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Welcome to the October issue of "Marketing Matters," a free monthly e-newsletter with tips and ideas for marketing your business. In this issue, we will discuss website presence and search engine optimization (SEO). Combined with social media and online advertising, websites have become one of the single most dominant marketing tools in recent times. Businesses are investing billions of dollars to carve out their niche on the web. Consider the following scenario...
 Creating an Online Presence

Your business has taken the big leap to the internet and invested its marketing dollars to develop and launch a new website. You have in place the perfect photos and text so your customers can learn more about your business. The design looks great and functionally the site works fine. Several months go by and you realize that no one has contacted your business through your new website. Each month you check your web statistics (if you know how) and web traffic is scare. Except for your family and friends and the occasional salesman or visitor from China, no one relevant is accessing your website. No orders have been placed through the web.
 
So you begin to wonder what all the fuss was about. Why did you bother to develop a website? Why the hype? You have just discovered that you do not have an online presence.

What is an online presence and why is it so important?
An online presence is the ability for your customers to do a random search for your specific products and services in your market area and find your business easily on the first page of the major search engines and business directories. Statistic indicate that 85% of online searchers never go past the first page when looking for products and services, and 55% of those that search buy from the businesses they find on page one.
 
Simply stated, if you are on page two or twenty-two, your chances for website interaction and sales are slim. An online presence is more than putting up a new website, it is the website's ability to be seen by your prospects on search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, Bing, AOL, etc. and hundreds of business directories.
 
So how does your business website make it to the top of the search engines? The major search engines send out crawlers or spiders. These spiders make their way to your website and basically route through the key information on your site. Based on the information they find, they rank your site. The spiders return to your site several times during the course of a month and each time they pick up on content and programming cues.  It is through this process that your site will move up or down on the major search engine.
 
Website programming and search engine optimization (SEO)
If your site has incorporated the proper SEO techniques, your site will be ranked high and be more visible. If the site fails to incorporate the content needed for the search engines, your site will perform poorly. Optimization is a key ingredient for your website. Optimization is specifically related to how your website content is written and programmed to create web presence. The stronger the optimization, the higher the ranking on the major search engines and the more effective the web presence.
 
Of course, registering your website with the search engines is a must, but the specific content on your site will help it become more noticeable with respect to client searches.
 
Three core areas of optimization are important: Title tags, description tags and website content.

Title tag.  This information is located at the very top gray bar of your website and is typically 65-95 characters long. This information is the first thing the search engines find to rank your website. The text in this area should include company name, market area and the nature of your business (e.g., Brand Design Inc, Warrenton, VA advertising, website, branding, 540-341-0200, radio TV, logo design, corporate identity).

Description tag.  This information is coded into your website and will be placed with the search engines. So, when a searcher conducts a search for specific search criteria (e.g., advertising agency warrenton), the searcher will see an online, brief description about your business with a link to your website. An example of a description tag may look like this:   Brand Design Inc. Warrenton, VA advertising, website, branding ... If your business requires design, branding, website design, advertising, branding, direct mail, ... Brand Design Marketing Communication of Warrenton, VA . Taming the Wilds of Marketing Communications. AGENCY PROFILE SERVICES ... www.branddesign.com
 
Key Content.  The content text and photos incorporated into your website must relate to your business products and services. Content should include repetitive words relating to your business with keywords highlighted. Photos and images should include alt tags with keywords relating to your business.
 
Other helpful hints.  Links are another component of website optimization. If you link to other well optimized websites, your site will become stronger based on that linked relationship. Many people link their websites with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. These websites are so popular and strong with their optimization, that, simply linking to them, will strengthen your web presence. Registering and linking with other well optimized search engines and directories will increase the productivity of your website.
 
Online Advertising. In the next issue of Marketing Matters we will discuss the benefits and power gained through online advertising. Businesses that pay to be on page one of the major search engines often have a stronger website presence than companies that do not advertise.

Professional Help
In closing, there are numerous techniques that will help bring a web presence to your business. Some we have listed in this narrative will help you. If your website is faltering, if your website is old and outdated, if you cannot find your business online by conducting a Google search for your product and service within your market area, then you need the help of a web specialist.
 Your Web Specialists

Brand Design has helped numerous businesses build their web presence. We provide the concept, content, SEO, online advertising and programming to get you on the first page of the major search engines. If you need a new website, a first time website or help with an existing website, turn to a specialist and contact Brand Design, Inc.


For more information about websites, online advertising, SEO and marketing call us today
.

Visit us at Booth 97 at The Connections trade show:

OCTOBER 21, 2010
4 - 7 pm
Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center 10900 University Blvd.
Manassas, Virginia

 About Brand Design

Brand Design is a local advertising agency specializing in a variety of creative services including printing and mailing, web design, branding, logo and corporate identity, trade shows, promotions, advertising, direct mail, radio, TV and PR.

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8110 Poplar Grove Drive, Warrenton, VA PHONE 540-341-0200 FAX 866-656-1180 www.branddesign.com
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