Categories
All About SEO

The SEO Benefits of Local Business Listings

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Connecting with local customers is a crucial part of any business, and effectively applying the benefits of local listings is an excellent way to do this. As growing numbers of customers search for products, businesses, and information online when researching a purchase, it becomes increasingly important to focus on providing accurate information to the customers searching near you.

Luckily, there are a number of free local business listings that can put you on the map and give your potential customers all the information they need to discover your business. Online directories have replaced regional newspapers and yellow pages, allowing customers to search within an area or industry. All of the major search engines pull data from trusted listings that businesses can access and fill out.

Google results feature a number of local options right at the top of its search results, and this information is largely pulled from its local listings at Google+. You can give your business a sizable boost by filling out your online profile and appearing among these results.

Local listings can include a variety of information, including:

  • Name, address, and phone number (NAP)
  • Website
  • Hours of Operation
  • Payment Methods Accepted
  • Description of the Business
  • Images
  • Customer Reviews

In addition to providing your customers with information when they search locally, these local listings also provide significant SEO benefits for your website. The vast majority of local business listings will include an area for a link to your website, providing a valuable back link. You can usually also include another link in the description text.

Ensuring that the information in your listings is consistent also provides search engines with trusted information about your business, which can improve your rankings.

Many businesses offer a local listing service to complete these profiles on your behalf, but proceed with caution. Companies that use an automated system for this task often end up with listings that are incomplete, inconsistent, or missed as they cannot be completed without a verification of some sort. Personal attention to your listings is worth the time spent and is the only way to ensure that they are all offering the most benefit. Ensure that the company you’re considering will be giving every one of your listings personal attention.

Free Local Business Listings

There are hundreds of local listing directories available, with varying degrees of reliability and benefit to your business. Here are some of the top free local listings available for you to take advantage of:

  • Google+
  • Facebook
  • CitySquares
  • Yahoo
  • Bing
  • dmoz
  • Insider Pages
  • Foursquare
  • Best of the Web
  • Merchant Circle
  • Yelp
  • YP (Yellow Pages)
  • Super Pages
  • Show Me Local
  • Manta
  • Hot Frog
  • Angie’s List
  • CityGrid | CitySearch
  • Golocal247
  • Express Update
  • Kudzu
  • eLocal
  • Plancast
  • Konnecti
  • Factual
  • YellowBot

Taking the time to fully complete these listings is definitely worth the effort. Not only are you more likely to show up for customers at the top of a local searcher’s results, but your website will also gain valuable SEO benefits.

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by Teresa Bamburg

Categories
All About SEO

Lead Generation Techniques for Real Estate Wholesalers

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Many people are overwhelmed when they look into real estate as a possible income stream. Aside from the nervousness hesitation to put out legal contracts constantly, there is an obstacle before they are even able to make an offer on a single property. That obstacle is in the pursuit of actually finding motivated sellers.

Leads are the bread and butter of any successful real estate wholesaler. Without leads, the wannabe investor will spin their wheels. You will find that cash buyers are pretty easy to find when compared to getting motivated sellers to contact you.

Lead generation is your answer. For the next few minutes, you will discover some incredible ways to pull in those motivated seller leads. You will discover the trade secrets of a 20+ year internet marketing veteran that just so happens to be a real estate wholesaler. Let’s get started!

Do you find sellers, or do sellers find you?

There are many methods wholesalers use to reach motivated sellers. Many of them require you to reach out to them. Others will allow them to reach out to you. I am a huge fan of having the motivated seller contact me. Why? Because if they are contacting me, then I know they are more likely to be motivated in the traditional sense. They will be much more open to a discount offer, or even creative financing terms, or subject 2 if there is little to no equity on the property.

While I prefer that the seller contacts me, I am not one to close a door on a gift horse. Every lead is a good lead, and a potential assignment fee. This is why I am going to recommend that you employ as many of these techniques as your time, budget, and determination will allow.

