Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Just Another Keyword Optimization / Ranking Tip!

Just wanted to do a quick tip on keyword optimizing. Okay it's not really quick but I think it's informative : )

Here are some simple rules that you can follow as far as trying to rank for your keywords.

When I optimize a site, I base all of my SEO packages or Custom quotes off of the competitive nature of a keyword.

If a keyword is competitive then I know the campaign has to be on a long term basis. If the keyword is low in competition, then I know that basic work will need to be done and not so much on a long term basis.

So here's somethings that you can jot down in your BIG THICK BOOK OF SEO ADVICE.

If your keywords are low in competition i.e. usually three to five words in a phrase.

Here's some things you can expect to do (of course there are other things but these are just quick tips):

Make sure your keyword is in your meta title and meta description.
Put your keyword in a Header tag.
Make sure it's in your on page content i.e. descriptions.

If your keywords are medium in competition i.e. Between 700K to 900K in competition for example purposes.
  • Follow all the steps above
  • Start link building with your keywords i.e. add your site to directories, other related websites, blogs.
Now if your in a competitive market. It's not just enough to optimize your meta tags, have super great content on your site and just leave your SEO work alone because you feel that you've done what you have read to do out of your BIG THICK BOOK OF SEO ADVICE!

No Sir-E

Not only do you have to follow the steps above, it will be a must to make sure, without a doubt that you are link building with your COMPETITIVE keywords.

Many think that by optimizing your onpage content or website pages that you should be on the first page of Google with no problem. WRONG!

What you will find is that your endless hours of searching for your ranking, will be wasted because 9 times out of 10 not only will you not be in the top pages, you will not be in the top 100 pages for a very long time.

Well unless the internet Gods are watching over you.

Here's what you want to do if your in a competitive niche or market and you want to eventually rank for one of your "competitive" keywords.


I know, you're tired of hearing those words, and I get tired of it too sometimes but the truth is, it's effective.

  • Link Build using your keywords in your link i.e


The section that states your KEYWORD HERE is going to be the part of your link that is clickable.

You always want to make sure your keyword(s) are in the clickable area of your link.

  • Make sure to change up your Keywords and Descriptions. Natural link building is important. It's not so natural for each and every site to have the same exact linking information to your site. So switch it up here and there.

  • Submit your site to directories. YES, this still works. There are still some great directories out here that are being listed in backlinks everywhere.
  • Create great articles and submit them to articles directories like Ezine.com or GoArticles.com. These are also great ways to create backlinks with using your keywords.
  • Contact blog owners and see if you can get listed in their blogrolls. Blogrolls are an excellent way to help with backlinks and ranking.
  • Do a quick search for the keyword phrase you want to rank for. Take note of who is already listed on the first page for that phrase. Contact them and try to get listed on their site. Their current ranking can help you out as well.
  • Check and see which pages you are currently listed on the first page of the search engines for and add your keyword phrase on that page that you are ranking for. Simply place your keyword phrase on that page somewhere in the content. Link that keyword phrase to your page that you want to rank for and repeat with other pages that may be indexed on the first page.
  • Last but not least. Try getting your website on high quality websites. Site with high page rank may be a bit harder to get a link from but it doesn't hurt to try!

There are tons of ways to get links to your site, by link baiting (creating a fuss to get people to link to your site, whatever a fuss means to you, go for  it), one way links to your site are the best, create blog post and link back to your site from your blog, and don't forget the internal links on your site. It helps to link from your own website pages to others. A great place to do this is from your home page, but don't go overboard. Linking to a few deep inner pages can help that page get indexed and may help with ranking as well.

DISCLAIMER: Keep in mind the word "competitive" exist for a reason. Ranking will be harder to achieve and requires patience and determination because this is not something that is going to happen overnight, expect to wait at least 6 months to a Year before you start to see some real ranking results in the search engine result pages.


Not a patient person? Consider Adwords for quick traffic for your keywords, while your waiting on your SEO work to take effect. The two tactics can compliment each other very well.
If you choose not to do any link building. You'll have to wait until the age of your site becomes a ranking factor for you. Sorry to sound harsh, but GOOD LUCK WITH THAT : )

Hope I didn't make your head spin to much with all of this wonderful and exciting keyword ranking and link building!

Just take it one page at a time and you will be okay!

