I recently had a few meetings with a French tourism company that needed help figuring out how to build traffic to their website. Their website wasn't anything special; honestly, it was just another directory website. Directory websites are a very common business model that range from large sites like CitySearch.com to local Chamber of Commerce websites. Niche focused directory websites can usually better serve their community than the larger sites.
Website review and analysis are part of my everyday job. I've been actively analyzing and making suggestions on improving traffic acquisition, user flow, SEO, and usability for several years. I've shared this analysis process and the tips for improvement in my writings for the last few years to provide an insight into how you could do it yourself.
Today, I'll share 6 of the most frequently broken or missing website features that I have seen over and over again, and provide some suggestions for maki... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
Searching for a website candidate for this week's Friday Flop Fix was a little challenging. I began my search, as usual, looking for a random website candidate in a random city in the United States. My randomly chosen city this week was Orange, CA. My specific Google search phrase was "jewelers Orange, CA" for which I was given the search results you see below.
I've included my commentary in the screen capture:
The navigation of your website can help or hurt how easily people and search engines discover all your content. For this week's #ThrowbackThursday, I'm jumping back to the good topic of deep website linking from January 2011. With websites growing larger and larger every day, the concept explained in that old Nugget is more valid today than it was back then.
The economy of the United States is built on small business. Those who run a small business know that every decision is a trade off of one thing for another. Taking a short cut today might help to lower expenses, but that same short cut might create bigger problems in the future.
As a business coach I'm always helping entrepreneurs evaluate business tradeoffs and opportunities that might financ... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
It's time for this week's Throwback Thursday Daily Golden Nugget. I'm jumping back to March 2011 to my discussion of Older, Wiser, Faster Indexed Websites to specifically revisit the difference between new websites and old websites, and how Google indexes them.
People don't race to shop at your store as soon as you build a new website. Before that can happen, Google needs t... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
Welcome to the Friday website review edition of the Daily Golden Nugget. The goal for today is to find and perform a usability review of a random jewelry store mobile website. I'm performing the review on, and taking screen shots with, my iPhone 6.
The first review for today is to see if a google.com search through the Safari web browser would yield the same results as a search using the Google search app on the iPhone. Here's a side by side comparison of the two methods:
This is another edition of the Friday Website review edition of the Daily Golden Nugget. Each week, I use Google Chrome in incognito mode to search out a random retail jeweler from around the U.S., and then I review their website.
I never know what I'm going to find when I start these reviews. My hope is that I can illustrate one of my previous Daily Nuggets with a live example.
My search began this week with the phrase "jewelers in Evergreen, CO" and saw this as my search results:
Welcome to the Friday website review. The goal of these weekly website reviews to learn something that can better your own website by analyzing someone else's live website. Every week I simply do a Google search in a random town or city throughout the U.S.
This week I'm looking for a review candidate in Terrell Hills, Texas. Using Google Chrome's incognito mode I searched for "jewelry stores in Terrell Hills, Texas" and was given this SERP:
The internet has seen many changes over the last 4 years since I started writing these Daily Golden Nuggets. Undoubtedly, a lot of that change was informed by Google, but really there are a lot of other factors involved.
Through the Great Recession, a lot of easier and less expensive technology emerged that now allows us to access information from anywhere at any time. You could argue that the technology companies forced fancy new mobile devices on us; or you could say that the technology devel... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
I typically don't write about current trends in the search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) industry, but today's topic is both a reassessment and a follow up to a previous Nugget about Google Penguin.
In April 2012, Google started fighting online spam in a big way. Prior to that month, one of the most common methods of achieving high Google search ranking was to pay a company to create links to your website. A single fee of $79 could get you thousands of l... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
In this edition of the Daily Golden Nugget, I'm outlining a potential marketing plan for the upcoming holiday season. My example will focus on specific items which we will build content around and share socially.
What I've written out in this guide will be good for anyone looking for a different approach to marketing for this upcoming holiday season. There's a lot of detail for the setup, implementation, and then the post-analysis of the entire campaign. You'll do the setup... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
While the technical aspects of search engine optimization include a lot of analysis and analytical thinking, the on-site optimization requires a creative flair for writing, photography, and customer satisfaction that... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
Ever have one of those days where you get mentally slapped with something so obvious that you can't believe you never realized it before?
The other day I was studying one of those infamous SEO reports to diagnose a problem on a website. The report stated that a particular website has 600 products in the online catalog when I knew for a fact that there were only 250. So here I am, staring at this report trying to comprehend why the SEO report was s... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
Now that I've given you the basic understanding of the silo structure as explained yesterday, I want to dive a little deeper into internal site linking between pages of the website.
Achieving higher website credibility for your website now has a lot to do with making your website very user friendly. Although website "user friendly" topics usually talk about the website design and navigation, there's another very important factor that both helps your visitors and should gain higher ranking for you.
