Can Your Business Picture Success With Pinterest?

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Posted on in Inspiration

At the height of Pinterest’s popularity, crafty, photo-crazy Internet users were pinning everything they could focus their camera lenses on.
But, after a couple years in the digital spotlight and with the prevalence of sites like Instagram, Pinterest is losing a little momentum in the popularity department.
Here are just a few reasons why Pinterest is losing some of its faithful business followers now and in the foreseeable future:

Pinterest Perfection is Unattainable

Something gaining more popularity than Pinterest itself are photo sites dedicated to Pinterest-inspired fails. That’s right, the all-things crafty and creative site is a big turn-off for followers who discover Pinterest perfection is flat-out impossible to achieve.
It’s not Pinterest’s fault that most of its featured users are incredibly talented artists, chefs, and clothing designers just to mention a few, but when the general public uses Pinterest photos as inspiration and ultimately fail, they lose interest in the site over time. It’s nobody’s fault, but it kind of makes perfect sense.

Mainstreaming Melancholy

As Pinterest began gaining popularity early on in its online infancy, major brands started paying attention and jumping onboard one after the other. But, the overwhelming presence of those major brands is exactly what’s making followers look elsewhere for inspiration.
Established brands aren’t necessarily bad for sites like Pinterest, but followers that appreciate the site’s DIY arts and crafts mentality see major brands as mainstream. And, this mainstream approach is really beginning to rub the Pinterest faithful the wrong way.

Too Much of a Good Pin

Popularity leads to more users regardless of the type of website, but in the case of Pinterest, new users pinning in droves is flooding the streamline quality of the photo-centric site. This has increased the site’s usage over time, but it’s also turning many pinning all-stars away.
As with anything, quality has cleared a path for quantity and many new Pinterest users are taking advantage of the site’s popularity for personal gain.
This is perfectly acceptable, but not when new users are pinning things that don’t add anything to the site and, in fact, take away from other users who use the site for the right reasons.

Pinning Spam

A recent problem in Pinterest’s short history is the rapid increase of spamming issues on the site.
As stated above, popularity doesn’t just result in traffic, but also an increase in those looking to use the site for personal gain. And, when it comes to Pinterest, spamming is turning into a real problem and drawback for the site’s followers.
Instead of a Pinterest board linking to a legitimate website, more and more users are finding that when they click a photo, it takes them to an oftentimes malicious website. These nasty links sometimes take the form of Pinterest-verified sites and can result in users divulging personal information or acquiring software viruses.

Every website has its ups and downs and although Pinterest is losing steam with followers now, there’s no reason the site will not be able to turn things around.

About the Author

Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including social media, Ultimate Mats, and small business.

Why is Your Google+ Page Not Getting it Done?

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Posted on in Inspiration

Along with Facebook and Twitter, Google+ is an essential social media network for most businesses.
It is a powerful way to boost your SEO, and its growth is eye-opening – some even forecast it will have an eventual takeover of Facebook for the Google-based social network. While it transitions to the mainstream, it can be comparatively difficult to build a following for in terms of an audience.
As your business page tries to reach more people, there are some tips you can utilize to give your Google+ a boost.

Make Use of Keywords

Google+ is obviously a product of Google, the world’s largest search engine. If you pay attention to keywords throughout your Google+ strategy, you can count on benefits as everything is quickly indexed by the search engine.

Take advantage of this in your page’s description. Google+ allows you to use bullets and links, offering an easy-to-read way to present what your business does in an SEO-friendly way. This area (“Introduction”) is a fantastic place to use keywords that you can link to your business’ website.

You can also do this on a regular basis.

On your posts, make sure you are identifying and using keywords related to your content. On a regular Google search, it can and will pull results from Google+ posts – especially with users that follow or have connections that follow your page.

Taking Google+ to the Next Level

The next area of tips is simple – you have to take Google+ seriously.
Here are a few ideas:
• Is Google+ on your website? There should be an icon along with Facebook, Twitter, and any other social networks.
• Make sure you place social sharing buttons on the blog. This is a great way for people to like, tweet, and +1 your company’s blog posts, building a following in a natural way.
• Spend some time on the social network. Find circles based on your industry and start engaging with users (such as with the Google+ shared circles database from Chris Porter). Then, you can introduce your Google+ at the right time for your business to grow.
• Don’t be afraid to cross-market. Feel free to mention your Google+ page occasionally on Facebook, Twitter, and in a blog post.

