Wednesday, 12 November 2014 15:59
Out of the several metrics website owners should be paying attention to, bounce rate is up there. Bounce rate is often overlooked and is a measurement of getting people to stay on your website instead of popping in… then popping out.
So what can you do to improve it?
1. Content is king and you should really try to create better. Most of the time, if somebody leaves, it’s due to them not seeing what they had expected. If it doesn’t tell them who you are, what you do or explain what they should do next – your page isn’t fulfilling an important need.
2. Improve your website navigation. Most of your visitors are looking for something specific so, make it easy for them to find it. Pages or menus need to be clear and prominent. If your potential customer has to click through four or five pages to find that “golden” nugget, chances are your bounce rate will be pretty high.
3. Ensure you have clear calls to action. Have you ever landed on a web page and thought, “what do I do next?” I know I have read an article or watched a video and was unsure of my next action. Confused people do NOTHING. Have a link with additional information or capture their information so you can give them more information. Make it obvious and easy for them to take the next step or contact you.
If you implement these steps, you will have higher quality traffic, people will spend more time on your website and your bounce rate will improve. I also means the user experience will be better and that is the goal of any website owner.
Written by: Nathan Lumpkin – SMM
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 15:49
As many of you may have heard, That! Company hosted a haunted house within our office to raise money for local charities. We did raise a few hundred dollars to help out local groups, but that is not the focus of this blog. The office underwent an incredible transformation, as some of these pictures show, but that is not my focus either. My focus is on what happened after 5 PM, the evening before the haunted house.
Our haunted house scene was a medical experiment gone wrong which created the Zombie virus. At 4 PM on the evening before the big event, I assigned one of my employees to fill test tubes and petry dishes with water and food coloring. This is an employee who regularly takes on extra projects for clients and never has any time to spare. He begrudgingly went to the break room where we had pitchers of colored water and scores of test tubes. When I went to check on the progress a little before 5, I was amazed to discover that this employee had raided the fridge, putting condiments, relish, etc. in the test tubes to “make diseases,” or at the very least, make disgusting looking test tubes. The rest o the staff was truly stunned by his creepy creations. At 5 I told him he could wrap up. At 6 PM I told him he could go home. He responded, “But I am having fun.” He was not alone. Whether it was the staff who stayed late decorating, raided their attics, or gave all they could to the acting experience, it seemed the whole company had caught the “haunted house virus.” Perhaps my favorite moment of the whole event was when one employee who had worked so hard on planning and costumes was literally jumping up and down because he had scared someone so much. Laughter was wide-spread between “scenes.”
So what? Well, this was a definite team building activity for That! Company. People began to interact in ways outside their usual channels. They developed new outlets for their creative side. Many of the staff never realized their co-workers were art majors, or did community theater, or were that creative, or could twirl balls of fire on a rope! When was the last time your employees got to see one another in a different light? When was the last time they had the chance to give back to their community? With the holiday season looming, I would issue a challenge to the That! Company friends out there in the cyberverse. Give your employees a chance to interact in new and creative ways. Put them in a position to make a difference on each other’s lives or the community. Develop an enthusiastic little beaker of the “team virus” and watch it spread.
Written by: Derrick DeYarman – Director of SEO
Top 10 Common Reasons Your Site is Not Being Indexed by Google
Thursday, 06 November 2014 19:58
Having your website structured so that it may be indexed by Google is a crucial factor when it comes to SEO. Without your site being indexed you become invisible in Google’s eye’s, which in return means you’re invisible to your target consumer. With Google being the reigning champ of the search engines, it is wise to play by their rules.
I will break down a few different variables that will explain the reason why a website may not be indexed, and gain organic traffic.
- The Website is being indexed with a www. or a non-www. domain
Think of www. as a subdomain. With that in mind… A domain such as http://test.com is not the same as http://www.test.com. In this instance, you want to make sure that both domains are added to your Google Webmaster Tools account. Doing this will ensure you that both of them are being indexed. Still set your preferred domain, but you will need to verify ownership of both of them.
- Your website has not been found by Google yet.
Though this is generally a problem with new websites, you should give it a couple of days at the very least. If Google is still not indexing your site, you may want to ensure that the sitemap for the website has been uploaded and is functioning properly. Obviously if you have not submitted or crafted a sitemap, this may be your issue! You can also request Google to crawl and fetch your website. You can see how to make such a request here.
