9 Ways To Annoy Website Visitors

Annoying ScreamSmall business SEO is not easy. It takes hard work to get traffic to your site and its pages. When visitors come to your site, they’re after something and they’re looking for an easy way to find it. It’s a shame that so many sites annoy their visitors rather than give them what they want.

9 Ways to Annoy Your Website Visitors

Greet them with a long flash introduction – instead of providing the content they want, start loading flash content. They will usually do one of two things:

  • Hit the back button
  • Frantically search for the skip link

Underline words and phrases that aren’t links – click, click, click and nothing happens. If you underline a word or phrase, people are conditioned to think it’s a link. Don’t annoy them by underlining non-links.

Start a video or audio message automatically – Okay, let’s announce to everyone in the office that I’m surfing the web. I hate it when I’m in the office, at Starbucks or anywhere else. Plus, if that’s your only message and they have the volume off, their gone.

Broken Links – Hate it, Hate it, Hate it. Fix broken links.

Meaningless Images, Charts and Graphs – an SEO expert said I needed images on my pages and posts. Yes, relevant meaningful images, not any old image.

Walls of Words – People don’t read when they come to a web page, they skim and evaluate. Give them nothing but a wall of words with no headers, bullets or other highlighting tools and they’ll back click. Look at this post as a wall of words.

Make sure the page has nothing to do with the search page – Let’s go beyond annoying and insult visitors by spamming them in the search engines. No, I’m not going to click on your ads when you trick me.

Make things hard to find – Don’t use meaningful navigation. Don’t link to other pages on your site or other sites. Don’t let visitors find what they want.

Don’t provide a search feature – I search sites too, not just search engines. If there’s no search feature, I can’t search and I go back to the search engine.

These are thing that annoy me and user I spoken with. I’ve also done research on web usage and conventions and all those annoyance above can be remedied by following common conventions. It’s a real shame to spend time and resources on small business SEO only to have them back click.

What annoys you about websites?

The Ultimate Small Business SEO Measurment

Measuring your small business SEO and internet marketing results can be tricky. Too many small business owners measure the wrong things.

What’s the Best Measurement of Small Business SEO Success?

What’s the source of sales and revenue for your business or organization? I can tell you one thing, it’s not traffic. Yet, many small business owners will obsess over search engine traffic. There’s a note on my desk that says sales, not traffic.

Sales Not Traffic

Now, yes you need people coming to your website and in SEO it’s called traffic, but traffic is not prospects or customers or sales. Sales and revenue are the measures of your success and SEO should be measured as:

  • Sales directly attributed to SEO
  • Cost of SEO Customers

What’s Most Important to You?

My ideal customers is ___________. That’s who you are after with SEO. In a small business SEO campaign, why not go after them first. Then the next most ideal and then the next. What do they want and how can you give it to them? If your ideal customers were to search for you or your competition, what search terms would they use?

Throw It Over the Wall SEO

Many small businesses do not target their ideal customers because of throw it over the wall SEO. You know how it works. Small business owners don’t have time to do this stuff. They hire a company that doesn’t know their customers to do it. There are some cases where this will work, but not as well as if the managers and owners were involved.

For instance, if you hired me as your real estate SEO specialist, I would know enough to get you ranked for many of the right terms, but I would still need to spend time with you to flesh out those things most important about your local market. Those sessions would probably be the most important in the entire process. Please, don’t throw your SEO over the wall.

How Do You Know SEO is Working?

How do you tell if your local SEO is working? You will need some way to measure the source of contact. Now this is not as easy as we would like it to be, especially if you advertise extensively. One simple way of tracking is to ask how you heard about us, but it’s not very scientific. Coding can work, but don’t use a special phone number because that can cause local SEO problems.

Google Analytics is a tool that will give us good information; probably good enough to tell us what’s working and what’s not. Using Google Analytics we can see where visitors come from, where they go and how long they stay. For instance, if you were selling luxury homes in Winter Park, we could see how many visitors came to that page or group of pages, how they got there and how long they stayed. You could see if they go to your contact page, but we can’t see if they call you.