Before you begin, you will want to follow a standard format for your ads. Here is an example…

We Buy Houses

ANY Area, ANY Condition.

Zero Closing Costs, “AS-IS”

Call Now! (555)-555-5555

This will not necessarily be the case for post cards and letters however. You can find that format by searching Google for “yellow letter”.

  • Yellow letters and post cards

The “yellow letter” or post card are excellent sources of done deals. The problem is that a mass mailing can be expensive, even at a single piece cost of $.40 cents per post card. You will need to send between 1,000 and 2,000 to secure a couple of deals. On top of it, the best method is to send it 6 times to the same people before moving on to the next list. That’s about $400 to $800 per mailing times 6. When you are already established in the wholesale game, that cost is easy to absorb thanks to the many assignment fees you’ve collected. When first starting out however, you may not be able to manage that.

The yellow letter is targeted towards a direct mailing list of homeowners with equity and other factors. ListSource is a popular provider of such lists. I have obtained ‘small lists’ of about 180 addresses and names for about $50 or so. You can import the list into a yellow letter or post card mailer service such as BigYellowLetter or any of the various others.

  • Lead websites

As someone who started in the website design and internet marketing business way back in the teenage years, I am always creating websites whenever I get an itch to start a business or collect leads. One of my favorite website backbones is WordPress due to it’s ease of use, ability to optimize for search engines, and the mere fact that I can create multiple variations of lead pages targeting different campaigns.

A wholesaler without a lead website isn’t a wholesaler at all. Not everyone wants to, or has the option to call you. Just providing a phone number on your ad materials isn’t enough. A URL should always be provided as an option, and the visitor should be able to reach you through an intricate contact form that collects information about the house they want to sell you.

When creating your lead site, make sure that you ask all of the appropriate questions so you can analyze the deal ahead of any discussions with the seller. I have an example down below. I like to collect the address, contact info, property type and info, description of needed repairs, etc. I even include an option for them to tell me whether or not they would be willing to hold a note for all, or a portion of their equity. This leaves the option for creative financing in the event that the property is not ideal for a cash offer (low to no equity).

  • Social media

I spend hours every day on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media websites interacting with others, promoting, and just trying to drum up traffic to my website and lead conversions.

Be careful to provide the right ratio of content vs ads however. Over posting ads can be annoying to followers and friends. It would be a good idea to provide fresh articles, resources, ideas, quotes, and other goodies to keep a follower interested long enough to convert them down the road.

  • Newsletter

As an internet marketer, I know the value of building a list. But who is going to want to just hand over their name and email address to a stranger? Someone who is getting something for free of course!

To build a newsletter, you first need to offer something of value for free in exchange for their name and email address. This is often an eBook, or even something smaller such as a 10 page ‘report’. Your report would contain some simple information that teaches them something that they want to know. In order to get access to the report, they must first submit their name and email address. They can then download the report via a confirmation email you send them automatically afterwards. This is email list building 101. Follow this blueprint, and you can have a massive list in 30 days or less.

  • Blogging

Don’t just have a lead site. Blog on it regularly. You can write articles ahead of time, and schedule them to publish week after week. This way, they are getting new content on a regular basis.

In addition to value for your readers, blogs are great for search engine traffic. Content is king. This means that every time you publish a new article, you run the risk of showing up on the first page of Google or another search engine for your target search terms. This will bring in motivated sellers to your lead site (if you convert them), and it can also attract cash buyers if you are targeting them as well.

  • Forums

As before with social media, I have to warn you not to spam forums either. But forums can be excellent sources of leads if you are smart about it and actually contribute. Forums provide a place for you to add your URL and contact information in a signature. This signature would show up whenever you post on the forum, and interested parties can follow you.

I like to join credit repair forums, bankruptcy and back tax forums, and give advice. You can get motivated sellers who are in preforeclosure this way. Just avoid posting urls while giving your advice, as that is considered spammy. Rely wholly on the signature you be your golden goose, and you can’t fail!