Got a question or just confused. Leave me a comment and I'll try to ease the confusion.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Holiday Optimization Tips : Getting Your Ecommerce Site Ready For The Holidays

The holidays are right around the corner. Is your site ready for the holiday shopping season?

If not now is the time to start focusing on getting your site ready for the holidays.

I get a lot of questions from website owners like yourself, wondering when they should begin optimizing their holiday categories and products for the holidays. My answer to them is always, YESTERYEAR!

As I know you are already aware that holidays are competitive and the sooner you began optimizing your site and products for the holidays the better.

Here are some examples of when you should start optimizing:

If you have any products that are holiday specific like Halloween, and Thanksgiving you should have already begun to optimize your site months ago.

If your products are Christmas related you should begin to optimize your products and categories Today! 

Don't wait until October or November to try to start ranking for Christmas baby outfits or Holiday themed photo cards. Get started on your optimization today.

Holiday products especially Christmas themed products are very competitive and difficult to rank for if you wait until the last minute. By knowing this here are some tips that you can do to help with ranking:

1. Go through your site and pick out all of your holiday related products whether that be Halloween products, Thanksgiving Products or Christmas products.

2. Start working on your keyword research now. You will find more Halloween related search terms now since October is right around the corner. Make a long list of keywords that are being searched for. You can use Google's free keyword tool at the link below or Wordtracker's tool. Whichever you prefer. Narrow down your list of keywords to low to medium competition keywords.

3. Take those keywords and start optimizing your holiday themed category. If you don't have one set up yet but have holiday related products. Set one up now. Actually set one up for each holiday. You can have a main category that says Holiday Products and the sub categories can be Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas etc..

4. Next use those low to medium keywords in your product's title, your product's description (very important), your product's meta description and meta title (if your hosting company has separate fields for meta tags), and your product's images. Make sure that each product has it's very own unique meta title, on page description etc..

Examples are always fun, so here's an example:

You have two products that are similar. One is a red and white holiday dress and one is a red, white and green holiday dress. Here is what you can do to separate the two:

Meta title: Red and White Holiday Dress
Meta Title: Red White and Green Christmas Dress for Girls

Always differentiate your products by including the colors, who it is made for and any other specifics to help with creating unique content for each product.

5. Once you have optimized each holiday themed category and the products within the categories, now it's time to start doing some off page optimization. Start taking each one of those categories and start link building with them. Submit your categories to social bookmarking sites for the quickest exposure. Some sites would include Stumble Upon, Kaboodle, Mom Faves, Fave it.com and others.  Create a blog post based off of each category. Once you create each blog post, submit your blog post to Stumble Upon, Digg, Delicious, Share it on Facebook and Twitter. Ask other's to pass it along.Create articles or Squidoo lenses (MY FAVE!)

Contact blog owners to see if they can do a product review and or add your link to your holiday category from their blog roll. This can be achieved here at the Circle. There are many members who would love to add your site to their blog roll.

6. Last but not least, invest a little money in Adwords especially for Halloween items, since that is right around the corner and steadily creeping up and even Back to School items. I know Adwords is intimidating but it's not impossible. Sign up for an account and set your daily budget to something you feel comfortable with. You can pause your ad campaigns whenever you want to. Keep an eye on your ad suggestions that Google makes and keep an eye on keywords that aren't preforming so well. Make sure that each ad you place has keywords in the ad that are related to the page that your visitors will see. Direct your visitors to your holiday pages, not your home pages. You have a higher chance of converting a sale that way. The less your visitors have to click to find what they are looking for, the better.

If you follow those tips, you have a great chance of benefiting from being listed on the first page of the major search engines.

Holidays are big money makers and there is no reason why you shouldn't be getting a piece of that holiday pie too!

So start on your holiday optimization right away, especially any Halloween or Thanksgiving related products. Don't wait until the last minute to start!

When all else fails, consult with a search engine optimization specialist to help you get your site prepared for the holidays.

Good Luck to you all and I hope to see you at the top!

Here are your resource links:



For all of your Holiday SEO needs visit My SEO Gal

Contact Us to find out how you can get 15% off our services for the holidays.

Carla Phillips

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Twitter Tips ! : 7 Tips For Using Twitter For Your Business

When it comes to using any social media site, forum or any online community. There's a right and wrong way to do it.

