Client/Developer Communication is a Two-Way Street

Communication between the client and developer is one of the single most important aspects of any SEO campaign. It is imperative that both sides understand where the other is coming from and what the roles and expectations of each side are. I will go over a few suggestions from both the client and the developers perspective to help break the communication barrier that gets in the way far too often. You will be surprised at how much smoother a campaign can go if both parties start the campaign with the right amount of information and a realistic expectation.

Communicating as a Web Developer is all about Gaining Trust
As a developer, it is important to understand where the client is coming from. In order to fully grasp what your clients’ wants and needs are, you have to first take yourself out of the developer mindset and understand what the clients’ site is all about. Always take some time to get familiar with the clients’ site and business. Think about what the culture of their business is and what type of customer-base they are trying to reach. Also, research the products and services offered on the site as well…I assure you that this step will not only help you make the best decisions for your clients’ site, it will also dramatically increase the amount of trust the client has for you. And that will go a long way when trying to persuade them to make certain changes.

Remember that in most cases, this site you are working on is their baby and they are very protective of it, but if you show them that you understand where they are coming from and know what they do, they will be much more inclined to listen to what you have to say.

Another thing I learned as a developer is to not rely on big fancy words and complicated technical jargon. You may think that you sound smart and are making a good impression, but the fact is that what you are saying is probably going right over their heads. If the client isn’t learning anything from you, then you are not doing your job correctly. I’m not saying that you have to use kiddie words in order for them to understand what it is you are accomplishing, just explain why you are doing it and what the benefits are of the changes you are making.

Include lengthy explanations with your suggestions and visual aides to help them understand what you are working on and how it will help their website. I promise you that they don’t really care how many lines of code you had to write or what type of font you chose to style their heading tags with – they just want to know how it is going to get them the results they need.

One great thing I learned to utilize are my past success stories. Don’t be afraid to show the client other sites that you have worked on that are similar to theirs. Show them exactly what you changed and how it has affected their SEO efforts. This type of proof is exactly what they want and it is exactly what you need as a developer to show the client that they can trust your judgment.

Communicating as a Client is about Properly Expressing your Wants and Needs
As the owner of a site, you are probably really excited to get your SEO campaign started as quickly as possible. It is important that you come into the campaign with an open mind and an understanding that your developer makes every change with your best interests in mind. But at first, there will be a sort of language barrier between you and your developer. To remedy this, take some time to do a little research about the inner workings of your site. Learn about what a developer does and the types of changes you may expect to be implemented on your site. I understand that you hired a developer so you wouldn’t have to deal with the technical aspect of it all, but learning a little about what he/she does will go a long way when you’re trying to express your ideas and needs.. Remember, this is your site and your campaign. You have the ultimate say in what happens. You have to be involved as much as possible. Your developer is there to help you bring those needs and wants to life, but it is up to you to properly express what those are from the very beginning.

It is also important to understand that in order to get the results you desire, you must express your ideas to your developer in as much detail as possible. Don’t be afraid to express your expectations from the very beginning, or ask questions regarding the best ways to reach your goals. Tell your developer what can and cannot be changed on your site. Take advantage of similar sites as examples of the type of resource you want your website to be for your audience.

Effective communication from both sides is the most important foundation of any SEO campaign. In order to obtain good results, both sides must understand what the expectations are of the other. When a developer and a client are working in unison, the road to success is a smooth ride.

If you’re an SEO who interacts with clients, or even a small business owner keeping tabs on your traffic and visitor flow in Google Analytics, you have done the ‘Google Gasp’ a few times.

It’s that moment your eyes grow wide, you lose your breath, and your stomach drops to your feet when you see those glaring red traffic metrics. You become frantic, trying to figure out what went wrong and you begin to second guess yourself, your marketing team, or your strategic approach. What you should do is calm down, take a breath , and refrain from changing every page on your website.

What do you look for when you’re struck with the ‘Google Gasp’? Here are three typical ‘bad’ results that will help you see the Analytics glass half full:

  • Drop in Organic Traffic - Surprisingly, this drop has two positives that can come from it. The first can be tied to your Paid Search campaign. If you are utilizing paid search and your CTR, Quality Score, and CPC results have been their best ever, your organic traffic is going to drop. Since organic visits are those not brought to your site via adverts or paid search, any visitors that come to your site by clicking an ad will not be counted towards the total number of Organic Visits. The second can be seen by reviewing your site’s Referral Traffic. Referral Traffic can include a number of ways a visitor came to your site just by clicking hyperlinked text, or a link in a Tweet, without making a search query. Very few of these referred visits are considered organic, so look for increases in Social Media referrals, Content and Article referrals, and affiliate site referrals.

Google Analytics

Looking towards the right end of the blue line in the graph, we see noticeable increases in Paid Search.

Google Analytics

This is Organic Traffic from the same site, within the same date ranges. Notice the end of the blue line in this graph; it is noticeably lower in the same area that the Paid Search graph showed increases.

