Since the purpose of having a website is for people to find you online, I wanted to go over some basic strategies for ensuring that people searching for your types of services/products find your small business’s website.
The goal of optimization is to have your website listed before your competitors ("ranked highly") (ideally on the first page of search results, which most people don’t look beyond).
Most search engines report the result of searches in two groups: sponsored ads and normal ("organic ") searches. Sponsored ads appear because the company has agreed to pay the search engine (via a pay-per-click [PPC] ad campaign) money whenever people click on their ad for specific keywords. PPC is a great way to generate traffic quickly, but it’s often not cost effective long-term. Long-term you want your website to appear organically highly ranked.
When a person does a search, the goal of the search engine is to show the most relevant websites that likely match the person’s search terms . The goal of optimizing is to make your site highly relevant for specific search terms.
- Identify the search terms you want to rank highly for . As in all forms of marketing, you need to think like the person who’s looking, not as the business who’s selling. That means you need to know what keywords people use to search for businesses like yours. This information is easy to find from pay-per-click programs, such as Google Ad Words Keyword Tool . Don’t forget to also spot trends (using a tool such as Google Trends ) in keyword searches, since you want to catch "up-and-coming" searches that might be ranked low now.
- Use the keywords in relevant pages in your website . Keywords are seen in: the main body of the web page, meta tags (less important, but still worth having), and the alt-text in your images. Use keywords naturally – remember the point is to have more customers. If your website isn’t human-readable, then all your work will be for naught. Also, make sure that if you want to target customers in a region, you use your region in your keyword phrases.
- Get links to your website. Search engines rank websites by their "authority ". One way they measure authority is how many (and which) other websites link to them ("backlinks "). One backlink from an top-class website is worth hundreds of poor-quality links. You can get backlinks from a wide variety of sites: organizations that you’re a member of, blogs, and directories. One tool I recommend is Directory Submitter , a free tool to get backlinks. Be warned: Google is in the process of penalizing websites with paid backlinks. Also: submit your websites to the search engines (if you have not already) so they can explicitly add your site to their directories: Google , Yahoo , and MSN .
There is a lot more to search engine optimation (SEO) that these tips. Don’t forget there are professionals that can help you with your search engine optimization (I’d be happy to recommend some).
My hosting company offers up to 6 websites hosted for the one low price. I created a website which is ranking very well and have now created a second site (unrelated in topic) to the first site on the same hosting plan. I now realize this second website is considered a sub-domain of the first website according to my CPanel, although they have completely different domain names. Will this 2nd site be considered of lesser importance by the search engines or is this whole sub-domain thing just visible to me in my CPanel? Should I move the 2nd site to a separate new hosting plan
You might be confusing subdomain with the folder structure of your website.
A subdomain is a name that comes before your domain name. In the case of www.google.com there’s also images.google.com, maps.google.com, etc. Each of these are websites in their own right, but their names share the domain name. Search engines see these as their own website. Subdomains are a handy way to organize a logical “entity” of a website.
The folder structure is how the websites are organized on your web hosting server. If your package provides 6 websites, then it’s probable that each domain’s files & folders are kept in a single domain folder (which in turn, is kept in a folder for you, the hosting user). At the “top level” of your web hosting folder, you’d have a different folder for each domain.
The cpanel allows you to map a folder to a (sub)domain.
You DO want your different (unrelated) websites to have different domain names as a start of your “branding”.
Please point me to your favorite, reliable, and up-to-date source for Internet usage metrics such as:
- How long does the average person (in the U.S.) spend online each day?
- What’s an updated stat on high-speed Internet penetration?
- How is this time being spent online? Personal? Work? Surfing? Searching?
- Who and how many are using IE6, IE7, Firefox, Safari?
- What’s the most common screen resolution for these Internet users?
We want to make sure our personalized micro sites can be enjoyed by all, but if we can’t do that we’d like to figure out what an acceptable level might look like going forward.
Here are the relevant links:
I’m trying to promote a new film for this ad agency I’m interning for…. how should I go about it? Any good ideas ??
If you’re looking to get web traffic to your film’s site, create teasers/trailers of the film and post on free video sites such as YouTube, Google Video, etc.
Cross-promote it with a relevant partner. If your film is about babies, consider: baby products, new moms’ website/blogs, parenting magazines, etc.
