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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Website tonight won't get you found tomorrow . . .

There are a lot of companies out there that offer their "quick" website programs.  Companies that don't have anything to do with providing web services are even getting in the mix like Vista Print and Intuit.  Then there are the large web companies like GoDaddy.

The problem is, these free and almost free services don't really get the job done when it comes to marketing your business online. I get quite a few phone calls and inquiries from people who want to market their business online but have started with one of these quick website companies.  

These website providers lead well meaning business owners to believe that their offer will get them online attention. The problem is, as enticing as the offer may sound, the elements that are necessary to be found, engage visitors and get customers are still missing.  

Worse yet, they promote features like "search engine submissions" or "search engine optimization." Sounds great on the wrapper but what you really need to know is that you don't have to actually submit your sites to search engines because they are now so advanced they are crawling the web constantly picking up new information.  And as far as optimization . . . well I have yet to see one of the quick and easy website providers actually provide staff, reports or anything resembling actual optimization efforts, not to mention the now crucial social media integration.

So just a word to the wise.  If you've put up a "quickie" website  don't expect results to follow.  The return on your investment is proportional to what you put into the project.  When you're ready to get serious with your online marketing campaign, ask a professional to help -you'll be happy you did!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Like, Follow, Plus, Share – Phase 3

You better sit down for this one, there's a lot to go over with this phase.

When I started the Like, Follow, Share campaign there were just main 2 players in the social media game, Facebook and Twitter. This has changed with the roll-out of Google Plus and Pinterest, but in this phase I'm going to talk about Google Plus (g+ from now on).

You may have seen the commercial on TV for g+ or if you use gmail or other Google services you've seen the “+yourname” in the top left of the page. To the average Joe on the internet, g+ may look like a clone of Facebook, but secretly it's more than that! With 90 million users, g+ is the 3rd largest social media site after Facebook and Twitter.

You might see g+ as just another thing that uses up your valuable time, but with it's integration with Google search, g+ is becoming very important for businesses. Google has developed codes that are added to your current website that tells Google that your site belongs to you on g+ and recently I've found out that Google indexes these linked sites more often.

I'm not going to promote g+ as a replacement to Facebook or Twitter, but I believe that having a g+ profile and page for your business is essential for helping your site show up more in Google search results. You aren't going to need to spend much time on g+ posting to achieve this, merely creating a page and making sure you include as much information about your business as possible, some pictures and a link to your website, is usually enough to get you started. After you create your page there is a code that g+ provides for you to add into your website and then you're all set!

Another aspect of the Google & g+ integration is the 1+ button. You may have seen this on site and wondered what that mysterious 1+ is. The 1+ is Google's equivalent to the Facebook Share or Like button, it shares with your g+ circles that you like this page. Unlike the Facebook button, the 1+ is also used by Google for ranking sites in search results, giving more weight to sites with more 1+'s.

I know Google Plus may sound more technical because of the code, but that's a 1 time thing and it's well worth it to help you show up more in search results. This blog post might be long, but there's actually more to the g+ and Google connection that I will save for a blog in the next couple weeks.

As always, if you have questions about Google Plus, feel free to contact me and I'll help you understand it.

Friday, March 02, 2012

The End of the "home page"!

Recently I worked on optimizing a clients website, which went pretty smoothly after 1 small change on every page. That change was simply removing "home page" from the title of every page and replacing it with a title that actually went along with what was on the page, including keywords.

The page title should be, well, the page title and seems self explanatory, but many sites that are done by a novice (I hate categorizing people like that) don't have page titles at all.

You might now be asking "Dan, what's a page title?". The page title is what you see in the tab at the top of your browser as well as in search results and if you bookmark pages. The page title is very important, not only for optimization but when people look through search results (which you won't be very high in if you use "home page") they read the page titles and if the title just says "General Industries" they aren't going to know if General Industries has what they are looking for.

In addition to the page title, using META descriptions is important, not really for SEO right now but it sometimes accompanies the page title in search results, giving searchers more information about your page.
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