Archive for the ‘Search Engine Marketing’ Category

Custom Designed Website Solution for Small Businesses

At DigitalDay, we’re big believers in the power of beautifully designed, well-branded, search engine optimized websites for all businesses, large or small.

We also believe it’s very important to update your business’ website on a regular basis to keep it fresh, current and alive in the search engines while encouraging visitors to return often.

Integrate WordPress to Bring Your site to Life

For small businesses, DigitalDay offers a great solution in the form of a WordPress integrated custom design providing a simple way to manage your content and update your website effortlessly.

WordPress is a free, open source blog publishing application. It features integrated link management; a search engine-friendly, clean permalink structure; the ability to assign nested, multiple categories to articles; multiple author capability; and support for tagging of posts and articles.

But, with the right strategy and design help, WordPress doesn’t have to look like a blog. We work with small businesses to:

  • Define your online marketing and search engine optimization strategy
  • Design your site’s Information Architecture, write copy and create your site’s professional, custom design
  • Develop the HTML templates and integrate the WordPress platform into your site
  • Deploy your custom, content-managed site on our servers or yours

Original Content is the Key to SEO and New Business

When using WordPress for your website, we’ll set up a static front page that doesn’t look like a blog at all, and then have a link to “articles” area on your site, where you can easily publish content rich articles.

This articles area is a list of the blog posts that you create, and the content acts as “spider food” for the search engine crawlers. All you have to do is write and publish the blog post, and the article page gets updated automatically for you, and WordPress lets the crawlers know your site has been updated.

Regularly publishing quality articles and content to your website gives search engines more content to crawl, and provides value to your web site visitors. For example, if you are a Veterinarian, you can publish short articles that address the needs of your pet-owning market, as the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic has done with these recent articles:

The Sick Cat: A Master of Hiding Symptoms

Exercise! Healthy Living for Dogs and Cats

Microchip, a Decision for Peace of Mind

This is a great way to provide value to your visitors, and help your website rank better in the search results. And if your content is good, other people will link to your site, helping you even more.

And when your website is set up with WordPress, it takes minutes to post the articles, and Google finds them within a day or less. This means other people can find them too, and in turn find your website and your business.

How to Get Started

While the WordPress software is free, our services are not . . . sorry. Before you contact us, set aside website design budget of between $5,000 and $10,000. Then, to minimize your costs and the website’s design and development time, organize the following as best you can:

  1. Create an outline of all the navigation sections and pages that you’d want to fully describe your business
  2. Write copy or collect all of the information (brochures, press releases, etc.) that would populate each of those pages
  3. Gather up artwork and photos to support your information – or get a photographer to shoot it for you

The more you do up front, the lower your costs will be. If you don’t have the time or skill, we can do it all for you and we’ll provide a detailed estimate of our costs and manage the entire process.

For more information, contact us today to see if we can help your business get its fair share from online marketing.

Samples of our WordPress Integrated Work

To help give you a sense of how WordPress can look, take a minute to review these recent WordPress integrated sites we developed for our small business clients.

Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

Conte & Company, CPA

Volunteers of Bow Wow Beach

DigitalDay’s Internal SEO Strategy Pays Off

February 4, 2009 1 comment

Over two years ago, when I did a Google search for “Cleveland Web Design” my agency, DigitalDay, showed up on the 8th page, ranking around #84. Hardly effective.

We immediately began an effort to optimize our website and implement organic search engine marketing tactics to move up in the rankings. Even though we’re a national agency with clients all over the country, we decided to aim for geographically qualified keywords focusing on Cleveland and extending out to all of Ohio.

For some phrases, the more narrow, we quickly landed on the first page. For “Cleveland Web Design,” it’s taken almost two years but last week we made it clocking in at #8. I’ll attach a screen capture in case it changes.

Here’s a list of the phrases we targeted and our current Google Results Ranking:

#8 — “cleveland web design

#2 — “cleveland web design agency

#2 — “cleveland online marketing

#3 — “akron web design agency

#144 — “ohio web design” (we need to work on this)

#10 — “ohio web design agency

#7 — “ohio online marketing agency

This works paid off not only in demonstrating our SEO skills, but it got us invited to pitch a large consumer brand near Cleveland in November last year — and we won the business.

Google Search Results for the terms "cleveland web design" on February 3, 2009.

Google Search Results for the terms "cleveland web design" on February 3, 2009.

Leveraging Social Media for Political Website Design

August 1, 2008 Leave a comment

Two weeks ago I received the kind of email I dread: My brother asked if we could help his brother-in-law with the design and development of a political website. After doing a little digging, my fears were confirmed — there would be little to no money to do this and no content to work with.

