Direct Me: High Value Local Directories

One reliable way to generate high quality inbound links and increase your web presence is to submit your site to high quality directories. These sites generally provide consumers with a way to connect with an electronic version on the yellow pages, and have become a reliable alternative to out-dated print methods. Manual submission to these directories can enable you to promote your site, phone number and business services to targeted local consumers at no additional cost.

There are dozens of local sites which aggregate consumer reviews for local decision making. One of the fastest growing offerings is Yelp, which is a Web 2.0 version of Citysearch that allows consumers to connect with reliable reviews. You can "claim" or add your local business listing on these sites, which allows you to receive notifications of consumer reviews, add special offers or update business information as it changes (including new products and service offerings.)  It's important to claim these listings to keep accurate tabs on your company in the eyes of consumers, as well as ensuring that you get proper links back to your website for SEO purposes.

General web directories are also a good source of potential links and visibility for your company. High quality directories include, Yahoo and Best of the Web, although they each have their own requirements and submission fees for entry. Dedicating part of your promotional budget to submission to relevant niche directories can also be an effect way to generate quality inbound links to increase your search rankings.

Viewing split tests in Google Analytics

Everyone remembers the famous Monty Hall game where guests had to pick between doors A, B and C. Based upon the door selected, you'd be able to switch or stick with the existing door. With the help of Google analytics split testing your website is less about guessing and more about tracking which variants are closest to reaching your given benchmarks.

Making small changes in your website can result in important improvements in conversion rates, consumer retention and mindshare for your visitors. One effective way to begin split testing is to implement free tools from Google including Website Optimizer linked to your Google Analytics account.

To begin, you'll want to determine whether you are primarily interested in running a simple A/B split test or a multivariate test with multiple changing elements. Once you have setup the different versions of the page (or multiple graphics and layouts), you'll need to setup conversion goals and tagging for the outcomes you are measuring. For example, if you want to test whether a given landing page results in more newsletter subscriptions, it's important to setup the goal within your analytics profile before beginning the testing process.

Once you have properly tagged the site, you can use the Google Website Optimizer. The automated setup process allows you to determine which elements will be tested - the Optimizer will show you a preview of the different versions to ensure it matches your expectations. Once you have setup the tests, you can view the results in both Analytics and Website optimizer, so you can gain better insights into the process.

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