Why Business Owners Struggle With Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is an interesting topic among business owners. On the one hand, many of them love it. The Internet has made it possible to bring thousands upon thousands of new buyers to their websites from all over the world, at any hour of the day or time of the year.

On the other hand, a lot of business owners hate the search engine optimization process. How can they be so excited about the results, and at the same time so annoyed with what it takes to get them?

It’s easier to understand than you might think. That’s because executing a successful search engine optimization plan is a little bit like dieting – it’s a slow, tedious, and occasionally painful process that usually only pays big dividends after you’ve been doing it for a while. And what’s worse, the longer you put it off, the longer you usually have to wait to get into the right kind of shape.

Just as most of us would love to shovel down hot fudge sundaes and still look great in swimwear, the average business owner can barely wait to see all the new leads or sales they’re going to rack up once their search engine optimization plan starts to pay off. But in the meantime, it can be frustrating to keep generating ideas for content, viewing regular traffic reports, and yes, paying web design firms and search engine specialists for the guidance they provide.

In other words, having a great SEO plan is almost priceless, but writing blog posts, articles, and checks in the meantime can quickly get old.

Our advice to you is this: Find a team that truly understands search engine optimization and how it fits into your bottom-line business plan, and then give them whatever they need to get started. Recognize from the outset that it’s going to be a little bit painful and frustrating… but that you’ll be glad you made the right decision when tons of new business starts rolling in.

One Surprising Tool That Can Help You Improve Your Business Website Dramatically

When planning an addition or redesign to a business website, marketing managers and other decision-makers will often turn to advanced search engine metrics and other analytical tools for guidance. These can definitely be helpful, but too many small businesses overlook one of their best resources – a surprising tool that can help them dramatically improve the effectiveness of their business websites – a conversation with a potential customer.

Simply put, someone who has visited your website, or bought from you in the past, holds an insight and perspective that are very difficult to find elsewhere. For all of the things you think you know about your business, they know exactly why someone decides to click the “buy now” button or pick up the phone to call you… not to mention the reasons they don’t.

Note that this conversation doesn’t even have to be an actual conversation. It could be in person, of course, but also over the phone, or even online. The point is that you want to ask potential customers things like:

  • What would you like to see more, or less, of on this website?
  • What do you like about our competitors’ websites?
  • What is your favorite feature of our existing site?
  • How did you find this website in the first place?

Are you going to get all of the answers you want from simply asking these questions? Probably not, but what you will likely get is a good starting point for understanding how the men and women you are trying so hard to market view your pages. This might sound like a small detail, but it can stop you from making a disastrous change, or copying a competitor who really isn’t as well-liked as you thought.

Metrics and expert opinions always have their place in business web design and online marketing. But if you really want to make your company more profitable over the Internet, don’t forget to ask your customers for their input once in a while.

The Three P’s of Search Engine Optimization

To read some of the blogs, articles, and e-books that are so prevalent on the Internet, you would think that search engine optimization was a complicated and precise science. While that’s partly true, and the best ideas and tactics are always changing, it’s also true that finding your way to the top of Google, Yahoo, and Bing very typically comes down to a few simple things.

To help you understand why, and succeed in your own search engine optimization campaigns, we’ve tried to put them into a simple, easy-to-remember system. Here are the three P’s of good SEO for small businesses:

Planning. You shouldn’t change anything on your business website, not a single page heading or meta-tag, until you have had a business web designer or search engine specialist help you to find the right keywords and phrases to optimize. Which ones are the right ones? The keywords that don’t just bring you lots of traffic, but also buyers who are looking for more than just quick information.

Persistence. The interesting thing about search engine optimization is that it isn’t so much something you do as much as it is a process you start. That’s because you’re never really finished; even when you have taken the top spot for some of your most important keywords on Google, it’s still necessary to keep fresh content and updates coming. This is especially true when you are still trying to climb your way up the search engine rankings.

Patience. If there’s one thing that is consistently frustrating for business owners when it comes to search engine optimization, it’s that it takes a decent amount of time if you are operating in a competitive market. Plan on waiting at least three months before you see any real bottom-line improvement. That might seem like a while, but it’s worth the wait.

