Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The On Site Optimization Checklist

As search engines increasingly focus on user experience and their ability to deliver exactly what people are looking for, searchers have become quicker to react when they don’t see immediate relevance for their search terms. This reaction quickness now means that each landing page must clearly and immediately present itself as being relevant and valuable to visitors to keep them on that page and then entice them further into the site. The resulting fact is that well written content that compels visitors toward conversion has never been more important to the success of a site. Follow this check list to ensure that you are delivering what your visitors are looking for:

* Provide consistently fresh content – New content which conveys relevant information to visitors will differentiate your site from your competitors and keep visitors returning to keep abreast of what you’re presenting. Away from the site, fresh content can be instrumental in improving page rankings at the search engines.

* Placing relevant content where it needs to be – Content on the various landing pages of the site must be clearly related to the search terms that brought the visitor there in the first place. Be sure the page content is relevant to what your visitors are searching for or the “back” button will be clicked post haste.

* Time Sensitive Content – Time sensitive content verifies its freshness while providing the opportunity to tie current events to your products and services. This can enhance both credibility and relevance of your site, its products, and its services.

* Laser Targeted Content – Creating content directed only at your target market may seem narrow but the targeted visitors that arrive will find your content to be way more valuable than watered down, generic fluff. Don’t hesitate to offer highly specific and/or technical content as follow-on information after visitors hit the landing page. Conveying expertise in niche areas requires thorough knowledge which will build both credibility and trust. These, in turn, lead to conversions.

* Directional content – On top of everything else, content should guide visitors through the conversion process in as simple a manner as possible. Having calls to action and clearly defined navigation are both mandatory in order to move visitors toward and through the conversion process.   

The importance of written content on your site has never been higher and can be the sole difference between a website’s success and failure. Provide quality content and you’ll have enthusiastic new and return visitors that convert at higher than normal ratios. Ignore it, and the time and money spent driving visitors to your site will be wasted. The Gervais Group specializes in providing relevant and targeted content for websites that generates consistently optimal results. For more information, visit www.GervaisGroupLLC.com or call (770) 529 2262.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Social Media Marketing


Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are quickly replacing traditional means of communication, including email, as the favored way for people to stay in contact with each other. The sites allow for community building efforts in a multiple of ways but the common theme which runs between them is that of implied trust which encourages sharing of opinions, reviews, commentary and the like. The “word of mouth” aspect of this communication is extremely powerful and can be instrumental for a business in its marketing efforts as long as it’s done in a manner that fits in with the “spirit” of the social media sites.




To be seen as a trusted member of these communities, it is imperative that marketing efforts focus on adding value, over the impulse to sell, sell, sell.  Adding value can be done in numerous ways, including the providing of research, engaging in conversation, and responding to questions or requests for more information. As opposed to the methodologies of traditional marketing/advertising campaigns, blatant and unrelenting selling is seen as a huge annoyance in these communities and is generally considered as pure spam.

Participation in social media also presents the opportunity for brand building, again, in a different manner than typically thought of prior to the emergence of these social communities. The opportunity for direct contact with community members allows for a more intimate interface, and can provide a foundation which fosters trust, credibility, and familiarity with a company and its products, all important aspects of brand building. This direct communication can come in the form of providing content, guiding conversation, and the building or protecting brand perception.

One of the largest benefits of successful participation in these social media circles is that marketing, advertising, and brand building can now be done with great cost effectiveness on relatively large scale. The viral nature of these applications enables word to spread far beyond its initial dissemination at never before seen speed. The issue for companies in this arena is that community interface and all other aspects of participation must be done properly, or that viral benefit can quickly become a large and growing problem. For that reason, it’s extremely important to have an experienced social media marketing company on your side. For a free analysis on where your social media efforts should be focused, call The Gervais Group today at (770) 529 2262





    

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Professionals and Amateurs in SEO

The field of search engine optimization is can be divided into three categories; the professional SEO companies, the newcomers, and the do it yourselfers. Each of the levels of expertise can be categorized by skill levels, resources, and experience which translate directly into how successful the end result of an SEO effort will be. Unless directed at a completely un-served micro-niche, any SEO effort will require a defined process, resources, and the skill to see it through to a successful finish.

Here’s look at the three categories and the likely results from each:

* Do it yourselfers – This category is populated with two types of search engine optimization people; those that are on their own for budgetary reasons and those that assume that SEO can be accomplished using their existing skill set. In many cases, those who are operating with limited budgets get better results than the existing skill set group simply because they need to maximize the results for each dollar spent. This group will often use grass roots campaigns to begin developing revenues and then direct some of that income toward outsourcing the work to an SEO company due to affordability and the time commitment required for SEO campaigns.