This important factor, of course, is internal linking between pages of your website. I'm not actually referring to normal side or top menu navigation linking, but rather the linking between pages of your site from wi... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
Now that we're beginning the school year again every jeweler has their sights set on the upcoming holiday season and planning their merchandise and advertising.
Before you know it, every local newspaper, radio, or community group will be knocking on your door asking for holiday advertising--if they haven't already.
Before you buy any holiday advertising you should make sure that you are getting the best value for what you paid. Many local newspapers have online versions of the ads you place in print. ... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
The topic of link building is mentioned a lot by many SEO professionals, including me. Every website needs a good number of other websites linking to it in order to achieve good standing in search engines.
Link building was once thought of as a race to get inbound links to your website. It didn't matter where the links came from as long as you had them. Because it didn't matter, many SEO service companies were setting up blogging websites and linked every page of the blog to their client's website.
There's a little bit of anticipation every time you make a change to your website home page or add another post to your blog. Will people notice your website change? Will search engines see the new blog post?
The daily average visitor traffic to jewelry store websites is pretty low, and there's not much of a chance that people will notice a new blog post or a website change unless you point it out to them. Simple methods of announcing the change include sending your customers a link to your new blog in an email, and you could share ... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
In general the usage of the name World Wide Web has been replaced by common vernaculars of web, internet, net, and even inter-web. The original World Wide Web name refers to how one website would hyperlink to another website. In the early years, around 1993 through 1997, that linking was done purely because someone liked your website and they wanted to link their site to yours.
Eventually the search engines started to count the number of links you had to your site as a measure of your popularity. Google was founded using a mathematical mo... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
For retail store owners and retail employees the idea of the holiday season means longer hours at work, more customers, and the occasional strong drink after work. It took at least the last 3 months to plan for the next 30 days. All your marketing is in place and ready to fly, drop, or launch.
My work here is done. Over the next 30 days or so I'm going to switch my Daily Golden Nugget series back over to the "Grain of SEO Gold" series that I introduced last year this time. In the "Grain" series I'll ... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
We received a few good accolades and feedback on our recent Daily Golden Nugget series about how to monetize the website traffic you already have. One reader sent back a good question that I'm answering as today's Nugget.
Question: As an ecommerce business, is there any benefit to "leaving your name" across the internet (for example, answering peoples' questions and leaving your website). Some specific examples are:
1. Posting in consumer forums 2. Answering questions on twitter, yahoo answers, or legitimate question/answer sites 3. Leaving reviews of books about diamonds, etc. 4. Commenting on jewelry blogs
Each of the 4 suggested strategies has some value for increasing traffic, link building to your site, and gaining a public reputation; but since this is a manual process, the real question is if ... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
I'd like to give you some basic guidelines to follow so you can slowly and effectively build links back to your website in this post Google Penguin filter age.
I've mentioned the Google Penguin a few times, but let me just quickly recap and say that it's a filter Google is now using to figure out when you are unnaturally building or paying for link schemes.
In times past, if you wanted to rank highly for the phrase "engagement rings" you would use a variety of techniques to create links with those words as the anchor text of your link. But now you're more likely to get higher ranking when you have information about engagement rings on your website and you link to it with the simple anchor text of "click here."
That information on your website could be a blog, educational article, or a newsletter archive; anything as... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
There's been a big stir in the SEO community since April 24, 2012 when Google turned on a new filter algorithm they call Penguin. This new filter is designed to remove a new level of spamming websites from the SERP.
Last month Google did a lot of work to improve how they detect spamming websites and link building strategies that provide artificial boosts. We have no love for anyone who pays a service for rapid link building, and now Google has also figured out how to detect these link building schemes.
We've been watching our tracking very carefully before mentioning this topic, as usually we don't want to rush into speculations without hard proof.
Jewelry related websites were seriously penalized in SERP ranking if they has 20,000 or more inbound links from pages with thin content. You may remember from previous D... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
It's good news or bad news depending how you look at it.
Even thought we do not condone the practice, you are able to purchase link building services from many SEO companies that promise lots of good inbound links.
Their strategies vary from blog commenting to creating micro site pages. Blog commenting is usually deleted by the actual blog owners, but the creation of micro sites is something that Google needs to deal with.
A few weeks ago we mentioned "micro sites" when explaining the ins and outs of putting jewelry catalogs on your website. Those are perfectly normal types of micro sites and not at all what an SEO company would attempt as a link building scheme.
We've met some pretty crafty SEO guys in the past few years that employ micro site link building. Their method is to register new domain names for ... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
Today we have 2 simple blogging tips for your jewelry website.
