The Importance of Page Titles and Basic SEO – A Quick Summary

If you opened a retail store next to a major intersection, would you bother to put up a sign so that folks could see what you sold and what the name of your store was? It’s a ridiculous question, right? Well, by way of comparison, in my experience with small to medium-sized business sites, it seems that a majority of them are doing the online equivalent of not putting their “sign” up. One of my huge pet peeves about my industry is the huge number of web sites which have been created without any attention paid to even the most basic of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) principles. So what does this have to do with page titles?
  • Google is great at determining the most important subject matter on a web page.
  • One of the key things Google uses to determine what the most important subject matter is a page’s page title (you can have only one, and there can be only one keyword at the start of it, so it’s a hard thing to “cheat” on).
  • A vast majority of sites don’t have optimized page titles.
To make sense of this and figure out how to act on it, let’s have a high level look at Search Engine Optimization and how you should look at it:
  • SEO starts with research into which terms (keywords or keyphrases) potential customers are using to search for your type of business or services.
  • This research helps you decide what content to put on the various pages of your site and what words (keywords) to use to describe your business or services.
  • In practical terms, any given page can only be optimized for ONE keyword or keyphrase (from Google’s perspective, there can only be one MOST IMPORTANT topic on a page).
With this in mind, when you build or optimize your site to match your customer’s information needs, you should:
  • Create a unique page for each important product or service.
  • Make sure to include the keywords customers are using when searching for information on that product or service.
  • Include the keyword you want to highlight on each page along with the City or region you do business in.
If you have an existing website, you should at the very least: Review each important page on the site.
  • Identify what the important keyword/keyphrase is for each page.
  • Make sure that keyword/keyphrase is used a couple time in the text on that page.
  • Make sure your Page Title includes your keyword/keyphrase and the city or region you do business in.
Make sense? If not, drop me a line through our Contact form. Also, note that if you have a WordPress site you may need to add an SEO Plug-in in order to enable custom page titles.  
Posted in SEO

Monday Marketing Madness | search engine optimization

How to come up with content ideas (and get visitors to your business website) Creating regular, “fresh” content such as blog posts and online videos is a key tactic aimed  at remaining visible in Google search results, and helping send readers (and potential customers) to your site. However, it can be challenging to come up with new ideas for fresh content on an ongoing basis. Here are some thoughts on how to come up with 100 ideas to create content. Bonus links about creating “content”: Does your business have a Google+ page yet? A couple of weeks ago, Google allowed businesses to create their own Google+ pages – here’s a overview from Google about how G+ for businesses works. Besides helping members of your team appear as trusted “authors” in Google search results, it’s becoming apparent that Google+ now appears to be integrated with Google Places. Since Google is used for more than 70% of web searches, and since establishing a G+ page can help you rank higher in Google Search in more ways than one, getting your business set up with Google+ is now more important than ever before. What is Google Analytics? And how can it help your business? Simply put, Google Analytics is an analytics tool that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Here’s a post outlining 3 metrics Google Analytics beginners should watch, and a different post that provides a beginner’s guide to setting goals in Google Analytics. What is Search Engine Optimization? Here’s a brief video that explains the main points of SEO – search engine optimization: Nevin Thompson is a content strategist with JumpStartWeb, a Victoria online marketing company that helps clients with search engine optimization and other strategies for efficiently marketing their businesses.

What is a Registrar and why should you care?

