Making Website Tweaks Easy

A recurring theme for 2010 is the increasing availability of web tools that make effective online marketing more accessible. Hot categories include a/b testing, mobile website maintenance, content management systems, and the interoperability of social media tools.

Yesterday I found another modest, but elegant, service that fits right in.

Sweaver is an new add-on for the Drupal CMS that dramatically eases the pain of making visual changes to your website. (As compared to content changes; that should be easy or you need a new site.)

Watch a minute of the developer’s video – begin at 0:45 or so.

Granted, sweaver isn’t an original idea. There are other visual website builders around, and it’s quite similar to the CSS editor in Drupal Gardens. But sweaver is built for one of the top three content management systems, and in good functional shape. It’s also free and appears to have the active support of a stable contributor. I love it.

The important point here is that visual tweaks are becoming less costly in terms of money and time. Either they now can be done by a less-expensive person, or in less time by your existing web person.

Research shows: Content development is a winner

La-di-da, the very day I sing the praises of content development, MarketingSherpa shares this chart.

It shows what “highly effective” SEO techniques are being used by B2B companies.

chartofweek-11-09-10-lp

All the large circles on the left (labelled in white) are basically one-time projects, requiring little ongoing maintenance.

Content development is the ongoing marketing project that gives the best SEO benefit. And, as I pointed out yesterday, it helps you convert more search-engine-referred visitors into leads.

Making new content is hard, but pays off.

Better Content for Better SEO and Lead Conversion

Is a search engine optimization program just for lead generation?

Nope.

On the face of it, you might think that high Google ranking = more site visitors, end of story.

But perhaps you’re stuck at the #3 position, or the #7, or can’t even break into the first page. Or you see a lot of visitors coming into your site, but they don’t raise their hand.

In that case, you might need to upgrade from SEO Program A to SEO Program B.

 

SEO Program A: Onpage keyword optimization, Links from irrelevant sites.

SEO Program B: Onpage keyword optimization, Better website content, Links from relevant sites

 

 

The Difference Between Two Inbound Links

Let’s imagine two realty firms in San Antonio, who have the same website content.

Rae Lynn’s site has inbound links from 100 sites, including a Las Vegas ultrasound clinic, a Phoenix hair extension shop, an acupuncturist in Maryland, and so on. (This from a real-life example, by the way.)

Billy Bob’s firm has links from 100 sites, including the San Antonio newspaper, the local Chamber of Commerce, the local hospital foundation, and so on.

The site with the more relevant links will ALWAYS rank higher (all other things being equal), and thus get more site traffic.

Now, I cannot gainsay a SEO program of type A that gets you high rankings. Some links are better than none, and you may also be in a noncompetitive keyword space. You certainly will pay less for it, since SEO firms usually have a financial relationship with the ultrasound clinic and the acupuncturist. (Those websites are termed “link farms”.) And obtaining valuable links takes time and money.

But the “high road” positions you better for long-term online marketing success, not least because the  value of an irrelevant link usually goes down.

Then there is the matter of visitor conversion… which, after all, is the goal of a website.

Give the People What They Want

The middle item in SEO Program B, “Better website content” is the key since it helps you two ways. It simultaneously leads to 1) greater conversion of visitors into leads; and 2) links from better-respected sites.

Prospects are more likely to “raise their hands” on your site if you begin to help them fix their problem. How can you? By educating them about the problem and the solutions, by establishing your credibility, and by answering their most common questions.

People who run other websites are more likely to link to you if your site provides value for their readers.

Content achieves those things. Basic examples of content are case studies, engaging videos, and commentary and/or curation of relevant news.

So in a fantasy world, you would have all this great customer-friendly content on your site and be #1 on Google.

The tradeoff, of course, is that it takes money and time to create that content (and also to ask people for links).

Is it worth it?

Well, we now arrive at the consultant’s “It Depends” moment.

Factors affecting your decision to create compelling content include:

  1. Your “authority opportunity” – can you credibly establish that you’re an authority on something?
  2. What are your competitors doing?
  3. Are you patient enough to wait months for results, and understand that SEO has uncertain results?
  4. Do you have existing and noncompetitive relationships with other authorities in your industry?
  5. Are your current search engine rankings good enough?
  6. Are search engines going to become a more or less important customer acquisition channel?
  7. Can you reuse content in other marketing programs?
  8. Can customers create that content for you?

As complex as online marketing has become, it still boils down to giving prospects what they need to move to the next stage of the buying process. Content is central to that, and it can help your SEO too.

 

What’s the top spot worth?

Editor’s Note: Someone must have done this before. My plagiarism, if any, is unintentional.

How much more frequently does the #1 search result get clicked, compared to the ones further down?

This image shows the click frequency of the results on the first page, as illustrated by the relative size of the result itself.

visual-display-search-clicks-2010

 

Not breakthrough thought, just a fun infographic.

The data set is here.