Graphic Matter, Inc BLOG

www.graphicmatter.com

Graphic Matter, Inc BLOG - www.graphicmatter.com

Do You Speak SEO?

Search Engine Optimization continues to be a popular topic, so thought it was a good idea to revisit some of the fundamentals. Here are some commonly used SEO terms, their definitions and how they apply to a web page.

SEO-Search Engine Optimization; SEM-Search Engine Marketing

1. Title: official title of the page

The text that appears at the very top of the browser window
Most prominent information displayed in search results

tip: Use a different title on each page, typically a 40-60 character limit
tip: Title should be pleasantly readable, not awkwardely stuffed with keywords

2. HTML Page Name: aka file name

Appears at the end of the website name in the browser window

tip: Use words that related to the content of the page [keywords work well]
tip: Be specific to your company; it’s an opportunity to distinguish from your competition.
[i.e. use “nj-handmade-chocolate-services.html” instead of “services.html”]

3. Meta name “keywords” content: your keywords, phrases, best relevant words

Identifies the relevant keywords, phrases to search engines
Confirms for the search engines that the content of the site is relevant to the search phrase

tip: Include common variations, even common misspellings.

4. Meta name “description” content: describes what page is about

Typically the most prominent text displayed in search engine results

tip: Include search word or phrase most commonly used in content
tip: Use it multiple times, and include common variations, even common misspellings
tip: Should be concise yet pleasantly readable

How good is your reputation?

White Hat SEOYou carefully guard your personal and business reputations, but did you know that it’s important to monitor your online reputation as well? Knowing what people are saying about your business gives you the power to capitalize on successes or correct misrepresentations where they crop up.

Black Hat SEOHow do you know what’s being said, and what control can you have?

1. Own all variations of your domain name. Think of the most likely errors [misspelling, plural vs. singular, etc] someone might make when searching for you, and purchase those domains if you can. Also purchase domains for your own name [not your company]. They don’t cost much and it provides peace of mind. Have you ever misspelled a web address and reached an incorrect website — perhaps it belongs to a competing business, or even one that is a bit [eek] awkward?!

2. Set up Google Alerts for your business name and product names. This FREE and easy-to-set-up Google feature will advise you when there is any Internet mention of the terms you have specified, so you can see the good, and even the bad, of what’s being said. You can even have alerts for your competitors and target clients too. Unfortunately you can’t always change what’s out there, but again, knowledge is power.

3. Use only White Hat SEO. There are good SEO practices, and not so good ones. The good kind – White Hat SEO – search engine optimization, search engine marketing, SEO, SEMconsists of the appropriate & ethical embedding of keywords and metadata into your copy and images. Black Hat SEO refers to sites where the SEO techniques are not in compliance with search engines’ guidelines for webmasters [Search Engine Optimization, An Hour a Day. Grappone and Couzin, 2008]. Search engines don’t like Black Hat SEO and you may find your rankings suffer as a result.

Your online reputation will say as much about you as your personal reputation does. Protect it and promote it accordingly. Want to know more about the Do’s and Don’ts of Internet marketing?

Google’s new Instant Preview in search results

Google recently introduced a new Instant Preview feature that seems to have replaced the thumbnail image typically shown in search engine results. This new feature displays a mini snapshot of the actual web page, and highlights the relevant search terms as they appear on the page. Previews allow the searcher to quickly compare results and to choose a page that best matches what they are looking for. [read more]

search engine optimization

Seeing this direct link between your search terms and Google’s search results demonstrates the importance of search engine optimization and the strategic use of “landing pages” throughout your website. How confident are you that your prospects can find you with a Google search? Contact Graphic Matter’s web team to be sure.

Auto-piloting your website

Once your website is up and running, it would be nice to think that it will happily function on autopilot, magically bringing new prospects to your door. It can do that… ALMOST. But just like an airplane’s autopilot function, you first need to set some “coordinates,” so to speak. These tips will help to guide your site to your target audiences.

Fresh content: Web crawlers love fresh content, so add it as often as you can. This can be in the form of company news, blogs posts, photos or video via mobile upload.
Keywords, metadata, SEO, SEM, search engine optimization

Relevant Design: Keep the design of your site current. Design trends, just like clothing trends, become outdated. No one wants to visit a dated site.

