10 Tips for Getting Higher Rankings in Search Engines

Search Engine Optimization is a specialized field that helps your website get higher rankings in search engines. Your goal in search engine optimization is to capture as much of the page 1 real estate in searches relevant to your business. Whether you’re developing a new website or updating an existing site, you should keep the following guidelines in mind as new content is developed and coded.

1. Structure your site appropriately to be found by search engines.
Google webmaster guidelines say that your site should have a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.

2. Make navigation easy and clear.
Google recommends a site map with links that point to the important parts of your site.

3. Remember that “content is king.”
It’s easy to get bogged down in attempt to make the site look great and forget that search engines are looking for content, not looks. Google recommends that you create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.

4. Think Through and Liberally Use Appropriate Keywords.
Google recommends that you think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it. Pathmaker Marketing can help you carefully research keywords; we regularly uncover keywords for our clients that they may not have thought of and that have a higher likelihood of being found in search engines. Call us at 623-322-3334 to see if we can help you do a more thorough job of researching appropriate keywords for your business.

Designers love to create headlines in fonts that aren’t available in HTML. They do it by making your headlines images, and this is one sure way to harm yourself when it comes to search engine rankings. Google recommends that you use text instead or at least use the <ALT> tag to include a few descriptive words of the image.

5. Make sure <TITLE> and <META> tags are used appropriately.
These are HTML codes that search engines look for when ranking sites. The <TITLE> tag should not be the same for every page of your site (for example, merely the name of your company). It should contain keywords that have been carefully researched. <META> tags contain specific information that search engines look for when deciding what each page of your site is all about. There is a <META> tag for description, and you should supply your coder with a short paragraph to describe why someone would want to visit this page of your site – it may not be used in ranking, but it could be displayed under the title of the page to help potential visitors decide if they want to click on your listing. These should contain words that actually describe the page content to avoid being penalized by search engines.

6. Check for broken links and correct HTML.
Your will severely hurt your rankings in search engines if you have broken links in your site or if your HTML cannot be read by search engines. Your coders need to be sure to check all code and clean up any extraneous codes left by edits or inserted by HTML generators. Several people should click on every single link in the site to make sure there are no broken links, and it should be re-done every time the site is edited. Also, Google recommends keeping down the number of links on any given page to fewer than 100.

7. Keep parameters short on dynamically-generated pages.
These are pages that are automatically generated from a database. The URL of this type of page will have a “?” in it. Google warns that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages and recommends that the parameters be short and few.

8. Be straightforward in your site structure.
Some sites create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content thinking they’ll trick search engines into believing there is more content on the site than there is. You’ll get found out of you do this – so the best advice is to avoid it. Google recommends that you avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content. If you site participates in an affiliate program, you need to develop your own content that adds value and gives potential users a reason to visit your site rather than the hundreds of others who also participate in the same affiliate program.

9. Make your photo captions text rather than embedding inside an image.
Search engines can’t read text that is part of an image. There rarely is a case when you need to make a photo caption part of the photo, and you’ll benefit in search engine rankings if you keep the captions to HTML text.

10. Use <ALT> tags and descriptive names for all photos and images.
This was briefly discussed with the tip about headlines. All images should have an <ALT> description so search engines will consider the images when ranking your site. These tags need to contain useful information about the subject matter of the image. You also need to use photo names that describe the content. Google states, “my-new-black-kitten.jpg is a lot more informative than IMG00023.JPG.” 

Pathmaker Marketing offers a full range of website design, search engine optimization services, fundraising services, Internet business marketing promotion, Christian marketing, non profit fundraising and more. We would be happy to discuss with you how we might be able to help you get the highest rankings in search engines or any other topic about your fundraising needs. Give us a call at 623-322-3334.

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Factors to Consider in Your Christian Marketing Efforts

Why Use an Outside Marketing Firm for your Christian Marketing?–Part Two
As a small business owner or ministry leader, you may have considered how best to handle your Christian marketing efforts.  Should you hire a person in house?  Contract with an agency?  Or try to find time to spearhead your Christian marketing efforts on your own?

