Do Images Matter for SEO? No More Blah Blah Blah Graphics

Are you building a new website or redesigning one? Starting from the ground up gives you a powerful opportunity to create architecture that supports your Findability and a bold graphics that reflect your branding. I’m not just talking about the usual color, fonts or layout either.

My client Terri Langhans, Certified Professional Speaker and Effective Communications Expert wanted to improve her Findability, so she took my webinar series, then signed up for private SEO coaching. Even though Terri has a successful career in marketing, she needed input to help more prospects find her website.

The first step for Terri was to redefine her target audience and who she wants to connect with online. Then she spent time getting clear about what she wanted to offer them. Once this strategic exercise was complete, we conducted extensive keyword research to choose just the right phrases used by her ideal clients.

At this point Terri realized her domain name wasn’t helping her and this was a big SEO epiphany. Her url – BlahBlahBlah.us – picked up on her company branding (Blah Blah Blah, Etc. Inc.) but did not communicate why people hire her nor did it help with Findability. To remedy that, she selected EffectiveCommunicationNow.com as her new domain which quickly communicates what she does. It’s not clever like her original url, but it sure is a lot more Findable!

Before the SEO Epiphany!
Before the SEO Epiphany!

Redesigning the Site Architecture

Once Terri changed her domain, it made a lot of sense to redesign her site. Our goal was to revamp her site’s architecture, making the most of the new keywords. This was an incredibly exciting and rewarding project because starting from the ground up gave us the chance to build the website strategically page by page.

Using the keyword site map, we crafted her new architecture and page hierarchy; determining both primary and secondary navigation. The primary buttons focus on the keyword phrases that her ideal clients use to find her. The secondary navigation at the very top of the page includes the usual things you expect, with buttons for her different services, the about page, contact, etc.

Writing a Creative Brief

How do you tell a designer what you are looking for graphically? The very best way is to prepare what’s called a Creative Brief which is a document that outlines what you want to communicate, the tonality, colors and elements that need to be included. The document is traditional in the world of advertising to ensure marketing and communication objectives are clear as well as the overall look that is desired.

Using the brief for website development is a smart practice and I helped Terri write hers which she then shared with several designers. Talking through the document with each one helped her choose the right designer and allowed them to work well together with a common understanding of the design.

Engaging Photography

Since Terri was willing to completely redesign her site, she had the chance to plan her photography, too. We talked about shots that would support her branding, her personality and would make the photos more engaging for visitors. She took this list to her photographer and had him shoot a bunch of pictures holding a blank white board at different angles. This gave her a focal point for copy and integrated her personality into the design.

The result is very engaging with Terri integrated with her copy. Every single detail works together in harmony to communicate what Terri offers and speaks directly to the two types of client she is seeking; people who need to communicate effectively and meeting planners who hire speakers.

This was an incredible project and I’m happy to say Terri is thrilled with the end results. Her new website clearly communicates what she does and her keywords and branding are woven strategically through every page. Her website stands out from her competitors’ more conventional sites and she is Findable!

I’d be happy to help you get these same great results with Findability and website design. I have a group of professionals I can recommend to help with development and graphics. Call me at 888-588-9326 or email me and let’s talk about improving your Findability and creating an outstanding website design.

Nothing blah about it!
Findability Ready!

 

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE WEB SITE PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE!

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You may schedule a FREE one hour Findability Audit with Heather by clicking the icon below

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or you may call her directly at 888-588-9326

6 Internet Marketing Goals for Every Business

what are your internet marketing goalsAt this point in the year, how productive have you been with your business goals? Like many business owners, marketing is likely to be at the top of your list.

And, that’s a good thing. Because, by taking the time to review goals you made at the start of the year, you can get a good understanding of where you need to put your focus.

So, on that note, I have an important question that I’d like to ask you …

Will this finally be the year you start ranking on Page One of a Google search?

Hitting the top spot in search engine results for your most important keywords is usually not something that happens randomly — particularly if there is a lot of competition in your market. And, I would be hard pressed to name any markets without massive competition in this online age.

It takes keyword research, focused goal setting, a step by step plan, revising and tweaking that plan, and last but hardly least—time and patience—to see it through to completion.

Here are six terrific internet marketing goals that, no matter what business you’re in, can help you get closer to page one in the SERPs. (And, I’ll be writing some upcoming posts that speak to each goal in the upcoming weeks and months.)

6 Internet Marketing Goals for Every Business

1.   Create a cohesive and comprehensive social media plan that will bring real business results — a plan that can be automated for efficiency and can be tracked for effectiveness.

(For more help with creating such a plan, check out Thumbonomics: The Essential Business Roadmap for Social Media & Mobile Marketing.)

