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Posts Tagged ‘Search Engine Optimization’

By Radi Hindawi

One of my clients asked me a very crucial question when looking at their company’s overall marketing strategies:

“Will a website be enough for me to launch my company and attract new customers?”

With the increased availability of online marketing tools including search engine optimization and social media, it is more likely that users starting new businesses are able to attract higher traffic levels to their web pages.

HOWEVER, it is important to keep in mind that many audience groups continue to refer to the “traditional” communications tools such as newspapers, banners and radio broadcasting. Focusing efforts on online marketing only may result in companies missing out on a major chunk of the market and potential customers.

Although a website is an important component of marketing a product/service, it cannot be done in isolation.

When developing a marketing campaign for a new business, product or service, an entrepreneur usually asks three important questions:

Who are my target customers and how can I attract them?

What unique services do I have compared to my primary competitors? What makes me different?

How do I feel about changing/adapting a particular business strategy or structure?

However, a fourth question businesses should also consider, especially when starting an online website, is:

Have my targeted clients even heard of my company?

Having a powerful online presence will lose its value if customers do not know who you are and are not incented to visit your webpages. Even with the availability of highly sophisticated IT and search engine tools, ‘word of mouth’ still plays a pivotal role in our current industry, as do traditional marketing outlets and communication channels. Emerging businesses are likely to research companies before actually looking to create some form of relationship with the seller.

Let us take Best Buy Canada (http://www.bestbuy.ca) as an example. Best Buy has a very sophisticated webpage that provides comprehensive customer service and support to its varying customers. At present, it is safe to assume Best Buy generates significant sales as a result of its powerful online presence and effective e-commerce efforts. However, this success has only been attainable because customers are aware of the Best Buy brand, and this, correspondingly, has helped  develop a loyalty to the company with users who are  readily able to visit their online pages for more information.

The idea is simple – How will the market define you? Do you have a unique trait that sets you apart from your competitors? What will your clients and customers know you as which makes you different?

Following the example above, Best Buy has continuously implemented a powerful brand name that emphasizes their non-commission staff whose primary objective is to support you in your purchasing decision.

This sets Best Buy apart from their primary competitors who all work on commission.

A website can help to get your company going and expand your market reach virtually. However, businesses must also look to other vehicles to help build a powerful brand name, raise awareness, promote their product/service and attract a larger group of potential clients in the market.

Radi Hindawi is a Digital Enterprise Specialist graduate from the University of Toronto’s Communications, Culture and Information Technology program. Radi has leveraged his academic background and professional experiences in web development, online communications and digital marketing to found a digital media company and manage a successfully growing blog. For more information, please visit www.radihindawi.com

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Radi Hindawi

One of the first mistakes individuals make when leveraging search engine optimization and directories, is to assume that the use of these tools is an easy matter. There are no shortcuts around digital marketing. You must be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time and resources in order to yield the benefits of these tools. This may include re-building the coding of your existing design and re-structuring various modules that link to your site.

Below are key mistakes that many individuals continue to make when utilizing search engine optimization and directories to enhance their online presence.

META Tags

One of the biggest mistakes comes from the actual coding of the website. Individuals tend to forget, or avoid using META Tags in belief that they infringe on the privacy of others. This, however, is not the case. META Tags allow you to define your web pages on emerging search engines and directory listings. Even though Google no longer requires an individual to build such coding, many upcoming search engines still use this coding system as a primary means of dictating a name and valid description for a site.

The two most efficient META Tags are “Description” and “Keywords“. “Description” allows you to define your site and its content, while “Keywords” are based on words that people search to find your website.

Site Content

It is also important to structure your content in a more efficient, user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing way. One of the biggest challenges faced by many existing websites is that the information is so cluttered that search engines cannot build a valid set of tags for them. There are a couple of strategies that can be used to build a website’s content including the use of headers and sub headers, bold/italic text and even bullet points.

It is estimated that today’s users will ONLY browse through your content for around 13 seconds, so you must structure your site accordingly.

Submitting your URL

DO NOT limit yourself to Google.

It is important to submit your site to as many search engines and national directories as possible. Limiting yourself to one system may deter your future plans of growth. The current dominance of Google is likely to waver in the next ten years, in the face of fierce competition. With that being said, it is important to ensure that your site is adopted by as many search engines as possible, to compensate users that use Bing, Yahoo and even Ask Jeeves.

It is also important to look at various directories that can help boost your numbers. In Ontario, many organizations fail to submit themselves to the Ontario Business Directory and DMOZ (Open Directory Project). Even though such submission processes are time-consuming, it is crucial for every organization to research these directories, as they have the potential of sharing your site with more users and a wider demographic.

Getting Individuals/Sites to Link to you

It is also essential for you to constantly promote your site and get others to link back to you. Social networking sites do build on your page ranking, but are NOT ENOUGH to extend your sites’ foundations online. One of the most efficient ways of building ranking today is through blogging. However, the biggest mistakes made when blogging is in terms of the featured content. Always ensure that the content being blogged is:

  • Easy to read and well-organized with links, bold/italic text and bullets.
  • Directly and strongly related to the site that you are promoting. If your website is about your company, do not discuss your personal life on the blog.
  • Linking back from the blog to your website. Confirm that these links are clearly visible, active and not broken.

It is also important to keep informing your blog-followers on any updates and progress to your website, and any URL/page changes.

Radi Hindawi is a Digital Enterprise Specialist graduate from the University of Toronto’s Communications, Culture and Information Technology program. Radi has leveraged his academic background and professional experiences in web development, online communications and digital marketing to found a digital media company and manage a successfully growing blog. For more information, please visit www.radihindawi.com

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Radi HindawiBy Radi Hindawi

You hire a graphic consultant to develop a web presence for your company. After months of investing your time and resources and even longer overcoming obstacles and emerging issues, your website is finally complete. You successfully launch it online under your personalized URL address and wait for the hoards to beat a path to your door, but they do not come.

In the cluttered world of web pages and online information, simply having a webpage is no longer sufficient. This should, instead, be complemented by additional web optimization tools that can raise the profile and awareness of your site across the World Wide Web. Web optimization is a different process and requires a different approach than web design.

SEO RadiWeb optimization is about  building traffic on your site. Web optimization allows you to link your site with unique keywords, labels and other features that will be directly associated to your page during a user’s search. Ultimately this process will lead to an increased awareness and traffic.

Web optimization utilizes different tools and it is important to understand how each can increase your online presence.

Social Media

Social Media tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook allow you to publish and market your website’s URL to these communities of followers, increasing its accessibility.

Search Engine Optimization

Submit your website URL to search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN Search and Ask Jeeves to improve search optimization every time an individual links into your site.

Blog Development

Blogs are great tools that can help introduce and attract readers to your site. They allow you to communicate directly with your clients online.

Directory Navigation

Another area, which tends to be forgotten, is that of directories. Directories filter your website into various categories allowing more users to directly connect to you online.

Each of these tools requires a significant amount of time, effort and patience. However the outcomes of these efforts are significantly positive and, as a result, can generate increased visitors to your site and build a powerful and positive image for not just your website, but your business.

Radi Hindawi is a fourth year Digital Enterprise Specialist student at the University of Toronto. Radi has extensive experience in web development and design and currently runs his own company, Innovations Canada . Email Radi  Hindawi.radi@gmail.com

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