Google Introduces Universal Analytics

Obsessed with data and search insights? Just your luck! Last week, Google announced its beta release of Universal Analytics to all Analytics users. Better tools and analysis means that you’ll be able to do more for your website and visitors. A business can now follow visitors, from their first visit to their first purchase and beyond. The new features allow businesses to better track and integrate their online marketing campaigns with offline campaigns. And as their blog post showcases, it will help businesses with:

“- Understanding how customers interact with your businesses across many devices and touch-points,

- Insights into the performance of your mobile apps,

- Improvements of lead generation and ROI by incorporating offline and online interactions so you can understand which channels drive the best results,

- Improved latency on your site by reducing client-side demands.”

Here are some more things you can look forward to with Universal Analytics. What are you waiting for? Don’t forget to sign-up and try it out if you haven’t already:

When Should You Use a 301 Redirect?

This Google video recently came out and confirmed what many people have always believed to be true – using a 301 redirect doesn’t dilute any link juice. The myth of lost link power has been dispelled by Matt Cutts himself. In his exact words, “The amount of PageRank that dissipates through a 301 is currently identical to the amount of PageRank that dissipates through a link.

This makes sense, as using a 301 redirect is permanent, compared to the temporary 302 direct. Make sure to notify Google when making a change of address. Here are some other common reasons to utilize a 301 redirect on your site:

Change URL for vanity or business purposes – Did you changed your business name or pick something more memorable? A 301 redirect will help direct customers to the right place and ensure that you don’t lose any traffic during this transition.

Getting rid of mispelled or non SEO-friendly URLs
– In the past, some marketing companies (or DIYers) got stuck with using CMS that didn’t allow for custom SEO-friendly URLs. Having a string of alphanumeric characters for a page that should be named, for example, dog-toys.html would be more helpful and a 301 redirect can help you achieve exactly that.

Use only one version of your website address
– For example, directing “website.com” or “website.com/index.html” to “www.website.com”. People can get into the bad habit of using different versions of their URL. Using a 301 redirect can help you clean up this mess.

Merging 1 or more websites
– Back when search engines didn’t notice when website owners had multiple properties, it was fine to have as many different sites as you wanted. Nowadays, this is something to stay away from… which could mean merging pages from your smaller, less visited sites into your main site. Using a 301 redirect would help you retain the backlinks from those mini-sites and strengthen your main site.

Cleaning up content pages
– More content can’t take the place of quality content and some website owners are paying the price for that now. Having pages full of thin or spammy content dilutes the quality pages that are on your site. To clean up these muddy waters, you might want to have 1 (or a very select few pages) that focus on a particular topic.

Read more best practices on SEOmoz and HubSpot. Have any other questions on 301 redirects or using htaccess? Comment and let us know below.

Bing’s New Portal for Your Local Business

Google has its Places and Bing now has its Business Portal.

If you’re looking for another effective (and free) way to enhance your local business’ online presence, you should take advantage of Bing’s new feature. Just like with Google or Yahoo, you can claim and verify your business listing online.

Social Media Links

Next, you can fill out all the details of your business. There’s all the usual things: hours, logo, services, photos but you can also add links to your social media profiles – which is pretty cool!

Mobile Options and Specialties

If you happen to own a restaurant, Bing has a feature that I’ve never seen before: optimizing a menu for mobile devices.
For any business owner, you can also go into more detail about what products and services you offer by choosing a category and adding specialties. The keywords you add here will help with your SEO efforts.

Promotions

And of course, no local listings should be complete without an option for promotions. With Bing Business Portal, you can add coupons and other special deals that will help bring traffic to your place of business.  You also have the extra option of promoting these deals in Bing search results, your business listing and even on your Facebook Page!

If you’re a local business owner and haven’t taken advantage of this free tool yet, what are you waiting for?

Why You Need a Content Management System

Are you tired of waiting for changes to be accepted before they’re made live on your web site? A content management system can change the way you look at your website. One of the main benefits of using a CMS to maintain your site is that you don’t need any knowledge of HTML or programming to make updates. Making changes to your site is now was easy as blogging.

Features and Benefits of a CMS
Check out the search engine friendly web design we’ve created for Dr. Mike Dow. Creating or editing a new page is easy to do with the fields provided in the “backend” of the site. You can also add meta tags and descriptions that correspond to your page’s content. Need to add pictures of video? No problem.

A CMS is useful if you need to make frequent updates to your site. This means adding resource articles, blogging regularly or updating events. Did we mention that consistently adding relevant content to your site is good for SEO? With a CMS, you can go about adding content whenever and wherever you need without having to worry about interfering with the site design.

If your website does not currently have these user-friendly features, it’s time to think about a web content management system. As we’d like to think of it, out with the old static site and in with the new user-friendly CMS! Don’t forget to check out our Organic CMS for more information.

How to Embrace Video Marketing

Need some more reasons to incorporate video marketing into your website? People and search engines love videos and it’s not surprising why. Because of the countless engaging possibilities, videos can be optimized just as well as the content on your site. So, why is everyone talking about video? Videos are easy to share and let’s face it, people with short attention span love videos!

