AuraDev’s Search Engine Strategy

Search Engine Marketing / Search Engine Optimization Process Introduction

So you have created a basic 5-15 page website that promotes your company.  Great!  But just like in the real world, opening a store does not guarantee that customers will walk thru your door.  That is where Internet Marketing comes in.

This guide is intended to be a primer on SEM/SEO for companies with an existing website
If you don’t have a website, that is ok, use this guide to understand what Search Engine Marketing is and how it can work for you as you build and develop your website.  SEM/SEO is more important than an elaborate fancy website design.  What good is a beautiful website that no one goes to?

Internet marketing is a relatively new field. It is changing the way people find companies and the way that companies connect with potential customers.  Many traditional marketing concepts carry over, but there are differences.

In traditional marketing you are trying to find the customers. 

That is why you

  • Buy ad space based on demographics.
  • Place your ads where you think you target customers will be.
  • Hope that customers see your ad and remember you at a later time when they need your product or service.
  • Hope that your ad causes them to stop what they are doing and contact you.

The customers aren’t actively looking for your product or service, they are watching a TV show, reading the newspaper or a magazine. 

In traditional marketing you are hoping that while a potential customer is doing something, they will notice your ad and contact you at a later time. That is why the old marketing adage goes, repetition, repetition, repetition.  You are trying to get someone to remember your business name and what you do, so that they will contact you when they need the product or service.

Internet marketing differs in that the customers are now ACTIVELY looking for you.  They do this by going to a search engine, such as Google, and typing in a search phrase made up of keywords that they think your website would be about.

You will notice that we only discuss Google.  That is because 7 out of 10 Internet searches are done on Google.  They are the major player and the industry leader.  Most of the SEO we do will also be effective for Yahoo, MSN and others, but we focus where we will get the most results.

Think of the last time you searched for something.  You were looking for a specific thing, and if you found it, you were probably ready to read about it, buy it, or contact a business.  These are three actions that are HIGHLY DESIRABLE for any company selling a product or service.

The reason the Internet is so popular is that technology (most of which Google invented) has made it very easy for a person to find the information he is looking for. 

For example, you Google “Chinese takeout in Lake Oswego” and get a list of 7 restaurants with their phone number and website immediately. Sometimes the menu even comes up in the SERPs (search engine result pages).  You might even get a map showing each restaurant’s location in relation to your house.  To do the same in the phone book would require you to find the restaurant listings, go to the Chinese section, then look for a restaurant with a street address that you think is close to your house.  Easily a 5-minute process.
So how do you, as a restaurant owner get into these search engines so that hungry customers down the street can call you and order take out?  The answer is Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization.

Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs). 

SEM methods include:

  • search engine optimization (or SEO)
  • paid placement (PPC and PPM)
  • paid inclusion (online directories)

SEM is often defined as the practice of buying paid search listings.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of visitors to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results for targeted keywords.  These are visitors that are “free” in the sense that you aren’t paying for their visit, but creating pages that bring in visitors can be a very time consuming process.

The Primary Goal of the SEM and SEO marketing process is to bring people to your website.
Once this goal is accomplished the next step is to improve your Conversion Rate.

In Internet Marketing, conversion rate refers to the number or percentage of visitors who view your website and then perform a desired action based on subtle or direct requests of the marketers. This could be to buy something, contact a sale person or make an in-person visit to your store.

In the Search Engine Marketing Strategy that follows, AuraDev will guide you through a process that will achieve the primary goal of SEM and SEO, which is to bring who are looking for your products/services to your website.  This is Steps 1 thru 6.

Once you have 100+ unique visitors per day, you can begin on Steps 7 thru 10 to increase your Conversion Rate, which will turn website visitors into website customers.  It’s very hard to identify trends with less than 100 unique visitors per day, so focus on Steps 1 thru 6 first.

Through out this process there is one metric that you must constantly watch for- Bounce Rate.
Bounce Rate is the percentage of people who view one page on your site and then leave.  It is an indication that the content on the site was not what they were looking for.

A low bounce rate indicates that visitors find your website interesting and/or useful.  You want them to stay on your website and read your content, look at your pictures, watch your videos and eventually buy your product or contact your sales team.

 

AuraDev is an Internet Marketing firm based in Wilsonville Oregon.
We are available to guide you thru the Internet Marketing process as a consultant,
or manage your search marketing strategy for you.

If you would like to meet with AuraDev, contact Chris @ 503 830 4313 for a free one hour consultation.  Clients find it useful to read this guide and then use the free one hour consultation to ask questions that come from reading the material.

