David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

Tips for better SEO (search engine optimization) and website marketing …

THE HAPPY GUY MARKETING

 

Archive for June, 2007

Taming Deadlines

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Like most people, I have a love-hate relationship with a monster called Deadlines.  On the one hand they are a pain in the butt.  After all, who needs a Deadline breathing down your neck, licking your ears and drooling all over your shoulders. 

On the other hand, there is nothing to galvanize a person to action and focus the mind like a Deadline.

Then again, too many Deadlines can become so overpowering that a person could simply drop dead of stress.

On the Internet, as in every business, it is important to harness Deadlines for success, and ensure they do not overwhelm you.  I found a great blog post on taming deadlines that you might find useful.  It works for writing.  It works for SEO.  It works for marketing.  It most likely works also for zookeeping, archeology and other fields of activity.

 


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Live Chat Improves Conversions

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

I found this an interesting read, so I thought I would share it… Study: Live Chat Ups Conversions Tenfold | WebProNews

Even more interesting was the response I got from one of my clients when I forwarded the article to him: That’s very interesting.  Live Chat is easier to support than phone calls too.”I suppose live chat makes it so easy for a person to ask questions, even less of a barrier than picking up the phone.  But keep in mind that not everyone wants to do the live chat thing.  Email and phone numbers are still important.  And trust levels are much higher when you post a real address…so keep all your contact information on your pages.

 


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Online Contact Forms for Better Website Conversion

Monday, June 25th, 2007

This posting is counterintuitive, but I have found a way to get more leads from this website.  Here is the story:

On all the services pages, we would encourage people to email or to phone.  We made it very clear that we prefer email for first contact.  This was in order to do some triage, and not spend half-an-hour on the phone with someone who will never be a client.  Also, once on the phone, a person is inclined to ask a hundred questions, whereas by email they are more likley to confine themselves to those questions that are actually relevant. 

I estimate that at least 80% of queries would come in by email, but still too many by phone.  Furthermore, the email queries often contained very little information, so there was still a bit of back and forth before we could assess what to do with each query.

So we replaced our message with a contact form on each page.  Our phone number and email address are still easy to find on our contact page, but we are now prompting people to contact us using a form.  The form contains all the basic information we need to understand a potential client’s project.  The key is to customize each form for the specific type of project. 

For instance, if you go to http://www.seo-writer.com/freelance/report-writer.html, you will see that the form is very specific about what type of report the client wants written.  On the other hand, http://www.seo-writer.com/freelance/book-writer.html contains different fields based on what is appropriate for that service.

Unexpected website conversion bonus

We loaded the forms to the pages, and two things happened.  First, the suspected.  In several days, there have been no phone calls.  In several days, there have been no emails.  In the several days there have been more total queries.  Yes, the forms are helping drive leads.  I would have though it would be the opposite, since we are forcing people to think a little about their project before contacting us (not a bad thing, mind you, but something I would thing that would act as a small barrier).  I suspect that by giving people an indication of what information we need and making it easy for them to provide it without writing from scratch, we are increasing our leads. 

Will that increase our revenue, our actual conversions?  Too early to tell.  But I sure hope so!

 


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Microsoft Surface

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Get ready for a brand-new wave of computing, and yes, this will affect how we market over the Internet.  Microsoft is letting people know that it is ready to move forward on a computer screen that looks like a coffee table…but more importantly, where you can move objects and images around like pieces of paper on the surface, plus manipulate them (rotate, enlarge, merge, etc.)  Watch the Microsoft Surface: Hands-on First Look video.

It’s a very small leap before web programmers will be designing websites with elements that can be manipulated in this fashion.  For instance, if you like this blog post, you might wish to place it in a collage or flip-folder on your coffee table along with my other posts that you really like.  Or you might want to rotate it to be read by your business partner sitting on the other side of the table.  Or you might want to zap it (through no specific connection) onto a portable digital storage to bring it along with you, without having to copy and paste and save with a new filename.

From an SEO perspective, we might have to start considering that a web page might not be the same to everybody viewing.  Already there are ways to filter our most ads, most pop-ups and all images.  But people could set criteria for what they do and do not want to see, and SEO might be about how to reach the most number or the most targeted of visitors to the website.

 


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HitTail – long tail keyword research

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Not long ago I blogged about Crazy Egg Website Conversion Tests, which I thought was a pretty neat little tool.

One of our readers suggested trying HitTail, which is certainly not the same thing, but is very, very useful for anyone trying to learn something about a website’s visitors.  It is a long-tail keyword research tool.

While I am logging in to HitTail, I should explain that this requires placing a little snippet of code in the template of your website, to capture every visitor landing on every page of your site.  Now that I am logged in, let me describe to you what I see…

The first view “search hits” shows the last 15 visitors from the search engines and the exact date and time..real time coverage of the crowds moving through this website (except the blog; I just realized that I did not place the HitTail code in the blog template, so I will add that to my to-do list).  For each visit, the search URL is provided, clickable so that I can visit the actual search (to see where my website ranks for that search, for example).  Hmm…a search for SEO tips at Google and it appears we are #4.  Not bad!  Note that the keywords searched are actually highlighted so that it is ever so much easier to see than in regular log files.

I switch now to the “keywords” view, and the same information is provided in even easier to read  format, listing each keyword and the engine it comes from.  This time if you click on the keyword, you can move it into the “suggestion” view, for later consideration.

