How to Deliver a Powerful Marketing Message
with Your Website
Do you want to turn prospects in to customers on your website? Do you want to stand out from the crowd? Then, say something important to your audience.
How to Deliver a Powerful Marketing Message
with Your Website
Do you want to turn prospects in to customers on your website? Do you want to stand out from the crowd? Then, say something important to your audience.
A) What is Search Engine Optimization?
Optimization is the process of improving the volume of traffic to a web site delivered by search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and MSN).
Google, MSN, Bing, and Yahoo dominate, with a combined market share of over 90% for search engines. Google dominates, being used for over 70% of internet searches.
The higher your website ranks on a search engine, the more searchers will visit your site. The goal of optimizing is to make your site more visible to the search engines and climb the rankings.
When your website is completed, it should be submitted to all the major search engines. You only need search engine submission once. There is no need to pay extortionate monthly fees to search engine experts. You should be wary of services charging a monthly subscription for search engine submission. We have seen clients paying hundreds of dollars for unnecessary “search engine submission” services.
Most good search engines, such as Google and Yahoo (Bing), will regularly visit your site and “cache” (store) your files. Once your website is listed, it will remain listed unless you violate any of the search engine’s policies.
It is important to remember that your site’s ranking will vary from day to day. We have seen a site, ranking in the top 10 Google results, suddenly drop down to a lower ranking and then moved back into the top 10 rankings within a few weeks.
Once your site is ‘live’ you may start receiving lots of email or phone calls from “SEO” or marketing firms making attractive promises to get your site to page 1 of Google in search results. BE WARY of this type of marketing. Much of this is questionable, some are scams. You don’t have to pay extortionate monthly fees to search engine experts. There are many simple SEO techniques you can do yourself that will get you a far better result in the long term.
Find out more about SEO Services . . .
B) How to optimize your website (to improve your search engine ranking)
1) Use minimal graphics, ideally a maximum of 1-2 per page.
Search engines read text, not graphics, so the best way to achieve ranking for your search terms is to limit the graphics included on each web page.
Search engines read the words (text) on your web pages – they are looking for the authority on a given subject. The more that your can show on your website that you are knowledgeable and reputable about your subject matter, the better your chances of ranking highly.
2) Do not use flash imagery.
Search engines (like Google) cannot read text that you place in a ‘flash’ file, so it can hinder your ranking. Graphics are distracting to visitors and placing only one or two photos or graphics on a web page makes your content more appealing to read.
3) Do not “stuff” your pages with your keywords.
If you overload your content with your keywords, the search engines may penalize you for having your keyword phrases. The words should not make up more than 5% of your content.
4) Include keyword terms in the design in 8 places:
Submitting your website to the major search engines is extremely important.
However, your site will not rank at all if it is not built to incorporate keyword phrases in the following 8 areas:
4.1) Your domain name (URL)
Ideally, your website domain name should contain keywords that you want your website to be found with.
For instance, you may want to be found by Google as a Financial Advisor in Burnaby, BC. Instead of using your personal or company name, you will be more likely to rank in Google searches by using those keywords in your domain name. Example: FinancialAdvisorBurnabyBC.ca
4.2) Page Titles
Each page of your website should have a page title containing relevant key words. Those keywords should pertain to the content on the web page.
4.3) Page Description
Your website “description” is important, and should be between 14-26 words in length. This descriptive ‘meta tag’ belongs in the header section of your html code. This is the description that search engines will display in their search results.
4.4) Put keyword phrases first as text on the page, headers, paragraphs.
Use a “header tag” (H1, H2 tags) for primary keyword phrases on a page or for title tags on links. A title tag is the words that you see if you scroll your mouse over a certain links possessing a title tag. You should only place a title tag containing your keywords on just one or two links. If you include more than this, you could be penalized by Google for “keyword stuffing”.
For example, the title tag is a property of a hyperlink: title=”Learn about how a Financial Planner can help you in Vancouver BC Canada”>How Can a Financial Planner Help Me?
4.5) Use bold, underlined text and link keyword phrases within your site to other pages.
4.6) Use keywords in ALT (image title) tags.
4.7) Include keyword phrases in your page content.
You should be careful that the keywords make up no more than 5% of your total words. If you use too high a density, your site can be penalized for what is called “keyword stuffing.” It is recommended to have between 300-500 words of content on each page.
4.8) Put keywords in meta tags.
Keyword meta tags are included within the header section of your html code. This is where keywords relevant to page content should be inserted. Use no more than seven strong keywords per page. Google does not pay attention to these meta tags but some other search engines will recognize them.
5) What you can do to help your website gain ranking
5.1) Register your website domain name for 5 to 10 years
Many website owners register their website domain name for only one year and then renewal their registration annually. Registering your domain name for 5 to 10 years can help your ranking. Search engines give your website extra points for having a domain that is registered for a longer period of time. What they see is that your website – domain name is going to be around for a while.
