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Category Archives: Internet Marketing

5

March

2014

9 Marketing Tips for 2014 :

Marketing your business is a year-in-year-out task – there are no days off. And in order to drive in new business for 2014 there are some marketing tactics that need to be part of your plan. Marketing needs to add value to your business. It isn’t always about moving products. It is about building relationships with your customers. So here are nine marketing tips that will help you engage with your audience this year.

1. Have a Consistent Message

You probably have many platforms representing your business – in-store signage, a website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google Plus, etc. When your customers see your message across many different channels and platforms it becomes more believable. Imagine the frustration a customer would have seeing an email about a promotion but not finding it on your website or on your social media. Consistency counts.

2. Email Marketing

It’s not all about your website. Email marketing can be a very fruitful tool for your business. With today’s online marketing tools, the worry about being blacklisted by sending too many emails is greatly lessened. In fact, did you know that recipients of email marketing campaigns buy 28 percent more often than those who do not receive emails, and when they buy they purchase 44 percent more in product (via Small Business Yahoo!)?

3. SEO

You must get your SEO right, and that is done by creating valuable content on a regular basis so you rank for keyword searches. Focus on good link-building to get a good Google rank. SEO is also improved by keeping an updated blog, refreshing your online listings on directory websites, using data from Google Analytics, and writing quality content on your website.

4. Social Media Channels

One of the most direct ways to engage your customers is by being where they are – on social media. Think of it as community work in the online sphere, and the more effort you put in here the more you will get out of it. Provide content that truly connects with people, starts a conversation, or provides useful information they can share with others on your behalf. Explore the various social media options and make sure you’re at least on a couple of them, if not all of them.

5. Get Referrals

Sometimes you can get referrals just by asking for them often enough. Imagine if you asked 10 of your customers for a referral, half of them said yes, and one of those referrals becomes a new customer. You just increased your business by 10 percent by asking a small, targeted group. You won’t know what will happen if you don’t ask.

6. Be Mobile

Mobile devices are everywhere and nearly doing everything. If your business doesn’t look good on a mobile device you can lose or frustrate your customers. People are surfing the web and checking their email while on-the-go. Ensure your site is optimized for mobile devices.

7. Use Video

Create and release videos to engage with your customers. You can post them online via YouTube, Vimeo, or other sites. Post them on your social media channels and embed them on your site. YouTube accounts for 28 percent of all Google searches, 90 percent of online traffic views videos, and millions of videos are watched online every day. However, only 24 percent of major brands use online videos to market to their audience. 

8. Perform Competitor Analysis

Sometimes you need to take a step back and see what your competitors are up to. Make notes about the opportunities and the threats that come from them, and build them into your own business strategy. This will keep you from having tunnel vision about your own products.

9. Niche Websites Have an Impact

If you are a little fish in a big pond, sometimes it can be hard to be found. With all the pay-to-play tactics out there for search and social traffic, it can be difficult for some websites to be found. However, if you have a niche site that targets people with a specific interest, it can be easier to get in front of your customer. These sites are often more affordable to advertise than a broad site.

If you have questions about employing any of these nine marketing tactics, let us know.

16

April

2012

Google Shares 5 Common SEO Mistakes :

Recently, Google’s Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead, shared via video five common SEO mistakes the Google teams sees on a regular basis. If these catch Google’s attention, they must be worthwhile to know and understand so you won’t make the same mistake. At SEM Media, we know how to avoid these five common SEO mistakes and how to get your site ranked high in search engines.

Mistake #1: Your site has no value proposition before you start building it.
“Ask yourself, why would a user choose my site in the search results?” says Ohye. Whether your website is promoting an offline business (like a brick-and-mortar store) or an online business, you must know and be able to relate that which makes you different than your competitors. Do you have the lowest prices, free shipping, are you a non-profit, have a good central store location? Relating these answers is what will give your business (and thus your website) value.

Mistake #2: Don’t have a segmented approach to SEO.
Segmentation is “great for your sushi, but it’s not as great when there’s no communication between your marketing, business development and SEO team,” explains Ohye. You must consider SEO in the entire user experience, from your marketing campaign to conversion.