* Newcomers – The field of search engine optimization draws new people looking to “put out a shingle” on a daily basis. These newcomers are usually small (1 to three employees) operations with skill sets which can vary widely. There are a handful of potential problems in dealing with a newcomer including the lack of any track record, determining their level of expertise, and their daily work load. Regardless of skill level and track record, if a two man operation starts getting busy, current clients will suffer in terms of level of service and SEO activities due to the fact that the company is now spread thin with limited resources and not enough time in the day to do everything.

It’s common in these situations for a newcomer to take on a new, high paying customer who requires putting everything else on the back burner or outsourcing the work of existing clients to an unknown entity.

* Professional SEO companies – Dealing with a reputable SEO company is, by far the best way to ensure a positive outcome for your search engine optimization efforts. These companies always have track records, satisfied clients, and a set protocol for developing SEO strategies, regardless of the type of business. This protocol always starts with keyword research, a step neglected by a high percentage of do it yourselfers and newcomers. The primary goal of the research is to define the keywords which will provide the best return on investment. On and off-site optimization practices are then determined from the results of the initial keyword research and the strategy is put into motion.

With keywords in place, the work then revolves around the labor, time, and resource requirements of implementing a successful strategy. A professional SEO company will always be able to describe the process in detail with realistic goals and objectives. Of the three options, working with a reputable SEO company is usually the most expensive choice, but the ultimate outcome in terms of return on investment, targeted traffic, and conversion ratios are typically much higher.    


Dealing with a reputable search engine optimization company can literally make the difference between success and failure. SEO companies, like the Gervais Group, which can provide past client successes and present search engine results are much more likely to deliver optimal outcomes than those new to the field. For more information, visit www.gervaisgroupllc.com or call (770) 529 2262.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Link Building for Traffic and Search Engine Rankings

So life really is just a popularity contest? In the world of ranking websites it is, at least to a degree, as far as the search engines go. In this arena the votes come in the form of inbound links and the more links a site gets from other authority sites, the better. Links from other, non-authority” sites can either count for something or may not count at all depending on where they originate.

These inbound links, due to the weight they carry in the algorithms with the search engines, are one of the main focal points of search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. The SEO focus narrows on to the quality over the quantity of links due to the fact that links coming from irrelevant or non-reputable sources will not matter in the eyes of the search engines.   

Here are some of the factors that search engines use to calculate the value of inbound links:

* The credibility, reputation and trustworthiness of the domain from where the link originates - Inbound links from CNN, AOL, MSN, and the like would carry a much higher link value than one coming from a friend’s blog. 

* The relevance of the anchor text to the link – Using one of the search terms that is being search engine optimized as anchor text will score higher than a simple “click here” link.

* Where the link is coming from within the originating website – A link coming from, say CNN’s home page will score much higher than if it comes from a page that few if any people have visited.

* Where the inbound link is located on the originator’s page – An inbound link coming from above the fold will be more valuable than one that is buried at the bottom of a long page.

* The total amount of outbound links from the originating page – The fewer outbound links the better. In theory, this is how the search engines filter out links coming from link farms.

Inbound links to a website are much like votes of confidence or third party endorsements. When these links come from the big boys of the web, the search engines take notice and give credit for it. When the status of the link is high, coming as one of a few from a place of prominence on an authority site, even more credit is given. These are the links SEO’s strive for because a few of them can rank a website on the top pages of the search engines. For more information on how to get the most out of a linking strategy for your business, visit: http://www.gervaisgroupllc.com/.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Giving Your Website What it Needs

If you’re business is online, it’s pretty obvious that you need a website. The thing is, even if your business is done totally offline, you still need a website. Without one, chances are you’re either missing a lot of customers or they’re missing you.

The challenge is that just putting up a site isn’t good enough and the customers you’re missing will likely remain that way. Websites that convert visitors online or drive customers to a physical location (like your store) have several things in common that make them work.

Here are five of them:

1) Develop a strategy to help people find you online – Whether your business is local, national, or global you’ll need an SEO strategy so that people searching for the solution you provide can find you. Optimizing for keywords relevant to your solution that have traffic but less competition is great way to gain traction on search engines quickly.

2) Content that is immediately relevant for your visitors – If, for example, people are finding you using a search term like “kayak tours Alaska” make sure that the page their landing on when they arrive at your site is also immediately recognizable as being about “kayak tours Alaska”. Don’t make them search for what they’re already looking for.

