Search Marketing SEO Costa Rica

4 sources of basic SEO information for beginners

Are you new to Search Engine Optimization? Do you have a basic understanding of how websites are built, and want to tweak your own site for better rankings? I wanted to collect a few authoritative, practical, useful, and non-technical resources on Search Engine Optimization for my clients for some time. The good news is that it is easier than you think to build a page that does a lot of things that the search engines like. The guides below should help explain what to look for, when auditing whether a site has been developed with an eye for Search Engine Optimization.

Google has created a compact SEO Starter Guide of best practices that developers can follow to improve their sites’ crawlability and indexing. This guide is available as a PDF.

The SEOmoz Beginner’s Guide to SEO provides comprehensive information you need to get on the road to professional quality SEO. Read it online or download it as a PDF.

SEOmoz’s CEO and co-founder wrote a very nice article on building the perfectly optimized page that explains the most important on-page factors and how they affect rankings in today’s environment.

Sometimes, a client will ask for Search Engine Optimization as though it’s something to be tacked on after the site has been built. Happily, good development practices benefit human visitors as well as Search Engine Optimization, and they go into every site I build, as I build it, from the very first line of code. I’ve written up a list of on-page factors and other considerations within a developer’s direct control that are important not only for SEO, but for good web development in general, at Roger Acuna SEO | SEO Consulting.

Search Marketing SEO Costa Rica SEO Strategies SEO tips Social Media

3 Clever Ways to Leverage PR for SEO Success

When looking for fresh link building ideas, seek inspiration from PR pros. They have long used several tried and tested methods to enhance the brand image and sales of their clients.

Forget the measly press release – that is one PR tactic that has been used and abused by many companies as a shortcut method to scale their link building efforts. And, as we all know, shortcut methods rarely work long-term in SEO.

Instead, let’s explore a few of the most effective public relations strategies that can be slightly tweaked to positively impact SEO on a longer-term basis. As an additional benefit, these tactics will also help to grow your online brand and your sales.

The ideas fall under two main categories, which are essentially clever ways to toot your own horn and a means to leverage the good deeds your company does to earn links and goodwill.

Leveraging Your Company’s Authoritative Figure

Every company has at least one person on its leadership team whose accomplishments are worth shouting from the rooftops. Usually it is your CEO or it could even be your COO or CFO. If they are successful thought leaders and have useful information to share, then leverage them as the authority figures for your company.

Here are the best outlets for this.

1. As Guest Contributors

If they are good writers, apply to have your authority figures guest write a periodic column for an online publication. Even if they aren’t good writers, you could enlist the help of professional writers to edit and perfect their columns, so they can still share their valuable advice and expertise.

Important: these columns shouldn’t contain any sales pitches. They should instead aim to help the reader learn new things, provide significant value, and generate interest.

Then, pitch to local media outlets, industry-specific websites or media; or aim higher and apply to sites such as Huffington Post or Forbes. It is easier to get on media outlet websites than on TV, print or radio. This will have the added advantage of securing you a link from a high quality website, as well as helping you effectively reach a wider audience.

In order to do this most effectively, write two to three articles to showcase the breadth of writing talent and pitch them to the websites, either directly or with the help of a PR agency that has the contacts to get them in front of the right people. You can also add in a short list of proposed future topics, so they have an idea of what to expect in future months.

It’s important to provide unique articles to each source; having the same article published by two different sources will sink the relationships faster than you can say battleship. Keep in mind the audience of each website and look at other articles they have published to get a feel for what will work best for that source.

When placing the link don’t try to have a link in every article as it will look overtly sales-y and discourage the relationship with the website. Instead, one link from the bio section is enough, since with each new article published you will secure additional links to the bio page, strengthening that link back to your site.

2. As Guest Talent

Is there a business-related TV or radio show on your local or industry-specific media? Reach out to them and have your authority figure go on air to share advice or perhaps take questions from the audience. In giving their time to help others, it will not only build their reputation (and your company’s), but will also get you a great link back to your site from the web page of the show.

You can even look at Internet radio stations or popular podcasts, which would provide a higher likelihood of getting a recurring guest spot to build longer-lasting value. As you build up the repertoire of guest spots for your authority figure, you can then reach out to bigger and better media outlets to increase your chances of success for getting accepted for a guest spot there.