1. Kill the keyword cloud.
A few years back the "keyword cloud" feature was pretty popular and found on most blogging sites. The feature allowed you to indicate a few important keywords or phrases for every blog entry you posted. The usage count for all these keywords was tracked and then presented as a jumbled mess of words using various size fonts. The larger fonts represented commonly used words, and the keywords in the smallest font were used only once or twice.
Keyword clouds were thought to have high SEO value because they would repeat the same words over and over on every page of your blog. The truth was that Google view this repetitive keyword usage as pure webspam and many blogs lost ranking.
While not all links are created equal, if you want your website to be found, and if you want it to rank highly, you will need to get some other websites to link to yours.
Initially it's easy to use your own Facebook and Twitter accounts to link to your website. Then you can create a blog account on Tumblr, WordPress, or Blogger and link to your website from each blog entry.
Now you need to get links from other legitimate sources. Start with getting your jewelry store listed in every "Dealer Locator" your designers have to offer. Next you should find out which of your affiliated associations have online membership directories and get yourself listed and linked from those.
After those basics things get a little tricky, but if you have hopes in succeeding, you need to somehow make a name for yourself so people will li... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
This is part of our Grain of SEO Gold Series for Jewelers--short SEO tidbits.
Today's SEO buzz phrase is "Link Bait" and it refers to something you've put on your website that people find interesting and that they will want to link onto.
Originally that linking process would happen only when someone talked about you on their own website, or maybe in their blog, and then manually created a link from their site to yours. But now with all those social media sharing buttons it's much easier to create linkable online content. People don't have to manually create a link to you on their blog, instead they can click a Facebook Like button and add a comment, or a Google+1 button and add a comment.
Link bait can be anything, just as long as people find it interesting. It could be a long blog post about how one of your custo... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
Over the last 6 days, we've given you Black Hat SEO discussions and examples of how to avoid them. Unfortunately there are a lot of SEO "professionals" out there that want nothing more than to take your money and promise you results.
A quick Google search for "link building services" returns 35,300,000 results and tons of ads, meaning there is big business in link building. Do you think all those paid link building services will openly tell you that they use Black Hat techniques? Remember that Black Hat SEO refers to anything you do that will trick the search engines into ranking you higher in the SERP.
If you're not doing your own website SEO you will eventually need to hire someone to do it for you. Between today and tomorrow we're giving you 9 very blunt directions that will make working with your SEO professional mu... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
This is the last Nugget in our series explaining the different types of online product catalogs that retail jewelers could have.
Many newcomers in e-commerce (jewelry or otherwise) think they will set up websites overnight and start taking orders tomorrow. Certainly, this is possible if you have a Type 1 catalog we described a few days ago, but the reality is most run forward blindfolded with a poor execution strategy and lofty expectations. They end up with very bitter feelings of the entire experience and blame their web programmer for dysfunctional websites when in fact the jeweler should have researched the process.
Let's try to shed some light on the most difficult type of product catalog you could ever set up. We're trying to include all the details your hired website company doesn't tell you. After all, they just ... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
During the jWAG Live 1 event, I was approached by John S. Cryan IV who stated, "Matt, you seem to be a Google Lover," to which I replied, "my data tells me more than 95% of jewelry store traffic comes from Google, so why shouldn't I be?"
As of today, the statistic is down to 89.7% with Yahoo holding on at 4.2% and Bing up to 3.8%.
89.7% of traffic is a lot, and that's why the Google+ Project is going to be so valuable for jewelry stores. It's going to be very easy to attract customers from some other area of Google right into your Plus account.
It seems like the invitation feature for Google+ is still working, so just reply to this post if you'd like me to send an invite. When you get the invite, DO NOT create a business account. Business accounts are not available yet. You need to do this as yourself.
With your YouTube channel set up and your first video recorded on your simple camcorder, let's talk a little about SEO for individual YouTube videos.
Uploading to YouTube can be done easily through the video editing software that comes with your basic camcorder, or you can log into your YouTube account and click the "Upload" link at the top of every page.
All new YouTube accounts are limited to 15 minute long videos. If you stay within the YouTube terms of service and don't violate any copyright laws, you might have that time limit restriction eventually lifted.
That's the battle cry of the search engines. Everything should be organically driven on the internet. Of course, us saying "organic" today contradicts what we said on Friday. For the reason behind that you need to keep reading.
If the internet was not filled with businesses trying to make money, what would it be filled with? Take out all businesses from the internet and all you're left with are bloggers, news, government and social networks.
Without businesses driving the internet there wouldn't be a need for search engine optimization. There wouldn't be a need for all this online marketing education. Instead, the internet would just be driven by interesting tidbits of the lives we lead.
No one likes to read a boring sales letter, and surly no one stays on a website that is boring looking or has boring information.
Pizazz, humor, personal interest stories... these things will make your website interesting, and if you are lucky (or skilled) you will keep them coming back; better yet, they will share your link to their friends through Facebook and Twitter.
