Saturday, March 18, 2017

Pay Attention to Your Website Images, or Face the Consequences.

A Good Website Image is Worth a Thousand Optimized Content Words.

If images are properly included on a webpage, SEO is usually improved. The image must be relevant, informational, and properly tagged and captioned. Webpage search optimization is enhanced. Importantly, relevant images vastly improve the odds of a potential client becoming a real client. Pictures and images help sell the product or service being offered.

Optimized Content and Image.
Images increase customer confidence in the company, the website, the product, and the service offered. Most people want to see an image of what they're going to buy, before they buy it. It is human nature to 'see before you buy'. No one wants to buy an unknown product or a service for which context is missing and/or appears confusing.

Relevant images provide assurance and instant information. This applies to goods and services. A good image relates to a particular product, option, service, and application. The potential customer will instantly 'get it'.

Top-notch consumer and industrial product websites like Amazon, Grainger, Home Depot, Walmart, Staples, and others pay close attention to product images. Accurate images help them sell stuff, a lot of stuff.

If a website image is worth a thousand words, why do so many websites have missing-in-action images? Cleaning up missing or inaccurate images should be a high priority. Making sure these images are optimally tagged for search is also important.

Don't end up with sad 'image not found' defaults on your webpages.... it won't end well and you'll lose orders, leads, projects, etc. Your competitors will thank you.

Don't do this:
SEO Images
Missing in Action: Images Not Found.

This is bad:
Image Not Found.













This is bad:
Image Not Found.










This is bad:
Image Not Found.










Don't be bad. Be good. Use precise, concise, imagery on your website. Tag it properly. Your SEO results will thank you for it.

Six Reasons to be Thankful to Your Competitors

Sunday, January 22, 2017

CROSS-LINK IT - For Better Sales and Leads

Cross-Linking Webpages Helps Customer and Search Engine Navigation.
Don't Maroon Your Customers!

Marooned in a Great Unknown Website!
Millions of dollars in potential sales and leads are lost on a daily basis thanks to poor or badly designed website navigation. In B-to-B web sales, this is especially important. Customers will only sacrifice so much time and effort to find a product or service.

Once frustrated, customers attempt to back-browse (back-browsing actions often result from a failure in navigation design) and/or try the internal search engine (fingers crossed). Faced with failure and frustration, the prospective customer then evacuates the website completely and goes to Google or directly to a competitor's website. A sale is lost because the customer couldn't quickly and efficiently find what they were looking for.

Cross-Linking relevant pages help customers find the product or service they want. It will help them find related products and services. It will make their experience easier and more efficient. Cross-Linking works, if used in a logical way.

A usability goal of any website should be "Don't Make Me Think" when customers navigate to find information. Along with top and side level navigation menus, cross linking can help a customer drill down, and drill down fast.

Example of effective and efficient cross-linking:
Cross Linking Helps People and Search Engines Find Your Stuff!
Related product links are listed on related product webpages. To pull related items together into a relevant cluster of webpages, web marketers must know the product lines and their customers. If web teams don't know the market in detail, they better learn. By working with sales teams, technical service staff, and customers web teams can better capture the niche product or service universe as your customer sees it.

Example of poor cross-linking, the Dead End Webpage:
This Dead End Webpage Customer Navigation Experience isn't going to end well!
Don't Maroon your customers. In this case, if a customer wanted a different size, style, or color they will leave your site. No options were given to see related products. What's more frustrating than to land on a webpage and not have useful navigation options to continue searching? Not much. If a landing page doesn't have what the customer wanted and the website offers no related options thanks to poor navigation and poor cross-linking, the chances are very high that visitor will leave your website and try searching again on a competitor's.

So much of successful website navigation is based upon common-sense. The key to success is understanding how your customer looks at your universe of products and services, and design your website to reflect that understanding. Cross-Links are knowledge bridges for customers and search engines, and a vital part of a good navigation system. Cross-Link for success!

A to Z Lists on Websites Really Work

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Spell It Out for SEO Optimization

Spell It Out for Search Engine Success

Acronyms, initials, and abbreviations are used all the time in business and our daily lives. BTW they are convenient, useful, and practical. 

When it comes to search engine marketing, however, these same spelling shortcuts can wreak havoc on your website, harming the ability of potential customers to find your webpages. Over-reliance on such spelling shortcuts can make it extremely difficult for potential customers to find your products and services using external search engines and, frustratingly, your own internal search website search engine. In short, being 'short'  with your website spelling can cost you external and internal visitors, prospects, and sales. This advice is good for B-to-B and B-to-C websites, for E-commerce and Lead Generation (Lead Gen).