Once again, it’s important here to not try to slip in any sales pitches at all. In providing value to others, you will gain back enough of a benefit to make it worth the time and effort. Here too, the bio section on the site is sufficient for the link to your site.

3. Conferences/Corporate Events

Are there marketing or industry-specific conferences your company attends? If so, consider asking your authority figures to pitch to speak, if they are comfortable doing so.

Hosting or sponsoring these conferences or other networking events is another good way to gain links and exposure, without the need to actually be a speaker if they shy away from public speaking.

Alternatively, consider entering the top executives or the company itself into awards competitions. Examples of awards to consider competing for include:

  • Top executive awards, wherein C-suite management can enter to win a top CEO or Smart CXO award
  • Growth awards such as Inc. 5000 or local area fast growth company awards
  • Best workplace type awards
  • Awards for going green or for innovation

Do Good Deeds and Garner Press Coverage

Look for genuine opportunities to help others in order to secure press coverage for your company. If any acts of kindness or activities of the company are interesting enough to warrant attention from the press, then take advantage of the link value they could provide.

Here are some of the easier ways to secure press coverage.

Search Marketing SEO Costa Rica SEO Strategies SEO tips Social Media

12 Clever Ways to Boost Your Traffic

By Terri Seymour

Traffic is essential to anyone who owns a website and/or blog. Without traffic we have no customers or sales. Unfortunately traffic does not just come to us, we have to work at it and we have to be consistent and persistent.

Sales conversion rates normally average less than 5%. What this means is that only 5% of the people who visit your site will become a paid customer. So, to grow your sales, you need to boost your traffic and/or your conversion rates. Below are twelve things you can do right now to start increasing your traffic to get those sales.

1. Launch an Article Marketing Campaign – Writing articles is not as hard as you might think and it can do wonders for your traffic! Write about something you know and just pretend you are telling a friend all about it. There is no need to use big, fancy words because people just want basic, straightforward information. Submit your articles to some of the more prominent article directories such as Ezine Articles.

2. Guest Posting and/or Commenting on Blogs – Do a search to find quality blogs in your niche and ask if they accept guest posts. Write helpful comments on existing posts and leave your link. Get involved and start building your reputation! A good place to find blogs that need guest posts is BloggerLinkUp.

3. Write Website Reviews – Review websites on Alexa and get more traffic and improve your Alexa rating. Go to Alexa, register an account and start reviewing and getting that traffic.

4. Relevant Keywords – There are a lot of free keyword suggestion tools you can use to find the top keyword searches for your niche. For example: if you own a pet care site, you would enter the words pet care and the tool would find the most relevant keywords for you to use on your site.

5. Yahoo Answers – Visit Yahoo Answers regularly and post as many answers as you can but be sure to follow their policies. You cannot try to directly lead people to your purchasing pages or leave low quality answers with your website link.

6. Interactive Site – Make your site interactive with forums, polls, surveys, etc. If your visitors feel more involved with your site, you will get repeat visits and longer stays. Add a little fun as well with contests, games, etc. Have a weekly or monthly scavenger hunt, trivia game, etc. Running a contest for a month can boost your traffic by thousands.

7. Business Cards – Produce an effective business card and hand them out wherever you go. Be sure to make it unique. Offer a discount on a first order. Add a personal message. Offer a freebie. Make your business card more than just your name and address.

8. Podcasting – A podcast is an audio or video broadcast which people can listen to and/or watch on many devices. Make your podcast informative but interesting. Talk about how your site can help the people listening and let them know about any contests or other interactive activities you offer. All you need to make a podcast is a working microphone and a voice editor such as Audacity. Once you have made your podcast, promote it in podcast forums and podcast directories such as PodcastBlaster.

9. Moving Billboard – Turn your vehicle into a moving billboard to advertise your website wherever you go. Use affordable vinyl coverings such as Car Wraps or magnetic signs from Esigns. A day of fun can bring you a lot of traffic from your mobile billboard!

10. Social Media – These days social media is a must for more traffic. Join Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. Visit message boards and forums and really get involved. Answer people’s questions, offer helpful advice and information. Becoming an active participant in social media can do wonders for your traffic.

