Monday, January 26, 2009

The SEO guide for a non profits website

While the internet is filled with the business oriented SEO marketing tips, tactics etc there is hardly anything exclusively written about for the non-profits website. Your first stimuli to this thought might be that they do not need SEO as they aren’t in the race for money! But hey! SEO isn’t just about money, it’s about reaching out to people too and non profits website need that the most!

So, here’s an attempt to make an SEO guide for non-profits website. The most important aspects of SEO can be outlined even for this case of non-profits:
1. Keyword research
2. On Page SEO
3. Internal link building
4. external link building

A word of fact here-External link building should be the strongest of all the four aspects, in terms of getting higher ranks in search engines.

If you have a non-profit website than you are quite more likely to get an external link pointing to you. Yes, the web world’s all about the commercialization of links, but many people do support non-profits and lend out links for free (maybe to just disguise the fact that they cannot do something as noble as what you are doing!). So, one of the most important things you need to do is to let people know about your good work. Display it in bold about your non-profit status and encourage people/visitors to join hands in the good cause in the form of donations, gifts, active participation, building links, referring to people etc.

How to make your issue visible?

The power of internet is in its network i.e. the people. So, get as much as people for your cause. Obviously, you need to have a good idea for this, without which people wouldn’t cling on with your website. Once you get the people you need to organize them around the idea, make leaders out of them and then you’ll have a lot of doors open for your cause. The traditional approach of banging doors of the rich is now tweaked. You inspire the people and they’ll bang the doors in unison! Trust me; the sound will be loud enough that it’ll surely compel the rich to donate money!

You may go about using the basics, but as a non-profit you would need much more than just keyword research and stuffs!

Keyword research: This holds a great value in the SEO domain. Get the keywords from various tools around the web. Concentrate on keywords that are associated with your cause and tweak around them to churn out some other related words.

Placing of the keywords: Use the keywords in the title, in the beginning would be better. Come up with ‘rich on keyword density’ articles.

Some other important things needed to be done by a non-profit

1. Tell the stories using images, evidences, videos, documents etc. Let them know the hard reality.
2. Create a brand
3. Encourage sharing and communities.
4. Twitter and socialize in social networking sites
5. link up with both other non-profits and commercial websites
6. Build a platform for people to express their views and opinions.
7. Develop partnership with donors. Involve them in your activities.
8. Tell each donor to refer at least ten friends.
9. Use widgets.
10. Use free services available just for the non-profits!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Extract the maximum from the existing traffic

The times and the people are changing. Internet is becoming a fast competitive market and the total share from important keywords is an important asset. You can correctly assume that search volume of any keyword is what it appears and what it is going to become in the near future. Keeping aside viral campaigns that can increase questions and traffic, the available search volume is not going to magnify soon at a sustainable rate. The economy is facing a slump right now. Search is not facing the heat of the slump. It is not advisable to buy more traffic as it becomes expensive to maintain PPC engines or quality directories. You need to take maximum advantage of the present traffic to increase your revenue.

Suppose you have been loyal to your website and have optimized your keywords, posted quality content and have been receiving traffic. But the sales are being a major headache. You have actually followed every SEO and SEM rules but is not getting the desired results. You have just overlooked human nature as a factor. Specifically, you have forgotten to optimize your site for conversions.

Traffic is just a fraction of the competition. You are not successful until the user has opted for the landing page. It is absolutely important to decide your offers on landing page and shop for all the things they have dreamt about.

Offline activities regarding conversion optimization is taking place all time. Optimize your conversion rates by making the shopping an easy experience for the visitors. Make it easy for your visitors to buy the expensive products and make it hard for them to buy the inexpensive stuff.

You can actually use your traffic to devise your conversion path. Listen to your visitors and draw valuable feedbacks.

Testing constitutes an interesting part of your conversion rate. You need to go through all the tests to finally zero in on the best. A more slower and thorough test in the context of split testing or A/B is beneficial. Consistent results are obtained from short tests. Short tests also help you to maintain your focus. Multi tests tend to shift your focus from the main issue.

You can start your test with a control page and a dummy page which should reflect a change in the control page. Split both the pages among your traffic showing them 50% of each. Look out for the success of each version. A/B testing will alert you from major mistakes.

Websites with high dollar products like hotel or vacation costs can be beneficial in a short time to reach 100 conversions. You need not measure every test that whether it resulted in a sale or not. You can take the help of applications from firms to carry out the A/B on a larger scale like LiveBall.

Such type of tests is very much possible with the help of Google Website Optimizer. You may need to give invest a fraction of your precious time in designing the test or to get the necessary codes regarding your website. Overall, the test is very simple to perform and you do not require professionals to do your work.

