1. Provo, UTAH – Feb. 3, 2011 – With so many people going straight to the Internet to find what they need, it’s more important than ever for companies, practices, and other organizations to have websites that rank high in search results.  In an effort to help college students understand this reality and teach them how to create and implement effective Internet marketing strategies, Crexendo, a premier Web marketing company,  is holding a website competition at Brigham Young University (BYU). Beginning February 3 Crexendo Business Solutions, headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, will provide its online marketing tools free to BYU students who are entered in the competition. Each contestant gets free web hosting for their site, access to the Crexendo content management system (CMS), and SEO training; all the necessities for building and marketing a live e-commerce website.

    Crexendo President Clint Sanderson said, “This is a great way for college students to get real-world experience in entrepreneurship, Web marketing, and Web design. Each contestant has access to everything he or she needs to build, run, and market a working e-commerce website.”

    Students plan and build a website promoting a real-life product or service, and then use the website and SEO training—including link-building techniques—they’ll get from Crexendo to draw visitors to their site. The training is part of the contest and free of charge.

    “Technology is a fundamental aspect of conducting business in today’s society, and as long as that is the case there is a vital need to help students understand how they can leverage it for their benefit. Those who understand the foundational principles behind online business and are able to network with the movers and shakers in the field will have a significant advantage over those who do not,” said Jeff Brown, Program Director at Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at BYU.

    Prize money pay-outs will be $10,000 for first place; $5,000 for second place; $1,500 for third place; and six runners up at $250 each. Judges from Crexendo and BYU will evaluate websites on Appearance (15%), Mechanics (35%), Marketing (25%), Overall Idea (25%), plus a bonus category called Traction, wherein contestants can earn up to 10% extra points for actual leads or sales their websites generate.

    This marks the second time Crexendo has held this competition at BYU. Crexendo is repeating the contest at BYU because of the overwhelming positive response it received the first time. Some of the websites BYU students built for last year’s competition are still operating. Since then, Crexendo has taken the competition to California State University-Fullerton and the University of Utah. Further expansion is planned in the future for Crexendo’s University Program (UP), including a contest at Biola University and possibly even making the competition intercollegiate.

    In last year’s Crexendo website competition at BYU, 72 teams competed. Last year’s first place winners had 60,000 downloads of their product by the fall and had signed on as an early partner in the Adobe Melrose project, enabling them to sell their application as part of an Adobe online storefront. One of the other winners is now employed at Crexendo.

    Crexendo instructor and VP of Web Marketing Parker Garlitz said, “This contest allows students with an entrepreneurial bent to create a website without the large amounts of capital that other types of business require. With this contest, we hope to introduce college students to the exciting world of Web marketing very early in their careers. That’s important because Web marketing skills are something students can use no matter what career they pursue.”

    This year’s competition kicks off on February 3 and students can register online at http://up.crexendo.com. People who aren’t students at BYU are also welcome to participate provided they are referred by a BYU faculty member.

    Crexendo is a technology company that serves small- and medium-sized businesses, and specializes in Web marketing services and hosted business telephone services. The Web marketing services Crexendo provides include link-building and other SEO, paid search management, social media management, conversion rate optimization (CRO), and more.

  2. Crexendo has moved up in the ratings of local search providers 3 out of the last 4 months. Read about SEO provider ratings.

  3. If you're new to the Web marketing game, watch this interview with Crexendo's VP of Web Marketing, Parker Garlitz. It's a good overview of what we do here at Crexendo.

  4. Larry Page, of PageRank fame, is taking over at Google, the company he helped found. What changes might this mean for SEO?  Here's the latest.

  5. Since they were first created, search engines have been evolving. And it’s pretty safe to say they will continue to evolve. It’s good news for end users because search engines keep getting better at finding the Web pages most relevant to a given search. It’s bad news for Web marketers because it means we have to keep changing up our game in order to prove to the search engines that our Web pages are relevant to a given search. Search engineers keep changing the metrics of their engines, so we have to keep changing our Web activities to match.

    One of the most prominent metrics lately has been link relevancy. It’s determined by a combination of the content of the source page and the content of the anchor text; both ends of the back-links you build.