Fully spell out words as much as possible, especially key words. Popular acronyms and abbreviations are also very useful, but should be used in combination with fully spelled out words when practical. Your content and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will be enhanced as a result.
Spell it Out. 
For example, usage of "Glove", not "Glv", when describing such a product is people-friendly, logical, and a better content option. "Glv" is almost useless as a keyword in this instance, rendering such a product listing much more difficult to find via external or internal search. 

For technical sales, acronyms are common and important for successful SEO and lead generation. Yet even here it pays to spell out the acronym, while also using the accepted acronym. For example, "FTIR" is a well known analytical technique and a great keyword, but "Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy" is also packed with SEO potential. Usage of both the acronym and the full spelling creates a powerful content combination, enhancing your chances for superior search engine results performance. 


Using the full technical term also adds credibility and expertise to potential customers looking at your service or product. Remember, you want to impress & motivate that 5% who will purchase/influence/decide upon your offering. It's OK to get technical with verbiage!

Spell it out. You'll improve search engine success and obtain more leads when you do.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Google Adwords Update for May 2015


Google Adwords Basic Concepts and Updates for May 2015
Google Adwords is Simple, Complex, and Always Changing. 

I had the pleasure of finally being able to attend a meeting of the Fort Bend Internet Marketing Group in May, 2015. Presenting to and meeting this talented group of mostly independent marketing professionals was inspiring and educational.

My presentation covered some basic principles and processes involved with Google Adwords, which can help target your market more efficiently and effectively. I also covered some basic overviews on search engine marketing and the lead generation power of search engine optimization. Google is always tweaking this powerful lead generation tool, and not always for the convenience or advantage of the Adwords account holder!

Meetup is a valuable resource. 
If you live in the Fort Bend County and Houston regions, you are welcome to attend this group. Just RSVP and let the organizers know you'll be there by using the Meet-up Group web tool.

 The Fort Bend Internet Marketing Group can be contacted at:
http://www.meetup.com/Fort-Bend-Internet-Marketing-Meetup-Group/

You can download a copy of the May 2015 Google Adwords presentation I gave to the group, on Google Docs:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5OYdawKrxwYSmtTc0dFTFNvWGM/view?usp=sharing

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Recycle and Repurpose Old Webpages.

Repurpose, Reuse, and Recycle Search Engine Friendly webpages.

If possible, save B-to-B webpages which are getting superior search engine rankings but are starting to look obsolescent or out-of-date. Think before you delete. It doesn't pay to mindlessly remove an 'old' webpage which has proven SEO and Search Engine Results Page (SERP) success. If the webpage can re-purposed to a new productive use, take advantage of the situation.

An 'old' webpage, for example, which is ranking number one in organic search out of 3 million indexed webpages has real value. Keep it and recycle it if you can. Your lead generation results will thank you!

Old indexed pages with good index visibility have commercial value and should be retained if at all possible. The page content can be modified to meet new needs and circumstances.

Putting New Wine in Old Bottles:
The page content can be significantly changed to meet current and future needs. Perhaps there is an opportunity to create a niche content drill-down opportunity for long-tail search success, or add an allied page to enhance and promote a core service.

The ability to exploit an old webpage for new purposes is only limited by one's imagination and understanding of the business, and how the niche webpage can best serve the business.

But to simply delete the 'old' page without evaluating for future utility is a bad idea. Simplistic deletion can also harm your visibility on the web. If you must delete the page, redirect the URL to another relevant webpage as part of the deletion process. This will preserve some of the SERP history, at least for a while.

There have been many times where I've neutralized requests to 'remove' 'old' webpages because the content had become obsolete or 'wrong'. Instead, I've looked at the page history, navigation, lead generation, web analytics, and other visitor behaviors and related data. If the page has value, I've re-purposed the webpage and often created a more potent lead generation opportunity than before thanks to new and more focused content on a page which already had enviable SERP results.

A related request to 'dumping' webpages pages with relatively low levels of visitors can come from people convinced a webpage has little value because the monthly visits are 'low', say 200 a month, for example. This is a topic for another blog article, but the short answer is that in technical B-to-B web marketing quality visits are more important than quantity visits. You're targeting a tiny but extremely valuable market of decision makers and influencers. If those 200 monthly visitors are generating quality leads, then the page is doing its job and is highly valuable to the business.

Search Engine Marketing expert, trainer, teacher, and consultant Bruce Clay has published an informative article on webpage re-purposing:
A 6-Step Guide for Repurposing Content

Saturday, January 24, 2015

What Web Marketing can do for you in 2017.