The site would be for Bill Conte, a Republican candidate for Summit County, Ohio’s Fiscal Officer. This is a local race in a city that is 85% Democrat against an entrenched incumbent who’s held the office for more than 20 years. The phrase “snowball’s chance . . . “ quickly popped into my head.

Surveying other local, county and state level political websites, we quickly saw how badly most of them are done — poor design, no organic optimization and just plain boring. At the very least, we figured we could have a little fun with design, do something different and maybe benefit from a little networking.

Being a push-over, I agreed with the stipulation that we would have total control of the strategy and creative.

To help prime the search engine pump, we immediately launched a coming soon, organically optimized, place-holder site.

Yesterday, we launched, a simple political website that leverages social media as much as possible. We created and embedded Flickr, Linked In, and My Space accounts to help spread the Conte word through social networking, create link-backs to the website and pump up organic search. We seeded YouTube with a couple simple videos. Finally, we created a WordPress blog  as a content management tool and embedded it into the site.

Bill Conte for Summit County, Ohio Fiscal Officer Website

Bill Conte for Summit County, Ohio Fiscal Officer Website

Two weeks ago, if you did a Google search for “Bill Conte” or “William Conte”, our guy had no results. Today, he’s on the first page at number 1 and 8, respectively. For the much more competitive term “Summit County Fiscal Officer”, the YouTube video ranks number 6. Pretty good results in just two weeks.

Now it’s up to Bill to work the social media and keep this snowball from melting too soon. It will be interesting to see what happens in November.

The Benefits of Proactive Search Engine Optimization

July 30, 2008 Leave a comment

Here at our Cleveland-based web design agency DigitalDay, we’ve been talking about the importance of good page titles, meta tags, descriptions and alt tags for search engine optimization and it seemed like a good time to mention this blog post. Author Paul Elliot suggests that optimizing a site for search engines is far more effective if implemented at the beginning of the design process rather than post-launch—and he’s right.

While the temptation to rush a project through the design process may be enticing, the benefits of proper search engine optimization definitely outweigh the few weeks saved by cutting corners and not focusing on optimization efforts from the beginning.

Amit Singhal spills the beans about Google search technology in this recent post, giving a little insight into how the world’s most popular search engine can adapt user queries to find relevant information. As he says, search has moved from “give me what I said to give me what I want.” Even as technologies improve, if Google can’t find your site, your potential customers can’t find you either. Who your would-be customers will find, though, is one of your competitors.

As crawlers become more sophisticated, factors such as URL formatting, directory structure, file names of graphical elements, and even comments in HTML markup are becoming more important in helping spider-based search engines determine the fullest extent of a site’s content.

When designing a site with heavy use of Adobe Flash, AJAX or Javascript, it is important to think of the spiders and allow your site to be indexed with proper usage of page titles, meta tags, and descriptions. Although even now, Adobe, Yahoo, and Google have teamed up to make spiders index Flash .SWF files. This makes planning even more important as poorly organized .SWF files, once irrelevant to SEO, can bog down a site’s PageRank.

SEO doesn’t stop at the content development stage, however. As Paul Elliot mentions, “poorly formed code that is difficult for the spiders to traverse can negatively impact ranking performance.” Coding in CSS allows the relevant content information to be at the top of the page with everything else following it.

Keeping these SEO basics in mind can save a lot of headache later. Elliot compared “four projects in which optimization was a post-launch initiative to four projects in which optimization was include in the initial scope of the design…” and found that “on average, the post-launch method of search engine optimization led to incremental redesign project costs of roughly 30%.” This is no small amount of money for something that could have been avoided.

Money isn’t the only cost of delaying search engine optimization. The cost of lost opportunity can be far greater. “The process of ranking for competitive terms,” writes Elliot, “can take upwards of six months.” Elliot found that “the integrated approach to SEO, in which optimization activities are embedded in the redesign project scope, can shave roughly five months off of the time that is required to achieve top organic search engine listings.” This time is invaluable in getting your product or service to the top of Google’s PageRank, allowing you to inform the searching public about your company.

Like so many other things, it pays to do the job the right way the first time.

Categories: Internet, Search Engine Marketing Tags:

To Blog or Not to Blog — the Five Ws of B-to-B Blogging

July 15, 2008 2 comments

A fellow Transworld Advertising Agency Network (TAAN) advertising agency owner met me for lunch yesterday at Fishers Pub in Peninsula, Ohio to question me about blogging. He’s considering starting an agency blog but is not sure where to begin,  what kind of content to develop or, more fundamentally, why to blog at all.

It was an interesting discussion and helped me to think about how I blog on behalf of our Cleveland-based web design agency, DigitalDay. Thinking about that made me think about writing this blog post which I’ve organized as the Five Ws of Agency Blogging.

Why Blog?
I blog for one purpose — to promote our agency. I’m not doing it for vanity, personal edification, or because I think my opinions and thoughts are so important I must share them with the world. My posts are all designed to help attract new business.

