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Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Free PPC Account Reviews

Stepforth is offering a ‘Free Review’ of your current PPC account to help better optimize your campaigns!

If you have an active Pay-Per-Click account with either Google or Bing, or if you are just starting to consider one, StepForth can help guide you in the right direction.

Our talented team of experts are here to offer a ‘Free Review’ of your current PPC account to help better optimize your campaigns. Better optimization leads to improved quality scores helping drive your cost per click down while increasing conversions.

With a free review we take a look at your current account to find any opportunities and suggestions for better improvements. Google’s suggestions for better account productivity usually revolve around spending more money either as a total budget or an increased cost per click. StepForth is a bit different in that we try to find ways to optimize your account for better quality scores to increase productivity. Read more…

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Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

My Top 10 SEO Definitions

As I am new to the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) I have compiled a list of the top ten definitions I have found interesting learning.

Algorithm (algo) A mathematical formula used by search engines to determine what pages to suggest for a given search query.

Analytics A program which assists in gathering and analyzing data about website usage. Google analytics is a feature rich, popular, free analytics program.

Bounce rate The percentage of users who enter a site and then leave it without viewing any other pages.

Conversion (goal) Achievement of a quantifiable metric on a website. Ad clicks, sign ups, and sales are examples of conversions. Read more…

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Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Introducing Sarah-Hannah Bedard

We would like to introduce the newest member of our team, Sarah-Hannah Bedard.

Sarah-Hannah is our new Office Manager and Bookkeeper. Over the years Sarah-Hannah has managed many businesses including; a large phone company, a high end Home cinema and integrated media company, a Goldsmith studio and high end jewellery store as well as her own successfully run business of 19 years.

After moving back to Victoria to be closer to family, Sarah-Hannah met Ross and joined the StepForth team back in January. Among other tasks, her duties at StepForth include bookkeeping, project management, social media marketing, and helping to keep everything running smoothly around the office.

An excellent multi-tasker and problem solver, Sarah-Hannah is a ray of sunshine and a valued member of our team. Her sense of humour always keeps us laughing around the office.

When not whipping our office into shape, she enjoys spending time at home at her workbench making custom jewellery, reading, and exploring our beautiful city on her bike.

A few years ago Google publicly announced that site speed was now a factor in their ranking algorithm. Many had suspected this to be true for years, but back in 2010 Matt cuts made the official announcement.

A fast loading site does not help you so much as a very slow site can actually hurt you. Exactly how fast your site needs to load before you start risking organic rankings and conversion losses is debatable, but generally, if you can get your average load times to less than 2 seconds you should not have much to worry about. If your site takes longer than 10 seconds to load not only is this going to negatively impact your conversions, your rankings may suffer slightly as well.

An infographic produced a few years ago by KISSmetrics, http://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/ based on studies from Gomez.com and Akamai.com showed that 47% of consumers expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less and a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. If that isn’t enough reason to speed up your site, I’m not sure what is! So where do we start to solve this problem? Read more…

Online christmas shoppingAs an online retailer, you’re already ahead of the game for holiday sales. Last year, the Chase Holiday Pulse tracked early holiday sales from October 29th through November 15th and found that e-commerce sales volume was up 12.3 percent over the previous year, while brick-and-mortar sales were only up 1.0 percent. Consumers are obviously interested in doing at least some of their holiday shopping online, which is good news for your business. Make sure you take advantage of the holiday season by utilizing current digital trends.

Reduce Your Prices

While sales volume is increasing online, shoppers are also looking for better prices. The Chase Holiday Pulse discovered that the average online purchase amount went down 10.1 percent during the 2012 holiday season, compared to the year before, the second decline in a row. If you give online promotions, you might get more customers.

Choose Your Timing Wisely

There are fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year for shoppers to buy gifts. The Adobe Digital Index suggests this could cause a $1.5 billion loss in potential online retail sales. The Index notes that to be successful this year, encourage customers not to wait for Black Friday and beyond, but to offer good deals before and let customers know the deals won’t get better later. Large brick-and-mortar retailers are already doing this, Read more…

If you haven’t heard of Instagram, you are missing out on a social media gem that boasts over 100 million active users. That’s a hefty number and, as a result, big brands are increasingly joining Instagram’s ranks–sharing photos and videos and increasing engagement with existing and potential customers the world over.

ms-increase-engagementHere are some of the international players that have put Instagram to work for them.

Nike

This heavy-hitter in the world of sports apparel and equipment knows the value of social media when it comes to marketing a brand–and it has identified Instagram as a requisite social media marketing tool. Nike also knows that humans love to create and share their creations with others. Here’s how they used Instagram to cash in on our inner Picassos and earn a massive following. Read more…

This provocative title describes my presentation tomorrow (October 19th, 2013) at Victoria BC’s Blogger Bootcamp where I will be talking up a blue streak about the importance of Google Authorship for bloggers. I know, it is a title that deserves healthy skepticism and that was the point – bloggers especially need to understand Authorship is NOT to be taken lightly. Truly, ignore it a your peril!

Here is the official description of the presentation I will be giving: Read more…

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Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Web Site Audits Should be Free

One of the most common questions I get in sales call as my role as an SEO and web site auditor is,

“Why should I pay you just so you can tell me what is wrong with my web site and what it will cost to fix it? After all, you don’t pay your mechanic to diagnose your car and provide a quote, do you?

Web site audits should be free

A much more pleasant version of that mechanic analogy was used in an email I received recently from a prospect who I have been in a number of discussions with in regards to helping her improve site visibility and site conversions for the charity she represents. She happens to be very engaged in the car industry which explains the analogy. Since I have to reply to her anyway I thought I would spend a little time to create an article I can show to StepForth’s valued readers and future prospects.

First, Some Insight into What a Web Site Audit Should Include

I can only speak for our own services but whenever we pitch a web site audit to a prospect/client we  explain they are paying for a service that will:

  1. Examine all online and offsite factors (i.e. links to the site, and/or social media usage, and/or online reputation) that can have an impact on the web site’s search engine rankings and (optionally but preferably) its ability to convert browsers into buyers; or for the charities we support the ability to convert browsers into donors.
  2. Provide in-depth results complete with detailed appendices as applicable; some of the overly in-depth data is often placed here in case the client wishes to review it.
  3. The final report will include all of the issues found in priority of importance and we often include instructions to implement each recommendation.
  4. We include a 30 min to 1 hour (depending on size of audit) conference call to review the results with them and answer any questions.

In short, we provide the roadmap to improving their web site’s opportunities for increased rankings and we do so using clear and concise language. This service takes between 6 and 15 hours for small-to-medium sized sites between the research, analysis and writing of the final report plus the final meeting. Larger websites with long (and sometimes turbulent) histories of online marketing can take upwards of 24-30 hours to audit. Read more…

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