There is more that goes into the technical side of search engine optimization, to be sure. But, if you are armed with this understanding and the help of a good web design and online marketing team, then the three P’s of SEO will take you a long way.

Two Lessons on Search Engine Optimization From Hurricane Irene

It’s not often that we discuss natural disasters, or Mother Nature in general, in the course of talking about search engine optimization. Once in a while, however, life gives us situations that shed a little bit of light on the issues and predicaments we face in online marketing.

In fact, hurricane Irene was a prime example.

Although damage from the storm was by far and large less severe than it was predicted to be, it still caused major problems up and down the East Coast. And believe it or not, there are a few things we can draw from the experience that bear directly on your company’s SEO plan.

Here are two lessons on search engine optimization from hurricane Irene:

Things don’t always go where we expect them to. Although teams of meteorologists and experts plotted its course on an hourly basis, Hurricane Irene still ended up making landfall in a place where it wasn’t expected, and promptly took a direction no one predicted. As a result, several communities weren’t ready for the rain and wind they received.

What does this have to do with your website? Visitors aren’t always going to arrive on the pages you hope they will, or click through on the links you would like them to. For that reason, it’s important that every part of your business website be ready to sell. An important part of search engine optimization is converting traffic into customers, and you should be prepared to do that from any page you have.

You have to plan for the unexpected. This isn’t exactly new advice when it comes to online marketing, but it’s still needs to be mentioned once in a while. Because Google, Yahoo, and Bing can change their algorithms at any time, you never know when your current flow of traffic is going to be washed away.

Very frequently, minor adjustments to search engine algorithms work themselves out over time; once in a while they don’t. Either way, it’s a good idea to have other online marketing avenues in place. Relying solely on search engine optimization is fairly common, but it makes sense to be ready for any change in the weather, because you never know what can happen.


How Much Should You be Reading Into Web Analytics?

Amongst the business owners we work with, we tend to find that clients fall into one of two groups: those who pay little or no attention to the analytics coming from their business websites, and those who pay way too much attention to the statistics.

So how much should you be reading into web analytics? The short answer is that you should be watching just closely enough to spot any trends and increase your profitability. To see what we mean, consider the following examples:

  • A high bounce rate on one page or another could indicate that a stronger call to action is needed, that visitors are finding the information on that page confusing, or that you don’t have enough links to other resources.
  • Knowing which pages visitors typically arrive on and leave your site from could help you optimize them for conversions, but only if you have a sense of what keywords they searched to get there, and what they were looking for (and didn’t find) when they departed.
  • Having insight into which pages on your site are regularly bookmarked or e-mailed to others could show you which pieces of content visitors find most valuable, and which product areas you should expand on.

These are only a few examples, but they point to the need for balance. Having only half of the information about any of these issues – or none at all – could easily lead you to the wrong conclusions. On the other hand, reading too much into them, or changing your plans after only a couple of weeks of results, could prove disastrous.

In the end, our best advice is to get the best analytics package you can, but also to get expert advice and guidance when it comes to understanding the figures you see. After all, you do need lots of information to keep your business growing online… but what good is any of it if it isn’t helping you to increase sales?

Choosing the right Arizona Website Design & SEO Company

When it comes to choosing a website design company in Arizona, you should choose carefully as there are so many. When looking for a website design company you should be able to see a portfolio, professional references and results. If you are planning on using that same company for search engine optimization company (SEO) don’t be afraid to ask for results, or data to backup their claims.

One of the most common things we see as a legitimate website design and SEO company in Arizona is all the fakes. Companies that can “get you to the top in 7 days guaranteed” are usually using black hat techniques that will in the long term eventually get you banned or they are targeting keywords that no one is searching for, or have no value to your companies target audience. Just remember that Google and other popular search engines have algorithms in place that prevent you from out ranking other companies overnight. Just remember Google loves fresh, relevant, usefull content that’s valuable to it’s users.

Web design and SEO work hand in hand, so if you are choosing an web design company that doesn’t offer any type of SEO than do your research as having that all under the same roof will be more efficient and probably less expensive. When starting an SEO campaign, it will most likely require changes to your website to fix critical on page elements which will go much smoother if the same company is performing the web changes.

Epic Web Solutions specializes in making websites rank well and look good. Call us today to find out how we can help your website rank better.