Optimizing Your Web Site to Grow Your Business
Last week, I had the good fortune of attending a seminar for business owners about Web site search engine optimization presented by Jason Lavin, founder of Golden State Communications. He gave an excellent demonstration of how Web site optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and measurement (analytics) can ignite growth in almost any kind of business.
“Your Web site should: Save you time, make you money and better serve your clients.” According to Lavin, “For most clients in most industries, SEM has the highest return on investment (ROI) of any advertising dollars spent.” He also provided compelling live data to demonstrate the income generated from several paid-search programs.
One of the key takeaways from the seminar was the relationship between organic search and paid search advertising. If you do a good job of organic search optimization — you will in turn get better results with your paid ads, and end up paying less for them.
I thought it would be useful to first define SEO and SEM:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a Web site from search engines via organic search results as opposed to search engine marketing (SEM) which deals with paid inclusion.
Search engine marketing (SEM) promotes Web sites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages through the use of search engine optimization, paid placement, contextual advertising and paid inclusion.
Why is search engine marketing so effective?
The Heat Map graphic to the left shows user clicks on a Google Search Results page. The red and orange areas of the heat map overlay show that the paid advertisements and the first couple of organic search results are being clicked on the most.
If you want to increase your click through rate and generate more leads from your Web site, it’s critical to 1) optimize word choices for organic searching, and 2) purchase specific keywords for paid search advertising.
The next step to optimizing your Web site: Creating landing pages
A landing page is the page that appears when a user clicks on an advertisement or a search-engine result link. A good landing page will display content that is relevant to the advertisement or link. The page should also be optimized with specific keywords or phrases for indexing by search engines.
For pay per click (PPC) campaigns, the landing page can also be customized to measure the effectiveness of different advertisements.
Additionally, there are several more terms that will help you to understand search engine marketing and measurement. These include: conversions, conversion rate, cost-per-conversion, page rank, and one-way links (also known as inbound links).
Lavin also shared ten key tactics that you can use right now that will help you start dramatically improving your Web presence:
- Add keywords to title tags.
- Use those same words in the URL.
- Also include those keywords in the page content.
- Utilize Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).
- Use Meta Tags sparingly.
- Don’t ever use link farms and other SEO spam.
- Use the same keywords in your image names and alt tags.
- Submit your Web site to search engines and directories by hand.
- Update your page daily.
- Integrate a blog into your Web site if you don’t already have one.
The last and most important piece is to make sure you are tracking and measuring your progress, always looking for creative ways to improve your Web site’s performance. Lavin recommended using Google Analytics for most businesses — a free service I love and use on all of my Web sites.
I have attended several search engine marketing seminars in the past, and I feel that Jason Lavin presents this topic in a practical and easy to understand format. If you want to learn more about improving your Web site, I highly recommend you register for one of Jason’s upcoming seminars.