5.2) Increase traffic to your website
Include Relevant and Useful Content
1) INCLUDE USEFUL INFORMATION – Create helpful information and content on your website, adding new content regularly. Google, MSN and Yahoo, and most other search engines, use keyword phrases to perform their searches. Find out which keyword phrases are most relevant to your site and use them wisely. Include your keyword phrase sparingly throughout the body of content, especially in headings, and near the end of your page. The first sentence should also contain your major keyword, for maximum impact.
2) ADD REFERENCES – Include client testimonials on your web pages. These can be short 2-3 sentences each, and allow potential clients to hear for themselves, the quality of your services.
3) MAKE IT EASY FOR CLIENTS TO RECOMMEND YOU – Include a “Recommend Us”, or “Tell a Friend” online form on your website. It is an easy and efficient way for your clients and friends to refer you to others. Personal recommendations are an excellent tool for expanding your client base with very little effort.
Our SILVER and GOLD website packages include a “Recommend Us” form.
4) BLOG – Add a blog to your site and write new (can be a brief one or two paragraphis on a weekly basis) articles related to your industry and keywords. This is a great way for you to add new content and ideas to your site, automatically refreshing your search engine ranking Invite your clients and friends to participate, writing about their experiences of doing business with you and telling others how you helped them to succeed. Everytime you add a new blog entry to your website it generates an RSS Feed – which Google quickly sees. Your “blogging” is a great way to ensure that clients visit your site on a regular basis so read your latest article. This is also an excellent source of generating one-way links, useful for optimizing your site with search-engines.
5) ADVERTISE ON YOUR BUSINESS CARD – Add a note on the back of your business card, inviting people to visit your website blog and read about other people’s experiences, as well as writing about their own. You could also direct potential clients to a page on your website that contains useful content, such as Financial Calculator Tools, if you’re in the financial services business. Develop the habit of handing out lots of business cards and self-publicizing your services.
6) DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION – Register your website domain (dotcom) name for more than one year. SEARCH ENGINES (GOOGLE, etc.) give some points in ranking to domains that are registered for more than one year. An easy way to improve your ranking with the search engines is to register your domain (website dotcom name) for more than one year — for 3-5 years. To do this, simply login to your hosting account and register/renew your domain name for a longer period of time.
7) RESOURCES – Add a RESOURCES page to your site and include links to useful sites that your clients may find beneficial. Publicize these sites in your email newsletters and recommend that clients visit your site to find out more information.
For example, if you’re a Financial Advisor, and you do business with several carriers, all of whom have online downloadable forms, include change of address and beneficiary forms on your site. Wherever possible, provide direct access to these resources on your website, with links, and let your clients know about this service. You can print it on your company literature and business cards, as well as including a reminder at the bottom of every email you send out.
Generate Inbound Links to Your Website
8) DIRECTORIES – Search for appropriate free web directories where you can submit your website. Apply to the Yahoo! Directory. Submit to directories such as Joe Ant, GoGuides, BOTW, Ezilon, Rubberstamped and Massive Links. Once you add your website link to the category that best describes your business, you will receive inbound links to your site. Google uses the number of inbound links to rate sites, so this can improve your ranking.
9) GOOGLE BUSINESS DIRECTORY – Submit your business address, for FREE, to the Google Business Directory. This is very easy to do, requiring only that you sign up for a Google account and submit your business information.
10) NETWORKING SITES – Join Linkedin.com as well as any other relevant business networking sites. Search for national and local business networking sites online and do not hesitate to sign up. You should include your keyword phrases in your personal profile, and you must always insert your website link as a matter of course.
11) VISIT BLOGS & FORUMS – These should be related to the subject material of your website and you should leave good information and comments that are relevant to the discussion. Always remember to include your website link, as an integral part of your signature, and leave it at the end of every single comment. This is a great way to generate numerous inbound links quickly and easily.
Promote Your Website
12) PRINT IT – Always try to draw attention to your web site by adding it to all of your business literature. Include your website name on your business card and all of your correspondence, publicizing your business and generating easy hits.
You could even include the name of your website address in your telephone voice-mail message, encouraging people to visit for more information.
13) GET FOUND IN ONLINE YELLOW PAGES – Most people use the internet when they are shopping locally for business products and services. You should have your business listed in the online business yellow pages, allowing your site to be easily found by potential clients. In the U.S., you should use ‘Superpages.com’ and ‘Yellowpages.com’; in Canada, use ‘YellowPages.ca’; ‘Canpages.ca’ and ‘Canada411.ca’.
14) EMAIL – Include your website link, alongside your signature, at the bottom of every email you send. If you have a great and informative content page on your site, such as a page containing Financial Calculators or other useful resources, include a link to that page alongside your electronic signature.
