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

 

 

The C-Suite Guide to Search Marketing and SEO (Part 2 of 2)

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Google is paying more and more attention to fresh content, reader engagement, and social sharing. These days, social media marketing (including blogging) equals SEO. Can you afford to do without it?

If you’re serious about taking your organization into social media marketing, I’ve got a simple six-step roadmap that will get you well on your way.

Read part one of this series with steps 1, 2, and 3 right here.

Step Four: Hiring a Social Media Brand Manager

A social media brand manager is a full-time, salaried position in your organization.  Obviously, whether or not you can budget for this position depends on the size of your company.

Responsibilities of the Social Media Brand Manager

  • Managing the social media committee, reporting directly to the executive team.
  • Setting up metrics and automation tools.
  • Working with top-level management in each department involved in the social media program.
  • Tracking followers, promo code redemptions, white-paper downloads, video views.
  • Monitoring all social media portals and then reporting all news related to each department accordingly, and create an appropriate response.

As you can see, this is actually a necessary position, if you’re truly committed to having an effective and profitable social media presence online.

Step Five: Pick the Appropriate Portals

I recommend Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogging, and Google+. They all have a place in your initial, right out-of-the-gate social media initiative. Please consider all of them in your initial push.

Step Six: Productivity 

There are huge concerns around employee productivity and social media. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times from big corporate execs:

“I don’t want employees spending all day on Twitter or Facebook.”

But studies have shown that instead of hindering productivity, actively using social media during the work day can enhance it! After all, no one can be productive 100 percent of the time, without a break. Authorized access to social media gives your employees a way to share their expertise, find out how others might be doing it better, get up to speed on new developments in their fields, and engage with the group of people that they hold knowledgeable in their own fields.

The big bonus: it will help them to stay more excited about what they do every day.

If employees are going to be on Facebook and Twitter; YouTube and LinkedIn, we want to make sure they’re evangelizing your brand—not just talking about what they did over the weekend.

I’ll bet you never expected one of the benefits of a social media venture would be an increase in business creativity! Be prepared; it’s actually going to increase excitement and enthusiasm when your people discover you are actually willing to trust them to evangelize for your company.

It Is a Huge Delegation of Trust …

Your employees will be thrilled to find you have set up a level of engagement allowingthem to source from other industry experts all around the world, to make their jobs more productive, more satisfying and more efficient.

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So these are the six key steps that are essentials for social media success. They are your road map. Following them should dispel any staff objections along with any remaining fear surrounding social media. You will successfully establish clear objectives, measurements, and value regarding social media, from the top of your company on down. Your big picture objectives and individual department goals will keep you on track and moving forward.

It’s my hope that with this clear and simple road map to guide you, you’ll take the leap of faith necessary to stay competitive in your own industry, become fearless in sharing what you do best, and allow your employees to grow, learn, and share what they do, to the total betterment of your organization.

Warm Regards,
Heather Lutze
Author, Internet Marketing Speaker, Trainer and Consultant

Other posts in this series:

 

 

The C-Suite Guide to Search Marketing and SEO (Part 1 of 2)

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By Heather Lutze, CEO
Findability Consulting & Speaking

Would you like to Google the name of your organization, and see nothing but your business show up on the entire results page—no competition in sight? In today’s Panda and Penguin environment, your best bet for taking over an entire page of Google search results lies with social media engagement.

If you want to take your organization into social media marketing, but don’t quite know how to begin, let me lay it out for you with a six simple steps.

 Step One: The Leadership Team Meeting

Bring all your executives and brand managers on board. Discuss the objectives of your social media program and address the fear around social media as well. Get all your key leadership people in the room and really talk…

  • OK, if we’re going to do this, what return on investment do we need to get from it?
  • What  measurements can we apply to track that return?
  • What is our goal or purpose?

Did you know that social media marketing has finite, measurable results? Being clear about what you want from the very beginning is essential to its success.

Step Two: Define Your Objectives

Each department in your organization will have different goals they would like to realize from a successful social media endeavor. HR, sales, IT, marketing, PR, and strategic leadership teams are all focused in different arenas. Make sure key department heads in each group are represented in this initial meeting.

The questions to be addressed …

  • How can each department use social media to be more successful?
  • What do they each need?
  • For targeted sales goals, should we use promo codes? What about contests?
  • Will videos get the results we’re looking for?
  • Do we create internal assets like white papers, videos, or case studies to use in our social media efforts?

What about the Big Picture?

Along with department-specific, finite number goals, you also need to talk about big picture goals for the entire organization. What might be some of your overall objectives?

  • Branding: You want to brand the company as a whole, particularly if you are new or not widely known.
  • Reputation management: You must be monitoring what others are saying about your company on social media. Make sure you’re the first to know, not the last!
  • Thought leadership: You want to be seen as a leader, an innovator, and a major player in your particular industry; putting out papers, information, videos and quotes.
  • Building customer relationships and retention: This is one of social media’s strong points.

Step Three: The Start-Up Committee

I suggest you create a small, start-up committee in your phase-one approach to social media. This group would consist of a few excited and savvy social media advocates within each department. Someone from HR, sales, IT, marketing, PR,  e-commerce.

Excited and Savvy are the key criteria here … bet you’ve already got staff who fit this criteria.

Stay tuned for the second half of this post, with the next three steps you need to make sure your organization’s entry into social media is efficient and effective.

Warm Regards,
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).

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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