SEOdamian's Blog

Helping others understand & share about technology, search

Another site review on how to improve your sites traffic

I had a request to give some feedback on a 6 year old site on how to improve conversion, and traffic for the gift basket site Blissful Balance . Here in no particular order are some quick hit suggestions. Feel free to comment and ask some more questions.

  • http://www.blissfulbalance.com/essential_oils.html
  • Some suggestions for improving your SEO and site conversion
    • Script font is hard to read, contrast is low, graphic is not SEO compliant
    • There is No call to action above the fold
    • If a gift, not as clear that you cater to the giver – include a free gift for the giver or way to reward the giver for their giving thoughts.
    • No alt text to attract Google juice
    • Image names not leveraged – xdfwe99 is not useful to Google as to what the image is about. Consider listing in Google Images
    • More trust building across the site. Why should I trust my money with you where there are so many other sites out there to buy gifts from.
      • Above the fold
    • No header text to help Google understand
    • Need video for demonstrating product. Video can get YouTube traction today, Google takes months.
    • Audio to demonstrate CD as to why this is something I want to send to my giftee, this seems more unique then other parts of your baskets
    • About us – it should tell a story of passion – why should I buy from you. Because you have passion in these products
    • Tell me about you last 6 years – what have you done.
    • Hosting on Yahoo can be a challenge for other sites on IP could be tripping you up.
    • You have many Duplicate descriptions and boring titles on your pages throughout the site (site: blissfulbalance.com)
    • Articles page is missing your call to read on the description
    • You have links on spam farms
    • What keyword phrases are you going after?
    • No keywords in domain name
    • What is your niche?
    • You footer text should be unique on different pages.
    • Allow larger text options
    • What is your conversion rate?
    • Site is slow on Contact Us page
    • No physical address is listed here. You need to build TRUST, too many other options to go to the next one.
    • No 800 number (still need local number for trust) – Kall8.com is a great resource for low cost, easy to work with for 800 numbers in about 5 minutes including an autobill credit card number.
    • Have product info also on separate pages to allow the power of smaller pages. Tell more of a story with these sub-pages to allow for long tail search engine optimization by Google.
    • Look at SEO (search engine optimizing) your Aromatherapy page.
    • Tell me a story on your essential oils page. Consider making this a better resource for others to share by flushing out a greater list of resources, links to other sites and stories of the benefits of these oils helping others.
  • Driving traffic to the site
    • Create a few blogs to demonstrate your thought leadership and how you understand your customer. As the site reads now, you look like a salesman, not a person who understand the buyer of gift baskets.  Explain to me how you care about your customers, and they will care more about you.–
      • Post content at least weekly (partner if you need to – perhaps a trade of a basket for every 4 stories including shipping)
      • Mix ideas (for how to use) and stories (of how the baskets change lives by allowing for balanced life)
      • Post ideas on other site

Remember that the objective is not to trick Google, but understand that Google is trying to best understand what you can share about your products. Google is not human, so you first have to communicate to Google what your pages are about in order to most effectively communicate to it what you are selling.

Understand that there are many types of media to share with Google (and YouTube) and your perspective clients the value of our site.

Good luck, and let me know what your reactions are.

July 30, 2010 Posted by | Community, copywriting, HTML Issue, SEO tools | Leave a comment

DRIVE – Dan Pink’s book clarified my world understanding.

Here is an 11 Minute TED type talk with fun white-board explanations from worldwide thought leaders. The one that caught my fancy is from Dan Pink. Dan Pink has come up 3 times in the last day for me from different directions. The science and economic studies he references explain the conflicts I have been seeing in business and non-profit organizations for decades. I have a whole new paradigm to work from and share with others. What do you think? Please comment.

RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mG-hhWL_ug – the 42 minute version of RSA presentation

So there is a lot more drive in us to meet the rest of Maslow’s hierarchy of  needs in us all (statistically speaking, we are all unique and regularly break the ‘rules’). That need is very strong as we seem to want to work in community. When we ignore these needs, we ignore the fundamental drives that are present in our world.

So after watching this how will you change your way of operating?

Not only did his ideas get me thinking, but so did the different formats I heard his ideas from – YouTube, Podcasts, Blogs, personal reference. I still have not read his book from with these other sharing formats came from, but I feel I can incorporate the concepts today and tomorrow into my different projects.  For millennium, many were not allowed to read the ‘original’ source material for religions, but they needed to be interpreted. Is today’s world of more YouTube videos being posted per day being more then could be watched in a year creating a variation on the same theme?

A Question – what is better?
1) To watch ‘TED’ type (RSA, BookNotes, TED, Charlie Rose, etc) talks of thought leaders that are the distillation of their work after presenting it 100’s of time.
2) Or to read the source work with all depth?

What is the best way to assimilate knowledge – read the whole book or the talk after 100’s of presentations and feedback in the ‘wild’?  More and more I am feeling that the ‘book’ is not the final source to learn from, but the starting point for the author to really explore the ideas and concepts. When I watch Booknotes (on weekends on USA Cable TV channel C-SPAN) it becomes evident that there is great growth and advancement from when an author (usually after years of work) turned in their manuscript to an editor, until a BookNotes presentation (after a book tour, many lectures, arguments with editors and publishers and reviewers) allows an author to speak of the concepts without needing to refer to notes and 40 pages of support on why an idea is ‘self evident’ or not in the short attention span answers required today to share our ideas in our paced world.