You can also join real estate investment forums like EquityPaper or BiggerPockets, and interact with other investors. This can be a chance to co-wholesale deals with other wholesalers who may not have a cash buyer for a certain property. You may be able to help them, and share in the assignment fee.

  • Newspapers

I’m sure you have seen a newspaper before. They still exist, and many people read them. In the classifieds section, you will see other ads just like the one I mentioned earlier. Give it a shot, and see how fast you get calls or leads through your website.

Newspapers can be expensive, but there are some smaller ones with more manageable fees.

  • Podcasts

I have gotten quite a few commercials done and played on live and recorded podcasts. They were bought and paid for through Fiverr, and certainly affordable. You can get an ad played for $5, or a little more for larger podcasts. You can get gig extras which also have your ad mentioned on the podcast’s social media accounts, permanent links on their podcast website, and other goodies.

You can also create your own real estate podcast, and gain a bunch of new listeners to promote to here and there.

  • YouTube

YouTube channels have to be one of the greatest methods of generating a following, and converting to leads. You can manage to do a simple 15 minute video every week, and publish it can’t you?

It can take some time to build a following, but soon enough you will see thousands of new followers ready to absorb what you are putting out there. They will share your content and spread the word. Do not fall asleep on YouTube marketing. It truly is a heavy hitter.

Put your creative juices to work, and come up with some excellent lead generating ideas. You may be surprised at what you come up with!

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by Brandon Connell

Categories
All About SEO

How to Reduce Wastage of Office Stationery and Supplies – Some Useful Tips and Tricks!

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“A penny saved is a penny earned.” – Benjamin Franklin (One of the Founding Fathers of the United States)

One of the primary concerns of most businesses and organisations is being cost effective and ensuring that the company funds are put to good use. The right way to achieve this is not by reducing procurement but by reducing wastage and misuse of office supplies and stationery, which can actually punch a big hole into the company funds and increase overhead costs in the long run.

The two main areas of office supplies that are generally more prone to get wasted are Stationery and Paper Products. However, the good news is that all one needs is just a little bit of caution and care to curb this wastage. That’s why; starting today, let’s make conservation a habit not just for environmental causes but even in the office as well.

Keep a Check on Office Stationery to Reduce Wastage!

Without anyone to manage and keep an eye on office stationery, their consumption can often go out of hand. Appointing an in-charge for managing office supplies and stationery is a good idea to ensure that they are not being misused.

a) This way it will also help you understand which office supplies are most in-demand and which lie at the bottom as redundant resources, to help you order appropriately the next time.

b) Instead of simply handing over office stationery every time an employee asks for it, keep a track in an office stationery register. With this step, once the numbers are in front of them, employees will automatically get conscious of borrowing office stationery like pens or notepads too often and will try to use them judiciously.

c) As a more frantic measure, you can also assign specific office stationery and their respective quantities for each employee per month based on his or her role. So if everyone knows that they can get only three pens or one marker in a month, they will take care to not lose it.

Reuse and Recycle Paper and Paper Products!

Another highly misused and wasted office supplies are paper. According to the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year. Surely, most of us can make do with a little less! While paper is recyclable, don’t you think it’s a better idea to cut down on its wastage at the primary level as even for recycling, the paper needs to be collected, transported and processed, which, in-turn is an additional expense.

a) The first thing to do here is to educate and create awareness amongst employees. You can start a ‘Save Paper – Save Trees’ campaign at your work place, rewarding employees who strictly follow this practice.

b) Use one-sided paper that’s no longer needed to make notes and rough drafts instead of using fresh paper, post-its and notepads every time.

c) You can also use paper once shredded as packaging supplies to protect fragile items while shipping.

d) Save printer paper by encouraging employees to print on both sides whenever possible.

e) Likewise, you can re-use envelopes, packaging supplies and cardboard boxes that your company has received.

Even small measures taken at the right time can lead to big changes. We hope following these simple yet effective tips will help reduce wastage of office supplies in the long run at your workplace!

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by Shiv K Gupta

Categories
All About SEO

What Is Search Experience Optimization?

