Contact us

Mesh, Inc. 
Digital Marketing Strategy
604 309 5700
kirk@meshinc.com 

MIX & MESH

Frequently or infrequently, we will share what we are working on, what we are thinking about, and a few things that we find transformative. 

Tuesday
Feb072012

Make your online marketing manageable.

If you're like me, in addition to your marketing and networking activities in the physical world, the Internet is constantly calling like a siren, asking you for your time. Every day we're bombarded with messages in the media and our email inboxes reminding us that if we're not active online we're missing out on a major opportunity. Yellow Pages and your local newspapers call to offer you incredible deals on their print-services, and you meet companies like Mesh who offer to improve your search position.

In my experience it's easy to get to the end of the day and feel like you've failed. Often the failure is actually seeded in a paralysis of too much choice, rather than an inability to complete one of the possible tasks.

For February we have decided to simplify our inbound marketing efforts, and set some modest goals that will help us increase our social presence, whilst maintaining a healthy balance between work and life, and between getting our core business done as well as being active online.

One of my favourite proponents of work/life balance is Leo Babauta, he writes a daily blog at zenhabits.net, and every day he drops another little gem into my inbox that helps me reflect on slowing down, simplifying, and taking care of myself and others close to me. My favourite post of Leo's, and one of his most popular, is titled 20 Things I Wish I Had Known When Starting Out in Life. Another more recent post that I find immensely challenging is titled 100 Days With No Goals. I encourage you to subscribe to zenhabits for a daily dose of live-life-more-slowly medicine!

I'm not quite there with living life goal-free, but for February I'll describe my approach as a method, rather than a goal. Each day I'm going to write one post on the Mesh blog. Each post will be personal, and have personality. Each post will speak to where I am in my work and life, and offer a reflection on the challenges I face. Each post will be at least 2 paragraphs, and contain at least 2 links to articles or content that I have benefitted from, related to the post's topic.

Once I've posted the blog I will tweet the title of the post out on our @meshSEM account. I will then retweet it on my personal @stumullan account.

During the course of the day, I am going to post one other tweet from @meshSEM with a link out to an interesting article or resource on Internet marketing. The purpose of this tweet will be to share knowledge and effective practice for anyone thinking about Internet marketing or SEO. As with the blog, these will be stories that I find interesting, and which I would like to link to.

Finally I am going to create a Mesh Google+ account – they've just opened Google+ to brands and companies – and post both the link and the blog entry there also.

These three tasks are manageable. And they feed my desires or interests in their own way. I enjoy writing, and as my knowledge of marketing online has grown I have wanted to share some of that knowledge and connect with others who are also interested in shared-learning. I also enjoy watching the web and staying on top of current trends and developments. Spending no more than 30 minutes each day writing, browsing and linking not only helps me stay current and write creatively, it also helps keep Mesh on the radar online.

Day one's blog complete– and note that I'm starting on February 7th! There's no place for guilt or duty in this experiment. An authentic voice for your writing and sharing is one that comes from a place of enjoyment or fulfillment, so I'll likely miss a few days during the month, but 15 authentic posts will be much more effective than 29 (it's a leap year!) that are tainted with some sense of 'must do'.

A quick note about links: Links are the lifeblood of the Internet, connecting us to each other, expanding our horizons, bringing unique and interesting news, stories, videos, music to our desktop. Links also help drive your visibility online, each link acting as a 'vote' for your post or page, telling the search engines that you have something valuable to offer. It is certainly my hope that during this process others link to the Mesh blog, improving our visibility, and I would encourage anyone wishing to promote their product or service online to develop a strategy for acquiring natural, relevant links to pages on their website.

Thursday
Nov172011

Check your website's search performance in 3 easy steps.

Hi, I'm Stu from Mesh. This week I want to encourage you to check your website's performance in Google in three easy steps:

  1. Find out what phrases people use to find your business using Google's External Keyword Tool.

  2. Search for your website in Google using SEO Centro

  3. Check the number of backlinks to your website with Majestic SEO

Free market research

Google's external Keyword tool provides information on the number of searches for a given phrase within your country and worldwide, per month. It's an excellent source of free market research. Their Traffic Estimator can even drill down to local areas such as BC, Vancouver and even North Vancouver.

Start by entering your website name, or a phrase that relates to your business in the search box, and click search. You can sort by local (Canada) monthly search volume, and make sure to select exact match in the left hand column to get the most accurate results. You may want to add a filter your results using the Advanced Options and Filters to show only phrases that are low, or low and medium competition, as these represent phrases that you may be able to improve your rankings for in a reasonable timeframe.

Discover where you rank in search results

Next choose two or three of the top performing phrases that you would like to rank for and enter them into Google one at a time and see where what the first page of results looks like, are you there?

A helpful tool to speed the process is http://www.seocentro.com/tools/search-engines/keyword-position.html. You can enter the keyword, your domain, and even a competitor’s domain, and it searches through the first 50 results in Google, Yahoo and Bing. It is not possible to specify the country in this particular tool, so you may get slightly worse results than if you are searching manually because your computer is physically located in Canada, whereas this tool is not. 

Check you website backlinks

There are a number of tools online that help you check backlinks to your site. Backlinks are important because search engines trawl, or index, the Internet on a daily basis. Their robots, or spiders, 'read' the page, follow the links on the page, and record what the link 'says', i.e. click here; establishing relevance between the phrase contained with the link, and the destination the link is pointing to.

