Our Inbound Marketing and Design Blog. Topics from digital marketing, web design and development, social media, and results driven marketing strategies.

Stream Creative Blog

5 On-Page SEO Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

Posted by Steve James on Jun 14, 2013 4:14:00 PM

Jon Hainstock, ZoomShiftThe following is a guest post from Jon Hainstock, the co-founder of ZoomShift, employee scheduling software made simple. Connect with Jon on Twitter @jonhainstock.

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Topics: Optimize, Website, SEO

3 Key Factors in Measuring Your Website Performance

Posted by Monica Madsen on Feb 18, 2013 9:53:00 AM

Your website is an essential marketing tool for your business. For this reason, your website performance should be continually measured, analyzed and updated.

Measure Website Performance
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Topics: Website Analytics, Website, Inbound Marketing

A Method for Developing Calls-to-Action and Landing Pages

Posted by Monica Madsen on Jan 25, 2013 10:47:00 AM

One of the goals of marketing is to generate qualified leads to increase sales. Small business owners are always thinking about prospects and ways to capture those that come to their website. Information is continually being shared with visitors so they feel the need to fill out a form, and provide their contact information to begin the buying process and become a customer. One of the best ways to share content and obtain visitor information is by using calls-to-action (CTAs) and landing pages.

Optimized Landing Pages and Calls-to-Action
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Topics: Website, Landing Pages, Calls-to-Action

Build an Online Resource Center for Your Website

Posted by Monica Madsen on Jan 21, 2013 9:03:00 AM

Website Resource CenterDo you have various types of content scattered throughout your website – in blogs or landing pages? Do you have a place where all this content can be organized? Such a place would be a resource center – a library of all your content. Every website should have a resource center for these reasons:

  • Provide educational information to your audience in an easy-to-find and consumable format. After all, education is the future of marketing. Education builds trust with your audience because you are showing yourself as the industry expert.
  • Resource centers demonstrate your thought-leadership, as well as creating a unique visitor experience – allowing visitors to find relevant content quickly.
  • Resource centers show the value of your information, which can help with lead generation. It also encourages content sharing.

Resource centers should guide the buyers’ journey. Adding top-of-funnel content to the resource center, you are building awareness of your products/services, as well as attracting traffic. Using your middle-of-funnel marketing educates your audience through your content and show products and services that are valuable and beneficial for businesses. And finally, the solution and its value are revealed with bottom-of-funnel marketing and content, which is where a sale will hopefully be made.

Building the Resource Center

The overall goal of the resource center is to provide educational relevant content that will help generate leads.

 1. Gather and organize your content.

  • Use a spreadsheet to track and categorize your content – whitepapers, webinars, ebooks, etc.

2. Create a resource center homepage.

  • List all your content by types.
  • List any and all new content.
  • Explain, in a professional manor, the purpose of the resource center and its overall goal.
  • Incorporate links to blogs next to relevant content.

3. Build out the content structure.

  • You need a homepage for each content type.
  • Add calls-to-action to content homepages.
  • The CTAs should link to related landing pages.
  • Use thank you pages. Add CTAs to continue guiding through the buying process.
  • Follow this structure:
    Resource Center --> Content Homepage --> Landing Page --> Thank You Page

4. Allow social sharing.

  • Include social sharing buttons to encourage the sharing of your content.
  • Social sharing helps spread thought-leadership and brand awareness.
  • Include buttons on content homepage, landing page, and thank you page.

5. Promote the resource center.

  • Create CTAs and include them on:
    • Homepage
    • Product/service pages
    • Blog
    • Emails
    • Thank you pages
  • Add resource center to main navigation on your website.
  • Include it in your lead nurturing emails.
  • Instruct your sales reps and customer service team to utilize the page and direct prospects and current customers to the page.

6. Find and create new content.

  • Create a landing page and ask what type of content your audience needs or wants.
    • Doing this engages with your community and will show that you’re interested in their feedback and serving them.
    • You’ll also be sure that you’re finding and creating the right content.

7. Measure the page.

  • Measure the page on a monthly timeframe.
  • Analyze the landing page conversion rates.
  • Track the visits to each content type resource page.
  • Track the CTA performance.
  • Rate the content.
  • Get feedback from your audience to help improve the content.
  • Check the bounce rate of resource pages using Google Analytics.