- Robots.txt Blocking The Site or Page(s)
You could run into the issue of a developer or editor blocking the site with robots.txt. This is a rather easy fix. All you have to do it remove the entry that lays within robots.txt, after that your website should pop back into action and get indexed. You can feel free to learn more about robots.txt here.
- Crawl Errors
In certain scenarios, Google may not index some of the pages on your website because it cannot crawl them. Google can still see the pages, but can’t crawl them..
To find the problem, go into Google Webmaster Tools > Choose your website > Click into “Crawl” > You will see “Crawl Errors” go here. If Google is having a hard time crawling any pages it will list them out in “Top 1,000 pages with errors.”
- Too Much Duplicate Content
If your website has too much duplicate content you could begin to confuse the search engines and in return, they will give up on trying to index your website. For example, if you have URLs that are returning identical content, you will now have a duplicate content issues. A solution to this issue is to pick one page and 301 the rest of the pages with duplicate content.
- Privacy Settings are Turned on
If you operate in WordPress, there is a chance that you could still have the privacy settings on.
Take a look: Admin > Settings > Privacy.
- Website is Being Blocked by .htaccess
The .htaccess file is a factor in your website’s existence on the server, .htaccess allows your website to be viewable on the world wide web. Apache is used to write the .htaccess file. Even though it can be a useful and handy tool, it can also be used to block indexing and crawling.
- Website Takes too long to load.
Nobody likes a website that takes forever to load. Neither does Google, if the crawlers run into unreasonable load times, it is possible that Google will not index the site at all.
This is your worst nightmare. If Google smacked you with a penalty and removed you from their index. If your website has a sketchy history that you’re not aware of, it could be that manual penalty lurking around and preventing Google from indexing you.
If Google has dropped you from their index, it is a rough road ahead of getting back into it.
All in all, Indexing is a main key factor in SEO. If you’re not being indexed, then finding out why should be your number one priority.
Written by: Zack Rivera – Marketing Coordinator
Don’t Make These SEO Mistakes… It Will Cost You!
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 15:44
Strategies on being effective with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) have evolved over time but, one thing is clear… what not to do is just as important as what you do! Here are a few things to avoid like the plague as you march forward.
Don’t stuff keywords
Great content is written for people, not the search engines. So, if you load your content chock full of key words to attract the search engine bots, you are asking for trouble. Avoid repeating your keywords time after time… even if that is the search term you wish to rank, the repetitiveness will look unnecessary and is annoying for your readers.
Be aware of what your SEO company is doing
Not only can their actions propel a website up quickly, it can also have your website falling at light speed and ruining any opportunity to rank in the search engines. An example of this is getting a large amount of low-quality or spammy backlinks. It’s much better to have a few high-quality, relevant links that 10,000 bad ones.
Don’t steal other content
Although tempting, never copy word for word and post as your own content. Not only is it unethical but, that duplicate content will undoubtedly ensure your post, page or website will not rank. One way to properly post content of other people is to summarize, give credit or link back to the original piece.
SEO companies are just like doctors, lawyers and cooks… there are some which are good and some who are bad. Be sure that your business relies on one with ethics and a strong knowledge of industry best practices.
Written By: Nathan Lumpkin – Social Media Manager
Factors in Picking Your SEO provider for Continued Business Success
Thursday, 23 October 2014 14:42
Search Engine Optimization or SEO has become a way of leveraging your marketing dollars in a day where every penny counts. SEO isn’t an overnight factor in achieving success… SEO is the cross country run instead of a sprint – but, beneficial non-the-less. The major search engines evaluate pages based on their own internal algorithms which ultimately are designed to enhance the user experience and result in page rankings. The higher the better and here are some tips to ensure your provider is honest, ethical & can get you results you want.
NDA’s are common in the industry but, any company worth their weight in salt will have testimonials, past performance metrics and case studies for you to review. Ask for them and look to see similar types of clients to your business model or services.
How long have they been in business. Are they looked at in the good graces of the Better Business Bureau? Are their staff educated or certified. All great questions to ask during any sales presentation and ask for documented proof… not just lip service.
Will you get weekly or monthly reports. Do you get regular updates via phone. If there is a problem, do you get an email or does your account manager call you directly with a personal touch. Many are surprised over the level of and differences in how customer service is handled.
If they manage your SEO, can they also cross over into social media management like, Facebook… and do they have the capability to extend into other platforms like Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google + or another social media platform. Do they staff Pay-Per-Click experts if you wish to embark into that space? Can they make your old HTML website into something modern looking and responsive for mobile or tablet devices?
