“It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday” – Rebecca Black
“I have never in my life found myself in a situation where I’ve stopped work and said, ‘Thank God it’s Friday.’ But weekends are special even if your schedule is all over the place. Something tells you the weekend has arrived and you can indulge yourself a bit.” – Helen Mirren
“It’s Friday, why am I not reading the OuterBox Redirect” – You, every Friday when you’re looking to find out what’s happening in the world of Social Media, Search Engines, eCommerce web design, and the Internet.
This week the world of search celebrated itself with the inaugural US Search Awards ceremony. This ceremony was held in conjunction with Pubcon, a social media and optimization conference/expo that is held annually in Las Vegas. Awards ranged from Best Blog (Search Engine Land took that one home) to Best SEO Software (Linkdex) and Best In House Team (Take a bow Rasmussen College). While a search engine award show may seem a bit silly to those outside of the industry, to those inside it, it’s an exciting event. On the surface it might seem like just another awards show, but underneath the thin veil of glitz, Google, and glamor, a benchmark was set in place for search engine marketers worldwide. The message from Sin City was clear. Here are the best and brightest, look to them for best practices, find out what they’re doing right and build upon that in order to make sure that your site ranks well. We can’t help but be encouraged by this sort of positive attitude towards SEO and SEM.
Alright, enough about how awesome it is to work in search engine marketing and SEO. Onto the good stuff.
The 1lb iPad Air was introduced to the relief of Apple fanboys everywhere who had grown weary of lugging around their 1.33 lb tablets. The iPad Air of course looks gorgeous with a 2048 by 1536 resolution at 264ppi but the real news here is that the price of older models of iPads are dropping. With more iPads available at a lower cost, more people will be relying on mobile search than ever before. If we haven’t said it before, we’ll strongly recommend, having a mobile ready website should now be considered a standard for any businesses seeking to increase its conversions.
Matt Cutts , Google’s head of Webspam, indicated additional SEO and mobile tips this week at the aforementioned Pubcon. Cutts doled out advice such as letting marketers know that if your phone can’t display Flash, Google will not show Flash sites in your results. And if your website funnels all mobile traffic to your homepage rather than an internal page that the user was attempting to navigate to, you’re likely to find your site has been penalized. In addition to all of this, if your site loads slowly on mobile platforms, Google will be less likely to rank it. Without a doubt Google wants people to know that mobile search needs to be taken into account for a successful SEO campaign.
Finally, we round this week’s 301 Redirect out with some reasons on why blogging for eCommerce sites continues to be a great avenue to share relevant content with the web. I might also argue that the 6th reason blogging is good for the marketing soul is that it allows one to have the ability to quote both Rebecca Black and Helen Mirren in the same breath without raising too many eyebrows.
That’s it for this week’s 301 Redirect, make sure you check back next week for more search engine industry news.
If you pay any attention to search engines whatsoever, you are more than likely aware that Google is the largest search engine in the world. They’re not just slightly ahead of their competition either; they are leaps and bounds ahead of their competition. A glance at this pie chart shows you that in March Google had 73.5% more people using it than any other search engine.
Attempting to work alongside Google when it comes to search engine marketing can be as equally rewarding as it is difficult at times. While Google certainly does paint a broad picture in order to allow search engine marketers to grasp a general idea of what it’s looking for, it will likely never allow us to know the many finer brush strokes that make up its ranking algorithms, and for good reason. For this reason the dance between the search engines and search engine marketers will continue endlessly, especially as Google begins to announce larger changes to its algorithm such as the new Penguin update that is on its way.
Another instance of Google collaberation being both rewarding and difficult, is the recent Easter Egg it has hidden in its Image Search. Searching for the term [Atari breakout] will lead to a screen filled with images of a random search term (such as cows, Rottweiler, tartiflette, quinoa, and lasagna noodles) that transforms into the actual game, which is fully playable. While this is extremely fun, it may or may not have lead to a prolonged amount of decreased productivity trying to see how high this blogger could get his score. (6856 in case anyone is wondering.)
Go ahead and try it out yourself and let us know in the comments what your high score was.
While one would not imagine that Otters and web development companies have a lot in common, this does not keep people from confusing us with another company that is known for its super protective cases for mobile devices. We receive roughly 2 dozen phone calls a day from individuals seeking to replace their phone case, or just calling with general questions. We do our best to lead people in the right direction and inform them that they are looking for Otterbox, not OuterBox.
If in the future you are confused about the difference between an Otter and our company, OuterBox, here are some fast facts about both groups to help you determine if you are looking for Otters (or a Otterbox phone case) or a web development firm (OuterBox)
Grooming: When it comes to grooming, otters are vigilant about maintaining a clean coat in order to keep warm. Their coat is the secret to their insulation and it allows them to be comfortable in chilly water for long periods of time. It is estimated that an otter can spend up to 48% of their days grooming themselves. Most Outerbox employees have average to above average grooming skills and probably spend 3% of their day grooming themselves. Except for our sales department, those guys probably spend close to 68% of their days grooming themselves.
