Internet Marketing: Lessons Learned and Best Practices Part 2 – Website and SEO Principles

Compiled from 20 Years of Marketing Success 

By Hector Cisneros

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Did you know that most of the websites that exist today were created more than four years ago? And, for the most part, many website developers and designers haven’t upgraded what they consider to be key elements for a web page. Many still consider large banners at “the top of the fold” to still be important, most leave out critical home page elements needed to convey trust and credibility to visitors.  This article is part of a four part series to help clients create a unified and coherent marketing campaign. It delves into the best practices we’ve discovered during our successful marketing campaigns over the last 20 years. We put particular emphasis on the important changes that have taken place online in the last five years. So let’s jump right in a look at the best practices we’ve discovered for web page setup and pertaining to SEO.

To access and read the other three articles in this series, type the word "marketing" in the search bar at the above right of this page.

Websites and Landing Pages

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Most clients come to us with only one existing website. This is very old school. First of all, one website is no longer enough today.  A main website (often referred to as a “nexus”site) needs to be supported by Landing Pages, because the search engines have changed their emphasis to look for focused messages, yet most nexus sites don’t provide this.  Those Landing Pages can be part of the main domain or located on totally separate domains.  We like the latter because of the backlinks they provide and because you may be able to get a great keyword as the domain name.

Clients have a tendency to create their website’s content and then leave it unchanged for several years. This static content does not add value to the web, increase the number of visitors, or to improve your ranking.  Adding backlinks to your blog’s social nets and other web properties is also very important. This is especially true if you can add on-page elements that show your latest blog titles, social posts, YouTube videos, pictures and podcast.

You can’t skimp on unique content for your Landing Pages.  Each one must have a unique focus and content. This includes videos, pictures, verbiage, even links.  The layout can be similar (for branding purposes) to your nexus site, but to keep from being sandboxed, you need to make sure the Landing Pages do not look exactly the same as, or have the same verbiage as your nexus site, otherwise they will be tagged as serial web pages. 

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For web pages/Landing Pages to be successful, you need to actively drive traffic to these sites. Gone are the days of easily obtaining Page One rankings. More than 100,000 new websites hit the Internet every day. To get found, you have to promote these web pages. This can be organic promotions through social networking and blogging, or by direct email marketing, using a pay per click/view model, or a combination of these and other elements.  However, if a web page is not actively promoted, it will not be found easily.

You can’t ignore the mobile market.  Your websites and Landing Pages need to be mobile-friendly, or you will lose a huge portion of user traffic.  Currently there are over 1.75 billion smartphone users worldwide and that number probably doubles if you add in all the laptops, tablets, e-reader’s and other smart devices people use today.  In today’s market, prospects are out there, product and price comparison shopping on their mobile devices while they’re standing in front of your store.  Make sure your web pages are either created with HTML5 (which provides dynamic page scaling on mobile devices) or you create a dedicated “mobi” site that is fat finger-friendly, easy to read, and has lots of compelling videos and/or photos that don’t require lots of reading.  Worth noting is that a blog posted on Blogger can act as a website, landing page and blog site all in one and it’s mobile-friendly.

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Elements That Build Trust

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Most websites and Landing Pages today place an emphasis on beauty and having a “coolness factor.” Don’t get me wrong, we’re not saying web pages should be ugly or boring looking.  However, they need to be functional and generate trust ― first and foremost. They need to behave professionally, not just look beautiful.  We’ve found that all webpages need to be easily navigable, with an emphasis on minimizing the number of clicks needed to find any content the visitor is looking for.  All websites, especially Landing Pages, need to include an easy-to-find phone number, contact address, clear and focused message, a compelling call-to-action message or offer, a contact form, a unique selling proposition video, and a testimonial video. Leaving any of these key elements out reduces the trust factor the page is designed to generate.

Search Ranking Principles

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Most websites are now listed in more than a half dozen search directories. We’ve found that posting to the top 100 search directories has always been important.  Now it’s even more important for organic, local directory search position.  It’s also a proven way to make sure your site gets indexed.  Search directories are often considered authoritative, legitimate sites. These authoritative directories give you lots of backlinks to your domain and they usually produce some traffic as well. Companies that are producing large quantities of content can take advantage of posting to the top 100 search directories monthly. This ensures all the content they’re producing is indexed more frequently than once every six months. Posting monthly will assure monthly indexing to the search engines.

Don’t Forget Your Partners

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Partner backlinks are still very important to the search engines.  However, connection to unrelated sites is of little value.  It's also very important that you create a backlink to all of your social sites. Leaving them out will cost you ranking points.  Make sure you include the top five social nets (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube).  Social backlinks via testimonials provide the most search engine “ranking juice.”  This is followed by authoritative partner sites, followed by other business partners.  Ratings and positive testimonial backlinks are golden.  If you’re in the restaurant business, make sure you foster positive testimonials and reviews on Google Local, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as well as Yelp, Merchant Circle or Four Square.  

Feeding the Gorilla

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If you want to win in the organic search ranking game, you have to “feed” Google. It is the 800-pound gorilla in the room and has a very large appetite. Today, Google controls 70 to 80% of the worldwide search market.  Make sure you use as many Google properties as possible, including Google+, Local, Maps, Blogger, YouTube, Picasa, etc.  You get the idea.  Google “understands” its properties and can index them quickly.  Google also uses this as part of its overall search ranking algorithm (but remember their algorithm has more than 200 elements and also changes). We believe Google likes its own web properties because it’s harder to trick them when using Google’s own products.  

Get a Quick Bump in Search

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Press Releases are still valuable, but the release must be a quality, timely, and relevant article.  It must be newsworthy to be effective and to help with organic search position.  For local businesses, it’s important that the press releases are sent to local and regional news outlets as well.

In this article, I discussed the website and SEO lessons we’ve learned and the best, award-winning Internet marketing practices we have developed over the last five years.  I provided details for both the big strategic picture and pragmatic tactical elements of these lessons and best practices, so that the reader can have a thorough understanding of what works and what could hinder their success. 

You can find more than a dozen articles about Internet marketing and how it has evolved on our blog Is SEO Still Important in 2013?” and the “What's Up With SEO?,” just to name a few.  Thanks for sharing your valuable time with us. To access the other articles in this four-part series, simply click on the following direct links: Part 1 – The Big Picture, Part 2 – Website and SEO Principles, Part 3 – The Social Media Dynamic, and Part 4 – Content is King.  Thanks for sharing your valuable time with us.
site by entering “SEO” or “Website” in the search box, at the top of this blog. I also recommend reading the “

That’s my opinion, I look forward to reading yours.

If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we'll email it to you. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.

Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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