    For example, let’s say that I find all the information I can about tubeless tires for my mountain bike. I even decide on the type I want, buy them, put them on my mountain bike, and ride them. They’re awesome, and I get so excited about them I decide to write about it on my blog or in an online article.

    When writing the blog post or article, I can add links out to some of the Web pages where I found the best information. The anchor text I use to link to that Web page could say “Click Here”, but the words “Click Here” aren’t relevant to the topic of the page to which they link. Smarter would be to use anchor text as part of a sentence relevant to the page to which it links. Like this: “There is plenty of great information on tubeless tires out there to help you decide which type is right for you.” Here “great information on tubeless tires” is text that is highly relevant to the page to which it links. High relevancy makes for a higher search rank, and the more relevant links to your page, the more likely it will come up high enough in a search to get clicked on.

    Conclusion

    Today’s search engines rely heavily on this type of human-powered information. They use it to determine what the target page is about and to what queries it is most relevant. Relevancy is king right now and will continue to play a prominent role for the foreseeable future. To keep your relevancy rank high, remember to make the text of your back-links relevant to the page to which it links.

  6. Link-building, also known as back-linking, is an important component in any good SEO strategy. It can even be the most important, and is often the most time-consuming. If you’re new to the game, you may wonder where to begin building links. Here are some of the things you should and shouldn’t do to build links to your website.

    Black-Hat Tactics

    You can classify SEO tactics in to two general categories: “black-hat” tactics and “white-hat” tactics. Black-hat tactics seek to “game” search engines into ranking your site higher or your competitors’ sites lower. White-hat tactics differ in that they seek to build legitimacy and relevancy in order to gain a higher search ranking, and they never seek to influence the rankings of competitors.

    It’s best not to engage in black-hat tactics because they tend to come back to haunt you. Either the search engine you’ve gamed catches on to what you’re doing and de-lists your site, or your competitors catch on to what you’re doing and do it back to you in spades. Sometimes the line between what is a black-hat tactic and what is a white-hat tactic are bit blurred and subjective. Just remember, karma can be a real bitch.

    One of the most popular black-hat methods that, unfortunately, has been used successfully by many in the past, is paying someone to create mass backlinks. There are programs designed to create back-links indiscriminately, with the only goal being volume. Fortunately, it’s getting harder to use them successfully because of something called a “trust rank” that looks at the relevancy of a back-link. In fact, you can actually hurt your Google rank if it sees massive amounts of irrelevant links to your website. So you’ll have paid to lower your search rank.

    Where to Create Links

    -Directories.  There are free directories, like DMOZ (dmoz.org) and there are paid directories that charge a yearly fee. These include Yahoo Business Directory, Business.com, and Best of the Web. Some take time to get listed, especially the free directories. The sooner you request, the sooner you’ll be listed.

    -Press Release Sites.  Again, there are paid sites, like PRWeb.com, and there are free sites. The distribution on paid sites is much better but can be expensive. Free sites include OpenPR, PRLog, SpeedyPR and many more. The link to your Web page happens in the resource box at the end of the press release. The drawback here is that you have to have some news on which to write a press release, and also you have to take the time to write it well. A poorly written release can hurt your company image.

    -Free Article Sites. Here, again, the drawback is that you have to come up with a good topic for an article, take the time to write the article well, and have your article accepted by the site to which you submit it. Some of these websites are easier to get accepted in than others. Some free article publishing sites include ArticleDashboard, Ezine Articles, and ArticleCity.

    -Vendors, Friends, Family, Partners. Here’s a good ready-made set of cheerleaders for your website. Many of them have websites on which they can publish a link to your website. Don’t be afraid to ask for it, and remember to reciprocate.

    -Social Media. Your Facebook friends are another ready-made group of cheerleaders for your website. Create your fan page and include a link to your website. Ask your friends to “Like” your fan page and tell their friends. Blog on your website and submit your posts to Digg, StumbleUpon, and other social bookmarking sites. You can also tweet your blog on Twitter. The goal there is to make it interesting enough that people will want to re-tweet (RT) it.