Obviously there are lots of exceptions to any rule. And the standards of authorship in this world of self-publishing, need to make a dollar, focus group writing, and need to publish or perish are varied. But, does the wisdom of a book come out quicker in a 60 (or 20 or 10) minute talk with some slides or a whiteboard or commoncraft supplement or are we just feeding ourselves more information junk food, full of empty calories of half thought out ideas?

What is the role for RSAnimates, Podcasts, commoncraft, and other ‘short form’ ways of sharing concepts in abbreviated format?

July 15, 2010 Posted by | copywriting, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thinking where to host your web site?

1st Identify what you need from a hosting company. For the next 18 months. You can always switch providers if you build that into your plan (highly recommended). Web hosting is the equivalent of renting your home. You do not need to find the ‘perfect’ place for all your needs forever, and their job is to maintain the property.

If you are planning on looking at their templates (for simple sites) – as someone who understands, where the limitations of templates are, before you try to box yourself in. If you need big closets and the apartment is only 1100 sq ft, you are going to be disappointed.

Just like landlords that can only effectively meet the range of a renters and not the needs of everyone need cheap, secure, location, size…., hosting companies specialize in a range of hosting needs. Those outside that range will be frustrated.

There are a few other steps after identifying you needs and goals, but reviewing other hosting reviews is a solid step.

July 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

When is the best time to call a lead?

Bill asked the question in his blog http://blog.marketo.com/blog/2010/07/perfect-timing-%E2%80%93-when-to-call-a-prospect.html/comment-page-1#comment-5180

Here is my response to his discussion:

To me the answer was ASK. Before I scrolled down to your recommendations, that what was screaming in my mind. More and more the trying to parse someones specific needs based on all sorts of psycographic indicators is like trying to fish without radar. It may work in the aggregate, but if you are concerned about the individual day’s catch, it is a poor strategy. An individual purchaser’s will be different at different times. I was thinking how I purchase, and more and more, when I find a potential solution resource is varied from where I am in the sales cycle. I may find a new solution as I am checking the references of a final candidate, and having legal reviewing the contract, or I may find a resource as I am considering the category.

Besides, if you ask, it builds relationship and shows that you are more concerned about the clients needs rather then your own. And that will certainly help improve the sales cycle.

What are your thoughts?

July 10, 2010 Posted by | Community, local marketing | , , , , | Leave a comment

How do I get ranked Higher?

I’m trying to get higher on the search engines when “grief” and “widow” is entered but that is not as easy as it sounds. All advice is appreciated.
Mary Francis
www.thesisterhoodofwidows.com

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but it is intended to be helpful, not mean.

I would suggest a variety of steps to improve your SERP (Search Engine Results Page):

  • Register your domain name for at least 2 years. If you don’t have confidence in your site for at least another $11 (2nd year cost at GoDaddy.com) , then Google will not think you are serious about your site, and therefore not treat you seriously.
  • Get links from other sites to your site. Google knows of no other links to your page (I know because at google.com Advanced Search I entered: link:thesisterhoodofwidows.com at the bottom). To Google, that means, no one else has recommended you, so Google feels that since no one else thinks you are worth recommending, that you are not a very worthwhile site. Of course there is nothing wrong with promoting yourself with a blog (wordpress.com), social networking like Facebook and LinkedIn and others.
  • Add ALT tags that focus on what the different images are about including Grief and Widow. “Mary Cover” is not real helpful to the site impaired, mobile user, or Google search engine. However, “Book Cover for Sisterhood of Widows, A how to book for new widows” is a lot more helpful to Google and readers in understanding what the image is about.
  • Change “Widows understand Widows like no one else can” to a Heading rather then a ‘STRONG’.
  • Consider your wording. You have Widow 23 times on the page. Some search engines will see that as ‘keyword stuffing’ for the amount of text on the page.
  • Remember that these are very broad words that will have quite a bit of competition. I would recommend on a strategy that is more focused initially. This will build more traffic and buzz. Then you can attempt a broader focus. “widow’s grief” will be a lot easier. You will need to have the words next to each other to optimize for this and focus your work accordingly.
  • Since you have already created a PDF of the 1st chapter,
    PDF available

    PDF Available

    share the PDF wide and far. But consider updating your PDF to include the domain name in the properties, on a separate front page to link to your website (And a last page to order the book online), and the footer having the domain name on every page. Some of the search engines can now ‘read’ pdf’s and that will improve the links into your site. Be descriptive on the properties to make it easy for someone to understand what a great treasure it is when it gets forwarded without your website.

  • Consider using some of the free or low cost tools for measuring your site and telling you what you need to do to improve it. See my post on Google Analytics for a free solution.
  • Consider using the services of an search engine optimizer who will work with you personally short term and longer term to optimize your efforts either as a coach or a implementer.
  • Put links to the stores where your book is being sold.
  • Continue to update and expand the site. In the world of change (imagine 6 months ago not being able to go to most of the Florida 1350 miles of coastline this summer because of an oil spill). If you are not updating your site, SE will consider you irrelevant our our changing world. Add new testimonials, press releases, announcements of book signings, links to reviews, and your own on-going thoughts and learning on the subject. Sorry, the project is just beginning once the book is completed.
  • Consider other domain names that link to your websites that are simple – perhaps just short summaries of each chapter. Do not host all the different websites at the same company. Google will interpret them as spam and penalize you rather then reward you.
  • Consider working with a proofreader.
  • Commit to adding a least one new page per month to your website, and improving your existing pages.
  • Look to other sources to interview you as an author for podcasts and radio shows. These of course should all be linked to your website, as well as posted on your website.

Sisterhood of Widows

July 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments