Posts Tagged ‘SEO techniques’

SEO: Geo Targeting in Google (this affects all ecommerce websites)

There are many websites out there with the intention of making sales online or acquiring customers from the internet. These websites do official business which is targeted to certain geographical locations – either targeted to only a single country, a number of countries or the entire world.

Search engine rankings in Google are influenced by a geo targeting aspect of the domain and its hosting location. If one didn’t consider geographical location as a factor, one would think ranking a website accurately is a straightforward task. The ranking we check on Google’s results page is just the tip of the iceberg with respect to client expectations. For example, say you have a client in the US targeting www.google.com and you are an SEO specialist living in SA. Of course, your clients’ and your geographical locations are different and so are the ranking results you see on google.com, which are NOT exactly the same.

Let me explain further with an example – let’s use the keyword ‘mugs’, which in South Africa ranks at position 7 on google.com, your client in the US uses the same keyword on google.com and the same website could rank 9, or even worse rank on the second page at position 15 when checked in the US.

If you are an SEO living in SA and you check your client’s rankings using http://www.google.com, the results are geographically biased. Google will deliver results that are different from those it would give if you had checked the site’s ranking exactly in the targeted location. But when rankings are checked in the US, google.com search results are unbiased, since the searcher is also from the US.

Because of the discrepancies in the search engine results there is a lot of conflict between SEO companies and their clients. To simulate the outlook of a searcher living in the same country as your client, you will have to use a proxy. The proxy acts like the middle man between Google data centers and your computer. If you are using a US-based proxy, then Google treats the IP address of the proxy like a US-based searcher.

  1. Go to Google and search for a free proxy in the specific country of choice, in this case USA ie: ‘USA free proxy’
  2. Click the proxy of choice, in the proxy’s search section – type in www.google.com
  3. then in the search box, type in your desired search ie: ‘mugs’

 

Using this technique, any SEO can accurately check rankings in Google with differences in geographical location or Google country-targeted search engines.

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SEO in a Nutshell

89% of internet users use search engines to find what they are looking for, and in February 2008 there were about 10 billion searches done in the US alone. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a process of positioning a website as high as possible for organic searches on search engines. The higher your website is listed, the more accessible your website is to the public and this in turn will result in huge traffic to your website.

In layman’s terms: go to Google, and do a search for ‘kids parties’, and a website appears number one displaying relevant content on kids parties (maybe even selling products or their service) – this is due to an effective and well implemented SEO strategy. Google ranks websites based on two primary processes – onsite optimization and offsite optimization.

Onsite Optimization is basically optimizing an entire website (each and every web page), and this entails tweaking the content and everything within the content (links, images, style etc.), as well as certain HTML tags, and regularly modifying the website structure and content in order to improve your organic rankings on search engines. Search engines use ‘bots’ or ‘spiders’ which are algorithms that crawls all the pages of your website. Once complete, the ‘spiders’ then allocate a rank for your website and this rank is the rank you see on search engines when doing a search.

Offsite Optimization or link building is one of the most important techniques of SEO and involves acquiring links from other well ranked, credible or popular websites. The more websites that links (or points) to your website (especially if that website has similar content), the more credible and valuable your website will appear to search engines – this is like a stamp of approval from other websites endorsing your website. The higher the number of quality links you receive, the better your link popularity and rankings become.

SEO strategies that converts traffic into sales

Everyone wants a website that they can make money off. It’s no secret that you can only do this with the help of SEO. Firstly, do you or your business have a website, or a blog? If not, then you are definitely not marketing your services or your company effectively, and should invest in a website.

If you already have a website, then you should be asking yourself these questions:

 – What is my website doing for me?

 – Is my website an asset or liability?

 – Is my website marketing my products and services effectively? How do you know for sure?

 – Is your website ranking on the 1st page of Google?

 – What is the ROI on my website?

 – Are you making money via your website?

 – Is my website driving more customers to my business and is there an increase in sales?

 

If you cannot answer any of the questions above (you don’t know the answers) or have answered negatively to them, then you are in desperate need of search engine optimization (SEO) / SEO strategies, and possibly internet marketing (depending on the market your business is in).

Even though these are general questions that most people would ask themselves, they still seem to fall into a trap. But who can blame them? How are they (the clients) supposed to know that the SEO techniques used on their website is not going to work? They are not the professionals in this field!

The ‘real truth’ is that if you have an SEO strategy implemented and your website is optimized correctly (for search engines), then your website should be receiving a lot of traffic. This should increase your website rankings on search engines; however this does not mean that by receiving a lot of traffic that you are going to make any money.

‘This is a good problem to have’ and the challenge really starts when you have decent amount of traffic to your website or your website is ranking quite well on search engines for certain keywords / keyword phrases and you now want to convert that traffic into leads and then ideally paying customers.

The trick is to build loyalty, credibility, and be a trustworthy source. This seems easy enough, but 90% of websites don’t have good conversation rates and don’t have a strategy to improve their numbers.

How would you build in all these qualities on arrival? Simple. You don’t! You have to take the patent route and first build customer loyalty ie:

  • The visitor must like what you offer (be it your products, services, tips, guidelines, giveaways etc.),
  • You need to then draw the visitor to your website quite frequently. This can be done via various email marketing campaigns, competitions on your website, viral marketing strategies (I can think off many strategies right now) etc.
  • By viewing your statistics on your Google analytics account or stats on the email campaigns – you will get a feel for exactly what your subscribers like or dislike. By knowing this you can then offer them accordingly.

 

How do you make your website credible?

  • Your website should have a clean design, with basic SEO techniques implemented
  • You need to get your website out there – this can be achieved by implementing other SEO strategies – article marketing and social media marketing
  • Black text against a white background (eye pleasing colours)
  • Little or no obvious advertising
  • No pop ups
  • A clear message on the homepage as to what your value proposition is
  • Clear navigation (as this make your website very user-friendly)

Once your visitor is on your website, he/she will have about 10 seconds to be impressed or they will leave, generally by clicking on the ‘back button’ on the browser.

Once the visitor is convinced that they have landed on a credible website and they have found the product or service that they are looking for, what next? Well, you now have to come across as being trustworthy.

How do you build trust into your website?

  • Put a video of the owner / employee on the website – instantly build trust and credibility. Visitors must see real people behind the website.
  • Have your telephone / office numbers on the Contact Us Page. Explain to them why they should contact you, and give them an indication of when they can expect a response from you.
  • Add a picture of your premises or building on your About Us page
  • Have a privacy policy clearly displayed. Even though its been shown that most people don’t read it, they do notice if it is on the website or not.
  • Have all your member affiliations and logos. Do you belong to the local Chamber of Commerce, the national association of your profession, etc, show that you have real world connections.
  • Display customer testimonials and spread them across your website on the relevant pages. Have a link if possible to the testimonial(s).
  • Show visitors when your website was last updated
  • Don’t use overly promotional words in the writing style of your website. Try to be clear, direct and sincere.
  • And finally, one big thing, ask your customers what element(s) they found as adding credibility to your website and emphasise this element.

These guidelines will definitely assist in converting your website traffic into paying customers if you follow my recommendations. Remember you have to be patient, and you have to be focused. SEO does not happen overnight!