Online Community Participation: Is your business suited for a community forum– like a product rating by your customers [think Amazon, Target]? This fresh content will continue to work even when you’re not.

Directory Submissions: Once your site is up and running it’s important to submit it to the major search engine directories to jumpstart it’s online presence. Our team can help.

Email Signatures: Always include your web address in your business email signature. This is a quick & free way to get your web address out to your clients and make it easy for them to access your site. Suggest they bookmark it for future convenience!

Business Cards & Stationery: Your web address should be included on all of your company stationery and marketing collateral. If you don’t promote yourself, who will?

Press Releases: At Graphic Matter, we find that in the days following a press release Google Analytics shows a remarkable increase in traffic to our site. Press releases are a relatively inexpensive promotional tool that is often overlooked in the small-to-midsized business arena. Talk to our marketing professionals to get started!

SEO and PPC: You use words and images to speak to your customers; your website uses them to speak to the search engines – and it’s all going on behind the scenes. For more information about the powerful impact good SEO and can have on your web traffic look at our series of blog posts.

Blogs: Hosting a blog on your site is an easy way to generate fresh content and provides opportunities for new connections with your customer base. Your SEO advantage is super-charged if you host your blog on your custom domain rather than using free hosting by WordPress or blogger.

Newsletters: E-newsletters can carry your marketing message to your entire customer list with just a click. And while your customers are reading the words, the web crawlers are reading the strategically planted keywords and links. Be sure to create links back to your website.

Should you implement ALL of these items? ABSOLUTELY! Call our marketing experts to help you design the best Internet marketing strategy for your business’ needs and budget.

Graphic Matter’s Favorite Blog Posts of 2010

Over the past year, Graphic Matter has shared with you the many different ways you can promote your business and your brand. Let’s sum up our year of informational posts and share with you the ones that were our favorites.

Here they are:

1. How I Love to Follow A Blog, Let Me Count the Ways! Parts 1 – 3

2. Organic Marketing? Really?

3. Get Pushy with Your Marketing: The Difference Between SEO & SEM

4. Graphic Matter’s Fab 5 “Shout Out”

5. Graphic Matter Client Spotlight – NTSG, Inc.

We hope that you have enjoyed our blog posts and have shared them with friends. We look forward to hearing from YOU and invite you to share with us your favorite tips from 2010 as well as what questions you would like to see answered in 2011.

The team at Graphic Matter wishes everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Does Your Website Need An Alignment?

More specifically, is the content of your site in alignment with your searcher’s keywords? Is there a clear path to your virtual doorstep? The sample below will demonstrate the typical process:

1. Keyword or Phrase Searched: A searcher types in keywords into the search engine [google, msn, aol]. In this example: “iPhone 4G reviews”.

2. Results Listed: The search engine results are listed, showing organic search results and sponsored links. Also know as paid advertising or pay-per-click [ppc], sponsored listings are usually called out by a colored background and the words “sponsored link”, and appear in the main list and in the side columns as well.

3. Keywords Matched: The words that were included in the initial search phrase “iPhone 4G reviews” will be highlighted or bolded in each of the resulting search listings.

Click on one of the top sites listed on the first page and notice the keywords that are organically placed on this page. You can reference the SEO terms we described in our post Finding Hidden Opportunities On Your Website, to help you look for the keywords in each area – page title, file name, metatags, alt tags, etc. Note how many times the keywords you entered appear in each of the components of this page.

When the keywords appear in all of the page components listed above, and the content on that page is relevant to the keyword phrase, then you have organically optimized this page by making all of the components align with this keyword phrase.

This aligned page is known as a “landing page” for that keyword phrase. See our post about landing pages to refresh your memory.

Does this landing page have a “call to action”? Does it ask you to submit your information, or call the office, or to buy now? If so, then it is also a Conversion Page.

We know what you are thinking: What is a Conversion Page? This answer is coming soon in our next post, and may be your “aha” moment that puts all the SEO pieces together for you.

How can you be in that #1 spot in your prospect’s search results? By methodically “aligning” the key messages on your website, from the inside out. Your own [keyword] alignment is just a phone call away!

What Is A Landing Page?

