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Blogs by date "12/01/12"

Your Company's 2013 Website Optimization Checklist

Building a website optimization strategy for your company is paramount for its success online. It's key to create an actionable plan with realistic and well-defined goals.

This checklist is designed to help you and your company's marketing team tailor a results-oriented website optimization strategy. Whether for better website usability, visibility, or conversion potential, there are a number of elements that go into the website optimization process. Below we outline several ways in which your company can improve its website for better performance.

Optimize the Website's Navigation

A critical component of having a well-optimized website is its navigation. Navigation focuses on the structure and organization of pages, as well as how pages are linked together throughout the website.

Optimizing the navigation of your company's website addresses both SEO and CRO (conversion rate optimization.) In many respects, the emphasis is similar to structuring a textbook. Think of each primary category of the website as a main chapter, and the site's sub-categories (or individual pages) as sections that support each chapter.

From an on-site SEO perspective (and to strengthen a website's "domain authority") having more sub-categories and individual pages supporting a chapter will help bolster keyword relevancy and overall domain-level authority. A cohesive and logically-structured navigation can also help to ensure visitors can efficiently make their way around the website.

Optimize the Website's "Focal Pages"

Keyword optimization is a primary aspect of the SEO process. In order for your company's website to attain its fullest SEO potential, the "focal pages" of the website must include keywords in the proper places. Focal pages are core pages of your website that will bolster SEO value, such as the product and service pages.

Whether your website has 2 or 200 focal pages, the process is the same per page. The actual "optimization" of these pages consists of mentioning targeted keywords in the right places. These include:

  • the URL (e.g. www.domain.com/keyword-target/)
  • the page title (or "Meta title")
  • the Meta description
  • the page copy

It's important to note that a high keyword density is not the way to go. In fact, keyword stuffing is a risk that can get your website penalized (with respect to Google Panda.) Based on the best practices of on-page SEO, the optimal keyword density is about 2-3%.

Lastly, focal pages should only be optimized for 1 or 2 closely related keyword targets. Attempting to optimize a page for 3 or more keywords is inefficient and wasted effort. Instead try to create dedicated pages whenever possible.

Optimize the Website's Internal Linking

In short, optimized internal linking is the art and practice of linking one relevant page of your website with another. The art comes in how you balance the anchor text of internal links for keyword relevancy.

The primary purpose of internal linking is for better usability. For this reason, it's best to approach this practice with a logical and user-focused mindset.

However, optimized internal linking can also aid SEO. Similar to an inbound (or "external") link, the anchor text used for the link can help a search engine spider determine its keyword relevancy. So in addition to usability, you can implement internal linking with keyword-optimized anchor text.

You’ll want to be careful not to go over-board in using keyword-optimized (exact phrase match) anchor text. In light of Google's algorithm updates ("Penguin") that penalizes sites that overuse keyword-targeted anchor text (both internally and externally,) keep your linking as natural as possible, and only use keyword-relevant anchor text when it makes logical sense.

Optimize the Website's CTA's

An important component of your company's website optimization efforts is the use of calls-to-action, or "CTA’s." By testing the appearance and placement of CTA’s, you can maximize the conversion potential of your company's website traffic.

The CTA’s of your company’s website should be well aligned with its online conversion goals. If your optimizing an ecommerce website, the goal of your CTA’s will center on immediate purchases and newsletter sign-ups. As a result, you'll want to leverage sales promotions and customer incentives to get people to register on your site, or buy a product.

To determine the most effective call-to-action, testing multiple variations is key. Whether it’s the copy, graphic design, or the placement of the CTA, you’ll want to try-out and keep track of split-tests to ensure you know what's working effectively.

Optimize the Website's Back-end

The load speed of your website can directly correlate to its back-end, or HTML code structure. If you’re company is using a content management system (CMS) that generates a back-end structure of nestled tables and other robust coding structures, the load speed of the website may be hindered.

The coding structure of your company's website can indicate of how efficiently it gets crawled and indexed by search engine spiders. In short, a website takes several seconds to load (using a high-speed connection) may not be reaching its full SEO potential. To determine the approximate load speed of your company's website, try using this handy tool. If it takes several seconds for the website to load, you may need to optimize the HTML, or flip your company's website to a different, more SEO-friendly CMS.

Optimize the Website's Sitemaps

Next to the homepage, the sitemap of your company's website is one of the most important pages. The sitemap should withhold the entire navigation of the site, containing links to all primary pages.

In essence, the sitemap brings everything together like an index and it serves as a roadmap for search engine spiders. For deep websites with hundreds and thousands of pages, creating segmented sitemaps is a great website optimization technique.

Segmented sitemaps are essentially as the name implies. You simply break-down and segment a lengthy sitemap into relevant groupings for their own dedicated sitemap. For instance, if your company has a blog that publishes posts weekly or every other day, you can create segmented blog sitemap to contain links to all of you blog posts.

After you've created a sitemap, or segmented sitemaps, you can then generate XML versions of each sitemap. XML sitemaps are submit individually to your website’s Google Webmaster Tools account. This tells Google the pages of your website that are ready to be crawled and indexed.

About the Author:

Tyler Tafelsky is a SEO and Internet marketing specialist at the Web Presence Group, a professional website optimization company and branch of OIC Group.

Tyler offers over 5 years of experience in the SEO profession and has handled a spectrum of campaigns on both a global and local level. You can contact him directly via email at tyler@webpresencegroup.net or you can connect with Tyler on Google+.

6 SEO Tips for Improve Your Business's Google Local Listing

The Google local listings are basically the new YellowPages of the Web. Now more than ever, Google users are shown local business listings in the organic search results.

These prominent local listings take up a significant amount of real estate in the SERPs and are accompanied by the Google Map. They also offer Google+ reviews and location information of each business.