This is the first blog post we’ll be doing in a series of posts aimed at answering questions which come up regularly with new clients. The following description may take some technical license, but I’ve tried to simplify the concept into the most basic of terms (it can get confusing). So here are the quick goods:
  • A registrar is an online service where you register your domain name.
  • Your registration is for a set period and you must renew it or you risk losing your domain name.
  • In general, you should always register your domain name yourself. It’s very hard to get control of a domain name if it’s not set up in your name.
  • While your domain registration may be done by the same company that does your hosting, the registration of your domain and the hosting of your site are two totally different and independent things.
So, if domain registration is separate from hosting, how does it all work?
  • Someone types www.yoursite.com into a web browser.
  • www.yoursite.com gets looked up in the .com registry (run by Verisign, who get paid a fee by your registrar).
  • The .com registry then points to your DNS (domain name system), which, in turn, points to the address of your hosting server.
  • www.yoursite.com then appears in your visitor’s browser.
To simplify even further:
  1. The registrar is where you sign up and pay to own the rights to your domain (i.e. www.yoursite.com).
  2. Because registration establishes the ownership of your domain, you should do it yourself (or have it in writing from anyone registering on your behalf that it is YOUR property).
  3. The registrar then serves as a “signpost,” pointing to the location of your host so visitors can see your site.
.com? .net? .ca? Which should I register? .com is definitely the most recognized type of domain and the one someone will generally assume your web site is under. We generally recommend that companies find the absolute best .com name they can get and then, if they are concerned, also purchase .net,  .ca, .mobi and other domains where it makes sense. This prevents someone else from having a domain which could confuse others). Which Registrar Should I Use? First off, you’ll want to register with a large and well known registrar to ensure continuity of service and ease of domain transfer (should you ever want to transfer). In the past, we’ve had some huge headaches getting access to and/or transferring domains which were registered with smaller registrars. Following our experiences with various registrars, we usually register with Godaddy.com as they make it very, very easy to transfer domains in or out or to point to whichever host you want to use. They also have great notifications systems and auto-renew features. One thing that you’ll want to note is that you can safely say “no” to all the extra stuff they try to sell you as you go through the purchase process. Lastly: Store Your Registrar Logins and Passwords Somewhere Safe! From experience, here’s what usually happens:
  • You’ll register your domain.
  • You’ll get an email from the registrar with your account name and login password.
  • A couple years later you’ll want to change your host or do something requiring a change at the registry.
  • At this point you’ll:
  1. Not even be able to remember the name of your registrar.
  2. Once you remember your registrar, not be able to find the email containing your login and password.
  3. Have a lot of fun with customer service convincing them you are the legitimate owner.
  4. Get access to your registry settings.
I say the above tongue in cheek, but having gone through the four steps for my own domains (as well as client domains) I can assure you it’s quite likely it will happen! Did this post answer your questions about registrars? Please forward any feedback to us directly through our contact form! BTW – thanks to Wikipedia for providing a great resource for my fact-checking while writing this.  

Monday Marketing Madness | from JumpStart Web, an online advertising agency

online advertising agency victoriaHow does Google Adwords work? Google Adwords – the text ads that appear alongside Google search results, as any online advertising agency will tell you – can be an incredibly precise and cost-effective way to promote your business, but how does it work? The short answer is that Google Adwords is all about auctions, and this cool  collection of infographics explains how Google Adwords auctions work. Related links: 6 ways to improve your social media marketing Using social media to market your business can be tricky, but here are 6 tips for improving your social media marketing by implementing the lessons of Influence, Robert Cialdini’s famous book that investigates the basics effective persuasion. How to market to Boomers online Is your business effectively marketing to Boomers? According to a recent study, younger Boomers (ages 47 to 55) spent 39.3 hours online per month, and older Boomers (56-65) spent 36.5 hours. A lot of that time was spent buying things. Forrester Research reports that Boomers spent $650 online, on average, over a three-month period in 2010 versus $581 by Gen Xers (aged 35 to 46).  Read more here about tips and tricks for marketing to Boomers. Nevin Thompson is a content strategist with JumpStart Web, an online advertising agency in Victoria.

Monday Marketing Madness | Business blogs

Google+ to replace business blog?Do you have a Google+ page for your business? Well, you may have been using business blogs to promote your organization, but the big news over the past week is that Google now allows business to create their own Google+ pages to connect with customers. As you may recall, Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook and Twitter, and it’s a great way to connect with potential customers, and is also a great way to help your business enjoy better Google Search results. More here. How to measure your online influence “Social media marketing” is all the rage these days, but how do you measure success (and make sure your making use of your limited time and money)? If you’re using social media tools such as Twitter, there are ways to measure your online reach and your online influence. Read more here. 26 useful social media stats 800 million active Facebook users. 40% of social media users access their accounts through mobile devices. There are 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, etc…). Want to impress your friends and customers with some cool (and useful) stats about social media usage? Look no further than this excellent blog post: 26 useful social media stats. Why blending SEO and usability really matter for your business Traditionally the term, “usability and SEO” represent two distinct countries, each with their own culture and belief systems. However, “users” (i.e., people) actually use search engines in specific ways to gather data, so it makes sense to approach SEO and usability together when designing or revising your website to help generate more traffic and ideally facilitate more conversions. Read more here. Nevin Thompson works as a content strategist with JumpStart Web, a Victoria online marketing firm that does a lot of things, including providing help starting a business blog.