  1. You don’t need a whole production crew. Vlogging (video blogging) is popular and easy. It doesn’t take much more than Windows Movie Maker to throw together a short video.
  2. Focus on keywords. Just as you do with content, use keywords accordingly in video titles, tags and descriptions.
  3. Keep the length in mind. A video should be around 3 minutes long for maximum effectiveness. Remember that your customers on mobile connections may have problems viewing longer videos.
  4. Don’t forget to promote yourself but don’t go overboard. It’s as simple as adding your site URL in the description or sharing your Twitter handle. Include a call to action for those who are looking for more info or those who are just curious.
  5. Be engaging. From product reviews, interviews, or just your opinion on a popular topic, there are a lot of ways you can create video content. Don’t be afraid to get a Q&A started.

Hopefully, these suggestions help with your web video design considerations. Have a YouTube channel or a video blog? Feel free to link us, we’d love to check it out.

Appealing Ideas from Social Media Guides

Lately, I’ve been inundated with newsletters and downloads about a “definitive” guide to social media. Although these are helpful, there is a lot of repetitive info about getting the process started. They explain what Twitter and Facebook is and the different functions, but what about some realistic tips that is helpful for everyone who aren’t newbies? How do I grow? How can I branch out and attract people? Here are some interesting ideas that I’ve come across. I hope it’s more interesting than generic recommendations out there.

  • Presentation and document sharing. .docstoc is one of many document sharing websites that allow businesses and professionals to spread their know-how. If your content is helpful, others will be willing to link to you as a resource!
  • More commenting. Nowadays, a lot of sites and blogs enable comments by signing into your Twitter or Facebook account. I like this feature because you skip the hassle of filling out info fields. It also gets rid of spammers and others who don’t have relevant comments to share. It’s a good way to increase your brand awareness on high traffic blogs like Social Media Examiner.
  • Photosharing on Flickr. As Rohit’s article discusses, photo sharing can be a great way to engage customers. With the right content, this indirect method is exciting and will tie back to your site/blog/business in the end.

I’m always on the look out for interesting tips, so don’t be afraid to share. Feel free to also connect with us on Twitter and Facebook!

Reviewing 3 Twitter Tools

Twitter Analyzer

If you like seeing stats displayed by fancy 3D doughnut graphs, this is the tool for you.
It’s useful if you like to see how many of your followers are retweeting your Tweets. You can also enter the Twitter handle of a friend or competitor and see how their stats compare to yours. Things I learned: 78% of our followers are male and 23% of our followers are entrepreneurs.
No need to sign up, so why not try it out?

Tweet Stats

Sweet. More graphs! But Tweet Stats also shows a tag cloud of your  most frequently used phrases. It also gives you a density analysis that gives you a look at the times you Tweet most frequently. It’s easy to use but I definitely think it’s more informative than useful.

Twitter Counter

First, you need to allow this tool access to your Twitter account. Like Compete, you can compare your profiles with 2 other users of your choice. The graph displays are easy to read and you can even sign up to a weekly update of your progress. You can even go back as far as 3 months and see your stats from there. I think Tweet Stats is my favorite out of the three tools.

Do you have any other handy Twitter analysis sites you like to use?

Coming Up with a Plan for Organic SEO

Do you ever come across the label, “One size fits all”? Not only is it frustrating but most of the time, it doesn’t even hold true! Instead of opting for a generic plan for tackling SEO, why not take the time to see what will work best for you? The biggest problem that many have is not knowing where to start or what efforts are enough to help your success. Although a reputable SEO company can’t guarantee your success, your hard work and consistency will pay off in the end.

Investing in Keyword Research
This is an important starting place. Maybe you want to set aside 5, 10, or even 20 keywords that you’d like to concentrate on. Instead of going for a wide variety of words, it can be beneficial to focus on some top terms if there is not a lot of competition in your field. The opposite holds true if you want to get more aggressive with your efforts. Lisa Barone wrote an easy-to-follow article for beginning your keyword research. With free tools from Google and unlimited online resources, there’s no reason for you NOT to get started today.

Moving Onto SEO Content
Now that you know what keywords you want to optimize, it’s time to focus on SEO content. It may be difficult to deliver a steady stream of relevant content. Many companies find it more efficient to enlist the help of copywriters who are knowledgeable in the field. Whether it is keeping up with industry news, voicing your opinion, or plain FAQ’s, these textual gems will help link your site to the significant keywords that you want to be associated with. Marketing experts can’t stress this enough – content is king.

Let’s Get Technical
Search engine optimization works to help your site gain more visibility. This doesn’t happen out of happenstance and you should familiarize yourself with the more technical aspects of organic SEO. Don’t know the difference between title and meta tags? Forget to add relevant keywords to your headings? Did you know you can even add alt tags to make your pictures more search engine friendly? If you aren’t utilizing these fields, just think of all the potential visibility you’re missing out on!

Tips from a Site Reviews Webinar

If you have an SEOmoz Pro account, you can submit your site for review and they just might include it in one of their upcoming webinars. There were about 100 people on the call and it was nice to see something different – analyzing user submitted websites. It’s a change of pace from other webinars who use Zappos and other big companies that make it hard for small businesses to relate to.

Definitely learned a lot from today’s webinar. Very useful info and I’ve bookmarked some tools for future research. These are definitely some things that you want to consider looking into:

  • Use Open Site Explorer to check the link popularity for your site
  • Learn how changing your meta tags strategy can be beneficial
  • Consider promoting embedded graphs or graphics as a way to get some link love (like Mint)
  • How to use hashtags to connect to more than one anchor link

The favorite part of these webinars is the Q + A section. I found it helpful that Rand Fishkin provided links and resources during the call. The chat box also allows attendees to directly communicate with each other. An hour and a half is a bit long for a webinar but I’m definitely looking forward to more helpful resources.