5 Easy Ways To Keep Visitors On Your Website for Longer

Decrease bounce rate and increase time spent on site. These two factors are highly sought after and can always be optimized to be even better. Here are 5 ways you can improve your website and capture a visitor’s attention for longer:

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1) Program a Contact Form to Pop Up Before They Leave – Are visitors bouncing quickly and not staying as long as you’d like? You can see the average time spent on an important page, like your home page, before bouncing. By using a third party contact form service, like nGage, you can program it so that the form will pop up and gently remind and encourage users to make contact before leaving. It’s all about taking crucial action within the right amount of time.

2) Use Relevant Content and Striking Visuals That Match – The images on your website can be stunning but without colorful language and the right words, it’s not useful for search engines or users. While we all can appreciate a beautiful website, it doesn’t mean much if there is no depth to the site. On the other hand, you can have the best content in the world but when paired with bad or drab design, doesn’t help your cause. Keep visitors interested by being personable and asking and answering questions they can relate to. Don’t forget to address user intent.

3) Showcase Helpful User Generated Content – We talk about UGC all the time and for a good cause. It’s possible to showcase reviews and testimonials while being trustworthy. You can cite the source of the review, ask a customer to do a video testimonial or even display a hand-written thank you note. These are all special and unique ways to show visitors that you do care and have happy customers to thank for your business’ success.

4) Improve Site Speed and Load Time – This is perhaps one of the most important factors to address. Especially when dealing with high load times and high bounce rates. A study last year found that the average website speed load time was 7.25 seconds. What are we dealing with? Dial-up load speeds? Unfortunately… not. Many websites have difficulty with bigger images and more complex web pages, which adds up. For each second longer your website takes to load, you could be losing a great deal of customers. Simply, because they don’t want to wait for your site to load. And why should they? There’s a lot of competition out there. Compressing images, cleaning up bulky code will help speed up your site and keep visitors interested for much longer.

5) Choose Links Wisely – Choosing links for a home page can be a difficult test. You want to put everything that’s most important linked from the home page. But you also want visitors to find what they’re looking for quickly. There has to be a balance between being SEO friendly and optimizing for user experience. The struggle is between aesthetics and utility but you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. It’s an issue of organization and making sure visitors can get to what they want in a reasonable amount of clicks (about 3). Luckily, you can always create different versions and split test on real-life users at a reasonable cost. This is an option that’s easy to implement and will help you get real feedback from people who aren’t biased by seeing your website every day!

Getting visitors to your website is quite an uphill battle, so once you’re at the top, you don’t want to lose them. Keep these tips in mind for increasing new visitor time on site and let us know if you have any other tips or suggestions!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Dear Blog, Are You There? It’s Me…

Over the past few years, blogging has changed and so have my thoughts on it. Starting my 6th year on this blog, it’s nostalgic to look back and reminisce about the past. Most notably, when comparing blogging best practices.

blog-writing

An exercise used in writing is what you would tell your younger self. Sure, it’s an activity mostly used for diaries or journals but it can also apply to blogs. Why not? Here are 5 things I would tell my younger self about blogging.

1) It’s not all about keywords

Short-tail and broad keywords have been targeted since blogging was first associated with SEO. It was all about using and repeating keywords in a blog post. Nowadays, that is seen as overoptimization.

Instead of pushing certain keywords, it’s a good rule of thumb to target long tail and more “conversational queries”. This includes answering FAQs and common questions. They key here is to focus on content as a whole rather than keywords on their own.

2) Links aren’t everything

Links and keywords used to go hand in hand. As often as you could push desired keywords, it was about getting links. More links with more exact match keywords was once a good thing and the ultimate goal of why blogs were used in SEO. Nowadays, we certainly know better and that this can lead to an unnatural link warning.

Natural links aren’t solicited or paid for. Instead, the idea is to build good content so that people will want to share it naturally.

3) Blogs are an extension of your brand’s personality

Blogging

In the past, blogs were hardly thought of to convey any human aspect of a business. Blogs were strictly meant for business and part of the SEO process. Today, blogs consist of more than just keywords and links. We want blogs to be found, read and shared. This means posting things that aren’t necessarily just for SEO purposes. Posting about events, company news and just your own personal thoughts are a different way to incorporate a human touch in a business blog.

4) Think about cross promotion

At one time, blogs were seen as a standalone cog in the SEO wheel. It was something you did and left alone once you were finished with writing. Now that social media marketing is growing in importance, we know that blogs can play a crucial role in that strategy – content creation. Social media thrives on sharing content and blogs should provide fresh content that can keep the conversation flowing.

Blogs were once something built to bring in customers, which (trust me) isn’t going to happen with a little pull. Now, blogs give readers a reason to read, research and share. Blog readers aren’t going to just come across a badly written blog. Luckily today, the mentality for blogging and social media helps a great deal of exposure.

5) Google is going to change more than you think!

Over the years, it can be argued that blogs have dwindled in importance. They once counted for and played a huge role in ranking for desired key terms. Because those processes have been abused and spam, it’s time that Google looks at blogs in a different light. This is why Google updates have also targeted unnatural blog strategies (excessive guest blogging, blog/link schemes, and advertorials).

Although this seems like a disparaging way to look at blogs, the twist is in how blogs have changed. Blogs play a different role by helping a business get discovered and are seen as a signal of trust and authority.

