Extreme Website Makeovers – Fixes That Boost Traffic, Conversions and Rankings

By Hector Cisneros

Has it been two or more years since you last updated your website? Is your 
Up To Date Ghost Sign
Up To Date Ghost Sign (Photo credit: joseph a)
website getting any significant traffic? Does Google, Yahoo or Bing consider your website a black hat feast filled spammy with links? Is it not showing up in organic search in these search engines’ first two pages? Is the special phone number you bought to track visitors ringing off the hook or is it dead silent? Are your visitors bouncing off your web pages faster than bouncy balls on hot pavement in the summer, or are they sticking like superglue and reading every word? Are people filling out your landing page forms to connect with you? Are they following you to your social nets and connecting with you there? Are your site’s visitors converting into sold customers? Is anybody complimenting you on your website, saying how useful it is and they’re delighted they found you?

Whoa! If you answered NO to any of these questions, then your website and Internet strategy needs to be refreshed. In this episode, we’ll cover the ins and outs of what has changed in website marketing technology. We’ll provide specific recommendations that are backed up by current marketing research and we’ll provide concrete examples of how you can implement these latest changes. So read on and stay tuned to this week’s show, “Website Makeover - Fixes to Boost Traffic, Conversion and Rankings.”

So from reading previous paragraph, you’ve now determined your website is dated and in an urgent need of a refresh. Where do you start?

Questions You Need to Be Asking!


Circle-no-questions
Circle-no-questions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you’re not an expert on web design and optimization, here are some questions you should ask your website vendor. He or she should be able to provide understandable and logical answers. If not, move on to another vendor. Your questions should probe how they track number of visits, type of visitors, where visitors come from, keywords used, bounce rate, conversions, drop off rate and position. Also ask how they know if a page is missing important items or if undesirable items have been added. And specifically ask what methodology they use. They won’t tell you exactly how they do it, but they should be able to tell you what they do and why.

Now let’s talk about your website in general. First and foremost, a web page needs to be focused. I say a web page because pages are indexed (i.e., listed) individually. In essence, all pages can act like landing pages, so it makes sense to make them as focused and as specific as possible. This is true even if you are selling a variety of products online. It makes more sense to organize and list your products by category on a focus page, than to have lots of pages with mixed products. Focus increases credibility, clarity and minimizes distractions. It provides motivation and helps compel a visitor to move forward towards the actual sales process.

Focus Give You Power and Clarity 


Being focused also provides the search engine bots clarity to determine what 
Day 23
Day 23 (Photo credit: ClawzCTR)
each page’s content is about. It helps them understand the content and to make sure there is no trickery going on. The more work a search bot has to do to understand your page, the greater the chance of it has of receiving a low ranking. Also, it’s important to understand that most of a page’s rank comes from what others think of your page. This is measured by the number of connections (authoritative backlinks, social links, testimonials, ranting, listing and other connections) and by what others are expressing about your web page (both positive and negative).   

Now let’s look at the individual elements of a web page. The domain name is part of every web page. Page titles should have the domain as part of the title (for example, http://www.workingthewebtowin.com/testimonials). So if you’re trying to get maximum focus, have the page title match as closely as possible to the domain name. Another example would be; http://www.newwindowsjacksonville.com/testimonials.html.

The body of the page needs to include focused paragraphs that use keyword 
matching for the domain and page title. For our second example above, the keywords would be “window installation.” What we mean by focused paragraphs is that the verbiage primarily only talks about one subject, in this case, window installation. All the content on the page (verbiage, photos, videos, diagrams, etc.) needs to be focused on this one subject. It can include who, why, what, how and when statements, but they all need to related to your one focused subject.

There are also hidden elements that are part of the html code that doesn’t show 
SEO Quote-SEO Refugee
SEO Quote-SEO Refugee (Photo credit: iwrite4money)
up on your visible pages. These code elements need to be addressed as well. Items such as META tags (keyword and description) and ALT tags (to describe pictures, etc), need to be completed and match the content. These are the so-called code SEO elements. These elements are not as crucial as they once were because search bots can now actually read and understand content. Nevertheless, they do need to match and be filled out properly.

Not Only Do These Elements Not Help, 

They Could Hurt Your Ranking!


