January 05, 2018
I've always been fascinated with web marketing- most specifically search engine marketing.
I first "ran-into" search engine optimization back in 2005 when I was launching a new soy candle business. My goal was to derive most of the sales and retail partner leads from our website. We had a small store front but the web was really starting to take-off, and I knew the potential was there to get our candle line into retail locations all over the country.
Google was starting to dominate the search engines, so I tried to learn everything I could about how to show-up in Google's rankings for various candle terms.
I found a group of guys who were giving seminars about web commerce, so I decided to attend a conference in Illinois. I believe it was three days long or so, and I learned a ton of stuff about websites, e-commerce, and most importantly, made contacts with people who were really good at obtaining top listings in the search engines.
I was told immediately there were "white hat" and "black hat" techniques, and to avoid the "black hat" stuff like a plague. White hat is basically anything that is legitimate in promoting your website, while black hat techniques are techniques that are basically like cheating, which is a no win situation.
So for the next year, I learned and applied as much as I could about search engine optimization as well as pay per click (sponsored) ads on sites like Google. One of the first things I did was to read "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine" by Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page (founders of Google.) I admit I had to read it many times to grasp some of the information, but it was extremely interesting.
After many months, our website was finally in the top three on Google for the term "soy candles," which was huge. The traffic to our site took-off and our little candle company started to grow.
Fast-forward to 2017. I knew Lets Go Banner's website needed a major overhaul, but we had been putting it off for as long as we could. Our site receives a good deal of traffic and sales, and we were very nervous about messing with our (then) current website. Google had been hinting that websites needed to become mobile compliant in the future, or could possibly receive penalties. But in January, 2017, I received an email from one of the contacts I'd worked with back in 2006 explaining that it was time to do it. When this guy says something like this, I always take notice. He knows what he's talking about.
But the thought of redesigning our website and migrating it to a mobile (or as it's called "responsive" website) was daunting. Definitely not an easy project. We're talking thousands of web pages with unique content. Thousands of pictures, videos, pdf templates and spec sheets. It basically took us the entire year to complete the project. Very stressful indeed. But one really interesting (and somewhat exciting) thing I learned was......The basics I learned back in 2005-2006 still apply today!
Things like unique and value-added content. Title tags. Meta tags. 301 redirects. How to properly name files. Proper picture resolution for fast load speed. Clean and crisp product pictures. The best choice for a mobile-friendly site. And yes, the value of promoting your website using white hat techniques.
I'm not even going to try to crack this nut in this blog post. Moz.com's Rand Fishkin already wrote a brilliant article (more like a book lol) about the basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)- I posted the link below. And yes, most of the things in his article are things I've tried to apply for years. The big game-changer is social media, which was just starting to come into existence when I started in 2005.
But the point I would really like to make is: somebody in your company should really be learning and applying the basics of white hat SEO to your website. Sure, you can hire an outside firm, but it's really easy to follow bad advice that can have really horrible repercussions. I firmly believe you need at least one person in your organization who understands the basics to make sure your website is following "best practices" for search optimization. If you decide to utilize pay-per-clicks, it's still very important to know what's going on, or you can needlessly spend a lot of cash for zero results.
Here's a link to "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine" by Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page" (founders of Google)
And a link to Moz.com's "The Beginners Guide To Seo" article
Thank you for reading,
Lets Go Banners
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