Posts

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Using Effective Optimized Press Releases To Boost E-Commerce Sales and Visibility

As an e-commerce website owner, you’ll find that optimized press releases are an effective way to impact your e-commerce sales and Internet visibility.

Optimized online press releases can be very useful as part of a successful Internet marketing strategy. In fact, a well-presented optimized press release with good online distribution can typically be read by over 40,000 people in one week. Read more

Organizing Website Content Navigation for SEO

If you have 300 newsletters that you’ve written that directly relate to the topics within your website, then the newsletter articles should be readily available from the other pages that relate to that topic. More often than not, they are only available by a link that says “Newsletters” and then the links to the newsletters have textual links that look like “March 2007 Newsletters”.

This can often be missed by a visitor who could have actually found this information to be of value. Still worse, it might also be missed by the search engine robots who would have found additional content to support your targeted phrases had your navigation been laid out a bit better.

Anthing that supports your targeted keyword phrases adds value and can result in an increase in rankings. In this scenario, you could be missing out on added value that might be given to your website by the search engines simply because your navigation is set up improperly.

Site Navigation

Just as there are different ways people search for the same products online, there are different ways that people may look for something within your site. You may feel that your navigation works well for everyone but this simply is not always the case.

Many times customer service reps field calls where an online searcher states that they “can’t find such-and-such on your site”. Although the rep may feel it’s a no-brainer, they fail to hear themselves when they respond “go to ‘x’, then click on ‘y’, then look for ‘z’ and you’ll find it under the ‘m’ category”.

If this is occuring with your clients then you have an issue with your website’s navigation that needs to be corrected. Look at how your navigation is set up. Did you group your products and information together by a a topical category such as:
•    High Heel Shoes
•    Tennis Shoes
•    Golf Shoes

Or did you group them by the types of people who buy them?
•    Womens Shoes
•    Mens Shoes
•    Kids Shoes
The latter grouping could mean that your visitors will have to click on the multiple links to find what they want. In the following example, the product they want is four clicks down from the home page:
•    Home Page
–  Womens Shoes
– Dress Shoes
– High Heels
– Red ¼ Inch Leather Pumps
That form of navigation may seem natural, however many visitors do not want to click 4 links to find what they want. And neither do the search engines!

Google’s guidelines (and this is a good rule of thumb) say that your pages should be able to be reached by 1 to 2 clicks from the home page. Otherwise pages that are more deeper down than 2 clicks are more likely to not be indexed.

The more popular your site is and the longer it is around (the more history it has) may help to get those pages indexed but that isn’t going to help you now.

A quick solution would be to just leave that form of navigation in place; but consider adding a new navigation within your actual content area. Often times the quickest way to do this is through “bread-crumbs”.

Bread Crumbs

If you don’t know what a bread crumb is take a look below:

Where You Are:  Shoe Store>>High Heels >> Red ¼ Inch Leather Pumps

If you’ve ever seen this in a site, this is a breadcrumb.  It is a quick navigational bar that allows visitors to see what category they are in, but it also allows search engines to get deeper into your content with 1 to 2 clicks from the home page.  It also allows you to go back to the main category page or home page with just one click.

These types of breadcrumbs can be added to your pages easily and is a lot easier than reconstructing your left navigation.

SEO Content

For the busy shopper this removes a few clicks to find what they want.  It also makes it easier for the search engines to get to the content further down within your site.

Another reason for this is that to you, it may make perfect sense for your pages to be linked by the people who use them (mens shoes, womens shoes, kids shoes) but the search engines are looking for the concept and relation to the concept.

Once you do this, you need to ensure that your category pages are easy for everyone to find what they are looking for.  So lets say your home page looked something like this:
Webpage Optimization

Is it boring?  Maybe!  A good designer can possibly dress it up however they like. The main point is that the core elements are here and easily accessible by the search engines and your visitors.
If you want images, backgrounds or more stylish fonts, you can do whatever you need to make it your own but the concept remains the same.
Below is an example for someone who is looking to buy gym shoes (tennis shoes, sneakers, court shoes… whatever one likes to call them).

Category Page Example

With this example a man’s sneaker, a woman’s sneaker and a kid’s sneaker are all still a sneaker when all is said and done.  Having a page for sneakers that then breaks down by who wears them would also help the engines identify the relationship between your products.  An example would be:

Now if you look closely you could probably find many different types of navigation’s in place;

  • a header nav
  • a footer nav
  • a center nav
  • a left nav
  • and the original left nav

The purposes for these distinctly different navs is simply called ease of use, or accessibility.