Sprainting: Otters depend on their feces to mark territory and release odors in order to communicate with one another. OuterBox employees rarely do this.
Play: Some researchers have opined that when otters are sliding, they are not only traveling while using very little energy, but that they are actually playing. OuterBox once tried to build a slide in their new office; this didn’t exactly work out so we just went back to work.
Sleep: Depending on whether the otter is a fresh water otter or a sea otter, they will sleep in their environment of choice, meaning that the freshwater otters will sleep on land and sea otters will sleep in the ocean. Sea otters often cling together when sleeping in moving water, this is also true of most OuterBox employees.
Well, it turns out that there really aren’t that many differences between the average OuterBox employee and an otter. Remember though, if you are looking for an Otterbox phone case, we’re not really the people you want, but if you do want custom fully built web sites made, feel free to give us a call or email us for more info.
Lately we’ve been working on and developing multiple videos and rich media presentations for various applications and I felt I’d be beneficial to discuss some of the benefits video can bring to the table and what we’ve seen happening. I believe video is the best way to quickly educate a visitor on your service or product, but it also has a lot of value in other respects.
For many of who run (or advertise) eCommerce websites / online stores or even a serviced based business, it’s not always easy for the owners or partners to meet with each client and give your customers the warm feeling that you’re there for them and you genuinely care about them. Online video is the perfect way to say “hello”, introduce your company and build that personal connection. The personal touch may be a larger benefit to a service based business while product demo may be more powerful for the eCommerce industry.
Working with Germ Guardian on their most recent site launch we not only developed a custom eCommerce website, but also put together a rich media piece that incorporate a presentation and also has video embedded. The rich media piece has been used on their website but will also be featured on Cosco, Lowes, Walmart and other various outlets in which they sell. Within days of the launch we saw the presentation almost double their sales of the featured product. Why? Because a buyer wants to know what they are getting into. They want to lear all they can about the product and we need to make them excited!
Keeping a visitor on your website and engaging them in one of the toughest parts to developing any website and we’ve found that video make it much easier to accomplish that at a high level. Simply offering video on the homepage will often double the time a visitor may spend on that page and in the end increase your conversion rate. As we all know, in the end it’s about the conversion rate! Below are a few tips to consider when developing an online video:
- Be to the point. If the video drag on too long your visitor may lose interest. Say what you need to say or show what you need to show in order for someone to make the decision of buying from you or requesting more information. I believe product demo should be short while a company introduction or overview may be longer.
- Quality is Key. We’ve all seen the attempts at web video that look like they were shot on a web cam. If the video is not as professional or as high of quality as your products or services, don’t use it! Spending the money on professional video recording is the best money spent.
- Brand it well. When shoot and editing the video be sure to include contact information at the end, your website address and of course your logo. Use company colors throughout and be sure there is a call to action (purchasing, calling, filling out a quote request, etc.)
- Share it! Once your video is done it may have a powerful impact on social media sites, You Tube and all over the web. Don’t put the video on your website and no where else. You have it, show it!
Social media has quickly become a key element to any successful marketing strategy for online businesses. While most people think that sites like Facebook and Twitter are for only for college kids, they can be used as effective marketing tools to help your company reach out to a much larger audience. Social media can help complement your newly launched eCommerce site, helping your business build links and network throughout the Web.
Twitter has quickly become an excellent tool for businesses to utilize information about their products and services. Major news stations like CNN use Twitter as a way to quickly post news stories and information for “followers” to receive via their iPhone or BlackBerry.
Online businesses for example could post tips about subjects relating to your business, field questions and answers from followers of your Twitter page to talk about your products, or post general information about sales and promotions. It’s all about making connections that help grow your companies’ network.
While creating a blog is an integral part of keeping customers up-to-date on your company, it also gives them the opportunity to bookmark your site from a variety of sources via RSS feeds. Sites like Digg and Del.icio.us utilize the bookmarking of blogs and a site’s newest content. It all makes it easier for customers to track new content, while being able to share that content with others–which will help increase your site’s rankings in the long run. Giving visitors the option to bookmark your blog will help ensure that they will keep coming back to read more.
Facebook is another way to position your company on the Web by creating a profile that showcases your business–another way of posting current information about your business; it also gives you the opportunity to advertise throughout the site. LinkedIn is a more professional, resume-driven alternative to Facebook, giving you a chance to create a professional profile about your company and your employees.
There are too many social media sites and programs to mention here, so you’ll have to investigate what is the best route for your company to go. In short, social media is all about building links and connections to add to your business’s online customer base. Social media is just another way to help you improve the amount of traffic coming to your site on a daily basis, giving visitors the opportunity to stay connected to your site without being on it.
The best part of social media is that it is completely free, and there are no strings attached. When you used correctly social media can be a powerful marketing tool that will help your business grow and reach out to a much larger base than you could ever imagine.