My favorite mode is to use the Excel option, so that I can manipulate the data, group some of the long tail search terms, and mark them in various ways.  From a practical perspective, it seems that a lot of people are getting to my site using queries with the words “hire” and “looking”.  So if those search terms are getting me traffic, and I am only in the top 20 somewhere for those search terms, maybe I could tweak my pages, build a few keyword-targeted links, and increase my traffic measurably. 

I should note that the account is free, but HitTail also offers paid subscription services for enterprise websites and those who want to crunch some serious numbers.  But for the average website owner, the free subscription will do fine.

 


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Google cracking down on paid links

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

First, let me preface this post by saying there is nothing wrong with buying paid links, regardless of what Google says or what you think Google says.  Paid links are called advertising.  “Free” links, which are never actually free, are called public relations.  This has been going on since someone in ancient Egypt first wrote a sandwich board reading “The End is near” and someone else asked, “How much to add ‘Reserve your burial plots today!’”

However, Google does not appreciate links sold strictly to boost PageRank, specifically targeting its ranking algorithm.  This is understandable.

So what is a website owner, intent on promoting his website and his services, to do?  Go for the best links possible, whether they are paid or free, sticking within budget.  If most of your links are paid, that sends quite a red flag that maybe there is nothing on your website of enough value to actually earn links.  In fact, that in itself is a pretty good case for Google to demote your website in its rankings.

On the other hand, if there is a website that could be sending you some targeted traffic, that can show high relevance and offers good link juice, why not pay for the link?  Google will not penalize you for having bought a link or two; Google will penalize you for trying to purchase a re-arrangement of its listings.

 


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Link Exchange No-nos

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Yes, even The Happy Guy can fume…but this blog post will turn a lemon of an experience into lemonade for all of us to drink.  The most frustrating, if nevertheless polite, lady I think I have ever met will give us all a lesson in how not to conduct a link exchange. 

She approached my client about doing a triangular link exchange.  Whereby our site (A) links to her site (B) and in exchange, her other site (C) links back to (A).  The concept behind this is the she can fool Google into thinking she is not doing reciprocal link exchanges.  Lol 

I have no problem with doing triangular link exchanges, but don’t think Google’s mighty computing power missed that all the sites linked to from (C) just happen to also link to (B).  

So I posted a link to (B) on our site (A) and also on another site (but I will leave that out to avoid confusion), PageRank2 and PageRank 3 pages.  She reciprocated with a link at (C) pointing to our site (A).   

So far, so good?  Not quite.  The page where she placed the link to our site (A) was a PageRank 0 page that was not cached by Google.  Now I don’t make too big a deal about PageRank, but not cached by Google means that Google will never even see it.   

So I suggested she find another page to place the link to our site.  I’ll let her own words explain her position: 

I’m sorry, I am only authorized to add links to our link pages, which have no PR. 

Maybe I can add them to some other pages (sill with no PR) to make it more worth your while and so more people will see your link? 

Let me know what you think! 

Which is just what I did.  I suggested their main links page, which still had PageRank 0, but was cached by Google and is hyperlinked from the home page through a tiny, obscure link at the bottom.   This was a superb idea that she jumped on immediately….NOT! 

I’m sorry, but [Link URL suppressed] also doesn’t have a PR. I would gladly add them there but please understand, my admin system only allows me to add links on the link pages. 

In any case, people looking through our links pages will see your link.  

OK, why do we build links.  So people can see them.  So search engines can see them.  So…well, that’s pretty much it.   The pages she had been offering were completely hidden from the search engines and almost completely hidden from humans.  Anyway, at this point it sounds like she is ready to place my link on a page that is only mostly hidden from the search engines and mostly hidden from humans.  So I ask her to confirm when it is live.  Yes, she comes back with more (very polite) excuses.  

I’m sorry, but, as I have stated, my admin system won’t allow mw to add links to any other pages apart from the link pages (the links mist go under a category) 

I hope this is ok. 

Of course, this is not OK, which is what I say. I point out that there are links right on her PR2 home page, and ours could just as easily go there, so could she please get whomever is in charge of placing those links there to put our amongst them.  What an obvious solution.  But (You knew there would be a “but”, didn’t you?)… 

1-       I don’t see any links from other companies on our link page. 

2-       I am the person who adds the links it is my job within the company, and I have an admin system which only allows links under the categories… I cannot add the links anywhere else!!!!!! 

Now, if you want remove our links because you are not happy with this you may, I hope you don’t but I’m sorry, there is absolutely nothing I can do about adding links to our home page! could lose my job! 

Please accept my apologies, I hope we can reach a cordial agreement on this matter. 

Ever polite, it still does not erase the fact that she came banging on my client’s door asking to exchange links, and then showed empty palms when it was her turn to reciprocate…and has proven to be the most steadfast excuse maker I have ever encountered. 

Oh, and yes, as a matter of fact I did remove her links.

 


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SEO website audit available

Monday, June 4th, 2007

We have just added a new page to the website, offering an affordable, customized and comprehensive 99-point SEO Audit Checkup for your website.  This is a superb way to begin an SEO campaign for an established whose owners need to know where to start.  Whether doing the SEO in-house or outsourcing it, an outside audit is a good way to get a handle on the size and direction of the SEO needs.

 


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