Remember that content is key. By continually providing new content, you’ll be helping spread your brand name and increasing web traffic. All this helps lead generation and will grow your sales. So, why wouldn’t you want to have a resource center?

12 Essential Tips and Tricks for Link Earning

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Topics: Resource Center, Content, Website

The HubSpot Way to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

Posted by Monica Madsen on Jan 14, 2013 8:47:00 AM

HubSpot is a leader in the inbound marketing world. They know the ins-and-outs of online marketing, and have created amazing all-in-one marketing software. The marketing software makes all these things possible:

  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Calls-to-Actions
  • Landing Pages
  • Lead Management
  • Email
  • Marketing Automation
  • Closed Loop Analytics

HubSpot Website OptimizationThose are a lot of awesome features in one product, so you can see why we use it here at Stream Creative. HubSpot has built their brand and made themselves a credible expert in marketing and website growth and development. They are our go-to source for information and resources. Because we think so highly of them, we wanted to share their guide to optimizing your website for search engines.

Importance of Website SEO

First off, an explanation of the importance of website optimization, or search engine optimization (SEO), is needed. SEO is about focusing and narrowing the topics on the pages of your website, making each page unique. Having unique pages based on one topic, or keyword, helps search engines to track and index your website pages, and thus include them in search results. The goal of search engines, such as Google and Bing, is to serve the right content to the right person at the right time. Search engines also want to provide relevant and credible results, which ties in with SEO fundamentals. SEO fundamentals are what help determine your ranking in search engine results, and include:

  • Off-page SEO: building trust and authority through inbound links
  • On-page SEO: creating two different types of content through blogs, landing pages, ebooks, etc.
    • Branded content: general information about your business
    • Non-branded content: specific about your industry, services, or products

Website Optimization Guide

When going through this guide and working on your SEO, remember that the ultimate goal is to get found by using keywords that are relevant to your business.

  1. Choose your keywords
    1. Read the page’s content
    2. Identify one primary keyword per page
    3. Identify one variation of the primary keyword
    4. If you can’t identify one keyword, rewrite the page content or create a new web page
    5. Optimize the page for the one primary keyword
  2. Create the page title
    1. Should be less than 70 characters, so the whole title can be seen in search results
    2. Primary keyword should be first word followed be the keyword variation separated with pipes – straight vertical line | ( shift \ )

      Website Page Title

       

    3. Each page title needs to be unique
    4. Don't include the business name in every page title
      1. Business Name should be included on homepage and contact us page
  3. Add the meta description
    1. Appears under page title in search results

      Website Meta Description

       

       

       

    2. Should be less than 150 characters
    3. Incorporate the primary keyword
    4. Give a valuable compelling reason to visit the website
    5. It's important to note that Google will sometimes display a different meta description than what you may have put.
  4. Optimize the URL
    1. Include the primary keywords
    2. Separate each word with dashes ( - )
    3. Keep the keyword close to the root domain
  5. Create heading tags
    1. Create an H1 heading tag that incorporates the primary keyword
    2. Place the heading at the top of the page – above the fold, so you don’t need to scroll to see the heading

      Website Heading Tags

  6. Optimize page content
    1. Include the primary keyword in the content 3-4 times
    2. Keep the primary keyword above the page fold
    3. Don't keyword stuff, or overuse the word - keep it conversational
    4. Write for your readers, not for search engines
  7. Add calls-to-action (CTA)
    1. Have at least one CTA related to the content and keyword
    2. Keep CTAs above the page fold
    3. The CTA should be an internal link to a landing page
    4. Optimize the alt text of the CTA image and the image file name

      Website Call-to-Action

       

  8. Include internal links
    1. Create a text link to a page using the primary keyword
    2. Create 1 or 2 internal links
    3. Link to other pages from the page
    4. Build a spider web of related content
  9. Add images
    1. Search engines need to "read" images
    2. Add alt tags to your images using the primary keyword
    3. Use the primary keyword in the image filename
    4. Link the images to web pages and landing pages

Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’re on your way to having an optimized website and increasing your search engine rankings. Optimizing your website it a great way to draw more traffic to your website because search engines will have an easier time finding your content and delivering it to search results.