3) Clear navigation – Make getting around the site clear and simple, with navigation tabs that are easy to find. Confusion is a bad thing and visitors react to it quickly by leaving the site, never to return.

4) Clear calls to action – Let your visitors know what you want them to do and make it easy for them to do it. This goes for making a purchase, requesting more information, or going into your physical location.

5) Start a blog – Having a blog on your site allows you put some personality into your site and products while playing a role in your SEO strategy, encouraging conversation and sharing information. It will also give you a venue to provide fresh content, attract some inbound links, and establish yourself as a trusted resource.

6) Local contact Information - A small business can to establish a lot of credibility by including a local address, a local phone number, and other ways to get in touch with your business such as Twitter or Facebook. Highlighting this information let’s people know that they can reach in a number of different ways which goes a long way in establishing your trust and credibility. Local information will also play a huge role from a local search engine optimization standpoint because it gives the search engines important information about where your business is located and the areas or neighborhoods you would most likely draw traffic from.

If you’re just starting out or looking for better performance, The Gervais Group can get your SEO, marketing, and website working at their best. For more information, visit:  http://www.gervaisgroupllc.com/.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Five Ways to SEO Your Way to Consumers Instead of Visitors

Getting traffic to your site is wonderful but visitors who don’t convert into consumers will come and go, leaving nothing behind. For a results-based website, just getting traffic simply isn’t good enough. In fact, a search engine optimization strategy which drives visitors instead of consumers is, at best, delivering a half measure. The key to operating a successful business on the web is the development of an SEO campaign which consistently delivers targeted traffic which, once on the site, converts from visitors to consumers. Here are five keys to getting targeted visitors/consumers to your site.

1) Keyword research – It may sound a little mundane, especially when you’re ready to charge ahead, but finding keywords and phrases that will drive targeted traffic to your site in a cost effective manner will be the foundation on which the rest of your search engine optimization strategy will be built. The determination of “low hanging fruit” keywords versus those which are highly competitive can mean the difference between success and failure of an SEO campaign. This research can be time consuming and may be better executed by an experienced SEO company. Whether you do it yourself or hire out, keyword research must be your first priority when setting the course for your search engine optimization strategy.

2) On-Site Content – The content on your site must first capture visitors to keep them from leaving to continue their search elsewhere. This capture must happen quickly as visitors typically make the decision to stay or go within seven to eight seconds. In this, your content’s relevance to the keywords your visitor used to find you is of utmost importance. Whether they are being sent to a landing page or somewhere else on your site, visitors must be immediately assured that they have found what they are looking for. For example, if one of your search engine optimized keyword is work boots, the page your visitor lands on should have content relevant to work boots placed where it can be seen immediately. A common mistake here is to optimize for work boots and then place the relevant content “below the fold”, out of the sight of visitors unless they scroll down to see it. Many won’t bother, clicking the “back” button never to be seen again. An SEO company will engage in additional on site techniques such as optimizing meta tags and making the site search engine friendly.
    
3) Off-Site Content – This type of content can come in many forms including articles, blogs, and press releases. Off-site content should always be written with your targeted keywords and phrases in mind. As this content can often be the first impression of your business, it should also be engaging, well-written and informative. A high percentage of off-site content should be created with the objective of driving targeted visitors from the article/blog/release back to the site, specifically to a page which is highly relevant to the subject and keywords used in the originating content.

4) Link Building – One way links from both relevant and high page rank sites are considered to be the most important aspect of getting to the front pages of the search engines. Acting as a quasi third party endorsement, these links are heavily weighted in determining a site’s importance and relevance to its associated keywords. Your own off-site content, as mentioned, should created with one way links back to your site as a means of getting these desired traffic drivers but, in competitive situations a link building strategy must also be employed. Link building (ask any SEO company), is highly labor and time intensive. Unless you have endless hours available, outsourcing this activity to an SEO company will definitely yield the best results.

5) Capturing Visitor Information – While not as exciting as capturing a visitor purchase, capturing their contact information and building your own data base will allow for direct communication with those which have been to your site. A great way to encourage visitors to leave their contact information is offer something for free, such as a mini e-book, white paper, or newsletter. With visitor and consumer contact information in hand; you can stay in regular contact with them to build rapport, trust, and credibility. Consistent contact which encourages repeat visits to your site will ultimately result in conversions, usually at a much higher rate than that for new visitors.

The Gervais Group implements successful search engine optimization strategies for companies of all types and sizes. For more information, visit them at www.GervaisGroupLLC.com or call (770) 529 2262.