Tag Archives: Search Engine

At home in the world: The Domain .global is two!

The domain .global knows neither borders nor barriers. September 2014 saw the launch of the worldwide top-level domain (TLD) for all those who think and act globally. Now, the second anniversary is the perfect opportunity to recall what a .global Internet address has to offer.

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Category: Developers | eBusiness | Net World
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Bring Your Website’s Search Ranking to the Next Level

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical element for driving traffic to your website.

Handling your site’s SEO can be time-consuming if  starting from scratch. To help, 1&1 offers 1&1 SEO Spotlight, which can be added to your existing package. This guides you through the process of optimizing your site’s SEO as well as providing ongoing analysis to make sure it’s delivering the results it’s supposed to.

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Category: Server & Hosting
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Continuous Effort with SEO

As you develop your business website for the first time, there are a number of areas to consider for search engine optimization (SEO): header text, meta-tags, keywords, etc. Every part of the initial SEO plan is equally important, but it is necessary to consider SEO as an ongoing element to your website strategy, and not just a “once-and-done” aspect. For your site to remain successful in search engine results, SEO is something that should be periodically tailored and customized for any changes that may happen in your business or industry. Today we will discuss a few reasons why your SEO strategy might need to be altered in the future.

Changes in the Company

Every business eventually sees a shift with regards to their place in the market. Changes happen all the time that can affect the operations of your company, such as new products targeting new demographics. When you first set up your website and its SEO plan, your keyword focus may have been on a particular product line or a specific industry that your business served. As time goes on, however, your business could possibly introduce new products, serve new industries, or even have entirely new branding. Because of these changes, your SEO strategy needs to adapt.

For a further example, imagine if your keywords only support Product X, because that was the main focus of the business at the time you developed the website. As time went on, your company now provides Product X, Y, and Z. If the SEO strategy has never been updated, you are missing out on capturing the wider audience for products Y and Z.

Changes in Search Engine Algorithms

One of the frustrations for business owners is that they have no control over how search engines truly work. They can do their best to adapt their website to be as “searchable” as possible, but it ultimately depends on the algorithms used by the search engines (and each one is slightly different).

Occasionally, these algorithms are adjusted by sites like Google or Yahoo, which can have effects on the best practices for SEO. This situation might be more rare than others, but it is still important to consider.

Changing Search Behavior

Initially, what may have been your website’s most successful keywords can decrease in effectiveness down the road. This is due to the changing behavior of the search engine users. Certain keywords and phrases that are popular at the time you set up your SEO strategy could be used less today. If the volume of people searching for those terms decreases, so does your traffic.

Conversely, you may have established a very specific set of keywords that attracted a small, yet crucial audience. If those terms become more commonplace, your specialized niche of customers that you were pulling in could be lost among the larger volume of websites using the same keywords.

Because of both of those scenarios, it is essential that you continue to conduct keyword research on an ongoing basis. As the search environment changes, so should your SEO keyword strategy.

Behavior on the Site

When you first developed the SEO strategy for your business, you may have had a well-thought out plan based on prior research of customer behavior. No matter how appropriate the strategy was at the time, it’s not out of the ordinary that the eventual behavior of visitors to your website shows something different. In other words, you could have decided to focus a lot of your keywords around one aspect of your business and website, but the analytics show that customers are more interested in something else.

Web analytics refers to data you can examine to evaluate how website visitors are behaving. You can learn what they searched for to get to your site, where they go once they are on your site, and how long they stay. This information is invaluable for adjusting your SEO strategy, as the information can be used to determine what customers are most interested in. It can be difficult to predict what your audience will be interested in from the start, so it is important to revisit your SEO strategy after taking a look at the website analytics.

Every business owner should consider these reasons for staying on top of their SEO plan. Just like with any other aspect of the business world, SEO is something that should be monitored and adjusted on a regular basis to achieve the most success.

Photo Credit: © Andrey Kuzmin – Fotolia.com

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Category: Tips
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Webinar: Getting Started with Search Engine Marketing

1&1 Internet would like to invite you to join us for a webinar on Thursday, March 28th from 1:00-2:00PM EST.