Utilize your existing traffic to the maximum to increase your conversion rate and buy more traffic and thus get higher return on investments.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Disadvantages of SEO Bounce Rates

There has been lots of debate regarding the incorporation of bounce rates into the algorithm of SEO’s. During late 2007, webmasters were finding a contrasting difference in their ranking of major keywords by altering the bounce rates. Such fluctuations are not convincing proofs of the impact of bounce rates. In the near future bounce rates will be influential in algorithm of SEO’s. Microsoft has been investing their energy on BrowseRank which in turn is dependant on bounce rates.

Some common objections regarding bounce rates are:
  1. There is no formal definition of the term “bounce rates”. This is not a convincing argument. Bounce is a situation when someone abandons a website and returns to their respective source.
  2. The way Google Analytics defines bounce is objectionable to many.
  3. Many sites do not avail the services of Google Analytics and hence Google is not supposed to have authentic data. This is a very confusing objection because Google Analytics has nothing to do with the state of affairs. The issue is how Google or any other company traces their traffic and how do the users report back to their websites.
  4. There is a lingering objection over the threshold duration regarding a bounce. There is no specific threshold time for a bounce. On the other hand various search engines define bounce on different grounds. You will not be informed regarding the lag times. Bounce lag times are not fixed. It changes daily.
  5. There can be cases when people can click on an alien link and abandon the current site. Users may find some external links vary useful and switch to it. This is not at all a case of bounce. If someone presses the back button then it is a case of bounce.
  6. What happens if the user closes the window quickly? This also not a case of bounce unless some search engines considers them. This trait does not go with the definition.
  7. Can a bounce be good at times or does a bounce means that the person has found what they demand? The objection is true for rare cases. A bounce is totally dependant on the actions of the user for which the users need time to react which is provided by lag time.
  8. There can be cases where people look for multiple sources to compare results or products or to seek a second opinion. Many sites will be victimized if such a situation is categorized under bounce. The above argument is illogical. If a person bounces from a site to another then all the websites are affected in the same manner. Since rankings are in the relative sense, hence the rankings will not be disturbed at all.
  9. Can I set up a dummy and visit the sites of the top competitors and leave their site after sometime to make it appear that their sites are bouncy?
This is definitely an option. You can in fact become creative in the field and come up with unique ideas.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The different types of clientele in the SEO domain: 5 favorite picks

It can only happen in the marketing field, especially in the SEO domain that one gets a chance to involve with a variety of clients from various other domains. Here is a non-offensive list of the different type of clients you and me get to meet (both online and offline) in the SEO domain (meant only for humor…realistic humor!)
  1. The ‘no idea’ client : This type of client hires you to optimize his or her website, you agree and then you end up having no clue of the reason behind the existence of the website! You don’t get the reply as ‘no idea’, but I bet you if you ask the client about the website (say, what’s the website’s purpose or what is it selling?) the client is bound to give some not-s0-related answer that’ll let you know that the client actually has ‘NO IDEA’ about the website! The client will spit out everything known to him or her but that would still not get you any close to the answer of the question- what is the idea behind the website?
  2. Flatter-buts clientele: These type of clients flatter you and then they come up with a hard hitting ‘but! Here are few of the famous flatter-but client lines: ‘The site looks great! But…I needed the entire stuff in interactive flash!’, ‘The articles were excellent! But…I guess I needed it on ‘keys’ not ‘keywords’!
  3. The ‘do it all’ client: No ways! If you are thinking, this kind of client does it all for you (and hence the name ‘do it all’ client, then be disappointed for that isn’t the case! These are clients who expect you to ‘do it all’ for them, irrespective of it being your job or not! They want you to redo the web pages, manage their blog account, and cut deals for them with web designers! Hello! We are just a consulting service!
  4. The ‘inflated bag like’ client: This type of client is inflated initially and slowly loses the air with time. Finally, the client ends up being a deflated bag! None of your advices will be implemented coz by now they fear your plans may boomerang and hit a low. Further, they may doubt your authenticity, end up ties with you and opt for another SEO consultant in an excited fashion again…only to…you know what!
  5. The not-so brainy chatterbug client: This client will throw up some random terms he or she must have heard somewhere and try hard to come across as one of the most intelligent human beings on the earth, while what he or she manages to is exactly the opposite. A simple question to such clients- If you believe you are such an expert in SEO and internet marketing (as you are trying to express from your over-the-top talks then why hire ‘lesser knowledgeable’ guys like us?!
These were just five of them, while the list actually extends to a lot more in number. I wonder if the clients will come up with something called ‘The different types of service providers/SEO consultants’!!!