You’ve done everything right. You’ve researched your keywords (and those of your competitors), you’ve beefed up your meta tags, you’ve created highly optimized and compelling content, you’ve optimized for local search . . . heck, you’ve even optimized the file names of the images you’re using! You take a deep breath, look and log in to view your analytics, and, drum roll . . . traffic is static? Or worse, it’s a little down? What could have gone wrong?
Actually, something may have gone very right. If you’ve done a thorough job with SEO, you may have met the needs of your users so well that they don’t even need to click through to your site. “Come again,” you say?
Here’s the thing: depending on the nature of your business, customers may not need to get to your site once they see you in search results. This is exactly what happened to one of our clients, a surfing company in Hawaii. We optimized its site heavily for local search, and as a result, users now see the business name, address, website and phone number near the very top of the results for "Surf lessons in Waikiki."
At that point, it's just as people to call up and ask about lessons and tours as it is to visit the site (this is doubly true if the person is searching on a smartphone).
If a lot of users bypass your website but call instead, then you won’t see a bump in traffic. But you should—like Big Wave Dave—see a bump in sales. And if sales are up, then your SEO has paid off—literally!
It's that time again. At CDG, we're beginning work on our fifth iAd. We've set the bar high for ourselves, and we're trying to out-do our extremely high metrics for user engagement and conversion rates. Let the concepting begin!
Above, the newest addition to CDG's design team, Marina Linderman, pitches ideas to Creative Director Matthew Snyder.
Matthew records the ideas provided by the design team. At this stage in our creative process, no idea is too out-there or strange. We'll edit and refine them over the next week as we hone in on a creative concept on which to base the iAd.
search engine optimization is a bit like playing whack-a-mole. Just when you
have your eye on a sure-fire SEO tactic, it becomes moot (or less effective)
and another one springs up somewhere else. Anyone who tells you they have the
secret to perfect SEO probably also has a very affordable bridge to sell you.
are tried and true methods to optimizing your site for search, and some are not
as obvious as you might think. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to
focus on the best way to optimize copy on a page-by-page basis. This is only
one part of any solid SEO strategy (we’ll tackle other pieces, like
link-building later), but it’s of course one of the most essential.
creating your content, pay attention to these items:
keywords are at the heart of any well-optimized page, so before you start
writing, do you research. Be thorough, and make sure to not only look at the
keywords you’re currently planning to target, but also research the keywords
for which your competitors are optimizing. Google trends is a great starting point,
and it’s free. It will tell you the terms people
are actually using, what’s becoming more popular, and much more. Paid tools like SpyFu and SEMRush
are handy in looking at your competitors.
Once you’ve got keywords, you’ve got to
know what to do with them. Which leads us to .
Page Title (Meta):
title is the first thing people will see. Think of it as the subject line for
your content. Only the first 65 characters of the title will be viewable to
users, so keep it short. And for best results, lead off with your key words.
For example, if you’re optimizing on “car insurance quotes.”
- Good: Get
Free & Fast Car Insurance Quotes from ABC Insurance
- Better: Car
Insurance Quotes: Free & Fast at ABC Insurance
Example of a well-optimized page title for the search term "budget hotels in San Francisco"
Description Tag (Meta)
the title, your description is your most important meta content, as it also
shows up in search engine results and can be very effective in convincing a
user to click. When you write your description, use your keywords judiciously
and focus it on what the user most wants to see. If they’re searching for the best price on a
hotel room, lead with your special rates, not the fact that you’ve been open
for 25 years. If you take the time to craft a
descriptions that are relevant to each page, you’ll increase the odds that
people will find what they expect—and that will reduce your bounce rate. And remember: Keep those descriptions to 165
characters or less.
be surprisingly effective weapons in your SEO arsenal. Make sure every
contextual image has a caption and alt tag peppered with keywords. The alt tag
is especially important, as the first 255 characters of it will show up in the
increasing powerful Google image search. Use your keywords to intelligently label
- OK: “child on a swingset”
- Better: “child on a
swingset with a nanny from ABC Agency”
- Best: “A certified nanny from ABC agency plays on the
swings with a child in New Jersey”
not all. You can even improve your results by using keywords in the file name (e.g. ABC-Agency-nanny-with-child.jpg).
well-optimized page relies primarily on the content itself. (And really, what’s
the point in driving people to a page with crappy content anyway?) When writing your content, use—but don’t
overuse—your keywords. There’s no magical formula to figure out optimal keyword
density, but you definitely don’t want the page to sound like it’s been optimized. If you can
read it aloud and it has a natural-sounding flow, you’re probably on the right
track. Equally important is the structure of your page. Make sure to use
keyword-rich headers and subheads, and make sure your code uses <h1> and
<h2> tags to call those out.
Et voila! Implement these five steps and
on your way to the world’s most dazzlingly optimized page. That’s only the
start, though. Once you’ve dealt with your own pages, you need to look beyond
your own site, with link-building, blogger outreach, social media efforts, etc.
But we’ll save that for another post. Check back soon for more!
Need help understanding how to optimize
your site for search? Contact CDG & let our experts work with you on a
comprehensive SEO strategy.
That headline is not a rhetorical question. If you can’t
answer it, you should absolutely, positively avoid any temptation to follow the herd onto Pinterest. Like any social media channel, Pinterest is
just another way to reach out to a wider audience, and like all the others, it
requires significant care and feeding. So let’s take a minute and figure out if
it’s right for you.
Pinterest Could Work
for You If . . .
Just because “everyone’s” on Pinterest doesn’t mean you have
to be there too. (Remember what your mom said re: jumping off bridges with
friends?) Yet Pinterest is potentially an great channel for many different
kinds of businesses, particularly if:
- You have something to sell—If you’re selling
something—from earmuffs, to gourmet meals, to hotel reservations—Pinterest
could be a fantastic marketing tool for you. Consumers like to see what they’re
getting and the richness of Pinterest’s layout allows you to showcase your
products and services in a visually compelling way.
