Archive for the 'metrics' Category

The Next Step in SEO Presentations

During the SEM II- Join the Evolution Conference on December 6, 2007, Neal Rabogliatti’s presentation on how to implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was, in my opinion, the missing portion of most SEO presentation and articles readily available today. Not only did Rabogliatti present the basics, but he suggested specific steps to take to implement SEO, a step many professionals are reluctant to take unless they are working directly for a client at a high hourly rate.

Introducing… SEO
Rabogliatti began by presenting an “E-Strategy Process,” where he explained seven phases of optimizing a site for both search engines and user friendly design.

  1. Define your goal: be as specific as possible
  2. Discovery: who is our specific audience?
  3. Research: find the terminology that should be used to appeal to the largest audience
  4. Compiling and Arranging: decide on the terms you should use in the site
  5. Review and test the keyword terms in order to modify your keyword selection
  6. Execute the plan: have a web developer create and launch the site
  7. Market, Promote, Optimize and Maintain the site

Rabogliatti stressed the importance of the initial planning phases in order to implement the most effective SEO plan. He also mentioned that, if possible, the web developer should be a part of all phases in order to increase his understanding of the goals.

The discussion then led to a basic explanation of SEO, including how search engines usually rank sites. The search engines first send out “spiders” that crawl your site, finding the pages linked to your site, and therefore creating an index of the page. The page is then ranked according to the page content’s relevancy to the key term that is being searched for. The ranking, or relevancy, of a site is determined by referencing:

  • Page Content: text keyword density should be around 5-7% of code. This can be found using a Keyword Density Checker.
  • Organizing Codes: Page Title, meta tags, and keyword tags can all be used to increase keywords and relevancy of your site.
  • Link Popularity: the number of external sites that link to your site.

How to Implement SEO
We now get into the “how to” section of Rabogliatti’s presentation, which begins with his “designing for success” suggestions. User friendly sites tend to be the most SEO friendly, therefore ranking as more relevant than non-user friendly sites. Your web developer should pay close attention to the following aspects of the site architecture and layout in order to maximize SEO potential:

  • File and Folder Structure: folder directories should be as close to the root directories as possible. The further from the root directory, the more likely the search engine is to interpret the file as less relevant and important, resulting in a lower ranking or no indexing of the pages furthest away.
  • Page Layout: the actual content containing the keywords should be as close to the beginning of the code as possible.
    • Keep content at beginning of code. Content that begins after code line 150 may actually be ignored by most search engines.
    • Using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) can help bring relevant content into the first few lines by referring to an external (CSS) file in order to give the instructions for what the page should look like.
    • Stay away from frame and table layouts, as search engines generally read these layouts differently than the order of importance.
    • Use Div / Layers in order to enable the code to tell the search engines which sections to read first, and therefore which are most relevant.
  • Navigational Structure: ensure every page is accessible from another within two clicks. This helps search engines index your site.

Social Media and SEO
Rabogliatti also introduced social media within the SEO context. Social media consists of online tools that people use to share opinions, insights, and information with one another in the form of text, images, audio, or video. It can be classified into four different types:

  1. Bookmarking Sites: users bookmark their favorite sites, which creates a link to that site, increasing the SEM power of the site. Examples include Del.icio.us or reddit.
  2. Media Sharing Sites: examples include YouTube and Flickr
  3. Blogs
  4. Content Syndication: people place press releases and announcements on these sites, which increase the search engine marketing power of the site. An example is Digg.

There are several things you can do to use social media to help increase your search engine marketing power:

  1. Make tagging and bookmarking easy by adding a tool below each article, post, or on each page inviting visitors to share this tool. An example includes Add This.
  2. Create Content: begin to contribute to the current discussion on whatever topics in your area of expertise are hot at the moment. Become a thought leader in your field by getting involved through posts containing your opinion and the information your target audience is looking for.
  3. Know How to Target Your Audience: do some research to find out what they want, and then give it to them through the creation of content.

Helpful Tools
The following are some helpful tools that Rabogliatti recommends in order to utilize search engine optimization most effectively:

Overall, Rabogliatti did a tremendous job presenting this valuable information to the attendees of the conference. As well as providing some helpful and descriptive “how to” tips, he was lively and entertaining, obviously passionate and knowledgeable about the topic. Thanks Neal, for your wonderful presentation and insightful SEO tips!

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SEM II: SEM- Paid and Natural Recap!

Last week’s conference, “SEM II: Join the Evolution,” was a great success, providing its attendees with some first rate information on the basics of search engine marketing, both paid and natural, as well as “how to” information to get started. Held at the Ambassador Banquet and Conference Center in Erie, PA, which resulted in a strong turnout and several walk ins, which was surprising due to the thick layer of snow that covered the ground that morning.

Neal Rabogliatti’s presentation on how to implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO) included the next steps necessary to implement the strategy, which the majority of SEO presentation and articles readily available today do not provide. Not only did Rabogliatti present the basics, but he suggested specific steps to take to actually implement SEO, a step many are reluctant to take unless they are working directly with a client, being paid an hourly rate.

After a short intermission to allow Rabogliatti’s wealth of information to settle, Justin Seibert presented on the topic of Paid Search Marketing. Seibert’s presentation also served as the next step presentation for paid search. Instead of focusing on the basics of the medium, he gives detailed information about how to set up accounts on sites such as Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing to begin implementing your paid search marketing strategies.

Did you miss the conference? You didn’t miss out! Stay tuned for the next few posts on this eMarketing SIG Blog, in which we will be recapping both Rabogliatti and Seibert’s excellent presentations, in order to supply you with a taste of their experiences and knowledge they shared about search engine optimization and paid search marketing!

Do You Know Your eMarketing Metrics?

Do you know how to measure the success of your online marketing activities?

Do you know how many unique visitors enter through your home page?

Do you know how many exit your site after entering the home page?

Do you know what the relative bounce rate benchmark is specific to your site?

You should.  Every site is different but the rule of thumb is it should be well under 50%.  Think about it…if 50% or more visitors are coming to your home page and then exiting you’ve got a problem…maybe a relevance problem?  Maybe the copy or look and feel does not speak to your target audience.  Perhaps visitors are confused about your offerings and how you can help them.  If you are using your site to generate leads and the bounce rate is high, then your homepage is performing very poorly.  You need to know your website metrics information and then optimize the page to perform more effectively. 

This is the kind of information AJ Miceli, VP of Marketing for FishUSA.com and Communications Professor at Gannon shares in his webinar:  eMarketing Metrics, Benchmarks & Tactics offered by eBizITPA.  It is packed with industry standard metrics for web, email, and search engine marketing that you absolutely need to know for optimizing online marketing value. 

AJ already conducted the research, pouring over hundreds of dollars of industry benchmark reports including: Email Marketing Benchmark Guide from MarketingSherpa and the Response Rate Study from The Direct Marketing Association.  He gives you all the metrics, analytics, definitions and he tells you how to get started measuring your own set of internal benchmarks. 

AJ is easy to get know and listen to.  I’ve know him for many years, going back before he was an online pioneer, starting an ISP back in the early 1990’s, his entrepreneurial activities have grown along with the growth of the internet. He knows how to leverage the internet as a marketing channel and help grow a successful pure play e-tail business like FishUSA.com. It means tracking and monitoring all your activities, online and offline.  And that is what is so great about online marketing – you can track and measure just about everything.   


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