Google announced that they have implemented algorithm update Hummingbird. As a result, keyword-specific data is not being tracked. If you look at your Google Analytics, or any analytics program, the top keyword term is, and will be moving forward, ‘(NOT PROVIDED)’. Now, this is a major change that SEO companies should have seen coming. For years, Google has specified that they rank based mostly on human readability, load times, website flow, ease of use. Loading up the home page with keywords rich text and links overstuffed with title tag keywords is not doing things Google’s way. Your entire site needs to conform and for that, businesses need to look to business savvy resources for help. Your website is now more than ever a collection of home pages, not a linear top to bottom single entity. For a company like Home Depot, you need to code your Refrigerator pages to be found in search in a way wholly different than the pages for hammers. your navigation should be clean and simple to use. Don’t let your web developer test it out, have someone who never uses the web try it. My benchmark has always been, “Can an 85 year old man who is techno-phobic find what he is looking for and do what he needs to do”.
Improve your search rankings by improving your site, that’s the bottom line.
Contact Marcus Interactive for help if you need it.
Starting a website is one of the simplest, most difficult things a company can do. OK, a bit of a confusing sentence there, but if you think about it, it’s right on target. You buy a URL (web address), get hosting, make a page and voila, your site is born. Now, of course what appears to be incredibly simple is incredibly complex in many things. Let’s take this one step at a time and you’ll see that a tremendous amount of thought needs to go into planning a website before you ever get to the URL purchase stage.
Find a URL
Finding a URL requires some research. First determine what your website is goign to be and going to sell. Google ranks your domain name in it’s search criteria, so a business selling bracelets would do best to have the word in it’s domain name. Look up your domain on a respected domain selling website, I prefer GoDaddy, but any large hosting company site will also sell domain names. Once you’ve exhausted all the names in your head and not found one to your liking, do a keyword search for your product with Google’s Keyword tool. When you decide to purchase your domain name, make sure you do not make a 1 year purchase. Do it for a minimum of 3 years, that says to Google that you’re serious about your business and not some fly-by-night site, it works into your page ranking and your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) listing. But don’t buy your domain name yet, because there are combo deals to be had with your hosting package…
Find Website Hosting
Websites can be hosted on any server in the world. You want a company with 24/7 support and the promise of 99.999% uptime. Don’t do it yourself! The cost of hosting is so reasonable, it mitigates you having to do server maintenance and the headaches of server attacks. Again, I recommend using a big company and secure more than a one year deal. Most companies will price it out month to month, but you’ll save a bunch by going with a multi-year package. And they tend to reduce the domain purchase to extremely minimal.
Build Your Site
Now here is where we get into the investment in your new business. Building a website can cost you anywhere from nothing to hundreds of thousands of dollars and everywhere in between. Be realistic. Storyboard it yourself so you know EXACTLY what you want. A storyboard is a series of pictures telling a story. Your website is going to be your business’ story. So, lay out what you envision it to be. Home page, product pages, about company page, informational page, etc. Every site is different, but before you ever start buiding, give yourself an idea of what it’s goign to be. Do some research on the big players in your industry. Get some ideas on what they do that you like and dislike.
Now, there are several ways to go with building a website.
Do it yourself
If you have the time and technical capbilities, doign it yourself lets you have complete control and artistic freedom. There are many programs to help you along such as Adobe’s Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expressions. Most hosting companies have content management systems where you can build pages and manage content.
Hire a Local College Kid or Relative
I know this sounds crazy…and it is. Many sites are built like this, however and while it will get you started and online more quickly and cheaply, these sites always look amateurish and rarely get the traffic back that you lose initially. Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression.
Hire a professional
If you have a serious business, then be serious about building a website. There are thousands of companies out there that create websites. Look around at other sites and see what you like. Then find out who made it, many web design companies add their own link at the bottom of each page. Shop around. The be ready to let them know EXACTLY what you want. Make sure they know SEO, so you don’t have to have your site redone later on.
Things to think about
- Social Media
I’ll cover each of these in future blogs.
Now, I’ve shared my thoughts, how about yours?
Google Page Rank is one of the holy grails of SEO. The way Google ranks a website is based on it’s spiders and the web they weave. Now, many people think that trading links with other websites will get them the desired results. That’s only partly true. Linking to your site from other similar websites is critical to gaining consitantly solid organic search results. The way Google figures things, if you are being referred by other sites in your field, then you are offering something of value, something more than a great sales pitch.
Creating a linking network requires work. The best way to get links to your website is by creating helpful articles or blogs. There are thousands of places to post articles. In forums, in a blog, through article submission services and on social media websites. Craft your article to inform and entertain, not to sell your product or service. If what you say and how you say it is good enough, people will visit your site. Other sites will report your article and will link to it.
Now, this is not going to happen overnight. Which is why there are many paid submission websites to submit articles to. The problem with them is that they carry no influence with the search engines. Remember, the key here is to get sites linking to you that have something to do with your industry. If you post an article about drain repair and a website that links to all different kinds of websites links to your site, it gets no “seo juice”. However, if you post the same article in the plumbing repair section on e-How.com, and others link to it, that will give you credibility with the search engines.
Building a network of in-bound links for your website is something that takes time and effort, but the rewards are worth the effort.
I read in many places about how pay-per-click advertising is part of their overall SEO strategy. Pay-Per-Click is when you literally pay for each click on a sponsored link, you know those links in Google on the top and right of the page. Now, it’s not just Google that has this, of course, it’s on all the search engines and all the social media networks, heck, just about anyplace that a lot of people go to.
SEO means, literally, Search Engine Optimization. Now there is generally some disagreement and confusion about what exactly this entails, leading to a rash of definitions. Well, since this is my blog, here’s mine. I think of SEO as ORGANIC optimization, meaning that I optimize the website itself for all the things that the search engines, not just Google, look for. Then I focus on link building from article submissions and target relevant sites to work on linking. I view Pay Per Click as marketing and a quick, strategic fix for traffic. You get your organic SEO set and then work on your PPC campaigns on a basis for a specific campaign.
Setting up a Pay-Per-Click campaign takes research and some time. Look at your target demographic carefully and then find the best venue for your product or service. Most social media networks offer PPC advertising, so if your product is appropriate to a specific social media outlet, you may do better trying a campaign there versus a campaign on a search engine. The whole point of pay per click is to maximize each and every click to turn that click into a sale. SEO is more about getting the most people possible to your site, utilizing specific keywords to generate the click to try to target the user, but you’re not paying for those clicks, so you can open your net a bit wider.
Do you have a PPC campaign running? How much time do you put into fine tuning it? How much time do you put into keyword research? Where do you run it?