Posted in Business Motivation

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is Dead…Kinda

Photo credit www.onlinebusinessasia.com
Photo credit http://www.onlinebusinessasia.com

Ok, so maybe the title of this post is a bit dramatic.  After all, we all know that SEO isn’t actually dead.  Just look around at all of those experts selling their SEO services and guaranteeing results!  The demand is definitely still alive and kicking.

But here’s the problem:  SEO has changed dramatically in the last few years and so-called SEO experts aren’t ncessarily keeping pace.  Gone are the days when creating a successful website meant paying close attention to things such as keyword density, keyword-specific coding, and minimum lengths for posts.   While keywords still play a vital role, current best practices have more to do with overall site mechanics and structure than anything else.  In fact, according to Evan Bailyn, a well-known SEO and social media expert, there are only four on-site pieces to consider for ranking with Google:

Keyword-rich meta page titles:   When I work with clients in improving their websites, this is one of the first elements I look at.  Why?  Because meta page titles are “your only opportunity to tell Google what each page on your website is about.”

For example, let’s say you sell popcorn machines.  And let’s say your family has a long history of selling these popcorn machines and you want to share some of that information with visitors to your site.  So you create an amazing page dedicated to this topic and you label it “About Our Company.”   That seems logical, doesn’t it?  But guess what?  It doesn’t provide any information to Google regarding what your website is about.  Google gets that information (mainly) from the title you give your page.  In this example, a better page title would be “Our Popcorn Machine History.”

SEO-friendly URLs:  This isn’t necessarily something you need to consciously focus on anymore because any quality CMS (content management system) will automatically handle it.  For example, the URL to this particular post will reflect the post’s actual title (which I haven’t decided on yet…it’s the last thing I do when writing!).  Keeping with the popcorn machine theme from above, however, you might see a URL such as http://www.yourawesomesite.com/how-to-use-a-popcorn-machine.  Avoid long strings of numbers, letters and funky characters.  They mean nothing to a search engine!

Clean code:  This mainly applies to those of you who are creating websites from scratch–HTML, CSS, PHP…the whole shebang.  If this is your preferred method (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing it this way) then be sure you get a thorough review of the site’s coding to ensure Google can read it properly.  If, on the other hand, you use a platform such as WordPress or Wix then coding shouldn’t be an issue.  It’s one of the perks and conveniences of using them instead of building from the ground up.

Sensible site structure:  This is another common error in my experience with new clients.  It’s important that your visitors are able to easily navigate the site.  The rule of thumb is to not bury any of your pages deeper than two clicks from the homepage.  For example, your site visitors click “Products” on the homepage which opens up another menu where they can select “Popcorn Machines.”  And then, once they’ve clicked on “Popcorn Machines” they are given an option to select either “Home Use” or “Professional.”  This means your visitors had to click three times to get to the information they were seeking.  Google likes it to be easy and transparent.

You’ll notice that the only everyday SEO tasks you’ll need to worry about are those page titles.  Everything else is more of a “set it and forget it” situation.  But keep in mind that SEO is an ever-changing art.  What works today might be obsolete tomorrow.

Periodically analyzing your website to ensure current best practices are in use makes excellent business sense.   “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

P.S.  Did you know that I offer website analysis as one of my concierge services??  Yep, I sure do!  Contact me today and let’s get started!

(Information contained in this post was taken from SEO Made Easy:  Everything You Need to Know About SEO and Nothing More by Evan Bailyn.)

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Posted in Business Motivation

The “Why”: Find Your Client’s Motivation and Close The Deal

Photo from malonemediagroup.com
Photo from malonemediagroup.com

Motivation.

It’s that little thing that pushes us to do things that we may or may not want to do.

It’s the “reason” or the “why” behind decisions we make in our lives.

Sometimes a person’s motivation is clear–i.e., he goes to work because he has to pay rent.

But sometimes…well, sometimes you have to do some digging to identify the “why.”

My friend recently gave me this advice in dealing with a very strong-willed, temper tantrum-prone toddler:

“Find her motivation.”

In other words, why should she listen to me instead of just throwing an epic tantrum right in the middle of the restaurant?  What’s in it for her to change her behavior?

So I observed.  I thought long and hard.  And I found it.  And when I found it, her tantrums came to an immediate halt.

My point in sharing this?

If you want to influence your client or customer to do business with you (versus with a competitor) you need to identify the “why.”

WHY would your client or customer be glad he chose you?  What will he get out of it that he wouldn’t get elsewhere?  Show him how he wins.

Find his motivation…

Posted in Copywriting Tips, Writing in General

3 Measurable Outcomes of Hiring a Copywriter

Today, I’d like to “speak” on the true value of hiring a copywriter.  You see, the true value of a copywriter goes well beyond the fee you pay him or her to create your amazing content.  And it can, in fact, be measured if you’re into analyzing ROI (and you should be totally into analyzing ROI…)!

So let’s take a quick look at what a copywriter’s value really is and how you can measure that value, shall we?

Time

Sure, you could write your own copy.  For your website, your newsletter, your ad flyers, your brochures, your social media, your product descriptions, your…

But really, do you, as a busy business owner with a million things to take care of during a typical day, have the time to sit down and focus on writing these things?  Probably not.  Or, at the very least you don’t have time to focus on writing them as well as they should be.  Why crank out crappy writing??

Hand it over to a professional copywriter and not only save yourself some time, but also get quality copy!

Quality

I hit on this subject above.  Now, I’m not saying that you aren’t a good writer.  There are plenty of good writers running businesses that have nothing to do with writing!

What I am saying is that when a person has a long to-do list, she can become so focused on knocking things off of it that quality suffers.  I’m guilty of this myself.  Usually when it comes time to cook dinner.  Ask my kids.  🙂

In all seriousness, though, the writing on your website and marketing materials matters.  It can literally make or break a sale or a new client interaction.  Don’t “squeeze” it in when you have the option of using a copywriter.  It’s what we do!

Consistency

Consistency refers to how regularly you update your website, blog, newsletters, etc.  Especially in the digital world, you need to stay in front of your target audience if you want to stay relevant.  Loyalty isn’t always easy to come by, and if your customer is looking for a product or service and can’t find you or hasn’t heard from you in a while, she may very well seek out another source.  Sad, but true.

Consistency also refers to your brand.  If you’re doing all of your own writing, but the writing misses the mark in some way, then you are establishing your brand as missing the mark.  I’m not just alluding to spelling errors or grammatical mistakes, either.  If your writing is technically sound, but isn’t engaging your audience and causing them to take the action you want them to take then you’re missing the mark.

And if you’re missing the mark you’re pretty much wasting your time.  It’s like baking a pie every single day even though nobody ever buys that flavor.

Moral of Paula’s story today:  Stop baking pies that don’t sell!  Wait…no…errrr…yeah, something like that.  😉