The year 2011 is almost here and it is the start of a new decade. But sadly, most people are still stuck with the decade old SEO techniques, which deliver results only for a short while. It is time people realized the evolving face of SEO and make the switch to SEO 2.0. I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year, as I move into the top 10 rankings of Google, within a span of 1 month, thanks to a better SEO strategy. May this new year bring with it loads of joy, happiness and success for all of you.
As businesses grow more complex, ensuring a unique online visibility becomes tougher by the day; old SEO techniques no longer remain effective. When the blogging world was smaller and simpler, techniques like keyword linking and site rankings did benefit the average blogger looking for an easy route to online presence.
But in today’s cut-throat world of continuous learning and dynamic campaigning, you need a more effective and a more street-smart promotional strategy to take your website ahead in the race.
Millions of websites are created today, all seeking the same goal and target audience. If you continue to stick to the age-old SEO methods, you are likely to be lost in the crowd. You need to update yourself with the latest SEO techniques.
Here is a partial list of the old SEO techniques and how SEO 2.0, as the new SEO is popularly called, can help you with your visibility efforts.
1: Link Baiting
It is the old SEO technique whereby a person tries to drive customers to his site or blog by giving people improper or incomplete information. Many social media sites like DIGG, blacklist ‘link baiting’ as it unethically goads users to take action and is manipulative. However, latest SEO strategies look at ‘link baiting’ from a new perspective. The idea is to respect users, and create reasons for them to consciously link to your site. This can be done in three ways:
- Providing incentives, such as a review of their site, because of which people will link to your site.
- Giving people the information they need, by creating interesting content, because of which they will link to you site.
- Being innovative and controversial in one’s opinion, and making statements that go against popular opinion; this piques people’s curiosity, makes them disagree, and incites them to link to your site. More than being provocative, it’s about being fresh and honest.
2: Bad blog commenting etiquette
Old SEO techniques focus on incoherent commenting on blogs and etiquettes. They do not pay any heed to the rules and regulations of commenting on forums, or on blogs for that matter. Such disregard for other people and forcefully intruding in their discussions is not only going to get you negative PR but will also result in your comments getting blocked, which will not help your SEO efforts. Here are a couple of examples of bad blog commenting:
Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one! Anyways, I just signed up for your newsletter and will definitely come back for more. Feel free to do the same for my blog when you get a chance! Also, if you are looking to do some guest posting or promoting some of my products definitely check out my blog… All the best, Dino Vedo PS: Like my Facebook fan page and follow me on Twitter and I’ll do the same for you!
Hi there. Is it okay that I kinda off topic? I am trying to view the site on my new Mac but it doesn’t show correctly, do you have any solutions? Shall I try and find a fix for my computer or something? Thanks! Jo x
Commenting is used in SEO 2.0 as well, but in a manner which is beneficial. Rather than posting comments on blogs and forums randomly and then forgetting about them, one should actively take part in discussions and post the link to one’s website only after making two or three useful comments on a thread. That way, one comes across as more genuine, and that prompts the readers to follow the posted link.
3: Sticking to obsolete blogging
Blogger maybe the first blog platform to hit the internet, but it hardly works these days if SEO is your motive. WordPress is the most cutting edge technology for managing content and blog publishing. With in-built search engine optimization, link management system, automatic filters etc., it is definitely the most user-friendly and effective tool. Just to let you in on its popularity, WordPress 3.0 has been downloaded 12.5 million times as of August 2010! It is imperative that you have a WordPress blog for your business if you want your website on the first page of a search engine; old SEO techniques miss this point more often than not.
4: Targetting only a handful of keywords
Most websites and SEO firms target the popular, top 10-20 keywords, and their strategy aims to maintain high ranking for those keywords. Try something better. Turn the 80/20 rule on its head and target the long tail. Targeting hundreds of less frequently used keywords is a more viable business strategy. Take the case study of Amazon.com, which builds on keywords outside of the popular ones, and this strategy accounts for 57% of their sales.
5: Ignoring Social Media
Old SEO techniques ignore the social media completely, treating it as something solely for the teenagers. If you are serious about SEO, don’t ignore it. Social media, according to Wikipedia, are “the online tools and platforms that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives with each other.” In other words, social media websites are an online version of word of mouth. Social Media Optimization (SMO), can be seen as complimentary to SEO techniques, and a good SEO consultant should be well versed in both. It is done through:
- Adding features to the website and blog content to make it more social media friendly. This involves having tools that make tagging, bookmarking, and linking easy.