- You have something to say—Non-profits and
advocacy groups can use Pinterest to highlight key facts, slogans and taglines
that support their mission. (CDG’s client, the Ms. Foundation for Women) does
- You have something to teach—Data visualization, when
it’s done well, is an incredibly effective way of communicating. Take a look
here for some great examples.
If you have key facts or numbers that you want your audience to remember,
Pinterest might be able to help spread that message.
- You have a story to tell—“Show, don’t tell,” is
a tenet of good storytelling. Pinterest can aid you here. If your company or
organization has a long history, an intriguing backstory, or compelling
customer service stories, you may be able to tell those very effectively via
images on Pinterest.
Great! Your business meets one (or more) of the criteria
above. Hooray! Off to Pinterest!
. . . But Wait! There’s the Little Matter of Content
Yes, now I’m going to be a killjoy. Pinterest might be a
great fit for your business in theory, but a terrible idea in practice. As with
all social media channels, it boils down to one word: CONTENT.
Remember all of those Pinterest boards for your wonderful products? And your
great infographics? And your snazzy quotes? They’ll need to be filled and
updated with a steady flow of images. Before you get on Pinterest you’ve got to
be darn sure that you have the assets to support your presence, now and into
Do you have a photographer, a designer, and/or a graphic
artist to produce your images? If not, think twice and three times about
Pinterest. Because Pinterest is not only about images, it’s about beautiful, compelling images. The
absolute worst thing you could do is to have a Pinterest account filled with
Make an Informed,
Using Pinterest well is
a tall order for a lot of businesses. If it’s not right for you, that’s not the
death knell for your social media efforts. In fact, it can be a great boost to
them. Instead of wasting valuable time and resources on Pinterest, use them to make
your Facebook page and Twitter account work better for you. In other words,
it’s OK to walk away and say, “Hey, Pinterest, it’s not you, it’s me.”
Check out more advice on using Pinterest successfully for business. And if you need more help with your social media strategy, Contact
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks at CDG,
punctuated by the launch of several high-profile international sites for Australia-based
travel insurance company Cover-More. Over the past week, we’ve launched a total
of four sites serving B2C markets in New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and
New Zealand: An Immersive Experience
Cover-More Travel Insurance New Zealand is a major milestone in our ongoing collaboration to rebrand and
enhance the online B2C presence for Cover-More. The core of new site is a
streamlined and intuitive quote process that makes it easy for users to select
and purchase the best travel insurance product for their needs.
The site’s design and content frames the
quote process in an immersive environment that serves up customized information
about the destinations where the user intends to travel. (In addition to providing a compelling
experience for the user, this vast library of content is also optimized to draw
organic search traffic.)
Built in CDG’s content management system,
ZeusCMS, the site integrates with Cover-More’s purchase process for a seamless
“We intended to create a site that’s not
only highly usable, but that also pushes the boundaries of what you expect from
an insurance site,” says CDG President Scott Adams, “We came up with an
environment that both appeals to a traveler’s sense of adventure and presents
Cover-More insurance as a valuable addition to your travel experience.”
Airlines: An Integrated Approach
In addition to offering travel insurance in
a B2C environment, Cover-More also partners with travel providers who want to
make travel insurance available to their customers. That’s case with Malaysia
Airlines. CDG worked with Cover-More to create an experience that integrates with
the airline’s existing brand and website, while providing users with all the
information they need in order to make a smart decision about travel insurance
Malaysia Airlines customers can get a quote on
travel insurance before or after purchasing their tickets. The travel insurance section on the site
provides a fast and easy quote and purchase process, as well as comparisons of
the available policies, and quick, scannable information about the benefits of
Customers who don’t initially choose to get
travel insurance have a second chance after they purchase their airline
tickets. An ad on the confirmation page provides a fast track to the quote
The travel insurance section is integrated
into Malaysia Airlines' Singapore, Australia, and Malaysia sites.
To find out how CDG can help you create more effective digital environments, contact us.
Score one for 51% of the population! CDG
has just launched forwomen.org, the new website for the Ms Foundation for
Women. The launch marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Ms.
Foundation, which has been a driving force in the women’s movement since 1973.
The Ms Foundation is the premiere
organization in the United States that addresses the entire spectrum of women’s
issues—from reproductive health to equal pay to child sexual abuse and much
more. In recent years, Ms had directed much of its energy to grant-making and
grassroots activities and kept a lower profile with the general public.
Last year, the organization decided to complement its grant-making focus with increased supporter engagement. They were ready to be bold,
provocative and even controversial, and they turned to CDG to execute a site
and strategy that matched their vision.
The result is forwomen.org, an energetic
and somewhat irreverent site that compels users to get mad, get motivated, and
get involved on women’s issues. The centerpiece of the site is its “Action of
the Week”; each week visitors to the site are given a new action to take on
behalf of a specific women’s issue. (This week, Ms is asking you to tweet and
email key members of Congress and tell them to pass the Violence Against Women
Act before the end of the year.)
CDG also worked with Ms to streamline the
site’s content and present it in a way that would appeal to a wider, yet
targeted audience within the “general public.” Visually vibrant and arresting,
the site highly integrated with social media, and is designed to encourage
activism and education through sharing among an ever-expanding community of
“We are thrilled to share our new website
with the world,” says Kelly Parisi, vice president of communications for the
Ms. Foundation for Women, “It is the perfect vehicle to raise awareness about our
issues, reach a new audience, and expand our base. CDG truly integrated with
our team to create an exciting and compelling digital platform to carry us into
at CDG are extremely proud to unveil this powerful new site ForWomen!