Use your own creativity and personality to engage your readers throughout your website and on your blog. But don't fall into a trap of using the same format over and over to post new entries to your blog. Change it up every once in a while.
For example, we've previously suggested that you post photos of new merchandise when it arrives in your jewelry store. Photos of the latest shipment of engagement rings would be interesting for anyone shopping f... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
Officially, Google does not want you to ask other people to link to your website. They want the linking process to be 100% natural, as in, if you write good information on your website someone will eventually link to it.
Websites with a long history eventually gather random links from the strangest of places. It's not uncommon to do a reverse link check and find links from forum websites. One recently found example was on a gaming forum where two users were arguing over jewelry. To support their point of view, one of the gamers posted links to a 4C's of diamonds page we happen to be tracking.
The better quality information on your site becomes a random link magnet for random people, not even related to jewelry. All these links eventually build your credibility.
You can't pay for links without someone blowing a whistle and getting your website banned. There is always the potential to be reported by a stranger if you are asking to pay them for a quality link from their website to yours. Google provides an online form now for such reporting. Offenders will have their websites banned from the search engines.
You might also think that posting comments on other blogs, like Instore Magazine or JCKOnline.com, might be a good link building strategy. Unfortunately both of these sites, like all quality blog sites, will include the rel="nofollow" attribute in any links to your website. The rel="nofollow" feature nullifies any potential search traffic.
The best way to create links to your site is through blogging. However, we don't simply mean you should hire a blogging company to put a l... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
By far the .com domain name extension is the most popular. It was the first one way back in the early 90s and everyone fought over them.
Today (that's in 2011, for those reading this in the distant future) it seems like there are new dot extensions every few weeks. The .co extension is newly available and now you can even register a .asia extension, if you really wanted.
Many of our jewelry stores have difficulty acquiring the domain name that perfectly matches their store. But some stores find that another store with the same name already has the .com. In these cases, we always recommend selecting the .net or the .biz options.
Just the other day there was a discussion in our office about the validity of the .co domain extension. However, the point was brought up that human muscle (typing) memory would probably k... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
Some time in the summer of 2010, Google changed their policy regarding how they treat Twitter.
Twitter is a very fast-paced micro-blogging website. A quick search on Google for the number of tweets posted every day returns some amazing numbers: around 1.9 Million! That's a lot of 140 character messages and we'd guess that's 44.3 Million words posted per day.
Another quick Google search for the average number of words in a book and we find different experts saying between 70,731 and 75,000, so let's take 72,865. Using that number, we estimate approximately and equivalent to 608 books (novels) worth of information is posted to Twitter every day.
Interwoven in all those "books" are millions of links to other websites. Some of the links are pure spam, and some are really good links to worthwhile information. That's a... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
Occasionally, someone will ask you to link your website to theirs. Typically, you will get an email request from someone saying they will pay you to put a link on your website, or they simply might ask for a link in exchange for linking to you.
Usually, these types of requests are bad for your business and they should be ignored. But, if you entertain the request, you should first make sure their website is not a spam or black hat website.
Here's how you check: 1. Visit their website and review the PageRank value on the Google Toolbar. It needs to be at least a PR1. 2. Read through their website. If you don't like the look of the site or what they are saying, odds are Google does not like them either. 3. Search Google for "site:domain.com" without the quotes. You will get the "Your search did not match any docu... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
Do you have a customer report showing the nearby town names and how many customers are in each of them? If not, start working on that. Naturally, if you don't have a computerized point of sale this might be a serious challenge.
When considering link building strategies, it's always good to develop a relationship with other local non-competing stores and link your websites together somehow. Relationships with popular local businesses that also have active websites would be your best target, like the pizza place, popular bakery or even the local pub. The local newspaper would be the ultimate relationship.
But let's extend this further out beyond your own town. Using the customer report mentioned earlier, you could also establish relationships with the popular local businesses in towns that have a high density of your cus... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
Name and email addresses of domain name owners are a matter of public record. Sometimes a SEO company will collect a list of names and emails from Network Solutions, GoDaddy, Register.com or any other company and they will send out random link solicitations.
These solicitations are usually pretty simple with the subject line 'Link Exchange" or "Link Purchase."
Inside there are details about the link building. Here's an example:
Linking between websites is what makes the web, well, the web. Search engines measure the number of links you have coming to your website and rank you according to how many links you hav... VIEW FULL GOLD NUGGET
"...articles are easy to follow and seem to have information one can use right away." -Ann, Gallery 4, Hamden CT
"...serious kudos to you. We love your straight talk, pertinent information and plain language. I don't know how many industries have something of jWAG's caliber available, but I learn from the emails every day. Really, really nice work, and very appreciated." -Cheryl Herrick, Global Pathways Jewelry