Below are some tips to get you moving in the right direction, if you are thinking of using Twitter to get more exposure for your business or if you are already using Twitter for your business and are just looking for some refresher tips, then this post is for you too!

Tip 1:
Help out your fellow follower: One of the really great benefits of being part of the whole social networking movement, is you have the ability to help those in need. If you see a post that ask a question that you are knowledgeable about or know something that may help. Respond to it. When responding you can use the persons id in your response to let them know that you are replying to their message. You do this by using the @ symbol then their user name. By helping someone out whenever you can, you will start to establish trust with your followers. They will start to remember you and your brand and you can become an authority figure in your industry. Helping is a great way to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and others too! So contribute when you can.

Tip 2:
Update on a regular basis : Okay, this one is easier said than done and if anyone knows that having time to post updates on a daily basis is just sometimes not possible, I know oh to well. So what I recommend doing is to put aside a couple of minutes out of your day to drop by your Twitter account and post something informative. Now don't have a cow if everyday isn't possible. Take a deep breathe it's okay if you don't have the time. I would recommend posting at least three times a week. It's a great way for your followers to get to know more about you and your business. The more they get to know you the better your chances are in establishing a relationship with your followers and maybe gaining a customer and friend.

Tip 3.
Be informative and Professional : I'm quite sure we've all seen the Twitter post by some that we follow letting us know about their everyday events. From updates about what they just had for breakfast to what time they woke up. It's okay to let people know about personal things and I even encourage it. Your followers can get to know you on a personal level which is great , but I have something that's even better when speaking about getting exposure for your business! Be informative, you only have 140 characters that you can use, so keep it simple. Keep your followers informed about things that are going on in your industry, special deals you may be having or events that will be going on. I don't think they will mind hearing about something that is going to benefit them. Not to sure if knowing that you just had your teeth pulled is going to be something that they are going to look forward to knowing about. Then again, it depends on which industry you are in.

Tip 4.
Show some Retweet Love : If you see an update made by someone else that you think will be a benefit to others, Retweet it! What is a Retweet you ask, well a Retweet is when you take a post made by someone else and copy it into your updates with the following : RT @theusernamehere. It's actually even more easier than that, with a simple click, you can choose to retweet a post.
You can also add a Retweet button to your blog or website like I have here. You can get the code to add to your website at the following website : Tweetmeme

Tip 5.
Follow , Follow, Follow : So you've noticed that you have some new followers. Great! Now you must return the favor and follow them. WRONG! Just because someone follows you, it does not mean that you have to follow them back. Follow those that you have interest in. If you do, you'll just get annoyed quickly, if those you follow post a ton of advertisements and nothing that interest you and those that really interest you will be left behind quickly due to the large amount of updates you will be getting.

Tip 6.
Be Grateful : If you notices that someone took the time to Retweet one of your post or a blog post or your website. Thank them, it's the right thing to do. Although the Retweet may have been done out of pure like, people still like to be appreciated and maybe even caught off guard by your appreciation.

 Tip 7.
Don't over market your business : Last but definitely not least. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT over market your business on any social networking site. Advertising your business is great and to be expected by those that follow you, but there comes a point in Social Networking when enough is a way to get people to unfollow you. Post about specials you have going on, new products or services, freebies etc.. Just don't do it in excess. Post sales and specials here and there, around once or twice a week.  I would say 10 to 20% of your updates can be advertising related, others can be about other things going on in your industry or terrific resources or even a shout out to a fellow business owner. A little promotion for others goes a long way! 

So get your tweets together , make a list about what you want to discuss and what you think will be of benefit to your followers and get to Tweet, Tweet, Tweeting away!

See you on the Twitter side.

Carla Phillips

Monday, May 17, 2010

6 Tips on How to Increase Your Blog Traffic

I know that I have been away for a while and haven't been posting that much this month and I truly apologize for not providing you with your weekly SEO fix, but rest assure that there will definitely be some great tips, and resources to come.

To start off the tips, I have decided to do a blog tip about getting traffic to your blog.

I got a question from one of our members at the Network Circle about driving traffic to a blog and I thought that this would be a great topic to blog about.

The great thing about blogs is that when you are a frequent poster, the search engines fall in love with you and will reward you by listing your blog post in their top search engine result pages.

Search engines love fresh content and blog posting is a great way to give them what they want.

