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Is CRO All Its Cracked Up To Be?

You’ve invested in your website. At the end of the day, you want to increase your bottom line. In short, you need to see results.

Any serious business owner has a lot of time, money, and energy invested in their website. Sure, it’s fun building a website from scratch and watching your organic traffic streams grow, but at the end of the day, we all want to increase our bottom line. In short, we need to see results. As such, a lot of people turn to conversion rate optimization to maximize the effectiveness of their website and make a strong impact with their audience. You want your traffic to grow. You want your subscriber list to multiply – and ultimately you want more conversions. But those of us who don’t know a whole lot about conversion rate optimization are making some big mistakes.

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How Guest Blogging Builds Your Online Credibility

Guest blogging is an easy way to increase the value of your own website.

Imagine every website on the Internet had a value from 1 to 100 dollars. The websites that had no updates, no social interaction, and no ease of use were only worth a few dollars, if that.

The sites consistently updated, with visitor interaction and easy to use, are worth more.

Now imagine the people (or company) that determines your value looked at more than just what you were doing on your website to come up with their evaluation. They also looked at other, similar sites sending them signals to your valuation - links, mentions (citations) and shares.

Those sites, then could determine a portion of the overall value of your site.

And if that were the case, wouldn't it be smart of you if you take advantage of any opportunity to positively influence your sites value? Of course it would.

Guest blogging is a great way to increase your website's value. And being picky about the value of the site you want to guest blog on is just as important.

In the analogy above, wouldn't you agree that a link from a $56 site be better than that of a $12 site? Again, of course you would. So make sure you not only guest blog on other sites, but make sure the ones you choose have established value.

Oh, and allow me to toss one more equation into the mix - the related value to your site. Guest blogging isn't just about finding high value sites and posting an article there - you should also consider the similarity of the two sites. A safety goggles article would be worth much more on Home Depot's website than it would on the equally valuable Bed Bath & Beyond site.

After reading this, you may surmise that getting 4 articles on 4 sites worth $14 each is easier than getting one article on a $56 site -and you'd probably be right. But is the risk worth the reward? Or as I heard this past week - is the juice worth the squeeze? Not usually. There's a reason why those sites are only worth $14 each, and if they aren't following the same process, your site value and your reputation will just be dragged down with theirs.

For more guest blogging and SEO tips, subscribe to my newsletter or check out my blog.

Video: Keyword Research – What and Why

One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is forgetting about Keyword Research before executing online marketing tactics.

What is keyword research? It is research to find out how certain keywords will perform and generate traffic on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Why go through the trouble of keyword research? Google is the new Yellow Pages in today's world. Information is available 24/7 through the Internet and other media channels. Smart devices now connected us more than ever before and make content widely available for consumers to make more informed decisions. If you want your business to be found online, it is best to know what your audience is tying in rather than making assumptions. You can also learn a lot about what your competition is doing and why they may be outranking you on search results.

Keyword research can be considered a turbo boost on how to get more traffic.

Video: Business Websites

A brochure website is very static. There’s so much more business owners can do with their website to gain a greater return on investment.

Web development expert Cesar Keller answers the question, “what is the difference between a brochure website and a business website?” His answer is that a brochure website is a very static website, simply a dump of content. There’s so much more that business owners can do to gain a return on investment. Today’s websites include the brochure data but are capable of extending value way beyond that aspect alone. Cesar Keller reminds viewers that among other things, your website can:

  • Assist you in building a pipeline of prospects
  • Be a living, breathing mechanism that brings you business
  • Incorporate tools that automate the building of your business
  • Provide processes that automatically function to save you time and gain you connections
  • Help you to convert prospects by moving them through the process steps that ultimately lead to sales

To learn more about and see the results possible through the skills and proven track record of Cesar Keller and SimpleFlame, call Cesar at 314-266-3485 or email him at cesar@simpleflame.com

The changing and growing landscape of SEO

 

A few days ago I received a call from a local divorce attorney that wanted more information on my SEO services. After a few preliminary questions, I realized I was speaking with a receptionist who had been tasked to 'find out more' about SEO. This is definitely not the first time this has happened, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

So if you've been tasked by management to research SEO for your business, here's the full scoop.

SEO isn't a one-time thing. It's an ever growing and changing landscape that involves a lot of factors. If you are looking for a quick fix to get to the top of google, you might as well stop reading here because you won’t find it. There's no such thing, and if any marketing company tells you different, it is lying (and stealing your money).

In short, there are two main parts to SEO.

Onsite SEO

There are a lot of things you can do to your website that can influence the search engines to like you more. These include heading tags, page titles and a variety of other factors. Each one of these items needs to be addressed and fixed when necessary. A high level SEO audit can help you find many of these and, depending on your coding skill level, can be fixed without hiring an SEO guru.

While not a direct SEO factor, your websites usability should be taken into consideration at an early stage. If you can’t easily update your website, or it looks like it was built in the late 80s, it is probably time for a redesign. This can be costly, but if you are serious about SEO, it's not something you should dismiss quickly. I have turned down many good clients because they thought their website (usually one they built themselves) was the best thing since sliced bread. It's not.

Redesigning your website at an early stage in the SEO process is not only a smart investment, it makes your job a lot easier down the road when your SEO starts giving you tasks that need to be completed through the website. Using a user-friendly content management system (CMS) such as WordPress is a good way to go. You'll be glad you did.

A good onsite SEO evaluation should also include a conversation around calls to action. Since the ultimate goal of your SEO campaign is usually more leads (NOT more traffic), you should consider what sort of target audience you are hoping to attract and what sort of actions you want them to take once they visit your website. These are crucial to having a successful online marketing strategy.

Offsite SEO

Here's where SEO gets interesting. Believe it or not, there are a lot of things you can do on other people’s websites that affects your overall rankings. While it would be impossible for me to list them all, I'll try to hit the main ones.

Links

In short, the overall amount of positive links you have leading back to your website influences your overall rankings. I say positive, because there are a lot of easy ways to get links, but they aren't necessarily good links. Heck, I could get you a thousand links tomorrow if you'd like (and some SEO agencies still offer this service) but they'd be useless, if not hurtful for your overall goals.

So what is a good link?

A good link is a link from a similar industry website, blog or social profile. This means if you sell goggles, a link from a site like sears.com would be more desirable than a link from a site like wesellgogglespleasebuyonline.net. The authority and reputation Sears has far outweighs that of the latter.

Unfortunately, getting links from high authority sites isn't always easy. It takes time, it takes a process, and sometimes it just takes cash.

What then is a bad link?

A bad link is a link from a non-related website, a link directory or a site in a 'bad neighborhood' (porn, pharmaceuticals, etc).

Bad links are easy to get. You can use an automated submission tool, or just hire some company in India to do it for you. I wouldn't recommend it, though.

A Natural Link Profile

Up until recently, building links was always a process focused around keywords. Links based on words you use in your industry were worth more than links indicating 'click here' or 'check out this site'. However, a recent update from google called Penguin changed this line of thinking. Search engines are now looking for a good mix of both keyword, brand-related and generic links. When considering hiring an SEO person, make sure they understand the value of this mixture.

Citations

For businesses with real physical addresses, citations can play an important role in your overall search engine rankings. A citation is a mention of your business name, address and phone number on another website. It may or may not contain a link to your website, and that's ok.

Search engines use these mentions as indicators your business is real, so it is important every citation around the Internet has the exact same phone number, address, etc.

Getting started

If you are serious about getting started with SEO, please read my post on different options you have, what steps you need to take, and how to determine a good SEO from a bad one.