In last years final installment of filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, the villain Bane tells Bruce Wayne about the dark underground prison from which he came. He describes the prison as Hell and tells Bruce “There’s a reason why this prison is the worst hell on earth… Hope. I learned here that there can be no true despair without hope.” So how does this factor into your eCommerce strategies?
Handling eCommerce Hopes and Expectations
Hope and expectations should be handled very carefully on your website. Pay close regard to eCommerce and how you present your product or service. Part of your web development and web design efforts should include careful scrutiny of your wording. As in the Batman example (I went for a movie reference rather than music this time), if you’re too sales-pitchy in your website verbiage you potentially create a problem due to elevated hope.
Here are some examples of eCommerce website copy I’ve seen lately that just makes me cringe because of the implications:
“Gain top performance across multiple engines and search patterns.”
“Increase revenue in every department.”
“Gain and take market share from competitors.”
The first quote (obviously from an SEO/Internet Marketing site) is cleverly worded as it doesn’t promise top ranking in the search engines. However it undeniably implies top ranking. Even though they don’t promise top ranking, the hope and expectation of it will create unrealistic expectations from the client. A better way of wording it would have been: “Improve your ranking and visibility online” or something to that effect.
The second quote is a mistake because of one main word: every. ”Every” is a word that is thrown around way, way too much and using it on your website can create major headaches…especially when you promise to increase revenue in every department. Yeah, I know they didn’t say “We promise to increase revenue in every department,” but it’s a very definite statement and it’s in writing. As far as your visitors, customers and clients are concerned, if it’s in writing it’s a promise.
And finally the third quote is a mistake because of the use of ”gain” and “take.” Obviously, any competitive businessperson wants to get their share of their particular market. Doing so involves some of their competitors losing market share to them. No problem with that. However, the way it’s used here creates a major sense of immediacy and urgency.
Immediacy, urgency, expectations and hope are good things when used properly. Adversely they create hell for business and vendor alike when misused. Just be careful with your verbiage and if you’re not 100% sure you can legitimately deliver it, don’t say it.
Anyone who knows me knows that Clutch is my favorite band forever and ever amen. Love the music, love the attitude and, loving words as I do, I love the incomparable wordsmithing of lead vocalist Neil Fallon. But there’s even more to it for me, and I think it’s an SEO lesson that any small business can benefit from.
Clutch is the ultimate DIY (do it yourself) band. On a couple of major labels in the 1990′s they were unable to find a mass audience in a time when grunge and one-hit wonders ruled the music scene and “alternative” was struggling to find an identity.
Something interesting happened, though.
In 1994, they released a self-titled album that became an underground classic and formed the basis of what is one of the most loyal fan bases in music. While they were no longer on a major label by 2002, they learned from the experience and made a smart move by hiring their major label A&R guy as their manager. Over the next 7 years they did three important things:
Deliver top notch albums
Introduce Clutch radio
Use the Internet to communicate regularly with fans
Like any business, you have to deliver your very best and find an audience for it. In the case of Clutch, they found an audience (through major label exposure) for their brand of rock music. At a time when the Internet was still a fairly new concept, they created their website and fans could go there and hear Clutch music streaming 24/7. They regularly posted new news, tour info and bonus songs on their website and incorporated video to let fans in on the recording process. And finally, they took (and continue to take) their music to the people with regular touring
In 2007 they introduced their own record label, WeatherMaker music, where they release their albums. All of this culminated with their 2009 album Strange Cousins From The West becoming the first purely independently produced and released album to ever chart in the Top 40 of the Billboard Top 200 album chart.
So how does this relate to your business’ SEO? Simple.
If you’re a local business trying to compete with larger, more well-known businesses for search engine ranking (and have a limited marketing budget), you have a tough task ahead. These businesses may have more money and more resources than you. As in the case of Clutch, this doesn’t mean you can’t compete given some smart decisions and good ol’ fashioned consistency:
Take your web development and web design seriously: A truly good website isn’t cheap, but it’s a worthwhile expenditure. Get a free-standing independent website, not one of those cookie-cutter sites offered by online “website manufacturers.” Those sites always come with restrictions and are rarely up to the most recent Google standards.
Take your SEO seriously: What good is a nice website if no one can find it? You may not have the money for a full-blown SEO campaign, but you can at least make sure your titles and descriptions are keyword-rich and Google compliant. And no keyword stuffing in your site’s content, please.
Take your social media seriously: As in the Clutch example, use social media properly and be consistent. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and industry-specific forums are all there for you to use. Regular communication with your audience builds brand loyalty and allows you to connect directly with your audience. No sales pitches, please.
Google Places: While I mention Google Places in the next tip, it deserves mention here on its own because it’s so readily overlooked. Most businesses assume they’re on there, when in fact all they have is an auto-generated listing based on the information Google already has. Since most businesses aren’t thorough with this information, it’s usually sketchy at best. Fill out your Google Places listing with all pertinent information, videos, etc.