One of the most powerful tools for checking links is Majestic SEO. Simply enter your domain name into their Site Explorer search box, and you will see the number of links that they have indexed to your website in the last 30 days, or your entire history. You can also enter you competitors' web address to explore their backlinks. Backlinks are the main signal that search engines work with to understand the value of your website. To out-rank your competitors you need to build a body of links on the internet pointing to your website.

How did you do?

Try these three steps on your own website this week, and let us know how you get on!

Tuesday
Nov152011

Grab people's attention and keep them on your site

Use Google Analytics to track visitors on your website

Getting visitors to your website is just the beginning of engaging them online. Your homepage is like your shop window, and in the same way that physical stores use signage and window displays to draw people through the door, your website needs to send the right messages to visitors to encourage them to spend time on your website.

Bounce-rate is the term given to the proportion of visitors to your website who don't engage with your content, but instead leave immediately. They bounce by clicking the back button, or by closing their browser. The rate is shown as a percentage in Google Analytics and other visitor tracking software, and anything over a 50% bounce-rate is a signal that visitors are not being drawn in by your homepage content.

Reduce your website's bounce rate by understanding your visitor's expectations

As in the physical world first impressions count. It's critical that your homepage offers a clear, easy to navigate, body of information that they can understand. Are you serving your visitors the right information, in a format that is clear and accessible? Are your navigation menus clear, each link containing descriptive text, that helps both humans and search engines understand where the link will take them? For example if you're a wedding planner, changing your services menu to wedding planning services helps potential customers find the page of your website they want in a glance.

Good practices include: 

  • Clear navigation menus
  • Landing pages for specific content or services
  • Professional quality content, including photo and video

Whilst flashy (Flash) content can seem attractive on the first visit, regular customers are likely to be frustrated by an intro or splash page as it slows down their entrance to your website, and doesn't provide them with new or relevant information. A snippet from your most recent news story, blog post, or twitter feed is much more helpful.

The key question to improving visitor engagement is “what are my visitors expecting when they visit my website?”. Once you answer that question you can decide how to present the information most effectively.

If you don't know the answer to that question, look at your traffic tracking software, such as Google Analytics, and see what search queries people are using to find your website. If you're an accountant and the leading search queries relate to personal tax, then you should feature information, advice or a description of your personal tax services on your homepage.

If you discover that the phrases people use to find your website are not the services that you want to promote, then you need to look critically at your website and ask yourself why the search engine has connected you to those keywords, and not the ones you want.

Google's External Keyword Tool

To discover what phrases Google has connected to your website visit their External Keyword Tool, enter your website url in the Find Keywords section. You can see the number of monthly searches globally, or in your country. Choose Exact match for accuracy.

Don't hesitate to call us for more information on on-page optimization, seo services or content strategies for business.

Saturday
Nov052011

Use the Visitors Flow view in Google Analytics to understand visitor behaviour on your website.

A snapshot of the Visitors Flow view in Google Analytics

In this article we will explore how the Visitors Flow view in Google Analytics can help you understand visitor behaviour in your website.

Google Analytics is a free, and very powerful, website traffic analysis programme that helps you understand how people find, navigate and leave your website. If you're not using Analytics, or similar web-tracking software on your website you're missing out on an excellent source knowledge about how people find your website, what they do when they visit your site, and what pages people exit your site. You can find detailed information about installing and configuring your account on the Analytics website.

One of the most helpful features in the new Analytics interface is the Visitors Flow view. This view gives you a pictorial representation of how people arrived at your website, what pages they clicked while they were online, and what page they were on as they left your site.

Visitor flow – how visitors move through your website

To find the Visitors Flow view click the Visitors menu on the left hand side of Analytics, and select Visitors Flow. The diagram will appear in the main window, and you will see a number of connected columns, including: Country/Territory, Starting pages, 1st interaction, 2nd interaction. You can zoom in and out of the view, and pan to the left and right using the scrolling bar on the left of the window. You can change the Country/Territory selection to a range of variables, including: city, language, region.

As you look at the window first consider how people arrive at your website, what are the top three starting pages? In the example below the primary starting page is the homepage, but there are 55 other pages that were the entrance page during the reporting period.

You can hover over each box and see the percentage of visitors who clicked through the landing page to an inner page in your site, and the percentage who left the site from this page.

Questions to consider:

1. One question to ask yourself is are over 50% of your visitors leaving your website without moving beyond the homepage? If so then your homepage is not optimized well, and visitors are not finding the information that they expect when they click the search result.

2. Next, find out which keyword phrases are sending visitors to your site. Read the keyword research section under the Traffic Sources/Search Engine Optimization menu and consider how your homepage could better respond to the keywords that are leading most visitors to your site. The keyword section only works if you have connected your Analytics account to Google Webmaster Tools, you can find instructions on that here.

3. Finally, are there pages that you don't consider of high value on your website that are actually getting significant traffic? You may discover that you are receiving visitors to a page of section of your website that you don't think is important, and therefore haven't invested much time or energy in. Or, you may discover that you're receiving many visitors from outside your country, or region; and realise that you would benefit from offering shipping, a toll-free number, or local postal address in their location.

Analytics is a challenging tool to get the best out of. The Visitors Flow view is an excellent way to see how people are interacting with your website, without having to crunch the numbers yourself.

Tuesday
Oct252011

Google confirms that they do not consider SEO spam, and encourages companies to use reputable SEO firms.

Often people ask us about how Google view SEO, and whether optimizing your website and obtaining links is conisdered spam. This week Matt Cutts, Google's 'head of spam', released a video about SEO and it's importance to them in improving search results. The video discusses the many services that a good SEO company can provide for you, and what to look for when hiring an SEO specialist for your website.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about SEO or internet marketing.

Enjoy!

Stu.