Optimization for a Lower Bounce Rate

bounce rate How high is your website’s bounce rate? Obviously, a lower bounce rate is desirable. But depending on your industry, the “norm” can greatly vary.

If you take a look inside your Google Analytics account, it’s important to remember to look not only at the OVERALL bounce rate, but the bounce rate of individual landing pages. This applies whether you’re reorganizing your website or setting up new pay per click landing pages. Let’s say that your overall average is around 40%, but if you take a look at your home page, you find that the bounce rate is 80%! This means that 80% of customers aren’t finding what they need and leaving very quickly.

As a starting point, here are a few things you can look at:

Page load time: Let’s face it, who likes sitting around waiting for a page to load? If your site is slow, you can make it more effective by optimizing photos, your layout and cutting down on unnecessary content.
Design – Do you have a search engine friendly web design? Sometimes, a more complex design might sound appealing to make your site stand out while squeezing in all the information you want customers to find. But this won’t help your website unless it’s something that your customers are responding to, and not what you’re personally partial to! Take a step back and do some testing between some more simpler designs to find out for sure.
Relevancy – Here’s one more reason not to use broad keyword terms all over your website. Although you may want to rank for a variety of different keywords, your customers will want to find exactly what they’re looking for. If a certain keyword brings them to your site and they find that it’s irrelevant, your site is not useful. The last thing you want to do is to mislead potential customers. The best solution is to optimize per page/section and use specific keywords that describe exactly what they can expect to find on that page.

In the end, remember that a bounce rate is only one of many factors you can use to gauge your progress. But it is an important one as optimizing for a lower bounce rate can also improve your content focus, site design and even SEO.

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.

Are You Obsessed with Keyword Rankings?

obsessed with seo rankingsobsessed – past participle, past tense of ob·sess (Verb)
Verb: Preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent: “he was obsessed with thoughts of suicide”.

If this word best describes your relationship with your keywords, there’s a big problem. Whether you’re dealing with your own search rankings or clients’, it’s important to remember that an effective SEO campaign means more than just where you rank.

Instead of asking the most obvious questions like “How can I rank #1 and how long will it take?”, you should be taking a deeper look and asking “How can useful SEO content help me achieve higher rankings for keywords that my customers are actually looking for?” Search engine ranking algorithms, competitors, your past work being indexed – these are all things that make search rankings fluctuate on a daily basis. This is why you can be #1 for a term one day and #3 for the same term the next.

Although we would all like to capture that much coveted spot, the organic optimization game doesn’t quite work that way. And there are new factors emerging every day, some that we have little control over. Take Google’s new Social Search, for example. Now social media connections have a greater impact on how search results are personalized depending on your friends’ searches, interests and location. With all these varying factors, this means that search rankings can and will vary for each different person.

Ranking well is still an important part of SEO, but being overwhelmed with the details is something that can truly drive you insane. For now, it’s more about practicing patience and building up your site with credible and useful information so that you can keep visitors onsite. Working on these social aspects with a complementary plan will also build your business’ trustworthiness so that potential customers will keep your brand in mind for a time when they do need your product/service. As you can see, nowadays search engine optimization has emerged as something much more than just ranking #1 for some keyword terms. There is MUCH more too it!

Take a look at some of our free whitepapers to see if you can get any new ideas for your search campaigns.

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.

Looking at Google’s Evil Ways

While “Don’t Be Evil” is Google’s official motto, there are many recent arguments that can be made showing how the internet giant is slowing descending into the realm of being not-so-good.

Earlier this week, Google got caught utilizing SEO spam to promote its Chrome browser. They hired a video marketing company and bought sponsored blog posts on questionable sites, which bloggers caught onto very quickly. Not to mention that the articles and content that was pushed out wasn’t well-written or relevant to the sites they were being featured on!

This is the exact type of behavior that Google punishes, so what happens when they’re the ones violating this “golden rule”. As punishment, Google has penalized itself for its “mistake” so that Chrome doesn’t show up for browser-related terms (for the time being). Yeah, that will show them… but for how long? You have to admit that it is hypocritical for Google to get caught doing the same thing that they penalized J.C. Penney for doing early in 2011. And in some ways, this argument can be extended to the small scale – how Google is constantly adding more Panda updates to penalize content they deem as spammy or evil. These updates have greatly affected traffic for legitimate small business sites, so why do they just keep coming?

If the issue of spam weren’t so blatantly offensive to SEOs, it’s more frustrating to see that Google isn’t very transparent with their search algorithm and other ranking methods. As far as we can see, they change this as often as they please and leave reputable website marketing firms to guess what is going to happen next.

The more you look into it, the more you’ll discover of the dark side of Google and why so many people question their motives. Do you think Google made a honest mistake with this ad campaign are or they just sorry because they got caught in such a public manner? Maybe it’s time to retire that motto and think of a more fitting one…

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 on Your SEO Wishlist?

