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design & marketing blog

Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

Redirecting Users From Links to Old Webpages

January 16th, 2011

Have you just deployed a new Website that includes a significantly different site structure, file names, and/or file extensions?  There are a few basic “housekeeping” tasks that should be performed to insure that indexed pages (in the case of search engines) and bookmarked pages (in the case of users) will not be returned with “Page not found” errors.

301 Redirect

The digital Change of Address Notification

301 redirects are  the best method for telling the world that a previous web page name and/or extension have been replaced by a different page. Think of a 301 redirect like digital equivalent of forwarding your USPS mail when moving to a new physical address.  It instantly forwards an old URL to the newer replacement URL. With a 301 redirect, the server is configured so that when a search engine or user follows a link they have previously bookmarked, the server recognizes that URL as an old page and automatically redirects the user to the new page.  For example we have the following URL set to redirect using this method: http://risingline.com/creative_samples.htm (notice the URL of the actual page you end up on is completely different).

301 Redirets are also useful for creating more descriptive and memorable URLs in marketing campaigns. For example, we found ourselves directing people to a particular page on our Website quite often during phone conversations.  Rather than having to relay the page name with its dash and “.php” extension we just created a shorter 301 redirect; so now we just have to say or type “http://risingline.com/why” instead of  “http://risingline.com/web-sites.php“. This URL is much more effective and memorable for verbal and written communication yet allows us to retain our file name “web-sites” which is more desirable for SEO purposes.

Sage SEO Advice

September 22nd, 2010

I want to direct your attention to a recent blog post by Glenn Murray, IMHO one of the most accomplished and credible SEO copywriters out there. Glenn underscores vital SEO points we’re always preaching, namely:

  • You’ve got to post legitimate content that’s of real value to your target market.
  • You must be authentic and honest.
  • Your real audiences are your clients and prospects. Write content for them, not Google.
  • Success takes time.
  • Trying to cheat the system is ultimately detrimental to the success of your business.

I do recommend you read his whole post, but if you choose not to, here is my favorite quote:

“[SEO is] about working hard to write something truly link-worthy, then letting people know about it, so they can choose to link to it if they like it. It’s not about making Google believe your site is more popular than it actually is, it’s about actually making your site more popular.”

For the millionth time . . . there are no tricks or shortcuts to SEO and there are many scammers out there trying to convince you otherwise. As Forest Gump might say, “If it seems to be good to be true, you must of heard it from an SEO company.”

The Secret to Writing Blog Posts that Get Noticed

June 16th, 2010

Google Wonder WheelAs you may be aware from the myriad of past SEO posts we’ve made, the holy grail for getting more customers from Web searches is getting more backlinks (or linkbacks if you prefer). Specifically, multiple high quality link backs from other Websites in the same or related industry to yours. These are the “votes” Google uses to decide how high up on the search results page your site should be listed for a given keyword search. Google itself provides two incredibly powerful tools that have the potential to exponentially improve your return on blog writing time.

The strategy is simple:

  1. Research current hot topics and searches on Google using Google Trends and Google Wonder Wheel.
  2. Find a keyword that fits within the realm of a hot topic, applies to your area of knowledge, and appeals to your target customers.
  3. Post a quality blog focused on the hot topic keywords for your target customers.

Here are the tools:

  • Google Trends Find out what search terms and topics are currently high traffic. Self explanatory and intuitive to use: http://www.google.com/trends
  • Google Wonder Wheel Expand keyword options and refine a topic to find a keyword topic that fits you and your client base best. To utilize Google Wonder Wheel simply perform a Google search, then expand the “Search Tools” in the left hand column of the result page and click Wonder Wheel.

If you use these tools I would love to hear about your experience.

The Danger of Relying on Search Engines for Your Business

November 30th, 2009
Your business plan needs to rely on demand generation from a source other than organic Internet search engines—a source over which you have more direct control.”

I ran across a great article by Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger entitled, “What to Do When Your Search Rankings Drop.” In it he recounts a time when his site’s traffic dropped a dramatic 70% suddenly and for no apparent reason. He relied on Google to bring in most of his site visitors and some unknown change in their algorithms resulted in this costly (for him) change of fortune. While not the point of his article, this example underscores a principle that we’ve been emphasizing for years—it’s very risky to rely on awareness and demand generation being driven primarily by high search engine result page placement (please note my emphasis of the words rely and primarily).

I’m not suggesting at all that search engine optimization efforts are not important, but rather that your business plan needs to rely on demand generation from a source other than organic Internet search engines—a source over which you have more direct control. The risk of building your business with a single point of failure over which you have no direct control whatsoever is prohibitively risky in almost all business scenarios.

It’s for this reason that we typically advise our clients to build a business plan without consideration for demand generation via search engines (referral marketing is always the most desirable and secure foundation for demand generation) and then go ahead and implement a best practice SEO strategy. If your business plan is solid and your unique value proposition legitimate a by-the-book (Google’s book that is) SEO campaign will generate demand over time; all of which should be treated like “gravy” until significant enough to begin including in your sales forecast. This strategy then mitigates the high-risk of relying on search engines for your business while at the same time taking advantage of the great high ROI opportunity that organic search engine marketing offers.

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