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Simple SEO Concepts

Gary Paul, 06/19/2011

Search Engine Optimization

The techniques and tactics to get your voice heard on the crowded internet is call Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. It has become an industry of it's own, spawning many an internet marketing guru. A simple search of the acronym SEO will get you millions of sites, many will make you think you are reading the back page ads of the National Enquirer shouting in a whisper "Secrets the rich don't want you to know". If you don't know it already, avoid those.

I have put together some simple tactics that work in helping to get your site found more often on the web.

Bigger is better

All things being equal on a site, a website with 10 pages will get found more than a site with 1 page. A site with 20 pages more than the 10 page site...and so on.

It is very simple, the search engine algorithms search sites for content, meaning text. The more you give them to read, the more likely you are to get found. More on this a little further down.

Usually the first step in this mistake is in the budget talks of setting up your new site. Many times web site owners rationalize away the need for certain pages based on the fact that they are paying a per page price for their sites. It becomes a case of being penny wise and dollar foolish.

Second is that many times they run out of content. It takes work to put together a site that has compelling content that customers will react to. This takes time, man/woman power and effort.

Fresher is Better

A common mistake site owners make is they put up their site, sit back and wait for the dollars to roll in, those days are over. The size of the internet, namely, competition now demands that you not only get found, but talk to your customers in a way that calls them to action.

Google recently tweaked their search bots to give a greater weight to sites that have fresher, newer, relevant content. They realized what we all know, if a site does not change, and you have seen it before, why go back?

Here at Assessment Appeal, the site lists profiles of attorneys and law firms as well as real estate appraisers that work in the field of reducing property taxes. On a daily basis we are adding new pages, new content, new reasons for the search engines to notice us and to better serve our customers, and it works. Even though it is a relatively new site, in some search parameters we rank 1, and have in numerous occasions out ranked the sites of the client's that have joined our site.

This is why even at this young age, assessment appeal lawyer . com is ranked within the top 3.24% of legal websites and carries an overall rating of 78% according to websitegrader by Hubspot™

This is one of the reasons blogs have become so popular, the content is updated on a regular basis, makes your site looks fresher, kept up to date and interesting. Am I suggesting you have a blog? Yes I am!

Being Social is Better

Social media sites, Twitter, Facebook are the ones we all know, help to get you found. The problem with having a presence on them is they take work. If you are going to tweet once a month or add something to your facebook page, don't bother. People coming to a barren desert of no new information tend to leave quick and return never. And while we are on the subject, please don't try to get your monthly twittering or facebooking done in one afternoon, nothing is more of a turn-off than getting bombarded by multiple entries all within a few minutes of each other.

There are sites that can do that for you, is one of those sites. They will update your social media pages on a regular basis and at the proper intervals.

Knowing is better

If you do not have a method by which to study the results of your visitors, you are handicapping yourself greatly. Google offers Google Analytics that will give you volumes of information about your site, and it is free. There are others our there as well, I happen to like footprintlive, it is also free and will help you to make plans on adjustments to your site.

Summing it up

If you want your web site to find customers, and who doesn't, we suggest:

Hits Stats and Reality

Every now and then I get the question about how many hits a site is getting, and in a perfect world this number would have real significance, however the real answer lies deeper in the web stats. In this I will try to shed some light on web stats, and how they can be used for or against your cause.

Hits are not always human

I was looking at some stats for a site and was initially very pleased, then I dug in a little deeper. Turns out that a large portion of the "hits" spent exactly 0 seconds on the site. That told me this was an internet spider or bot (software that searches the web). While most of them are harmless, in fact could be good, some are not. You don't need to sound the alarm, but it would be a good idea to check your database for any unwanted visitors.

I recently looked at a stat on Google Analytics that showed a site had 49 visits from one city in 2 days. There were no previous visits from this city. Sounds great right? They visited one page. 49 times, and spent exactly 0 seconds on the site. But this site owner could point to great numbers from a new market...

The point being is that these type of numbers can lead you to false conclusions, which in turn can lead to unwise decisions, be it in allocation of advertising dollars or content update.

Where did they say they were from?

If you have a local business, getting lots of visits from Kazakhstan, your stats look great, your cash register, not so much. Google Analytics has a great tool called Map Overlay, it tells you the country and city that your visitors are coming from, so unless your doing business in these countries, this can lead to erroneous conclusions.

Can't you stay a little longer?

As I mentioned earlier, you want to look at how long a visitor spent on your page, and how many pages were visited. Obviously the longer they stay on the site and the more pages they go to, the better chance that you have a live lead nibbling on your hook.

Did you say hit or page view?

I was reading sites stats that a directory type site had put on their page in an effort to show how productive they were, averaging 200k "hits" per month. It turned out it was not hits, but a page views. That is the total number of pages that were visited. While having more page views is better than having less page views, the number can be decieving.

How thin can you slice that pie?

It is not unusual for a site to boast millions of monthly visits, and spiders/bot page views and other decieiving information aside, you need to get the total picture. I know of a very large Directory type site that has those kind of numbers, but they also have an estimated 50,000 client listings, simple math tells you they know how to slice a pie. Add to it that many of the visits are for people writing in to ask an expert a question and the total hits is almost irrelevant.

Pudding anyone?

The numbers that you want to pay attention to are

With these numbers, you are in a much better position to tweek your content and marketing efforts, without them, you not only just guessing, but chasing rainbows with the wrong map.