You don’t buy the first car you see on a car lot so, you shouldn’t decide to hire an SEO provider on the first and only path crossing. Take the time to research and do some due diligence on they type of company you wish to build a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with.
Written By: Nathan Lumpkin – Social Media Manager
A Day in the Life of That! Company PPC Reporter
My primary duty every morning is preparing PPC reports for our client managers for the clients they contact on that particular day. Not only is TH@T! Company dedicated to improving our client’s online advertising results; whether it is conversions, site traffic, or any goal a client is wanting to achieve, we want to provide them with detailed reports to show the progress we are making. As with anything you have some valleys leading to the top of the mountain, so we do not hide those valleys. They can be indicators of customer trends or changes that didn’t quite work the way it was hoped to so we learn from the valleys.
Google is the major player in search engine use but they aren’t the only one out there. We provide reporting to our clients for any and all search engines they are utilizing. We adapt the data from Bing, Amazon, Facebook, and others to meet the needs of the client. Customization of the report layout makes for ease of reading and understanding. If a client wants to have a special result reported we go to all lengths to see if the data is available and include it with their weekly reports.
TH@T! Company is here for our client’s every need, from the first keyword to the last graph on their reports.
Written by: Gary Harvison – PPC
What are you doing with your site? No Really…
Thursday, 16 October 2014 15:39
It’s not unusual to find websites that make you wonder what the site owner and site designer were thinking. If you’ve ever encountered a website where you had trouble navigating, finding content, or making a purchase, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But I’m not here to slam designers or business owners; I’m here to remind you to ask a simple yet very important question before you build your space online: what is the purpose of your website?
If you answered “to promote my business, of course!” you’re not thinking specifically enough. Try this question on for size: what do you hope to accomplish with your website? Most websites that are trying to rank in the search engines seem to fit into certain general categories. These include sales, lead generation, entertainment, and informational. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but they seem to be the kinds we see the most. Each of them will call for somewhat different SEO approaches.
A website focused on sales does exactly what it sounds like – it sells a product. From an SEO perspective, if you are selling a lot of products that are very similar, duplicate content issues can crop up. Product descriptions will need to be carefully written to avoid a penalty. On the other hand, we can make extensive use of a Google data highlighting tool to get the search engine to see the product information correctly. It involves something called “schema,” and although schema might not be appropriate for certain sites, it can be helpful in this situation.
What if you offer a service that can’t simply be purchased through your website? You are probably trying to generate leads – get potential customers to contact you for a demonstration or a quote. You should make it very easy for visitors to give you their contact information so you can get in touch with them, of course…and you should also set up Google Analytics to tell you about form completion. Sure, you may know how many people contacted you this month, but do you know what they did to find your website? Do you know where they came from? Do you know how that number compares to the same time last year? Properly set up, GA can tell you this, and much, much more.
Perhaps you run an entertainment-based website. That can be anything from a forum to a games site to a social networking website. To my mind, two points stand out about such a site. First, you must make it easy for users to do what you want them to do (play games, take quizzes, whatever) because there are a lot of ways to get entertained online. Second, if you’re offering your main entertainment for free, you still need to make money – and you need to have a way to measure the money you’re making. Not just how much money is coming in, but from where it’s coming, and how much you’re paying for it, just for openers. Again, Google Analytics has ways to help you measure these kinds of things.
Finally, there are informational websites. Some of these are political, some are charities, some may be hobby sites, but all are trying to inform and educate. You will want to measure your traffic, of course, and in this case you have some interesting tools at your disposal. Google has one that creates a trackable URL. You can use it in an e-mailed newsletter to see how many people click through; you can even use more than one to see if more recipients click through at the top of the newsletter or at the bottom. With this kind of information, you can see what is and is not working, and hone your message accordingly to increase traffic.
You may notice I didn’t touch on content and link building. That’s going to be a given for any kind of website, one way or another; there may simply be some differences in the focus. Many websites may be trying to accomplish several things at once. But once you know what your overarching goal is for your site, you know how you need to focus your design – and you know what you need to measure. This lets you turn a general goal like “promoting my business” into a more specific goal, like “making twice as much revenue in Q4 2014 as I did in Q4 2013.” Setting goals that are specific and measurable are the first two steps toward actually achieving them…and knowing what you’re doing with your website. Good luck!
Written By: Terri Wells – SEO
How Does Remarketing Work? Know Your Facts!