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Most everyone knows something about Search Engine Optimization but what is Search Experience Optimization?

First, let me state that in order to obtain high search engine rankings you will still need to provide search engines with the technical search engine optimization elements like Titles, Meta Tags, ALT tags, etc. But now, marketers must also include the user experience elements so search engines will judge a website as worthy of high rankings.

New search engine algorithms (search formulas) are now using behavior metrics, user interface, site speed, site structure, mobile optimization, SSL, meaningful and useful content, rather than just digging for keywords on a webpage to determine how to rank pages. It’s time to apply search experience optimization and search engine optimization together to achieve high rankings.

Rankings and Link Building are still the primary focus of most marketers today. They are important factors but no longer the most important. What is most important is a holistic method to optimize a business website.

The best course of action is combining traditional SEO practices with new techniques to place users experience first.

Don’t know how your website and pages stand in regards to the latest search algorithms? I always suggest that a full and detailed audit be conducted on a website. An audit will definitely show the gaps in your current optimization strategy.

Businesses must understand that no longer do engines look at your website in the cold eyes of a computer. Today, the latest machine-learning artificial intelligence systems look at a website more like a person would than a computer.

Is content still KING? I think so. Without content what is the worth of a web page anyway. But there is a catch. You might think you are getting good results from your current content, but are you writing for your business/ management, or are you writing for the reader of your content, a potential new customer?

You can create content using technical, sales, marketing or any other voice, but stop and think again who is consuming your content. The new Search Experience Optimization is simple, you write to engage the reader. You give them the answers to their questions; you give them what they are looking for not what search engines are looking for.

I compare old SEO and new SEO to an old car and new car. To maintain an older car was rather simple. In fact most teenagers could tune up a real old car. However, today you need a specialist with all of the knowledge and tools to maintain a new car properly. If you want to rank high on search engines you should seek out an SEO specialist that knows the ins and outs of Search Experience Optimization.

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by James C Conant

Categories
All About SEO

Top 8 Reasons Why You Should List Your Company in the Stock Exchange

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Listing or Stock Exchange Listing, as many people call it, is the process of making a transition from a private organization to a publicly-owned entity wherein all or some shares of the company can be traded in the stock exchange. The ability to have the company’s shares traded in the stock exchange is fundamental to an organization’s decision to have the company listed.

Essentially, stock exchange brings the capital providers and the organizations that require capital, together in one marketplace. The stock exchange undertakes this simple yet effective role in many countries and as such, acts as a hub at the core of many countries’ economy. Capital providers earn a Return on Investments (ROI) through capital growth and dividends, thereby increasing the country’s overall wealth. Likewise, the organizations in which the capital providers invest offer and provide employment, thereby driving the company’s economic development. These are just two benefits of having a company listed in the stock exchange but on a more personal side, there are 8 reasons why you should list your company in the stock exchange. Read through and find out what these 8 reasons are:

o Capital Growth

Stock Exchange listing provides opportunities to both the investor and the listing company. The listed company finds a great opportunity to increase its primary capital for market’s organic growth and acquisition funding. On the other hand, the investors investing on the listed company can easily grow their savings through dividends and share price fluctuations.

o Corporate Profile Elevation

Stock Exchange Listing generally raises the public profile of the organization with their customers, investors, suppliers and media. Companies listed in the stock exchange usually become a part of analyst reports and are usually included in the index.

o Improvement in the Company Valuation

Generating an independent valuation becomes possible when a company is listed in the Stock Exchange.

o Institutional Investment

It is easier for an organization to attract institutional investors or other companies who wish to invest on other companies. This simply means availability of both expertise and capital.

o Trading Platform

Many stock exchange companies offer an ideal trading platform for the company’s shares. These companies also give their shareholders a great opportunity to realize the value of their shareholdings, which eventually, can help the company expand its shareholder base.

o Alignment of management/employee interests

The process of compensating the company executives, directors and employees with shares becomes simple, making it easier and more flexible to align the company employees’ interests with the goals and objectives of the organization.

o Reassurance of Suppliers and Customers

The organizations listed in the Stock Exchange generally find improvement in their business and financial strength.

o Exit Strategy for Investors

Stock Exchange listing provides the founders and investors of the company a mechanism to easily exit their investments.

