A few ideas to keep your online business presence

If your business has an online presence, there are a few things you can do to ensure your website is working properly and that visitors turn into clients.

One of the best things about online advertising is that you can track it. It is important to be able to find out how many clicks you are getting, which page they are landing on and then what pages are being visited. You will be able to see if there are any patterns evolving once visitors arrive. If you do not know what is going on, how will you know if your advertising strategy is working?

If you run a small business, there is a high probability that most of your customers are based locally. If this is the case, you must ensure that your online marketing strategy is targeting your business to the local area. By targeting the local audience, you will not only save a bit of money but you will capture potential new customers in your locality. Make sure your website is properly optimized for conversions, if it’s not, you could really lose out on a lot of business. It is one thing attracting visitors, it is quite another converting them, so you must make considerable efforts to get those conversions.

Always make sure that your contact information is prominently displayed and easy to find. See to it that your website has a clear call to action, such as contacting you or filling out a form. Take a good look at your website to see that the most important information is clearly visible and that visitors do not have to scroll down or click through endless pages to find what they are looking for.

It may seem very obvious, but take a look at your customer service. It is the one thing that really influences customers and if you have poor customer service, word soon gets round. The internet is one of the best and worst ways of creating a reputation. News spreads fast, so if your customer service is less than perfect, do something about it so that your company’s reputation is kept intact. Find out what people are saying about your business online, contact satisfied customers to share reviews about your business online.

Keeping up with Google

There has been much talk about Google Panda and now there is Google Penguin. The idea behind Panda is to weed out those sites that use ‘black hat’ methods and those sites that do not have good quality content. However, no system is infallible and there were many genuine sites that were penalised mistakenly. Following hot on the footsteps of Panda, came the Penguin algorithm which penalized web pages for over optimization. As with the Panda update, Google stated that penalties would only be applied to pages with problems and would not affect genuine sites. The difference between the two is that Google Panda reassesses all sites once per month on average, whilst Penguin evaluates continuously. As a result, webmasters need to be able to adapt to the new measures quickly as penalties will be cancelled directly.

In the weeks following the launch, many websites have dropped in the organic search results for particular keywords or key phrases. Google is now clear on what it wants to achieve and its main purpose now is in avoiding spam. When the Panda update was released, webmasters were very disappointed, but now that they have released Penguin, most are even more worried and are expecting the worst. Within just one month, Penguin has affected in excess of 3% of the organic results. More problems can ensue with the continuous updating as pages that have been indexed among the top results might find themselves completely off the list altogether within just a few hours if any irregularities are found.

So, what can you do to avoid being penalized? There are a few things to avoid completely, such as duplicating content, hidden links, Black Hat SEO techniques, bad design and having excessive keyword density. Make sure you check your keyword density to match the approved standards. Read Google’s terms and conditions for the latest information and always adhere to the rules.

A little help with your ecommerce site

Setting up an online business is something anyone can do, but making that business a success is something that takes skill and hard work. Designing an ecommerce site is not just about building a website and getting it live, remember there are thousands of new websites launched every day and yours will be just one of many. You need to be proactive and target the right audience for your products. Attracting quality traffic will be an ongoing project and there are many options open to you as to how to go about it. There is no magic wand for this and much of it will be trial and error to see what works best for your site, resources and of course, your budget.

SEO and PPC are the 2 obvious methods of online marketing which when done correctly, can produce substantial boosts in traffic and conversions. However, for those ecommerce shops there are some other ways to encourage the search engine spiders and make your site more user friendly for your customers. Make sure that products are correctly named and described on your site, you can incorporate useful keywords into the descriptions as well as this will increase the chances of being found during searches.

Become active on social media networks, some of the larger search engines are using these to generate search information. It is free to set up accounts with Facebook and Twitter, they are easy to use and can be accessed from mobile devices. You might like to highlight a particular product and using social networking can get people visiting your site. This can increase your ranking on the search engine result pages.

Ecommerce success is a marathon rather than a sprint so you will need to consider and plan your long term strategy. However, if you are clear in your own mind about what you are selling and to whom you wish to sell, you will have a greater chance of success. You need to be active online with promotions, blogs and networking but make sure you monitor where your traffic is coming from so that you can see what is working and what is not.

Getting your ecommerce site built and noticed

If you run an ecommerce business it is very important that your website is well designed to encourage visitors to purchase from you and also to return. When you are considering your website there is much to keep in mind, you might be asking questions like what should the pages look like, what features should it have and what colours should be used. Something you might keep in mind is to look at a site you really admire and think about how you might match or exceed the standard set.

Do make sure you are using the up to date technology, building a website that utilizes Flash, CSS, and other updated technologies will allow visitors to view and load the pages quickly. You should also ensure that your website is visible from different hardware such as mobile devices, tablets as well as PCs and Macs. You should choose a professional web design company who is familiar with designing an ecommerce site for multiple platforms. They should be creative but also listen to your input so that they are designing something that is suitable for your business and that you will be pleased with.

Once you have your all singing, all dancing ecommerce site make sure people know it’s there. There are thousands of websites launched every day and yours will just be one in a sea of many. There are many methods of getting your site listed in the search engines, some are quick fix like pay per click and others require the long haul to get you placed high on the organic listings. Only every use white hat methods for achieving listings, black hat methods will only get you dismissed from the rankings altogether. Using social media has become popular and can be effective. Blogging and writing articles are also useful. There is no one magic bullet and you constantly have to keep being innovative to get noticed but it will be worth it as your ecommerce business finds success.

Blogging can enhance your online presence

Blogging can be great fun and can really help publicise your website. There are many platforms where you can register and blog for free, so it needn’t cost you any money, just a bit off time. It is a good idea to allow guests to comment on your blogs. This can help you form good relationships with your visitors and even other bloggers which could be helpful in the future. Don’t necessarily reject those who disagree with you, remember you are conveying your point of view which may not be the same as someone elses.