I blog because the content I create gets spidered and catalogued by search engines which helps to bring new visitors to our agency’s website. Hopefully, once they’re there, these new visitors see the quality of our work, find a service they could use and then contact us.

It seems to work as we get a couple serious inquiries every month.

What to Blog?
Anything that relates to our business is relevant subject matter for our blog. This falls into two categories — micro and macro. The Micro-Content is news and information specifically about DigitalDay. Macro-content is news and observations relating to our industry, website design and online marketing.

At a Micro-level, the blog acts as our online PR tool and with blog posts that include:

  • New Project Launches: Anytime we create a new website, online promotion or any significant work that shows off our capabilities and skills, I create a post. This helps create an online archive of our work which I can use to present or email to new or existing clients and it also helps to promote our client’s sites.
  • New Client Announcements: When we acquire a new client or significant piece of new business from an existing client, I use the blog and pepper the post with the client’s unique, search-engine rich brand names. Often, people searching for our clients, find our blog and then our website.
  • New Employees and Promotions: A personnel release not only acknowledges our people, it includes personal names which are great, unique keywords. I try and use them whenever possible and reasonable so that when their friends, family and colleagues search for them, they have the opportunity to find us.
  • Milestones and Awards: For all of the reasons above, I blog whenever there’s significant (and sometimes insignificant) news about our agency.

Macro-content is any industry-wide news or information that clients or prospective clients might find interesting. For our business, this could relate to standards-compliant website design, ecommerce website development, search engine optimization, online promotions, email marketing, social networking or any of those broader, but strong keywords that bring qualified searchers to our website.

Who should Blog?
While 90 percent of our blog posts are by me, this is not by design. Everyone in our agency is encouraged to contribute. It seems reasonable that employees would blog about their specific expertise, which in our case would be web design, web programming, SEO, etc.

The reality is writing a blog post takes time and effort and, “if it’s not my job I’m probably not going to do it” which is an unfortunate attitude because if the agency is successful, the employees will be successful.

I’ve hesitated to assign blogging as a responsibility or requirement because I’d prefer people to be pro-active (perhaps this post will motivate a few to contribute on occasion — hint, hint). As a business-to-business marketing strategy, it’s probably a good idea to make blogging part of the job or to assign specific people to contribute. Perhaps we’ll revisit this policy within DigitalDay.

When to Blog?
Four words: As Often As Possible. From experience, the more blog posts we have the more traffic we get to our website. When we don’t blog our traffic begins to fall. The following chart illustrates this dramatically. From June 2007 till April 2008, the goal was at least one new blog post per week and traffic rose at a strong rate, except for the dip in November when there were very few posts. Since April, posts to the DigitalDay blog have been few and far between and our traffic is plummeting.

If we did one new blog post every work day, our traffic would skyrocket. At a minimum, there should be at least one new post per week to keep traffic moving on an upward curve. And, I’ve found, it’s best to post Monday through Thursday when people are more active on their computers. Weekend posts, while helpful, are often overlooked or buried come the working week.

Where to Blog?
Ideally, you want your blog integrated into your business’s site. Developing a blog for your business can be relatively easy. How complicated you make it depends on your needs and available resources.

An easy path is to leverage one of the community blogging sites like Blogger or Word Press (the one we use here). These offer free accounts or, for a nominal fee more robust functionality allowing custom branding, more file size and the ability to integrate it into your business site. Using any of these sites helps promote your posts within that built in blog community.

Or, you could integrate a custom blog into your business site as we did with the TAAN blog, for example. It’s a little more effort and you might need to hire an online agency like DigitalDay to help you, but you’ll have complete control over the functionality and branding.

If you have access, you can also blog on third party sites. Many groups and organizations allow members to post to their blogs. If you do this, be sure to include links to your site so people will find your agency online.

How to Blog?
Everyone has a different writing style. To be most effective online, it’s important to adapt your style for ease of reading on a computer screen. To write for the web:

  • Craft your post in a word-processing program first and copy and paste it into the blog.
  • Keep paragraphs short.
  • Use bulleted or numbered lists.
  • Break up long blocks of copy with subheads.
  • Insert graphics, photos or videos to illustrate your points.
  • Link keywords whenever possible.
  • And most importantly, be self-serving: work in the specific keywords and phrases to help your audience find you through a search engine.

Get your voice out there
At the beginning of 2008, Technorati reported it is tracking over 112.8 million blogs worldwide (not counting 70+ million in China) with more than 120 thousand new blogs coming online every day. Even with that overwhelming number, you can be heard and seen by posting often and following some good blog practices.

So start blogging, you owe it to your business.

