Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Website Optimization and other Search Engine Tactics

The last year has been particularly interesting. Having been in this space now being called social media marketing, since before it even started, means that we have been able to test many of the practices that PR professionals are just now learning to use as mainstream. In fact, my associate Mike Keesling was doing Search Engine Optimization in Los Angeles for Pacific Island Reservations, a Hawaii Vacation Rentals site, back in 1996, when they only had one website. Today they have 12 websites, and for more than a decade he has helped them maintain a top ten ranking in Google, MSN and Yahoo. In fact - check it out if you are looking for a place to stay in Hawaii for vacation this summer! It'll save you money.

Onsite Search Engine Optimization (SEO) defines your website and targets your visitors. Whether you are a small business or a corporation you need an Internet marketing strategy that includes a website with interactive content that to attract your customers who are online using the search engines to find what they want. Then when your potential customers type in the keywords associated with your products and services, your website will come up within the first page of the search engines.

We call this Website Optimization – and just FYI, most web designers (no offense) do not install Meta, Title or Alt tags properly, and in fact they can cause more damage than good. For example, Flash websites cannot be SEOd, and this is critical to the search engines and your customers finding your website.

Another tip - with the right keywords we will make sure every page on your website is optimized properly with those words. More subject-specific content means better qualified traffic. This text is optimized if the search engines can find it via keyword-density. And your site should also be a good read.

Sitemaps are another thing you should consider. There are two types of sitemaps: 1) An HTML page listing the pages on your site by section so users can find the information they seek. 2) XML sitemaps, a way for Google to find all the pages on your site, and that includes URLs that may not be discoverable by their standard Web crawling processes.

Website Analytics This tells us the behavior of your website visitors, allowing us to use data collected to determine which aspects of the website are working, such as which landing pages encourage people to take an action. We can use it to track visitors, sales or measure month-to-month SEO results and tweak online strategies.

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) content syndication feeds are also a social media and Internet marketing must these days for better search engine visibility and better qualified traffic to your site.

And my favorite, being a PR professional, electronic press rooms and optimized releases are a must. Our eco-friendly electronic press kits are also optimized for the search engines making it easier for the media and your customers to find you. Here is another one of our client's online press kits that has been getting alot of attention lately. A company with a Los Angeles recording school, plus film schools and a radio DJ school known as the Entertainment Career Connection.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Social Media Marketing Press Release and Wire Services

MarCom has been using various forms of the new social media marketing press release for our clients for the last few years. In fact a press release just went out yesterday for our client Acutrack, Inc. regarding their new eco-friendly consultation services to help other businesses learn how they can leave behind a smaller carbon footprint while remaining profitable. Acutrack has been helping ease the burdens their clients are placing on the world a number of ways, including environmentally friendly CD and DVD manufacturing. We distributed this release via PR Web, for several reasons. It was a longer than normal release because we added some of the customer testimonials, and PR Web's costs for distribution can often be more modest than MarketWire. Although we use both company's wire services. Each has various methods and distribution cost rates -- PR Web's premium one is $360. The release cannot be more than 800 words basically.

Acutrack's release was already picked up by a couple of newswires -- Acutrack, Inc. Announces Eco-Friendly CD and DVD Manufacturing and Packaging Solutions. There is also PR Newswire, which I have used for years for traditional press release dissemination to the media. Most all of the wires today are doing search engine optimization -- so, right now, I believe it is a matter of client budgets and experimentation for preference as to who gets you the best results.

Oh and BTW I just noticed this MarketWire press release regarding the fact that the inventor of the new social media press release format (now on version 1.5) PR agency Shift Communications, just won the Holmes Report "New Media Agency of the Year." Well done.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

SEO RAP -- No Nos from Los Angeles SEO Firm

We are all used to the tips for how to do search engine optimization (SEO) but what about the no nos that you never knew about? We'd like to offer some help by offering you ten steps for what not do do on your website if you want to attract customers.
  1. Throw Flash and Splash screens in the trash. Do not use Flash and expect to get good SEO results. You know the websites were you see a pretty picture or animation on the home page and have to click enter her to go beyond? No text on your home page means the search engines won't read it. Good SEO is all about content... content... content.
  2. Don't forget to add Title and Description tags on pages. You may have seen some websites where it says "new page" in the browser? That is probably because the website designer did not put a title tag on the page. It is really important to the search engines.A site without a Description tag is meaningless. A short message with a key word that describes your site in the Description tag is essential so your customers will click through to your site when they see your site's listing.
  3. Don't use repeat Title and Description tags. Your website pages should each be unique and contain a theme for key words or phrases for each page, so make your Title and Description tags match the content for one of the keywords per page of the same topic. You can't optimize one single page for many key words.
  4. Don't use text as an image. Some sites have text and images combined into a jpg or gif image, so you can't select the text with your cursor. Search engines cannot find any searchable text, so you get no SEO results. Also don't make any headlines into gif images, because they should be text with a key word in it.
  5. Local Business do not need national SEO. It won't do a cigar store in Pasadena any good to optimize for the national or global marketplace, because their customers can't come in and buy a cigar unless they live near Pasadena. MarCom had a client like this, so we optimized them for Pasadena Cigar stores. It worked. Now it would have been different if they had an online cigar store.
  6. Redesign your site with caution. Don't lose optimized URLs. Once a website's pages have been indexed by the search engines and people are finding you, you do not want to lose the SEO traffic you have already established, and the search engines will be sending your potential customers to pages, or URLs that no longer exist. To redesign your site you need to have your web master use a similar structure of the old site had and retain the same URL addresses for the new pages.
And for those of you who need some more help with your search engine optimization feel free to check out our website at www.marcombroadband.com