Category Archives: online marketing website tips

google search engine with magnifying glass user looking for optimized websites

How to Start Optimizing a Website

Optimizing a website is the first step in increasing website traffic and conversions—especially when executed as part of a local search engine optimization strategy. While it may be the first step, website optimization is a multi-step process that caters to the latest visitor search trends and updated algorithms initiated by search engines.

The whole effort can be overwhelming, but that shouldn’t push “optimizing a website” to the bottom of the to-do list. To the contrary, the latest estimates put the number of Google searches at approximately two trillion searches a year. A study published by Search Engine Land found that more than three-quarter of all local searches end in a sale. The statistics behind search engine optimization are undeniably persuasive, which is why it’s time for every business to dive into optimizing their website and make it a top priority.

Consider search intent.

The first step of optimizing a website is to consider the intent behind the users searching for the website. Simply, what keywords would they use to find the website? This is an important step in the process, because being ranked for the wrong keywords results in a high website page bounce rate. Put simply, searchers aren’t going to browse through the website and buy if the site doesn’t have the information they were searching for.

A key factor in keyword research should be the rise in voice searches. According to a study done by Adobe, almost half (48%) of all searches are initiated by voice. The increase in voice searches are leading to the rise of “near me” and “how to” search phrases, which should be included in website content. (Keyword research can be completed by a company in-house or outsourced to search professionals.)

When keyword research is complete, the keywords should be strategically included in all website content. An effective website page should include optimized titles, website text, meta data, and content.

Worry about website speed.

According to Google, when the time for a website page to load goes from one to three seconds, the chance of an online user leaving the website increases by 32%. That number almost triples, to 90%, when page loading speed goes from one to five seconds. The number increases to 106% when loading from one to six seconds. From one to 10 seconds, the chances of a bounce are a whopping 123%.

These SEO statistics lead to the next consideration: website speed. Slow websites repel visitors, and search engines have noticed. Search engines are now placing an emphasis on website loading times, and businesses should take note and use Moz best practices for page speed.

A secondary consideration of this process is evaluating the overall website navigation. Every website should be classified as easy-to-find, with visitors able to find information quickly and minimal page redirects. The latter also can increase website page speed and reduce the website bounce rate.

Make it mobile-friendly.

This aspect of optimizing a website has long-term roots, as reflected in the 2012 Google article that stated that more than half of all users were less likely to utilize a company because of a bad mobile experience. According to Google, more than half of all searches are done on a mobile device. According to Pew Research Center, 8 out of 10 Americans own a smartphone.

These SEO statistics point to the importance—no, the necessity—of having a mobile-friendly website. Mobile-friendly sites rank higher in search engines, making it an essential part of an optimized website. Google has even published guidance on mobile-friendly websites. Put simply, every page should be easy-to-use on a desktop or mobile device. This should include all forms, including contact forms, which are a key step in converting visitors into online customers.

man looking at business online marketing that didn't utilize marketing trends

5 Marketing Trends Your Business Hasn’t Used (and It Shows)

There’s knowing about marketing trends—and then there’s, well, knowing. It’s one thing to know about the latest online marketing trends. It’s another to USE those marketing trends to draft a marketing plan that connects with a target audience and yields, ultimately, more customers and sales.

If small businesses aren’t incorporating those marketing trends, they are falling behind their competition. They aren’t getting found online by local users or converting them to customers. They aren’t earning as many sales as they could.

But this article isn’t about blame. It’s about bringing local businesses up-to-date on trends that bring a solid return-on-investment.

Voice Search

Voice search is not a new marketing trend, but it’s one that’s not slowing down anytime soon. With the rise of voice search comes opportunity, and unfortunately many businesses are missing out on capitalizing on this consumer behavior.

So how can businesses “cash in” on this rising opportunity? The answer isn’t a simple singular application, but it should be reflected in the tone and structure of future online marketing projects. Every digital marketing project should be structured for search engines and consumer browsing. Marketing channels should have fast upload speeds and a conversational tone with phrases used by visitors.

Videos

Videos are also a marketing trend that’s not going anywhere—and small businesses need to make this a regular part of their marketing efforts. The good news is that producing a marketing video doesn’t require as much effort as it used to, thanks to easy-to-use video editors and high-quality mobile devices.

The list of ideas for marketing videos is long. Small businesses can produce videos with tips, product and service demos, or about customer experiences. For live videos, businesses can record behind-the-scenes footage or give insight into a unique part of the business. Videos should be promoted as part of a strategic marketing plan.

Optimized Content

Customer search intent should be the core of every piece of digital content produced, and marketing trends suggest the production process should go a step further. In addition to utilizing a conversational tone for voice search, content should also be crafted specifically for the target audience. In the past this meant incorporating keywords (and this is still an important content marketing practice), but the effort should also utilize recent search trends.