    -Comments on Forums. Some forums let you include a link to your website in your signature line. Remember, don’t spam. It’s a good way to get kicked off a forum. Only make relevant, helpful comments. Here’s a good, simple example of one such forum: Visit UltraSmoothJazz.com. In the top right corner of the page there’s something called a ShoutBox. The shout box allow you to input a website URL. That will link your handle to your website. Make your comment, hit “Shout”, and you have a back-link. Unfortunately, this particular back-link will only last about a week. There are other forums where your back-link will be more or less permanent.  

    Remember, you’re just starting out. Don’t be overwhelmed by thinking you have to do all these things at once. Pick one or two to start with and build from there.

  7. Press Releases are a good way to promote the products you sell or the website you sell them with. Obviously, you have to make sure you take all the steps to use them properly, such as including your back-link either in the article or resource box, tweeting the release once it's published, posting it on your Facebook fan page, etc. Done properly, a well-written release can be a valuable asset for your business. But don't overlook the crafting of the press release as the important step it is. Creating a press release to promote your product or e-commerce website requires thought and preparation. Here are seven mistakes people commonly make when writing a press release.

    1. Lack of proper research. Read and subscribe to press releases not only in your own niche, but from some of the larger and more successful companies in the world. See how they are structured and worded. Incorporate the structural features you like into your own releases.

    2. Rash Assumptions. Your reader may know nothing about your products or website. One goal of a press release is to have your reader generate buzz to their readers or media outlet, so lay out the specifics for them.

    3. Condescension. While fatal flaw #2 says to be specific with what you are writing, be careful not to write in a condescending tone. It's a sure way to turn readers off. Assume your readers are reasonably intelligent.

    4. Overselling. The purpose of a press release is to put information into the hands of those who have influence and a crowd to share it with. They are not the ones who will be buying or using whatever is in the contents of your press release. Don't try to make them the buyer. Rather, look at them as your reseller and present the information in the same way you would teach a sales associate how to sell to a customer in a store.

    5. Bloat. A press release is not an article. It should be informative and easily digestible; keep the fluff to a minimum and focus on the details that pertain to your service, product, or website.

    6. Dull titles. Look at your deleted email folder to see which messages you deleted without opening. Chances are the subject line didn't entice you to open it. Be creative and direct with your title. It can mean the success or failure of your release.

    7. Incorrect or outdated information. Wait until you have all the facts, specifics, and proper information included in your press release, then send it. Don't send a release announcing a forthcoming release, either. It will break the trust of your readers. You're better off sitting on a release for a few days than sending it out missing crucial information.

    Avoid these simple mistakes in your press releases and the information in them will be more likely to get used. As with all writing, re-read it, proof it, and then read it again to ensure it flows smoothly and conveys the exact message you need it to. Finally, remember to tweet your release and post it to your Facebook fan page to help boost exposure.

  8. If you’ve been asking this question in your business, you’re not alone. With all the hype around social media sites like Twitter®, Facebook®, and others over the past year or two, it’s hard not to wonder if it’s something your business should be pursuing more aggressively. The answer to the question depends heavily on another question: What are you hoping to get out of social media?

    If you’re hoping to drive more traffic to your website or get more visitors in your store, you’ll need a very specialized strategy. The cold, hard fact of it is that with few exceptions most companies are unable to get those things out of social media.

    On the other hand, if your goal is to simply be “out there”, and you have someone who’ll be maintaining your presence, social media may work for you. For example, if you can get a substantial number of people to “Like” your company’s Facebook® fan page, every time you post on that page, they’ll see it. Post useful tidbits they’ll like getting and be sure to include your company name. It’s a way of just staying on their minds long term. You may not see huge amounts of business directly attributable to your Facebook fan page, but if you want to stay in the minds of your customers, this is a good way to do it. Twitter® and others work a lot differently but the principle is the same.

    Other benefits social media offer: keeping a finger on the pulse of your market, product research surveys, reputation management, and brand reinforcement. What benefits your company derives from social media comes down to fit. Some companies are uniquely suited to reap massive benefits from social media. Most companies are finding that the time and money are better spent on web marketing fundamentals like link building, search engine optimization, and paid search.

