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Posted by on Sep 23, 2009 in E-Letters |

Tips, Traps and Trends
e-letter from HS Marketing

Improving Your Website’s Search Visibility
September 2009

Dear Clients and Friends,

Have you wondered how your target audience will find you on the web? Why isn’t your site #1 on Google? Your firm needs to be visible to its potential investors, clients, industry colleagues and select media. Search result rankings matter. This holds true even if regulatory restrictions limit your ability to advertise or provide certain information to the public.

Isotope Media, one of our strategic partners, provides website development together with internet marketing integration and hosting services. In this e-letter, the firm’s technical director Glenn C. Devitt offers tips, traps and trends surrounding this critical element of marketing communication objectives.

Trap: Hiring a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist to give your site a higher ranking on Google and other search engines.Consider this: Would GOOG stock would be worth $400+ a share if their core product could be manipulated to produce biased results? There are thousands of snake oil salespeople who will take your money based on the premise that they have some secret knowledge, but the only productive service they can provide are the tips described below. It’s like physical fitness, in that there are no shortcuts and only habitual, focused effort will yield results. A trainer might help you achieve your goal, but you still must do the heavy lifting yourself.

Tip #1: The most important factors in Google rank include the following: amount of site traffic and the quantity of legitimate incoming links. LinkedIn, Flickr and Facebook almost always rank highly because these sites receive vastly more traffic than yours could ever hope (or want) to, and because many more third-party sites link to them. Your primary concern should be generating quality traffic from potential investors or clients, colleagues, and select media outlets. By successfully reaching out to these people you’ll initiate a snowball effect that will garner more incoming links to your site.

Trap: Another warning about snake oil: You may have heard of “link exchanges,” probably in a spam e-mail inviting you to enroll in one. Google’s systems quickly recognize these irrelevant reciprocal links for what they are and will actually reduce your site ranking as a penalty for trying to game their system. Remember that $400+ stock price?

Tip #2: You can increase incoming links to your site by applying the seven legitimate means listed below. All but the first are free and require only an investment of time. For a more detailed explanation of each of these approaches, please view my whitepaper on the subject.

  1. Consider enrolling in the Google AdWords program to purchase highlighted listings which appear at the top of searches for your firm’s name or other key phrases.
  2. Encourage your entire professional staff to create and maintain LinkedIn profiles.
  3. Create Wikipedia entries for your company and/or officers with links to your website.
  4. Consider creating a Twitter feed for your firm if you publish news at least weekly, but your time would probably be invested better elsewhere.
  5. Request incoming links from every industry organization and civic group with which you are affiliated.
  6. Publish fresh content on your website.
  7. Whenever you make a public appearance related to your business, ask the publisher/host to include a link to your site in the story/event program.

Trend: Websites are unique among marketing methods in that there are data-driven tools which enable you to gauge the return on your investment statistically. If Isotope Media hosts your site, you already have access to a traffic analysis system. You can gain better insight into how Google sees your site by using their free Webmaster Tools. Drop us a line and we’ll set that up and help you understand the results.

Holly Singer, President
HS Marketing, LLC
Princeton Junction, NJ 08550 | tel. 609.275.1303