Time for Your Semi-Annual Website Audit

Dreading today’s trip to the dentist has lead me to thinking about one thing: what do dental appointments and website audits have in common? They’re both something you should get done at least twice a year! If it’s something that you’ve been putting off, it should be even more of a motivation to make things right. Here are a few reasons why:

One Thing at a Time
Whether it’s a tooth or a webpage, it’s important to set up a schedule for examining each element thoroughly every once in awhile. A good web page doesn’t stay good if it remains untouched and ignored for a long period of time. You might have content that’s outdated or no longer relevant or even pages that were written for the sake of SEO (pre-Panda and Penguin days).

Fresh content with social signals are crucial to showing that your website is relevant and authoritative. Examining your website in pieces is just as important as looking at things as a whole. And setting up a schedule makes it more manageable to analyze the content on your website.

Buildup is No Good
When examining portions of your website, you might find things that will surprise you: slow-loading images that were never optimized properly; unorganized code; bulky navigation; unnecessarily spammy lists of links and so on. Regular cleaning helps us get rid of the things that our website don’t need, so don’t feel like you need to hoard so much junk on your site.

This happens often on main landing pages and especially home pages. While it’s natural to feel like you want to show visitors everything at once, streamlining your content will enhance user experience. Keep it simple and avoid buildup that accumulate over the years.

Practice Good Techniques
Make sure to read Google’s official Webmaster Guidelines and to always think ‘white hat’. Remember, bad website practices are risky and don’t last in the long run. Best practices for online marketing don’t just apply to on-site SEO. It also includes: web design, social media, off-site SEO and any other type of relationship building that ties back to your brand!

Prevention is Key
Although it feels like it, checkups aren’t meant to torture you but to spare you the pain of something worse along the way. If you’re the kind of person with a ‘set it and forget it’ mentality, it’s time to be more aware of your website’s potential. Be consistent and work regularly to improve your website. It’s much better than rushing to get things done and then letting it sit for months or years. The nature of today’s SEO is active, continuous and never truly “done”.  There is always more work to be done and different (and creative ways) to make your website better.

Not feeling so great about the current state of your website’s health? Fill out your free website analysis and call (323) 340-4010 for a free consultation today.

Good Rankings but Poor Conversions

My website is ranking well but where are the customers?” Good rankings don’t really help much when you get no clicks or calls. As complicated as it sounds, there can be many reasons why a website that ranks well doesn’t do so well in converting.

If only top rankings meant guaranteed business! If this is the case for your website, you’re in a better place than not ranking at all. Here are some things to consider if your website isn’t bringing you any business:

Delve into Analytics: Take a look at your top landing pages and check out the bounce rates. A high bounce rate may indicate that: 1) your content is poorly written and not helpful 2) your content may be good but not specific to the user’s search intention.

Take this opportunity to look over your content and ask yourself if you’re delivering what you’re promising. In Analytics, you can also look at what keywords and phrases people are using to arrive to the page and see if the content matches up to what they’re looking for. This means adjusting on page content as well as meta descriptions and title tags, which also greatly affect click-through rates.

Technical Issues: It’s a good idea to check that your contact forms work once in awhile. Depending on your web host and email service provider, contact forms could not be working or be unintentionally marked as spam.

There are also malicious viruses that could inject themselves into Javascript contact forms and prevent users from access.

Make sure to double check that your contact information is correct on your website, including: email address, local, toll-free, fax and any other alternate numbers.

Re-evaluate Keywords and Volume: Consumer behavior and search trends fluctuate on a seasonal basis. If your website is ranking well for related keywords but you’re not seeing the results, it’s time to consider the search volume that those terms get on a monthly basis. This is why search volume and competitor volume matters. This is also why you can’t trust a marketing company that guarantees top rankings! (They could easily get you to rank for terms that no one is searching…)

Provide Good Customer Service and Communication: Potential customers could get turned off by a number of things after making initial contact with your company. It could be a typo in an email, an inappropriate Facebook post, an employee’s tone or whether they can reach a live person at all. For businesses using an automated service, make sure to let customers know when they can expect a reply, whether if it’s within the hour, 3 business days, etc.

For businesses that are using a third-party service with a live chat operator, make sure to check once in awhile to see how the operators are chatting and responding to potential customers. This applies to live phone calls or written communications.

