The Search Guru

Ready for a brain dump?

Oh thank you to COSE again! They were able to get Leslie Carruthers “the Search Guru” to give an amazing presentation on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in The Panda Era.

I was happy to hear from the expert herself, that our SEO motto of good content and lots of links still holds true even after “the Panda”.

What’s new? A few things, first and in my mind the most expected was the increased importance of “like-able” content. In other words content and information that comes from Social Media and points either to your site or blog, or merely talks about you.

Another major change is the fact that junk pages – filler pages with low quality content or duplicate content – actually have the potential of bringing your site rankings down. Although more pages will help your site, having trash pages won’t.

Leslie’s top 4 Search Engine Tips

  1. Bake SEO into your site structure – be sure your developer understands SEO or hire someone who does
  2. Know the language of your visitors – but don’t use your “gut” – use keyword tools to search and determine what people are actually looking for and what is reasonable in the world of competition.
  3. Develop as many incoming links from “relevant” non-competing sites. Relevant is key. A baker linking to an oil change shop is not as good as a baker linking to a restaurant supply chain.
  4. Create fresh, relevant, interesting, optimized content!

I have about 6 more pages of notes but that’s all for now!

Have a terrific day,

Search Engine Optimization
Web development and design

Cose Small Business Conference

Wednesday, October 19 and Thursday, October 20, 2011

The sixth annual COSE Small Business Conference, is a two-day, first-class conference experience packed with educational workshops, national keynote speakers, a business-to-business trade show and effective networking opportunities.

As a small business owner, your time is incredibly valuable. That’s why COSE designed the conference to fit your busy schedule. Each workshop is carefully selected to deliver immediate, practical tools and information that can be applied to your business right away. So whether you attend for an hour, a day or both days, you’re sure to leave with
valuable new strategies to enhance your business’s success.

101 Tips for Using Your Website and Other Online Tools to Market Your Business

The internet is quickly becoming the #1 way people gather information. If  your internet presence is lacking, you may be missing out. We will discuss messaging, using your website, and other internet marketing tools like search engines, social media, PPCs, and directories. We will also give you an overview of what type of costs you can expect, where to save, and where to spend.

Natalie Morris
Morris MC, Ltd.

Internet Marketing – What the heck does that mean?

The world of marketing has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. Part of that change was adding Internet Marketing to the mix.

When the web really got going as a Marketing venue it was treated almost identical to any other marketing venue.

  • Determine who you market is – in a very broad sense
  • Sell your products and services
  • Wait

Now with the onset on Social Media, this formula doesn’t work the same way. In some ways it’s much better, in others it’s much worse.

How it’s better:

  • Small and medium-sized companies can enter into the marketing pool
  • Local businesses can easily reach global audiences
  • Customers can communicate directly with companies
  • Changes can be made instantaneous
  • Target audiences can be very specific

How it’s worse:

  • Large companies that had market dominance now need to share
  • It’s easy to shop price from your home
  • You need someone to be watching conversation about your company constantly
  • People expect an immediate response

So what is Internet Marketing? In a nutshell it’s coming up with a comprehensive plan that takes into account:

  • Website
  • Pay Per Click
  • Natural Listings
  • Social Media

Each one of these areas needs to be handled specifically for that particular media. For example it’s ok to “sell” your product on your website, but it is not ok to “sell” your product on social media.

Also each item above may have multiple venues, for example your Social Media Campaign may include LinkedIn, a Blog, You-Tube, and Google Places. Similarly the Natural Listing may include your website, a blog, directories, and Google Places. As you can see items may overlap into other areas. Blogs will appear both in natural listing and are considered a Social Media venue.

A good internet marketing plan takes into account all internet venues and ensures they work together.  A blog that does not link back to your website, or to your You-Tube account is not going to be as productive as one that does.

More on this topic to come!

Q & A – do simple sites get more traphic than cluttered sites?

”Hey Natalie, in order to get more traffic to my site do you think simple layout sites get more attention or sites that have lots of graphics? Would that be too much clutter?”

That’s a great question! Let me break this question down into a couple smaller questions.

Do simple layouts get more traffic than complex layouts?

Search Engines are looking for many things before they determine who to sent their visitors too. They care about incoming links, keywords, tags, content etc. So normally people don’t think about the layout effecting the ranking. However one way the layout may affect the ranking is in regards to keyword density. Keyword Density is the number of times a keyword is mentioned in a site, compared to the rest of the words on the site. Let’s use Morris MC as our key phrase.

Morris MC, is an internet marketing firm.” keyword density is about 25%

Morris MC does website design and development, search engine optimization, content writing, Pay Per Click management and setup, Social Media planning, management and coaching, and many other internet marketing services.” keyword density is about 6%

The first example is much more dense than the second example.

There is one very important fact you have to remember about search engines, they are not “reading” your site. They are looking at the code behind your site, and that is the point where layout may affect your rankings. If your layout is very simple and the design only takes up 100 lines of code then your keywords will be more dense than if your design takes up 1,000 lines of code.

