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Category: SEO Articles

Improving Customer Service On Your Website

While building and optimizing your site are important factors that contribute to the development of your business, they will mean nothing if you do not have a loyal and satisfied customer base.  This goes beyond simply attracting potential clients- it’s about keeping your current clients happy! This may seem obvious to the average business owner, but outstanding customer service can be one of those factors that seems to fall through the cracks because you are too busy focusing on other aspects of the business. Honestly, dissatisfied clients can be far more harmful than you think, especially online. The internet gives them the uncanny power to make your mistakes public and believe me, people research and read negative reviews! So, to avoid these sort of disasters altogether, simply follow the guidelines listed below. Not only will they appreciate your attention to their needs, but they will be far more willing to continue to be your clients for many years to come.

  • Provide Contact Information This is probably the most important aspect of customer service. How will clients be able to bring problems and concerns to your attention if they can’t get a hold of you? Always provide a contact page on your website.  You can either have a number, email and address listed or you may provide a contact request where clients can fill in their information along with their comments and concerns.
  • FAQs Page This is very helpful to your clients and especially to visitors.  With a “Facts & Questions” page, you are able to tackle the most frequently asked questions about your products and services.  To find out what these questions are, create an email specifically designed for this.  You will be able to easily track what customers are most concerned with and save them and yourself lots of time.
  • Email Updates- This is a fantastic way to promote your business. All you need from the client is an email address!  With email updates you can easily spread the word about special promotions, new products and/or services and ways for them to save.  Your customer will be reminded of what you have to offer to them and will also always appreciate a good deal.
  • Take the Initiative- It is up to you to give clients the best service they deserve.  However, you don’t have to read their minds to figure it out.  Sending out a survey for them to take can easily give you an idea of what is working and isn’t working with your business. This also makes the client feel appreciated and listened to. They want to know that their opinion matters!

Expanding Your Website Internationally

Nowadays, it is almost crucial that you be able to expand your business internationally.  Technology has allowed the world to become more interconnected and therefore, this has made it much more possible for businesses to spread their wings to worldwide territories.  There are many factors you should take into consideration before you launch an international site.  Changes will have to be made on your existing website so that it better suits the needs of your international clientele.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  However, the results will be surprisingly profitable and worth your time and money.

  • Who is Your Target Audience?- First, you must figure out who your target audience is going to be.  Will you be dealing with a specific country or continent?  What languages will you have to take into consideration? If you cannot afford to have your website translated manually, you can look into features like Google Translate Tool. After all, communicating with that target audience is such a crucial part of any business plan.  Know your audience first and build a campaign around their needs.
  • Localize the Website- Once you have figured out who you are targeting, you can now figure out what changes will most effectively benefit your audience.  Aside from language, you must also adjust your content and delivery accordingly.  Take the culture into consideration while doing this! Every client or potential client wants to feel as if they are understood, so presenting a website that caters to their cultural inclinations will be highly beneficial.
  • What Search Engine?- Google may seem like it rules the world but the truth is that some countries deal with their own search engines.  Russia, for example, uses Yandex and in China Baidu is most widely used.   This is important to know because when it comes to website marketing, search engines are an imperative part of the process.
  • How Do You Want to Optimize?- Once you have established which search engine dominates the country or region you are dealing with, you must figure out which form of optimization will better serve you and your audience.  This requires research! After all, keywords and link building are only two of the factors pertaining to PPC and SEO optimization.
  • International Currency & Regulations- This may seem obvious but often, businesses do not take this into consideration when they are expanding internationally.  Currency translation as well as tax regulations are highly important.  This is especially important if your site offers shipping services.  Similarly, be aware of laws and regulations each country has as far as doing international business goes.  You do not want to end up in unnecessary trouble because of this!

Manual SEO vs. Automated SEO

Obviously, everything is easier when it is done automatically, but does it make it better? Software has made it easy for people to sit back and relax while the work is being done.  Manual SEO has been around for a good while and any expert will let you know that it is time consuming and takes quite a bit of dedication and effort.  So, like any good plight to the future, online marketing has now moved into an automated format as well! This is both good and bad because while you are able to implement the SEO without any effort of your own (save for downloading the software and clicking a few buttons), you may not be getting the same quality performance.  In essence, automation strives for quantity over quality.  Manual, on the other hand delivers substantial quality, but at a slow rate.  So which method is better?  Truth be told, manual methods will always be the better choice when it comes to SEO.  Although SEO relies heavily on beating out the competition, it really comes down to how much real effort you have put into your SEO.  Especially since the launch of Google Panda, search engines are dissecting the campaigns of all websites, ensuring that they produce quality backlinks, content and keywords.