Here are a few quick tips that I have used for my blog and other's to get some traffic to your blog:

1. Post, Post, Blog Away: The key to your blog success is to post and post frequently. When you are posting on your blog each week. Visitors will see that you are dedicated to providing your readers with up to date content as well as the search engines and you will find that your blog post are being pinged or indexed right away. I would recommend posting at least 1 to 2 a week.

2. Be informative: Make sure you are providing your readers with market related information. This can be how to's , or how not too's, tips, specials, reviews etc.. If your readers see that your blog is a benefit to their daily lives, they will come back to your blog and even follow it!

3.  Post contest or Giveaways: A great way to generate traffic to your blog is sponsoring a contest or hosting a contest directly on your blog. The best contest are those that give away a bunch of items from numerous companies. The growing trend is to post your contest on Facebook, which has a promotions app now available I think there are some rules that you have to follow in order to post contest there, but you can always team up with other blog owners to help you promote the contest and contact store owners or niche specific sites or stores to see if they would like to donate a prize in exchange for some free publicity. Who can turn down that! We have some amazing blog owners her that can help you out. Just visit our blog section.

4. Have a newsletter sign up box on your blog. There's nothing better than being able to keep in touch with your fans! So why not take advantage of those that love you and have them sign up for newsletters so you can keep them informed of any events, important information in your industry etc.

If you dont have an email campaign company yet, you can check out a list of them here:


5. Submit your blog to blog directories: Another great way to get traffic to your site if I haven't mentioned it yet, is to submit your site to blog directories.

Submit your blog to these sites below then after that you can ping your blog by using http://www.pingomatic.com. It's very easy, you just enter in your blog url, name of your blog and RSS feed url if you have one and click submit and your blog post will be updated in some popular blog directories.

Blog Daisy


Blog Wise

Blog Catalog








Blog Street


We Blog Alot

Globe of Blogs




Ice Rocket

6. Last Tip but definitely not least: Market, Link Build, Market.
Make sure you are getting your blog the exposure it needs. Add your site to as many niche related directories. Top 100 sites have become a great traffic generator, so I would suggest adding your site to as many of them as possible. Team up with other blog owners and see if you can get listed on their blog rolls. If you do, then your latest blog post will show up on their blog for their readers to see. Take some of your blog post and revise them a bit and create a Squidoo lens, once you create your lens, share it with your facebook fans, twitter followers etc. Include a link to your blog in your lens.

Make your blog post into articles and submit them to popular article directory sites like ezine.com or goarticles.com. This is a great way to generate traffic and backlinks to your blog.

Submit your blog to blog directories and Digg and Stumble upon. These social bookmarking sites can generate a lot of traffic for you.

The more you get your name out there the more you will start to see an increase in traffic and readers for your blog.

Just remember to always be consistent. Keep your logos the same, so you can start creating brand recognition and stay in the spotlight without being annoying. Meaning, keep your blog name out there by constantly posting on your Twitter account, Facebook account, blog etc. Remember that humans are forgetful unless you keep your name out in the open. If someone is constantly seeing your blog name, they will start to look for your post and want to know what the fuss is all about.

If you own a blog and have been successful , make sure to chime in below about what has worked for you as well.

Carla Phillips

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Checking Your Organic Keyword Ranking Data Just Got Easier!

Have you ever wondered how many times your listing appears in Google's organic search engine results? Want to know how effective your listing really is? How many times someone clicks on your listings and in which position your link gets clicked on?

Well, the wait is over! You can now see which keywords are performing the best and in which positions on Google!

It's one thing to be listed on the first page of Google but it's a whole different ball park when your listing is actually being clicked on by potential customers.

Up until now there hasn't really been any really good tools to tell you exactly where your site is listed and how many times someone has actually clicked on your listing to get to your site.

There are some techniques and some tricks of the trade that let you know these things but nothing that most website owners/ webmasters would know.

Guess what,

No you no longer have to wonder if your listings are actually being clicked on.

Google webmaster tools now tells you what keywords your site is being listed for in their search results and in addition to letting you know which keywords they also tell you how many times your site shows up in their search results plus how many times your listing is actually being CLICKED ON!

How cool is that!

You can also know which positions your listings were in and how many times your listing was clicked on in that position plus so much more!

You may be shocked to see that being #1 doesn't always mean your listing will be clicked on. You may see that your listing in the 4th or 6th position is doing better than your listing in the 1st position.