 

 

Search Engine Marketing / Search Engine Optimization Process

Step 1
Install Google Analytics and Google Webmasters your website.

    • Google Analytics a tool used to evaluate website performance and monitor marketing results.  Analytics tracks how many people visit your website, what pages they view, and what keywords they used to find your website.
    • Google Webmasters is a tool that provides website diagnostics and shows index statistics that show us what pages are being listed in Google, and what Keywords your website ranks well on.
    • Create an xml sitemap of your website (helps search engines identify all of your web pages).  Updating an xml sitemap will automatically submit all of your web pages to Google and other search engines.

1 hr – Your website FTP login information will be needed.

  • Review Existing Website – SEO Basics
  • Determine if web page titles, meta description and content are congruent
  • Determine what keywords your website ranks well on.
  • Check for duplicate content in title, meta description and content.
  • Define the top 3 things you could do to improve your search engine rank and increase search engine traffic to your website.
  • Define 3 things you and your employees can do to gather valuable market research, which will guide your future marketing efforts.
  • Identify any design flaws that would cause a qualified visitor to leave.  Such as too much text, bad layout, navigation menus that are not intuitive.

 

6 hrs – Site Review and meeting with your team to present findings.
AuraDev will record this meeting and provide you with a CD of the meeting.

If there are issues with your website that need to be addressed before continuing, AuraDev will provide you a quote.  Generally we find a handful of “quick fix” items that can be done to increase the effectiveness of your website.

 

Step 2
Create Adwords Account or Review/Modify Existing account

Before we begin the long process of Search Engine Optimization, we will want to know what keywords attract visitors to your site.  It would be a waste time to optimize your website to a set of keywords, only to find that those keywords aren’t what customers are using to find your website.

  • Generate a million keywords
  • Create 40 text ads for Google Adwords
  • Create Analytics Goals to track customer conversions.  “Goals” in Google Analytics is how we track which keywords are working.  We want to see what keywords bring in customers who purchase products or initiate contact with you via contact forms.

$2000 – This process will immediately bring more customers to your website, and at the same time will generate valuable data for the next steps.  We have often found that the results from this step pay for Steps 1-3. 

$1000 – Please allocate a budget of up to $1000 for Google Adwords.

Optimize Existing Website:

Based on discussion with you and your team in Step 2 AuraDev will

  • Identify a keyword for each existing page based on the existing text.
  • Optimize existing pages for that keyword.
  • Update xml sitemap if needed.
  • Create a proposal to modify the website structure if needed. 

2 hrs per page

Optional Step: Optimize Images and Video Content

If your website has lots of unique pictures (eg: a portfolio of past work, or unique product photos) AuraDev will create search engine optimized content (alt, title and longdesc tags) for each image. This will help your search engine ranking by providing detailed content about each image on the web page.  Remember, search engines cannot “see” images and videos, only read text.

AuraDev will generate a text summary of the video and include a transcript of what is spoken on the video, so that search engines can read it.

AuraDev will also create an xml sitemap for all optimized videos.

This option is applicable to all future pages where new images and/or videos are added, and only needs to be done once per image/video.

1 hr per image / 2 hrs per video

 

Step 3
Implement content targeted to “Customer Defined” Keywords

  • Review the information you and your employees gather from Step 2
  • Identify a set of keywords your customers would use to find your website and narrow it down to 25-50 keywords.  Save your entire list of keywords, this step will be revisited at a later date.
  • Create a search engine optimized web page for each keyword using your existing website template.  Includes content writing and programming. 
  • Update xml sitemap.

2 hrs – Step 4 consultation – identify a set of keywords should be pursued.
2 hrs per page

Step 4
Implement content targeted to “Marketer Defined” Keywords

  • AuraDev will show you how to use the Google Keyword Tool to generate lists of keywords that you think a customer would use to find your website.  Optionally AuraDev can do this for you.
  • AuraDev reviews your Keyword List with you to choose a set of Keywords that have good search volume (people actually search for these words) and medium to low competition.  We will also rank these keywords to determine which keywords should be targeted first.
  • Create a search engine optimized web page for each keyword using your existing website template.  Includes content writing and programming. 
  • Update xml sitemap.

4 hrs – Step 5 consultation.
1 hr to train you on Google Keyword Tool, 3 hours for a second meeting to review the list you come up with.