  • Quality Backlinks- You cannot produce a quality SEO campaign without backlinks.  Furthermore, backlinks can be hard to come by.  This is why it is crucial to make this a manual process.  Automated SEO can bring you backlinks, but most of the time, these aren’t quality backlinks at all.  In other words, all those automated results can be a waste of time and money.  When you do these manually, you are guaranteeing quality because you are able to track and pick these yourself.

  • Content- Content is also a component of SEO that cannot be done through automation.  Algorithms are constantly searching for fresh content and this can only be done by hand.  Content has to be relevant to your website as well as be able to captivate and hold your audience’s attention.
  • Keyword Optimization- Knowing what keywords will be most effective for your marketing campaign requires you to not only understand your business to the fullest, but also do some research online.  You will have to view which keywords are the most searched for, which are most highly used by your competition and which will benefit your business the most.  Don’t leave it up to automated optimization to determine these things!

User Friendly Website

User friendly means a website that is for your clients to use and delivers essential information about your website. Too often, website owners do not build their websites with the user in mind.  This is vital because websites are meant to attract potential clients! If you want to build and maintain a successful marketing campaign, be smart about the way you set up your website. Below are 5 key features you want to stress on your website to make it top-notch!

  • Information & Content– This is probably the most important feature because it is what is going to attract an audience to your site.  Stock your website with information and content that is relevant and interesting.  However, don’t go over the top! No one wants to have to read an essay to understand what your website is about.  Keep it simple and informative. Break up your content so it is not overwhelming to the eye.
  • Navigation- Make sure it is easy to navigate around your website.  Include a menu that enables the user to easily go from page to page.  If possible, put the menu on the top of the page and include drop down menus if necessary.  About and Contact buttons are extremely important.  Users want to know what your site is about and how to contact you with questions or concerns.
  • Accessibility- You want current and potential customers to be able to find you easily, right? Most users will use search engines and directories to find you online.  Because of this, you want to market yourself accordingly.  Apply SEO or PPC tactics to your website so that you can be more readily visible online.
  • Website Speed- This may seem like a thing of the past, but a lot of users still have dial-up service and if your website is crammed with unnecessary junk, it may slow down the website and the user may leave the page in frustration before it even loads. Factors that may affect loading speed include image size, page size, flash features and excessive code installation.
  • Smart Links– Links are important not only to make your users experience more favorable, but for your website’s benefit as well.  Links will connect to other pages within your site and to the outside world as well.  Make sure your links are functioning! The last thing you want is for a user to come across a broken link! This not only makes it impossible for the user to access the link, but makes your website look unprofessional.

What to Look for In an SEO Company

Let’s face it, when it comes to SEO Companies, you have TONS of options.   Not only that, but they all claim to be able to work magic on your website, or in other words, jump start your business and get you the traffic and profit you are looking for.  However, it is smart to be wary of what is out there.  Not every SEO company has your best interest in mind and will tell you anything and everything to dig into your pockets.  That’s why you have to be proactive in your search and know the essentials of finding an SEO company.  Here are 5 vital things you should look for in an SEO company.

  • Make Sure They are Ranked on Search Engines- An SEO Company is supposed to get you ranked on search engines, right? If you can’t find them on the first page of any search engine for vital keywords like SEO Marketing then they probably don’t know what they are doing.  Why would you want to do business with a company that can’t even do for itself what it promises to do for you?
  • Look For Client Feedback & Testimonials- True, testimonials on a company website can be written up by anyone.  However, people leave feedback all over the internet! Be a detective and hunt online for information on the company. Type in the company’s name on a search engine and see what you can pull up. The results may surprise you!
  • Do They Practice White Hat SEO?- White Hat SEO are any and all legitimate SEO techniques used to get a website ranked online.  There are many layers to this technique and trying understanding it all may be overwhelming.  In general, you are looking for a company that promises quality traffic and inbound links, increased profit and a method of attracting potential prospects to your website.  For a more descriptive outline of what White Hat SEO consists of, search online.
  • Are They Making False Promises?- Be wary of any company that guarantees a #1 spot on a search engine or instant SEO results.  No one can guarantee #1 placement on any search engine and SEO NEVER works instantly.
  • Ask For Proof of Their Work- Why not ask for some examples of the work they are proclaiming they can do for you? Maybe they can show you a website they have successfully worked on in the past or a portfolio of their products and offers.