- Active promotion of the website and its content in social media through blogging, posting updates on social media sites and participating in discussion groups
6: An all Google strategy
An obsolete SEO strategy is one which gives Google all the importance while ignoring the rest. In the current, competitive e-marketing scenario, depending on one major source for traffic is a risky SEO strategy. The best marketing strategy is to have a diverse approach, where multiple points are created from where traffic can be directed to your website. This could include PPC, article marketing, social media marketing, as well as focusing on a variety of search engines.
7: Going the popular way
For your website to be popular, popular marketing techniques won’t help, innovative will. And that is exactly the point which the traditional SEO firms miss. Guerilla marketing techniques, which are high on time, energy and imagination often work out better than a popular, expensive campaign. For example, you can ask people who visit your website to write something personal, provide them with a horoscope reading, use T-shirts with attractive slogans to promote your blog etc. Such techniques will give you an advantage over your competitors, as they are less frequently used.
8: Ignoring web design
The traditional SEO people still think that web design has nothing to do with SEO. And they could not be more wrong. A website high on easy usability fetches much more traffic than an average one. Using style sheet languages such as CSS to design your website in a systematic way, with well organized portions for different content, help make your site popular. The idea is to have layouts, colors and fonts that are not only pleasing to the eye, but convenient to user as well.
9: Staying put with a single media
Traditional SEO still uses the writing method alone when executing the optimization of a website. While writing is no doubt the most effective, taking advantage of multiple media helps you beat your competition, and that’s what name of the game is. New SEO techniques are all about making one’s strategy wider, and all inclusive. Make use of videos, audio, pictures and anything and everything that may make the people interested in your product or service.
‘Internet Economy’ is a lucrative field today, with success stories such as Steve Wozniak and Apple computers and Sabeer Bhatia’s Hotmail. Naturally, everyone wants to get a share of these much ‘touted’ e-commerce profits. However, to succeed in the online world, businesses need to know all the possible causes of failure, even though it seems like an exercise in pessimism.
These are the common reasons why many startup e-businesses fail
Web businesses that have nothing new to offer, and are mere clones of an already successful business, don’t succeed. Does your e-business sell a product that is innovative? Is there something completely new about your social networking website? The key to avoid typecasting is to stay fresh. Look for problems and needs that you can solve.
Not defining your customer
The first rule in selling is to know your customer. Some startup e-businesses offer a variety of services and products, not knowing the profile of the users. As a result, they cannot offer tailor-made services for any specific age group or nature of target audience and this reduces the chances of succeeding.
The best marketing strategy is a well calculated plan. Marketing is the backbone of any business. A web site that has been creatively marketed without any regard to user acquisition costs might become cost ineffective.
For example, even buying keyword ads is a complex process. A good entrepreneur buys keywords that people most frequently use in searches while having high relevance and low competing advertisers. A common mistake most businesses make while cost cutting, is not hiring professional marketing consultants. They work on instinct, and their marketing plans lack a well researched strategy. This makes their marketing strategies ineffective. So the websites they make have inadequate SEO, SEM, and low virality, which results in low traffic to their website.
Poor web designing
Today, most websites seem like clones. Businesses make compromises while designing their web pages. They use free software and badly designed user interfaces. So, first-time visitors find the home page unattractive and it fails to register in their minds. It is highly unlikely they will ever go back to a web site that’s hard to navigate, is poorly designed and does not offer them something interactive.
A person who wants to use an online personalized gift services will look at several companies that provide the service. He is likely to choose the site which gets the first rule of ‘catchingeyeballs’ right, more so when you are dealing with the business of ‘feel-good’- gifts.
Web businesses with cluttered, badly color coordinated websites, which have long download time and unclear navigational tools don’t work. Only professionally designed, well branded websites, with original and relevant content can be effectively marketed.
Given these reasons, it is best to employ the services of a web designing company to ensure significant online presence.
Lack of web analysis
Web Designing Vs Web Development. Web analysis is a process of analyzing the behavior of visitors to a website and then enhancing and modifying the features of the website to maintain and increase the traffic. Many web businesses design a website and then forget about it; and the resources invested in web designing go waste.Such e-businesses have no feedback regarding their website, as a result of which they cannot maintain a competitive edge.
An entrepreneur needs to be friendly and people-focused. It is good to have an extended professional and personal network, before launching a web business.Web businesses that de-prioritize good partner and interpersonal relationships lose out in the long run.
