Writing Content Clearly

matt-cutts-writing-clarity-video

We, as savvy web marketers know that we need to produce quality content to attract large number of visitors, convert them into paying customers and retain them in the long term.  But how about the usage of heavy jargon in our writings when writing some thing technical?

Well, the question was recently posed to Matt Cutts, the head of webspam team at Google. he stance on this issue was that, in principle, simplicity and clarity is more important that any thing else.  So, we must write clear, easy to understand articles and avoid using difficult words or jargons of any specific industry.  spoke about this issue. He said that writing clearly was more important than using jargon for a segment of your audience.

Should your content be geared toward a higher, more specialized reading level, or should it be written in such a way that novices on the topic can understand? This is the topic of the latest webmaster help video featuring Google’s Matt Cutts. So, let us watch on youtube as to what he has to say on this issue.

Google Panda No. 25 Hitting SERPs

matt-cutts-panda-smxAs Matt Cutts from Google had recently announced at SMX West, a major search engine conference, that a panda would be rolling out either on Friday or Monday, March 18.  We have already started seeing its effects of the Panda latest release on some of our search results pages.

Matt also mentioned that although the update is expected during this weekend, most probably, this time, it will be more integrated into the Google`s overall continuous algorithm updates.

We are not yet sure about the overall impact of the latest panda update on the search results, we should expect a major panda update some time during this year.  That will a huge impact on the rankings and how websites are ranked.

Let us know whether you have been impacted by the latest Panda update.

Did Google Panda Update 3.9 Affect Your SERPs?

Google-Panda-Update-3.9We have just got the news that Google released Panda  update 3.9 earlier tonight.  The update will affect about one percent of all search engine result pages (SERPs), according to a Google post on Twitter.  What it may mean for you?  Well, it depends.  The original Panda update released in February, 2011 was a heavy blow to content farms and other low quality sites which did not provide good user experience.

Google has always favored high quality sites over the bad ones. They have been trying to improve their search results by updating their search algorithms on regular basis.  The latest Panda Update is one such attempt to show quality sites in the top rankings to the searchers.

Share your thoughts on how a series of Panda and Penguin updates have affected your search engine result pages (SERPs) by leaving a comment?

How to Conduct PPC Campaign(s) for a Non-English Website

ppc-for-non-english-websitesHave you ever managed a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign for a non-English website?  If so, you already know that it is, in many ways, different from running campaigns for an English language website in the US/UK.  What are these differences and why it is important to know these differences? Well, these are the questions we are going to address in the following paragraphs.  So, let`s get started without further ado.

Why It is Important?

There are various reasons as to why it is becoming all the more important to handle PPC campaigns for non-English websites. 

  • Although, English is still the most widely used language on the Internet being a quarter of the overall usage,  Chinese and Arabic are slowly but steadily growing their share of online attention at the perils of English
  • According to a recent survey conducted by a pan European institute EU Eurobarometer, only 18% of the people surveyed bought an item online from a website which was not in their mother language
  • The survey further states that people feel more comfortable using their own language than in a foreign one while performing various activities online including online shopping
  • Some non-Google search engines such as Baidu in China, Yandex in Russia, Yahoo in Japan,  and Naver in South Korea have sizable market shares in their respective countries. So, you have got to listen to where they can take you in terms of business growth if used wisely.

So, What You Need to Do?

  • Pay extra attention to keyword research as the literal translation of English language keywords will not do. Every language is different; it shows the culture of a region or a country where people use different words and marketing jargon in the context of their specific culture (s).  The mere translation of the keywords you have chosen in English will not suffice.  Get a native speaker of the language from the region or a country you want to target,  to translate the keywords the way they should be.
  • Understand the local culture and dig deep as to how people make buying decisions for the type of products and services you are offering
  • Thoroughly explain the SEO process and the way keywords should be chosen to the local translators so that they know exactly what they are required to do to run the PPC campaign in question effectively. 
  • Test your ad copy, retest it, have it brutally reviewed by a local web marketer, if possible, monitor and make any changes you may need to as you would do in an English language PPC campaign
  • Get a hand from different translators if you are not satisfied with the existing ones as the need may arise. 

I know it is a trendy topic among the PPC campaign managers. What is your take on these issues? Please feel free to comment on this in the following lines.

20 Ways to Promote Your Online Bookstore

promote-your-business-onlineDuring our consulting practice, we are often asked how to promote a particular line of business online and/or offline. Today, we are going to discuss how to promote an online bookstore. The suggestions may apply to other online businesses as well. So, let’s get started without any further delay.