This to me is excellent news as far as SEO is concerned. This will give you the opportunity to see what's actually working for you.

This new data will let you know if you need to spruce up your on page content / meta tags or change around some wordings if you find that a keyword is getting a lot of impressions but the CTR (click through rate) is at a very low rate.

This tool is also great for seeing how your branding is working. You can check and see how many times someone actually types in your business brand opposed to typing in your actual keywords. If you see that your brand name is showing a lot of impressions and click throughs, that is a clear indication that there is some buzz going on about your business and you are moving in the right direction.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of webmasters to help improve their keyword ranking in Google , Yahoo and Bing and increase their website traffic and conversion rate. Our packages have always included Google Webmaster Tools set up but I urge webmasters to sign up for an account more than ever now.

I have been granted permission from one of my long term seo clients (Fleur Lilly) to use their data to show you how the new feature in Google's webmaster tools can help you with optimizing your site or improving your visibility in Google's search engine result pages (SERPS).

Below is the data for one of 358 Fleurlilly.com top search engine queries or targeted keywords. We targeted this keyword phrase for them in the beginning of March 2010. From the data (March 18,2010 to April 18,2010) , we can see that our optimization for this keyword phrase is on the right track. This keyword has generated a lot of traffic to their site and they have seen a tremendous increase in conversions for this brand, so much that they told us that they had sold out of many of their styles and have had to order close to 200 new pairs!

In the images below, you will see the number of times their site shows up in Google's search engine result pages (Impressions), the number of times potential customers clicked on their listing (Click Through Rate) and the percentage between the two.

This image shows their top search query, how many times their site showed up and the number of traffic they got for just this keyword phrase for the past 30 days:

This next image shows a break down of the keyword phrase, which you can see by clicking on the + sign right next to your keyword. The data shows the position their site / listing showed up in their SERPS. It also shows how many times their listing showed and the number of times her listing / link was clicked on.

If you pay close attention you will see that her site performed better in the 3, 4, and 5th position. Guess what!? Their site did okay on the 2nd page too! Their site showed up 1000 times and was clicked on 46 times. Not to bad for 2nd page listing. The site has showed up on the third page too but no clicks. So from their data their site performs great on the first page and still has traffic from the second page but being listed on other pages is not something that is too beneficial.

This image data shows something that is very interesting. This image shows which pages are getting the most click throughs and impressions. What was interesting about this data is that their product pages are getting the most traffic. This goes back to my comments about not abandoning your product pages. It's great to focus on your categories and main categories but definitely more beneficial when you focus on the actual product landing page. So don't neglect your product pages. Make sure you optimize the meta tags and your on page content.

Using your data in your webmaster tools can help you improve your website by letting you know which keywords you are ranking for, and how many times your site is being clicked on. If you see that you have keywords that have a high impression amount but a low CTR and more importantly no sales. Then go back to the drawing board and change things around a bit to increase your CTR. I'll do another post to give you tips on increasing your CTR. If you have a low percentage in click throughs but your conversion is high, you can still be on the right track and just may need some minor updates.

You can also use this data to increase your branding.

If you are not getting any traffic with your business name as a keyword, this lets you know what you need to improve on as far as branding.

If branding is part of your business strategy then you will have to start focusing on building your brand through social media avenues, building business relationships with others in your industry and getting your name out there by participating in events or even partnering up with blogs.

This new feature in your Google Webmaster tools gives you so much insight and data that you definitely want to look into if your organic listings are important to you and your business online success in Google's search engine result pages.

Now is the time to get focused and make a decision about how serious you want to be about moving in a positive direction with your search engine optimization and website traffic needs.

The tools are available to you, it's up to you to take advantage of them.

If your not sure what all the data is or how to improve your organic search engine listings. Consult with an SEO specialist.

Special Thanks to FleurLilly.com for allowing me to use their data!

Got any questions or comments about what you have done to improve your keyword ranking and CTR, leave us a comment, I'd love to hear from you!

Carla Phillips

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Want Your Products in Google Shopping? You need to verify your website!

Good Morning Everyone,

While working on a couple of websites this morning and getting their Google Base/Froogle feeds ready to upload. I encountered an IMPORTANT message from Google when I logged in to their accounts.

If you don't verify your website by a certain date, you will no longer be able to upload your products to their shopping portal!