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by Michelle Grace Tapire

Categories
All About SEO

Bring Customers To Your Business With An SEO Friendly Site

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You work hard to keep your company’s website up to date with the newest information and deals your brand offers. You create a site that fits your customers’ needs and gives them as much information as possible. Once your website is ready, you wait and hope for potential leads from your amazing site. However, if your future customers cannot find your website, you will not get the leads you were hoping for.

The biggest part of reaching your customers, both new and old, is by ensuring your website is search engine optimized. This means that your company can be easily found by customers with a search engine like Google. If you are not knowledgeable on SEO, it can be beneficial to hire an agency to help you optimize your site. Often, agencies will be able to follow the strict guidelines laid out by sites and will give you the best results.

Each search engine will have various guidelines that you must follow to make sure your SEO meets their requirements. If your site uses keywords incorrectly, you can actually be penalized. If you accidentally break these rules you can get lower rankings and less traffic. In some extreme cases, company websites can be removed from the site and lose all chances of being found.

There are many key reasons to ensure your company’s SEO is up to date and working for your brand. Recent research has shown that search engine traffic can bring in up to 40% more sales than traffic from world of mouth or social media. Websites like Google are one of the fastest growing methods for people to learn about your products and services. You want to ensure that your site has the best chance as possible to reach those searching for similar services.

Another big benefit of ensuring your website is SEO friendly is that you will save money. On average, companies spend a large chunk of their budget creating advertising campaigns. Unfortunately, these campaigns are often shown to people who are not necessarily interested in what your company has to offer. When someone visits a site like Google to find a specific type of company, you know that they are interested in the services you have to offer.

Essentially, ensuring your company has proper SEO is a free way to reach your customers. It will guarantee that people interested in you are finding your website. Also, you will not have to worry about creating advertising campaigns or managing your social media ads. You will only manage the website you already have and wait for customers to come to you.

If you need extra help with your website’s SEO, you can easily find companies near you that offer these services. However, it can be difficult to find a company that fits your exact needs. With some research and proper guidance, you will be on your way to an SEO friendly site in no time.

Finding a company to help you can be a daunting task. One of the quickest ways to find your SEO help is by asking friends who have worked with companies in the past. Once you have a list of potential agencies, a quick Google can narrow down your potential hires. A great way to narrow down your hunt is by reading reviews from other business leaders and comparing the pros and cons of each company.

After you have narrowed down you list, a call to each company will make sure they can help you. Be sure to mention what services you need, the main idea will be creating an SEO friendly site, but if your website is out of date, they may be able to help with it as well. Also, it is important to ask if they are up to date on all search engine guidance and of course the price of their services.

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by Blake N

Categories
All About SEO

Why to Use WordPress If You’re Serious About Your Online Business

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Starting an online business isn’t cheap. I hope I’m not bursting any bubbles.

Sure you don’t pay for office space, insurance or a water cooler, but there are other costs involved. One of them is your website.

Lucky you! There are so many free blogging sites out there! It’s a no-brainer to choose one of the free options to start, right?

Wrong.

Here’s the thing: I’m frugal. I’m incredibly frugal. I will move heaven and earth to find a low cost or free option for just about everything. If there’s an inexpensive way to do something, I will let you know what it is. One of the few places I make an exception is with your website.

If you’re serious about your new online business, there are plenty of places to make expensive mistakes. There are plenty of places to use up your valuable time. You’re going to avoid all of those rookie mistakes.

[Tweet “If you’re serious about your new online business, there are plenty of places to make expensive mistakes. Don’t start by going with a free, hosted website.”]

Tracie’s Tip: Don’t start with a free blogging site.

