Directory One November Newsletter
Your Monthly up to date resource for Search Engine Marketing, Optimization, Website Design and Web Hosting
November 2005
  • Questions or Comments?
    The Directory One team is here to help:
  • Sean Odom, Search Engine Marketing
  • John Holchin, Marketing and Business Admin
  • Beatriz Ortiz, Accounting
  • Philip O'Hara, Sales
  • Jesus De La Garza, Website Design
  • Stacy Clifford, Web Hosting
  • Jennifer Williams, Intern
Welcome Message
Welcome to our November Newsletter

Increase your website presence on the Internet In the past we've had customers who buy new equipment for their office suddenly experience problems with their website. Typically what we've seen is an installer or network person inadvertently changed a DNS setting, an FTP login, or switched hosts altogether. By allowing a IT company to change something like this your rankings can suffer. Google, Yahoo and MSN like stability. Frequent DNS changes can raise a flag with the search engines because spammers often use these types of techniques to try to cover their activities.

Often the customer has no idea that these changes were made and the impact they can have on search rankings. Most hardware and network people are unfamiliar with how search engine rankings work. Be careful. Sometimes its an honest mistake on their part, sometimes it's a deliberate attempt to grab your business without understanding the SEO ramifications.

by Philip O'Hara, Sales

Internet Marketing & Business News
Successful SEO Requires Sustained Visibility

Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing are basically about building visibility for your website on the internet. A beautiful, functional website is of no value if people can't find it. In the early days of the internet, the accepted wisdom was to register the most descriptive domain name possible and then advertise that name everywhere. While that concept works in theory, in practice very few businesses could afford to spend enough for advertising to plant their domain name in the collective consciousness of every possible customer. Even the giant, IPO-rich companies before the dot com crash couldn't spend enough to be successful (Remember all those cash rich companies who spent millions buying ads during the Super Bowls to get your attention? Now how many of their names or domain names can you remember?). The reason is simple. People don't usually see or hear advertisements at the exact moment they're ready to purchase something. Unless your company and domain name have household awareness, people probably won't remember them when needed. It's virtually impossible to predict in which of the 525,600 minutes there are in a year, a person will be ready to buy something. Big companies know that. Why do you think Ford advertises F150's all year long? It's not to make you aware of the truck. It's to make you aware when you're looking to buy a truck.

The search engines have made it possible for businesses of all sizes to be visible at the right moment. Millions of customers begin the purchase process searching the internet. Very few start the process typing-in a specific domain name. They search for the product or service. The value for a business is that they are proactively interested which means they are now a targeted prospect--they want to buy or learn more. However for a company to capitalize on that, they must rank high enough on the search engine to attract a visit to their website. That's search engine optimization. It doesn't sell a product. It gets rankings or visibility so that a potential customer, at the moment they are seeking a company such as yours, can find you and your website can begin the selling process.

The key is creating sustained visibility. It's not enough to optimize a website once even if you achieve rankings. The search algorithms change. Or an unknowing tech person may change your DNS. Or your competitors will make adjustments. A high ranking today can drop tomorrow. For rankings and visibility to be sustained your optimization efforts must be ongoing and consistent. That's why Directory One uses a managed, ongoing approach to optimization. We understand the dynamics involved and the need to sustain visibility. If someone tells you they can optimize a site once remember that's just the start of the process. Success comes from sustained results, like the ones our clients achieve.

by John Holchin, Marketing and Business Admin
SEO News
Website success: It's not just about hits

There's a lot of hype about hits these days, but let's face it: A successful website isn't just about how many visitors, or hits, you can attract. It's about sales. If you get 10,000 visitors a month, but only 1 sale, what good were the other 9,999? On the other hand, if you get only 1,000 visitors a month, but 20 of them buy....well, you get the point. A successful website is about conversions-and for that you need qualified leads.

A successful website marketing plan will focus on bringing qualified leads to your website that will convert to sales and increase your conversion rate. Your conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors that purchase your product or service. Taking the above examples, if you had 10,000 visitors, but only 1 sale, your conversion rate would be 1/10,000, or .01%. That's pretty lousy. If you had 1,000 visitors a month, and 20 sales, your conversion rate would be 20/1,000, or 2%. That's much more respectable.

What's a good conversion rate? Depending on your industry, a good conversion rate will typically range from 1% to 5%, with 5% being exceptional.

How do you increase conversion rate?
There are two parts to any sale, or conversion.

Step 1. Attract qualified leads. If you're attracting people who are already interested in your product or service, then half the work of the sale is done before your visitor's arrival.