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 18:58
We all search and surf the internet but not everyone truly understands what is happening behind the scenes. Joe is looking for a particular piece of mountain climbing equipment so he types in “composite climbing clip” and your website shows up in the #1 position of the search. Joe clicks on your ad and is instantly taken to a page on your site that displays a variety of clips that mountain climbers use but doesn’t see the “composite” clip he is looking for. Although he does like what he sees and checks out other pages on your site and then continues to look for someone who might have the item he is looking for. Here is where remarketing comes in to play. While Joe was on your website a cookie was placed on his computer with information of what pages he was on while on your site. As Joe is looking at other results from his searching he keeps seeing your company’s ad. This leads Joe back to your site and there is a better chance he will buy from you.
Remarketing can help your advertising in several ways. First it can increase return traffic but also, and more important, lead to conversions whether that is site traffic, form fills, or purchases. It all sounds simple but actually it takes some time and a little help from your PPC professional.
There has to be a small amount of code place on every page of your site to track where people have been. A cookie is placed not only on the prospective client’s computer but also on your remarketing list for that particular page. As time goes by your remarketing list grows along with the opportunities of return visitors. You can run remarketing campaigns for any of your remarketing lists that can offer special deals for returning customers.
Your PPC account manager is here to help every step of the way. Before your remarketing campaign starts to pay off the list(s) you are focusing on has to have at least 100 active visitors the prior 30 days. As your site traffic increases so does your remarketing list(s) giving you more opportunities for the conversions you are looking for. Remember Joe? Because of your remarketing he came back to your site and purchased not only a mountaineers climbing clip, even though it wasn’t the composite clip he wanted and couldn’t anywhere else, but spikes for his boots, a hanging hammock, and several other items.
Remarketing; a powerful marketing tool, one that pays for itself.
Written by: Gary Harvison – PPC
Website Redesign Landmines Part 2
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 15:44
Another common, but often overlooked problem is that the search functions in new sites all too frequently create duplicate pages. This is problematic in a lot of ways. Obviously it tends to create duplicate content, which in the grand scheme of things is not terribly devastating. This also, however, tends to create duplicate meta-descriptions and meta-titles, which are potentially disastrous to SEO efforts. What’s more, this can create all sort of issues when the search engine bots try to do a crawl, multiplying page errors, slowing page speed, and hiding valuable SEO content in a sea of duplicate pages. These issues are often difficult to identify and diagnose. This is a tricky issue that even SEO experts can struggle to identify and remedy.
Some web designers have created catastrophic and well hidden landmines that can take down your SEO rankings indefinitely. We have seen occasions where designers have misused “no follow” links, essentially hiding pages of the site. More devastating, we have seen web designers “no index” huge sections of a website, causing almost all of the optimized pages to suddenly become unreadable to the search engines. Predictably, SEO rankings were destroyed. An XML sitemap can help immensely identifying this, and it is just one of the reasons we recommend all sites have an XML sitemap.
Finally, we have seen occasions where web developers bring over all of the “visible” components of each page of the site in tact. On the surface, everything appears OK. Behind the scenes, however, all of the meta-data is either deleted, or set to a single default. That means every page of the site has duplicate meta-descriptions and meta-titles. As already pointed out, that is a big problem.
Let’s be honest. A site redesign is a major undertaking. Making an omelet that big is going to involve breaking a few eggs. Some errors are bound to occur, but without an experienced pair of hands digging into the dark corners of your website, these things can lay dormant forever, and wipe out all SEO rankings.
Written By: Derrick De Yarman – Director of SEO
Website redesign landmines Part 1
This year it seems that we have seen an inordinate number of problems for folks who have had a web redesigns by companies that are not SEO firms and without any SEO oversight. The consequences have been predictably disastrous, though some of the landmines the developers created were truly innovative. Far and away the most common problem with a redesign is that URLs are changed or abandoned. At times this is a conscious decision, but usually one that clients end up regretting. Most of the time, however, this is accidental. No matter how many times a web designer is warned, many times, URLs vanish in a new site. And for the record, www.mywebsite.com/seopage.php is not the same as www.mywebsite.com/seopage,html.
Though web designers need to keep Analytics code on the site, this is often overlooked. Conversion points are also crucial, and must be tested. All too often there are problems, with forms not populating to databases or sending notification emails as they should. Designers also need keep “Thank you” pages in tact, complete with conversion codes, though these sometimes disappear. The conversion points deserve extra attention and testing when redesigning a website.
Stay tuned, because there are much more creative and clandestine ways for web designers to accidentally create SEO landmines on your new site.
Written By: Derrick DeYarman – Director of SEO
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