You should also consider making Google+ the target for any marketing campaigns.
For instance, why not do a giveaway on Google+ to drive traffic to that social network? This can be a great incentive for your audience to keep up with what you’re doing there – especially if it’s useful and unique.

Of course, you can also utilize paid marketing strategies on Google+.

It can be a strong angle to take to really ramp up activity on the social network quickly, and enjoy the benefits of increased SEO and activity there.

About the Author

Brian Neese is an author that specializes in content marketing, social media, and SEO. He writes about technology, online reputation management services, marketing, and much more.

Is Your Mobile Site Making a Visual Impact?

John Foley, Jr.
Posted on in Inspiration

We live in a constantly connected world – one where internet users (that includes your customers and prospects) regularly spend time online on a mobile device. It’s only smart to make sure your customers are going to love what they see on their smart phones. This isn’t just about responsive web design, important though that is. It’s about offering a visual treat that gives your customers good looking content worth getting their phone or tablet out for.

Is Your Site Looking Good?

Your first stop when it comes to making a visual impact is making sure your site looks good on any size screen. When creating your mobile site, think about:

• Appealing colors that match your brand’s personality

• Relevance of information

• Clear professional quality images

Image Sharing Can Boost Your Image

Making a visual impact is about more than getting your site looking good. With more people accessing social media on mobile than on desktop or laptop PCs, it’s time to consider using social image sharing sites to boost your visual appeal. Sites such as Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr offer you an opportunity to create entertaining, relevant content that looks appealing and is easy to browse and share on a mobile device.

Short Snappy Videos Are Mobile Friendly

Twitter’s Vine application and Instagram’s video apps are fast proving themselves as valuable tools for business. As well as being made and uploaded using a mobile phone, the bite-sized videos are shared by mobile users who enjoy the Vine and Instagram communities. Vine gives you six seconds to get your message across, while Instagram gives you fifteen. Plan carefully and you can create a brief but interesting video that is perfect for browsers on the go.

Image and video sharing can give your brand visual impact that is perfect for today’s mobile customers. Take the time to plan attention-grabbing content that is consistent with your brand’s tone and you’ll give your customers reason to keeping looking, no matter how they are browsing.

How Do You Fix Your Company’s Bad Website Reputation?

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The statistics that reflect the performance of your company’s website have begun to paint a somewhat disturbing picture.
While visits to the site are relatively high, it seems that few of those visiting the site spend more than a couple of minutes there, hardly enough time to fully absorb the message you’re trying to deliver.
With online activity playing such a pivotal role in a business’s struggle to succeed, this is not something you can ignore. What should you do?

Give Us Some Reasons

You’ll first need to pin down the reasons your site is turning off users.
It could be a layout that confuses and isn’t user-friendly, or perhaps the site’s design is flat-out ugly and unappealing.
If the complaints you’ve been hearing are not specific in nature, you and your website team will need to conduct a top-to-bottom examination of the site to see if you can pinpoint what’s wrong.
Here are some key areas to consider:

Branding – The primary goal of your website is to acquaint online visitors with your company’s brand and the values that you want that brand to represent. Each part of your website should be directed to this end. In your in-house audit of the website as it now exists, carefully look at the site’s component parts to confirm that each in its own way helps users of the site to better understand the company brand and what it represents.

While the many parts of your website can reflect various aspects of your company’s brand and values, collectively they should convey a message that is easily understood. This is no place for clever representations that may be difficult for most users to interpret.
Evaluate each image and each block of text to ensure that they contribute to the overall message you want to convey. If you run across content, images, or other design elements that are confusing or have no place in the context you’re striving to present, get rid of them.

Visual Appeal – Your website need not be a work of art — although it wouldn’t hurt — but it should be visually appealing so that users enjoy the time they spend seeing all that the site has to offer. Soothing colors and simplicity of design can help to ensure that visitors to the site will like what they see and want to see more.