Why should your visitor have to go click the back button to find what they want; here they can to the home, check their cart, click woman’s shoes and select from high heels or hiking boots. The concept is simple but so hard for some to grasp. This not only makes it easier for visitors to find what they want quickly, but this also helps the search engines find the information they want quickly.

If your website is not setup like this that’s okay; you can actually create additional pages that help to open up your site; you may find that it also increases your sales.  Remember that your site should continue to grow.

Take that one step further; allow your site to grow as your knowledge of what works online grows.
Often times people learn something new that they feel could help catapult their website, however they often feel that they should just dump their site and build a new one.  There is no need to dump your old or existing website; simply implement what you’ve learned into your existing site and move ahead.

Next post: Optimizing the web page

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Search Engine Optimization, Better Than Rebuilding Website

A lot of website owners want to do both, but can’t, and struggle with deciding which one to allocate their budget to first. Rebuilding a website is a great idea. Performing search engine optimization (SEO) is better.

The Internet is vast… very vast. It is comprised of, at last count, over 3-billion web pages and that number increases daily. People need a map to chart this unimaginably large landscape… search engines are the maps. SEO provides pointers to your business on the maps. Rebuilding your site does almost nothing for it.

If you understand the following statement, then which one to do first becomes very easy to decide upon… in order to become visible to their second audience (the visitors), websites must first receive adequate top rankings (the first 2-pages) by their first audience (the search engines).

Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (aka. search engine marketing, website promotion, search engine positioning) is probably the single most important thing a website owner can do to increase visibility and visitors. Increased visibility and increased numbers of more qualified visitors help to improve sales, which in turn, improve the bottom-line.

Studies have proven that SEO has the BEST return on investment (ROI) of any form of advertising -online and offline! Savvy website owners who realize just how fierce the competition on the Internet is try to get as much as they can out of search engine optimization. It helps to position their business ahead of their competitors. If you are not incorporating SEO as part of a website promotion/ Internet marketing strategy you are losing out because your competition mostly likely is!

The fact is, there lots of great websites on the Internet. So what? What use is a great website if no one knows about it or can find it? And even if people do know about it, you are still not reaching the largest Internet demographic –the 85% to 90% of ALL Internet users who find what they are looking for by conducting searches! An effective SEO strategy is your mechanism for becoming visible to this group. SEO is critical to the success of your online venture. Rebuilding isn’t… it can wait.

Rebuilding Website
Rebuilding a site makes it look nice, provides fresh content, and most likely improves navigation. Will any of these lead to increased visitors? Most likely not. Making aesthetic changes does very little to increase a website’s visibility on the Internet.

It is estimated that 56% of ALL websites are “lost in cyberspace”! This means they cannot be found in search engines. What is the point of spending money on rebuilding a website if no one can find it? It would be a complete waste of time, money, and effort. All of which translate into a very poor ROI.

It is akin to the early explorers setting out in their ships to explore the oceans of the world. They had no way of knowing what they would find or where they would land. Internet surfers are today’s version of those early explorers. They are people looking to find something but very few of them actually know how or where to find it. Rebuilding your website is like putting up a flashing billboard on a deserted island. No one is going to be able to read it… unless they accidentally come across it. Search engine optimization guides explorers to it.

Some web designers will tell you that they will both optimize and rebuild your website. Be careful. Most web designers do not have the in-depth knowledge to perform proper search engine optimization. There is more to SEO than just putting in keywords in the Meta tags (ie. title, description, keyword tags).

Other Considerations

  • Ask yourself, what will deliver more results to my business… rebuilding or SEO?
  • What is the purpose of your site? If you use it to bring in customers or sell products then SEO is definitely the one to do first. If visitors and sales aren’t important, but having a beautiful, stylish site is, then by all means… rebuild it.
  • For maximum benefits, a website must be people and search engine friendly. Will rebuilding accomplish this?
  • Some owner’s think they’ll rebuild the site first and then perform SEO, only to discover afterwards that their budgets won’t allow for it. Ask yourself, do I want to be stuck with a nice looking site that delivers NO more traffic than its predecessor?
  • View your website as an asset -not an expense. Use it to generate income, leads, or a tool that provides useful information about your company. If it isn’t then why have it?

SEO First, Rebuild Second
It really is a much wiser choice to perform SEO first. Later if the results indicate the need to make improvements, then proceed with rebuilding. And involve your search engine optimization company in the rebuilding process… their input/ advice will be invaluable!

If you found this article useful and would like to discuss how your website can benefit from highly successful, proven website promotion and search engine optimization strategies, please email sales@1stonthelist.ca or call 1-888-262-6687.