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Archive for the ‘Web Stuff’ Category

If search engine marketing doesn’t work, try “remarketing”

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

Have you ever considered applying this principle to search engine marketing? It’s called “remarketing.”

Traditionally, anyone struggling to convert customers using paid search, i.e. Google AdWords ad boxes, will try to rectify the problem by changing ad copy, conducting more keyword research and so on. Doing so is often the right choice but sometimes all you need is a little persistence.

Just as the salesperson who just won’t quit sometimes makes a sale by returning to a target who already said no, the same strategy can make search remarketing effective.

Remarketing is, literally, remarketing your ads specifically toward customers who have already rejected or “bounced” from your site. The process involves attaching special tracking cookies to past visitors, “following” them as they continue to search and remarketing with new ads targeted specifically to them.

The first reaction may be to worry about the ethics of such a strategy. Is it really fair to follow someone after they leave your site? The key is to associate your remarketed web ads only with a select number of similar keywords and websites. That way, though you’re taking another shot at the customers who spurned you, you’re still only reaching out to them when they’re still searching for products and services similar to what you offer. If customer X opts not to buy your power tools and wants to comparison shop instead, it’s not overly invasive to attract their attention with a new power-tool ad while customer X is still searching for power tools.

Remarketing increases your conversions by essentially “unbouncing” your bounce rate. It also raises brand awareness for your business, as it gives customers the sense that your site is popular, authoritative and ubiquitous. It’s the equivalent of a billboard you keep seeing all over town. It gets you thinking about that brand, doesn’t it?

Consider trying some remarketing today. Since the process can be a bit challenging to implement for first-timers, hiring a specialized web content development company to help might be a good idea.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

 

The Wrong Stuff: The danger of keyword stuffing

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

I love stuffing. My Thanksgiving turkey will be packed with it this weekend. But keyword stuffing – also known as keyword spamming – makes you a turkey in the eyes of Google and other search engines.

Any overzealous SEO Copywriter or website owner can easily make this mistake. It’s common that we think we’re doing ourselves a huge favor by stuffing our pages with as many keywords as possible. Unfortunately, doing so often hurts more than it helps. Here are three key reasons why keyword stuffing can hurt your bottom line.

1. It kills your readability. Last week, we discussed the “aural test” and how readability is crucial to your site’s success. A page overloaded with keywords has no shot of passing the aural test! Overstuffed copy is nonsensical, overly dense, totally unnatural and extremely unappealing to the eye.

Content overstuffed with keywords turns off readers, confuses them, and sends them running. In theory, the keywords may help you in search engine results and increase your traffic, but that traffic will rarely convert. Too many keywords means lower conversion rates and higher bounce rates. Keyword-saturated content may look overly robotic, less human, and will make it harder for potential customers to trust you. Looking “spammy” kills your readability.

2. Google isn’t stupid. The funny thing about keyword stuffing: in the modern search-engine landscape, it may not even increase your traffic. Search engines like Google care more and more about quality content these days, including relevant, authoritative and engaging content. There’s nothing engaging about nonsensical copy loaded with keywords. Coming across like a robot will hurt you in the rankings, not help you.

3. Time is money – and keyword stuffing takes time. Bloating your site with keywords means spending far more time and capital on SEO. Since the excess keyword research and work won’t even help your site in the long run, committing oodles of time and resources to keyword stuffing may make you lose money.

In a nutshell, don’t sacrifice readability for possible search engine rankings.  That said, being too conservative, as in using too few keywords, does you no favors. So, what’s an SEO to do? A good rule of thumb to follow: try for no more than one keyword phrase for every 100 words of web content.  Use synonyms, singular and plural instances of your keywords. Focus on sounding ‘natural.’  Doing so will keep your keyword total healthy and relevant while also preventing you from alienating your audience.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Does your web copy pass the aural test?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Even though web copywriting is about appealing to users’ eyes, the key to success may be your ears.

Putting SEO and keywords aside for a moment, let’s think about what constitutes good web copy. It should be current, original, informative and authoritative.

Take The Aural Test

Unfortunately, ignoring one major area will undermine your copy even if it has all those traits: readability.