Ease of Navigation - Take an inventory of all the features that your company’s website has to offer. Then check out how easily new users can navigate to each and every one of those features. If you find that you have trouble getting from Point A to Point G, for example, then it’s a pretty sure bet that visitors to the site will encounter the same or even greater difficulty.
All of your efforts in creating special features amount to nothing if users have significant difficulty getting to them. Today’s Internet browsers have set a pretty high standard, and if your site doesn’t come up to or exceed those standards, visitors to the site will take their interest and business elsewhere.

Technical Hiccups – Incredible as it may seem, some companies fail to check out their site on a regular basis, which allows for the intrusion of technical difficulties. For example, a user clicks on a hyperlink on one of the website’s pages, but all he gets for his effort is an error message indicating that the page he wants can’t be found. Although everything else on the site may be working well, that user very likely may be frustrated enough to give up on the website altogether.

Make sure that one or more staff members regularly checks the site for possible technical glitches. Once such problems are found, they can be corrected, hopefully before too many users have been turned away by the site’s lack of functionality.

Keep It Timely – If you want visitors to your website to take it seriously, show them that you do too by updating the site on a regular basis. Users get turned off when they spot signs clearly indicating that the site was pretty much set up and forgotten or at least very rarely tended to.
All information on the website must be kept current. If you have a News page or section of the site, regularly add up-to-date news reports or even news features to show that you’re staying on top of your site and the developments that affect your business.
Above all, if you have an interactive forum somewhere on the website, reply in a timely fashion to queries from visitors to the site. If you’re not getting much in the way of visitor comments, try to stir up some interest by commenting on a relevant news development or upcoming product introduction just to keep the forum lively.

Call for Outside Help – Lastly, if you have no web design specialists in house and know little about the subject yourself, you may want to call in an outside specialist who can evaluate your site and draw up a list of recommendations for improvement.

About the Author: Jay Fremont is a freelance author who has written extensively about personal finance, corporate strategy, and social media.

How to Write Searchable, Shareable, Clickable Titles

Donna Vieira
Posted on in Inspiration

Creating blog titles that to fit in eight words or less can be as challenging as coming up with a lead paragraph — or solving a Rubix Cube. And much like one-liners guys try on ladies in a bar, a blog title will only work well if it’s creative enough. And it doesn’t hurt to have at least an idea of who you’re trying to entice. That goes for both creating blog titles and hitting on ladies in the bar.

Pro Blogger says that, on average, eight out of 10 readers will read a blog post title, while less than three out of that same group will actually read the article. So, how do you get that your blog to receive that special attention? Actually, there are a few ways:

Keep it short and simple

Your blog title shouldn’t be a sentence long. In fact, it doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. When you write out a title, try and rewrite it even shorter. Sometimes, even one word is enough.

Seriously, roam the halls of college educational buildings, and more than likely, you’ll see at least one flier pinned to a cork board with the word “SEX” emblazoned in big, bold letters, only to find out that it’s just a car wash fundraiser for Kappa Phi Omega. But it got your attention, didn’t it?

Also remember to use good grammar, unless, of course, you’re being deliberate about it. “I ain’t scared of no ghost,” is acceptable as long as you’re somehow relating to the classic “Ghostbusters” movie.

Pro Blogger does point out an important point to not use special characters such as, “@” or “&,” as they can mess with your URL and HTML code. To understand your webpage and HTML code a little better, and learn how or when to use special characters, sites such as MyHosting.com provides answers to how to create a website, utilize Windows hosting and more.

Make the juicy part of the blog part of title

Everyone loves to say quotes from movies. Usually, they are from one of the best scenes in that particular movie. The same can be said for blogs and blog titles. Newspaper journalists use this tactic all the time, taking the juiciest quote or factoid or part of an article, and reshaping it into a headline.

The trick here is to be compelling. As Poynter’s states, what will the story do for the reader? The story could be about a prominent figure retiring or one who has recently died. The blog title could be part of a quote the person once said, or a connection to a brief mention of the person’s beloved dog that is towards the bottom of the story.

The point is to capture readers’ imagination or tweak their interest with a title that argues a topic, makes them stop and wonder more about what you mean, or simply hook them in with a quirky, yet relatable, title that mentions the point of your blog.