Do graphics effect the amount of traffic a site gets?

Search Engines’s don’t look at images in the way we do. They can’t look at a logo and say “Oh that says Morris MC.” However, if I put an alt tag on the image and say “Morris MC logo” than that will count for a key phrase. However where graphics will hurt you is if you use them for your navigation. Search Engines like to see text links using the keyword as the link. All three options below will take you to Morris MC. ltd, however the first one is the best option in regards to search engine optimization.

”Morris MC” “More info >>” Morris MC

Would lots of graphics be too much clutter?

When we talk about clutter, we are talking about people. Search Engines don’t see clutter, but people do. If your site is not appealing to people, or if it’s hard for them to navigate or understand, even if the Search Engines send them to your site they will leave.

I hope that helped answer your questions, if you have any questions of your own please send them to me and I will answer them on my blog.

Thank you and have a terrific day,


Rules for Designers

When designing a website there are a few things to take into consideration.

1. Visitors have the patience of a fruit fly… ok maybe less.View Details

  • Graphic rich designs take longer to load than simple designs.
  • Background patterns increase load times
  • Anything that can be turned into code vs a graphic is good (see navigation)

2. Navigation

  • The fun days of cool mouse-over graphics in the navigation are gone, instead the use of CSS and text links are necessary. In other words:
    • When you go to design navigation the font should be something like Ariel, Veranda, or Helvetica – very basic, that every computer has
    • The mouse over should be a background change, or font color change
    • The font and font size should stay the same

3. When designing the Page keep in mind Tags – when at all possible design so we can use tags instead of images

  • H1 (heading 1) is usually the page title
  • H2 is a sub title
  • H3 is sub sub title
  • H4, H5, H6 can be used as a highlight or sub text
  • P (paragraph) the font, size, color to be used for all plain paragraphs
  • Lists – either bulleted or numbered
  • Table data, information that appears in a table if applicable
  • Links – what a text link will look like in a paragraph, heading, etc.

4. When viewing something on a computer monitor San-Serif fonts are easier to read. Serif fonts can be used as titles or highlights, but should be carefully considered.

5. Italics are difficult to read on a monitor

6. Underlines are assumed to be links, however links don’t need to be underlined, but if not, they should do something when moused-over

7. Keep in mind visitors probably don’t have a monitor as nice as yours, they also may not have a decent internet connection.

View Details8. Design size depends on your visitor and your developer, some site will “grow” to fit the window, others will center on the page, others will stay to the left. If possible design so any of these will look good.

  • Power users; high end corporate, IT, marketing firms, designers, etc may have the wide screens, fast connection speed. (1,000-1,200 pixels)
  • Normal users; Consumers, office personnel, home users, etc. will have a slower connection, View DetailsDSL or cable, and may not have great monitor. (800-900 pixels)
  • Low end users; factory connections, personal users, IT slow environments (500-600 pixels)

9. The project manager will need a “flat” image to either send to or take to the client to get approval. Once approved the developer will need all the “pieces”, layers, colors, font specifications, etc so he can develop the HTML and CSS that will display the site.

Remember everyone has a different setup on their computers/monitors, every browser displays things a little differently, the final result on the web, will look different from your original design… That’s ok.

Do I really need a new website?

Hum… let me think – YES!

Now I don’t say that just because I am a web developer and I want your businsess, even though part of that is true, the fact is if you ask the question then the answer is probably yes. However a new website is not always a huge project. Do you have a site that is template based? Then updating the look should be fairly easy. Do you already have a lot of infomation? Do you have information in other marketing materials that you could use to help update the site?

If you answered yes to any of these, then chances are you don’t need to start from scratch, you already have a base to start with and all you really need is a little time, effort, and someone who knows what they are talking about.

So your website needs some help, but you don’t have the time or much money to put into it. The question you need to ask yourself is how much is this website worth to me. This is how I try to look at it. How much is a new client worth to you? $10, $100, $1,000, $10,000 or more? If one client is only worth $10 to you then you are going to need to consider the number of clients you could potentially get through your website. If one client is worth $1,000 then a few clients are going to be able to pay for your site updates. If your clients are worth even more, then it would probably be wise to look into having some web marketing done so that you can attract those customers.

There are plenty of things that make a site look outdated. The fonts that are used, the colors just like your avocado green stove, colors become unpopular on the internet as well. The way the site is laid out, and the way the buttons and site function. Perhaps all you need is a fresh coat of paint, maybe you need to think about new counter tops for your navigation, or maybe it’s time to tear out and rebuild!

The nice thing about websites is that even if you do a complete redesign your existing site does not need to be shut down during the construction period. Keep your site running and then when the new site is ready just turn it on!

Don’t expect this to be a lot of trouble, creating a new site should be fun and exciting! Have fun with it!