Web Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) accelerate business growth. 

That's what Web Marketing and SEO can do for you in 2017.

It's a new year with new marketing challenges; revenue growth, margin growth, market growth, resources, and more are high on the list for any professional B-to-B marketing and sales person.

One marketing need is crystal clear - - since good leads feed the business, marketers need to start FEEDING the BUSINESS.

Isn't this the same challenge as last year? And the year before?
Indeed it is.

So what are you going to do about it? 

Whatever else, don't forget these lead generation tools:

1. Web Marketing is a prime weapon in your arsenal for lead generation.
2. A prime component for effective Web Marketing must be Search Engine Marketing.
3. At the very heart of Web Marketing must be Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

I've been employing international Web Marketing and Search Engine Marketing strategies and tactics in my lead generation plans for over 13 years. Web leads have played a strategic, tactical and crucial role in helping grow multiple technical B-to-B business lines in both revenue and profit.

Our web marketing efforts have been producing quality lead generation volumes which have worked beyond anyone's wildest dreams way back in 2003. I'm accomplishing these results with only part of my work time devoted to web marketing... I still must deal with all the other marketing tasks which can easily fill up a day.

While I cannot divulge financial details, one of the business streams I supported received over 10,000 qualified web leads globally in one year alone. That business enjoyed superior revenue, profit, and profit-margin growth. Web leads are feeding that business. Just one person, myself, is managing the content, SEO, and campaigns which attracted and generated those 10,000+ leads, and on a part-time basis in terms of my total work time.

There is really no excuse to not work and engage with SEO on a regular and systemic basis. Web leads are by far the number one source of quality leads, from my experience.

Sanity Check: Web Leads are essential, but they're only part of an optimal mix of healthy lead generation. Outstanding leads are also generated from Referrals, Trade Shows, Advertising, Conferences, White Papers, and more. They must all be utilized. But Web Leads are the high volume and high quality lead generation source, if Search Engine Marketing principles are applied.

So what are you going to do about 2017 quality lead generation? 

My suggestion is: 

Get busy with Search Engine Marketing. Make it a priority.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Promotional Items and Trade Shows

Promotional Items Attract Quality Leads At Trade Shows and Conferences.

Trade Shows are hard work. One of the hardest working contributors to B-to-B Trade Shows are "Cheap and Cheerful" promotional items. When used properly, carefully selected promotional give-aways boost lead counts and grow the number of quality leads produced from an exhibition, conference, or other industry event. You’ll get more visitors to your booth at minimal cost, expand your potential prospect contact list, and out-perform your competitors.

Well chosen promotional items are eye-candy and provide an element of entertainment. No matter how busy or how important a delegate walking down your exhibit aisle is, promotional items will get their attention.  These lowly "cheap and cheerful" booth workers are often noticed well before people pay attention to your carefully designed booth. Delegates and prospects are people, and people love novelties and freebies.

Deciding what promotional item to order can take some thought and deliberation. Choose items which fit the venue and focus of the conference. It's easy to keep costs under control, just don't go low quality or boring. In other words, cheap or boring give-aways which break or quickly stop working are worse than having nothing at all. Avoid branded items which are eaten or consumed (such as gum or candy). Better to give them something that has function or is 'fun' and a conversation starter. When people show other people their new company branded 'toy', you've won. Think out of the box.

At one key conference and exhibition, for example, we stopped VIP senior execs dead in their tracks with our 'secret weapon', a cleverly themed promotional item which fit the event perfectly. These men and women manage, own, and lease significant assets and usually would ignore the booths around them while engaged in their deep conversations. They would have strolled right by us with barely a look had we not put on the exhibit table our clever promotional item... and that is how we met many of these key contacts. They wanted multiple samples too.... for their kids, grand-kids, people in their office, and themselves.

Hard Working Booth Staff.
The promotional item created a face-to-face opportunity to meet, greet, and give them our slate of services and created golden opportunities with significant new potential accounts. These inexpensive company-logo give-aways will be happily found in their homes and offices…. providing great brand exposure for us. Call it "In-House Advertising". Needless to say, our global manager for that business niche now insists we have these giveaways on duty at his major worldwide trade-show events.

At another key European conference for another business line I used the same strategy, once again tailoring an inexpensive but eye-catching give-away item to the event. One of the country managers had been very skeptical of trade shows and promotional items, based his past experience. He was amazed at the sheer number of quality leads generated thanks to the promotional item working in tandem with a newly designed booth, literature, and a hand-picked team of experts. He also now insists that the same approach be used in the future. I can cite many more examples of how promotional items help drive in leads and spark conversations with valuable prospective customers.
Promo Item Going Viral.

