Archive for August, 2013

Is SEO Still Standard Operating Procedure?

August 20th, 2013

Search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, has been used since the inception of the internet as if it were the holy grail of online success. But what is SEO really? More importantly, what has it become? Is it simply a matter of optimizing your website? Or, has it grown to include a number of other parameters? SEO is no longer just one thing. It has grown to mean so much more.

Let’s look at how search engine optimization has evolved in order to become Search Engine Marketing (aka S.E.M.). Also let’s look at how you can improve your search ranking. This includes techniques designed to insure a strong ranking position. Best of all, you can accomplish all this without resorting to tricks, gimmicks or deception that attempts to hoodwink the search engine spiders.

Before the turn of the century, achieving search ranking was relatively simple. You selected a keyword relevant to your business, created a website and added the desired keywords to your content. You made sure you included the keywords in Meta and Alt tags. Then you posted your web pages to the top 100 search engines and directories. If you choose your keywords carefully, you soon showed up on page one of Yahoo, AltaVista, and other search engines.

Today it isn’t so simple. The major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are mostly concerned with quality content, delivered on a timely basis. Google has even admitted that it no longer even gives Meta Tags a second glance. This content needs to be diversified (web pages, blogs, social media, videos etc…) and it needs to be highly relevant to the keyword or phrases that are searched. Today if you meet these criteria you will do well in organic search, (assuming your competition is not better at it than you). If you ignore these items then your chances of showing up on page one are slim at best.

Is web page optimization still important? My answer is yes. Google and all other search engines still prowl websites as part of their ranking algorithm. Today, on-site optimization only accounts for about 25% of the overall score. However,  it is still very important. If this on-page information is incorrect, missing, or doesn’t match the content, search engines will either ignore or misinterpret your content and rank you low or not at all. Either way it means bad news for your website. Make sure your on-page information is formatted to match the content and desired keywords. Otherwise your quest to be on page one will end before it begins.

Search Engine Marketing is much more comprehensive than Search Engine Optimization. It includes all your websites plus your blog posts, social network posts, any PR posts, all pod casts and video posts. In essence, S.E.M. encompasses all web postings of any kind. Yet it also means more than this. S.E.M. is also a methodology designed to meet the search content requirements that provide high ranking. In other words, your success or failure is predicated on doing what the search engines want, not trying to trick them into giving you better ranking. When trying to rank highly on Google, Google loves mixed media, which includes video, photos, podcasts, and more. The reason they do this is due to the fact that Google is looking to determine who is serving the public the best content for any specific search. The google bots evaluate your content for relevancy, usefulness, quality, consistency, timeliness, connectedness, positive feedback and diversity of format (web pages, blogs, social media, videos etc…). These are some busy bots.

A decade ago posting a properly optimized websites was all it took to achieve ranking. Today’s internet audience is far more savvy and sophisticated. Today’s web surfers prefer video and photos to text, provided they can find it. If you have a video on page one above the fold, it has a high probability of being viewed and acted upon. We know that statistically, videos will receive 80% of all clicks if they are highly visible. However, videos are not the be all end all of search results. Blog posts can also garner strong position in Google rankings. The same is true for social media posts that that have a high sharing factor (gone viral). Google also loves web pages that receive lots of positive ratings (especially Google Local or Map pages with Google +1 ratings and four or more stars.

The bottom line is that while SEO is not dead, it has changed so radically in the past few years that the rules of the game have changed. If you want to win, you need to adjust your approach and start creating compelling content that both the search engine bots and the public want to view.

Want to start a SEO/SEM campaign that will give your website traffic and sales?

Contact the Computer Company at 800 418 2358

Written by Carl Weiss

Let the Computer Company Design an E-commerce Website for Your Business

August 6th, 2013

Nowadays, the online website ecommerce store has become very important and no one can ignore it, as there is almost nothing that can be done in the real world without being able to do it online as well. An important aspect regarding the Internet is its financial potential and the supreme proof is the annual amount of money invested in it, which is constantly rising and it seems that the global crisis has sped up this process. The concept of “e-commerce” is widely spread but its history is very short, we are talking only about a few years! Any online store presents many things in common with the real stores and the main element is the necessity of selling in order to obtain profit, which is the life blood of any commercial existence. Definitely, there are many advantages in having an online store than a usual one but there are also some disadvantages. The layout of an e-commerce website isn’t special nor does it have some features which make it more complicated but it has a clear purpose: it should sell.
This statement might not be saying anything to a business owner but thinking in a logical manner the result must be valid and important. First of all, an e-commerce website should sell the products to the visitors so to be successful you need traffic; a well done layout attracts the attention of the visitors and here comes the first major rule of creating a good e-commerce website:

The overall design should match the products

Any website needs a good design and this category follows this rule but it also has to reflect the main features of the seller. The power of example is great. Think of a design for an online store which sells women clothes and one which sells widgets: the first one needs a very fine color scheme, huge collection of images with no highly complicated menus while the second should be modern, almost sci-fi, with powerful color schemes and many technical details. These are different and thus they need different approaches.

The design should emphasize the products

The specificity of the e-commerce website is the fact that the design shouldn’t highlight only the content as in other online presences, it should put the products in the spotlight and this means using a lot of text and images. Any designer should know that a good design is the one which isn’t necessarily noticed but makes the navigation easily and subtle. If the client is the one who is always right then here the product is the only one which matters. A lot of websites have lost many clients because the products aren’t highlighted enough or the images of these aren’t relevant, but here comes another great rule to keep in mind:

High quality images attract high quality clients

Marketers have studied the ways of making an online store more efficient and more
profitable and one of the main reasons of the loss of sales was the lack of information about the products. We all know that a hundred words is the equivalent of a single image and this statement is taken into account when designing a commercial layout. The relevant images, showing many perspectives should replace the natural touch in a mall or hypermarket in a successful manner and this is difficult…you believe in what you see, don’t you and an image can’t replace your eyes. In order to gain clients and to make them buy and not just visit, the high quality images of your goods are important and failure is near if someone neglects it.

Usability and accessibility are vital

An e-commerce website needs a layout which should help the potential customers in
any situation else they will be naturally attracted by other e commerce sites. Nothing can be more disastrous than a layout where it is hard to find the shopping cart or one in which the information about the shipping is missing. When somebody creates the design of an online store the usability and the accessibility are the major facts to keep in mind; some specialists considers that even the aesthetics may be ignored but not these. The sales are in direct relationship with how accessible and universal a website is and, clearly, it is decisive. A FAQ and a contact page are signs that the website is serious as the help of these is invaluable. These are various metric systems in each country and, in order to have more clients, all the dimensions should be offered to
satisfy any preferences. These should be visible and easy to understand and, eventually, to transform for people from all around the world and it means that
the written content should pay attention to this kind of audience. Online stores with local public targets shouldn’t worry too much about the universality factor but it is highly recommended to pay attention to it.

The navigation menu is the key of success

Usually, people visiting an online store aren’t very decided to buy something; they
check all the products, see others even check out other similar stores and finally they make a decision. They navigate the entire website and they always need to know where they are and how to get to another category. In this case, a functional and well established navigational menu is required and nothing can scare away your potential customers than a complicated or difficult to use menu. Anyway, every online shop has its specificity and a general tip remains a generality and nothing more. A solution to understanding better what an e-commerce website should be like and how to design it is to see the best examples.

Please contact us for our portfolio and what The Computer Company can do for your  profits and your on-line store

800 418 2358