One of my biggest pet peeves in web writing is overly technical or even academic language. Writers often get caught in the “good spelling and grammar” trap. While you absolutely want everything spelled and phrased correctly, it doesn’t mean you should follow every rule that you followed when writing a university essay on Paradise Lost.

Overly dry or academic content may be worded perfectly, it may contain brilliant arguments, but it will fail you if it isn’t easily readable for searchers. If it’s too technical, too dense, it could even turn off your readers. They’ll feel alienated by the language and seek a competitor who offers similar products, services or content but speaks to them in a more accessible way. In other words, unreadable content will spike your bounce rate and lower your conversion rate. Not good.

This is where the “aural test” comes in handy. By reading your own content out loud, either to yourself or to a friend, you get a stronger sense of how your content affects your web users. If it sounds robotic and distant, that’s because it is. The best way to attract readers online is to speak in a way that really connects with them. Keep it punchy, conversational and introductory. If your content is interesting and welcoming, you should hear that tone when you try the aural test.

The good part about this suggestion: it doesn’t even mean you have to dumb down your writing. You’ll be making it shorter and choppier but, in many cases, that also involves searching for especially descriptive and relevant words, which are cornerstones of great writing.

Keep it simple and natural and you’ll keep your readers on your site longer. If you don’t trust my word, maybe Albert Einstein’s will do:

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”

Why the “contact us” page is crucial for conversions

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Why the “contact us” page is crucial for conversions

My favorite web development tips are often those that help you solve problems right under your nose. They’re the easiest things to fix yet they can significantly impact your website’s performances. One such example: the “contact us” page.

Imagine bragging to your friends about that great girl or guy you met the other day. You hit it off, had a wonderful conversation, and you knew right away that you were destined to be together. You were looking your best, you were at your most charming, and you couldn’t have made a better impression.

“That’s great! So, did you give him/her your number?”

“Oops…”

Failing to bridge that crucial gap from customer to business owner online with a contact us button is just as bad as forgetting to give your love interest your phone number. Unless you operate a fully automated retail website with a full online purchasing and checkout system, you won’t convert customers if they don’t find you.

It’s amazing how often businesses make this mistake. They spend a huge number of resources on beautifully designed websites, artfully crafted content and well thought out web marketing initiatives, but often give little thought to contact information. Either it’s non-existent, barely visible, buried in a mystery section (i.e. in an About Us page instead of a separate Contact Us page) or included in too few places.

True story: a client I encountered was pulling out all the stops, dropping $2,500 a month on Google AdWords, but the business’ conversion rate remained horrible. The simple, fixable reason: the home page had NO contact information! Even if people were impressed with the company’s services, they had no idea how to receive those services as they didn’t know whom or where to contact.

Assuming you want customers to contact you via information found on your website, consider these simple tips:

1. Put a “contact us” button on your home page, above the fold. Let users know exactly where on your site they can find your phone number and/or e-mail address. Make it possible with a single click.

2. Include your phone number on your home page, above the fold. If you can get away with it, it’s even more effective to prominently feature your key contact info on your home page, not in lieu of a contact page, but in addition to it. If you have a bricks and mortar location, include your physical address.

3. Sprinkle contact listings or buttons at the bottom of pages, too. If you have a page discussing a specific service, it never hurts to remind readers at the end about how they can learn more. “To learn more about [our services], contact us at…” It works! To learn more about this idea, contact me at 416-226-8676! Ask for Ray.

The contact us principle stems from the call-to-action principle. If you want people’s business, tell them exactly how and where they can purchase whatever product or service you have to offer.

Learn more about contact us page best practices.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business online. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

The key(s) to success in local SEO

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Something about the summer gets me thinking about the concept of local. Maybe it’s the buying roadside corn or visiting mom-and-pop general stores on the way to the cottage. But this time of year just feels like the right time to talk about local SEO, doesn’t it?

Making your website a force in local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) involves often following different parameters than you do for general  and/or global SEO. Specific details like your physical address are extremely important. You’re not directing customers to a “store locator” or one of 50 locations. You’re telling them exactly where to find you.