There is also a viral marketing benefit to this. People who were given the cheap and cheerful giveaway item showed it to their colleagues and friends at the conference, and pointed them our way. They also post photos of the giveaways on social media and share them. We gained additional qualified leads as a consequence.

At a recent and massive trade show and conference, I gave every one of the hard-working people registering delegates one of our event themed promotional items as a thank you from us. They loved them, and they wore them while registering hundreds and hundreds of delegates! They even came back for more. We gained significant conference exposure as a consequence. When you are in a massive trade show with over 1,000 exhibitors and you're only a minnow in a very big sea, every bit of 'viral marketing' and 'guerrilla  marketing' helps.

Silly promotional item? Yes. Effective at the job of attracting leads? Yes.

There are advantages and disadvantages to various promotional item approaches. There is no single solution. In fact, each solution comes with its own set of challenges. Having a drawing for a big-ticket item is valid and can attract a lot of business cards and contacts, but only one person will win. Inexpensive giveaways make everyone who stops by a 'winner', and if a conversation is started and a contact is made and recorded, both sides win. If budget allows for it, it would be ideal to have both a 'raffle drawing' for a big ticket item and mass quantities of branded promotional items.

I can’t tell you how many times we've made important client contacts at trade shows because we had a ‘cheap and cheerful’ bauble on display…. too many to count.

When exhibiting at trade show or conference, include an appropriate give-away item. It can be quality, it can be classy, it can be silly, it can be clever. But include one.

More on Trade Shows, Conferences, and Marketing Tactics:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Negative is Still Positive with Google Adwords, and BING too.

Embrace Your Negative Side When Managing Paid Search Campaigns.

Five years ago I wrote a popular blog article on the use of negative keywords for Adwords, entitled Negative is Positive with Google Adwords.

Guess what? Negativity, in the form of negative search terms, is still a very useful tactic for refining your paid search campaigns, lowering your costs, and improving your conversions.

Both Adwords and BING provide easy-to-use tools to research and add negative terms to your campaigns and individual adword groups. Negative keyword search tactics are often ignored and underutilized, based upon my observations over the years... leading to large amounts of wasted effort and spending.
Negative is Positive with Paid Search

Why use Negative Search Terms?

Negative search terms help filter out people searching for things not relevant to your business.

One of the the challenges with paid search is that very different people may use identical or very similar search terms to access very different information and business solutions. Also called 'indirect search engine competitors', many bad things can happen to your search campaign if you find yourself inadvertently competing against indirect competitors.

For example, if your company sells 'brake shoe liners' to B-to-B industrial and mass transportation clients, your attempts to use paid search ads using search terms such as 'brake shoe' or 'shoe liner' may result in your ads competing against totally unrelated businesses selling 'shoes', 'brakes', 'liners', and variations of these keyword search terms. Not only will you pay more to be higher up in the rankings, but you may get clicks and 'leads' from confused or irrelevant visitors. You'll waste time, money, and harm your reputation as you attract 'garbage leads'.

Besides using more long-tail search terms, adding negative search terms will help cut back on the clutter and waste. If a potential searcher is looking for a search term which includes your negative keyword, your ad will not show. You just saved time, money, and reputation. Negative search terms to combat 'brake shoe liners' could include 'store', 'women's', 'sale', 'car', 'autoparts', etc. Your click through rate will climb, your quality score will climb, your conversion rate will climb, and more.

A well designed paid search campaign may, in fact, have more negative search terms than positive.

Google Adwords in particular has some great tools you can use to research both potential and actual search terms related to your keywords and your ads. You can actually review real Adwords search history for your adwords groups, select search terms which are not desirable, add and/or modify them to ensure there is no unintended problem with your positive search terms, and then load them as negative terms. You've just enhanced the performance of your campaigns.

One important word of advice regarding negative search terms... choose wisely, selectively, and sparingly. Try to keep to one-word negative keyword lists, as this will reduce the risk of accidentally filtering for good keywords. Better to use 'automobile' as negative term than 'automobile research', if your company conducts research for clients, for example.

Lessons Learned from Ten Years with Google Adwords

Saturday, June 21, 2014

FEED Your Website. FEED IT.

Use SEO to Feed your Website. Feed it with valuable B-to-B leads.

Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the number one, proven, effective, technique to feed quality visitors to a website and produce valuable leads as a consequence. Just like a lawn, a website needs to be fed in order to be healthy. SEO acts as a powerful 'fertilizer', feeding your website with a constant stream of quality business leads.