2.   Do that all important keyword research, finally determining just how your ideal clients online are searching for your goods and services. This is exactly what I will be doing with my students during my next 6-week SEO Webinar Series (starting April 3rd).

(Btw, a pay-per-click campaign is a great way to really test out those keywords and find out which ones bring traffic to your site, and which ones get the customers with the credit cards in hand. Join us to learn more!)

3.   Take those vital keywords and optimize your website, and every other online bit of content that you have, from blog posts to the descriptions on your YouTube channel.

(Although Google changes its algorithms regularly, classic keyword based search engine optimization never goes out of style.)

4.   Launch boldly into mobile marketing, creating a responsive mobile site that looks great on a tablet or phone, and take advantage of the ways customers are searching on the go.

(More and more people own smartphones or tablets, and are using them as “full service” computers on the go. Can they find you on a four inch screen?)

choose the right keywords5.   Dominate the entire page of a Google search for your company, with your website, your blog, and your social media pages taking up every bit of that all-important real estate.

(Don’t you just hate when you Google your own company, and your competitors show up on the same page? Eliminate them from the page!!)

6.   Have a Findability Audit, look at what you are already doing online, and determine exactly how Google and your customers see your site.

(We can help! Let us prepare a customized internet marketing plan, implement it, or train your team in how to implement it yourselves. Contact us today for more information about the Findability Diagnostic Questionnaire and Audit.)

Why not pick just one of these goals and commit to it? Imagine what it will for your business when you put a plan in place!

Here’s to meeting all your internet marketing goals, and reaping the well-deserved rewards in terms of more traffic, more visibility, more engagement, and more real business.

Btw, my 6-week SEO webinar series starts in two weeks, so you still have time to join us and learn SEO basics to optimize your website! Sign up: http://bit.ly/AprilWebinarSeries.

 

RELATED: Hubspot Marketing Grader: A Yummy Buffet of Internet Marketing Tools for Business Owners

 

 

Keyword Tools: Get Out Of Your Head and Into Your Business

By Heather Lutze, CEO 
Findability Consulting & Speaking

http://www.Findability.com
888-588-9326

As a trainer in Search Marketing SEO–which I like to call Findability–I work with business leaders and teams that are stuck in their own time honored ways of marketing. This is no new news to me. I conduct half-day and full-day trainings helping businesses align with their online customers and adjust their Findability strategy. We have some great moments of learning, a-ha moments and oh sh*t conversations about the findings.

In an effort to help businesses hone in on their “ideal customers” online, I often facilitate keyword brainstorming sessions and instruct on clients on the keyword tools that work.Enlightenment via brainstorming sessions and use of keyword tools  is KEY to success. All businesses from solo-preneurs to multi-million dollar corporations stand to significantly increase the effectiveness of their online spend and related revenue.

Consider this:

  • As a business owner/ leader you’ve become very comfortable with your own, well-used keyword phrases.
  • You originally sourced your keywords from what you know of your business.
  • You search for these keywords every week or perhaps even every day to make sure you still rank.
  • You gave these keywords to the “geek” who manages your web site and you went back to work, comfortable in believing that you did a good  job to become findable online by new prospects.

But the words and phrases you came up with are not necessarily the unbiased keywords your customers are using. I can tell you that this is a huge problem, because after meeting with hundreds of companies over 13 years of Search Marketing execution, I’ve seen time and time again that the BUSINESS LEADERS GUESS WRONG! (Sorry for the gratuitous use of caps but this is so important.)

Guessing–and using–the wrong keywords can mean leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table!  Why not get some keyword brainstorming help from your own team?

CONDUCT YOUR OWN KEYWORD TOOL BRAINSTORMING SESSION IN-HOUSE! 

Supplies You Need:

  • Large Flip Chart Sheets with the Post-It Sticky Backing
  • A pad of sticky notes for each participant
  • 8.5 x 11 sheets with the following phrases at top of sheet in 24 point Font
    • Competitors
    • Bitches, Moans & Complaints By Customers
    • Position/Titles You Sell To Primarily (Identify the difference between the researchers and the check signers)
    • Things You Do Not Do or Offer
    • Industries Served That Make You The Most Money
    • Keyword Modifiers i.e. Affordable, Luxury and Best

Now that you have your room set up, invite:

Anyone who touches the customer directly: Receptionist, Sales People, Web Person, PR Person, Key Executives and Marketing Executives. Explain the project. You’ll have different kinds of learners in the room, so follow these steps to get them all engaged:

IMG_0872 * Write down some keyword ideas in front of group, you can illustrate this on the white-board first.

