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Thursday, February 26, 2009

10 best practices for online sales pages

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If you run an online business and you depend on search engine traffic you need to utilize the following Google Adwords and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 10 best practices for online sales pages. Even if you don't currently use Google Adwords paid advertising, the following useful tips will help you beat out 99% of your online competition in regard to Google specific search engine optimization for online sales pages.
Before we jump right into the 10 best practices, let me take a moment and briefly describe if you don't already know, how a typical person happens to come across your website.
Typically speaking, someone will usually find a website via the many search engines on the Internet; the two best examples in the U.S. are probably Google.com and Yahoo.com in that order.
So the process goes something like this:
A person has a specific problem to solve or they are researching a particular topic. An example would be a problem with acne. Imagine if you will, a person with an acne problem going to Google.com and typing in something along the lines of "how to solve severe facial acne".
In the above scenario, a person with a specific problem they are trying to solve has typed in a question into a search engine. They didn't type in JohnSmith'sWebsite.com or JohnSmith'sBestAcneProduct.com, they typed in a question to a problem they have and they are looking for specific answers as a result of their search. Understanding this flow is a critical online success factor. Now, back to our Search Engine Optimization Best Practices;
What you have to understand distinctly is that the above scenario is based specifically around a few "key words" or more accurately, a "key phrase"; "how to solve severe facial acne"
Your typical mom and pop Internet store owner tends to think advertising on the Internet via Google Adwords or simple search engine marketing is the same or similar to any other form of advertising like local phone book ads, classified ads, radio or even TV ads for that matter. You just mention your company name, products, address and phone number and wait for the people to walk through your virtual door.
Unfortunately, online advertising is nothing like the above unless your Nike or CNBC and have ad budgets in the $ millions. I wish I would have coined this; and I don't remember who did... but you have to think of online marketing as "Phrase Marketing".
What do I mean by that?
Well, you have to put yourself in your customer's place and imagine what you would type into a search engine if you were trying to find the products you sell. You also have to do this in the above context of what problems do your products solve. Learn how to use that second point effectively and your sales will shoot through the moon. By doing the above, you can effectively begin to envision how to optimize your sales pages and your online business.
So in the context of all the above, here are 10 deadly effective and simple ways to beat 99% of your competition in "Phrase Marketing" or Google Adwords and Search Engine Optimization.
1. Include your most important keywords in the title tag of your sales page. A little bit of "techiness" - this just means put your key phrase in between your "title tags" on your online sales page. Any basic web editor like MS Frontpage will allow you to do this easily.
2. Include a few key word relevant sentences at the very top of your product sales page. If your product is an acne product; just place a few key sentences at the top of your page and include the relevant words of acne and any supporting key words in those sentences. Make the sentences key-word-rich.
3. Make your h1, h2, and h3 tags keyword relevant similar to point number 2 above. Really, this just means in the important sections of your sales page, include that key phrase in any headline formatting tags like "h1", "h2", or "h3".
4. Include a bold headline which includes your key phrase in it under your key sentences above. For the non-techies, using an "HTML tag" as your headline is one way search engines pick up that you want to emphasize this line as important on your web page. It's just a visual formatting tag like using "bold" in MS Word.
5. Don't use any window pop-ups. This is an absolute no-no with Google Adwords. Just don't do it - enough said.
6. Always include a contact us page link with your name, email, phone number, and physical address. Again, common sense, but lots of people forget it. Make it easy for customers to contact you and put that link in a conspicuous place on your sales page.
7. Include outbound links with your keywords as the anchor text. This is great for Google cross linking relevance. If you have online articles you've written or a blog, place links to some of those articles on your sales page and cross link between the pages.
8. Always include a privacy policy at the bottom of your pages. In today's world, that should go without saying, but it also carries weight with Google and Google may tend to treat your website a little better than a similar site without a privacy policy link in plain view.
9. Name irrelevant pictures a generic name or number. What I mean by this is; for the above example, if you have a picture on your sales page, don't name that picture something like "acne_solutions.jpg". Just name the picture "salespageimage1.jpg" instead. Google may place that image inside of "Google Images" after your webpage gets indexed and if you name it "acne_solutions.jpg" but it has nothing to do with real acne solutions, then people aren't going to click on it. This may end up decreasing your overall site relevance within Google. This definitely is not what we're trying to achieve here.
10. Lastly, avoid using words like Iron Clad Guarantee, testimonial, free offer, etc. If your page is very "salesy" Google may tend to frown on that a bit. Just offer unique, honest "key-word-rich" content on your sales page and you will be ahead of 99% of your competition.
In summary, I hope the above tips help you to master the "real" way you need to market online using "Phrase Marketing".
What would you type into a search engine to find your products?
Answer that question and place those keywords strategically throughout your sales pages and you will absolutely increase your overall level of success in your online marketing efforts and will certainly increase sales.