Small Dog Creative

    Getting Inbound Links with Comments

    Commenting on other websites is a great way to get links to your website....

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    You're Not Finished after the Launch... Growing & Maintaining Your Website

    While the launch (or birth) of your site is something to celebrate, the job isn't over yet! The site you launched is just the beginning--think of it as the "toddler phase," it's going but you'll still need to put in your due effort to keep it on track in the right direction. Your website is an important part of your marketing strategy and your company strategy; you need to continue to provide it with the support and tools it needs to become and remain a valuable part of the team & your business' success....

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    Thinking Like Google

    There are a number of ways to improve your search engine results. Before we go any further, it is important to get a better understanding of search result ranking. Let's talk for a moment about Google's algorithm (that's the code used for determining which order sites appear in search results), and which search results they appear in. ...

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    Social Media for Businesses: To "Like" or Not to "Like"?

    Social media is booming, but many businesses are asking if it is the right strategy for them. The truth is, social media can help your business tremendously. While it can be hard to measure exactly how much social media marketing can increase your overall revenue, it is certainly a worthwhile investment. What’s more is that there is much more to gain from social media that a sales figure. Sales figures aside, here are five benefits of social media for your business:...

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    What is a Conversion Rate? - PODCAST

    I want to talk about something called your website's Conversion Rate, how important that is to your website, and how neglected it really is. Conversion rate is the percentage of total visitors who convert while visiting your website. Now, depending on what type of website you have, your conversion might be different. Your conversion could be a sale, capturing a lead, registration, signing up for something, or some other kind of call to action on your website. Your conversion rate is the amount of people you get to actually take one of those steps or actions. If you have 100 people visiting your site, and one person decides to fill out a contact form, then you have a 1% conversion rate. If 2 people do it, then you have a 2% conversion rate. One or two percent might seem pretty low, but it's really not bad. It's actually pretty good. Anywhere between 1 and 3 percent conversion rate should be considered a pretty good rate for a website. So, if you have 400 people come to your website every week, and you don't have 4-8 people contacting you or taking an action, then conversion rate should be something you really start thinking about, as well as how to optimize your conversion rate or get more people to take that next step or call to action. There are a number of reasons why you would want to perform Conversion Rate Optimization on your website. If you wanted to take advantage of the traffic you already have coming to your website, for example if you have 400 visitors coming to your website and you're seeing a 0.5% conversion rate, then taking a look at your website and increasing your Conversion Rate could mean more revenue with the same amount of traffic you already get. That's something nobody wants to shy away from. Another reason is that before you start to put your money into a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program or social media, or any other kind of online marketing, it's really important to take a look at how many people your site is able to capture, or how many leads are really coming through there. If you put a lot of money into SEO, and you have a 0.5% conversion rate or lower, you would be pouring money down the drain. If you had a 2, 3, or 4% conversion rate, then that's a great time to put money into an SEO plan, because you know your website can actually make that sale for you. The other big advantage to conversion rate is especially neglected:  companies put up a website, and that's it - they don't touch it again. They don't take a look at it and they don't follow the numbers to see what's working and what's not. Taking a look at your Conversion Rate is a fairly new thing to do or track. If you start optimizing your website by looking to increase your website's Conversion Rate and getting more leads from the traffic you already have, then you're going to have a much more efficient online marketing program. You're going to see a much higher return on any investment that you're making. Starting early is the best way to go. The next question is how do you change or increase a Conversion Rate? This can be different things, but usually it starts with the design of the site. Your website is an online salesperson, and it is out there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is either selling for you, telling a story, and doing a wonderful job, or it's not. If your salesperson - your website - isn't showing up looking "ready for work," then it's not going to get you sales. A lot of websites out there aren't designed well. They don't look professional; they don't look like a professional designer touched them; they look like they were thrown up in five minutes; or they might look like they were thrown up in the early 90s. It's important to make sure that the design of your website gives people the trust you need to instill in them for them to give you a call, take another step or even stay on your website. The next part is making sure you have pieces in place to convert. It's surprising how many websites have a "free-for-all" attitude, and don't have a path or clear direction for visitors to travel down. Once they get to the end of that path, all that's there is a phone number or contact form. If you increase the number of ways that you can convert people - having multiple order forms, quote forms, get them to sign up for a newsletter, get them to do something, or get them to do one of five things - then you're going to increase your odds of having somebody do something with your website. Any lead and any information your gather is somebody you can follow up with, and reconnect with, which is vital in the online marketing world. Changing conversion rate does get more detailed than that, but that's the big stuff. We've covered the parts you really should be concerned with. Take a look at your site, check out your design, make sure you have a sales pitch and a sales path, and a way to capture information and you're on your way! If you are interested in leaving questions, feel free to post them on the blog and we'll respond with comments. You're also welcome to contact us on our website if you have any more questions or comments....

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    Upcoming Seminar: SEO in Plain English

    Want to See Your Website at the Top of Google Search Results?...