* Give them all a minute to jot down their ideas in each of the Trigger Categories

* Then give them the post-it notes and markers, turn on your favorite ITunes playlist and get to work. Keep the music loud and encourage them to not think too hard, just get as many potential key phrases written down as possible.

* Give your team about 10-15 minutes to complete the exercise. Think of questions customers ask the search engine, kike, “How do I find…?”, “What is…?”.

* Have a volunteer to collect each of the sheets, remove duplicate ideas and match up similar post-it notes. Have the same person read off the findings–then talk about them as a team.

* You will be AMAZED at the different perspectives on how customers might be searching for you that will come to light?

 Now take these keywords, organize them by category in an Excel spreadsheet and use a keyword tool like Google Keyword ToolWordStream.com or KeywordDiscovery.com to see how frequently each of those phrases get searched each month.

NOTE: The Google Keyword Tool is changing to the Keyword Planner in the coming months and you will have to have an Google AdWords Account to see the search info. I highly suggest you set one up, so you can have access to this tool.

IMG_0868

This was one of my most startling recent keyword breakthroughs:

 Train The Trainer= 60,500 US Searches Per Month
 Training The Trainer = 1,220,000 US Searches Per Month

Holy Mackerel! This company was using the standard reference as their keyword phrase, rather than determining what phrase is being searched most. Only three little letters of difference, and yet huge revenue is hidden between these words.

Please email me questions and comments about how to conduct this type of keyword brainstorming session. Remember, whether you’re a solopreneur or part of a large company, get your and your team’s heads into the game and connect with your “new” targeted customer online. Your bank account will thank you.

 

IMG_0874
Becky Pluth, CEO and the marketing team at The Bob Pike Group. Thank you for a great day of brainstorming and Findability. We had a blast.

Razor Thin Findability: How to Do Keyword Research Right!

Working with Vistage Team on Keyword Nuances.
Working with Vistage Team on Keyword Nuances.

By Heather Lutze, CEO
Findability Consulting & Speaking

Often when I go out for an internal-team training or a keynote presentation, I get complaints from attendees along the lines of, “SEO people are snake oil salesman,” “I’ve spent so much on SEO with no results!” and “My marketing team cannot agree with my IT Team—therefore we just are stalled on SEO.”

Any of these scenarios sound familiar?

I hear your frustration; I’ve heard it time and time again. The line between being “lost” and “found” on the internet is razor thin. If you want to make SEO work you have to evolve as a leader in your organization.

Remember when you didn’t have a cell phone? I even remember the “brick” telephones with the battery backpacks. Ok, now I’m dating myself. But we are, in most cases, “digital immigrants.” We didn’t grow up in today’s technological world, cell phone in our hands. We didn’t learn to text at a young age, and we certainly didn’t grow up with Social Media. But we absolutely need to master these things now, or risk becoming as extinct as the dodo.

So the key to making SEO work for your organization lies in understanding the components of SEO—what I call “Findability.” Keyword domination online is based solely on increased traffic!

“Ok great,” you say, “and how do I get that, again?”

 

Simply follow this roadmap, to take you from lost to found:

1) LOST: You realize you are lost on the internet – No Findability. Your mom can’t even find your website. Sigh . . .

2) DISCOVERY: Do your customer discovery or keyword phrase discovery online. What keywords do my target searchers use? How are they looking for my type of business?

3) OPTIMIZE: Rewrite or add to your website’s content, page titles, descriptions, meta-descriptions, etc., optimizing for those key search phrases.

4) FOUND: Google easily and efficiently matches your site with searchers using those keyword phrases and you start being found online. Hallelujah!

5) CONVERT: You start converting search traffic into action on your site and $$ in your bank account. Double hallelujah!

6) DOMINATE: Finally, you now dominate search results under a small number of specific and vital keyword phrases. Everyone can find you . . . raise a glass of bubbly!

Sounds easy, doesn’t it!

Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. As the leader in your organization, you must figure out the roadmap for success, but leave the tactical implementation to your SEO firm or your internal teams.

This can be challenging when you’re still a “digital immigrant,” not yet a full-fledged citizen in the world of geeks, techno talk and SEO tactics. How can you assess the use of money, time and resources for a topic you know nothing about? Well, read on . . .

After a recent meeting in LA, I spoke with a great CEO group, comprised of some of the best in their respective industries—florists, uniforms, health food and many others.  In talking with them, I came across an excellent example of razor thin Findability.

Now, those of you who know me know that my “crack” is the Google Keyword tool (and other keyword tools that help companies go from “lost” to “found” on the internet). But it’s not just about Findability, it’s about the right kind of Findability, targeted to customers who are ready buy when they get to your site.