These measurements are not going to be exact. No one has invented an automated tool for that and people frequently give us incomplete or poor information. Our advice, pick a method, stick with that method and measure the relative value in increased sales and revenue from your small business SEO program. Once you have the best idea of how much of sales is coming from SEO, you can look at your costs and determine your return.

Small Business SEO – Think Like A Small Business Owner!

Affordable small business SEO is not about attacking huge competitors for major keyword phrases. It is about finding keyword variations and long tail keywords.

You have a huge advantage because you know your customers, their needs and the questions they regularly ask. The people doing SEO for big companies have probably never met a customer.

Chris Anderson wrote The Long Tail in 2006. Here’s how he summarized the long tail (www.longtail.com):

The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of “hits” (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail. As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers. In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-targeted goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare.

The long tail is your advantage. That’s were your internet marketing can make you the most money.

Big Company Weakness – Your Opportunity

Service is the weakness of big companies and big brands. It’s expensive for them and the people making decision often haven’t talk with a real customers in years. You know when companies are trying to figure out how long a caller will wait on hold without getting angry, there’s an opportunity for real people doing business with real people.

You frustrate and anger your customers when you act like a big business. Small business SEO is about small business and you need to think that way. I hate it, yes really hate it, when a small businesses starts telling that something is against their policy. That’s a big business cost control response. Why would a small business do that?

Who Are You?

You’re not this:

McDonalds Store Phote

You’re more like this:

Paris Cafe Small Business

Be A Small Business – Act Your Size

Acting like McDonalds when you own a cafe, it just plain not going to work. Acting like McDonalds in small business SEO is not going to work either. Big companies have national brands and lots of locations or outlets. You have service, flexibility, speed and local knowledge.

You cannot compete with a national brand on their terms, but they can’t compete with you on your terms. You can be finished with making a change or pursuing a market opportunity before they even have their first meeting.

Small Business is Beautiful

You can pursue market opportunities profitably where your big competitors can’t even afford to analyze the market. They need big numbers to cover big costs. You don’t. You can dominate smaller market niches and segments where the cost of entry for them is too high.

Leverage your advantages and don’t compete against big competitor strengths. Small is beautiful and keep that in mind when you approach local SEO and small business SEO.

Small Business SEO – Understanding The Search Process Video

What happens if you have traffic coming to your website, but your results are much less than you expected? If you’re focused strictly on small business SEO and you’re generating traffic, then now is the time to understand the SEO search process that visitors use.

The search process video below is about 5 minutes and 15 seconds, but could be the best five minutes you invest in a long time. Internet marketing is a two phase process:

  1. Generate traffic with SEO and other methods
  2. Converting traffic to your desired action

If you have traffic, but no results it’s likely a mistake in strategy.


 

The Big Internet Marketing Mistake

What do visitors do when they come to your site? It’s a big mistake to think they come to your site to read the content. They don’t. When they first come to your site or a page on the site, they are still in the search process.

The video describes the five phase search process:

The SEO Search Process

The search process steps are:

  1. Search Engine – type the search term into Google or one of the other search engines
  2. Skim / Read the search engine results page (SERP)
  3. Click the most the result that seems most relevant
  4. Evaluate the page the search engine serves
  5. Read the content

Visitors don’t read your content until the fifth step. If you have spent valuable time and money generating traffic using small business SEO and local SEO, but you’re not getting the results you expected, misunderstanding the search process is probably why. You may need to change your content, website design and structure.

I could attempt to explain it here, but the video is a much better way to do that, but let’s look at a couple of images from the video. Which one do you think would get the visitors attention and entice them to read more?

SEO Content Comparison

Wham! What a Difference

I’m reading the page on the left side. I’m betting you would too. Now, the question is, which of these examples is closer to your site. I urge to the watch the video for more.