Using SEO as the key foundation for a productive lead-generating website is equivalent to one of nature's laws... ignore or downplay SEO at your peril.

Your Website With SEO:

This Website Used Search Engine Optimization and THRIVED.
A website well-fed with effective SEO will produce leads and quality visitors. SEO is a constant process, however, and needs to be conducted on a routine basis. Search Engines and Competitors mean that content is constantly being updated on Search Engine Results, so good SEO means regular "weed and feed" practices are in order.

Your Website Without SEO:

This Website Didn't Use Search Engine Optimization and WILTED.
I am constantly surprised when encountering people who deliberately take actions to harm their website's SEO effectiveness. Such SEO self-saboteurs can be a bit delusional. They often don't comprehend how SEO works, or try 'shortcuts' a fly-by-night agency has suggested (spammy link-building or keyword stuffing, anyone?), or they'll reject the dedicated work-ethic needed to be successful with long-tail search success. The result? An ugly website full of dead pages, barren pages, weedy pages, and poor lead generation.

Some of the worst offenders don't like nor understand SEO and think it is a messy process. They want it all stopped, now. SEO gives them a headache. Make it go away. This mentality always provides a gift to their competitors who do understand and exploit SEO.

The simple mantra "Feed Your Website. Feed It." using good search engine optimization practices will ultimately produce a beautiful, lush, website sprouting vigorous growth full of quality business leads.

Want Good Web Leads? Then SEO Matters.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Want More Local Web Leads? Target Local + Country Search Content.

Localizing Content Can Bring Lead Generation and Search Engine Success.

Focusing SEO and PPC into optimizing key local country search campaigns can be effective and very profitable.

So why localize webpage content, when appropriate? Because it works... really well. The quality leads I see generated every day on a global basis generated from localized webpages tell me we're on the right track, and getting leads we may have missed otherwise.

Localized Search Optimization
will produce additional quality leads.
Targeting localized search is another example of using long-tail search marketing tactics. There is extra work ahead in order to succeed and dominate in location focused search results. Adding localized content also means thinking through how to harmonize such pages with more global, "generic" content pages which are located on the same website. Assuming the website is global and one language (English), webpage duplication must be minimized, and cross-linking must be logical.

This article will focus on localized content on webpages for localized SEO in English.

There are very effective localization tools which will not be discussed in this article, such as Geo-targeting call-to-actions and using Google's Local Search Listings. These SEO tools deserve their own time.

Another extremely powerful technique to dominate local search, not covered here, is the creation of additional language (Spanish, French, German, Chinese, etc) and language specific country websites (Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, China, etc). This tactic also deserves separate time and attention.

So, how does localized search work, and when should you create local content webpages in addition to generic content pages?

First, be aware that Google operates different search engine websites for different countries. The results on those national search engines will serve up different results than Google.com, in English and especially in the local language. In English, don't assume that if your page is doing well with organic SERP on www.google.com, that the page will also do as well on www.google.co.uk!

It really doesn't matter if your business is global (like mine), or national, regional, and local. People will search for goods and services millions of different ways. Adding location to a search query is a common search tactic, and using location in a search may indicate a high quality prospect is looking for a vendor. That global vendor may as well be you.

For example, I may have a global generic-content webpage focused on "Turbo Ionic Cleaners". The page is global in scope, and any visitor will see content geared to a global audience. It works really well on www.google.com.

But what about a potential customer in India who wants to know more about "Turbo Ionic Cleaners in India"? If all goes well, my generic page will hopefully rank on www.google.co.in. But if that market is big enough, a competitor may feel it worth building a webpage all about "Turbo Ionic Cleaners in India", and their webpage will have specific references to India and the Indian market. I suspect their India focused webpage will easily outrank mine on search results. In fact, my generic page may not even appear in organic listings, depending upon the search query.

This makes complete sense. Google wants to serve up the most relevant results possible. If a searcher adds local information like country, state, city, even street, Google will ruthlessly sort out results which fall outside those search terms.

So adding local content to a localized webpage designed to target locally focused search can be successful and expand the potential market audience you can reach. The trick is to make sure the page is not duplicating a generic webpage, but is rather complementing the generic page and 'orbiting' it in terms of hierarchy.

Once a new webpage is developed which meets localized country-specific content criteria, consider launching niche Adwords and BING campaigns to further support this page in the country or market being targeted.

Local search content is a variant of long-tail content search. If you want quality leads, go long-tail.

Even with English being commonly used across the world for technical search term queries, adding local intent into search terms can greatly impact search result rankings. Becoming aware of these variations and exploiting for local markets can make a big difference in lead generation.