Friday, March 29, 2013

A Brief Glossary of SEO Terms That Will get Your Website in Trouble

Search engine optimization and search engine marketing, when properly and ethically done, can yield spectacular results for companies that want to have a presence, build a brand, and generate revenues on the web. Much like any competition, there are no short-cuts to long lasting success in either search engine optimization or marketing. Still, shortcuts and tricks are often offered by companies promising guaranteed results at a cost of pennies on the dollar. Being a relatively new industry, there is much that is misunderstood about both the practice of and terminology surrounding SEO and SEM. What follows is a list of the kind of shortcuts and tricks that can backfire on a website, incurring penalties and/or landing it on a permanent blacklist.

* Black Hat Techniques – Black hat SEO is the catch-all phrase used to describe a variety of tricks and shortcuts that are considered unethical by the SEO community and the search engines. Use of these techniques can be tempting because of their lower costs and the fact that they can work temporarily. Basically considered a short sighted solution to a long term problem, these techniques will ultimately hurt the ranking of a website at best, with the worst case being that the website gets banned or blacklisted by search engines.
* Cloaking – A bait and switch technique designed to fool search engine crawlers. This tactic has a site’s server feed keyword rich content to the crawlers but if a visitor clicks on the link he will see completely different content.
* Doorway Page – A doorway page is meant to trick the search engines into thinking that a page is rich in relevant keyword content. These pages typically contain only keywords and are therefore useless for visitors.
* Hidden Text – Relevant or keyword rich content that is programmed into the html code which is invisible to the reader but will be picked up by search engine crawlers.
* Keyword Stuffing – Just like it sounds, the practice involves cramming as many keywords into the text as possible to increase the page ranking. Readers know keyword stuffing when they see it because of the blatant repetition of the same terms throughout the copy on a page. Keywords can also be stuffed in comment tags, alt tags, and in hidden text on the pages of the abusing site.

These are but a few of the unethical practices which describe black hat SEO techniques. The search engines are very aware of “search engine spam” techniques and are always on the lookout for them. Getting caught using them is costly both in terms of rebuilding a site that has been banned, and from the lost sales opportunities as a result of getting tossed out of the search engines. Also hurt in that type of situation would be any branding efforts involving the offending website. Building and marketing websites can be extremely lucrative over the long term when done correctly. Trying to cut corners using black hat techniques is a sure way to turn a short term problem into a long term quagmire.   Contact The Gervais Group today at 770-529-2262 or visit us at

Monday, March 18, 2013

Converting Your Visitors with Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization, especially when integrated with aggressive search engine marketing, can send thousands of targeted visitors searching for information on, or seeking to buy products and services from, your website. Getting visitors to your website, however, is only half the battle. As successful as your SEO/SEM efforts may be in driving traffic to your site, you still have only three to seven seconds to keep those visitors from clicking away from your site and continuing their search.

Getting your visitors to stay on your site then becomes the key to achieving a conversion whether that means leaving contact information, requesting more information, or making a purchase. It all starts with making sure that when the visitor lands on the associated page they immediately receive information that tells them they have found what they’re looking for. This can be accomplished with a headline directly related to the original keyword used in the visitor’s search. As in any advertising campaign, that headline’s purpose is to keep the visitor reading the next lines of the content your search engine optimization company has placed below the headline.

The next lines of content should contain information on both the problem your visitor is trying to solve and the solution to that problem, naturally available through your website. The problem/solution relationship should address the subliminal needs behind a typical purchase:

The possibility to make or save money
Saving time
Greater convenience
Self-esteem, enhancement, or improvement

Similar to the headline, this aspect draws visitors further into the site and encourages them to continue to follow the conversion process. Be sure to provide a link to additional product or service details to more fully describe the benefits the buyer will receive as well as to provide links to technical information such as “how it works” and “why you need this”.

Concurrent with the sales process, the site should be working to develop the trust of the potential consumer. Providing information as an authority on the subject and delivering it in a clear and concise manner is great start. Adding proof in the form of testimonials, reviews, galleries, and money back guarantees should follow directly.

The “call to action” is where, after establishing authority, trust, and superior product/services, the visitors are encouraged to do one of the following:

Make a purchase at the site – Ideal for an easy to describe product service where person to person contact is not necessary. The shopping cart process should be easy to navigate and understand with clear terms, conditions, and guarantees. Offering secure transactions is a must.
Make a purchase or get more information via phone – Make sure your phone number is visible on every page.
Leave contact information – Maker your form interactive and easy to submit. Assure the visitors that their email is secure and that they will not be spammed if they provide it.
Set up a consultation – For complex or customized products and services an initial consultation may be required. Be sure to display your phone number and to respond quickly if the request comes in via email.
Sign up or subscribe to a newsletter – Use auto responders to get the information to your consumer as quickly as possible. Be sure to include the same conversion process in your e-newsletter as you have on your site.

Buy knowing your product/service, an SEO company will tailor the onsite conversion process toward the most relevant mode for your visitors. Financial services, for instance, would be highly unlikely to need a shopping cart for conversion while a financial information product may be perfectly suitable for one. By providing your visitors with the product/service they’re looking for, being seen as an authority on the subject, and providing a simple means of conversion, your website will do what you always intended it to do; grow your sales.

Call us today at 770-529-2262 or visit Gervais Group at

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