Step 2. Complete the sale. The second part of the sale happens on your website. Do you have the right graphics, verbiage and usability functions to convince your visitor to complete the sale?

Directory One can help with both steps in the conversion process. The Search Engine Marketing division helps with the first step.

Two BIG Tips for Attracting Qualified Leads to Your Website

Tip #1. Target the right search phrases. What will people be typing into search engines to find your product or service? You want to come up on the first page in search engine results, but for what search phrases? It's almost always a bad decision to focus all of your efforts on the broadest search terms-you want targeted search terms for targeted leads.

For example, just because you sell Dalmatians, doesn't mean you should focus all of your efforts on coming up on the first page of search engine results for the term "dogs". Think about all the things people could be looking for when they type in such a broad search term: information for a school paper, a dog lovers blog, images of dogs for a business brochure. But what about if you came up for the search term "Dalmatian puppies in Houston"? Wouldn't that bring you more targeted leads-leads that are halfway ready to be converted to sales?

Tip #2. Pay attention to your descriptions and titles. You can think of the description and title that show up in search engine results as a little mini-ad. It needs to accurately describe what the visitor will get when he or she clicks through to your website, or your potential sale could get discouraged and turn away.

Directory One attracts targeted leads to your website.

Directory One's Search Engine Marketing division delivers hits. But we also deliver qualified hits, so your website traffic will convert to real dollars in the bank.

So remember, next time you're looking at your website hit counter: There's another number you should be paying attention to. How many sales did your website bring in this month, and what does that say about your website's ability to turn hits into cash?

by Sean Odom, Search Engine Marketing
Website Design News
Web Design Consistency

"Give your visitors a chance to navigate and find content on your website".

Users Need Consistency. I've been on around the web since 1994 building and designing websites, and most of the time while I'm checking websites one of the most common and probably less appreciated things about having a website is that people don't care too much about consistency. Consistency makes websites easy to use as it help your visitors browse and find the information quickly between pages or sections. Websites need to maintain an internal consistency on page layout, design and colors, fonts and styles. As an example, if we have a search box on the top right corner of a web page on our site and we move that search box to different locations while we're browsing different pages on our website, we're not helping our visitors to perform searches.

Aspects of Consistency

Consistency applies to many elements on a website, I'll consider some of them and explain why they matter and how to keep consistency while we use it.

Page Layout: Choosing the proper layout for a website could be tricky and difficult if we don't keep in mind that our website might grow with the time. So we need to cover some aspects about navigation menu, header, footer, content areas, promotions, search boxes, banners, adwords, etc. I highly recommend spending time just browsing other sites where they feel comfortable. You'll quickly understand the concept of "feeling comfortable" while browsing a website. You'll notice that normally those sites where you "feel good" while browsing, keep consistency between their pages and sections. People have a strong memory for location and your design should use this characteristic reserving particular locations for screen elements (menu, logo, banners, search boxes, etc.).

Language: Another big concern about consistency might be the language you're using on your website through different pages or sections. As an example, if you've a website and you're selling telephones, you might use "mobile phone" instead of use different synonyms on different pages or even on the same page as "cell phone", "mobile", "handset", etc. This will eventually help while we're optimizing a web page, as content consistency between pages on your site will help to improve your ranking on certain key phrases. So consistency can be your friend and can help your website/business grow. There's a reason for everything we do and as always its our interest to help your business grow; help you decide what you need; and help you determine how it be implemented for your benefit.

by Jesus De La Garza, Website Design
Hosting Tips
Accessing Your Website Traffic Logs

If you are using our search engine optimization services to market your website, then chances are good that you are interested in finding out what kind of traffic our efforts are bringing to your site. If you are currently hosting your website with us, you can find out by accessing your Urchin website statistics reports. These reports will show you information such as how many unique visitors you receive, what pages in your site are most popular, what time of the day, week, or month you get the most traffic, and much more. You can view reports from previous months to see how your traffic is growing. To access these reports, go to this URL:

http://urchin.directoryone.com:9999

You will need a username and password to log in, which you can request by calling our office at 713-465-0051 or e-mailing us at information@directoryone.com.

In a previous newsletter we introduced you to the website control panel. If you log in to your control panel, you will notice that there is also a Stats section there containing your AwStats log analyzer reports. These reports display similar information to Urchin, although not in as much detail. However, they are worth a look as well because Urchin is a relatively recent addition to our services, and if you have been with us for very long you will be able to find your older statistics reports in AwStats for purposes of comparison.

by Stacy Clifford, Web Hosting
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Directory One November Newsletter