We will be discussing the topic of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Kimberly Walsh, one of 1&1 Internet’s search engine experts will provide an overview of what SEM is, and how small business owners can get started with their own campaigns and find success. Some of the topics we will cover are:

  • Benefits and Features of SEM
  • Click Budget/Cost-Per-Click
  • Keyword Selection and Refinement
  • Ad Text Selection
  • Landing Pages
  • Geo-targeting
  • Conversion Tracking
  • Guidelines

This will be an informative Webinar to attend if you are interested in expanding your business’s reach for your target market, and increasing your website’s traffic. Following the presentation will be a question and answer period to go over any additional topics that you may be interested in.

If you are unable to join us for the live Webinar, the final presentation will be uploaded to our YouTube channel once completed. Additionally, if you need a refresher on the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), feel free to watch our previous presentation on the subject at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNdyLC4730g.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/gdas

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Category: Videos & Webinars
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Search Engine Marketing – Simplified – Part 2

Be sure to read Part 1 of this article.

How does it work?

Perhaps the simplest and most effective method of creating a Google Ad is to work with a Web host who is knowledgeable on the subject and can act as a liaison, providing you with the best experience and results possible. You usually will speak with an expert and provide them with your budget as well as the keywords you wish to use in describing the specific aspect of your business. Typically, the team then works to develop relevant advertisements to fit your needs. The budget you delegate to the campaign goes towards the amount of times someone clicks on the ad (also called “pay per click”) when they search using one of your keywords. The advertisement can be live in as little as five days so the benefits from your investment can usually be seen very quickly.

What is a Google Quality Score and why is it important?

Google’s mission is to ensure that the most relevant ads appear in a page of search results and not just those from advertisers who invest the most money. Due to this, Google assigns a Quality Score to each keyword a business uses. This score is based off of a large criterion including keyword relevancy and how long the website has been live, among many other things.

When the Quality Score improves, so does the opportunity to place your ad in valuable positions online. If you have a great Quality Score, Google considers your ad to be beneficial and relevant to the searcher which in turn lowers your cost per click. This will not only save you money but also allows you to take advantage of more opportunities through Search Engine Marketing.

How can I optimize my website for SEM?

When developing your SEM strategy, keep in mind some aspects of your website which can help place your advertisement in an optimal position online. First, ensure that your website’s homepage is coordinated with the keywords used in your advertisement. If Google cannot make the connection between the ad and your site’s homepage, the relevance will be missed and your Google Quality Score will be lowered. Additionally, ensure that your website loads properly and all Web pages are fully functional.

It is beneficial to remember that website readers like to scan text for details, not read it word for word. To best share important information to visitors, try to limit the amount of text by using concise phrases and pointed vocabulary. Place the most important information towards the top of the page as well, to make sure you quickly capture people’s attention. Visitors do not always scroll down the entire page so keeping main messages too low may lead to missed information.

How do I know it’s working?

Many Web hosts that offer SEM services will also provide you with an analytics tool. This will illustrate information about online activity related to your business’s website such as how many people clicked on your site, which days had the highest traffic and which advertisements produced the most clicks, for example. Additionally, you will be able to see how much of your budget has been used and manage how you wish to continue spending it.

Search Engine Marketing is a great technique for local businesses to place their services in front of their ideal target market. By choosing the relevant keywords and working with SEM experts, you will be sure to reap the benefits of this great investment.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/deliormanli

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Category: Tips
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An Introduction to AdWords – Part 1

For most businesses, a prominent ranking in search engines is a significant source of website traffic. Business owners spend a tremendous amount of effort on making sure their website is easily found and visited from the widest audience possible on the internet. This is why techniques such as search engine optimization (SEO) are important to learn before you even start thinking of your website. But after you have optimized your site to the best of your ability (and we have articles and a webinar on that very topic), what can you do to take your search engine presence a step further?

The answer is Search engine marketing (SEM). In this article we will discuss the most important avenue for SEM, Google AdWords, and how it can benefit your business.

How does it work?
AdWords lets you purchase listings on search engine result pages that display for a user when they search a pre-determined keyword. For example, if you are unable to be among the top results for an important keyword relating to your business, you can pay for a listing on the results for that word instead.

To do this, a business owner must first determine keywords that they wish to associate with their business website. You should think how your customers think: what would they search for in Google, if they had a need for your product or service? Would your website provide an appropriate answer to their question?