Learn more about Search Engine Optimization from HubSpot or contact us for information or help. We offer SEO help as part of our inbound marketing services. Get started today!

12 Essential Tips and Tricks for Link Earning

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Topics: Website, SEO, HubSpot

How to Create Educational Product/Service Pages that Increase Sales

Posted by Monica Madsen on Jan 10, 2013 9:07:00 AM

One goal of your website should be to promote your products and services. Having a page for each product or service you offer will achieve this goal. A product page is so important because it showcases what you can offer your visitors. These pages are about educating visitors on the various ways you can provide successful solutions for your customers’ challenges. This will also help you to build trust and credibility, growing your brand identity. Aside from the website's homepage, the product and service pages are the most visited pages on your website. These pages are the virtual sales rep for your business, with an overall goal of educating visitors so they take some type of action. Creating pages that have a lasting effect are important for the potential of customer retention and sales growth.

Website Product Pages
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Topics: Content, Products and Services, Website

4 Ways to Start Earning Links to Your Small Business Website

Posted by Monica Madsen on Jan 9, 2013 3:00:00 PM

Small business are always looking to increase their search engine rankings and website traffic through various search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. Link earning is a great way to expand your reach, bring in more website visitors, grow your rankings, and develop online authority. There are four simple steps that should be followed to help you earn inbound links and be seen as a credible resource by Google.

website link earning
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Topics: Link Earning, Website, SEO

Why Your Link Building is Missing the Mark (And How You Can Fix It)

Posted by Monica Madsen on Jan 9, 2013 2:10:00 PM

Inbound linking and off-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) make up 75% of your site SEO, with the last 25% being the on-page optimization. (HubSpot) Pretty interesting statistic, huh? Makes you think about stepping up your link building game and revaluate your plan, doesn’t it?

Link Building, SEOEarning links is so important not only for SEO purposes, but also because it builds your online authority. Being an online authority means you are considered a thought leader on a specific topic. If you’re an online authority, the odds are in your favor of increasing your search engine rankings. Search engines consider inbound links as votes – the more votes (or links) the higher your website will rank. If you have bad inbound links, it takes away from your authority, you’re no longer trusted as a credible resource, and your rankings decrease. It’s also important to note that not all inbound links are created equal. Links with online authority are going to have more value and help your website.

Examine your current inbound link building plan to ensure you’re not making poor link building mistakes, and retain your online authority.

  • Submitting your site to directories isn’t necessarily a good tactic anymore. Avoid link farms (black hat links). Don’t post your content on article sites. Do not pay for links.
    • Only submit your site to directories that are credible and will provide value to your company.
  • These are groups of website that link to each other. They’re only going to hurt your website ranking because they don’t provide any value.
    • Simply post your content on your own site and share it via social media. Use links within the article as well, to help it go viral.
  • Don't pay for links.
    • Google will catch you and your rankings will decrease. Google won’t think you are a credible source. Just don’t do it.
  • If what you’re doing feels unnatural or wrong, that most likely means it IS wrong. And when in doubt, ask before doing anything you’re not sure about.

Let’s say that (hypothetically) you’ve made some of these mistakes. How can you recover your online authority?

  • First and foremost, make sure you’re connected to Google Webmaster Tools and that you’re signed up to receive their email notifications.
    • Webmaster Tools analyzes your site and lets you know of bad and/or broken links. They will show you any inbound links you are receiving.
  • Cease and desist all unnatural link building. Just stop doing it if it doesn’t feel right!
  • If necessary, deny any spammy links. Get rid of them!
  • After completing the above steps, send Google your site for reconsideration. This can be done by using Google Webmaster Tools. Your site must be registered in Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics for consideration.

If you’re still not sure if you’re website has spammy links, look for a steady decrease of traffic or rankings around the time of Google’s Penguin release (first released in April 2012). The recent algorithm updates are related to inbound links, and attempts to remove any bad untrustworthy links.

Have you made any of these link building mistakes? How did you recover? Share your helpful tips with us!

P.S. Stay tuned for ways to earn valuable inbound links!