To help increase a business's ranking in the Google local listings, a unique approach to SEO is required. This is because these local rankings are not only determined by a strong website, but also by an strong Google+ presence.

Take note to how the primary headline link for each business listing takes users to the company's actual website, whereas the Google+ reviews link below directs users to the business's Google+ page.

SEO in this particular context is not a mysterious, scientific formula that's unbeknownst to most marketers. In fact, this form of local SEO comprises of simple tasks that almost anyone can tackle.

Before you get started on these SEO tips, be sure that you have the capabilities to edit the content of your business's website, and that you've created a local business Google+ page.

  1. Add a link from the business's website to its Google+ page. The recommended code snippet for this link is found on the business's Google+ page while in edit mode, and will have the suggested anchor text "Follow us on Google+."
     
  2. On the Google+ page, verify the address of the business by requesting your Google+ postcard with a verification PIN. Once you receive the postcard at the business's address, you can submit the 4-digit PIN on the Google+ page.
     
  3. Include the exact address of the business on at least the homepage, but if possible, on all pages of the website. Two good areas for this are a site-wide header or the footer. This simple address inclusion is called a citation and it enables Google to verifies the legitimacy of the business's tangible location.
     
  4. Create additional citations, or business listings, on directory websites like Yelp, Bing, Yahoo! Local, Manta, Yellowpages, etc. Google will match-up the address information from these listings with that of the business's website and Google+ page to further ensure its local legitimacy. This is one of the best ways to help grow your Google local listing.
     
  5. Populate the company's Google+ page with adequate information and details. When appropriate, mention your keyword and geographic targets. Don't overdue do it, just a couple times is plenty enough. 6. Keyword optimize (not keyword stuff!) your webpage's titles, meta description, and page copy. Also try to include the city name of your business in each of these elements to help establish local relevancy for SEO.

Local SEO is slowly becoming more of a social endeavor with respect to Google+. It's critical that you local business gets involved on Google+ to grow and maintain its ranking in the Google local listings.

5 AdWords Tips to Empower Your PPC Campaigns

PPC Campaign Management Without some degree of know-how, Google AdWords can be a confusing platform to operate. In short, there's a number of little intricacies, that without the proper understanding, can become big nuances.

In this article, I share with your five empowering tips that will help you overcome this common nuances.

Create Focal Ad Groups That Contain Only a Few Keywords

One of the most popular PPC mistakes is including too many keywords in one ad group. Trying to cover a laundry list of keywords in one ad group makes it challenging to write a highly targeted ad. In addition, your keyword quality scores may not reach their highest potential.

When developing or optimizing a PPC campaign, be mindful to ensure your ad groups contain only a handful of highly relevant keyword groupings (a max of 4-5 is ideal.) Not only does allow you to write targeted ad copy while helping to improve quality scores, but having highly focused ad groups enables you leverage better landing pages.

Split-Test the Verbiage of Your Ad Copy

A powerful way to continuously improve your ads' click-through rate (CTR) is to split-test the verbiage of your ad copy. The process is actually quite easy. Create 3-4 ads with slight variations of ad copy, and run all of the ads at the same time (be sure to select the option to "Rotate to show ads evenly" in the Settings tab of AdWords.).

Tracking your split-tests is very important to ensure that you're progressing and improving your ad copy. You'll want to take note of the CTR% of each ad, as well as the modifications you make to the verbiage and structure of the ad. Equally important is to avoid making too drastic of adjustments to the point when you lose track of the perfect wording that offered the highest CTR.

Take Full Advantage of Ad Extensions

The ad extensions feature of Google AdWords can enhance the appearance of an ad while expanding the coverage of its real estate. Ad extensions are also free to implement, so they're definitely worth taking full advantage of.

Before jumping into ad extensions in AdWords, it's important to understand what each extension does and how to set it up properly. There are five main ad extensions that you can leverage for you PPC campaigns. These include:

  • Sitelinks Extensions
  • Social Extensions
  • Location Extensions
  • Product Extensions
  • Call Extensions

To learn more about what each of these extensions do, and how to activate them, visit this page by Google AdWords support.

Leverage Geo-Targeted PPC Campaigns

Geo-targeting allows you create PPC campaign to target specific locations. In the initial phases of creating an Adwords campaign, you can set geo-parameters to target searchers in a specific state, zip code, or radius of a certain address. This is very important for any local PPC campaign where the advertiser has a confined service area.

National and state-wide brands can take this practice a bit deeper. Segmenting campaigns per state or city can help you tailor ads using a local approach.

Google searchers are drawn to PPC ads that emphasize geographic relevancy to their residence. This can help improve the CTR of your ads, so long as you do this in a creative and ethical manner.

Use Modified Broad Match Bidding

A great bidding technique to help make your PPC advertising more efficient is using modified broad match. Unlike broad, "phrase," or [exact] match, modified broad match uses a "+" symbol directly in front of keywords that must be included in a user's search query for your ad to be triggered.

To give you an example, if we bid on the phrase '+access +control +systems', those three words must be included in a user's search query for our ad to be displayed. (So the keyword phrase "door access security systems" would not trigger our ad, but "access control security systems" would.)

Unlike exact match, using modified broad match can help ensure that your PPC ads are being triggered when users search more detailed long-tail keywords.

Another advantage is that the cost per click (CPC) for some keyword combinations is significantly lower that exact or broad match bidding.

Managing a PPC campaign takes a some experience and know-how to find success in AdWords. I hope these tips will help you create a strong and profitable paid search campaign. To learn more, check out this Google Ads training course by Yisoo, a great program to help you learn more about this internet advertising platform.

 

Peoria Web Design Company Offices:
OIC Group, Inc.
Phone: (309) 680-5600

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1111
Peoria, IL 61653