5 hrs – If you prefer, AuraDev will generate a list of 1000 Keywords that would be appropriate for your website.  This is done instead of the Step 5 consultation.

2 hrs per page

Optional Step: Dynamic Content Database

If you choose to launch a campaign with 200+ Keywords, it is more effective to dynamically generate SEO pages.  Keywords and Content can then be managed using Excel, which streamlines mass updates and edits.

8 hrs – Create Dynamic Content Management System with Mod_Rewrite
Mod_Rewrite is a system that creates SEO Friendly URLS- creates web pages that are yourdomin.com/keyword-keyword instead of yourdomain.com/index.php?page_id=47

This lowers time per page to 1.5 hrs.

AuraDev will also create a dynamic xml sitemap tool so that your sitemaps can be updated dynamically. 

Step 5
Review Low Performance Keywords

Low Performance Keywords are keywords which bring in less than three visitors per month.

These Keywords are being reported by Analytics or Webmasters, but aren’t receiving a high volume of clicks (few people are clicking on your website, even though your website is coming up in the search results).

This is generally an indication that either your website isn’t high enough in the search results or the searcher does not think your web page title or description is relevant.  Possibly both.

Remember that Search Engines show page your page title and either a content snippet or your meta description in the search results.  If either of these are not congruent with the search term, a visitor may overlook your website.

In Step 3, 4 and 5 we made educated guesses about which Keywords a potential customer would use to try to find your website and made efforts to make your website to appear in search results.  In this step we will see which keyword/web page combinations are appearing in search results and bringing people to your website and fine tune them.

It’s possible that you will rank high and/or perform on keywords for which you have no search engine optimized page.  In this step, we will determine if these keywords are worth pursuing and if so, we will create a web page to keep your high ranking and control the content that the search engines feed to visitors.

Analytics will report a list of keywords that real people have used to find your website.  This is a time to celebrate success! A potential customer ran search for “local widget vendor”, your website came up somewhere in the search results, and that person clicked on it.

Now our task is to increase the volume of people visiting your website by modifying the pages that are receiving less than 3 clicks per month.  The goal is to bring more visitors to your site using the web page / keyword combinations that are producing a low quantity of results.

Now would also be at time to revisit Steps 4 and 5 to continue developing unique content pages for the keywords on your list.

At this point we don’t want to change the web pages that are working for you.  We also don’t want to spend time on web page / keyword combinations that are producing no results, doing so can be a very time consuming process that should be saved for a later step.

  • Identify the set of keywords people have used to find your website on search engines.
  • Identify the set of keywords and web pages that are performing well.
  • Review the Analytics data for each keyword.  This will tell us what web page they came in on, how long they stayed, if they clicked on any links on your website or visited any other pages.
  • Identify what changes should be made to each web page- Analytics data will suggest pages that could rank higher or perform better with a different title or meta description.
  • Make minor modifications to web page title, meta description or content

 

Step 6
Review Trends

This step can only be taken once with a website that has more than 100+ unique visitors per day.  Sites with less traffic than 100+ unique visitors per day should focus on Steps 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Once your site is performing well and receiving 100+ unique visitors per day, AuraDev will review your Analytics and identify trends.

NOTE: You can use Google Adwords (Pay Per Click) to bypass steps 3, 4, 5 and 6.  But as soon as you stop paying for ads, you will loose all your website traffic.  This can be a good strategy for someone selling a unique product.

The first and most obvious trend is the bounce rate.  A high bounce rate is an indication that a page is either not what a visitor is looking for or not effective.
AuraDev will work with your team to diagnose what is not effective about pages with high bounce rates, and will work to rewrite content to lower the bounce rate and the retain visitors.

Often content generated in Steps 3, 4, 5 and 6 is Search Engine Optimized content that might not be written in the best way to convert a visitor to a customer.  AuraDev will work with your team to make changes to the page that will not undermine search engine results, but will increase customer conversions.

At this step we also define Customer Conversion Goals, which are benchmarks of success.  This could be a customer coming in on a search term, reading a few pages, and placing an order, or filling out a contact form.  Maybe the goal is to building your email newsletter list, so a sign up would be a goal.  AuraDev will work with your team to determine appropriate Conversion Goals, and then implement the programming in Google Analytics to track your website visitors as they view the site and complete predefined actions that lead up to your Conversion Goals.

If you would like to meet with AuraDev, contact Chris @ 503 830 4313 for a free one hour consultation.  Clients find it useful to read this guide and then use the free one hour consultation to ask questions that come from reading the material.



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