. Alternatively, it’s a great method to attract attention to a special sale or brand-wide campaign. Most people seek an SEO optimization company to handle PPC needs as the process demands diligence and a devoted staff to be successful.
Incoming links from other authoritative websites send positive signals to search engines. It lets them know other websites find yours to be important. Often, a SEO company will launch link building campaigns for clients, seeking these highly authoritative sites. The process involves making connections in addition to finding good fits related to client products and services.
These are just a few ways that a company can benefit from SEO practices. If you wish to learn more about these processes, I can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of you may have been following the ongoing debacle regarding journalist Guy Adams (of The Independent), NBC, the London Olympics and Twitter. For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the latest news, the story basically boils down to a series of events that ultimately ended with a well-known and outspoken journalist being banned from Twitter due to requests from NBC.
Over the course of the last several days, there has been an immense amount of outcry on several social media platforms regarding NBC’s coverage of this year’s 2012 London Olympic events. At the center of many of these complaints lies Twitter, which has become a buzzing hive of discontent and outright hostility. Between Olympic fans questioning the quality of NBC’s reporting on the Games to complaints over censorship, there has been so much controversy and talk of these issues that the hashtag #NBCfail was in major use for multiple days.
One of the loudest voices on Twitter was that of journalist Guy Adams, who at one point posted the personal email address of NBC president Gary Zenkel and direct users to spam his account. This ended up leading to NBC filing a complaint and Twitter banning Adams’ account. According to the network’s terms of service, it is against policy to post the personal information of others. Adams went on to defend that he obtained Zenkel’s email through standard searches and that the address was easily found. Twitter stuck by its decision and has continued to leave the account banned for the foreseeable future.
The Power of Social Media
It’s easy to focus on this whole sordid situation and miss out on a critical role of this story: Twitter itself. Social media companies have come to realize the power of Twitter and other social media platforms, but rarely do we see the full impact of these networks in such a stark and obvious way. With NBC’s Olympic coverage a continued point of contention for many, there is far more attention being brought to the television network due to its programming than the Games themselves. What should have been a PR dream for NBC has now become a reputation management case.
Thus is the double-edged sword that is social media. Although every business aims to improve brand recognition through Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, not everyone sees a positive reception. As anyone who deals with online marketing knows, people are far more likely to speak out they find something that angers or has slighted them rather than to praise a job well done. In order to counter backlash and keep one’s online presence a pleasant one, more corporations need to employ professional reputation management and social media marketers.
If you have any thoughts regarding the #NBCfail situation or simply want to know how to correct your social media campaign, I can be contacted at email@example.com