Filling the Holes: Improving Your Website

Black HoleYour website is done. Now you can relax and let the money roll in, right? Not likely. Your site may be the most beautiful creation and may have all the information you can imagine sprinkled with key words here and there. But this creation is filled with holes.

Social media is becoming an essential part of the mix. Blogging is all the rage and podcasts allow customers access to information on the run. So how do you take advantage of these? Kevin Heisler, Executive Editor, Search Engine Watch moderated Duncan White, Director of Client Services, Oneupweb and Jeff Pruitt, President, SEMPO and Executive Vice President of Search, iCrossing who insight for integrating social media as part of your website. With more than 80% of retailers not doing all that can be done, the market is open to anyone, including the little guy, to be competitive. Several online retailers were used to demonstrate well- optimized, moderately-optimized, minimally-optimized and non-optimized sites. Information was derived using Internet Retailer Magazine’s Top 500 Guide 2007 Edition – who’s using (SEO) and who’s not. The discussion integrated the use of keywords, meta tags, titles and other SEO tricks and trades.

Turns out, the little retailers are out-performing many of the larger, more established retailers. Taking advantage of social media, such as blogs, wiki’s, widgets, and podcasts, can increase a site’s visibility. Well-optimized sites take advantage of all of these.

Online Retail, Social Media, Search Engine Strategies

Many top retailers do not have anything in place for SEO. They spend money on other sources of advertising and marketing and they are leaving money on the table by not engaging the internet users. The more content you can get out there, the better. Use your keywords throughout the site on all pages but make sure that it is helpful to the consumer. The search engines will know if you are fluffing your content with keywords so be legitimate.

42% of people are actively looking for retail information onlineBlog posts are important for 18-44 year olds. Customer reviews are very important. Consumers will rely more on reviews than anything else that you say on your website.Cyber Monday was up 21% of consumers buying online amounting to $733 million. 60% of money being spent is done from work computers. Are you missing out on this?

Synergize Your Marketing Strategies

Different departments within any retail market need to work together and integrate each specialty into the website. All print and radio advertising and marketing need to be integrated with your website. Understand your customer’s language – what words or phrases do they use to search for your product? It may not be the same as your industry language.

Don’t necessarily focus PPC on words that you are not already optimized for. Retailers who come up high on organic search and also have PPC will have a higher conversion rate. Bookmark all product pages so your customers can easily find you. Provide RSS feeds to other sites and other potential customers. Video searches are popular. 74% of users download or watch videos online. TubeMogul can push your video out to other sites.

Engage the networks where they are talking about your kind of products. This allows you to answer questions or handle any product issues. Take the time to be engaged with your customers. Blogs allow a diaglogue to answer questions or to address areas of concerns. Even when you think you have your website where it is the best it can be…know that there is always a little more that you can do and it will have to continually be fine-tuned to the ever changing internet.

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