11. Offer a Freebie – Write an informative report or ebook and offer it for free. Put in your website link and other business info. Let people know they can give it away on their sites as well. Add it to your email signature. Post it on your social media pages. Before you know it, your report could be all over the web bringing you new traffic every day.

12. Sitemap – Create an XML sitemap for your site and submit it to Google. A sitemap will allow more accessibility to your pages by the search engines, thus making your pages easier to find by people doing searches. You can easily create up to a 500 page sitemap with XML-Sitemaps. There are other options as well such as XSitemap. Do a search and find alternative options to choose from.

There are numerous ways to get more traffic to your site. Some will work for you and some will not. Try the ideas in this article and add to them, or mold them to work even better for you. Traffic does not come easily but by working hard, trying new ideas and finding out what works best for you will be very effective in boosting your traffic.

Search Marketing SEO Costa Rica SEO Strategies SEO tips Social Media

10 Valuable Aspects of a Successful Homepage

By Terri Seymour
The homepage of your website is often the landing page and is critical to the success of your online business. When people land on this page, you have just a few seconds to capture their interest. This page will be a giant factor in your conversion rate which is the ratio of visitors that respond to your goal action. This goal action can be subscribing to your newsletter, signing up for your ecourse, ordering your products, etc.

Your homepage needs to contain certain elements to be successful in raising your conversion rate. Read the list carefully and check to see if your homepage meets all of the following criteria.

1. Color – The color you choose for your website can have a big effect on your visitors. The type of site you have should be a factor in the colors you choose. There are essentially two types of colors – cool and warm.

Browns, blues and greens are cool colors and can make you feel relaxed, calm and assured. These colors are good for sites pertaining to medicine, relaxation and other sites that have reassuring answers to your problems.

Yellows, reds and oranges are warm colors that bring out feelings of energy, excitement and happiness. These colors work well for exercise sites, sports sites and other energetic type sites.

Purple is a good color for fashion and jewelry sites. It emulates sophistication, royalty, and luxury, but it is also feminine and romantic.

2. Clutter – How does it make you feel when you walk into a business that is messy and full of clutter. It doesn’t exactly bring out the confidence in said business. Your website is the same way. You don’t want it to look like a junk-filled mess! Keep it simple, clean, consistent and easy to follow. Don’t fill your site with flashing banners, junk ads or fancy hard to read font.

3. Header – The header you use for your homepage is very important. You have just a few seconds to “capture” your visitor and the header can be a vital factor in achieving that goal. Make your header professional, short and to the point. You want the header to get the visitor to want to know more about you and your products/services. The header should outline in a few words what the benefits of your site are in a way that will make the visitor stay longer. Color is also a consideration.

4. Ease of Navigation – Another critical point to consider is how easy it is for people to navigate your site. Does your site feel like a maze with doubts on how to get from here to there? Visit your site as a customer and take note on how easy it is to navigate and how well laid out and simple the page is. Is your menu easy to find and follow? Is the font easy to see and read? Does one part of the page flow into another? Are your links prominent and easy to find? Look over every aspect of navigation with an extremely critical eye because people will not stay on a site that makes them feel lost and confused.

5. Use Testimonials – Testimonials are invaluable to your site because they reassure the visitor by increasing your credibility thus allowing them to trust you and your products more easily. Sprinkle a few short testimonials on your landing page where appropriate and have a section saved just for some of your best testimonials. Use detailed testimonials as opposed to more generic ones. For example: “I love your product and will purchase more” is not as good as “Your product helped me lose 20 lbs in just 6 weeks!”

6. Contact Information – Nothing makes me leave a site faster than when no contact information or email address is found. This, to me, says the person does not want to be bothered with customers, questions or anything else. I wouldn’t ever do business with a website that does not provide complete and accurate contact info. More than likely, not many people would so it is extremely important to have your contact info prominently displayed on your homepage and every other page of your website.

7. Capture Visitors’ Email Addresses – Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “the money is in the list.” In a big way, this is true. Capturing your visitors’ emails allows you to keep in contact with them so you can build that ever important relationship that will turn them into customers. Most people will not purchase anything on a first trip to a website so by capturing their emails you can astronomically boost the chances of converting that person into a customer. You can put a subscription form on every page of your site and be sure to have one on your landing page. Building a mailing list will help you market your sales, specials, etc. and will also help you build a solid customer base.