Once you have your keywords in mind, the next step is to bid for them. Some keywords have a high demand, which may require you to make a higher investment to secure a placement when that term is searched. For AdWords, you pay per click (PPC), meaning that you may appear as a sponsored result on Google results pages multiple times, but you are only charged when someone actually clicks on the link. For example, you could expect to spend between $0.80 and $1.25 per click for a keyword, depending on its popularity.

The more money that you bid, the more likely you will be placed high on the list, however there is never a guarantee. There is no average amount of investment for a single AdWords campaign, as it is dependent on a number of factors, such as:

  • Size of geographic area
  • Popularity and demand of keywords
  • How many visitors you target

The next step is scheduling. You can schedule when you wish certain advertisements should run. For example, if the statistics show that your visitors are only visiting your website Monday through Friday from 9am – 5pm, you can specify those times to maximize relevant exposure and increase your return on investment.

Check back for part 2 of this article to learn more about the benefits for these advertising campaigns.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/ardaguldogan

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Category: Tips
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Your Business Needs a Website, Not Just a Facebook Page

On the Online Success Center, we spend a lot of time detailing the importance and the how-to’s of establishing a social media presence for your small business. It is an important step in maintaining a relationship with your target audience, but it is also important to note that an official business website is significantly more essential for your business. It is not recommended to build a company Facebook page, for example, before your company has a legitimate website on its own.

While it is true that you can list a lot of the basic information about your business on your Facebook page, the lack of a real website greatly diminishes your chances of being found by new customers. Your social media accounts should only be considered an extension of a greater Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan, rather than the whole plan. In other words, a user searching for your business will turn to Google or Bing, and not Facebook, to search for what they need. While Facebook pages will show up in these results, it is not as likely to rank higher than a real website with a dedicated SEO keyword strategy employed. A social media presence is great for customers that already have a relationship with your brand. Your audience can expand through the use of sharing and even promoted posts, but an official website should be the end goal for you and your customers.

Additionally, even though Facebook has millions and millions of users, you can’t expect all of your target customers to be using it. If they are using it, you can’t expect them to find or ‘like’ your page. And if they ‘like’ your page, you can’t expect them to always engage your business.

A professional, official website is the best avenue for attracting and being seen by the widest audience possible. The good news is that it has never been easier to create an inexpensive business website with very little technical expertise. There are many businesses that offer online website-building application tools for exactly this reason. 1&1, for example, offers MyWebsite, with pre-designed templates for many industries. Don’t let your inexperience convince yourself not to expand your business’s online presence beyond social media.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/berpin

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Category: Tips
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Managing Your Online Reputation Ethically – Part Two

For the first part of this discussion, check out our earlier article.

Online reputation is all about what people are saying, how they are saying it, and why they are saying it. When a prospective customer, investor or journalist looks for your business on the web, they want to see relevant and positive information. So if you have a negative online reputation it is important to work on improving it. If your business lacked results in a keyword search, then you are lacking an online reputation which isn’t good for business either. It is important to be proactive about your online reputation so you have the opportunity to form it rather than let someone else form it for you.

Here are some tips to improve or gain an online reputation:

  1. Create Content: You can do this through a company blog. Writing a blog will help with your reputation by creating content for Google searches. Blogs also help to engage your customers and establish expertise in your field.
  2. Promote Your Business: Use press releases to promote newsworthy information about your business.
  3. Engage: Stay active in your social networks. Try to update on a regular basis with relevant information that your followers want to see. Don’t just talk at your followers, listen to them and engage actively in conversations.
  4. Respond: If you find negative comments or reviews, respond to the posters in a timely manner. This can help you resolve customer problems and lets prospective customers know you are actively trying to fix mistakes. Make sure to respond with an apology in a calm and clear manner to avoid looking defensive.
  5. Search Engine Optimization: Optimizing your company name can help push your business website up on search engine result pages.
  6. Contact Sites: If you find a website where there is incorrect information posted, talk to the administrator and ask them to take it down or correct it.
  7. Testimonials: Use positive feedback to your advantage by asking happy customers if you can use their reviews or comments as a testimonial on your website.

There are companies out there who focus on repairing or building online reputation management. If you choose to pay for one, make sure they follow ethical practices. Ask them how they achieve positive results. Be careful because there are companies that will write fake reviews to improve ratings.