Bad time and money management
A failed web business means that the founders have not managed their finances well. It includes over-spending or ineffective spending. Such individuals overlook the basic tenet of every business- time is money. They spend a lot of time bargaining for small cost reductions, while delaying launching time and other activities vital to growth in the world of start-ups.
The most important thing that leads to failed web businesses is lack of commitment and passion towards the work. Such people may know all the theoretical pitfalls that they can encounter, yet put in a half hearted effort to avoid them when confronted in the practical world. Hence, they continue to fail.
Have you ever thought how important customization is in all parts of our lives? From food(pizza chains) to automobiles, entertainment (television, i-pods) to sports (cricket, gaming) and retail, today’s successful business models are all tied to this central tenet- customization. So what really is customization and how relevant is it in web designing and development?
Whenever a client decides to elevate its customer experience, the first focal point is the website, which serves, both, as a significant touch point for the customer and as a continuing image of the business at large.
Ready-to-use web templates could cause more harm to your business than the short-lived advantage of cost-saving. In today’s dynamic business world, it becomes very important that you align your business goals with the existing practices. Any website which does not offer a rich interface which substitutes for actually ‘being there’ with the customer, will not be able to build any long-term credibility.
Features: A custom web development company works on a client’s needs and provides a rich platter of services to suit the ever-changing business environment. Call-to-action features like ‘Buy Now’, ‘Click here to talk with our agent NOW’, ‘Subscribe to our monthly newsletter’, are all examples of features which can be offered in this web model, contrary to the plethora of readymade web templates available out there.
Adaptability: When you identify an urgent need to change your website interface or add any new feature/alert to it, you would not want to let your other commitments suffer. Custom web development offers you a fast rate of change while you continue to focus on your primary area of work. This is how a trustworthy backend makes you an ace player in the market.
Compatibility: The client does not want to withstand the long ‘learning curve’ by itself. That is where a steady backend provides an effective business solution, which is compatible for a multi-server/multi-platform environment.
Online Presence: Once you have a strong and loyal customer base, you make them a part of your business, and they feel at home with your product or service. A significant contributor to this is an attractive website, which adapts according to the customer’s needs.
A professional custom web development company will give you the added advantage of creating a unique customer experience. It takes care of the backend while you put your money where the mouth is. SEO optimization, dynamic content, enhanced user-friendly features, online marketing and offsite product promotion are some of the key attractions of any respectable custom web offering. And if any time should you feel any feature is redundant or not working for your business, you let the developer know and he makes the quick change that puts you right back into the commanding seat – towards a wiser business solution and a sustainable market advantage.
We believe you don’t start the design of a new or revised website by sitting down with the designer and coder of the website. Rather, we recommend you review the approaches, ideas, processes and other methods listed below to determine if they apply to your situation.
Think about your audience. Are they looking for immediate answers and solutions? We bet they are. Most likely these visitors to your website are very much like you. Chances are you use the Internet more than other types of media to search for information. If a web page doesn’t “grab your interest” within 8 – 10 seconds after landing on it… you move on!
As a “first step” we suggest that you start by reviewing the questions listed below. We are convinced that once you get to the last question… you will have a list of action items identified that will greatly improve the productivity of your current website. The success or failure of the site and/or business may very well depend upon the decisions you make after reading these questions
What Do You Know About Your Clients and Prospects State of Mind?
When visitors land on your website, they have very little time to read what you say. They have a need for information or a product and don’t want to listen or read verbose descriptions and comments. You have about 8 seconds to engage them and get them to take action. Do most visitors land on your website wanting:
- a “quick fix”,
- a bargain,
- a large selection,
- or a telephone call, etc.?
It is imperative to know the answers to these and many other questions BEFORE you design the pages within your website.
Do You Make Website Visitors Feel You Can Satisfy Their Wants and Needs?
Landing on any page within your website [especially the Homepage] must make the visitor know that you understand their needs, business, wants, and desires. The more you put yourself into the “mindset” of the website visitor, the better chance you have of converting their visit into something you want to happen i.e. buy, complete a contact us form, bookmark the page, pick up the phone and call you or any other method of measurable conversion.
What Approach Do You Take When Developing Pages Within Your Website?
What do you think you would want from your website if you were the prospective visitor or client? Assume you don’t know as much information as you want in order to make an informed decision. Talk to these visitors in a language they will understand. If visitors want more insight or information, tell them to click on the more info link or give you a call. They will follow your direction ONLY if you have built some level of trust or understanding.
What are You “Selling” to the Website Visitor?