Putting numbers in titles, says Poynter, is also another way to make clicking on your blog title irresistible to readers. The whole “5 Things You Can Learn”-type of title promises readers your blog will be concise and consistent to your point, and may even tip them that this will not be a long, drawn-out dissertation or rambling rant about the particular topic.

Read other blogs for inspiration

All too often, a writer can get writer’s block, and it can happen when just figuring out a title for a blog. When you can’t settle on one title, or if you struggle to even get the first word down, take a break, and just find other blogs to read. Sometimes, seeing how others have angled their titles will help you look at your blog title in a different way or angle.

There’s no better place to look at effective blogs than to read the best. Check out Time Tech’s list of last year’s top 25 blogs that might let you be able to bust through that writer’s block.

How Do You Best Measure Your Website Traffic?

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Traffic to a small business website is the most important aspect of owning a website.

The amount of traffic you receive lets you know how many people are visiting, what they are reading or viewing, and how long they are staying. There are many ways to measure traffic, not all are equal.

Google Analytics

Google is the big player in almost everything website related. From measuring traffic to monitoring advertising, Google has it down pat. People around the world use Google Analytics to keep track of how well their website is doing.

To use this service you must create a Google account. This is accomplished by creating a Gmail account, once this step has been taken it is a matter of visiting their Analytics site. Your account information is imported. To this you add the URL of your website and a small code is generated that you or your web designer insert into your website code. Once Google has registered this entry, your site will be monitored.

Google Analytics reports on Pacific Time.

Free Traffic Monitors

Many free traffic monitors exist. Much like Google, you must enter a snippet of code into your website’s HTML. Most of the time the free traffic monitors only calculate the number of visitors to your site. None are quite as in depth as Google. Some are available as WordPress plugins – be wary of plugins, some can corrupt your website’s code. Only install those that are direct from WordPress. Read reviews on their performance.

Some free traffic monitors are only free for a limited time or they have features that must be paid for. Free software from a no-name company is usually sub-par.

Importance of Traffic

Traffic is important because without traffic you have no audience. If people are not visiting your site, it is a waste of time and money. To bring in more traffic, consider a marketing strategy. This can involves advertising or adding more, relevant content to your site. Content is one of the best ways to bring in more traffic. People that are in search of information pertaining to your service or product will flock to well written, relevant content.

Some companies improve traffic to their site by adding forums. These forums can be a boon if well maintained. Forums should include a customer service area, FAQs, and information about your product. Many people enjoy a ‘free forum’ area where they can interact with other customers, but unless your forum is well moderated this can backfire. Paid moderators can keep an eye on you forum to delete spam and offensive posts.

Never underestimate the power of good customer relations in building traffic.

By keeping your customer support emails, phone numbers, or live chat active, you can ensure high traffic.

A user friendly site will encourage people to stay on site longer than if the information visitors seek is hidden. Always keep important information prominent and avoid clutter.

About the Author: Tina Samuels writes on online physician reviews, small business, and social media.

Why Should Google’s Panda and Penguin Still Scare You?

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Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have changed how your website ranks in Google.
As a result, website owners need a clear understanding of how these updates impact their rank in Google.

Search Engine Optimization in the Past

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) used to be about producing mass quantities of content that included keywords being repeated over and over. The more content and the more keywords were repeated, the better off most people thought their website would be.
Another common tactic of search engine optimization used to include gaining inbound links from any website possible.
Small business owners often spent hours submitting content to various directories to gain links back to their site. Many people sent out the same article to hundreds of places to gain a link back to their site.

Others paid top dollar to get help gaining hundreds of backlinks. There were many companies devoted to helping you get backlinks. For a small fee, you could get thousands of backlinks from all over the web to help ensure your content would be ranked high in the search engines.
All of these search engine optimization strategies changed when Google implemented their Panda and Penguin updates.

Changes Resulting from Panda

Panda updates began taking place in 2011 and there have been update up to several times per month with new versions of Panda since then.
The purpose of Panda was for Google to reduce the rank of low quality websites.
Websites that contained “thin” content were penalized. Thin content includes low quality articles that consisted of keyword stuffing with very little relevant content. Websites that repeated the same information in several articles were penalized as well.