Have you been a good SEO this year? There are always things we would like to help us with web copywriting and content optimization. Here are 3 things that are on our wishlist this year!

Good Links from Niche Sites – Diversified links from high ranking and relevant sites are still important. It would be nice to get some links from sites with PR of 5+, don’t you think? How about some .edu and .gov links while you’re at it?

A Reputable Back Link Analyzer – Since we faced the tragic loss of Yahoo! Site Explorer last month, it would be great to get a free & reliable alternative. (Here are a few, but they don’t feel quite the same!

A Magic Touch to Work out all the Problems with Local – Local and social marketing go hand in hand nowadays. But don’t even get me started on fixing problems with local listings! Updating existing listings can be a pain and it’s no fun trying to work with suspended pages.

An Online Organic Keyword Generator – Sometimes, I’d like to imagine access to a self-populating list of terms that people actually look for online. But that would make things too easy, wouldn’t it? It’s a good thing that we have a formulaic and proven method for keyword research! (But a tool like this would be helpful…)

Feel free to share your other wishes and wants with us. Big or small, we’d like to hear them all!

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.

Pinterest Piquing Your Interest?

If you love pictures, Pinterest is the new social networking/bookmarking/photosharing community for you! The site went live in March of 2010 but it’s gaining more attention for its potential for SEO.

Looking at it for the first time, the site reminds me of Tumblr and Chictopia. Think of it as a virtual pinboard where you can add pictures as well as links. For now, the links from the images are not nofollow, which means that your site can benefit from getting link juice here! Many people speculate that this tag could be added in the near future, so it’s best to take advantage of it now!

People post pictures of everything including: food, inspirational quotes, celebrity crushes, scenic shots and more. Check out this image I found of an iPad cover. Now to the SEO part that can benefit your online marketing campaign! With every picture you post, there are three links you can add: 1) the picture itself 2) the link on the top right 3) a link in the description.

Businesses can benefit from pinning pictures but the purpose is to not be so self-serving. Instead, the things you post should be interesting and shareable. E-commerce stores can post pictures of their products and local businesses can contribute to categories related to their city or local neighborhood. All of these things help with your online reputation, while gaining momentum from linked pictures at the same time.

If you’ve used Pinterest, let us know what you think. As for now, I’m eagerly awaiting my own Pinterest invite!

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.

Thinking of Search Engine Ranking Factors?

search engine ranking factors

Have you thought about how search engine ranking factors affect your website lately? SEOmoz recently released their findings on these factors using a large scale data analysis. Of course, Google (and other search engines) won’t reveal exactly how they determine rankings, which is why Check out the detailed report here.

Let’s take a look at a few factors that have strong potential in affect your rankings:

Social metrics: Social behavior is an important factor. What exactly do visitors do when they’re on your site? Twitter, Facebook and Google+ is obvious but social sharing also counts when someone shares a page via email or subscribes to your RSS feed. All these seemingly small factors lead to bigger picture.

Bounce rate: Does your site have a relatively high or low bounce rate? A high bounce rate can mean many different things. Most importantly, this is a crucial indication that your content isn’t helpful or that visitors aren’t finding what they’re looking for. From a visual perspective, a messy site is unappealing to search engines as well as human visitors. This is where implementing a search engine friendly web design can help lower your high bounce rate.

Keyword usage: Keyword stuffing is sure to sink your search rankings. Keeping to a strict keyword density may seem like too much, but it’s an effective way to make your page more relevant and seem less spammy. Using similar keywords and diversifying your content will make your website more helpful to visitors who will stay on your site for a longer period of time.

Google has many factors in determining how a web site should be ranked. Isn’t it time you stayed caught up? What other important factors do you think small business owners should keep their eye on?

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.

Are More Keywords Better for SEO?

This post is brought to you by an actual conversation I had this past week:

“If I add all related keywords related to my site, why do I need to do anything else?”

Unfortunately, many people have this same point of view when it comes to how online organic SEO works. Search engine optimization is a constant process that needs to be updated to the changing industry and search engine algorithms. But it can be confusing when you ask yourself why it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it process once you add as many keywords that you can possibly think of.

As we can’t emphasize enough, accurate and detailed keyword research is vital to any successful SEO campaign. Search engine and search users are more sophisticated than most people think!

The Google Keyword Tool is an effective and free way to research:

Which keywords to use: lawyer or attorney, expert or professional, best or great, shop or store, sofa or couch? Check the data and you’ll see that some phrases that you think are similar have much different search data.

Search competition: Do you want to rank well for a phrase that has half a million + competitors? This will require an aggressive plan that takes place over a course of many months. In the mean time, you can conquer other phrases with less competition by using the right long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords: These will usually run from 2 to 5 words and are usually descriptive adjectives that help better describe your product/service. Affordable hotel room, luxury day spa etc.

