How to Increase Time on Site

Decrease bounce rate. Increase click through rate. Maximize conversions. These are all common website goals that can be achieved by a common goal: increasing time spent on site. The more time a potential customer spends on your site, the more chances you have to give them what they’re looking for and reel them in.

Surely, you can’t expect to get more customers by only having boring pages full of text, can you? Here are some easy ways you can help keep readers on your site for a longer period of time:

Video
Website video marketing is often the “go-to” form of online marketing because it works so well. Videos are flexible and can be edited to fit the tone of your business and brand. From professional and informative to casual and fun, well-produced, relevant videos will definitely keep a reader’s interest for much longer than just words alone .

There are also many options for SEO, whether you decide to embed videos on your website or use a YouTube playlist or another third party video player. Don’t forget to use annotations and transcripts, which is also helpful for readers.

Other Multimedia
With regular ole content, videos don’t have to be the only form of multimedia. Get creative and use what’s best for your company and what is most convenient. Adding picture galleries, collages, embedded social media posts are one way to go. Don’t doubt the power of a good picture. Even stock photos are a cost effective option that will help make your site look more inviting and credible.

Links
Writing quality content is hard work and sometimes, it can be difficult to find something good to link to. Without links, your content isn’t connected to your other work or even the outside world. Remember, linking is good for your on-site SEO (but don’t overdo it!). It gives interested readers something more to see. Also note that you shouldn’t be stingy and be afraid to link out to other sites. You can also link to your other off-site properties, such as Facebook, Yelp, Tumblr, Pinterest etc.

Write More
When in doubt, write more! More content to read and digest means that readers are more likely to stay on your site for longer. If it’s really good, it might even mean repeat visits. But here’s where you need to practice discrepancy. More content doesn’t mean that you should add more garbage content. That’s why evergreen content like detailed tutorials are so popular, because long form content is effective in keeping readers happy. Look at it this way, instead of cranking out a dozen or so mediocre pages, you can put that time into a quality investment that will last on your website for years to come. The payoff for bringing in readers will be worth it and rankings don’t hurt either!

Mid-May Marketing Recap & SEO News

SEO
Matt Cutt says, “Pretty much every SEO should watch this video…(unless you prefer surprises)”. Watch it now!

Social
Abercrombie & Fitch’s chief executive Mike Jeffries speaks candidly: “We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” Talk about a social media fail and PR flop!

Local
1.1 million local businesses have claimed their profiles on Yelp. The company said that this is an astounding 58% increase from the first quarter of 2012. Read more here.

Mobile Search
Straight from Inside AdWords, shoppers who use mobile more are more likely to spend more in store.

Have any other stories that caught your eye so far this month? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Local Search Marketing: A Few Do’s & Don’ts

As if organic search isn’t frustrating enough, there’s also the issue of local search aka those A through G map listings that show up within blended results. These listings are based on a different algorithm than normal search, although it’s often thought that the two influence each other.

Check out some resources as you’re working on creating or updating your business and don’t forget these important do’s and don’ts. Make sure to read carefully because one wrong move can seriously screw up your local listing!

Do’s
– Use a standard format of all your contact information, including business name, URL, phone number, address (using st. versus street or suite vs. # & etc.)
– Create only one listing for each physical location
– Use a real phone number (although it’s tempting to use an 800 or tracking number to track calls)
– Use the same information/format and claim other non-Google listings (Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, YellowPages etc.). Google often pulls information from these sources to create or validate your business listing
– Use the correct categories and optimize your descriptions, photos

Don’t
– Create multiple listings for a single physical location
– Use virtual offices and use  different information for different listings
– Hijack competitor listings with false information
– Post fake reviews for your business or solicit an unnatural amount of reviews during a short time period
– Let local search marketing “experts” control your local accounts. Some companies use tracking numbers that could jeopardize your listing and might not even give you logins if you eventually decide to discontinue their service. Make sure you know what you’re signing up for!

If you’re lucky enough to have just one real location, you don’t have much to worry about. It’s a problem once you move, have multiple locations, have listings that have merged with incorrect information. Local listings can be a pain but patience and consistency are the key to getting things figure out. Read more about troubleshooting for Places here.

Do You Have a Love/Hate Relationship with SEO?

Love and hate – when it comes to search engine optimization, it’s normal to have these conflicting feelings. But you don’t have to feel hopeless and directionless. Don’t let the chaos of SEO ruin your outlook on website marketing. There are ways to get out of a slump.

Choosing the Right SEO Firm

Like any good relationship, it helps to know what you’re looking for. Are you looking for a generalist or a specialist? You might be interested in only one or a few aspects of online marketing, such as off-site link building or blogging. In these instances, it helps to really find someone who specializes in these areas.

If you’re looking for a company to help with all aspects of online optimization, it helps to seek out a reputable SEO company with experience in your industry. Make sure to ask for a free SEO website analysis to find out more about your weak areas that need help.