Changes Resulting from Penguin

Google’s Penguin updates began in 2012.
Google has never released exactly how the algorithm works, however, it is clear that the updates target poor article marketing efforts.
Penguin began penalizing websites for having mass quantities of inbound links from low quality websites. Article marketing efforts that focused on quantity over quality of inbound links began to hurt websites more than help after Penguin.

Impact on Businesses

Many businesses began seeing huge declines in organic traffic after the updates.
Google does not reveal when the next updates will take place so website owners may not know that a change has occurred until they see changes in traffic.
Many businesses suffered large decreases in traffic and sharp declines in sales. Re-building the website to comply with Google takes time and Google doesn’t recognize the changes until the website is indexed again.

Today’s Best SEO Techniques

Websites need to focus on gaining organic traffic by offering quality content.
Creating content that readers will find helpful greatly improves search engine rankings.

Avoid creating articles or content that is geared toward gaining traffic. Instead, focus on creating content that will truly interest readers.
Keywords are still important, but not to the extent that they were in the past. Use keywords that are relevant to your article, but keyword density should be 2 percent or less.
Gain relevant, high quality links from other related sites. Look for quality links from websites that offer similar information versus a high quantity of inbound links.

It’s essential that website owners and small businesses pay attention to the latest search engine optimization news.
Authoritative content is necessary in today’s search engine rankings.

About the Author: Amy Morin writes about psychology and marketing topics, such as Reputation.com reviews.

Time for a New SEO Consultant?

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In an endeavor to drive more traffic to their websites, many business owners hire SEO consultants to help them achieve higher search engine rankings.
However, not all of them have obtained the results they seek. It is easy to hire an SEO consultant, but it can be very difficult to find one who can actually make a big difference in your search engine rankings.
If you are beginning to wonder if it is a good idea to replace your current SEO consultant, going through the following questions may help you make the right decision.

Does Your SEO Consultant Have a Good Track Record?

First of all, you need to find out whether or not your SEO consultant really has what it takes to make your website more successful.
This can be done by checking his or her track record. Ask your consultant to show you references and examples of websites that he or she has worked on in the past. Also, find out what metrics he or she regards as important.
Examples of metrics that are important include organic traffic, organic traffic revenue, organic keywords and conversion rate. If your SEO consultant has a website, try to find it on search engines. If it cannot be easily found, how can he or she make your website more visible?

Is Your SEO Consultant Giving You Vague Answers?

It is important that your SEO consultant keeps you updated with his or her SEO efforts regularly, so that you can feel safe about your investment.
Some SEO consultants and companies may not be willing to provide detailed information about their work, probably because they are afraid that their clients will run away with the information and try to implement the strategies themselves, or they are not giving their best effort.
If your SEO consultant is always trying to keep you in the dark, you should consider sending him or her packing.

Is Your SEO Consultant Writing for Search Engines or People?

While well-optimized content can help your website gain favor with search engines, it is not as beneficial as content that is appealing to your readers.
Well-written content that is interesting and useful to readers can help you increase brand visibility, win the trust of your customers, gain a reputation as an authority in your field, improve organic search engine rankings and achieve better conversion rate.
A good SEO consultant writes for people, not search engines.

Does Your SEO Consultant Know How to Use Google Analytics Effectively?

Google Analytics provides a lot of useful information to enable you to assess your website’s performance and make the necessary changes to achieve better results.
Your SEO consultant should be able to interpret Google Analytics accurately and come up with effective strategies to boost your SEO campaign.
Also, if you find that your website has not been drawing new traffic after you have hired your SEO consultant for six months, it is time to let him or her go.

The information above does not only help you determine if your current SEO consultant is worth keeping; it can also be used as a guide for hiring the right consultant if you decide to get a replacement.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who provides useful tips on a wide range of subjects, from finding the right SEO company to finding payroll outsourcing.

Is Your Business Blog Coming Up Dry?

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A blog can do wonders for your business.

Other than drawing more visitors to your website, it can help you engage and educate your target audience, establish good relationships with your customers and gain recognition as an authority in your niche.

As such, it is important that you make sure your blog is constantly delivering results.

If you feel that your blog is going nowhere, you need to know why it is failing and how you can get it back on track again.