DigitalDay Cracks Google Top 10

July 5, 2008 1 comment

A little over a year ago, DigitalDay began an experiment to see if we could optimize our website’s Google ranking for two specific search terms:  “cleveland web design” where we ranked #45 and “cleveland online marketing” where we had no ranking.

We created our current one-page site, worked some basic organic search engine optimization and watched as our ranking climbed.

Within a couple weeks of launch, we ranked in the top 10 for “cleveland online marketing.”  Last week, we were still ranked #6.

It’s taken longer for us to move up with the more competitive term “cleveland web design.”   For months we were stuck on the second page, sometimes slipping to the third. Even so, we were still seeing traffic increases and a higher volume of qualified inquiries through our website. Well, last week we cracked it coming in at #10.

Even though its performed well, we’ll soon put our one-page site to bed. Stay tuned for the the next re-design.

A SEO Site and Program is Critical for CPG Food Brands

April 23, 2008 Leave a comment

A 2007 study by comScore, Yahoo, and the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) on behalf of Procter & Gamble, analyzed the role of online search in generating website traffic. Highlights of the study include:

CPG food Consumers Rely Heavily on Search

    Almost half (47%) of CPG food site visitors come from search

CPG Search Traffic

Why do CPG Searchers search?

    73% of searchers were motivated by product research.
    64% were seeking help with the purchase decision.
    47% were looking for promotions.

The payoff: CPG Searchers Spend More

    Searchers spent approximately 20% more than non-searchers.

How to Maximize your CPG site’s search results
Even with those overwhelming statistics, most CPG sites fall short in search for many reasons — none of which are valid. To make sure your site is receiving its fair share of search, engage a professional firm, like DigitalDay, to:

    Analyze and optimize your site’s structure to help search engines effectively crawl through your site and categorize your pages.
    Research the appropriate keywords and phrases consumers would use to find your category — and then implement those keywords properly within your site.
    Embark on a link-building program to increase your site’s link score (a very important search ranking criteria).
    Promote your online promotions and online coupons through consumer-oriented message boards and blogs.

“Organic Juice” — a DigitalDay Case Study
Employing these techniques, DigitalDay has helped two clients achieve #1 and #2 results consistently for more than two years for their most important keywords driving more than 70% of their traffic through search.

Organic Juice Search Results

The Digg Effect

November 22, 2007 Leave a comment

Social news aggregate Digg is well-known for its ability to drive traffic to unlikely, and sometimes likely, Web sites and blogs. The surges in traffic from popular posts often result in overloaded servers or hit bandwidth caps in a phenomenon dubbed the “Digg effect.”

Ben Cook, a curious blogger who runs Blogging Experiment, wondered whether the Digg effect could leave enough lasting effect for a blog to rely on for its foreseeable future. Basically, how much traffic would he continue to receive once the surge in visitors from a Digg post had dwindled away? Ben created a blog called Hilarious Names back in May and posted the first article to Digg to see what kind of results he would get.

Well, after receiving about 20,000 visitors within a few hours, things died down to about 1,000 a day and then to 10 a day. He decided to take a look at the blog’s stats again recently and found that it still receives 40-50 visitors a day and is the top result of over 2,000,000 in a Google query for “hilarious names.” Seventy-five percent of Hilarious Names’ traffic comes from search engines and 19% is from the Digg post. He concedes that 40-50 visitors a day isn’t that big of a deal, but it is kind of impressive considering that this traffic comes six months after his post on Digg and the only effort he put into the blog was posting two articles.

As an avid Digg user (a “Digg addict,” if you will) I’m intrigued. It makes sense, but like the people before Ben Cook, I never really thought about how much traffic a blog could be left with once the Digg effect had waned. Digg really holds a lot more potential than many people give it credit for.

Source: Blogging Experiment – The Lasting Digg Effect

Google Growth

November 21, 2007 Leave a comment

Google has been at the top of the search engine game for years and new data from Hitwise shows that it’s only getting more popular. The search engine that spawned “googling” as an acceptable verb is now used for nearly 65% of all Web searches in the US.

Hitwise Search Engine Marketshare - Oct 2007

Usage of Google went up almost 6% last month compared to a year ago. Of the next three most popular search engines, Yahoo! Search, MSN Search, and, Ask was the only one to see its numbers rise. It’s quite impressive to see Google grow an already commanding lead. Yahoo! Search took second place with 21.65% of searches in the US. That’s only a third of the queries Google handled!

I’d actually be a bit curious to see how many users rely on more than one search engine for typical use since it seems they tend to be pretty loyal to their favorite. I guess I’ll just have to google it to find out… (hah hah).

Consumer-Generated Reviews Impact Online Marketing Objectives

August 7, 2007 Leave a comment

A new e-Marketer survey points out strong evidence how consumer-generated ratings and reviews on web sites help to:

  • increase conversions
  • improved customer retention and loyalty
  • improve search engine optimization