SEO Myths Revealed

The internet marketing world is filled with information- some of it is accurate but let’s face it, most of it is a bunch of boloney.  SEO is one of those marketing methods that continuously changes and transforms.  What is pertinent one day, can be completely disregarded the next.  This is partially due to search engine algorithms that no one truly understands.  Search engines, especially Google, give vague ideas of what their algorithms are comprised of and webmasters are left to decipher it to the best of their abilities.  This is also why there is so much mixed information online; what one webmaster may find true about SEO, another webmaster may say is false information.  Thus, SEO myths are born.  The problem lies in that innocent bystanders get affected by these myths because they believe them to be true and can often be fooled by a shady SEO company who promises them the world.  The important thing to remember is to always do some research before jumping into bed with any SEO company.  To make your research a bit easier, we have comprised a list of 10 SEO myths that most, if not all, webmasters agree on.

  • SEO Can Be Self-Taught– While SEO isn’t exactly rocket science, it isn’t easy either. There are so many components of SEO that trying to learn it all on your own and apply it would be extremely time-consuming and difficult.  Not to say that it is impossible, but if you want it done right the first time, free of mistakes, you may want to hire an SEO company with years of experience to help you out.
  • SEO Works Instantly– This is a common myth that scam artist SEO companies claim to provide to their clients.  Effective, profitable and long-lasting SEO takes lots of time to provide results, but if done correctly, can be extremely worth it.  Be patient!
  • Number of Visitors Affects SEO Rankings- Many believe that if you don’t have a plethora of people streaming into your site daily, you won’t be ranked at all on search engines.  This is not true! Google and all other search engines have no way of judging how many visitors you get on  a daily basis and do not use this as a determining factor as far as ranking goes.
  • Meta Tags Make a Difference– Meta Tags used to be a big deal but now search engines don’t give them a second look. Don’t bother trying to optimize them, in other words.
  • SEO Is a One-Time Application- Many believe that SEO is a one-time application deal and you’re set for life.  This is not the case! SEO algorithms are continuously changing and therefore, your website has to keep up or you will be left behind for sure.
  • It’s All About Rankings, Not Users– A lot of times, website owners will be so obsessed with getting their site ranked, they forget about their current and potential clients.  While ranking is important, if your site lacks appeal to visitors, they won’t be coming back to your website anyway.
  • Guaranteed #1 Placement- Bottom line, if an SEO company is guaranteeing a #1 spot on Google or any other search engine, they’re lying.  No one can guarantee this, not even the top SEO companies out there!

The Latest Changes to the Rules of Organic SEO

Organic SEO is changing even as we sit back and try to keep up. Google released a new algorithm called Panda in March, and has updated it several times since then — and Panda has changed everything. Until Panda, it was enough to follow a complex but definable set of rules regarding everything from keyword placement and density to creating a natural link profile.

Today, however, there is an art to SEO that simply didn’t exist before. That’s because Panda suddenly put rules in place that takes the “user experience” into account. For example,

EzineArticles.com used to look like this:

And now, it looks like this:

See the difference? The largest and most profitable article directory on the Internet did away with two navbars, and 3 different blocks of AdWords because Panda slapped them downward in the rankings until they complied. Their profitability is down because the AdWords are gone, but the other choice was to have it tanked completely because their pages simply wouldn’t show up on any search engine results pages.

Why did this happen? Simple: because according to Panda, your user experience sucks if you have a bunch of crap interrupting or distracting from your main content. There exceptions; Panda loves social bookmarking buttons and other ‘share-me’ stuff and won’t penalize you if you’ve got it alongside your content, for example. But by and large, modern SEO means creating clean, easy-to-use pages just as much as it means creating keyword-dense, heavily-backlinked pages.

But wait — there’s more. Panda doesn’t just check your content pages for user experience. It checks every single page on your site and gives your entire site a weighted ‘usability score’ — which means that your entire site can get penalized if just one or two heavily-visited pages have a poor user experience.

What that means for SEO in the modern world is profound, because Google is now forcing us to juggle between satisfying the demands of Panda and being able to effectively monetize our sites — how easy that ends up being has yet to be seen.

Affordable SEO, Not Amateur SEO

Affordable SEO is the heart and soul of any startup web-based business. Small businesses don’t have the budget to drop vast quantities of money on pay-per-click marketing — though it is usually smart to spend a bit on it, just to get your income kick-started. In many ways, smart PPC management is the perfect compliment to affordable SEO — you get the income fast from your PPC campaign, you spend it maintaining that campaign and investing in some inexpensive but effective SEO, and eventually, the SEO will take over and the PPC campaign can be dropped.

That’s the fundamental essence of an expert route to success online, actually — find a way to make some consistent money up front, often with pay-per-click marketing or some other method of expensive but high-volume traffic generation, and then use the money you make to create backlinks and other SEO substructure to get your website on the stop of the search engine results pages.

The problem that many webmasters have is that they hire an SEO freelancer for pennies per hour on ODesk or Elance, and then they wonder why it’s been seven months that they’ve been paying for a service and haven’t gotten anything out of it. The answer is that they hired an amateur. It’s possible — and common — for amateurs to spend hundreds of hours doing what seems like valuable SEO work, building backlinks, posting on forums, commenting on blogs, and writing articles, only to get no results at all.