15) NEWSLETTER – Create an electronic newsletter and gradually build up an electronic mailing list. Write content that is relevant to your client’s problems; you are aware of the issues that they face, so you can give real and pertinent solutions to their problems.
Write about the success stories of clients (keeping their names confidential, of course) you know who have achieved financial success and measurable results.
Better yet, invite some of these people to tell their stories. Share those stories on your website or simply in an email format, generating a lot of positive publicity for your services. If you have financial calculator tools on your website, mention how clients can use them as a tool for financial planning.
Include a link to your website in your email newsletter, making it easy for the readers to follow up on any information they find interesting. Add an “opt-in” email newsletter link to build up your newsletter mailing list and network of potential clients.
Another good method is to post your newsletters on your website and invite prospects and clients to visit your website and keep up to date with the latest information.
16) EMAIL MESSAGE – This is an inexpensive and easy way to keep in touch with your friends, clients and associates. Write a funny or informative email, relevant to your industry, and send it to everybody that you know. Ask the recipients to pass it along to their friends via email, always including your name and website link, as the author of the message.
17) EMAIL AUTORESPONDER – Use email technology to follow-up with prospective clients and avoid wasting leads. When you receive an email through your website, have an auto-responder immediately reply by sending your marketing message or an E-Brochure.
18) SHARE EMAIL LISTS – Collaborate with associates and friends in other businesses who have email lists, who would be willing to promote your site to their customers if you reciprocate in turn.
19) BOOKMARK YOUR SITE – Invite your family and friends to bookmark your site and use it as their landing page. Your partners and staff should all do the same, increasing the volume of hits on your site. Make it easy for visitors to Bookmark your site by placing a ‘Favicon’ on every page, useful for people using Internet Explorer based browsers.
20) WRITE articles – Write articles using the keywords that you would like the search engines to rank you by. Post your articles to free sites, such as ‘ezinearticle.com’ and ‘youpublish.com.’ Keep searching for other places to post your article, publicizing your site and attracting new visitors. Make sure that your website link is included on your article, providing yet another one-way link to your website, which significantly improves your ranking with search engines. See our article for idea:
21) MORE LINKS – The idea behind Link Exchanges is that they bring traffic from a website with which you set up a reciprocal link. Some of these sites charge you for using their system for contacting other webmasters and exchanging links, but you can search for free sites where you can submit requests for reciprocal links. It is good practice to use your keyword phrases in your link exchanges for gaining an extra advantage with the search engines.
22) PAID ADVERTISING – Pay-Per-Click advertising, using services such as Google Ad words and Overture.com, the power behind Yahoo and MSN advertising, can cost between 1 cent and several dollars per click. You can bid on keywords for your industry, create an ad online, and pay only when users click the advert that directs them to your site. Facebook advertising is becoming more popular as you can choose your target market and demographic for your ads.
Use specific keywords and, if your business is local, include your city/town in the keyword phrase. For example: “Financial Advisor Surrey BC” would attract clicks from a specific target area. Be very careful with this service, because attracting clicks without generating business has the potential to be expensive. You must monitor your pay-per-click ads carefully and set dollar limits.
Make a video about your services and publish your knowledge online. Websites such as ‘YouTube’, ‘Google Video’ and the newer ‘YouPublish,’ which allow you to store and share videos. Make sure that you include your website URL in the video, and invite your friends and clients to watch the video through your website.
Make an audio welcome message and post it on your HOME page, next to your photo. This only needs to be a brief 15-second introduction, with the idea being to make an immediate and personal connection with the client. This is the extra subtle touch than can turn a potential client into a paying customer.
Make a podcast to build up a core audience that keeps on returning to your website. A pod cast is an audio file that you record and create in MP3 format, which your intended audience can download from your website and listen to at their convenience. For more information on this, Google the term “How to Create a Pod cast” and see how this powerful tool can attract regular visitors to your site.
24) BANNER ADS – Banner Exchanges can bring targeted web traffic to your site and can be a very effective, albeit slow burning, method for attracting clients. You will need to have a banner ad designed professionally. The banner should look like text and arouse the curiosity of the user, prompting them to take action and click on your banner.
Banner exchange programs usually provide an option for purchasing banner impressions at very low prices, allowing you to promote your business to many potential clients. This method can take a lot of time, as the banner usually has to be seen thousands of times to make one sale, but can create a steady trickle of income.
25) OPTIMIZE – Choose a domain name that utilizes strong keywords for your particular industry and specialty. Have your website designer optimize your website, using these keywords to ensure that it performs better in search engines. See our article on article on search engine optimization.
What’s important about blogging?