A few reasons:

#1 Reason Not to Use a Free Blog Site When Starting an Online Business:

With free sites, like Weebly or Blogger, or even WordPress.com, you don’t technically own the site. Your content is at the mercy of the site you’re using. If something happens to that site, your content is gone. If the site doesn’t like something you’re doing, they can shut you down and – again – your content is gone. Both of those may seem drastic now, but if they happen to you, it’s going to hurt.

#2 Reason Not to Use a Free Blog Site When Starting an Online Business:

They aren’t nearly as customizable as their paid counterparts. If you want to add a podcast player, a photo gallery or make sure your site is optimized to get the most sales, you can’t do that with most free blogger sites.

#3 Reason Not to Use a Free Blog Site When Starting an Online Business:

It looks unprofessional. If you’re going to be using your site to make money, you need a site that looks trustworthy. When you don’t have a customized URL, you look less legitimate as a business and customers are less likely to trust you.

Tracie’s Tip: If you want the best website for your buck, use WordPress.org. Note. I said WordPress.org. NOT WordPress.com. There is a difference.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

Contrary to popular belief, the main difference between the two types of WordPress sites is NOT that one is free. Both are free in and of themselves. The biggest difference? For for someone who really hates technology, WordPress.com seems like the best option because so much of it is set up for you.

Here’s the problem. WordPress.com has the same drawbacks as other free blogging sites, except with WordPress.com you have the option of paying to upgrade to add customization, get rid of ads, have more memory, etc.

Those add-ons add up.

After paying for all of the ads ons, you’ll pay more than if you just start with a WordPress.org site.

So why would people choose WordPress.com? For most people it’s because they are intimidated by the idea of having to buy a domain and find a hosting service. When you set up a new WordPress.org site, you need to pay for a domain and host, which will cost about $50/year. You also need to know how to set up the domain and host.

But here’s the thing: if you don’t know how to set up your domain and host, you can easily find someone on Fiverr.com to do it for you.

As your business grows and you want to expand your site, many of the things you’ll want to add are actually WordPress plug-ins. Plug-ins are the bits of code designed to offer special features like podcast players, shopping carts or social media widgets – the things that make your blog site unique, personal and fun (not to mention useful!). The vast majority of those are only available on WordPress.org. In fact, WordPress.org has more plug ins available than any other website building platform in the world.

If you made a mistake and signed up for the wrong account, don’t despair. It is possible to move your site from.com to.org using the WordPress Importer plug in.

What Are YOU Using?

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by Tracie Shroyer

Categories
All About SEO

The Rhetoric of Search Engine Optimization: The Attention Economy

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Did you know that we have left the Age of the Information Economy behind and are now well into the Age of the Attention Economy? What does this mean? It means that if you rely upon the Internet to conduct your business, the age of putting up a web site and getting instant results are long gone. Now you must clamor for the attention of web surfers, your prospective visitors and customers, who are lured by the frantic actions of the billions of pages currently indexed on the web. To give you some perspective, Google alone indexes over 7 billion pages. Therefore, to survive means to grab people’s attention and you do that by using good digital rhetorical skills.

Now there’s a scary word – rhetoric. In my case, rhetoric was a terms the nuns used to throw around in regards to the essays we wrote in English class. You know, the reading, writing, and rhetoric thing? Go back now to first year high school English; remember the purpose of an essay? It is to grab your reader’s attention and persuade her to adopt your point of view, to agree with your argument. And that is what rhetoric is all about: rhetoric can be defined as the art of persuasion: of using words, either verbal or written, to catch attention and persuade readers to think, do, or believe what you want them to think, do or believe.

Mechanical Rhetoric

Now let’s apply this concept to search engine optimization. The first challenge is to grab your readers’ attention. How do you do that? One big way you do that is by ranking high in the search engines, because then, when a user enters a relevant keyword term, your site will come up as one of the (hopefully) top 10 web sites!