  • Drop in Visit Duration -When this happens, take a look at your Bounce Rate; did the Bounce Rate improve? A drop in the number of pages a visitor went to on your site doesn’t mean that they are not interested, nor does a decrease in time mean they are bouncing right off. Take a step back and think about any UX or conversion-driven changes you may have made to your site; have you made some content or design changes to a few landing pages? Did you conduct some navigation renovation or product re-structuring? If so, then a drop in the visit duration  per encounter and an improved bounce rate can be closely tied to an improved user experience. Even the smallest changes that improve the site’s navigation, product listings, or descriptions can reduce the amount of time a visitor spends sifting through a number of products to find what they are looking for.

Google Analytics

  • Decrease in New Visitors - When increasing your customer base and site visibility are your main goals, having less New Visitors is worrisome, but take a look at the other side of the story; how many of your site’s  visitors are returning? Returning Visitors are just as good, if not, better than having an influx of New Visits, because they have a different mind-set. The average consumer will rarely make a purchase on their first visit to a site and will often leave the site prior to completing the conversion or ‘checking out’. The reasons vary, from doing additional product research and price comparison to waiting for a sale or special offer. A majority of Returning Visitors will complete a conversion and make a purchase because they have not only familiarized themselves with your site, but with your brand, product offerings, or simply because you offer the best customer service.

Google Analytics

Looking at the negative in a positive light isn’t just a way to keep the fire from turning into an inferno; it’s a way to discover how some of these metrics inadvertently affect each other. It also helps you identify what is working and not working in your marketing strategy.  Lastly, it will allow you to make reasonable adjustments or changes to your site that will produce more positive results.

My parents always told me not to care about what other people think of me. But, let’s be honest–we all care a little bit.

Of course, we care what certain people think more than others. The high school quarterback’s opinion means a little more than the captain of the chess club. Your CEO’s opinion of you matters a little more than your average co-worker. From the lunch table to the conference room, let’s face it–we care.

As far as the Internet is concerned, Google is the high school quarterback; they’re the CEO. Their opinion means something. So if you’re on the Internet–personally and/or professionally–you should, to some degree, care what Google thinks of you.

How Does Google Perceive You?

Google runs on relevance. You type in a term and it spits back information it believes to be relevant to that term.

Google also uses relevancy for its own gains. They display ads in your browser based on your search activity (if you’re curious, be sure check out just how much Google knows about you–they’re either shockingly dead-on or shockingly off).

Take a second to Google yourself and see what comes back. Google your company and see what comes back. Google words that you think are relevant to your company. This is what Google currently thinks of you–where they rank you and the sites they associate you with. Do you like what you see?

If not, don’t worry just yet. There’s probably a lot you can do to get the search results you’re looking for and, essentially, get Google to change its perception of you.

Making Friends through SEO

If you own a website, whether it’s a personal blog or your company’s e-commerce site, you can improve the way Google perceives you through ethical optimization. They like that stuff.

To start, though, you need to know what Google looks for and see how well your site is currently optimized. This will provide you with baseline data for the elements Google looks at when crawling your site.

A few (basic) factors they consider include:Google Palace

• Your link profile
• Site architecture
• Content
• Page Speed

When you address these issues and work to optimize your site, you’ll find that Google likes you a whole lot more. And when the most popular kid in school likes you, you can bet a lot of other people will like you too (i.e. sales).

Managing Your Reputation

People love to talk smack on the Internet. Whether they’re angrily writing a restaurant review or bad-mouthing a former employer, people love to vent in blogs and forums. Unfortunately, this form of therapy can negatively impact companies and individuals–usually for unjust reasons.

So, if you want Google to continue liking you, it’s important that you manage your reputation. This means keeping your site in shipshape as well as keeping an ear out for anyone talking behind your back.

Through active SEO and by keeping a watchful eye over your name and your brand, you can protect your reputation online and be sure that you’ll always be in Google’s good graces.

It’s vital to have a definitive, long-term marketing goal in place for your business in order to truly achieve a greater presence and earn more business within the vertical or verticals it serves.  While virtually every brand can benefit from a solid digital strategy, it is important to remember the various components that are integral in creating your own “game plan”.

Why Content is Crucial
Content is the cornerstone of any website, not only from an SEO perspective, but from a more human perspective, as well.  It is necessary to consider who your online brand is geared towards and which demographics your business is trying to reach.  Ask yourself these three questions when structuring any content for your brand:

“Who will read this?”

“Why will they read it?”

“Will this content provide value to the reader?”

All content on your business’ site, including blog posts and even supplemental content should provide some level of SEO value as well as have an informative and entertaining “edge” to truly stand out to the reader.

Targeted Content for a Relevant Audience
While the quality of your content is a definite factor in determining your site’s rankings and overall SEO performance, it is essential to ensure that your content (both on and off-site) is targeted toward your consumers or clients.

Even blog posts and social media content should be seen as an opportunity to captivate your audience and drive more valuable traffic and potential business to your brand.

Refresh Your Pages to Engage Your Readers
Content Management Systems are a major asset to business-oriented sites or any sites which require frequent updates or changes.  These platforms make it easy for even those with limited knowledge of HTML or other advanced programming languages to create fresh content on-the-fly in order to keep site viewers engaged and keep content up-to-date and relevant.