If the process sounds incredibly complicated, it’s time to bring in the experts to combine all the essential elements into content drafted specifically for the target audience. The online world has become incredibly crowded, and utilizing the latest information (directly from the source or from marketing professionals) gives businesses an edge over the competition.

Online Customer Experience

In the past, business’ online customer experience has been incredibly one-sided. It’s time for businesses to create an online presence that focuses on the customer. Statistics have repeatedly shown that customers turn to businesses that not only solve their problems, but make it a positive experience.

In practical terms, this means that every aspect of the experience should be easy-to-use. It should be easy to find information, easy to contact the business, easy to communicate with the business, and easy to buy. The whole process should be focused on the customer, and should involve many staff members. Small businesses need to be prepared to provide prompt customer service on a channel that the customer prefers.

Automation

Automation is making the whole marketing process more efficient, giving businesses the keys to get more from every minute of their marketing efforts. This process can make getting online reviews easier for businesses, especially with systems that can monitor online reviews and give customers more chances to leave positive reviews. This automated system is definitely worth the effort; statistics have repeatedly proven that customers are basing their purchases off of positive reviews left by other customers. Review automation is only one marketing solution; the future of automation is looking bright for businesses willing to embrace these marketing trends.

Strong Ways to Beef Up Your Mediocre Website

Fit woman showing her muscles ready to optimize websiteWe were going to write an article about how the stakes for today’s websites have been raised exponentionally. It’s not just enough to just have a website; modern websites have to be faster, better organized, optimized, and mobile-friendly.

Why?

Search engines and social media sites rank mobile-friendly sites higher. Online viewers are abandoning websites that don’t load quickly enough. The quality of content is important, both to search engines and customers.

This quest for the perfect website is getting real.

Mediocre websites just won’t cut it anymore. Your customers are demanding a well-designed, functional, easy-to-use website. You’re leaving money on the table if you don’t indulge them. Here’s how.

Add quality images and video.

People process images faster than text. Yet, one of the top offenses we see online is websites with sub-par images—or, even worse, no images. That does not mean you should steal images off the internet (repeat: that DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD STEAL IMAGES OFF THE INTERNET). Images online cannot be copied and pasted onto your website; many of those images are property and can leave your business open to legal ramifications.

Instead, create your own images and videos or buy the rights to specific images that you can strategically use in your marketing materials. Choose relevant photos to your content, preferably with people’s faces (here’s why images with faces perform better). Look at the overall design of your design, and choose images with complementary colors.

Make it easier to contact you.

People don’t want to waste their time, and they want to make any action they need to take easy. Include call-to-actions in your content, easy-to-use buttons that catch your eye, and quick ways to contact your company ON EVERY PAGE.

Easy contact methods are not enough. If your potential customers don’t hear from you, they move on to the company that does. Implement a stellar customer service process. Assign the responses to a well-trained staff member, and set the standard for response high. All responses should be within hours, not days of the customer’s inquiry. If you don’t have an immediate answer, let the customer know you have received their inquiry and ask additional questions so you can provide the information they want. Unless the inquiry is off the wall (or spam), respond to every e-mail that comes in. Don’t pass up the opportunity to turn a negative inquiry into a positive customer experience.

Optimize it.

businessman with tablet connecting offline and online marketingMore than 90% of website users start their search for information on search engines. Optimize your website for top search engines, such as Google and Bing—or contact a company that can optimize your website for you. Build a site structure optimal for search engines, include strong headlines with relevant keywords, add images with the correct tags, and write content your users want to read with relevant keywords and topics. Text written for your brochure won’t have this information (though it is a start).

Fix any broken links or pages with errors, a major no-go for optimized websites. The major advantage to this process is that not only do your optimization efforts make your websites more appealing to search engines, but also to your online viewers.

If you are a business with local customers, make your contact information incredibly prominent and consider investing in local search engine optimization technology. Local SEO technology optimizes your website so it is ranked highly in searches run by your target audience, your local customers.

Make it faster.

Long website page loads are more than just an inconvenience; they cost you page views and sales. As this article from KISS Metrics states:

According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with web site performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online.”

But the stakes have gotten higher with the rise of mobile devices; not only are smart phone and tablet users looking for a fast load, they are also looking—no demanding—mobile-friendly sites (as these statistics on Social Media Today show). Choose a website design company that includes a mobile-friendly website; this is a must of the modern era, not a maybe.

Add content.

Content is more than a luxury; it’s a must for any company that wants to improve their ranking with search engines and their target audience. Adding content to a website indicates to search engines that your business is relevant to users, and shows users that you want to answer their questions. In essence, high-quality content builds trust with two vital audiences.

Notice the disclaimer: high-quality. High-quality content is grammatically correct, relevant to your audience, complete, and keyword-optimized (if you don’t know how to write it, contact a writer who has the expertise to produce high-quality content for your website). Low-quality content contains typos, sales-focused information, and poor optimization. Content can also be used to drive traffic to your website from emails and social media.