If you are already familiar with Google Base then you know the negative impact this could have on your sales. If you are not familiar with Google Base yet, Google Base is a great option to upload your products to their free shopping portal that shows up on their search results pages. The shopping portal has many names: Froogle/ Google Base/ Google Product Search / Google Shopping.

It's a great benefit for ecommerce shop owners and something that you definitely don't want to not have access too.

Well guess what!

You won't have access to this great Google feature if you don't verify your website with Google by May 18,2010.

Here's a little excerpt from Google about this important notification:

"Verifying and claiming the website URL in your Merchant Center account is a new requirement. To make this transition easier, we have allowed eight weeks for you to complete this process. If you haven't verified and claimed your website URL by May 18, 2010, your existing and newly uploaded product listings will get disapproved until you verify your site."

It's important to claim your site but there are some ways that you can lose your claim on your url as well.

Here are some ways that they list how you can lose your claim of your website:

  • If another authorized owner of the website in question successfully verifies and claims the website URL, you will lose the claim. If you lose a claim, you will be notified by email and can choose to either verify and claim a different URL or contact us to try and resolve the situation for you.
  • If you lose your 'verified' status in Google Webmaster Tools, you will lose the claim. You can lose the 'verified' status because the identifying Meta tag or HTML file has been removed from the website. If you've lost your 'verified' status in Google Webmaster tools, you will need to verify and claim your website URL again.
  • If you choose to verify and claim a different URL in Google Merchant Center, you will lose the claim for your previously verified and claimed website URL.

Now, I don't want you to break into a sweet just yet. All you have to do to ensure that you can still upload your products to Google Base is to make sure you verify your website url in your Google's Webmaster Tools account and follow all of the steps mentioned in the link at the bottom of this post.

If you don't have a Google Webmaster Tools account, you can sign up for one for free at the link below.

Once you sign up for a free account. Enter in your website address. I suggest entering in your website address with and without the www's for example :


Google has listed a lot of examples of the type of urls that you need to claim in the link I have provided below.

You have the option of either inserting a meta tag code that they will provide you with to add to before the section of your coding.


You can choose to upload a html file into the root folder of your site.

You can upload a file by saving the file they provide you with onto your desktop. Then login to your cpanel, backoffice, file manager, or FTP account and upload the file to your public_html folder of your site or the "root" of your website.

Need Help Verifying your Google account? No problem. We can help.

Click on the link below to get your site verified with no stress:

Verify Your Google Account

To read more about verifying your website with Google, click on the link below:

Verify your site with Google

Carla Phillips

Friday, March 19, 2010

How you accept payments online could be costing you sales!

This topic came up at the Network Circle so I thought I would create a blog post about the negative effect your chosen method of payment processing could have on your sales.
Did you know that you could lose sales based off of how you process your online transactions?

Are you losing sales because your only method of collecting payments is via Pay Pal?

There are huge benefits in having more than just Pay Pal as a payment option for your online sales! The major one, an increase in sales!

How you accept payments could possibly have a negative effect on your sales. Website owners and online sellers have grown to love and trust Pay Pal. Well, most have grown to love and trust Pay Pal for collecting website payments online. Pay Pal is a payment processor who became popular by Ebay users and is now being used on websites all over the world today. 

As business owners we know and recognized the logo as soon as we see it and use it while shopping online for our personal enjoyments, but did you know that not everyone is familiar with the company or logo!? 

I know you are probably thinking, Now how is that possible! Well, think about it. If you were not in the online website business or online sales business and you had no connection to the online world of sales would you be familiar with a company that processes online payments? If you visited a website and found a product or service that you wanted, got to the checkout page and saw a button to make a payment that said Pay Pal instead of pay via credit card. Then you clicked on the button and it took you to a page that looked like you had to sign up for an account in order to pay for your order. Would you feel comfortable with completing the sale or would you start to worry because the checkout does not say pay by credit card and looks like you have to have an account with Pay Pal in order to buy something?

Human beings are creatures of habit and those that shop online are use to seeing a standard set up for checkout. They expect to see the words "Credit Card" as a payment option. If you are only using Pay Pal for your payment processor regardless if you can still take credit card payments with that option, you are setting yourself up to lose a lot of business. Most buyers do not know what Pay Pal is or have never heard of it. When they are directed to the Pay Pal payment screen they may think that they have to either have an account with Pay Pal to order on your site or do not see the very small link at the bottom of the Pay Pal checkout page that says something like : Don't have an account? Pay with credit card or debit card.  So unless you state somewhere in your checkout that you accept credit card payments via Pay Pal then you will have a lot of buyers that will end up abandoning their shopping cart. 