  9. Many people understand what Social Bookmarking is good for: It’s a way you can share cool websites, articles, videos, etc. that you find as you surf the Web. The Bookmarks feature on your Web browser gets cluttered fast and it only works on one computer. A social bookmarking site enables you to access your bookmarks from any computer or mobile device, and rather than trying to navigate a complicated file system for all your bookmarks, you just use tags. You can also look at your friends’ accounts to see what cool things they’ve bookmarked under a certain tag. What a lot of people don’t know is how Social Bookmarking can be used to promote a website. It’s quite common for people to know a little about how social bookmarking works but then ask, “Now how can I use it for my online business?”

    Starting Out

    As with any component of a social media campaign, start small. There are several social bookmarking sites from which to choose. Delicious, reddit, StumbleUpon, and Digg are a few of the most popular. Pick one or two to start with, open an account, and learn how they work. Try to find and make friends within the site. Look closely at which sites have received the most bookmarks. What can you do with your title that will help you attract attention that way?

    If you’re just starting out, use the circle of friends you already have in Facebook. It’s a ready-made group of cheerleaders rooting for your success. Ask them to get on the bookmarking site(s) you’ve chosen and bookmark your website, blog, or whatever it is you’d like to attract more traffic to.

    Why’s It Good?

    What’s the value? First, backlinks. The more people who bookmark your page, the more backlinks it has. The more backlinks it has, the higher rank it achieves in organic search. Second, depending on the bookmarking site, your page can receive more direct traffic from it. That’s because on some sites, the more people who bookmark your page in a short amount of time, the longer it stays highly visible to people who are just surfing the bookmarking site for cool stuff. Hopefully, some of those surfers will be curious enough about your page to go check it out.

    Remember, social media users hate spam. Don’t title your page with something that sounds “spammy”. Instead use a title that tells what value any visitor will get when they come to your page.

    Like any social media site, the more time you spend on a bookmarking site, the more familiar with it you’ll become, and the more ways you’ll discover to use it to promote your page.

  10. E-merchants and others looking to boost a site’s search ranking see a lot of advice about how to build links and optimize their Web sites for search engines. We all know that search engine optimization (SEO) and link-building are important because they increase search engine rankings, but not if we do it the wrong way. Here are three paths you should avoid.

    1.      Slack Off. Whether out of frustration, laziness, or poor follow-through, the surest way to fail at link-building is to not do it. Think of link-building like gardening. A garden has to be tended and cared for on an ongoing basis in order for it to yield its crop. The same is true of link-building. You can’t just do a bunch of it and forget about it. Spend a set amount of time each week just link-building.

    2.      Write For Search Engines. Search engines are getting smarter and smarter. Every day they’re getting better at detecting when they’re being played. That means if you clutter your Web pages with repetitive terms designed to snag the attention of search engines, the likelihood that it will ring the bells of those search engines is decreasing rapidly.

    Even if that weren’t true, consider what happens when real live people visit your website. It’s easy to see when a page has been written for search engines and not people. The result is a page that turns people off and gives you a huge bounce rate; i.e. people take one look at your page and leave within seconds.

     Your website has to appeal to the people who visit it. A high traffic rate does little good if your bounce rate is sky high. Write your Web copy with the goal of appealing to your customers. Then, go back and see where you can add in your chosen search terms without hurting the effectiveness of your copy.

     3.      Pay For Linkbacks. You’ll see companies that offer to give you bunches—even hundreds—of automated linkbacks for a fee. Stay away. Because search engines are getting smarter, they can tell when a site has had this done. It sees a load of irrelevant linkbacks and the result is a lower search ranking. So not only does it not work, but you will have paid to hurt your search ranking.

    That said, there are also companies who can provide relevant backlinks. These companies have real live people who do their link-building, not automated software “bots”. A live person can make sure the links he builds are relevant to the site they link to. Those are the kinds of links that boost search rank.