Local SEO and Slow SEO

Slow SEO Turtle

We rush, we rush and then we rush some more. We look for magic bullets, low hanging fruit and quick hits. Not all things can be done quickly though. We know it, even if we don’t like it. Local SEO results can take much longer than we like, but that’s not so bad. Let’s look at a new idea I had today when writing some new content. Let’s talk about Slow SEO.

Slow SEO Turtle

What is Slow SEO?

Slow SEO is what happens when you don’t have the deep pockets to spend lots of money on search engine optimization and internet marketing. Well, that includes most of us. But this is not all bad. Slow SEO is mostly what happens anyway for small businesses.

Slow SEO is building your small business SEO program over time and affordably. The content that I was writing when this idea came to me is our new page on affordable small business SEO – SEO on $100 a week. Yes, a solid SEO program is possible on $100 a week, but the trade-off is in time and patience, and patience is what slow SEO is all about.

Why You Should Consider Slow SEO

If your a small business, going slow with your search program is probably the best strategy from a return on investment point of view. If you go slow and methodically, you can adjust to what’s working and spend more time and money on that. You can stop what’s not working and you can do it before you spend a ton of money.

Going full-out and spending $20,000, only to see some small results is $20,000 gone. Spending that money over 20 months is a different story. You expect to see results as you’re spending the money and you will. There’s a fast way to driving search traffic to your site and it’s called PPC – pay per click advertising. It skips all the time and hassles of building organic (free) search traffic. Of course the big problem is that it costs you a bundle and you keep paying.

Affordable is Relevant

If your breaking into the running shoe business you will be competing with Nike and Reebok and other big players. Affordable in this market is still a lot of money. $100 a week won’t make a dent. However, if you’re a local dentist or doctor, a local shoe store, a local restaurant and such, you are likely to see big results for your $100 a week investment.

Google is Slow

Google is slow to rank and slow to keep ranking. The reason is a good one – trust. Google wants to return the best results for their searchers who are their customers for paid advertisements. They want to know that if they rank you, you’ll be around for a while and won’t hurt them.

My experience with our real estate website and local SEO is that I saw some good results in about three months, but it took two years to get the full benefits. There’s a lot of competition for our terms, so we had to prove our worth to Google first. Yahoo and Bing are a little different, but the same principles hold.

Going the slow SEO route makes sense for many small businesses. Build your SEO content slowly and steadily and over time you’ll see solid results.

Small Business SEO – SEOMOZ Link Building

Backlinks ImageLink building is a challenge for most small business owners. It’s a lot of work and the temptation for often disastrous shortcuts is always there. But, link building is a critical component to small business SEO success.

Josh Gill over at SEOMOZ, published a good post this morning at the SEOMOZ blog – The Daily SEO Blog. His The Five Linking Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making, is a great start for anyone new to link building, and a really good reminder of some link building basics for the more experienced practitioners.

First, I agree with Josh’s Five Link Building Mistakes to Avoid:

#1- Judging a Site’s Authority by PageRank Alone:
#2 Building Links with Only One Keyword or Keyword Phrase:
#3 Aiming for a Billion Links!
#4 Only Link to Your Homepage:
#5 Analyze Competitors Backlinks Who Don’t Rank for your Target Keywords:

That being said, there are a few points that I believe add to the conversation (remember these are mistakes to avoid):

#6 Don’t Have a Plan for Linking:

Linking when you get the urge usually means that you’re not going to do much linking. Once you figure out what you need in the number and quality of links, put a plan in place to get those links. For small business and local SEO, I usually set the goals of building links over 3 months period. The first three months for a campaign will be the most intensive. After that, it’s a regular, but reduced schedule for a year. Finally, once all the targeted rankings are reached, a link maintenance plan is put into place.

#7 Link Once in awhile with a big push

Sending a bunch of links to a site and then dropping down to nothing is not a good idea. It’s not natural and there’s a good chance that the links are discounted by the search engines. If your going to send 1,300 links to a site over 13 weeks, make the rate about 100 per week, not all at once.