Think about the importance of marketing a local business offline. You’d better give the right directions, list the right phone number, and generate positive word of mouth. Principles like those apply to web development for local SEO. Keep those in mind when remembering these general tips to follow:

1. Make sure your actual listing is thorough and accurate. With local listings, you can’t afford to be remotely wrong. Double and triple-check your address, including your postal code, and your phone number.

2. Make your presence felt on local listing sites. That goes beyond appearing in the Yellow Pages. Google Places, for example, is a key site for your local efforts. Not only will more people stumble upon you, the listing itself will also make your site more relevant to local searches according to search-engine algorithims and improve your PageRank.

3. Include relevant keywords and specifics about your product or service in your company name listing whenever possible. You can’t make your listing a million words long but be specific whenever you can. A listing like “MarketFresh health foods and organics” does much more for you than simply “MarketFresh.” If you’re a moving company, include the word “moving” in your company name.  If you’re a Moving Company in North York, it would be ideal to include both your service (moving) and service area (North York).  It’s about being relevant.

4. Reviews matter – and quantity over quality. More important than positive reviews is just reviews, period. Which business listing connotes an authoritative and popular company: one with five glowing reviews or one with 80 reviews, 60 of which are positive and 20 of which are negative? It’s clearly the latter.

5. Embrace the “localness” of your listing. If you truly specialize in Toronto web copwriting, for example, say so in your listing. You’ll appeal more to the actual market you covet. Also, avoid 800 numbers or any other details that come across as cold, corporate, and non-local.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Putting the “Social” into social media: online and offline

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Ya gotta love the Internet!

It’s nothing short of a Godsend for those who dream of working from home: Think stay-at-home parents, those with transportation challenges and the self-employed, such as yours truly. 

It can be a dream come true
Where else can you set up a virtual business and do business with anyone in your city, country or on the planet without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home?  It can be a dream come true. 

But what happens when . . .
But what happens when doing business requires you to be social – and I’m not talking Facebook or Twitter.  The social I’m referring to is about face-to-face communications; carrying on real-time conversations with real people in real life.  It may even mean visiting a prospect’s office to demonstrate and persuade why your product/service is best, or giving a presentation to upper management to close the sale.  Or – the horror! – giving a speech to an auditorium full of people.

Hire a communications coach
For those instances, it pays to hire a communications coach. Or at the very least, hear one speak about the art of communication.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ll be doing a presentation at the MagNet Conference in Toronto later this week and, if you’re attending MagNet, I want to rcommend one of my fellow presenters. 

Learn to communicate better
You can learn to communicate your message better – and “Say It With Power” at MagNet from one of Toronto’s best communications coaches, Thomas Moss.  He has a unique approach to helping people overcome their fear of public speaking.  You may want to check out his session.  And you can check out the entire MagNet program at http://www.magazinescanada.ca/magnet/index.php

About Writing Web Words Inc:
Based in Toronto, Ontario, we are a full-service Web Content Development Company that helps small and mid-sized businesses optimize their online presence via SEO Copywriting, proven SEO Services and customized Business Blogs that attract and engage target audiences.

Search Engine Strategies 2010 ~ Toronto

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Search Engine Strategies (SES) 2010 is hosting its annual SEO/SEM conference from June 9-11 at Toronto’s Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Whether you’re new to SEO or just want to brush up on your skills, the conference – now entering its 7th year – is ideal for Search Engine newbies, wannabe’s and those already practicing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Topics being covered include  SEO, PPC, keyword research, social media, local, mobile and link building, to name just a few.

Find out more by visiting http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/about.html

P.S. Those unable to attend can always call someone (ahem!) who knows something about this stuff.

About Writing Web Words Inc:
Based in Toronto, Ontario, we are a full-service Web Content Development Company that helps small and mid-sized businesses optimize their online potential via SEO Copywriting, proven SEO Services and customized Business Blogs that attract and engage target audiences.

Who is The Web Expert?

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Common to northern climes, The Web Expert (TWE) often makes his appearance towards the middle of a web project.  Like a Ninja, he appears out of nowhere.  Often unassuming, he may even be likeable; but be warned: he waits in the wings, waiting to strike.