When you begin blogging, deal with one topic at a time. Don’t try to write about everything you want to say in one go, make it small bite sized pieces that people will enjoy reading and encourage them to come back for more. Blogging can be a very useful way to expand and enhance your presence online and if you enjoy writing and have plenty to discuss then you can do your own blogging. Your writing should be well thought out with correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. Do not be tempted to use text speak or too much slang in your writing as this has been proven to turn people away. Write about things you are passionate about, keep the enthusiasm in your blogs. If you can include polls or surveys in your blogs, this can help engage visitors and increase traffic to your site. Include some keywords and key phrases into your blogs as these will help the spiders find your writings. If you can include pictures or images as well, these can enhance your visitors’ experience.

The importance of writing good quality content

When someone does a web search there are millions of results in a few seconds and attracting them to your website is the whole point of the exercise. Visitors often leave if they don’t see what they are looking for or find the site difficult to navigate. One thing that visitors do want to see is good quality content and relevant information. This is one reason that you must ensure that the landing page is clean, crisp and to the point. Give them just enough to encourage them to stay and look further into your site so that they get what they want.

Writing good quality content is hard work that requires patience and creativity. You need to stand out from the crowd, but not be outlandish. Making use of well rated keywords and key phrases is vital for the spiders to find you. Try to avoid puns or clichés as the spiders don’t understand them. Keep your writing interesting but in plain language, visitors could be anyone from children to professors and everyone needs to be able to understand what you are trying to say. Having short snappy paragraphs is likely to keep visitors interested whereas pages and pages of writing will be unlikely to inspire very many. Make sure your writing is relevant, don’t wander off topic.

Using the internet for business has become essential for most businesses these days, so another point to make here, is that you keep the language business like. Don’t use jargon that people may not understand. Much depends upon your target audience and if that is the general public, you need to adapt your content to engage them as much as possible. By all means include some humour but keep it fairly neutral, what one person may find funny, another may find offensive.

Google Panda is improving searches

It is undisputed that Google is the search engine most used today and how Google goes about searching and presenting search results is very relevant to both users and businesses. Recent changes in Google’s ranking algorithm has changed the way in which the search engine analyses the quality of web content. In the past, Google used an algorithm called PageRank which concentrated on the number of results rather than the quality. The new algorithm is called Panda and it focuses much more on the quality of the content held in sites. Google used live testers to interact with millions of websites on the internet and the data was then analysed for quality of content, usability and for reliability. The information has been used to work out what the testers thought about the websites they visited and whether they were of a high quality or poor quality.

Ranking is very important on the net because the higher the ranking, the more chance there is of attracting visitors. Businesses wishing to attract visitors need to be on the first page as studies have shown that people do not often go beyond the second page of their searches. The number of websites is increasing daily and making sure your site is high up on the rankings is of the utmost importance, particularly if your business is internet based. This is why it is so important to keep your website dynamic and making frequent changes to content. Of course it is impossible for any system to be completely flawless and there have been some hiccups with Panda. Google Panda is on the whole, better at finding high quality content and dismissing poor quality or spam content. This means that sites containing large amounts of advertising are likely to be lower in the rankings. As a result, the old adage of quality not quantity rings very true here.

Google’s Penguin has been released

The latest Google algorithm ‘Penguin’ has been released in order to eliminate websites that do not comply with the rules. However, all is not well and many bona fide companies have found themselves off the rankings. Google has received many complaints as a result and have had to admit that there have been a few problems. Despite this hiccup, Penguin is being seen as a positive move to help crackdown on sites using black hat methods of gaining rankings.

Launched on the 24th of April, Penguin’s purpose is to reduce ‘black hat webspam’. There are sites which have been created with the sole purpose of manipulating the Google search engine in order to achieve a high search ranking and therefore bring themselves to the forefront. Previously, websites known as content farms have been used in order to get around the rules set out by Google in order to gain rankings. Google has been trying to stop these and has tightened the rules regarding best practice.

Unfortunately, there have been genuine sites that have suffered as a result of the changes, however, on the whole, the majority of sites who have been demoted have failed to use the correct SEO techniques. This means that any site using dubious SEO techniques will not benefit and will find it very hard to get themselves on the organic rankings. With the changes in regulations, online businesses will be required to have the correct SEO strategy in order to achieve high rankings. Hopefully, the changes that Penguin brings will enhance the search results and give the good quality content that the user is looking for. Not only will this clean up web space, but it will also improve the reputation of the SEO business. Those who have used the traditional SEO strategy should now reap the rewards for their patience and any business who wishes to do well online must take note and consider their online strategy carefully.

A few ways of obtaining backlinks

Websites, in order to do well in the search engine results, must have a good page rank. One way of getting a good page rank is by obtaining backlinks. Backlinks are the hyperlinks that link back to other websites and they are very easy to build. There are several methods for building backlinks and you will need to spend a bit of time, if you wish to do this yourself.

A simple way of getting backlinks to your own website is to comment on other people’s blogs. When you write your comments make sure you include some keywords and phrases and include your website address. Write in blogs which are relevant to your business so that there is a connection.

Writing articles is another good way of getting backlinks. You write an interesting and relevant article, include your website’s anchor text and link and then post it on an article website. Make sure you weave plenty of keywords and key phrases into your article.

Posting on forums is another good way of gaining backlinks. There are many good forum sites that you can use, again make sure they are relevant to your business to get the best results.

Writing your own blogs is a useful tool for gaining backlinks. As with the article writing, make sure you include lots of keywords and key phrases and use your website’s anchor text and link within the blog. Make the blog interesting so that visitors will return. You can use one or more of the many blogging sites that are free to use.