#8 Forget About Your Internal Links

I see it over and over again. Site owners, blogger’s, small business SEO practitioners, and others are on an internal link diet. There are no links in the content. Your pages count just like external pages. If your pages are in the search engine index, link to your money pages, your main content and other pages that need a boost. Put in one link to one of your own pages or posts for every 100-150 words.

Read Josh’s post here ==> The Five Linking Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making.

Are You Advertising for Your Competition?

Local SEO Example Uncle Bill's DinerIf you rank number one for your own business name, you’ve met the most basic local SEO requirement. If you’re not, you are advertising for your competition.

The most basic local SEO requirement for your website is ranking number 1 in Google, Yahoo and Bing for your own business name. If your business is Uncle Bill’s Pancakes, you must rank number 1 for Uncle Bill’s Pancakes.

Even if you’ve done no local or small business SEO, you may rank number one for your business. If not, you have some work to do.

Why You Must Rank Number 1 for Your Business Name

If I’m looking for you and typing your business by name in the search engines, I want to know about you and how you can help me. If your website doesn’t return as number 1 in the results, or is not there at all, you have placed your trust in another site to deliver your business to the customer.

The problem with someone else providing information to your customer is that for them, you are advertising bait. They are using you to bring people to their site to sell them something else. They have their own interest above yours. I’m not criticizing them, just pointing out that it’s not the best result for you.

It’s About Control

When your business website is ranked number 1 for your business name, people will go to your site and you can give them what they’re looking for. You control the content without ads to competitors and other sites. You can begin building a relationship right away. You can give them information to contact or visit you and you can give them reasons and enticements to do so.

Are You Advertising For Your Competition?

Imagine this scenario. You advertise in the local newspaper and a customer sees your ad but doesn’t know anything about you. They want to know more. There’s no website address in the ad, so they go searching.

They type in your business name, but you’re not there. Instead there’s a directory site of some type. The searcher, your potential customer, clicks on their site to find out more. They get very basic information about you, but they also get an ad from a competitor and one from Amazon.com.

What’s their next move? You don’t know. They could call or visit you, or they could click on one of the other options. If your site ranked number one they would have one option. Now they have three or more.

Use Local SEO to Rank Number 1

If all you’re going to do is create a website without SEO, then use your business name (unclebills.net) as the domain name. This will almost guarantee that you will be ranked number 1 for your own name.

If you are planning to rank for more competitive terms and use seo for small business, then you may use a domain name more related to the business (manhattanbeachrestaurant.com) instead of your business name. In that case, make sure your business name and address with telephone number are on every page. It can be in the footer, but make sure it’s there.

Finally, regardless of which way you choose to go, make sure you claim your Google Places listing and do the same with Yahoo and Bing. Be certain to associate your website with those services.

I’m a local SEO specialist serving small businesses. Please contact Mike Byrne at 386-295-2049 for more information, or leave a comment below.

Small Business SEO – Barrier to Entry for New Business Startup?

Starting a new business is a challenge. There’s finding the right location, buying furnishings and equipment, hiring people, business planning, marketing planning and more. Recently though, there’s a new barrier that’s entered the mix for business startups – small business SEO.

Small Business street scene

People are online. For most, if not all businesses, people are using the internet to find products and services. They may be using search engines or social media like Facebook to start their search or find out more about a business. How are your potential customers and existing customers using search?

A New Barrier for Small Business Startup?

Is there a new barrier to entry for starting a small businesses. If a high percentage of your customers and potential customers will come from the internet, you must be able to get your business in front of those people. If you can’t, because of costs or resources, you may not be able to generate enough business to survive.

Starting a business today without an internet presence visible to your customers is like building your store in the middle of the desert. No one will see you.