Usually the son, nephew, or friend-of-a friend’s second cousin, The Web Expert may be called upon to ensure that the web project is going according to plan; albeit with little clue of what the actual plan is.  Upon learning of the project, he’ll offer up his services.  After all, he has a wealth of experience, having developed and authored numerous other family members’ websites.  In fact, he just completed a site about scrap-booking for his mother.  He’s accomplished and quite proficient with FrontPage.

He may not know what you’re paying these so called Professional Web Designers and Web Writers, but intuitively knows that you’re paying too high of a price for all that professional advice.  In fact, he can do the job for far less, or free!  It’ll take a while though, as he’s only available during the summer months: school starts in September. And what’s the rush, anyways?  It’s not like you’re paying for it.

Omnipotent about all things Web, the expert knows about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how to get your website to the top of Google:  He informs you that it’s a simple matter of stuffing keywords on a web page, sitting back and watching the magic happen.  And if that doesn’t work, spam the search engines – they love that!

He asks you why you’re paying for web content when the Internet’s littered with it – and it’s free!  “It’s all about cutting and pasting,” he says.  It’s not really copyright infringement, it’s the Internet.  And besides, nobody reads online.

He knows that in order to keep customers on your website, you MUST entertain them using Animation, Music and Video; preferably all at the same time.  That’s why everybody loves the Circus.

As for professional hosting, why pay extra?  He goes on to inform you that you already have web space available courtesy of your ISP.  As well,  you can save on the purchase of a domain name by piggy-backing on your ISP’s domain.

So what if your Web address appears as www.myisp.com/mybusinessname – it’s free!

You ask him about developing your database, letting him know that you’ll need the ability to make monthly product and service description changes.  He informs you that he hasn’t taken that course yet…

For all you do Web Expert, This Bud’s for You.

Ray Litvak
Toronto Web Writer

Google Chrome OS & Microsoft

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

I know you’ve heard it before; a new computer operating system is coming to challenge the market share of Microsoft, something so new and revolutionary that Bill Gates is shaking in his corporate boots.

Funny thing about that, it may just have legs this time around.

 

For decades now, developers have come and gone riding high on the idea that they have something unique and competitive with which to test the supremacy of the Microsoft stranglehold on the world of PC operating systems, a dominance so entrenched and ubiquitous, that ol’ Bill hasn’t produced a bead of microsweat for over 30 years now.

 

In short, NO ONE has been able to successfully mount a challenge to the seemingly intractable Windows, despite repeated attempts that have all amounted to a bag of beans when it comes to toppling the overlord of OS.

 

Which makes the recent announcement by Google so interesting.  Interesting because their latest venture is aiming to do precisely that; talk about St. George and the dragon!

 

Google Chrome OS, initially available for netbooks, but with the ultimate goal of production for desktop systems as well, is described as an open source OS that is the first of its kind to be designed from the ground up specifically for use on the internet.

 

This in itself is groundbreaking, as previous operating systems had been created from a pre-internet application standpoint, which as anyone online today can tell you, has radically limited their functionality in a world that is increasingly concentrated on the web.

 

Typical of Google, the new OS is open source, and will be offered for free.

While the concept of an OS maximized for web browsing isn’t a new one, the production of an OS designed as a web based application driven tool certainly is.  There really hasn’t been anything quite like it before, but it may well usher in an entirely new realm for operating systems that takes into account just how much technology and our ability to adapt to it has changed in the years since even Windows XP was introduced in 2001.

 

The main idea behind Chrome OS is the reality that more and more functionality is being offered by web based applications, rendering the usefulness, especially of traditionally rigid operating systems, increasingly less important and not something tomorrow’s users are going to be prepared to shell out for.

 

Some of the main advantages for Google’s’ new OS will be its obvious economic savings, increased speed, particularly for tools such as drivers, vastly increased compatibility, built in portability with standards like Gmail, Google Docs and Picasa, and an incredible ability to integrate new applications that will make Windows look like a dinosaur by comparison.

 

Like any new web based venture, there’s no guarantee that Google OS will immediately take the net by storm.  However, it’s safe to say that with this week’s announcement, the anticipation for this latest foray into the brave new world of online innovation from Google has successfully peaked massive interest in what could very well turn out to be their most popular and essential idea to date.

 

Written by PJ Ramphal ~ Guest Web Writer

www.writingwebwords.com

 

 

 

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