Actively listening to your customers and participating online will be the essential factors to improving your online reputation. Spending time improving your online reputation can also help your business because you can use the feedback to improve your product.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/pictafolio

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Category: Tips
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Web Images Support Your SEO Strategy

Are you getting the most out of the images you display on your small business website? There are many tactics to improving your site’s search engine optimization (SEO), and utilizing your photos and graphics properly is another great step in improving your search engine ranking. It is important to understand that the search engines aren’t necessarily looking at the content of your image, but rather the underlying code that is associated with it. Because of this, you need to go through a few steps to ensure that you are getting the most out of your website. Read the following tips to learn how your images can help your SEO strategy.

Write a descriptive file name.

The file name for all the images and graphics you use should be an effective description of what is seen. Many businesses have certain policies for naming files in their business, for whatever reason, but a file name such as photo_45102.jpg isn’t going to do a lot of good explaining what that image is supposed to be. Instead, name the file something more descriptive such as “online shopping tool.” The naming should ideally include a relevant keyword from your SEO strategy as well. Finally, keep the name short. A long and confusing name for each of your images could have a negative effect.

Use alt-text for your images.

Alt text is a short description of your image that is placed in the underlying code, or meta-data, of the image file. This is what the search engines are actually “reading” when they locate your images. Because of this, you need to be certain that the alt-text is describing exactly what is shown in the image. Another benefit for including alt-text is in the event that an image does not load properly on your website, the user will see the text description in its place.

Surround the image with optimal text.

Search engines also consider the text that is located around images on a website, because it is considered related and containing additional information. Write relevant keywords into the text that accompanies the images on your page, and you can be sure the search engines place more value on that Web page.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/ahlobystov

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Category: Tips
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A Step-by-Step Guide for Selecting Your Keywords – Part 2

A solid and successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy starts with a set of well-defined keywords. Many businesses realize that search engine traffic can be a major source of their business by driving the most qualified leads to their website. The trick is in knowing what words will be the best way to bridge that gap. In this article we will briefly discuss, in a step-by-step process, what you need to identify the most successful keywords for your business. As you might expect, it is not as simple as listing words that are related to your business; there is more planning than that.

Read our earlier article for steps 1-5.

6.       Hone your list again

Based on your research from using the keyword tool, you should have a better idea of what your list of top keywords should be. You might have thought that “lawn care” was a top word, but after seeing how competitive the term is on Google, you may have changed your mind. Use this step to take time and re-tool your set of words to be a better fit. You should consider using some “long-tail keywords” in this round. This means getting a little more specific with your terms and maybe including phrases that are a few words in length. These phrases won’t be searched as often, but will yield a higher page rank.

7.       Research again

Now that your list has improved, you should do one more check with the keyword tool, to ensure that your new words and phrases fall in that delicate balance of searches vs. competition. If you have included long-tail keywords this time around, you should have a much more positive experience with your research.

8.       Use your words!

Now that you’ve done all your homework, it’s time to put the words to action. Write the text for your website with these new keywords in mind. The idea is to mention your key words and phrases as often as naturally possible. Ideally, now when the search engines read your website, they will associate those words with your business, helping your search traffic in the future. It is important not to overdo it, however. Forcing all of your words into your website text is a bad practice known as “keyword stuffing” and is almost always punished by search engines in the long term. You want to write your text to serve your audience, while using the language that they are most likely to use when they try to find you.

9.       Evaluate success

Congratulations! Your new and improved SEO strategy is off and running! Now you have to evaluate the success to see how it is going. This is where you should go back to the analytics program for your website and see how much your search engine traffic has increased, and with what words have been the most successful. Keep in mind that it may take up to several weeks for new Web pages to be properly indexed by Google or Yahoo. Use the knowledge you gain from this stage to tweak and improve your keyword strategy even further. You may find that some words work much better than others.

10.       Maintenance

This is the last step on this list, but it does not mean that your SEO strategy is completely finished. A proper keyword strategy requires that you are always monitoring your search engine traffic, and adjusting your Web content and keyword list according to new trends and changes in your business. If you let your list grow stale, you could start dropping in the search engine rankings.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/ngkaki

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Category: Tips
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