These guidelines are the key to developing a winning content strategy for your brand and bringing your site to the forefront of search results and maximizing your business’ potential for success in the digital marketplace.

As we welcome 2013, many are not just making resolutions to lose excess weight; they are also contemplating how to reduce excess spending.  As a business owner, cutting costs without cutting the ‘necessities’ while still leaving room in the budget for ways to increase revenue can be a real challenge.  Subsequently, it is no surprise that over 90% of businesses utilize some type of Internet presence, either through localized optimization or social media; to gain leads, increase their customer base or simply just get their name out there.

“It takes a lot of money to make money.”

SEO = ROIYes and no.  Yes, it does take money and no, it doesn’t have to take A LOT of money.  Knowing exactly what you want from your Internet marketing and knowing how you want it to work for you is vital to choosing how you would like to spend your marketing budget.  Companies that have around 1,000+ employees typically hire between 18-24 people, each with a specific skill set in one of the following:

  • Content Writing
  • Web Development/Design
  • Marketing
  • Paid Search Marketing
  • Social Media Strategist
  • Social Media Management

Let’s just say that your small business would like to have one of each of these people in your marketing department.  To give you an idea of how much it would cost to have all of these people work for you; if you are in or near a major metropolitan city, the average yearly salary for a Social Media Manager is approximately $73,000 – 116,000 per year.  When you add web design and development, paid search and a content writer to the mix, expect to add around $475,000 or more to your payroll.  That also does not include additional computers, software, and continued training your staff will need to stay ahead of the game.

“It will be cheaper if I do it myself, than to hire a SEO firm.”

Will you also perform your own surgery as well?  Definitely not, that’s why we pay surgeons.  With all of the videos, blogs, white papers and knowledge out there on the web, it just seems easier to take your business’ marketing into your own hands.  You already know your brand; you already know how to use Google, Twitter and Facebook, as well as write a blog post.  As true as this may be for many business owners, you will need to ask yourself, “Do I have the time? Do I really know what I’m doing?”

Sure a tweet there and a blog here will not take that much time to do; but when your competition is knocking out 3 tweets a day, a blog post daily and shared a link on their Facebook to a newly posted YouTube video, you merely just started a race that the competition just finished.

The average cost of a month of an effective SEO strategy that includes social media options is anywhere between $2,200 and $5,000 per month; the cost of having just one salaried employee.  An easier number to swallow compared to the $475,000+ payroll addition per year for 6 employees.  Many SEO firms today have gained a credibility that many traditional marketing firms can’t even match.  A majority of SEO firms can provide Social Media, Paid Search and Web Design all under one roof which is especially important when executing your brand across the Web.  Having everyone working together, maintaining consistency and communication across all channels is what makes a campaign successful. The power and efforts of a dedicated team for the cost of one may be one employee will help to take your business further without going into debt is likely to be one of your brand’s best business decisions in the new year.

MOUNT LAUREL, NJ (OCT. 17, 2012)Kenneth Wisnefski, founder and CEO of WebiMax, the fastest growing private company in New Jersey on the Inc. 500, announced the unveiling of a new website aimed at  providing valuable information on brand management and reputation management for medium and large-sized businesses.  Brand Management dot com delivers important information regarding how to successfully manage a brand’s presence online and furthermore includes important resources for decision makers at these institutions related to these services.

“I have discussed with many decision makers at some of the most reputable and largest businesses indicating that this community needs up-to-date resources on brand management techniques,” states Wisnefski, who founded WebiMax in 2008.  “Brand Management dot com serves this purpose and furthermore provides valuable statistics on how brand management and reputation management have major impacts on consumers and their buying behaviors.”

While core fundamentals of the marketing mix and other key tangibles remain relevant for branding purposes, statistics indicate that the proactive management of the brand through online methods and techniques have become crucial elements in remaining competitive and building an authoritative brand.  As of today, more than 89 percent of consumers said they use online channels to investigate the product and brand they are purchasing.  In addition, approximately 87 percent of consumers indicated that positive reviews they have read online convince them to buy a specific product.

“Consumers today are leveraging technology more than they ever have before in their purchasing decisions,” states Wisnefski.  “Today’s consumer is smarter and more aware of product and brand alternatives and how they are rated online, and 89 percent of them use these online reviews to make their purchasing decisions.”

Brand Management dot com includes statistics, case studies, a regularly updated blog, and other resources for businesses.  The website is managed by a team of seasoned brand and reputation management experts that also develop these strategies for clients.  Visit http://www.brandmanagement.com/ for more information.

About WebiMax.

Led by serial web entrepreneur Kenneth Wisnefski, WebiMax has become the leader in online marketing services, including a focus on Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Paid Search and PPC, Website Design and Development, Reputation Management, and more. The company was named to the 2012 Inc. 500 (No. 37 overall) and was also selected as one of America’s Most Promising Companies (2011) by Forbes Magazine (No. 30 overall).  The company employs over 125 personnel in 12 offices including 8 U.S. based, and 4 International. Visit http://www.webimax.com/ for more information.