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Topics: Link Building, Website, SEO

9 Steps to Optimize Your Website’s Homepage

Posted by Monica Madsen on Jan 8, 2013 10:10:00 AM

Making a bad first impression can be the difference between attracting new business or losing out on an opportunity.  With your competition only being a click away online, it’s important that your website immediately presents your business in a way that matches your expertise and professionalism.

Website Homepage OptimizationWith that being said, your homepage is the most important part of your website because it gives off the first impression of your business. It is typically the most visited page on your website. It is the easiest remembered URL. It shares your mission, values, and goals – and should quickly communicate to your audience how your product/service addresses their needs. A variety of different traffic types come to your homepage, so it needs to cater to every one of your buyer personas.

That’s a lot to ask of one page!

To make sure you have the best homepage possible, with a lasting impression, we’ve outlined 9 steps that need to be taken. Go through these steps and make sure you have completed each of them.

1. Set your goals. (Most crucial step.)

  • What is your website about? How can you educate your audience?
  • Aim to get users beyond the homepage.
  • Use measurable goals to track performance.
  • Incorporate calls-to-action to show the next steps. Don’t let a user self-direct. Take them down the path that helps them make an informed decision.

2. Create content.

  • Homepage content is your business value proposition.
  • Focus on one primary, long-tailed keyword. What words/phrases is your audience searching for to find your product or service?
  • Use headlines and bullet points. Make your content easy to scan.
  • Split content into columns – no more than 4.
  • Have whitespace, so you don’t overwhelm the visitor with content.
  • Use links to help guide through the website.
  • Add relevant, small images.
    • With big images, layer them with text as a call-to-action.
    • Overall, educate the visitor.

3. Optimize the page for Search Engines (SEO).

  • Make the page unique by using one main keyword that describes your business.
  • Add the primary keyword to your:
    • Page title
    • Meta description – a CTA (call-to-action), up to 150 characters.
    • Headlines – H1, H2, H3 (only have one primary headline (H1))
    • Content – should be “above the fold” with bolding and bullets
    • Images – file name and alt text (alt text describes the image to search engines and is used for screen readers for the visually impaired)
    • Anchor text links (the actual text that gets hyperlinked. Use a keyword instead of phrases like “click here.”)

4. Create an eye-catching header.

  • The simpler the better.
  • Use your logo.
  • Include your phone number.
  • Add courtesy links in top right for quick navigation.
  • Add a login link – if needed.
  • Have a consistent header throughout the whole website.

5. Build the menu/navigation.

  • Make it big enough so that it can be seen from 5 feet away.
  • Use a clear font for easy reading.
  • Keep it consistent across the website.
  • Have descriptive short menu headers.
  • No more than 8 menu headers going across. 5 or 6 is an ideal number.
  • Again, keep it simple and clear.

6. Include Calls-to-Action (CTA).

  • You have 3-5 seconds to engage the visitor – use CTAs to attract and engage.
  • Each CTA should appeal to a different visitor type.
  • Not all need to go to landing pages. Some can point to blog posts, for example.
  • Incorporate A/B testing – use 2 different CTAs and test them against each to see which receives more clicks.
  • Look at your analytics to see which CTAs are the most effective.

7. Incorporate social media.

  • Add a CTA to join your social networks – assuming you’re active in social media.
  • Add follow and share icons in header and footer.
  • Be descriptive and show reason and value to join.

8. Create a footer.

  • Include company legal name and copyright year.
  • Add contact information and important links. Users often use the footer as an active site map.
  • Keep it consistent throughout the website.

9. Continuously test your homepage.

  • Are you reaching your goals?
  • Did the goals change?
  • What can be added or adjusted?

Make your website remarkable and stand out against the crowd by implementing these steps, if you haven’t already. Make that first impression a lasting impression that will continuously bring people back to your site, and hopefully turn the visitors into leads and customers.

Is your website optimized?

 

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Topics: Optimize, Website, Inbound Marketing

6 Essential Tips for Building Proper Website Structure

Posted by Monica Madsen on Oct 30, 2012 8:54:00 AM

Hopefully, after going over the 3 reasons you should be using Google Webmaster Tools, you’re seeing the importance of a properly working and updated website. To help you with your efforts maintaining a top-notch website, we’re going to focus on the website structure next – another vital part of your website.

website development
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Topics: Webmaster Tools, Website, Website Development