  11. Here is a little something fun we came across to think about and lighten up your Labor Day weekend. Have  Great Labor Day Weekend, and Stay Tuned.....

    Feel free to comment!

  12. Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Business?

    This week we will focus on the top 5 of the hundreds of social networks/platforms used to engage customers and visitors and discuss briefly the benefits of each to help gain a better grasp of which social media platform you should engage your time in order to reach more customers and generate a higher ROI.

    1st you will need to look deep into your industry and see what your competition is doing and see who exactly your customers or clients are. Being able to cater to your customers and clients what they want and need will get your business in the right direction in regards to choosing which platform and which avenues to pursue.

    2nd something that should be considered is ease of use of the platform. Some platforms like Facebook and Myspace are relatively easy to use, that is why many people use them. however there are other social media areas that may be specific to your industry that you will want to tap into to reach more customers and these platforms may require some coding skills or design skills that may or may not need to be hired out for.

    3rd and probably the most important is security.  There are out there in the web space websites and social media platforms that do not provide much if any information security. Be careful when filling out an account creation about what information is put in and what will and will not be shared. Facebook by default has good protection but you have to dig in deep into the account settings to change settings about who sees your posts and what information is shared with others. Just be careful and do some research and homework. This part can be critical for businesses wanting to create a good secure area for their customers to share their experiences and positive feedback so keep it simple and safe. This is also a great place that if you have questions, ask someone who has done it before even if they are your competition. Being safe is always better than being sorry.

    Now for the top 5 Social Media Networks / Platforms for growing a business:

    Facebook- Social Networking - The Largest Social Media Platform on the web with more than 500 million active users according to facebook. Business profile pages range from basic to very interactive. Check out Best Buy's Facebook account for a great example of how a business can interact with customers through Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/bestbuy

    Check out Our Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Crexendo

    Twitter- Micro Blogging- One of the best examples of the use of Twitter for giving updates had been the restaurant industry and especially the Food Trucks. Since Food Trucks are mobile they work perfectly with Twitter to share with the followers where the next location in the city they will be and any good promotions or discounts currently being offered.  Two great examples are http://twitter.com/AUSdailypress and http://twitter.com/GrillEmAllTruck from the new tv show " The Great Food Truck Race" on the Food Network.

    Check out Our Twitter: http://twitter.com/crexendo

    Youtube-Video hosting- Video Marketing and Viral Videos seem to be in a whole other world. Youtube says that every minute about 24 hours of video is uploaded to the You tube website. This amounts for millions of hours of videos. Granted there is a lot of videos on Youtube that are just plain silly, but there are hours and hours of good instructional and informational videos from businesses that have helped them grow. Creating a Youtube Channel is the most effective. A Youtube channel is basically that a place where you can upload all your videos about your business and have them viewed all in one place. Another greta benefit of a channel is that you can customize the background and make it very user friendly and inviting for your customers to use and enjoy. We will get into video creation and marketing in the future.

    LinkedIn- Professional Profiles- Many people use this platform as kind of an online resume where you can get recommendations from former employers or co-workers, but LinkedIn also can be used for companies to share a profile of the business and employees can follow the company and other people can follow the company to get updates.

    Check out Our LInkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/companies/crexendo-business-solutions

    Blogger/Wordpress- Blogging platforms- Blogs allow you to post information and basic happenings of the business as well as run promotions and gain a following. We use our built in blog feature in our software platform for this blog but other wordpress and blogger sites have been created by businesses for the purpose of blogging or keeping a log of their updates and news.

    Up and Coming:

    Foursquare: Gps based location game where visitors can "check in" to your business and share or recommend their friends to visited your local business also. Foursquare has been gain a lot of traction and getting noticed lately because of how easy it is to use, so it is worth checking into.

    Basically it comes down to getting more followers/users that are qualified and want to hear what you have to say and offer.

    Once again, look into each of these platforms and decide which ones are right for the business and industry  you are in. Some of these may not be suitable for your industry or business and some may fit like a glove when promoting new products and building the business.

    www.mashable.com is a great resource for social media tips and advice on how to get more customers, realize ROI and branding to help your business grow.