Okay, so working backward, how do you rank high? First, you fill your site with good, solid, well-written content. You offer value to visitors. The search engines measure your content and score it according to its value to users. In other words, you use the skills of good rhetoric, which includes the skillful, artful, and meaningful use of words.

Second, you select keywords that your users are most likely to use to search for what you offer on your site. The trick here is to select keywords that are likely to be used, but that won’t draw a big number of web sites in a keyword search. Here’s where you need to work with an SEO expert, or employ the use of special keyword software.

Third, you have a lot of quality sites that link to your site. These links are viewed as “votes” for your web site, and the “better” the site in the search engines’ eyes, the higher the value assigned to your site. The search engines look at the quality of the content on sites linking to yours, as well as their relevance to your site.

Fourth, you need to design your site in a search-engine friendly way. How do you do that? First, don’t use Flash. You know those sites that have that introductory page where it says “Click to skip?” Well, the search engine crawler may not get beyond that page and therefore may not index your web site. Also, avoid using JavaScript. Same thing there, the search engines get lost in the complex code it generates and that’s the end of their crawl on your site. Second, make sure all your internal links are working, and make them text links that contain your keywords. Third, if you use image maps or pull down menus for navigation, make sure you also have textual navigation on the same page. Fourth, pay careful attention to the content of your Title tag, Description tag, Header tags, and body text. As for your Keyword tag, Google doesn’t even look at it, but make sure you still have it contain all your site’s important keywords. Also, make sure you use your keywords in each of these in a relevant, normal way. Some webmasters make the mistake of loading these tags with keywords in a manipulative, phony way: the search engines can see right through this tactic and will penalize your site accordingly. Also, in your body text, bullets, italics, and bold are weighted more heavily, and if possible, use your keywords here as well.

The items we’ve discussed above comprise the mechanical aspects of SEO rhetoric for your site. Now let’s talk about textual rhetoric.

Textual Rhetoric

The all-important, coveted visitors to your site are always just a click away from moving on to some other site they find more interesting, so you have to try and keep them with you until you accomplish your rhetorical goal! Wow, there’s a term of academic gobbledy gook. Seriously, if you go back to our definition of rhetoric, it is to persuade or convince someone to accept your argument. Well, your argument is whatever the objectives are for your site. Are you attempting to sell something? Get leads? Pass on information? Deflect telephone calls away from your customer service department? The first step in creating good web site rhetoric is to define your purpose as specifically as possible.

Now the question becomes, who is your user? Do you have demographic data: age, schooling level, location, job, hair color? Find out as much as you can about who your web site is geared to: if you sell men’s work pants, then your audience is going to be mostly male, over age 18, blue collar, located in anywhere, USA, middle class, etc. So, with these two pieces of data: your purpose (to sell workpants) and a description of your target audience, you’re ready to rock and roll in crafting your web site text.

Let’s look at some general rules for web text that apply to all readers. First, the screen carries approximately 1/3 the amount of information and text that an 8 ½ x 11 inch piece of paper holds. Second, people don’t like to read text in long paragraphs on the screen; they prefer short paragraphs and sentences, bullets, headers, and graphics (but don’t put text in the graphics because the search engines can’t read it). Also, reading speed is decreased by 30 %. Third, avoid scrolling: a good rule of thumb is 250 – 300 words per screen. Fourth, write in a style that is clear, concise, and easily scanned. Fifth, use your keywords, but use them accurately and with relevance.

Okay, so now back to your purpose: make it obvious and clear what you want your readers to do – your rhetorical point! Here are some possibilities of what you might want them to do:

  • Call
  • Check order status
  • Download free software
  • Find information
  • Give feedback
  • Join
  • Purchase a product or service
  • Request something

Then, make it easy for them to get to:

  • How they purchase by credit card
  • Any forms they need
  • Your contact information: email, phone, address, etc.

So, there you have it, some stuff you can put in your arsenal to get started. Remember: having a successful web site means doing some advance planning and following guidelines that have been proven to work. So, get out there, work hard, and go get ’em!!

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by Mary Anne Donovan