Choices for Internet Marketing

Your choices to establish a presence depends on where your customers go online. Here are the basic options:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC) Traffic
  • Ads on Other Sites
  • Small Business SEO
  • Local SEO including Google Places, Merchant Ciricle, etc.
  • Facebook Pages and Facebook Ads

Several of these choices are an ongoing expense. You will pay every time a searcher clicks on a PPC ad. Ads on other sites will be expensive, often hundreds of dollars a month for one site. Small business and local SEO will require time and money to set up and maintain. Facebook Pages are free to set-up, but take time and resources to make attractive for your customers, and, Facebook Ads will require a regular expenditure.

So What Do I Do?

You, or someone you hire, must do the research to find out where your customers are online. I’ll admit freely that if there is significant search traffic, I will pursue SEO for small business because the costs of the program decrease over time. While building traffic through local SEO, pay per click advertising may be needed. If your business is suited for Facebook, you need to have a solid presence there, but Facebook will not be effective for all markets.

Basically, find your customers online and meet them where they are!

Due Diligence

When starting or buying a business, due diligence is required to be sure that the investment will be profitable. Today, due diligence includes research and analysis of online marketing requirements.

Small business SEO and internet marketing can make or break a new business. Make sure you know how it will affect yours.

Local SEO Tips – Using Internal Links

Local SEOIf you look at your site, are you inter-linking between your own pages and posts? A big part of local SEO involves long-tail keywords and you have the power to support your own pages.

I analyze a lot of small business SEO sites. On many of these sites, I see content without links to other pages or posts on the site. This is a big mistake. Your own pages on your site carry PageRank, just like external pages, that can be sent to your other pages.

I read in Fast Company this week that the average American eats 34 donuts a year. So, let’s use a local bakery as an example. I’m going to pick a resort area because they get a lot of visitors from outside of the area who will search for everything, including donuts.

The business that we’ll use is the fictitious Tony’s Bakery in Cape May, NJ. Let’s say that Tony has done a good job creating content. He has 100 pages on his site. He uses images of donuts, bread, cakes and bagels on his site. Let’s say he has 10 pages on donuts.

From within the text of those pages, he should link to the other donuts pages.

Here’s the idea:

Internal Linking

You can be more creative with how you link so that it flows more naturally, but you get the idea. Also make sure that a link to the home page is coming from within the text with anchor text like “Tony’s Cape May Bakery.” Each page would be titled like this – “Glazed Donuts | Tony’s Cape May NJ Bakery.”

If you have a site that’s in the top 30 in the search engine rankings for your terms, making these changes can be enough to move you to the first page.

SEO for local businesses is different from targeting national markets. Tony would not be targeting bakeries in the US, New Jersey or Trenton. He is targeting Cape May and must give the search engines enough information to make that clear.

If you’re targeting locally, you need to focus on your locale. When I started with local SEO, I couldn’t really find anyone who could tell me what I needed to do. My real estate business in Daytona Beach was how I learned to effectively rank my pages for Daytona Beach Real Estate and other competitive terms. I spent several years and over $30,000 figuring it out.

Obviously there’s more to ranking for local geographically targeted terms than what is presented in this article. But, what I shown is very powerful and effective.

I am a Daytona Beach SEO specialist, but I server small businesses throughout the US and Canada. Give Mike Byrne a call at 386-295-2049 or use my contact page with any questions. Of course you could always leave a comment or ask a question below.

Small Business SEO Challenges

Small Business SEO Challenges
The challenges for small business owners are massive. Small business SEO and internet marketing add more challenges. Indeed, in some ways it presents a threat.

Imagine you own a store. Then, imagine that one out of every ten potential customers are blind to your store when they walk by. Then can’t see it at all. It doesn’t exist for them. Now imagine that was five years ago. Since then the blindness has increased to three of every ten and within another year it could be five or more.

This is exactly what is happening for business owners who don’t have a web presence or don’t have a web presence in the search engines. Local SEO is needed to make your business visible to search engines and visitors who buy what you sell.

The Three Challenges of Small Business SEO

Let’s categorize the challenges for small business owners when thinking about internet marketing. Here’s a story to illustrate.