  13. A Brief History of Social Media

    To help understand what Social Media is we need to understand where Social Media came from and why we use the term "Social Media." To briefly give an overview of how and where Social Media came to be basically comes down to communication. Communication has been around well since forever. Communication from cave man to cave man and communication in the form of postcard from a loved one on vacation have all been forms of simple Social Media. Sharing communications with others is what makes it social. For example when you receive that post card from your good friends traveling abroad, you are most likely to show other people the note on the postcard and the image of where the postcard came from. With this being said simple evolution has transformed social interaction and media in the forms of print, phone, and now the internet simultaneously into one formal way of saying group communication.

    A Brief Evolution of Social Media

    This image shows a rough timeline of how Social Media has evolved over the years into what we have come to know and love. Definitly in the last 10 -15 years the term "Social Media" and its related "Social Networking" and "Social Bookmarking" have come into heavy usage andacceptance. We will break down a few of the social media types and give a little info about each one to gain a better grasp on what is out on the web today.

    The following in a non-exhaustive list of some great Social Media Platforms:

    Communication: Sharing updates and info on what people are doing and connecting with firends

    • Blogs- Blogger, Wordpress, LiveJournal, Xanga
    • Microblogging- Twitter, Foursquare (GPS based location game), Tumblr
    • Social Networking- Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Ning

    Collaberation: Teamwork and information gathering

    • Google Wave
    • Wikipedia

    Multimedia: Sharing images of events and photographs 

    • Photo Sharing: Flickr, Picassa, Photobucket
    • Video Sharing: Youtube, Vimeo, Viddler
    • Music: Myspace Music, Last.fm, Pandora, Grooveshark

    Simplification Services - The make it easier to get your message out and increase your reach

    • Tweetdeck- Facebook & Twitter
    • TubeMogul- Youtube, YahooVideo, Metacafe

    Web 2.0 Properties - Interactive Information Sharing Websites Usually Used for Link Building Purposes

    • Squidoo- Uses "Lenses" to display information about websites, products, and opinions
    • Stumbleupon - Social website searching and finding interesting websites
    • Delicious -Social Bookmarking at its best

    We hope this has been informational so far as to the history of social media. Next week, we will dive into how Social Media is "Social" and go through the top Social Media Sites and explain them in more detail.

    Stay Tuned.....

    This post is not intended to give an exhausted account of Social Media but to help understand what it is better.

  14. It seems this week has been especially filled with information about Social Media. It seems like Social Media is the Buzz word for the year! Some of you may be asking yourself some or all of the following questions if you are a business owner or just curious about this new concept:

    • What is Social Media?
    • Who Uses Social Media?
    • Is Social Media Right for Me?
    and
    • Why is Social Media Something I Need to Do?

    To answer these questions would take years and years of explanation of the history of Social Media, what it is and how it works inclduding all the various platforms currently called "Social Media" and by that time since technology and information changes so quickly most everything would be out of date or invalid.

    So... What do we do now?

    It is essential to understand the core concepts of Social Media and why it is important and even cover this may take many posts but we will attempt to get started with the basics and the most important question - Is Social Media Right for Me?

    We will discuss in a multi part series the answer to the above questions in more detail in order to help you the business owner get a grip on Social Media and maximize your Return On Investment from Social Media. We will discuss in depth the history, evolution, platforms and the future of social media as it pertains to business and maximizing profits and relationships.

    So stay tuned and you will see and understand what Social Media is All About!

     

    image source: http://www.mindfly.com/blog/post/2009/08/26/Social-Media-does-what.aspx

  15. A great tool used by SEO companies like us is the Google toolbar. The Google toolbar has many personalized features that a great and handy like a search box, bookmarks, AutoFill, and translations, but we use the toolbar simply because it allows you to see the PageRank™ of any page you visit. The best features about this are that it is FREE and made by Google, so you know it is good. 

    The benefit of being able to see the page rank of any page you visit, you can check out your competition so you know how much link building you have to do as part of your marketing strategy to be able to compete on the first page of Google.