I am looking for an online service/website that will generate quality traffic to my site so my sales will increase.
You actually have 2 questions: “How to increase traffic” and “How to increase sales”. The second question is actually more important. Just because you get more visitors doesn’t mean you’ll get more sales. You need to be selling the right thing to the right people at the right time. That means your site should clearly identify who your audience is, what problem you solve of theirs, and how you solve it.
Once you’ve crafted this compelling benefit statement, only then it makes sense to find sites that drive traffic to you. And what type of traffic? You only want to attract that matches your audience. If you’re selling a product for men, and you only get women visiting your site, while it’s possible some women will buy the product for a man in her life, you would get many more conversions if you started by getting men to visit your site.
See also: Marketing 101
I am looking for a clear, concise ‘how to” on the steps necessary to successfully launch a new web site. What are the things I need to think about in terms of my audience (bankers), the press, trade shows, email blasts, direct mail, and other marketing tactics.
A website is a business. Make sure you have a clear strategic plan for what you’re trying to accomplish, who you’re trying to sell to, how you differentiate yourself, etc. Here’s an article to get you started.
If you’ve already done your planning “homework”, then after your site is up, your next step is traffic. This is a function of targeting your website’s solution to your market’s problem. Each campaign is different, because each market is different and you want your site to standout from the others. In general online solutions can include: emails to existing clients, co-marketing with other sites, back-links from other sites, press releases, white papers, SEO, PPC, videos, eBooks, and articles.
What the first thing I should do on the Internet? I want to have a PR rank website 4 at least, should I have a blog, forum, if yes, where, and where is should I tell about my posting, site, etc..?
Site optimization is a long-term process. First, you need to identify what keywords you want top position for, and determine what page rank (a number from 0 to 10) the top sites have. You’re looking for keywords that have traffic (there are people interested in the topic) as well as relatively low page ranks for the top sites.
Once you identify your keywords, you need to populate at least your home page with the words “naturally”. Don’t forget to include the keywords in the title of the page itself and in the keywords tag (which isn’t as important as it once was).
Next, you need backlinks, links from other sites to your site. The better the site that gives you backlinks, the better your pagerank.
It takes time for your site to go up in rank. Newer sites naturally get a lower ranking than newer sites.
I have been in the insurance business for a while. I have a handful of associates that are in the same situation that I am. We are looking for a more effective presence on the Internet regarding mortgage protection insurance. We have tried all the “free” posting ideas (i.e. Craigslist, etc.) but we’re looking more toward directed interest in this particular product.
Last month Overture listed the relatively low number of 2764 searches for “mortgage protection insurance” (contrast this with 1.7 million searches for “mortgage”) Not surprisingly, if people aren’t searching for it, they won’t find you.
The key is to determine who is your target audience (people with mortgage) and what problem you solve (avoiding foreclosure of your home when you die).
People don’t look for insurance regularly – they think about it when they have a big lifestyle change: a marriage, a divorce, a birth, a death, a new home, an inheritance, and at tax time (when meeting with financial advisers). Therefore, it would make sense to create a series of marketing pieces that help people at these times:
“How To Ensure Your Marriage Is Financially Strong”
“10 Financial Tips for New Parents”
“Keep Your New Home In the Family”
These educational articles would be published on your website, in article banks, local magazines, etc. The purpose is to provide genuine information, with a link back to your site for more information.
Most of the traffic (over 70%) of my clients’ web site lands on the home page. For example, the traffic comes from directly-typed-in URLs or natural search results. Home pages are mostly “generic”. How can we target the traffic better so these un-targeted traffic gets to the right page and so it increases conversion rate?
- If someone is coming on an inbound link (which you mentioned is organic) and the home page isn’t relevant, either the home page is stuffed with keywords or the inbound link isn’t targeted well (if you can influence the inbound link to point to a better page, do so).
- If you’re targeted with PPC (etc.), then these paid links should be better targeted.
- If your home page is generic, then spend time fixing the problem. Who is your target audience? Identify the key problems you solve for your audience, and clearly guide them to that area of your site.
- You can improve your website itself, creating better content/internal linking. This will help longer-term with the organic search. Once again, you’ll need to understand what search terms people used to find you, and then build your site to better serve them.