Sergeant Johnson must do some crazy things to qualify for special forces. He must dive off a cliff, land in the water without hurting himself and then swim five miles across the channel to the other shore.

Sergeant Johnson has some thinking and deciding to do. First, is this special forces thing really worth it? Second, do I have the skills to jump off a cliff without hurting myself. Finally, do I have the stamina to swim five miles across open water?

The small business owner looking at internet marketing for the first time is a lot like Sergeant Johnson. Is it really worth it? Do I have the skills or can I find them without a huge hassle and expense? Will my efforts get me to the search engine rankings and how long will it take?

The Challenges of small business for local search engine optimization can be looked at in three steps:

  1. Deciding if internet marketing is worth it for my business
  2. Getting started
  3. Staying with it until it pays off

Deciding if Small Business SEO is Worth It

Let’s go back to the beginning of this article. How many potential customers are walking by your door because they never see you? It’s pretty simple but powerful question. If some percentage of customers in a business come from online searchers and your business is not where they search, they will never see you.

So, this decision comes down to two basic questions:

What percentage of potential customers start their search online? The National Association of Realtors reports:

Information sources used in home search:

  • Internet: 74%
  • Real estate agent: 69%
  • Yard sign: 22%
  • Open house: 12%
  • Newspaper ad: 9%
  • Home book or magazine: 6%

If you’re a real estate agent and you don’t have a solid internet presence, you will be missing out on a lot of business. What are the numbers in your business segment? Check with your industry association, talk to other people in the same business, but find out.

The second question is do you have the resources necessary to compete in the search engines and using other forms of marketing on the internet?

Budgets are critical for most small business owners and if you don’t have the money, you need to determine if you have the time to learn and do the work necessary for building a web site and ranking in the search engines. If you don’t have the time or the money you’re not going to make a dent in a competitive market.

But, let’s assume you have the resources necessary and you are sure of the need for small business SEO and a search engine presence. Now what do you do?

Getting Started With Small Business and Local SEO

What do you need to get started with SEO? If you are new to SEO, watch our Small Business SEO Explained Video that we created just for small business owners.

Whether you do the work or someone else do the work, to get started you need to get the technical aspect of site design and SEO right:

  • Site Structure
  • Site Design
  • Hosting
  • Content Management and Content Management Platform
  • Market Research
  • Competitive Research
  • Keyword Research
  • On Page SEO
  • Link Plans

Practical SEO – The Real Work

Once the technical aspects of SEO are complete, the work begins and the work is all about content. Content offers three challenges:

  • Creating Content
  • Creating Lots and Lots of Content
  • Staying With Content Creation

The quality of your content must be better than the competition. It’s that simple. Do whatever it takes to make your content the best in your industry. Then the content must be written for both customers (first) and SEO (second). Don’t be fooled into believing that only SEO content matters. It’s always customers first.

I believe in the very near future that content creation quality and volume will be barriers to entry into many business segments. If you’re not able to create good content and lots of it – you can’t play.

Blog rate abandonment is estimated to be 95%. If you spend a lot of time searching on the internet you see that many businesses fall into that category or they’re teetering on the edge. The rate of content creation and maintaining that rate are critical. If you are not in it for the long term, you are not in. You must stay with content creation forever. The rate of new content is based on your business segment and competition, but plan to create new content for as long as you are in business.

Not What You Wanted to Hear?

Sorry, I don’t pull punches. I don’t tell you BS to sell you. Internet Marketing and small business SEO are competitive and becoming more competitive by the moment. If there’s a market, then there is or will be competition for search engine rankings. It takes work, it takes resources, it takes skill and knowledge. If anyone is telling you it’s easy, they’re wrong. Easy rankings generally mean that there’s no competition or no market.

If you have questions call me (Mike Byrne) at 386-295-2049. You can also reach me by email. I am a Daytona Beach SEO Specialist, but I service the US and Canada and beyond.