A large, international floral business within this CEO group called themselves wholesale florists—that was their main keyword phrase.

When I looked deeper into how they see their company and what they do, it was very clear to me that they were missing a large part of their searching audience by calling themselves only “wholesale florists.”

Let me explain; it will be even more helpful if you follow along.

  • Go to Google.com and type “keyword tool” into the search box.
  • Click on the first organic listing that shows up (see below)

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 11.44.04 AM

 

 

 

 

  • This takes you to the Adwords Keyword Tool which is often used for Pay Per Click Advertising, but I recommend it for “customer connection” research, via keywords.

(With the floral company, I actually conducted a keyword brainstorming session. You can find out how to do this same brainstorming in Chapter 6 of my book the Findability Formula.)

Take a look at some of the keywords that came up from our session:

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 11.59.26 AM

 

 

 

Look at the difference between the keyword wholesale florist, with 60,500 searches per month and the term wholesale flowers, which gets much more—110,000 searches per month. This customer already dominated under wholesale florist, that’s what got them to where they are today. But they rank nowhere on the search results page for wholesale flowers, which is an even bigger search term—and they are a wholesale flower company at heart!

As a company, it’s all too easy to flatline in your site’s traffic. To grow their business, this client needs to optimize for Findability using the keywords “wholesale flowers.” I’d recommend that they also incorporate the phrase “bulk flowers” (with 27,100 searches a month) as well. Why not?

What important search terms is your website missing out on?

Heather Lutze

Author, Internet Marketing Speaker, Trainer and Consultant

 

SEO for the CEO: The Leadership Guide in 10 Simple Steps

 Want better SEO? Better get some SMM (social media marketing).

EveryoneAtTable

Today, you need customer engagement, social proof and fresh content, and social media marketing is just about the best way to get it. As CEO, the burden falls on you to make sure your business stays competitive in a rapidly changing world.

Here are some steps that will ease your business’s entry into social media marketing.

The Rules of Engagement:

  1. Set up a small committee, including key people from different departments who are truly excited about social media.
  2. Create a written Social Media Marketing Policy—specific to your organization’s needs—stating employee guidelines and rules for using all of your social media platforms. Include specifics about what type of content is—and is not—OK to Tweet or post on any social sites during business hours. Everyone who participates in social media for your company must sign this document.
  3. Run it by legal. Despite rules, policies, and training, there is no way of knowing what people may say or do—you need to be covered for that.
  4. Assign platforms to the different departments. Facebook might be a more effective platform for one department, and Twitter or YouTube more effective for a different department.
  5. Reserve and hold all your core brand names on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook. Set up new accounts with your corporate name. These will be your “official sites.” Make sure you’ve captured and reserved all of your brand names, or potential brand names, for your own purposes.

A Real Life Example: When we worked with WM Barr Corporation, they hadn’t secured the domain for their product, Goof Off, and discovered that it was taken. We had to use GoofOffStainRemover.com, but it worked out well for them, because they were now findable under “Goof Off,” their brand name, as well as the problem it solves, namely, “stain remover.”

  1. Use the word, “Official,” in the title or profile description of every social media account, if possible. You want people online to know what is and isn’t official. You want them to know whether they are communicating directly with you or with someone else. Otherwise, it will be confusing to people who want to join your groups. They want to follow you on Twitter. They want to follow you or recommend you on LinkedIn.
  2. Search your corporate name on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and you just might find accounts that have been set up by former employees, or fans of your company. We call these rogue accounts. Send out an email to everyone in your organization, asking if they know anything about these accounts. Even if no one knows anything, you should still be able to either take control of them, or remove them.
  3. Adding as much info about your company as possible to help users determine if the page is actually official or not. Links to your site and photos are great.
  4. To find rogue accounts, do some searches inside the social media portals. Begin by putting in your company name and variations of it, including product names. It’s important to be fully aware of what’s out there regarding your organization.
  5. Put together a list of all rogue accounts that are discovered. You might have passionate fans that have set up rogue profiles. (Consider yourself lucky!) But frequently, the public cannot tell the difference between your official page, and a rogue account. It’s a terrific policy to contact them, and let them know you truly appreciate what they’re doing. Reach out to each and ask them to link to the official page: “For more info, check out the Official Company Fan Page.”

Want an SEO roadmap, giving you the steps you need to take to bring your leadership on board, quell their fears, and show you exactly how to engage in social media the “right way?”

Check out Thumbonomics: The Essential Business Roadmap for Social Media and Mobile Marketing, available on Amazon.com.

Warm Regards,

Heather Lutze

Author, Internet Marketing Speaker, Trainer and Consultant