    1.  Design and develop a professional nice looking website for your bookstore. How funny?  But this is obvious. This is the very first step you are going to take while getting advice from SEO and usability professionals like us
    2. Offer a clutter-free checkout process on your website. This is THE most important feature an online store of any nature MUST have to promote their business.  However, many e-commerce stores utterly ignore this aspect of their business
    3. Encourage your readers and customers to create book fan clubs in their geographical areas
    4. Provide guides for book club members on various books
    5. Publish interviews of favorite authors on your website
    6. Offer advice to librarians and other interest groups on how to launch reading and discussion programs on various topics of interest to general public
    7. Announce upcoming author lectures in various cities
    8. Invite your visitors to signup for newsletters, email alerts and similar informational programs
    9. Offer book reviews on your website
    10. Offer a feature “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.”
    11. Offer ‘advance order’ feature on the website so that the customers could reserve a copy of their favorite writers before it is actually published
    12. Invite authors to write blogs on your website if possible or at least ask them to write an introduction of the book they want you to promote on your website
    13. Offer an author tracker program by which your visitors can track as to where their favorite authors are going to make an appearance
    14. Involve authors to answer questions your would-be customers may have regarding the book(s) in question
    15. Give an advance news of the upcoming books on various of topics of interest to your online visitors
    16. Offer your readers and visitors to sell their own books on your website
    17. Provide an online forum where your visitors can chat with one another on various topics of interest
    18. Offer readers to rate a book of their choice
    19. Offer an excrept of a certain portion of a book online so that the target customers can be enticed to actually buy the book
    20. Create special offer section to attract more visitors and customers

Now, it is your turn to give suggestions on how to promote a bookstore online.

How to Fix Checkout Processes?

checkout-processJust yesterday, I happened to have a look at the shopping cart checkout process of a famous B to C multinational brand in Japan.  The Website looks great and they offer huge number of products to their retail customers. However they have got some massive problems with shopping cat process without solving which they can not maximize their sale revenue from the website.

Following is a list of the problem areas I noticed on their website. You will surely find some of the issue your own website may be having. Solving these and other issues will boost your revenue online.

  1. Provide a detailed description of the item in question
  2. Provide various images of the product you are trying to sell me.  These images should be of sufficient sizes taken from various angles for me to get a clearer idea of how the product looks like
  3. Take all the clutter away from the detailed description page of the product. Let me focus on the checkout process instead of looking at the search button, your company information, other offers from other websites etc.
  4. Provide your visitor an opportunity to change the size and/or the color of the product on her way to final checkout
  5. Give your customer a chance to go through the checkout process first before you ask them to register on your website or sign in if they are a repeat visitor or customer. Do not force them to register in the beginning of the process
  6. Try to squeeze the checkout process into one single page if possible. I, as your website visitor do not have the patience to go through 10 pages of the process.
  7. If you can not squeeze the process into one page, at least give me an indication of where am I in the process by showing a moving indicator on the top of the page
  8. Do not ask or expect me to give you my credit card details especially if you are a new Website. Instead provide me alternative ways to pay you such as Pay pal
  9. Ask your designer to give a consistent look and feel to your shopping cart pages. The overall colors and fonts etc. of the process should match with that of the overall website pages. This is especially important if you are using a third party shopping cart system
  10. Remove unnecessary fields from the checkout form
  11. Use appropriate space, legible font, alignment etc. throughout the shopping cart pages
  12. Use a light background to distinguish the form from other elements on the page so that the customer could really focus on completing the process instead of wandering here and there on the site
  13. Provide help, telephone number and FAQ pages handy at the customer disposal so that they could contact you if in any doubt while entering the necessary details
  14. Provide security assurances to indicate that shopping on your website is safe
  15. Help visitors remember what is in the cart they had originally put into the shopping cart before they started browsing  some other pages or sites. This could be done by giving a thumbnail image of the product(s) in question
  16. Make the item titles very clear, easy to read format
  17. Give a consistent look and feel to the various buttons on the shopping cart pages
  18. Do not make your customers struggle to find the buttons I need to click on to complete the process
We will be happy to give advice on a specific chopping cart page. Please feel free to comment in the following lines.

Ingredients of a Successful Testimonial

TestimonialsThe following list contains some of the characteristics of a great testimonial on your Web site.  Please try to use these and you will be on your way to converting more visitors into paying customers.

  • Extract the most important point from the text of the testimonial or review and make it the heading of the testimonial or review
  • Give a picture of the customer (if possible) who has provided you the testimonial. the image should give a professional look of the customer in question
  • Show their respective logos of the company
  • Give special attention  to the grammar of the testimonial
  • The overall length of the testimonial should not be too short or too long. The text font should also be appropriate so that every can read it if they would like to
  • The testimonials should be carefully placed on the  web page so that they are clearly visible to the potential customer
Please tell us what is your take on the issues discussed above?

