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Does your Internet marketing have good legs?

Posted 11:09 AM by

Higgly Town Heroes have no legsLegs are important to most people, animals, and tables.  Legs are not important to the Higgly Town Heroes.  I have asked my four year old son repeatedly, 'How do they get places?'  He doesn't understand the question.  He says they just do.  Good enough, I suppose, for an animation and a four year old. 

Internet marketing legsBut what about your wine?  Does your wine have good legs?  Many people think legs are a great indicator of a great wine.

What about your Internet marketing initiatives.  Do they have good legs?  Here's another way to ask the same question.  Does your Internet marketing program have a solid foundation with which you can measure, analyze, and make adjustments as necessary?  Can you measure website ROI?  If you said 'no,' then you are like most businesses that are trying to leverage the web as a marketing tool. 

A good place to start is with a marketing firm that will help you plan and establish baseline goals.  Most website development or design firms are not marketing firms.  Sure, they can build a killer website, but when it comes to getting a true return on investment, you need to have a strategy, a game plan, or..... good legs.  Be sure to select a partner that can help you build a strong foundation so you can measure true ROI. 

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AJAX, Web 2.0, and SEO

Posted 7:37 PM by

In my last post I wrote about the downfalls of flash, search engine optimization, and direct linking.  Now it's time to talk about AJAX and web 2.0 and how search engines perceive the two.  First of alll, let's define AJAX and web 2.0.

AJAX is an achronym for Asynchronous Javascript And XML.  It provides web clients (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari) a mechanism for delivering rich experiences for its users.  Google Suggest  is an example of an application that uses AJAX.  As you type, suggestions appear that you can click on to quickly select your topic.  Notice that the entire screen doesn't refresh.  Instead of the browser making a call back to the original web server for a whole new page (including suggestions) it only updates the list of suggestions by passing the typed characters to the server - using AJAX.  The amount of data is very small and the data returned is also very small.... thus very fast.

AJAX enables the concept of web 2.0 - the rich user experience.  It is a great idea to build in a rich experience that makes it easier and more inuitive for users to interact.  Our web content management system has an enormous amount of AJAX programming.  But the problem is with search engines.

AJAX is based on Javascript and Javascript is based on user events (e.g. mouse-up, mouse-down, click, etc).  Search engines don't have the capability to launch javascript events which means if your website's navigation is based on AJAX (which, again, uses Javascript) then search engines will not be able to index it.  This means the website pages you want people to find will not be found because they were never indexed. 

The moral of the story is to use AJAX sparingly if you want your website to be indexed by search engines and definitely do not setup your navigation with AJAX or Javascript.  Check with a knowledgeable software developer and SEO firm and ask them if your site is SEO friendly.

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Searchable Flash

Posted 2:13 AM by

Flash and SEO - Marketpath Content Management Solution IndianapolisUsing Adobe Flash within a website at one time was the bane of search engine visibility.  Although Flash sites were often dazzling, highly interactive, and dynamic, they were not adequately being indexed (if at all) by the big search engines.  Here's a flashback article from 2003 on this topic. 

Adobe has just announced a plug-in available to Google and Yahoo that allows their search engines to act like a user clicking thorugh a flash website.  This seems to be the latest effort at indexing Flash sites but some say that obtaining a high search position willl still be difficult because of the inability to provide direct links within the flash site. 

For example, if a blogger finds a page in a flash site that is several clicks deep she will not be able to link directly to that page in her blog.  Instead, she would have to link to the front page (the page that loads initially) and instruct the user how to get to the deeper level page.  Yuck!

So, if you want to build a highly interactive website, use AJAX and Web 2.0 technologies instead of Flash.  You can still use Flash movies embedded within your site but don't let the Flash handle your website navigation.  I'd like to caution, though, that AJAX and Web 2.0 have their own issues which I'll tackle in my next post.

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Do-It-Yourself SEO

Posted 1:18 AM by

We tell clients all the time that we will help initiate a program to improve search results and help find the right keywords to use throughout their website.  We also say that the rest is basically up to them.  And because they are using a web content management solution (Marketpath CMS... of course) ongoing SEO is about producing lots of relevant content that engages website visitors. 

In his blog entry Three SEO Myths Debunked, Mike Volpe wrote 'If I had $100,000 to invest in SEO, I would hire a journalist to create lots of articles and videos, not an SEO consultant.'

There is only so much code tweaking you can do to optimize a website for search.  Hiring a firm on retainer to provide SEO consulting is like hiring GM on retainer to fill your gas tank once a week.  You definitely need GM to build the car but it is cost prohibitive to have them filling your gas tank. 

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Win-Win SEO

Posted 2:24 PM by

Today I am leading a discussion on Stephen Covey's 4th habit - Think Win-Win (The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People).  The underlying idea of this habit is that instead of thinking there is only a certain amount of pie for all to share it is better to adopt the idea that there is plenty of pie to go around for everyone - everyone wins.  Now you can apply this to relationships, your work, and any issues that arise from either.  You can't have Win-Win every time but you can sure try.

So what about search results?  Can you adopt the Win-Win mentality (Abundance Mentality) with search results?  This is a little more tricky.  On the first page search engines show 10 organic results they think are relevant to your search.  So, in this sense, there are only 10 positions to secure on that first page (and you definitely want the first page).  The pie is very limited.

The great thing about keyword searches is that there are usually a great number of variations.  The most popular variations get used often.  These are highly competitive keywords and limit your chances of obtaining high search engine position.  This is a very small pie indeed and getting a slice can cost you a lot of money and time.

But then there are those keyword combinations that are used much less frequently and can be used throughout your site to obtain a higher search position with a lot less work.  This is where the pie is almost unlimited. 

Here's an example:  if I live in Indianapolis (which I do) and I'm looking for a divorce attorney (which I'm not) I would likely type in "divorce attorney indianapolis".  Our client, Hollingsworth, Cassman, and Zivitz (http://www.hczlaw.com/), specialize in divorce.  Winning the top search positions for "divorce attorney" is nearly impossible.  But winning the search for "indianapolis divorce attorney" is a little more achievable.  And since they are based in Carmel, IN they have an even better shot at winning "carmel divorce attorney" (which they do).  You can take that further and strive for the following less competitive keyword phrases:

  • divorce attorney indianapolis
  • divorce indiana
  • divorce lawyer carmel
  • divorce questions indiana
  • marital divorce issues
  • avoiding divorce
  • divorce attorney fishers (a town near Carmel)
  • divorce attorney westfield (another town near Carmel)

Those are just a few of the variations.  You should hire an experienced SEO firm to help you come up with the many related keyword combinations.

The point is that the pie for search is very small if you're going after highly competitive keywords but abundant if you go after the virtually unlimited keyword variations available.  So, I guess you can adopt the Win-Win habit for search engine results after all.  Just be sure to monitor your search results based on those keyrods and always provide fresh, updated, and relevant content to maintain those positions.

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