For the past few months, I have been fortunate to work with D’Layna Huguez-Dixon, Founder and President of Vocal Downloads for the redesign of the Vocal Downloads website. We were a small team with D’Layna doing a lot of the heavy lifting, I consulting on the project specifications, testing, some Flash animation, graphics optimization and requirements documentation, and one programmer to do all the code changes.
It has been quite a journey and we have finally reached destination number one: Phase 1 launch.
D’Layna’s emails all end with a quote which helps me understand her drive and also why I admire her so much. The quote is:
“If your vision is not your obsession, it will never be in your possession.”
Here’s a picture of before, and be sure to check out the after too.
Vocal Downloads Previously
- New Vocal Downloads Design
There are many new features including an annual subscription product, enhanced display of samples with expand and collapse options, new member profile and login functionality and the ability to save samples to your crate for purchasing and downloading later. Oh, and right out of the gate the site has a great website grade in terms of SEO as well.
I am so proud of D’Layna for her persistence and courage on this project. It is a labor of love and D’Layna has shown both the labor and the love in great abundance.
Please check out the redesigned website and let us know if you have any suggestions, observations or recommendations.
If you have a new website or even an old one that you haven’t looked at much in terms of how it performs on search engines, the following checklist will assist you in getting your website optimized for best performance in the free or organic listings on search engines and also what to look for and do if you are considering paid search.
Remember: If you are not on the first page of the search results, it is unlikely your listing will be clicked. People simply very seldom look further than the first page of search results.
Search Engine Marketing (SEO and SEM) Checklist
- Are your Title tags describing the content on each page of your site effectively?
- Do your Meta description and keyword tags accurately reflect the content on each page of your site?
- Do you have Alt tags on each image?
- Are you using real text for content (instead of graphics with text in them)?
- Are you including keywords and are the keywords relevant to the content on each page?
- Content: How good is it? If it’s not great, don’t expect a lot.
- Is your site and content shareable?
- Do you have an RSS feed set up?
- How many links are coming into your site?
- Can you think of people, site owners who would be willing to link to your site and content?
Have you asked those people to link to you?
- Is your site link-worthy?
- Have you submitted your site to search engines?
- Have you started a blog and/or posted articles about your area of expertise or the product or service you are promoting with your site?
- Are you checking how you rank against competitors for particular keyword terms?
- Is your content fresh?
- Have you run your site through http://website.grader.com?
SEM (Paid Search)
- If you are unable to get a top page organic search result, have you considered paid search? Since Google has 84% market share, its AdWords Program is a good place to begin.
- Are you choosing your keyword terms effectively?
- Are you monitoring which ads are working better than others?
- Are you monitoring which keywords are your best performers?
- Do you have goals set up in your paid search tool? Is your site listed in as many places as possible?
- How focused is each page of your site around a particular keyword term?
- What are the top 5 keywords that people are finding you with on search engines?
- Do you have pages dedicated to those top 5 keywords?
Measure, Monitor, Monitise (MMM)
- Are you tracking your linkpopularity? http://www.linkpopularity.com is a good starting point.
- Have you started tracking and monitoring visits to your site with analytics tools?
- Do you have analytics on your site? Are you monitoring your statistics and making changes to the site according to what you notice from the statistics reports?
What a great find! I just learned of the joys of Jay Baer (@jaybaer)and I’ve decided he’s my new boyfriend for social media advice. You can convince and convert me any day, Jay! I love your blog. Not only do you practice what you preach, but you share it too! Thank you.
Since I’ve been a fan of Beth Kanter for several months now I was tickled to find this twitter interview with her that Jay is doing as part of his 20 Twitter Interview series. My favorite question and answer from the Twitterview was:
13. @jaybaer: Social media is inextricably linked with inbound marketing. How important is search engine savvy for NPOs today?
- @kanter: SEO is very important for nonprofit marketing plans – part of the rule of thirds (Web site, social media, SEO).
Good to hear we the web site and SEO still need to get attention in this wildly social time.
Client site A was competing with site B for traffic about a similar topic. The two sites were competing for search results and traffic to promote a similar physical location. Site B was a bit out of date, but had been on the Internet a lot longer than site A. The information on site B complements the information on site A. Client A had a good relationship with the owner of site B, so we decided to pursue merging the two sites into one. The final merged site is still in development, but the immediate result after setting up a redirect from site B’s domain to site A’s domain is a good increase in traffic to site A. Client A is happy, which means we are happy and more importantly people looking for information on this topic will only need to go to one site instead of two.
- Traffic in 2009 compared to 2008
- Daily visits doubled and tripled after June 19th
Monitor your analytics and statistics log files to see the impact of any significant changes you make to your site, marketing plans and overall online presence. Sometimes you may be surprised by the result. (Hint: Results are not always good, but mistakes will help you learn.)
1. The Title Tag Is Your Friend
Make sure your keywords appear in the title tag and try to keep your title to seven words or less. Think billboard with keywords and make sure the keywords are relevant to the content you are displaying on the page.
2. Think Niche
The more focused each page of your site is around ONE not five, not three, not even two, but just ONE keyword term, the easier it will be to achieve a good ranking for that keyword term. Make sure the content on that page is relevant to the term and include content that is not only good for keyword-loading, but more importantly useful to your HUMAN visitor. Search engines want to offer value to the person doing the search. Remember that there is a person on the other end of the search box and your page should offer value to that person.
3. Link Love
What’s more important than a bunch of friends on Facebook? A bunch of websites linking to your site. You see, search engines look at the number of links coming to a site as a measure of popularity. Think about it. If you have more votes, you get to be president (well most of the time anyway. You get the idea.) And how do you get links? See item number 4
4. Provide Value
The sites that perform best are the ones that have the best content and that’s really what the engines are trying to their searchers. Content has always been and continues to be king, so just quit messing around with Flash, bells and whistles and gratuitous use of technology because it looks sexy. Think about what your customer is looking for and provide them with the content and value they are looking for.
5. Monitor Measure Learn and Adjust
- Make sure you are monitoring your site’s analytics
- Set goals that you can measure changes against,
- Learn what worked and what didn’t and
- Adjust your content, keywords and design if necessary to improve your results.
- Oh, and after all of that, rinse and repeat.
Finally if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to see how well your site is optimized, head on over to the Website Grader and get a free report.