Unclear Target Audience

With so many blogs out there on the Internet, it can be difficult for you to make your business blog stand out from the crowd.

If you want your blog to get real attention, you have to make it more appealing to your target audience.

To do this, you need to identify your target audience and find out more about their interests and problems. Then, write blog posts that provide solutions to their problems.

Infrequent Blogging

Infrequent blogging is another common reason why blogs fail.

If you want to win the loyalty of your customers, you need to communicate with them on a regular basis. When your regular visitors find that you do not have enough fresh content for them to read, they will look elsewhere for the information they need.

Also, infrequent blogging can undermine your website’s ability to achieve high rankings in search engines. It is recommended that you blog at least twice a week.

Unappealing Titles

The title is one of the most important parts of a blog post, because it helps readers determine whether or not the post is worth reading.

As such, blog posts with appealing titles have a higher chance of getting read than those that do not.

If you want more people to read your blog posts, you need to create attention-grabbing titles that appeal to the specific needs of your target audience.

Content is Not Easy to Read

Busy Internet users generally have short attention span, and they want to get the information they need in as little time as possible. If your blog posts are not well-organized and easy to read, they can turn readers away.

To make your blog posts more appealing to readers, you have to break up the text by including sub-headings, bullet lists and other elements.

Lack of Visual Appeal

Another way to grab the attention of readers is to include images or photos in your blog posts. Images and photos can make a blog post look more interesting and provide a rough idea of what the post is about.

You can also place photos between paragraphs to create a more relaxing reading experience.

Insufficient Promotion on Social Media

If you are not sharing your blog posts regularly on social media, you will miss out on a great opportunity to drive more traffic to your website.

Social media is an excellent tool for reaching out to your target consumers and building a loyal audience. Make a point to share all your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

A well-managed and well-promoted blog is critical to the success of your online business.

Following the tips above can help you create a winning business blog, something that could enhance your revenue over time.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from blogging to online business reputation.

How Important are SEO Analytics to Your Site?

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In order to develop a good SEO strategy, you need to constantly monitor the SEO effectiveness of your website.

By doing so, you will know how well your website is doing in search engines and what you can do to improve its rankings. SEO analytics can provide a wide range of useful information that can help you achieve better SEO results and increase traffic to your website.

Here is a look at the functions and benefits of SEO analytics.

How SEO Analytics Work

The purpose of SEO analytics is to collect, analyze and report online data to enable website owners and SEO experts to understand and improve the SEO performance of websites.

Generally, an SEO analysis tool provides information such as the number of times your website has appeared in search engine results, the number of times search engine users click on your website’s URLs, your website’s average rankings in search engines and click-through rates.

Some SEO analysis tools perform a more in-depth evaluation of your website, enabling you to know the demographics of visitors to your website, your website’s adherence to basic SEO practices, the most important keywords in your website, the effectiveness of your content, your website’s authority, backlink count and others.

The Benefits of Using SEO Analytics

Monitor Your SEO Campaign

SEO analytics enable you to determine how well your SEO campaign is running.

If you find that it is not producing satisfactory results, you can do something to make it more effective.

There are also SEO analysis tools that can predict the outcomes of your SEO efforts in the future, allowing you to make the necessary adjustments to get the best results possible.

Segment Your Visitors

Even if your visitors like your website, they may not purchase your products.

As such, it is important that you try to attract visitors who can be converted into paying customers more easily.

SEO analytics can help you segment your visitors by analyzing the keywords that led them to your website, so that you will know which keywords will send you visitors who will be more interested in buying your products.

Evaluate the Quality of Your Web Pages

Another benefit of using an SEO analysis tool is that it can show you whether or not your web pages have the kind of content and design needed to draw visitors.

It will provide visitor-flow visualizations to let you know which web pages are appealing to visitors and which ones need redesigning and rewriting.

Understand Your Visitors

If you want to stay abreast of your competitors, you need to understand the needs and preferences of your target customers.

By using SEO analytics, you will be able to find out what your potential customers are looking for, so that you can use the right marketing strategies to win them over.

SEO analytics are an essential tool for all online business owners.

If you want to get the most out of your SEO campaign, you should start using SEO analytics right away.


About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from online marketing to biographies of executives such as Steve Ballmer and Charles Phillips.