Now let’s look at elements that generally don’t help your ranking. For a many years, unscrupulous website programmers have been using Java, Flash and CSS to trick the search engines into believing that a web page deserved a higher rank based on overt deception and not the value of its content. These black hat practices were par for the course for any web page builder until recently. What changed all this was the search spiders (programs that interpret what’s on a page) are now smart! Smart enough to understand grammar and word meaning within its content. Smart enough to spot most types of Java, Flash and CSS chicanery.

Now I’m not saying these elements are only used for trying to game the system. 
Flash Back
Flash Back (Photo credit: JD Hancock)
Quite the contrary, they have many legitimate uses, especially for more complex tasks like forms, data base usage, and for dynamically changing page elements. However, since this code is often located at the beginning of a page, the search bots will closely evaluate it. If a search bot deems the code to be suspicious, they may ignore the rest of the page altogether, and kick the listing back to a human being to review. In essence, it doesn’t help your cause at all. It’s been my experience that it’s much easier to get a clean html coded page rank high than one full of Java, Flash and CSS code.

Another mistake web designers make ― especially those who work for an ad agency ― is to leave off the backlinks connections. Most pages need to have a way to list links to other partner or resource pages. These pages should include your social sites, blog, B2B partners, rating sites, and others web properties that you feel are strategic connections. We recommend including the top five social sites (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube) along with Blogger. You should also have links to your Google Map, Google Local and Picasa page as well. Authoritative industry leaders’ backlinks are a big plus as well. Make sure you’re listed on the website for the products you represent and that you reciprocate that back-link as well.

Today's latte, Google Analytics.
Today's latte, Google Analytics. (Photo credit: yukop)
If your site is already build, Google and other search vendors provide tools to improve the function, speed and tracking of your site. Don’t forget to set up your Google analytics and Google Web Master tools as they will serve you well by helping your understand your web traffic.

Below are 12 credibility building elements that every page needs to be successful. Having all of the following elements will raise the chances of you converting a visitor from clicks into cash at some point. Try place as many of the elements above the fold as possible (i.e. the section of your page where you have to scroll to see more of the site). This is especially true for the phone number, special offer and testimonial video. Every element you leave out lowers your chances for success.

12 Elements Every Web Page Needs

  1. Clean and professional overall look and feel
  2. Focused quality content
  3. Focus more on form rather than fancy aesthetics
  4. Easy-to-find and trackable phone number
  5. Easy-to-find company contact information
  6. A map to make it easy to find you
  7. Testimonials (both video and written)
  8. Unique Selling Proposition (USP) video and an “About Us” section
  9. Compelling offer (must be perceived as useful and valuable to motivate visitors)
  10. Contact form (must include name and email address; phone and physical address are optional)
  11.  For selling online: easy-to-use and credible eCommerce buttons
  12.  Ability to accept MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discover and PayPal


Client Testimonial for Working The Web To Win

In this article I provided the questions that website owners needs to ask themselves about the value, functionality and performance of their websites. This article provides ways to tell if your website is dated and in dire need of a refresh. Importantly, it also provides details on what elements are needed to raise your ranking, increase traffic, and increase the chances of you being found on Page One of the major search engines.


If you’d like to find more articles like this read, “Is SEO Still Important in 2013” and “What’s Up With SEO?” or enter the words “SEO” in the search box at the top of this blog. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, co-workers and associates. If you have something to add or a difference of opinion, place them in the comments section.  It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

That's my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.

If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we will send you this free eBook. Your information is always keep private and never sold.





Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning, Internet-based marketing firm, Working the Web to Win, in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebook, Google+,  LinkedIn,  and YouTube.  He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business. Additionally, Hector is a syndicated writer on EzineOnline and is an active blogger (including ghost writing). He's a published author of two books, "60 Seconds to Success"(available at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get by filling out the form above. He’s also the co-author of the new book, “Working The Web to Win,” which is now available on Amazon.com.


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4 comments:

  1. The era of "Set it and Forget it" online marketing are over. If you want to start succeeding online stop acting like it's 1999.

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  2. I wish I knew as much about the Internet and all things Google as Mr. Cisneros. He's a treasure trove of actionable information.

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