Conversion Secrets of A Great Website

conversion-secrets-of-a-websiteIn the following lines, we are going to list up some of the most important conversion secrets of one of our customers.   They have not allowed us to use their name on the web. However, the following techniques can generally be applied in all kinds of websites. So, stay tuned and start implementing at least some of the techniques mentioned here on your own Website. You will surely start reaping substantial benefits out of these techniques without spending an extra  dime.

  1. Add the contrasting background to make your landing page(s) standout
  2. Add appropriate icons here and there on your pages to get the attention of your target audience
  3. Create a catchy heading to grab the attention of your visitors immediately
  4. Provide THE most important piece of information on your web page in the above the fold area
  5. Arrange your page design in a way that a  visitor can quickly scan the page before going into the details of your offerings. For the purpose, use appropriate headings, sub-headings and catchy icons to give a rough idea of what the page offers
  6. Consistently show in the content what benefit people will get by buying your product or using your service
  7. Give a brief summary of your offerings at some appropriate place on the page which lists up the main points mentioned in the copy of the page
  8. A sentence or a few important and catchy words should be written  in bold to draw the attention of your visitors wherever appropriate
  9. Give a social proof that other successful people are actually benefiting from your products or service offerings
  10. Show the logos of the most important customers who are currently using your service. Testimonials, peer review and case studies could provide the all important social proof your customers look for before pressing the purchase button on your website
  11. Offer them to ask questions to give them assurances
  12. Try to use the words ‘you’ or ‘your’ instead of ‘I’ or ‘We’. For this you may have to change the order of the sentences substantially. But remember this website is not for you but for your customers. So, give them what they want before thinking about your own needs and goals
  13. Clearly state the nature of the problem your customers can solve by using your product or service
  14. Once you have spelled out the problem, give them a clear solution so that they can correlate these two concepts easily
  15. Differentiate yourself from the pack. Tell them exactly why you are better than your competitors in solving their problems
  16. Provide a money back guarantee if possible,  to reduce the potential risk your target customers may have in their minds
  17. Provide a clear call to action button which suits the content of the page in question
  18. Ease the checkout process. This is the stage where most of the would be customers abandon their shopping carts
  19. Finally test the landing pages of your site again and again and again.  Ask your customers what problems do they have with the existing design or copy and then try to remove the bottlenecks they facing while purchasing from you
Now it is your turn to comment on the above.

How to Use Social Media to Earn More Money

social-media-marketingSocial media marketing has gained lots of traction in the recent months and years.  As an online marketing manager, one needs to have a solid grip on the concept of social media and how to apply its strategies to earn more income from their web properties. In the following lines, we will list some of the basic strategies to get more traffic on your website and thus earn more income.

  1. Create  accounts with various social media websites. Yes, that is the very first step to start your journey to becoming the social media marketing guru you have always wanted to be.
  2. Connect with like-minded people like crazy
  3. Broadcast yourself on various multimedia sites like Youtube, Flickr etc. to spread the word
  4. Share relevant information via social networking websites such as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter etc.
  5. Add your social media links in your email messages
  6. Vote up at social networking websites like Digg, Reddit, Newsvine and the like
  7. Connect with like-minded communities aggressively
  8. Integrate your online and offline advertising to send a coherent message to your target communities
  9. Adapt your message for various social platforms
  10. Show up on local social media sites/directories to get as much visibility as possible
  11. Build a community of people who like what you are offering
  12. Create contests and offer deep discounts to attract customers

Could you suggest any other ways to leverage the power of social media to get better search engine visibility and thus more income form your website? We would love to hear from you on how to best utilize social media marketing to increase your sales revenue.

 

How to Manage Your Local Listings

local-listingsIn the past few years, there has been a plethora of location based service sites (LBS) on the Internet.  The examples include but not limited to location based social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Meetup etc.

These sites provide an opportunity to your prospective and existing customers share information about your business location, your products and services, and ultimately your reputation via their PCs and mobile screens. This has become especially true in Japan which has THE largest mobile penetration ratio in the world.  This unprecedented phenomenon can make or break your business in that mobile-savvy consumers can share their views about your business virtually in a matter of seconds.

For you to be able to reap the fullest advantages of the technology which can spread a good or bad news about your business so fast, you must develop a comprehensive strategy for establishing your local identity and brand awareness.

Following are some of the most important issues successful businesses need to consider while spreading their ‘word’ in their local search markets.

  • Assess your current listing on the LBS on regular basis
  • Fix all the problems with the content and branding these listings show about your business
  • Create consistent identity along all the LBS sites of any worth
  • Reward your users via discount coupons, promotions and communication
  • Encourage your loyal visitors to say some thing positive about your business.

Hitech Solutions has helped several customers in many industries in Japan and elsewhere improve their search engine visibility and conversion rates by aggressively implementing the above principles.  Please don’t hesitate to share your take on this issue.