You’re Halfway There
Remember, top rankings are something that all business owners look forward to. If your site is at the top but you’re not quite getting the results you’re looking for, don’t give up. This is the time to crack down on the last adjustments you can make in order to have your site live up to its fullest potential!

Rankings and numbers tell a story, but you may not get the whole picture. Contact us for an SEO website analysis today.

Building Authority and Trust with Testimonials

testimonialsWhat’s the big deal with testimonials? As a small business, it’s important to recognize that potential customers place a lot of weight on reviews and that they are becoming increasingly influential. Testimonials can make or break your business’ credibility. In fact, a study from earlier this year shows that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Many small business owners fear customer reviews, especially sites like Yelp or Citysearch where customers can “bomb” their listing with bad reviews. There are aspects of reviews you can’t completely control, but it’s important that you monitor your online reputation and respond in a timely and sincere manner. Reviews are important to customers because it helps them determine if the business is reputable and trustworthy. Here are 4 easy steps you can take to buildup and showcase positive testimonials:

Make it Easy for Customers to Review and Leave Feedback
This is where an easy to access Testimonials page on your site can help. You are in complete control of this content and you can also add success stories, effective case results and other content to supplement positive customer experiences. It can also be as easy as leaving a Leave Feedback button or dedicated space on your site.
Some businesses even post links to all their listings to make it easier for customers to find. For example, have a page with links to your Google + Business/Bing/Yahoo local page, Yelp, Super Pages, Kudzu listings and more. That way, customers don’t have to go digging around to leave reviews and leave them in the appropriate place.

Asking for Reviews
If your business is lacking online reviews, it doesn’t hurt to ask recent clients for an honest review. The key here is to ask them for a testimonial and not to push the fact that you are expecting a “good” review from them. Make your customers feel important and let them know that you will take their questions and concerns into consideration. You can make it convenient by showing customers links to your Google Places page, Yelp page, and other reputable review sites.

Send a Form for Testimonials
After a project is completed, you can also e-mail clients a generic form to fill out. This eliminates the hassle of asking them to sign up for review sites in order to leave a review for your business. These reviews can be placed throughout your site and expanded on through Case Results, press releases and even blog posts.

Implement Microformats to Highlight Positive Reviews

Have you been noticing 5 star reviews (not related to review sites) like this showing up? This snippet makes a big impact if you’re on the first page for competitive keywords and will help bring in more clicks. Learn more about how you can easily implement that on your own site here.

Add Video Testimonials
Adding videos of actual customer testimonials is an easy way to add a personable touch to your website. It’s one thing to talk about yourself and the effectiveness of your business, but testimonials from a real-life client brings that trust to a whole ‘nother level. Learn more about video marketing for your business here.

For some businesses, gathering and monitoring reviews may seem like an afterthought that takes up too much time. Remember, it is the little things such as this that will help build credibility and trust which will help bring in more conversions and that’s what matters.

Looking Back at Marketing Trends in 2011

There’s no other time of the year like the Christmas holiday season. My favorite thing about this time of the year (regarding marketing) are annual wrap up posts where we get to reminisce about all the interesting things that took place during 2011. Let’s take at 3 marketing trends that captivated customers this year:

1) Investing more time and resources into social media – Big businesses and small business alike invested more money into social media marketing this year. Not only that, but SMBs found that social media was helpful and an influential part of the decision making process. The introduction of Google +, Facebook’s Timeline and Twitter’s makeover for businesses are all a part of this social media revolution for customers and businesses.

2) Emphasis on local marketing – Geotargeting and local search marketing has become more important for SEO and PPC. Studies showed that mobile searches had more of a local emphasis, which spurred the growth of local sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and Yelp. This trend made it more inviting for businesses owner to reach out to locals and establish themselves as a part of the community.

3) Integration across different marketing mediums and platforms – 2011 showed us that an effective marketing campaign must be a coordinated effort. Old Spice’s manly man and Google Chrome’s Dear Sophie campaigns come to mind. These are all things you can learn in a typical business class but the horizon has expanded. Social and traditional. Written content and video. Desktop and mobile. What about tablets and video? All these things need to work together more than ever!

Do any other trends this year stand out in your mind?


And don’t forget about our end-of-the-year special!

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