Are you focused on telling them about your product or service or are you making them understand that choosing your firm will deliver that special feeling they are seeking by making the purchase? Are you sure that you made the visitor know that you understand their needs, wants, problems, etc.? What techniques did you implement to get your points across?
How are You Going to Get the Visitor to Stop and Think About Your Service or Product?
Remember… they are ready to pass by your website in a blink of an eye. What are you going to do to engage them? The answer you come up with will be critical to the success you have in gaining their confidence enough to buy or call you. Make sure what you say is NOT the same old thing they are used to seeing or reading on other websites. Be boring and you lose! Address the issues that appeal to the visitor and they WILL STOP! This is hard work… but worth the effort.
What Kind of “Call to Action” Statements are You Placing on Your Website?
Turning a visitor into a prospect or client is one of the most critical actions of your website. How will you engage them? Once they know that you understand their needs and wants, they are more inclined to follow your CTA direction. Call to Action statements are critical to the success of any website’s conversion. Guide them in a manner that is more telling, rather than selling. Don’t be afraid to be assertive.
How Does Your Website Address the “Who Are We” Issue?
Again, it is about making the website visitor feel confident that they are choosing a reputable firm or organization with which to do business. They need to read about your success. This can be done by exhibiting your affiliation with associations, awards won, satisfied client statements, client success stories, examples of your work, etc. Show them you are a “player” in your industry.
Are You Prepared to Answer: “What Makes You Different”?
What have clients and prospects said about you and your company? Have they applauded you for your approach to doing business? Did they say you made them feel like you understood their needs and wants? Think back to the reasons clients buy from you. How did you meet their needs and wants? Give your prospective clients reasons to do business with your firm.
A final thought…
Make it your primary goal to understand the potential client. Look at your website through that client’s perspective. Who are they? What makes them different? What do they individually want and need? Be informative… do more telling than selling. They will “get it” and appreciate that you have made them an educated buyer. Finally, tell them what you want them to do next. Get them to take the first step and be ready to deliver on the expectations you have set throughout your website!
Finally, be sure to hire Internet marketing professionals to do the job if you don’t have the capabilities in-house. Too much is at stake to leave this part of your business to chance! We are pleased to provide you the insightful comments contained herein.
About The Author
We have 11 years of Internet marketing experience re building successful website promotíon programs and meeting the challenges of appealing to today’s Internet visitor in the current economic environment. Call us at 631-423-0815 for further discussion on how we might be able to assist you and your team or to review the Full list of PDF documents on Internet Marketing and Conversion techniques.InternetConsultingAndCoaching.com
Your online business is not a wild crazy idea, but a source of income. Trust the right people to design your website. Your 17 year old nephew may be able to create your website or you can get a free one from several services…they might even be kind of pretty. In my research and experience, less than 2% of businesses that have websites have planted the seeds to online success. Many of them are your competitors.
The problem is web designers’ focus on the technical aspects of the site. They don’t have a clue how to build a website that makes you a ton of money, drives floods of traffic, and gets you top placement on search engines.
Why Do You Have a Website?
The reason you have a website for your business, no matter what business you are in, is you want to rake in bundles of cash. Maybe not now, but definitely later, it should be bringing returns on your investment.
Your Website is Like Your Business
Make sure that your web designer owns a successful online business and knows how to run it.
Your sole purpose in having a website should be to use it as a marketing and communications tool. It is not there to be pretty. It should not be there to win awards. It is there to make you money. Even if you have a better product or service than your competitor, the one who attracts more prospects and customers – wins! Being the best at marketing is all that matters.
Marketing Online Is Completely Different Than Marketing Offline
All of the tools, techniques, communication, etc. in the online world are different than those offline. A very common mistake is to think because it works offline you can just put it on your website! It’s important to realize the reader of offline copy thinks and processes information in a different way than someone reading online copy. What works offline may be a complete flop online.
They are two different worlds. For example, online marketíng REQUIRES you to know how to get your site ranked high, very high, in the search engines like Google and Yahoo….so you routinely appear on the first page for the optimal search terms for your business.
Of course, this assumes you know how to find the optimal words for your business, your marketplace, your niche, etc. Just so you know, the “include all words” strategy has proven to be a total failure.
And, most designers and businesses do not know that SEO (search engine optimization) is not SEM (search engine marketing). If you do one and not the other, you will probably be very discouraged with your results.
Studies have shown that you need to be on the first page of search engine results to get enough people coming to your site. SEO and SEM are not optional for online success – they are mandatory!