Think About Alternatives
If you don’t have the patience for a long-term SEO campaign, paid search marketing can help those who want more immediate results. Although organic optimization is popular, it doesn’t hurt to think about PPC as a complement to the SEO content on your site.

Speaking of complements: branding, video marketing, social media and reputation management are also aspects of online marketing that don’t necessarily deal with SEO directly, but make a great impact. If you’re too frustrated to deal with natural optimization, remember that there are other areas to spend your time. And this is great because you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket.

Lesson Learned

Yes, SEO can be volatile and results depend on search engine algorithms, search volume and customer trends. Sometimes, these things are far beyond your control and the best thing you can do is sit back and wait until the dust settles. Read and learn about the current algorithm “weather” and remember that like with anything else, there will be ups and downs in your SEO campaign. Make the most of it and you can help reduce those numbers of downward trends.

How the Year of the Snake Can Help You Better Understand Your Business

Happy Lunar New Year! 2013 is the year of the snake and there is much to learn, even if you’re not a big believer in the zodiac or astrology! Take this as a moment to pause and think of all the great things that are in store for your website, business and life in this upcoming year.

For people born on a year of the snake, strengths include:
Skill at communicating by saying very little:
This can translate well when it comes to website copy. Say what you mean concisely and don’t mislead visitors by throwing in filler.

A rational and logical approach to problems:
Last year was a tumultuous year for SEO and who knows what this year will bring. This trait will help you stay calm if your site encounters problems and coming up with a logical plan of action instead of stressing for no reason.

Great perception and understanding of themselves:
A deep understanding of your business and mission statement will help you better serve customers and keep them coming back for more. The last thing you want to convey to potential customers is that your business goals are all over the place.

Weaknesses include:
Being jealous and suspicious:
These are negative personality traits which could prove to be disastrous if it leaks into the spirit of your business. Some examples of this include negative SEO, false and malicious reviews. Although rare, I’ve even seen some instances where business owners accuse Google of having a personal vendetta against their site and rankings!

A tendency to overdo things:
Remember, less is more and keeping it simple will help make your business better. Some owners may overwork themselves or employees and the end result may not even be better. On top of that, they have destroyed morale. When things are looking their worse, it helps to take a step back and analyze whether you really do need to do that one thing.

Transformation
2012’s year of the dragon is considered to be the most favorable and luckiest year of the 12 year cycle. So, it’s not fair that 2013 has a slightly negative connotation. This is considered to be a year of unexpected changes but change doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. It depends on how you look at the situation.
A quote found here can best sum up what to expect this year. So go out and do it!

This year let go of all attachments—emotional, mental, physical, financial, and spiritual- that may be holding you back. Transform them, like the Water Snake, into something of value that will help you move ahead to the next level of your be-ing.

5 Timeless Landing Page Optimization Tips

Landing page optimization is important for organic, paid and mobile search. Here are some tips that will pretty much always be relevant for optimizing a landing page:

1) Think fast: Is your landing page loading fast enough? A slow loading page/site can deter potential customers from returning to your site. Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Mobitest to see the improvements you can make.

2) Add user-generated content: Testimonials are an easy way to add an element of trust and reliability. Check out some more ways to earn visitors’ trust.

3) Easy to find contact information: Having prominent, easy to read numbers and click-to-call options is a must-have, especially for mobile landing pages. A Google study in 2011 shows that 61% of mobile users call after a local business search. This also means having short and easy to fill out contact forms.

4) Test everything: A/B testing, in-page analytics, eye tracking studies, surveys, and even focus groups. There are many different ways (for different budgets) to test the effectiveness of a landing page. It’s crucial to update landing pages and look for ways to make them better.

5) Don’t over promise – This doesn’t necessarily mean lying but the content needs to have a clear focus. When customers click and land, they should get what you’ve promised. Having a clear call to action with related headings, sub headings and bullet points make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for and will likely increase their on page time and even encourage them to make the conversion.

Related articles:
Optimizing PPC Landing Pages: Maintaining Scent
10 Foolproof Ways to Earn Your Landing Page Visitors’ Trust
101 Landing Page Optimization Tips

While You Were Busy Complaining That SEO Is Dead…

Will marketing firms be gone before we know it? HOLD ON. Before you go on about how “SEO is dead”, here are 3 aspects of internet marketing that you should really be focused on:

Local CitationsGetlisted.org recently posted a tool showing the best citation sources by city. Interesting how this stuff all works! Besides the major ones, you’d better be familiar with: Manta, Citysearch, Superpages, and the LA Times if your business is in or near Los Angeles. Other credible citation sources include Dex Knows and Augusta.com. If you don’t think these sites are important, it’s time to seriously reconsider as Google takes signals from these major sites and takes them into account when ranking.