8. Call to Action – A Call to Action is a specific thing you “order” your visitors to do. This can be done with a text link or graphic. For example: Clíck here for a free marketing ecourse. You are giving the visitor very clear and concise instructions on what to do. Sometimes your visitors need a little push to complete the call to action so you would use something like this:

Provide incentives to help your visitor make the decision to complete your call to action. Have just one clear call to action. Do not give you visitors too many choices because it will just result in confusion and indecisiveness.

9. Always Proofread – Always proofread and proofread again to be sure you catch all typos, grammatical errors and so forth. Make sure all your links work and everything on your landing page is in working order and correctly done.

10. Analytics – Be sure to take advantage of your site stats and analytics. This information can be critical to making your page a success. Google Analytics is free and provides a great service for anyone who has a website. You want to see how many people are going from your landing or homepage to other pages of your site. And if they are not, try to find out why, so you can improve your homepage. Monitor your bounce rate, conversion rate and other valued information.

You just cannot throw up a website and expect to boost your revenue. You have to nurture, maintain and care for your site and always be improving it. Keep abreast of the latest trends, info and data and always be learning how to make it better. Your landing and/or homepage is critical because it often decides the fate of your site so be sure to make it the most efficient and effective webpage possible

SEO Costa Rica

3 Common Search Marketing Mistakes You MUST Avoid

Search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search marketing can be highly effective traffic drivers for your website. They can be a core aspect of your marketing mix. For some companies, Search can even be responsible for driving the vast majority of revenue.

So, how can Search potentially hurt a business, and actually do more harm than good?
If you haven’t built a rock-solid marketing foundation for your business first, Search could be driving prospective customers to a poor experience. In these scenarios, Search would be creating a crowd of people who dislike your brand, meaning you’ve lost them as prospects – both now and in the future.

To fix this and ensure your Search initiatives are teed up for success, avoid the following three common mistakes in launching Search campaigns:

Mistake #1: Launching Search with Weak Branding
What does your brand represent? What differentiates you from the competition? What’s your positioning in the market? Is your brand “likeable” among your target audience?
You think of Apple, and you think it’s a great brand. Now, think of your own brand. Is it a great brand – or just OK? Is it clear who you are and what you stand for? Are you likeable and relevant to your target audiences?

Building a strong brand – one that really sells – is important. With each incremental visitor that you touch with your brand, you must ensure a great experience or you risk losing customers (and possibly even your reputation). With solid branding, the business results from your Search efforts will improve dramatically.

Mistake #2: Launching Search in a Silo
Some companies dive head-first into Search, believing it to be a magic pill. However, Search is a capture mechanism, and typically only serves as one step in the overall marketing funnel. If you ignore the other steps in the funnel, you’re probably going to under-perform, no matter how exceptional you are at Search Marketing execution.

In other words, even if your Search efforts are driving traffic, you still need to be a good marketer, period. Consider:
How are you building awareness?
How are you generating word-of-mouth?
Is your messaging attracting the right audience, at the right time?
Have you explored everywhere you need to be, online and offline?
Have you integrated your marketing across channels, vehicles and customer touchpoints?
Have you nailed the close – have you given potential customers every possible reason to select your company’s products or services?

Are you doing enough cross-selling, upselling and post-sale marketing…

Mistake #3: Launching Search with a Weak Website
Is your website the ugliest thing in the universe? Is it hard to navigate, with a frustrating “maze” of information? Is “inconsistency” the only thing that is consistent about your site? If so, it’s time for a site overhaul.

When assessing your site, look at your website’s conversion rate. If you need a microscope to find that number, you’re not ready for Search. Why invest money in driving traffic to a site that’s underperforming? Instead, first focus on conversion optimization, ensuring that you’re matching your visitors’ needs. Once you know that your design, messaging and calls-to-action will lead to boatloads of conversions, it’s a great opportunity to invest your time, energy and money on Search.

Remember, Search Marketing can drive a great deal of traffic to your site and conversions for your business. However, you need to first build the right platform for your Search initiatives so that campaign results will effectively propel your business forward.

By Tom Shapiro