Blogging will help drive repeat visitors to your site and sell you and your product/service, if you remember these two concepts:
1 – your blog posts provide valuable and helpful ideas to your audience
2 – your blog posts establish you as an expert in your field
How to Easily Generate Content for Your Blog
A) Identify your big topic (your company / industry / area of expertise)
B) List the sub-topics (these become your blog “Categories”: (what are all the products or services you provide, or ideas related to your big topic?)
C) For EVERY SUB-TOPIC, write a list of:
10 FAQs (what do people FREQUENTLY ASK about this product)
10 SAQs (what SHOULD people ASK about this product)
5 Problems customers face that this product/service can solve
Congratulations! You have just created a list of 25 blog post ideas for each of your sub-topics!
1 – Once you have a list of blog sub-topics (you can write your list in Excel, so you can sort and organize your topics), write a list of keyword phrases relevant to each sub-topic (these become blog titles). You may want to research the keywords that your prospective visitors search for on the internet. For more information on keyword phrases and titling your blog posts, see this article, How to Write a Blog Title
2– Commit to writing 1 or 2 blog posts every week. Your blog posts do not have to be lengthy. 200-300 words is sufficient. If you have lengthy article, break it in to small sub-topics.
5 elements to include in your blog
1) strong title with a keyword phrase
2) relevant content that includes your keyword phrase (200-300 words is sufficient)
3) call to action: The “call to action” tells your reader what to do next. Is there one action that you want your reader to take next after reading your post?
Examples of a “call to action”
– buy your product or service
– join your mailing list (email opt-in form)
– buy a product you promote as an affiliate (laws require you disclose your relationship if you promote a product or sell it as an affiliate on your blog)
– click on adsense advertising (be careful here, you are not permitted to ask the visitor to click on an ad)
– contact you by phone or email
– filling out a survey or form
– lead the person back in to the main pages of your site
4) Signature: Include your name. Either type it at the bottom of your blog post, or scan your signature and insert the image of it at the bottom of each post to add a personal touch.
5) P.S. Include a PS… marketers use this as a chance to make an important point. Studies show people often scan an article, so the PS is the last message they will see when reading your post.
When doing an SEO campaign there are many methods and techniques SEO experts employ. These techniques will fall within “white hat” (approved of by search engines) and “black hat” methods (not approved by search engines). Black hat methods are techniques employed to trick the search engines and to gain fast results or ranking. These results however, are short-lived and can often get your site banned from the search engines.
White Hat vs Black Hat SEO
White hat SEO strategies follow ethical business practices and are approved of by search engines. They build trust and respect in your business. You’re developing a brand online, and by developing valuable and relevant content for visitors and prospective customers, you will improve your ranking and credibility with both people and search engines overtime. True web marketing takes a lot of time and work – by people, not automated tools or fast and quick “fixes” promised by many unscrupulous SEO firms you’ll find online.
Black hat SEO techniques are commonly employed by unethical SEO companies. They are designed to get you fast results – and get the SEO company fast and easy money. They usually promise you results in 30-60 days (because that is possible when using these techniques). But they are not around to take responsibility when your site is banned from search engines, or when your site disappears in the ranking a few weeks after your SEO campaign ends. These black hat SEO companies make big and bold claims, with vague lists of techniques they will use to “SEO” your site. One of these is by stating they will create 1000 or more “links” to your site every month.
If you want to know if these are legitimate “links”, ask your SEO company to show you the links they are producing (they often will state that they can’t do this, that it’s “proprietary information”). What are they doing then? They are either not doing anything at all, or they are paying a low wage worker in Asia to deliver hundreds of comments to blogs with a link to your site (spamming). The comments are typical one or two line, “I like your site” type of comments. Once those comments are identified by the receiver as spam, or denied, or the blog post gets archived, your link disappears.
While producing 1000 links fast may sound great and just might increase your website rank fast — you run the risk of being identified by search engines as a site that is generating spam. And these techniques are very short-lived. You can’t maintain ranking in search engines using these types of tactics. By the time your site has disappeared from the rankings, your SEO company has also disappeared. Or, they’ll tell you to sign up for a new contract (pay them again). They’ll employ the same techniques until your site is eventually discovered by search engines as using black hat techniques. Search engines are continually improving their algorithms so they can identify websites that attempt to trick them, and they ban or penalize those sites. Once banned, you’ll most likely have to abandon that domain name and start over.
Stay away from SEO companies that offer:
Good SEO strategies are employed over a longer period of time.
The best SEO techniques to use, which will help you achieve long –lasted results, include:
One of the first steps, when building any website, is carefully choosing the correct name. The name of your website, known as the “domain” or “URL”, is an important marketing tool and requires careful consideration.
Over 80 million domains have been sold worldwide with the instantly recognizable “dotcom” extension. In addition, millions of other domain names have been registered, using the name extensions .org, .net, .biz, and .us, as well as country specific endings.