    Here is the link to download the Google toolbar to get started on some competitive analysis.

    http://www.google.com/toolbar/ff/index.html

    Once you download the toolbar, when you install it make sure you check the box that allows you to add the Page Rank feature to the toolbar, or you will have to add it after installation.

  16. How to Make PageRank™ Work for You

    What became the juggernaut we know today as Google™ began as a paper written at Stanford University and named after its originating author, Larry Page. The paper outlined a revolutionary new algorithm for search probability called PageRank (after Larry Page). While the concept has been modified numerous times by numerous brilliant minds since then, it is still the basis for the Google search engine and all the functions and tools that depend on it. While the minutia of the PageRank algorithm are practically incomprehensible to all but the most advanced mathematicians, the better you can understand what variables you can control, the better you can make PageRank work for you by ranking your website higher for different search terms.

    First, understand that PageRank is designed with the searcher in mind. Its purpose is to understand what the searcher is searching for and bring up everything that meets the criteria—or search terms—the searcher inputs, with the most relevant pages listed first. So as Web marketers concerned with organic search, relevancy is our goal for as many search terms as possible. Research has shown that most searchers only look at the first three pages of their search results, if that. The higher PageRank scores your Web page, the closer to the top of the search results your page gets listed.

    According to Google, PageRank examines over 200 different variables to generate the most relevant list of Web pages for any given set of search parameters. Fortunately, we can narrow our focus to a manageable few, which we can separate into two general categories: off-page factors and on-page factors.

    Off-Page Factors

    Off-page factors are variables that PageRank uses that are not on your Web pages. While there are several, the main one you need to think about is Link Building. Think of link building as an election process. When site A holds a link to site B, it’s like a vote for site B within PageRank. The more sites you get to link to your site, the better your chances of a high search rank.

    The natural conclusion here would be “the more links, the better”, but there are caveats you need to take into consideration. The value of the Web page linking to yours is a major factor. So sites that link to yours that are completely unrelated will have less value than highly rated sites that are very relevant to your site.

    But that’s not all. The engineers at Google are keenly aware that their search algorithm is under constant attack by people trying to find ways to “cheat”, if you will. To combat them PageRank watches for unnatural link patterns. If your site has too many inbound links from only highly-ranked sites, it might seem as if you’re trying to trick the system with a sort of vertical link chain. Your search rank will suffer. Your goal should be to have an aggregate list of inbound links from sites with a wide range of page ranks. That’s the best way to generate and sustain a good healthy PageRank score naturally. 

    On-Page Factors

    We have heard for years that "Content is King." That phrase remains true. Google analyzes the full content of a Web page including:

    • Text 
    • Meta tags 
    • Anchor text 
    • Images

    Meta Tags and Images are topics for a separate article. For now, let’s concentrate on text—also known as copy—and anchor text. Web crawlers, the software entities Google sends out to scan every Web page for PageRank evaluation, look closely at the text on a page to determine its relevancy to a search term. That means you need to make a list of the search terms you want to target and place those terms within the text of your Web pages.

    Don’t try to write your copy while hitting every term in your list. If you do, you’ll end up with copy that doesn’t read well and sounds like you don’t speak English very well (assuming that’s the language in which you’re writing). Instead, begin by writing good copy that holds useful information that your audience will want to read. Once it’s written, go back over your list of search terms and see where in your copy you can place each term and still have it make sense. The more terms you can fit in, the better. Just don’t sacrifice the quality of your copy in order to do it.

    Within the copy, anchor text is especially important. Anchor text is the words that are hyperlinked to other pages in your website. It passes page rank to other pages and gives visitors an easy way to navigate through a site. Place your anchor text strategically. For example if you were trying to get a high search rank for the phrase "dog collar" you would not want to your anchor text to read "Click Here to view our Dog Collars" with the " Click Here" being the text the link is on. A Google search on the term Click Here yields about 3.5 BILLION Web pages. It’s not a good way to make PageRank work for you. The better way to write the text would be:"Click Here to view our Dog Collars" with the link on the phrase “Dog Collars”. This makes the phrase "Dog Collars" more relevant to your site and helps your site rank better for that phrase with all search engines, not just Google.