Mistake #3: Wasting time on time-consuming workarounds instead of researching best practices and new features. On sites with lots of pages, a “canonical” approach can dilute pages in the search index. Rather, Google now allows for “next” and “prev” markups for paginated content, giving equal weight to each page on your site, not just your home page. However, avoiding Mistake #3 and lead to Mistake #4, so be careful.

Mistake #4: Getting caught up in SEO trends. In the “old days,” both websites and search engines were trying to reach the same audience: users. Today, however, it seems more sites are trying to reach search engines instead of users. To avoid this trend, you need to produce good content that will interest a user.

Mistake #5: Slow iteration. “At Google, we’ve been known to say that the main constant in SEO is that it’s constantly evolving,” says Ohye. The faster your team can iterate the better. You must be able to define metrics, implement improvements, measure the impact, create new improvements and repeat.

So those are the mistakes Google sees, but what about the good things we do with SEO? Google suggests the following for “best practices” in SEO:
• Do something cool
• Include relevant keywords in your copy
• Be smart about your tags and site architecture
• Sign up for email forwarding in Webmaster Tools
• Attract buzz and natural links, votes, +1s, follows
• Stay fresh and relevant (social media sites, accessible on new devices)

SEM Media thrives on following the above “best practices.” If you have questions about how your site ranks, or you want to be better at SEO, contact a SEM Media professional today.

25

March

2012

Good Thing SEM Media isn’t Heavy Handed :

With great foresight, SEM Media is not surprised by Google’s head of search, Matt Cutts, as he spoke at the end of SXSW saying that Google will be tweaking its search engine to stop favoring sites that go overboard with SEO.

Cutts explained that Google’s move was aimed at getting websites on a “level playing ground” and those who have been overly-ambitious about search engine optimization will have their sites demoted compared to those who are making great content and a fantastic site. That’s why SEM Media doesn’t fear this change by Google; we’ve been stressing the importance of good content and great site craftsmanship since day one. We’re not into “black hat” SEO techniques; we build up organic traffic through both innovative and time-honored techniques.

Again, Google is going after those sites that abuse SEO and overstuff keywords or exchange too many links; basically, they are targeting sites that are too aggressive in their SEO tactics. So, as a business owner, beware any SEO firm that tries too hard to sell you on their far-reaching SEO talents; they may just be taking you too far for Google’s liking.

Cutts explained at SXSW that the change has been in the works for months and will finally come out in the next several weeks.

Google has already made one change toward this goal last year, when the company rolled out its infamous Panda update, which slashed traffic to previously popular sites, such as About.com and eHow.com, by 30%. Previously, these sites ranked high for keywords because of the sheer volume of content on them; Google was asking that content on websites also be useful, not just plentiful.

That’s why SEM Media builds state-of-the-art websites with useful content as a standard practice. If you have questions about how your site may be affected by Google’s change, talk to an expert at SEM Media today.

28

February

2012

Differentiate Your Website, but Use What Works :

A common conundrum in SEO is whether to copy what works or create new inroads into search optimization. This is where the delicate balancing act comes in. Just by copying your competition’s tactics doesn’t mean that you will have greater success that they are (They’ve obviously been doing it longer than you have if you’re copying them, right?).

Granted, there are plenty of time-tested tactics for good SEO, and those should be utilized as best as your budget and ambition allow. But in the end, your website needs to be different than everyone else’s, and that’s what will ultimately put you at the top.

And to be different you have to be willing to try things that have never been done before. If we could just follow the wisdom of other SEO experts, every website would look the same. That’s why there is one thing that can never be copied by anyone else. That is: your voice. Your website should have your voice and your philosophy present in it somewhere. Your voice is your style, your commitment to your customers, your commitment to yourself made public.

If you run a company blog, not only does the content represent you, but the frequency with which you publish content, the length of each post, and the depth of the information all represent your voice.

What happens is that your voice becomes your brand’s value, and the more you put your voice out there the more value you put in your brand. This also means you’re putting more content out there, and that’s where it begins affecting your SEO (positively).

So how do you beat your competitor when you’re both playing the same game – be better at the game than they are. If they’re not being innovative or taking risks with SEO, then you should. If they’re limiting their voice on their site, then make yours heard loud and clear. It’s the most reliable way to win. Just balance what you know works with what you make work.

