Friday, May 29, 2009

Insulate Your Home, Not Your Web Site

We recently finished developing a web site for a customer who, long after he approved designs and layouts, would still point out other sites that he thought had some redeeming feature.

Without fail, within seconds of seeing the other sites, we were able to point out why his site design will be far better at generating business. 

Fortunately, the customer understands that generating new business on the internet means driving traffic to his web site.  He has contracted us to carry out SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click advertising) campaigns, both of which will get him lots of traffic.

So, how can we tell, from only a quick glance at a homepage, that another site will probably not generate as much business as his?  (Even if they do lots of SEO and PPC.)

Our customer’s product helps to insulate homes and that’s what the other sites were doing – OK, they didn’t increase the R-value in anyone’s house - but they insulated their web visitors from a call to action.

None of the other sites had a contact telephone number, or even an email address, plainly visible on the homepage.  There were a few nice designs (some almost as good as ours!), but still, web visitors would have to click on the “Contact Us” page, or scroll deeper in the homepage, to find a number to call or some other way of converting.

These extra steps are like layers of insulation between your customer and the most important information on your site.

The more “insulation” on your site, the less chance you have of converting your hard-earned visitors.

Driving traffic to your site isn’t an end, it’s a beginning.  Once you get them there, you should make it as easy as possible for web site visitors to become customers.

By Stephen Da Cambra

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Shocking Truth About Google Ranking

If you have any interest in internet marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and/or pay-per-click advertising (PPC), you know how important it is to get a high ranking in search results when customers search the net for companies and products like yours.

An examination of the exact numbers, as published by, really drives home the point.  Without further delay….

The Distribution Of Clicks According to Search Ranking

          Rank Position      % of Clicks         

1                                                  42.13%                

2                                                        11.9

3                                                     8.5

4                                                         6.06

5                                                        4.92

6                                                        4.05

7                                                       3.41

8                                                         3.01

9                                                       2.85

10                                                     2.9

2nd page +                10.18


While the bare numbers are incredible, a closer look really shows what the difference in moving a single position can mean for your web results.

Right off the top, there is an almost 400% increase in clicks between second and top spot.  Imagine getting four times the web results you get now.

On first glance, the difference between subsequent ranking positions does not seem very profound.  However, when you consider that you would get an immediate 19% increase in clicks if you managed to move your site from seventh to sixth – and a 33% increase from fourth to third, all of a sudden you realize there’s a lot at stake between almost every rank position.

There are two important points to be taken from this information. 

First, if you are not on the first page of search results, you are invisible to 90% of your potential customers (and probably more, because a large percentage of those going to the second page and lower are conducting non-business related research.) 

Second, if you’ve managed to get your site onto the first page that’s good, but you shouldn't stop trying for a higher rank.  You can increase your business exponentially each step you take up the ladder to number one. 

So start climbing!

By Stephen Da Cambra

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Web Copy - You Have One Shot

Let’s talk about something that is close to your humble author’s heart - if only because I am doing it right now and will continue to do it until this article is complete.  The thing I am doing right now is … writing, a complex and ancient form of communication that new communication technologies can’t do without. 

Especially the web.  Check out the fanciest, most advanced web site or internet application and you will find writing.  (If not, the site will probably be useless.)  

As with most new forms of communication, web copy evolved from previous forms of writing.  Early web sites featured content copied from brochures, flyers and other printed pieces. 

It worked.  The novelty of the new medium, the lack of search engines and the inability to interact with the content meant that surfers were quite happy to sit and read web copy, just as they would a printed piece. 

As always, things have changed.  Multi-tasking operating systems, Web 2.0 and increasing user sophistication has created a way of consuming information that is unique to the web.  The short version is that web users are able to tailor the information they receive.  

For example, if you were interested in becoming an internet marketing guru, you may have begun by entering that term in a search engine.  The results might have brought you to this informative blog and directly to an entry about internet marketing – no table of contents, no extraneous information, just what you need

Another way of looking at it is, instead of having to sort through information that is “pushed” to you, you now “pull” the information you need. 

The ability to pull information means that your customers are now very selective about the information they consume on the web.  If the message before them does not appeal directly to a need or want, they click it into the history folder. 

To determine if a web page has the information they seek, surfers scan it looking for clues.  No clues and off they go.

Enter web copy.  Web copy must provide the clues that assure surfers they have found the stuff they need, and it must do so quickly.  Many surfers give a page mere seconds to prove it has what it takes.  If not, there will be no second chance.

What does this all mean for your web copy? Simple, your web copy must appeal directly to the needs/wants of your potential customers and it must do so quickly.  Because you only have one shot to prove to them that yours is their best option.

By Stephen Da Cambra

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Story of SEO & PPC

You may wonder whether SEO or PPC is better for achieving your business goals.  Their purposes are the same – to get your site listed on the top pages of search results.

As with most internet marketing, there are few rules to follow in making a choice.  Many companies rely on the “quick to the top” guaranteed rankings that come with PPC advertising.  Others prefer to avoid the click charges and concentrate on the “natural” rankings that SEO produces.

As with most internet marketing, you go with what works for you.  But don’t let what works for you blind you to what can work better. 

As with most internet marketing, there are downsides to individual tactics.  PPC ads will get your site listed on top search results pages almost instantly, but most surfers are aware that PPC ads are paid advertising and prefer to choose from the natural rankings. 

SEO will get you those coveted natural rankings, but it will take a long time and concerted effort to do so.

To avoid the downsides of SEO and PPC, and take advantage of the upsides, use them together.

If you have a long-term internet marketing plan, and you should, make sure it includes a concerted SEO and PPC strategy. 

The real beauty of a combined SEO/PPC strategy is that the advantages of one counteract the disadvantages of the other.

If a first page natural search ranking is your goal, there is little chance of getting there quickly.  Especially with a new web site, the search engines have to find the site, register it and then monitor it for legitimacy and relevance.  Unless you use buckets of cash, it can take many months or more than a year to get a decent natural search ranking. 

That’s where PPC comes in.  PPC immediately puts your site on the first page of search results, so it get’s exposure while you build the site’s reputation naturally with SEO.

When you start seeing decent rankings from your SEO efforts, you can start reducing your PPC spend until the natural rankings are where you want them to be.

By Stephen Da Cambra