Professional but affordable SEO services might charge a bit more than a freelancer, but the results will be evident from the first week. Professionals know how to perform proper SEO, often utilizing ‘tricks’ that make every effort they put forth perform multiple functions at once — like giving your site a high-quality backlink while also driving traffic to the site to create sales, or writing an article and submitting variations of it in different places that all link back to the main article, driving the article itself up in the search engine results and making it’s effect on your website that much stronger.

The lesson here is simple: when it comes to search engine optimization, not everyone can afford to hire a huge company to work for them and make them king of the hill overnight — but everyone can afford professional SEO services if they know where to look, and anything less is just a waste of time and money.

Organic SEO is Like Organic Food for Your Website

Organic SEO is, at heart, the practice of creating the circumstances that will make Google and other search engines show your webpage on their front page. It’s an absolutely vital practice to the success of any long-term web-based business — in a very real way, if you’re not getting natural traffic, your website isn’t healthy — it’s on life support.

Like a healthy diet of organic food, organic SEO doesn’t have instantaneous effects — the goodness builds up over time. No one expects that if they stop eating Happy Meals and start eating right, they’re going to magically become perfectly healthy overnight — it’s implicitly understood that building a healthy body takes time and continuous effort. Organic SEO is exactly the same.

organicSimilarly, like eating right, Organic SEO has some of the most profoundly positive effects on your business of any of the practices you could engage in. When you eat right and overcome your health problems, you wake up every morning feeling energized and ready to take on the world. When you have powerful backlinks driving your page to the top of the search engines, you wake up every morning to learn that you’ve gotten another thousand visitors, few hundred conversions, and dozens of sales overnight, and you’re ready to pay bills, set some aside for a rainy day, and go out for a night on the town.

For a small business SEO is even more important, because the budget is that much tighter and the profit margins are that much more critical. SEO represents that investment into your future, without which your business will be permanently hooked on ‘fast food’ — by which I mean paying for banner space, classified ads, and other expensive, less-focused traffic.

Like McDonalds, these alternate traffic sources are fast, easy, and they claim to be cheap — but in reality, in the long run, they cost you so much more than doing things right. Just like eating junk will eventually cost you more in medical bills than you could possibly save on your monthly food bill, paid traffic will always eventually catch up to you, wallet-wise, as your conversions suffer.

Far better to ‘eat right’ from the get-go, and achieve a truly healthy web-based business sooner rather than later.

SEO Guide – Benefits of On-page and Off-page

As netizens of the twenty-first century, we all depend on the internet for our day-to-day professional and social lives. We all are aware about the role the search engine plays in providing us information on a variety of topics. Owners of websites try out some tweaking activities to have their sites listed towards the top of a search list. This set of tweaking activities that allow a site to gain higher search rank is known as search engine optimization (SEO). The basic intent is to first identify a set of keywords that correspond to the product/service the website highlights, and modify the site according to some rules considered legal by the search engines.

Research suggests that 42% of the search engine users find their desired results by clicking the links in the first page of the search results. Only 11% turn to the second page links, and this percentage deteriorates drastically for the later pages. In this article, we will explore two important aspects of SEO – the on-page and off-page SEO.

On-Page Optimization

The on-page optimization activities involve modifications in various components of a web page. Some of these activities include—ensuring the presence of identified keyword(s) in the page title, Meta description, Meta keywords, header tags, anchor tags, body text (the actual page content) and so forth. The keywords should also be present in in-bound and out-bound links and Alt tags of images. The search engine spiders view websites differently than humans do. The search engine tries to find out the essence of a site by analyzing its underlying HTML code. If it identifies a string of words (keywords) spread across various HTML elements of the page, it attaches due importance to the page with respect to these keywords.

Off-Page Optimization

The off-page optimization involves a set of activities that promotes the site from behind the scenes. Stated simply, SEO professionals promote a site by back-linking to the site from various other relevant sites. If more links point to your site, higher importance is attached during calculation of the search results. It is to be borne in mind that both the number and quality of back-links matter. For instance, the back-links generated by link firms to a site can ruin the site’s SEO prospects. Even, the site can be blacklisted by leading search engines for practicing illegal SEO activities. SEO practitioners always try to provide back-links from quality sources (with good, relevant content) to the site being optimized.

Both On-Page and Off-Page Optimizations are important

In this age of competition, both on-page and off-page optimization are needed one after the other. If the competition for a keyword is weak, we can do away with the later; but such cases are extremely rare nowadays. With the continually changing algorithms of the search engines, both these techniques carry high importance. However, the on-page SEO activities need to be completed first.