Local search submissions: Google Places and Yahoo Local are two big ones, and your local newspaper (some TV stations, too) usually has a place online for business listings with links to your website.
An excellent product and/or service. Excellent presentation online. Reaching out to your audience…consistently. Clutch continues to find success with this work ethic in the world of music. You can make a success with it in the world of your business.
Just this week, I came across an album online that I’ve been seeking out for at least 10 years. Funny thing is that I stumbled upon it quite by accident on YouTube after many failed attempts to Google it. Of course this got my gears turning in the Internet/SEO direction…
The name of the band is Nature and the album/CD in question is their self-titled debut from the 1990′s…and therein lies the problem, as well as the moral of today’s story. The word “nature” is a very broad and vague term, which can lead to problems in a search for specifics with very little to go on. I couldn’t remember song titles, couldn’t remember the record label, nor could I remember what year the disc was released. I then began experimenting by Googling the pieces that I could remember and playing with different years as the release date.
Google the word “nature” and needless to say this CD is not going to show up at number 1, much less on page 1.
Google “nature CD” and you’re inundated with plenty of “nature sounds” and “sounds of nature” CD’s, but none by the band in question.
Google “nature CD 1995″ (that is the actual year of release) and you get listings like Naughty By Nature, Madonna’s “Human Nature,” Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” and plenty more “Sounds of Nature” and “Relax with Nature” CD’s…but none by the band in question.
I could go on with the other searches I tried in my vain search for this disc (and you could have many laughs at my expense), but I’m sure you get the point. I tried and tried and couldn’t find it because of the vagueness and broadness of the word itself. It can be used in different ways and there are many different kinds of “nature.”
When you’re considering your own SEO and overall efforts to get your website found online and indexed properly, consider keyword searches in which you are found and keyword searches in which you want to be found…how specific are they?
How easy is it for you and your business website to get lost in the shuffle on the search engines?
Put effort into each and every page on your site. Each one should have unique titles and descriptions for the search engines to crawl. This allows more pages of your site to be indexed for different unique keywords which, in turn, allows you to show up in more different specific searches.
In the case of the aforementioned Nature, that word is both broad and vague.
In the case of your website SEO, it’s okay to be broad as long as you’re not vague. Be as specific as possible with your chosen keyword search terms…and compile as many relevant terms and phrases as you can, so as to have as broad of a reach as possible.
Those are the memorable words sung by Cee Lo Green on Gnarls Barkley’s massive hit “Crazy” in 2006, and it got us thinking about the work we do and how we want it to positively affect and benefit you. We don’t ever want you to feel like you’ve lost your MIND…we’re here for you and we have one special word for you…
No matter what web development and web design team you work with, always ask yourself this question: “Are they setting me up to be dependent upon them, or are they empowering me to be independent?”
The truth of the matter is that not everyone has the time to update their own website content. Not everyone has the time to write blog posts consistently week after week for top of mind awareness. Not everyone has the time to communicate consistently through their social media platforms and, therefore, naturally drive traffic to their website.
Not everyone has that time, but everyone should have that choice. Your development and design team should communicate with you every step of the way and set you up to be able to take care of your website yourself if you want to and have the time to. With content management platforms such as WordPress being so user friendly, there’s no reason you can’t be in the driver’s seat if you want to be.
We don’t normally wave our own flag with this, but many development and design teams focus on creating need and dependence, placing more importance on creating residual income than on empowering you. You may not have the time to do any of the content updating on your website or social media broadcasting, but the decision should always be left up to you. Our primary M.O. is empowerment…we want you to be in the driver’s seat when your website is finished if you want to be and if you don’t have the time, we will be glad to handle that aspect of service for you.
Ultimately, we want you to be independent and be able to do regular content/blog updates yourself.
“Does that make me crazy? Probably.” – Gnarls Barkley
Actually, we think it’s crazy to do it any other way.
Technology, the Internet and information transfer is evolving at an ever increasing pace. Having a website and getting it found online is way different than it was 10 years ago…even just 4 years ago! There is a lot of misinformation with regard to SEO and what to do/what not to do.
For instance, Google hasn’t indexed metatag keywords on your website in over 2 years – and now they penalize you for them – yet many SEO providers still encourage you to use metatag keywords as part of your website’s optimization. Just today one of my clients shared an email with me from one such provider that discussed how important metatag keywords are. I was absolutely floored.
In your web development, web design and SEO efforts, ask targeted questions before you decide who you will work with. It is important that your SEO provider is current in their knowledge of today’s SEO best practices, and this video will give you better understanding of how search engines work so you can ask better questions when you’re deciding who you want to work with.
The gentleman in the video is noneother than Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google. Basically this is the division of Google focused on eliminating spammy/unwanted websites from Google searches and maintaining an even playing field for businesses wanting to be found in Google searches.
If you want to understand search engines better than ever before, watch this video over your lunch break. Great stuff…straight from the horse’s mouth.