Now don't get me wrong, having Pay Pal as a payment processor is perfectly fine, but you may want to consider investing in a credit card processing company. It's a small investment that could really boost your sales. You could provide two payment options for your customers : Pay Pal and Credit Card. That way those who are familiar with Pay Pal can use their Pay Pal account to complete the sale and those who feel more comfortable with using their credit card will have that option to do so.

I have spoken to so many website owners who have seen an increase in sales as soon as they switched or added a credit card processing option to their checkout. So many that it's just a subject that can not go unnoticed or ignored as an option to increase your sales.

Below is a list of suggested credit card processing companies that you can look into for your online business. Some charge a monthly fee, some charge an annual fee, and some charge a monthly fee plus a per transaction fee. Make sure you read all of the fine print and even contact any company to ask questions before considering signing up to use their services. 
Here are some questions that you can ask:

Is there a monthly fee? If so how much?

Is there a annual fee option?

Do you charge a per transaction fee? What is the percentage per transaction?

What is your minimum sales amount per month? Some companies require you to make a certain amount in sales in order to use their services. 

How soon will I have access to my payments?

What credit cards can I accept? You may have to pay separate fees if you want to accept AMEX or Discover. Always better to ask to make sure.

If you are a service provider company, you may want to find out if they have a recurring billing option.

Here is a list of some companies that you can look into. I am familiar and have used some of them below but not all, so make sure you look into each one and read over their terms before making a decision:

If you find that you can not afford to work a merchant processing fee into your budget right now and all you can do at the moment is use Pay Pal or Pay Pal Website Standard. That's okay too, just make sure you let your customers know somewhere on your checkout  pages or on your site that you accept credit payments through Pay Pal and they do not have to have an account in order to complete their online order. As soon as you can afford to, definitely consider signing up with a credit processing company.

Your online success may depend on it!

Carla Phillips

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Product Optimization : Your Products Need Optimization Love Too!

I got a question in a thread about optimizing products so I wanted to create a blog post about optimizing your products and the importance of it. I hope you enjoy!

A lot of website owners always concentrate on optimizing their website categories, sub categories and information pages on their site, which is absolutely great but what about your products?

Your products need some optimization love too!

Products are important when it comes to converting traffic into sales. One reason being is because if you have a person searching for a specific type of product based off of colors, prints, patterns, size etc. and your product is optimized for that keyword phrase that they type in to find your product, then you are more likely to convert that visitor to a sale. Reason being, people that search for a specific type of product color, product brand, product name etc.. those people are usually looking to definitely make a purchase and not just window shopping or website browsing. So wouldn't it make sense to make sure your product is optimized for those customers who are actually looking to buy!?

For example:

A person goes to their favorite search engine and types in "brown and white baby bedding" the fact that they typed in a color let's you know that this customer is most likely not just internet browsing or what I like to call internet shopping instead of window shopping. This customer has actually included a color so they pretty much have in mind what they are looking for and most likely will be ready to purchase a product within minutes of visiting a site.

What you have to do is make sure you have your colors or prints, brand name (if popular or searched for) and what type of product it is in your meta tags as well as in your description. You want to make sure you say exactly what your product is within the first 20 words of your description. Include colors, sizes, and your main keyword. If you can it also helps to include a price.

Visitors will read the small description that search engines provide in their search results, so take that opportunity to post sell your product. Use it as a mini billboard ad.

Some of you have the ability to add a meta description to your products, take advantage of this but limit your meta description to under 255 characters, but be enticing enough where someone will be more likely to click on your link instead of your competitors.

For those of you who don't have a meta description, don't worry, you can just use the area where you enter in your product description. Do the same but in addition to your first 20 words, make sure you include a header tag. You can do this by choosing Heading 1 in your drop down menu of your description editor, it may start off with the word Normal or Paragraph, or you can add it manually if you don't have it in your tool bar: 


By adding header tags, you are letting the search engine spiders know that this is the keyword it wants to focus on. Use your main keyword for the header 1 tag and secondary keyword for the header 2 tag (optional).