Search volume: There’s no point in ranking well for a phrase that no one is searching for! And with what we’ve mentioned about competition, it isn’t so effective to go after competitive keywords that get the most search volume. You’ll want to find a middle ground that matches your SEO manpower and monthly budget.

SEO involves more than just throwing together a page, adding all “relevant” keywords and calling it a day. The keywords you choose should be about quality and not quantity because let’s face it… choosing the right keywords is an art in itself. But it’s how you use them, afterwords. Check out this oldie-but-goodie resource by Rand Fishkin on how to “perfectly” optimize a page.

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.

Are You Guilty of SEO Overkill?

Google PandaEven though it’s 2011, it’s amazing how many people still associate keyword stuffing with effective SEO. Sometimes, being too results-driven can cloud your thoughts and make you forget the most important thing – effective content is written for people not robots.

Optimization could involve brand new content or pages that already exist. Whatever the case, keyword research is always the first step. This will help you determine the keywords you want to use for meta descriptions, titles and tags. It’s also important to incorporate these chosen keywords into H1 tags. They key here is to do so sparingly. When you have natural and well-optimized content, your site will rank better and become more trustworthy to human readers as well as search engines.

In honor of the recent Google Panda Updates here’s an example of a paragraph that has gone too far (hopefully, content like this doesn’t remind you of your own!):

Panda Toy Palace – the best online store for panda toys! As a panda toy store in Los Angeles, we offer the best in panda accessories, panda clothing, and panda supplies! If you can think of a panda-related product, we have it! We love panda toys and are happy to share our love of panda products with all our fans. Panda Toy Palace is the only Panda toy place that you’ll ever need!

We get it. If your key products are panda toys posting content like this is neither helpful or relevant. It’s just a really long and drawn out way to promote your products and Panda Instead, you can write about natural or “natural” panda toys. Maybe a post about panda toys to coincide with upcoming holidays like Halloween and Christmas? You can even highlight a few products and ask customers for their opinions. Your content needs a good reason to exist!

Panda Updates are cracking down on “spammy” content that is overstuffed with keywords. Many legitimate sites have had trouble because of these updates and it’s just a reminder for everyone else to be mindful of their optimization tactics. Remember to keep your eye out for signs of over optimization and overkill – the Panda is always watching!

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.

Google +1 Button: To Do or Not to Do? (Part Deux)

Will you be implementing Google’s +1 button on your site? Although there are many benefits of using a the button, it’s crucial to see the downsides and how it can affect your current site:

Speed is a factor: More social media buttons means more load time. Slower load time and site speed will hurt your rankings, since it is a factor in how Google ranks your site… not to mention that impatient customers may bounce away.
Too many distractions: Adding a Google +1 button can be a distraction from your site content, especially if you already have multiple buttons. This can clutter your site and draw attention in a negative manner and away from your business.
Harm your professional image: Sometimes, when I see a site overloaded with social media buttons, it gives me the impression of being spammy or not very credible. If you focus on a few social media sites and integrate them into a clean design, it will help your site feel and look more reliable.
Right target audience?: First of all, do you even plan to devote time to your Google + profile? For now, business profiles don’t exist so if you have the button but don’t plan on being social on Google +, it may not help your site in the long run to add more clutter. For the most part, I see that many internet marketers are utilizing Google + and +1s. Like LinkedIn, this can be a good method to learn about your industry and network. But for getting retail customers for your small retail business? Maybe not so much…

Do you think Google’s +1 button is right for your business? Remember, it doesn’t hurt to experiment and see what works out. Feel free to let us know why you will or won’t be using this social media button (or any others for that matter!)

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.

Does Your Business Need SEO Now or Later?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it’s the most important things we like to put off for later? When’s something is confusing or we’re not really sure what to make of it, those are the things that we save for much, much later.

When it comes to search engine optimization, it could hurt your business to wait until later (or never at all) to get started on a search marketing plan. SEO can be confusing if you’re new to the game but it doesn’t have to be if you have someone who works in the search marketing field on a daily basis. Here are some reasons why SEO is so important right now:

Any type of website – Whether you’re starting out with a brand new website or looking for a new SEO friendly web design template, search optimization can help boost your site’s traffic and organic search rankings.
Flexibility – As a small business, SEO can work with what you already have. An SEO plan can be integrated on your blogs, social networking profiles and even local listings. All these different mediums will work better with a synchronized plan so that more customers can find your business.
Long term investment – Some people think that SEO should just be done once and left alone. Think of SEO as a way to maintain the health of your website. It’s not just something you do once and forget about! Effective SEO plans change with different factors that affect your search rankings including consumer trends, seasons, competitors and more. These things are always changing, so why wouldn’t your SEO?

SEO is not the only type of online marketing that you should focus on but it’s a great, solid foundation for any other route you want to take (paid search, social media, e-commerce etc). If you’re looking for a Los Angeles SEO firm to help you achieve your business goals, call us today at (323) 340-4010 for a free consultation.

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.