Improve your ROI: Only Work with People Who Know Website and Online Marketing
When you are planning your financial future, you hire a financial planner or an attorney who specializes in that area of law. When you want plastic surgery you don’t go to a podiatrist, unless you want to end up with your nose looking like a foot.
Did you know that 99% of web design companies don’t know how to create online sites that actually market your products or services?
You need people who can help you with how to create “hot” products or services that your customers really want.
You need people who make it possible for you to have a “money tree” business. People who can produce money like it grows on trees. People who have the communication skills to capture the attention of, and “cash the order” with, your customers. Online or offline. (That means using multiple marketing channels and starting with the lowest cost which is online!)
You need people with real world experience as well as online experience that can combine the two for the benefit of…YOU. No one has the time to learn everything about their business, the internet, marketing, copywriting, finances and so on. That is why…
“The price of ignorance is paid forever!”
Successful entrepreneurs value all the real-world experience they can get. Where do they get it? By surrounding themselves with a team of experts, who can provide the knowledge, guidance and successful experience for a wide variety of businesses.
Always Remember Your Website is your Marketing Machine
It is all about driving people to your website. This is more than “being found” for the right search terms. This is about having a comprehensive strategy that links your offline and online marketing together to create leverage for your business and to get maximum results.
You need to be sure your online partner can:
Create a site that entices visitors to convert from information seekers to paying customers
Generate a stream of online and offline leads
Show you what functions of your business can be automated to save you dollars…and put those savíngs to good use…getting more customers
- Show you the secrets of capturing information and how to utilize it for easy access and follow up
- Show you how to make more sales with your existing customers
- Help you set up marketing campaigns that get real results and build customer loyalty
- Help you use marketing with email ethically and effectively
Seriously, if your web designer/dungeon master/graphic Zulu cannot do ALL of these things and more, FIRE them now. You are wasting time and money. And time is often worth more than money.
Test, Test, and Test Some More
If you really want online success, or even offline success, then you must understand the importance of successful marketing testing. It is Crucial.
Businesses that are wildly successful with their offline and online strategies are always rabid about testing and knowing how and what to test.
Track and Measure… Correctly
You want to know everything that is happening on your website, or not happening. All of that testing will do you no good if you are not measuring and tracking all of the data associated with it.
Here are some of the tracking measures you should be talking to your web designer/builder about. In fact, they should be talking to you about these things. If you have to bring them up, you are already in trouble, with a capital T.
- How many visitors are coming to the site
- How many of the visitors aren’t visitors (i.e. spiders, crawlers, etc. from search engines)
- How many visitors are new vs. old
- How long does each visitor stay on your site
- What does each visitor look at
- What graphics, words, pictures, etc. are generating the most responses
- Which search engines are getting you the best prospects
- Where else are your customers coming from
- How many pages does the visitor look at
- What are your website rankings
- How much money have you made from the average visitor
- Who are your biggest money-making customers
- If you use PPC, is it working and paying for itself
- Which links are bringing your visitors and are they converting to customers
- And so on
This is not a comprehensive listing, rather, it gives you an idea of how many things you could or should be tracking when it comes to your marketing online.
If you are like most people, you are thinking “there is no way I could remember all of that, much less do it.” You would be right. Remember, that is why we all need a team of experts around us to do the things we either don’t know or don’t have time for.
But, if you use these kinds of tools and tracking you will join the 1-2% of successful online businesses. You do want to make money with your website, right?
It is simple; your website should bring in more money than it costs to maintain it!
Some Final Thoughts
Today, you must be ONLINE with a WEBSITE to be successful. Research has shown that people are abandoning the yellow pages and many other ‘traditional’ forms of advertising. The internet is the #1 SOURCE for information on virtually every topic or subject you can imagine… and still growing rapidly.
It is as it has always been – survival of the fittest. Those businesses which combine their offline and online strategies to maximize their effectiveness are going to survive and thrive. The others will die. And in these times there will be more deaths than usual. You see it, the ‘for lease’ signs appearing everywhere, the ‘announcement’ each week of another big business failure, the empty spaces in office buildings.
The key to lasting success is to create lasting value. Turn transactions into relationships. In fact, the last sentence may be the most important and valuable one you read.
About The Author
Ajay Prasad is founder of Global Marketing Resources LLC, a co. that runs a number of ecommerce websites under it’s umbrella. Ajay’s functional expertise includes website strategy, marketing management, business development, consumer research, market analysis and strategic planning. GMRWebTeam is an Orange County Website Design company that aims to develop an overall website strategy for your site.