1. Your website is hosted with GoDaddy. Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s worth the trade for pop-ups and nasty ad banners to welcome your visitors.
2. Your product pages display, “coming soon” and there is a flashing “road work” sign in the middle of the page. What are you doing!?! That icon is at least 7 years old!
3. Background music is playing. Sorry, music is for elevators and unless your name is Brian Adams, nobody wants to hear your music.
4. “Last Updated March 2001″
5. Your checkout page opens up in five separate windows. Is this even safe?
6. You have a links page with URL’s to all of your competitors. Why are you advertising for them!?!
7. There is a “counter” on the bottom left of all your pages, letting the visitor know they are the 13th person to view your site since 2004.
8. A starburst graphic is claiming that the Webmaster, who built your site in 1997, won an award. Award for what? Please do them a favor and save them the from the embarrassment of their first HTML project..ever
9. There is a disclaimer at the footer that says “Designed for Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 6.x” Why? You’re loosing over 40% of potential visitors because they’re using a different web browser.
10. Your contact email address is Jeff2285370923857134593485793@yahoo.com.
If you made it through without your website meeting any of these characteristics on the list, Congratulations! But, you’ll still need a new website in the next 2-3 years.
For the unfortunate, please contact us. We’re here to help!
When designing websites and talking marketing with certain clients or prospects, often they will mention “Word of mouth is the only advertising we do.” This may be in response to the question, “Are you interested in search engine marketing”, “Do rankings matter to you” or “What is your general business marketing strategy”.
We all know that word of mouth works and a referral is much more beneficial than someone finding you in the Yellow Pages (any one use that anymore?). Word of mouth converts because it is a direct referral and someone saying, “This company is good”. So, what if you can only grow your business to a certain point on word of mouth referrals? This strategy may hit a pinnacle at some point and you’ll need to look into other advertising methods to continue on-going growth. What we need to think is “Who else could refer potential customers to me?” At this point you may think, “Let’s hire another salesman”… and guess what, I’ve got the best salesman you could ever ask for.
His (maybe her?) name is Google. If someone is looking for a Home Builder, for example, they may go to Google and search “Home Builder Cleveland Ohio”. You’ll get results on the left hand side (Google picks these) and results on the right, called “Sponsored Listings”. What we’re focusing on are the listings on the left hand side, and we should focus on them considering nearly 80% of people visit those listings only.
The websites that appear on the left hand side of Google are the sites that Google feels are best. You cannot pay to be there and you cannot beg to be there (I’ve seen people try). The only way for Google to list your website is for your website to have the qualities that Google is looking for. These qualities, from a basic standpoint include:
- Content relevant to your business and the keywords related to your business
- A decent amount of content (1 paragraph or a few pages usually won’t cut it)
- Other websites linking to yours
- A website that is built properly and coded correctly
Of course there is more that goes into search engine optimization, but right now we’re dealing with why it’s important, not how to make it happen.
OK. Why does this matter?
If you haven’t put together the title of this post yet and figured out why ranking in Google is important, let me tell you. Google is your new salesman. The new guy saying, “You need someone? I know the perfect person!”. All Google does is refer new potential customers and clients to your website, 24 hours a day. We’ve built our business on it and it works. We have clients all the time saying, “We found you at the top of the search engines” and they trust us because Google has referred them. No one wants to work with a company that is not trusted and this is why PPC (pay-per-click) and sponsored listings can only take you so far. Not everyone wants to chose a company based on an ad. They want a referral and Google will provide it.
Google has a big mouth and is screaming from the rooftop. Is it yelling your name?
These days we all need to find ways to market our business and website in a more effective way. We could all use a few thousand more visitors a month and not paying for each of those would be great! As you may or may not know, the sponsored listing on Google and Yahoo are “pay-per-click” ads. This means each time someone visits your website from your sponsored listing, you’ll pay for it. The price can range form .10 cents to $5.00 plus. So, let’s say you’re paying$1.00 a click, you’ll spend around $1,000 a month for 1,000 visits. Yep, that can get expensive.
So, what’s an alternative? Organic search engine optimization (SEO) is a good place to start. The goal of SEO is to bring your site to the top of the search engines for the keywords that most relate to your business and will sell your product or service. Whether a sale is the end goal or generating a lead, driving traffic to your website through the search engines is probably the best method of advertising.
Another advantage of SEO over PPC (pay-per-click) is the long term value. When SEO is performed on your website you’ll grow your traffic and continue to on-going. Also, the company performing your SEO should be making updates to your website that will also improve the visitors experience. The goal is SEO is to evaluate your website not only from a search engines perspective, but from a users. Remember, traffic is great, but converting the traffic is even better.
Now, don’t take this the wrong way. PPC is still value and is a great way to advertise! If the budget is low, SEO may be a better way to go and you should get more traffic for the price, depending on your industry. To get an idea of how much you may pay for each click, visit https://adwords.google.com/select/TrafficEstimatorSandbox . This tool will allow you to get a better idea of the traffic you may be able to receive for certain keywords as well.