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    Ever-Changing SEO

    The day before a recent SEO seminar, I found myself reworking my presentation yet again. This round of revisions was due to a change in Google's search algorithm called Panda (unfortunately, not as cute and funny as it sounds). This release changed the game for a lot of SEO companies and search engine marketers. It took a while for us to figure out what it would mean for the future of SEO. When we did, it wasn't pretty, but it was something many people saw coming a while ago.   Google's previous algorithm favored large, long-standing, and content-heavy websites. This may seem rather logical, but that’s just where the problem lies. This scenario created a bit of a land rush for search term ranking. If a company had a site about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and had been writing and optimizing for years, then a new up-and-coming site with the latest information on peanut butter and jelly didn't have a chance at ranking well on search engines. Even though the new site had the latest and greatest content, it wouldn't come up in the top searches. So if you hadn't been optimizing your website for many years, you would never have a shot at ranking highly for a new website. For better or worse, Panda changed the game by favoring current information. Fresh content is now prized and new information is king. Great for new websites and bloggers, but challenging for the SEO-focused.There is no more “set it and forget it” approach to SEO. Fresh content is king, and it’s become a full-time, round the clock job to get to the top and stay there. ...

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    How I Learned About Bar Stools

    I never knew much about bar stools until recently. It seems contradictory since we're a design company, but you'd be surprised at how much you can learn from your clients....

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    Search Term Research: Choosing the Right Words

    What makes a good search engine is its ability to give you the best or most relevant results for your search. We wouldn't search with Google if, when we typed in "Banana Bread," car wash companies came up in the search results. Google needs to get a clear "picture" of what your site (and company) is about in order to more accurately position your company in the search results for that term. Choosing search terms is not as obvious or as easy as you may imagine. Terms you use are not necessarily what your customers use. It is also important to select search terms that have traffic. There is a lot of information that can be gathered on your target market and how they are searching for your products. We strongly recommend you take a step back and hire a professional company to conduct your search term research, and give you a list of terms you should optimize your website for. Sinking time and money with out doing proper search term research will cost you far more in the long run. Professional search term research is the first place you should start your website and your search engine optimization. Research reveals how many people are searching for terms, how hard it may be to get a good ranking on google for the term, and what the top companies are doing to get their rankings. It is also important to establish these numbers as a baseline for your website, so you can determine if your SEO campaigns are working. For more information read our next article... Optimizing for Your Search Terms...

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    Getting Local Search Engine Results

    Every business owner wants to see their company on the top of Google search results. But if you own a local business that doesn't have a national reach than you may only care about ranking well in your town. Competing on a national scale is expensive, so trying local SEO (search engine optimization) tactics is a much more cost effective move. Here are a few tips for ranking well in your town. Standardize Your Information The first thing you need to start with is your basic contact information. You need to standardize how you format your basic business information (name, address, phone). 

  ...

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    You Need to Think Like Google!

    There are a number of ways to go about improving your Google ranking, but before you try any of them it is important to get a larger understanding of search result ranking. Why does Google show search results in the order it does? Once you start to understand how Google looks at your website and why you are not showing up in search results, you can move to the next step of improving your website's search engine optimization (or SEO)....

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    Who's To Blame? Search Engine Optimization or the Website?

    If your website isn't performing for you, should you blame your website or your on page seo (search engine optimization)? The answer isn't always clear, not even to the pros. To often site owners jump into costly search engine optimization with a poor performing website. Increasing traffic to a website that is not converting visitors to leads or sales is a waste of money. It's like launching a massive advertising campaign for store, and then having all your new customers come in the door to a half empty store. Your site should perform well with less traffic first, then put the money into increasing traffic to a site that converts visits to leads or sales....

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    In Second Place... Bing

    Bing came in at second place in February with a whopping 4.37% of the global search market. In case you didn't get that, Bing has a whole 4.37% of the market at second place. Who's first... I'm not sure, maybe you should "Google it". Google comes in at 89.94% of the global market! While Bing and Yahoo may be creeping up they still have a long way to go before they can really be called competition. While there are a lot of SEO companies fighting for your dollars. It's important to have a clear idea of where most of your traffic will be coming from. Investing money in listings on small search engines may be valuable, but start with the big dogs first. Why invest hundreds in getting to the top of YP.com if 90% of your traffic is coming from Google. Google Analytics will tell you where your traffic is coming from, so you can see if you are getting a bang for buck with the smaller referral websites. Keep in mind any ranking with paid advertising that is considered 'pay per click' or not natural optimization, will be lost after you stop making monthly payments. Natural optimization, may cost more upfront but it will keep you on the top long after you have stopped making payments. So take a look at your rankings on Yahoo and Bing, and consider smaller directories but I wouldn't go investing too much time and money into optimizing for any search engine other than Google....

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    If You Are Not On Google Maybe You Don't Exist?

    I recently moved to a new home on a new street. I love living here but it's been difficult for people to find me because my address isn't on Google maps. In fact if you look it up on the satellite view it's just a dirt lot. I had packages sent back to the companies I ordered them from because the delivery company thought the address was wrong. The installer setting up my phone and internet service never showed up, because my address wasn't in his car's navigation. The paperboy couldn't locate my home, so it took an additional 2 weeks before service started. And I have had to send a map to any friend or family member coming for a visit....

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