Lessons Learned

Part of growing up is recognizing change and applying that on how to better yourself in the future. Blogs have given us all a lot more to think about in these past few years. And you can expect it to grow again soon. Try this exercise out for yourself and let us know what you came up with. Follow us and Tweet us @emarketed.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Life After Google Panda Updates and Link Building

link building

Love it or hate it, link building is still an important part of SEO after the massive Google Panda updates.

The quality of your inbound links is becoming more important as Google Panda updates have shown us.  Although these updates are aimed at getting rid of “content farms” and lower quality links, many people’s rankings have been hurt by the recent Google Panda 2.2 updates.  For example, many people who used to rank well for certain phrases using article submission sites have now seen drastic drops. Of course, you know Google is already preparing version 2.3!

Because of these updates and changes to Google’s search algorithm, quality links have become increasingly important. Overall, the point of these updates is to help you recognize and ultimately remove low ranking on site pages and off site content in order to improve user/customer experience.

And with the debut of Google +,  you bet that social media activity is becoming more important in determining your search engine rankings! Back to my point of link building – it’s crucial to continue your efforts on a consistent basis. Here are a few good link  building resources that are sure to be helpful.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

What’s Your Link Building Focus?

When it comes to link building do you have a particular focus or do you have a diversified plan? Blogs, directories, paid links, reciprocal links – there are so many options!

Pay Attention to Nofollow Links
Did you know that many popular blogs and even Google Sites apply the nofollow feature to links? This prevents spammers and link abuse. Basically, nofollow links tells the search engine crawlers to not count your link. It doesn’t mean that you should avoid nofollow links all together though. These sites are still a great place to be social and join in on the conversation.

Different Types of Directories
Every directory is not the same! The most popular ones are dmoz and ipl2. Generally speaking (and thanks to Rand Fishkin) there are 3 types of directories that you can submit to:

  1. Specific directories that are categorized by topics or industry. (ThomasNet is the most popular for industrial suppliers.)
  2. Local directories are helpful and you can find them through your local chamber of commerce or other online neighborhood resource.
  3. Generic directories. You’ve probably come across worlds-best-internet-director-1000 or something similar. Again, targeted directories are more preferred than these kinds.

Other Sources for Links

  • Social bookmarking
  • Press releases sites
  • Niche forums or communities
  • Review sites
  • Social media profiles

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Blogging Tips & Helpful Blogs to Follow

I’m currently putting together a presentation for an event we’re hosting in Los Angeles on November 12th in a few weeks that will discuss blogging, local search engines, social bookmarking, and how to monitor your business and was inspired to post this blog about blogging. If you’re new to blogging these links will be very helpful. I’d sign up to follow these blogs so you can see some successful bloggers in action.

You might also want to follow a few blogs that relate to your business so you can see what others in your space are doing.

Here’s a list of what to look out for when you’re observing these bloggers.

  • Use of catchy headlines
  • Links to other sites and blogs from within content
  • Free downloads and how they capture your email
  • How often they post
  • Comments – post a link back to your blog if you can in the comments field (Start commenting on other blogs!)
  • Ad-ons (what else do they have on their blogs that add value to the user experience – twitter feed, list of users, advertisers, links to other social media sites such as Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon)

And lastly I’d start putting together a list of ideas for your own blog. Thanks for reading! Please feel free to post some blogs you’ve found helpful.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

6 Tips to Start a Successful Blog

It’s becoming more and more apparent to me that you must learn how to blog to stay ahead in search marketing. Search engines love fresh content and blogs allow you to easily add fresh content. In the last 2 years I’ve noticed entire sites in our industry turn their entire site into a blog. The blog platforms out there are very robust and offer you many benefits.

Here are 6 tips to create a successful blog:

1. Get a unique domain name. If you sign-up for a blogger account or a wordpress account you’ll get a sub domain and it will be tougher for search engines to find your content. Domains are going for as little as $7 a year now so make the plunge and buy your own domain name. Go to mydomain.com if you’d like to register a domain today.

2. Setup hosting. Hosting is also very cheap these days. You can spend as little as $5 per month to host your blog. This along with the domain name adds up to $67 for the entire year. Make sure and pick a hosting company that has 24/7 support and that has been around for some time. There are many hosting companies out there and some will not be around for the long haul. A few of my favorites are Dream Host and Media Temple.

3. Create an outline ahead of time so you have some topics to talk about. Make sure it is relevant to your businesses. If you sell books online than you could do book reviews and link directly to the books on your site.

4. Promote your blog. There are blog directories out there where you can submit your blog so you’ll start to get some readers. Also promote your blog on your main site. We (emarketed) have a banner on every page of our site pointing people to our blog. Also include a link in your email signature to direct people to your blog.

5. Get involved with other blogs. Comment on other peoples blogs and include a link back to your blog. This falls in line with promotion as well but helps you with getting in to the habit of reading others blogs which helps you get familiar with blogging. You’ll start to notice how blogs are written, how people interact with blogs, and hopefully gain some readers for your blogs.

6. Setup Google Analytics to track your blog traffic. Google Analytics is an amazing free program that can be installed on your blog in a few minutes. WordPress has a plugin where you install and just input your Google ID number for Google Analytics. You can see what site someone found you on, how long they stay on your blog, what size monitor they are viewing your blog on and so much more.

Hope this helps. Feel free to leave a comment if you think of some others that I missed. I know there are many but this will get you off to a good start.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.