Monday Marketing Madness | Mobile Marketing Victoria

Mobile marketing Victoria

1800flowers.com, ABC Family’s mobile sites embody many mobile best practices, says Google

10 mobile site best practices  As smart phone adoption skyrockets, so do the amount of  searches from mobile devices for “local” businesses. So, it’s becoming increasingly important to make sure your business has a website optimized specifically for mobile browsers. Direct from Google itself, here are the top 10 mobile site best practices. 7 Tips for boosting Facebook Page search engine visibility Facebook Pages for businesses are not only a great way to engage with a community of potential customers and potential brand advocates, they’re also a great way to help your business dominate the front page of Google search. However, just throwing up a Facebook pages for your business doesn’t necessarily mean that page will show up when people search for your business online. There’s a trick to it, so here are 7 tips for boosting Facebook Page search engine visibility. 6 best practices for small business YouTube marketing YouTube is the second most-visited search engine in the world (after Google itself), and is a great way to promote your business.  However, creating compelling video content that works well on YouTube is definitely not the same as creating ads for television and other conventional visual mediums, so here are 6 tips for small business YouTube marketing, including: watch a lot of YouTube to recognize great ideas, and find your niche. Google loves “fresh” content more than ever If your company’s website features regularly updated, fresh, relevant content, Google may reward you with a better ranking in the search results, thanks to a change to its search algorithm last week. These changes may affect a staggering 35% of all searches. Current events (such as the Occupy Wall Street movement) get special notice from Google from now on, as do regularly recurring events (sports updates, conferences, etc) and also frequent updates (this may help businesses that post new product details). More here and here. SEO beats social media for generating leads – experts Is your business’ website optimized for search? At the end of the day, SEO (search engine optimization), rather than social media martketing or even PPC (Pay per click, or online advertising) ultimately generates more leads for businesses, according to a report compiled by a California online marketing agency after surveying 500 US online marketers in August and September. A majority of respondents in the survey said website traffic is the primary way they measure the success of online marketing efforts. Read more here. - Nevin Thompson is JumpStartWeb’s content strategist, and is excited about mobile marketing Victoria opportunities.

Monday Marketing Madness | SEO Victoria BC

SEO Victoria BCWhy do keywords matter? And how do you choose them? Doing SEO in Victoria BC, we get asked this question a lot. So… Keywords are basically search terms that people type into a search engine like Google to find out information, such as a local business or service. So, it’s important that your business’ website is optimized with the appropriate keywords so your customers can find you.  It’s possible to optimize pages to improve these “organic” (as opposed to “paid”) search results – not just rankings, but click-throughs and conversions, too.  Here are some tips. Bonus link: winning at local SEO with boatloads of data 4 tips for planning a successful PPC campaign PPC or “pay-per-click” advertising is another important way to “drive” potential customers to  your business’ website. The most popular PPC platform is Google AdWords, and, while many people attempt to use AdWords to advertise their business, a single misstep can be costly and counterproductive. To help save you time and money, here are 4 pillars of a successful PPC campaign. Top 5 tools to better time your Tweets When exactly are your best times to tweet? With over 200 million tweets posted each day, this is a very important question to tackle. When you better time your tweets, you’re better able to reach your followers. Furthermore, knowing when they’re actually online is incredibly important. These tools can help you maximize your Twitter activities. Bonus link: Facebook comments now being indexed by Google. - Nevin Thompson writes weekly blog updates about web marketing for local businesses, with a focus on SEO in Victoria BC.