27

February

2012

Title Tags and Their Infinite Importance to SEO :

From meta tags, meta data to keywords, descriptions and title tags, the SEO “lingo” seems never-ending. Luckily, SEM Media understands it all and this week is going back to the basics by showing what is arguably the single most important element of SEO on any web page: the title tag.

A title tag is part of the meta tag that lives at the top of your HTML, inside the <head> area. If it helps, think of title tags as the chapter title in a book – it clues visitors and search engines into what your page is about. It is the title tag that shows up in search results, so it should contain important keywords to help search engines find your site.

The trick to a good title tag is to write them for humans but format them for search engines, and that’s where the value of an experienced SEO team, like SEM Media, pays in dividends.

If you would like to assess your own title tag, SEM Media has prepared a quick checklist for you:

  • The length of your title tag should be no more than 70 characters (including spaces).
  • Your site’s most important keywords should come first.
  • Use pipes (|) to separate keyword phrases; don’t use commas.
  • Keep your wording short and simple.
  • Put your company name at the end of your title tag, as it’s not usually a targeted keyword.
  • Don’t duplicate: title tags should be different for every page.
  • Be relevant; they must describe the actual content on the page.

If you have questions about the strength of your website’s title tags, contact the pros at SEM Media today.

6

February

2012

Be Ready for the Shift in Online Marketing :

Online marketing is a fast changing place to do business. Luckily, SEM Media knows how to keep pace. For instance, SEO has been around for about 15 years now, and Google just now released some of its most significant changes to date. With influences like Google+ and other social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), the importance of remaining competitive is now paramount.

With that said, let SEM Media point to two different ideas as they relate to creating online content. First, create a “content mix.” Instead of posting web page SEO, blogs and videos and trying to drive traffic to them; if companies would first research their customer base and find out what type of content they prefer to see, that company can then tailor their approach to their customers’ preferences. This allows for information discovery, a richer user experience and deeper customer engagement. All of which equals increased sales.

Through this idea, the “optimize” part of SEO (search engine optimization) is just that – the optimal alignment of content for the customer. It’s functional and effective. Done right, customers will be more willing to buy, refer and share your content and products.

The second idea is founded on the premise that the Internet world changes – fast! To remain competitive, an SEO firm, and their clients, need to have in place both processes and plans for fast detection, testing and evaluation of the latest social or online techniques to see if they are a good fit for a company’s marketing goals. Not every new program or social media site will stick around forever, so it’s important to quickly identify and maximize one’s presence on the ones that will.

Through an adaptive approach, a company can leverage its image by being in the right place at the right time. Most of that adaptive power and insight will come from your SEO agency, like SEM Media; however, a company should also tap into the collective power of their fans, followers and customers for what’s important to them.

If you have questions about your business’s optimization plan, contact SEM Media today.

30

January

2012

Bounce Rate Optimization Improves Search Rankings :

You may be looking over your bounce rate stats for your website and scratching your head. That’s okay, because SEM Media knows how to use bounce rate optimization to improve your website’s search rankings. Here’s a little about how we do it.

Google recently released yet another algorithm update, and this one now factors in page layout as a ranking factor, with an extra focus on how much above-the-fold real estate is dedicated to visible content versus advertising and other “distractions.” In short, Google wants to highlight more websites that are built for users, not for search engines. This is according to Google’s own Quality Guidelines. SEM Media knows these Quality Guidelines inside and out.

Google has always been open about considering a page’s load speed into its search rankings (i.e. faster pages rank better), but with page layout now in the mix, we can look at our bounce rate to find out what kind of visitation experience we’re providing to our visitors. If they’re “jumping ship” right after landing on our page, we lose twice – once from losing the opportunity to make an impression on our customer and converting traffic into sales, and we lose a second time by having Google penalize our website because it’s not attractive to a user.

SEM Media employs bounce rate optimization by improving your site’s page load speed optimization, performs detailed user testing and A/B and Multivariate testing. Improving page load speed is the easiest of these tasks – it’s low-hanging fruit, if you will. User testing is vital because it puts real users behind the wheel of a new website, allowing them to flesh things that don’t work well. A/B and Multivariate testing helps SEM Media quantify the impact of our changes. We rely on detailed examinations to determine which pages we optimize first so we can improve rankings as quickly as possible.

Do you want to improve your bounce rate optimization and rank higher in search engines? Contact SEM Media today to find out more on how we can help.