 

When we started the Graphic Matter blog, we decided that we wanted it to be a no-nonsense source of information that focused on our most frequently asked questions. Well, this is certainly one of them! Here are ourfavorite answers to “What is a landing page?” and the sources that provided them.

  • In online marketing a landing page, sometimes known as a lead capture page, is the page that appears when a potential customer clicks on an advertisement or a search-engine result link. www.Wikipedia.com
  • The first page that a visitor lands on as a result of a traffic acquisition activity. The landing page can be a stand-alone page, a part of a special-purpose microsite, or a page on the company’s main website. Landing page optimization: the definitive guide to testing and tuning for conversions, by Tim Ash, John Wiley and Sons, 2008
  • The first page that a user views during a session. This is also known as the “entrance page.” www.netstrategies.com
  • A Web page that is the click-through point for an online advertisement. Special landing pages are often prepared that focus specifically on the offer or keywords that the Web surfer clicked on. www.neubertweb.com
What are the landing pages on your site? When a prospective customer enters your site through a landing page, is there a clear path to the information they seek, or the results you would like? We’ve been focusing a great deal on how and where people land on our web site – as well as our clients’ sites. Give us a call for a no-nonsense evaluation today; you may find that just a few small changes can dramatically improve your rankings and results!

How I Love to Follow A Blog, Let Me Count the Ways! Part 2 – Configure Your Email Application to Accept RSS Feeds

In our last blog post we discussed two quick and easy ways you can follow a blog. While either of them will work just fine, they do put you in the position of seeking out updates yourself. Wouldn’t you prefer to have the information come right to you? In this post we will show you how to configure your email application to receive blog posts directly into a folder in your email. How great is that?

Configuring your email application to accept RSS feeds will allow you to effortlessly keep up with your favorite blogs. Each time an update is published to a blog you follow, it will also be automatically sent to the RSS feed folder in your email application. You will know immediately when the blog is updated and it will be there for you to read when you are ready. Although each email application is slightly different, the basic concept and process is the same: Open your email application and look for an RSS link [or email inbox] like this one pictured below.

email_rss_feed

Click on it and follow the instructions provided by your email application. It’s so simple, and will save you time each day, and allow you to effortlessly keep up with the blog posts as they happen—without going to multiple sites.

Did you find this tip helpful? Share your feedback in the comments section of our blog – we’d love to hear from you!

Next week is part 3 of our series, How I Love to Follow A Blog, Let Me Count the Ways: How to set-up a Feed Reader Page in your internet browser. See you next post!

How I Love to Follow A Blog, Let Me Count the Ways! Part 1

Now that you are reading our blog, or any other blog for that matter, you are going to want to know when there is a new post to read on that blog. So how do you know when there is a new post on your favorite blog? In our previous post, 4 Fabulous Ways to Follow Our 2¢, we identified 4 different ways to follow our blog. In this post we are going to explain how to set an internet browser bookmark and how to subscribe to and RSS feed.

1) Internet Browser Bookmarks:

Simply bookmark your favorite blog or blogs in your browser (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer etc) by using the Bookmark Tab in the menu bar. This will add the blog address in your bookmarks panel and make it easy for you to get back to that blog. You can pick one day a week to check out each blog to see what’s new and what’s been posted. This is an easy, low tech way to mark the blogs you like, however, it is somewhat cumbersome and it puts the burden on you to remember to go back and check those sites regularly for any new posts.

2) Subscribe to an RSS feed:

Before we tell you how to subscribe to an RSS feed, let’s make sure we define what an RSS feed is. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. But what does that mean? I spent some time poking around the Web for the most complete, yet simple, description of RSS to share with you. Seth Godin describes RSS as this: “ RSS is just a little peep, a signal, a ping that comes from a favorite blogger site, telling your computer that it has been updated.”

Most blogs have a little orange button that say RSS and look like this:

RSS_feed

Subscribing to an RSS feed is simple and easy, you just click on the orange RSS icon on the blog you are interested in and add that RSS feed to your internet toolbar. This will put a notification in your browser tool bar that this blog has a new posting, and a link to read the post.

Next week read about how to configure your email application to accept RSS feeds in Part 2 of How I Love to Follow a Blog, Let Me Count the Ways!