Social Signals – As SEO is no longer about “pleasing” search engines, SEO content has to be aimed at helping people. In fact, this has been the primary goal of search marketing for a long while now.  But it’s not just about coming up with useful content, which is why viral campaigns, infographics and video are being lauded for their share ability. The easier content can be shared, the more your business can benefit from social sites.

SEO Growth – The bottom line is that SEO is growing and becoming more integrated with other marketing strategies. Check out this infographic by Blue Caribu which shows that:
– There are roughly 863 million Google results for SEO, while social media has about 385 million.
– 2.24 million Americans search for SEO every month.
– Every second, 3.5 people look up SEO on Google.

If you aren’t entirely convinced, don’t look at it as if SEO is a dying breed (which it isn’t)… but as a segment of marketing that is ready to transform.

Is Your SEO Content Hot or Not?

SEO hot or not

Summer’s finally here, even though the June gloom in Los Angeles says otherwise! Is there anything that says ‘summer’ more than hitting the beach? Take a look at the photos above: if you were to compare your website content to a beach body, would you say that it’s HOT (left) or NOT (right)? Not quite ready for the hot category? Here are 3 easy tips that will help you be more self aware of your onsite content:

Making a Commitment – Just like your health routine and physique, SEO content is something that requires care all year round. Not just when summer (or any another peak season) happens to roll around. After all, do you really expect to hit the beach after a few weeks of preparation?! I think not! It’s never too late to better your SEO efforts by having a consistent plan for maintenance, review and improvement.

Quality over Quantity – This means having a ‘less is more’ mindset. But less is definitely more when it comes to certain aspects of your online marketing efforts. Shorter, concise pages will help customers and draw their attention without leaving them bored. Having less keywords on a page is always better than keyword stuffing. If you can get your point across in 100 words, why would you do it in 1000? The truth is, your customers don’t have the time or interest to stay on your pages for that long.

Don’t Let Your Content Stand Alone – Who really wants to be alone at the beach when you can go with a good group of friends? If you publish content and think that’s it, your SEO efforts will truly suffer. Think of social media and networking like the other components that will make your beach party shine. We’ve also talked about different types of content that can be thrown into the mix, besides just standard text. Pictures, PDFs, videos and sound clips are all interesting complements to your content.

So, what do you think is on the hot or not list for SEO this summer?

Making the Most of Your Social Media Content

content creation

After all your hard work , you want to make sure that your efforts don’t get lost in the sea of online content. From your regular blog posts to  Tweets, here are some ways you can make sure that you’re making the most out of your social media content:

  • Blog – Writing a post-worthy blog isn’t enough to get your content found. Make sure to fill out the Title, meta description, anchor text, tags with meaningful and relevant keywords before you post. You can also edit the URL of your post to make it shorter and more concise (see: the url of this post vs the title)
  • Images – When you add pictures to your blog or website, always remember to add a title or description. Even if it’s just your brand name or a broad description, these words will go a long way!  My pet hamster made it to the first page of Google Images because I optimized a Flickr photo his name in the title, tags and description.
  • Video– It’s easy to optimize YouTube videos. Properly optimized videos are powerful assets that will benefit your brand in the long run because they have a strong staying power (especially if you get them to rank for a specific location/niche.)
  • Twitter– Keep your messages short and sweet and don’t be afraid to include target keywords and other terms you want to be associated with. A fun part of Twitter is that your responses to other users and retweets also count as content.
  • Facebook– This isn’t the place to blast the same messages over again. Neither is it a place to overtly self-promote. With New Facebook Pages rolling out, you can make your fans keep them engaged and make them feel like they’re part of something exclusive by creating unique, well-timed messages.

What are some other ways you properly optimize your social media content?

SEO During the Website Redesign Process


In many ways, website redesign can be a lot like moving. There’s so much stuff to pack and rearrange that important things can get misplaced, lost or even left behind. And when you arrive at your new place, it can take a while for everything to be put back in it’s right place again.

If your business is ready for a new SEO web design makeover, here are 4 components that you CAN’T forget about:

1) Transferring tags and descriptions over – Sure, it’s time consuming but title/meta tags/descriptions, even alt tags for images, should reflect the content on each individual page. It’s considered bad SEO practice to have the same information reflected over and over on every page of your website.

2) 301 redirects – It may take awhile for Google to re-crawl your new site. In the meantime, your old URLS will show up in search engine page results. The most efficient way to make sure that this information is not lost is to create a 301 redirect from your old URL to new URL. This is simple for your webmaster to implement and will help preserve your search engine rankings.

3) Forgetting to link keywords – Transferring content from an old site to a new one often involves copy and pasting text. During the transfer, make sure that you don’t drop and URLS and make sure that they’re linking to the right working page.

4) Testing – Lastly, don’t forget the importance of testing before going live. This means checking links and overall usability before you go through with the complete site transfer.

Finally, even when your new website is completed it’s crucial to constantly review your SEO. The excitement of a brand new site may be overwhelming but remember that without the right SEO strategies, no one will be visiting!