    With these strategies you will be on your way to getting listed on most search engines. If you need help with implementing any of these strategies, please utilize Crexendo Customer Support at (801) 234-5988.


    References: 
    http://www.google.com/corporate/tech.html

     

     


  17. We’ve talked about Google Analytics on this blog before in general terms. Now let’s talk about some specific free tools that are part of what makes Google Analytics so valuable:
         •    URL Builder
         •    Goals in Google Analytics


    URL Builder
    URL Builder enables you to set up a snippet of code that tracks your various sources of traffic. This tool is most effective for PPC but can also be used in text links and other traffic sources. The URL Builder generates the code snippet for you after you input a few variables. Then you just copy the URL code and place it as your destination URL.

    Example: http://crexendo.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=party%2Bhard

    In this snippet, Google is where the traffic is coming from, the medium is PPC or Pay-per-Click, and the campaign getting more information is the Party Hard Campaign.

    To get more information about this tool go to: http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55578


    Goals
    Within Google Analytics, Goals is a tool that will do several things for you:
         •    Tell you where a visitor leaves an order form or lead generation form using funneling.
         •    Tell you if a certain page is being accessed by qualified visitors.
         •    Shows what parts of your site need improvement. For example, if you have a multi-part e-commerce cart checkout and you see that most of your shoppers are abandoning the check-out process at the page you show your shipping cost, then you know something needs to change on that page.
         •    Tracks activity of an email address posted on your site.
         •    Tracks email submissions or comments on your blog.


    Instead of trying to explain how to set up Goals, there are some great instructions here: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/05/how-to-setup-goals-in-google-analytics.html
    Google lays it out pretty easily with screen shots and parables to help you understand how to set up Goals in Google Analytics.


    The combination of these two tools will provide you an abundance of information to help you make data-driven decisions about your website and business objectives.

  18. Congratulations! You’ve built your website, done some Web marketing, and now you’re starting to see a few more visitors to your site. What’s the next step? Conversion, my friend! Conversion means different things for different websites. It means getting the customer to do what you want them to do, whether that means calling you, making a purchase, signing a petition, or whatever else the goal of your website might be. If you have an e-commerce site, conversion probably means making a purchase. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the process of making sure your website has all the design features to move your customer toward conversion, and it’s one of the main reasons it’s so important for you to use Google Analytics on your website.


    When properly configured, Google Analytics answers the three most important questions in CRO:
    •    Where did your visitors come from?
    •    What are they doing while on your site?
    •    At what point do they leave your site and where do they go?


    Knowing the answers to these three questions will give you a good idea what marketing is working best, what most interests your customers on your site and, most importantly, what’s stopping them from converting.


    One of the best features of Google Analytics is the Conversion Tracking feature. It allows you to set up a point of conversion, whether it’s a sale, a lead form filled out, or to know how many visitors log in to a password protected page. This is especially informative if you have a multi-step ordering process or lead form submission. It tells you how far your customers get in the process using a funnel so you know where to make adjustments to make it smoother and more effective.


    If you don’t already have the Google Analytics code snippet on your website, sign up and get the code put into your site right now. It’s free. Here’s the link:  Google Analytics  If you already have Google analytics on your site, make sure it’s telling you what you need to know for the best CRO.
     



    If you need help installing Google Analytics yourself, please call (801)234-5988

  19.  

    Welcome to the Crexendo blog!

    Our purpose at Crexendo is to help you stand out from the crowd, and anyone who’s ever done a Google search knows that “the crowd” is considerable. 


    In our efforts to be your source of all things Web Marketing, we intend to use this blog to post tips and tricks to help make your website the magic bullet you’d like it to be. Topics will include:

    • SEO
    • Link BuildingPaid Search Management (PPC)
    • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
    • Social Media
    • Local Web Promotion
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • And much more!

     

    We decided to start this blog to give our clients and prospective clients more information about what we do and include powerful tips and tools to help you generate more leads or sales. We’ll update the blog with new information every few days. If you’re trying to sharpen your website’s performance, this blog will be well worth following.