The key is to make sure you pay attention to your product pages as well. These are your landing pages, and a good landing page is not only important to SEO but definitely important when it comes to converting your traffic into sales.

Buyers are impatient, if they don't see the product that they are looking for right away, the likelihood of them, clicking on your categories to find it is very small unless you have a design that is just that appealing to them.

So go ahead and show your products some love! Your online success may depend on it.

Carla Phillips

Sunday, March 14, 2010

How To Make Your Site More User Friendly

Here are a few tips on making your site more user friendly for your visitors:

  • Have a search box. People like to be able to enter in a search term on your site so they don't have to click on each category to find what they are looking for. Make sure you have a search box to make this easy to do.
  • Have a way to get back to the place where they last visited. For instance, make sure you have links that were visited in a different color than your links that have not been visited. Most go with a dark purple color for links that have been visited. This makes it easier for them to know which pages have already been seen
  • Make sure you make it easy for your visitors to easily get back to your home page. If there is no visible Home page button or link for them to click on they may become frustrated and leave the site. Having it at the top is a very good place.
  • Have easy to understand content. If you want someone to click on a link. Make sure the words or link is highlighted. Most internet users recognize the color blue as a link that is clickable to another page, but if you have other colors that you use, that is okay, just make sure you let them know that I want you to visit this link here in your on page content Your visitors like to be told what to do next, so make it easier for them in plain english.
  • List the benefits of your products or services in the first paragraph of your product or website pages. Tell them how this type of product will improve their life or situation. Or how you can change their circumstances with your services or product. If your product or service can change a negative situation or something that they are having issues with then a customer is more likely to buy. Don't make it difficult for them to what what the benefits are of our product or service. Put in understandable text, bullets always work.
  • Make it easy for them to be able to contact you. A visible contact button or link is always best at the top of your site.

These are just some suggestions you can take to help make your site easier to navigate and convert your traffic into sales!.

Carla Phillips

Take Advantage Of Google Webmaster Tools! It Really Can Help

Did you know that by setting up and verifying your site with Google can help you with ranking!?

Google has a great tool that you can use to check the following:

  • What keywords people are using to find your site
  • Check any crawl errors
  • Check duplicate content on your site.
  • See what sites are linking to your website pages
  • See if there are any No Found or broken links on your site and where they are coming from.
  • Submit a sitemap to maximize the number of pages that can be crawled on your site
  • Set your preferred domain : with www's or without (very important way to cut down on duplicate content issues.
  • Set your targeted geographic area.

These are all great tools that you can use to increase the amount of traffic to your site and your ranking. By keeping yourself up to date on any crawl issues like 404 errors or broken links and duplicate content, you will not only increase your chances of ranking well in the search engine result pages but you will also create a better user experience for those who visit your site.

So make sure you set up a Google Webmaster Tools account at the link below and get your site verified with Google so you can see all of the data that they are collecting about your site and they will also give you any messages that they have about your site if applicable.


Carla Phillips

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Does Speed Effect Your Ranking?

This post is going to be quick and we can go over this more as you have questions but I just read about Google's new project Caffeine which should be effective soon.  They want to make the internet FASTER. So in a nutshell if your site is fast then you may get a "little bonus" as far as ranking is concerned as Matt Cutts put it in the interview he did in November at Pub Con in Vegas about how speed could effect your ranking.

"it's sort of fair to say that if you're a fast site, maybe you should get a little bit of a bonus."

So if your site is loading slow this could cause your site to perform bad for users and in return your site may have a negative effect on how your site is ranking.

In saying that, I know your next question must be: How do I know if my site is slow?

Have no fear, Google is here!  icon_killbill 

Google has a page that list a lot of resources you can use to check your site's speed. They also provide links to sites that you can use and there is also a Firefox add on that you can use to check your site's speed called Page Speed. .

Visit the following to find out which tools are available:


Now is the time to start getting serious about your site ranking possibility. With personalized search and now Google Caffeine just keep in mind that Google will always be making changes so don't let that discourage you. Just make sure you are keeping current with the changes and making sure that your site is relevant to the keywords that you are trying to rank for.

So whip out that to do list and put search engine optimization at the top and give your way of thinking a major make over. Especially if your goal is to get more traffic from being listed on Google's top search engine pages.

Take a peek at the link below to find out more about this and tell me your thoughts:


As Google changes, you can change too ...... and for the better!
Carla Phillips