As you consider how best to address your Christian marketing concerns, you can ask yourself if you have the ability to create strategy, collaborating with a variety of players in your plan?  Are you able to move swiftly with your marketing efforts, sometimes setting aside all the other issues of your business in order to develop strategy and pull it off?

If you answered “No” to any of those questions, you may want to check out a Christian Marketing team like Pathmaker Marketing LLC to help you reach the valued customers and donors you seek to attract.

Collaboration—In House and Out
Collaboration and innovative partnership are among the freshest buzzwords in the business world today.  Our team of seasoned veterans brings a strong background of collaboration and willingness to partner in any way that will benefit our client.  We’ll listen to your concerns, research the issues that are impacting your online presence and we’ll work with you to devise strategies that are fresh and effective.

Speed of Delivery—We Can Get It Done

We understand the difficulty in trying to launch a project or campaign using your own in-house creative and I.T. teams—if you have them!  They can be overloaded with the daily concerns of the company and getting in the queue to be serviced by them could mean a wait of several months to a year or more.  Or, if you are a start-up or a new ministry, you are probably scrambling just to design stationery and build a website.

Pathmaker Marketing has an internal team that is poised and ready to move quickly to provide you with research, web presence, email marketing, social networking, back links, Search Engine Optimization and much more.  Your needs are our team’s highest concern, so we are able to produce exactly what you need when you need it.  We’ll do our best not to make you wait!

Cost Effectiveness—Our Specialty Brings Relief!
Companies that seek to do their own Christian marketing in highly specialized areas like social networking risk losing valuable productivity as employees struggle to understand all the ins and outs of the new world of social media.

Pathmaker Marketing has social networking specialists on the team.  We employ them at reasonable rates and keep them focused in this key area.  Using our specialists will relieve your staff and save you time and money.

The New Marketing—Our Specialty
The Internet has changed virtually every aspect of Christian marketing.  Compended blogging, social media, back linking, search engine optimization and text messaging have all been used to market successfully.  When we found that Christian publishing giant Tyndale House Publishers did not have a significant footprint on the Internet, Pathmaker Marketing used state-of-the-art online tools to find a solution to the problem, creating a compended blog and filling it with content that will help strengthen Tyndale products’ search engine rankings.  Our approach is holistic and comprehensive and we view the concerns with an outsider’s objectivity.

Our staff can “work” social networking accounts, inviting people to be followers, friends, etc., and following up.  We also invite them to your online events and auto-flow your blog content to your social networking accounts, further broadening the reach of your social networking efforts.

We will research your online presence and give you the good news and the bad regarding your search engine rankings.  We are experts in being able to help you build your Internet assets. Our compended blogs will help drive up your rankings with Google, Bing, Yahoo and others.

Pathmaker Marketing LLC is grateful for the opportunity to help so many ministries and small businesses with their Christian Marketing, applying our expertise to the needs of our clients.  If you are uncertain about your ability to tackle Christian Marketing on your own, give us a call at 623-322-3334 or visit our website to learn more.  You can sign up for our free Christian Marketing eNewsletter HERE.

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Why Use An Outside Marketing Firm for Your Christian Marketing

Christian Marketing Help–Can You Hit the Target on Your Own?
Part One–Breadth of Experience

Whether you run a small business or lead a Christian ministry, you may wonder if there is value in using an outside firm for your Christian Marketing.   This is not only a personal decision—it’s an important one-–for no matter what the nature of your work is, you have a responsibility to let others know about it so they can take advantage of your services or goods. Your business or ministry can provide tremendous help to your potential customers–but what is the best way to let people know about you?

As you lead your organization the demands on your time and energy may cause you to feel that Christian marketing is not be among your highest priorities.  You may wonder if you will lose control over the image or appearance of your business or organization if you utilize an outside agency. But you must ask yourself if you are able to hit your marketing target on your own.  If not, you may want to consider Christian marketing as a way to get help for your organization.

Breadth—Diverse Clients, Multiple Industries in Christian Marketing 
When you choose to employ an agency to help you with your Christian marketing, you benefit greatly from the breadth of the agency’s client list.  In serving a broad clientele from many industries, it’s likely that your agency has already faced and solved a number of key problems that will need to be tackled in any given campaign or strategy.   Your company can take advantage of the agency’s extensive experience in solving these problems.

The people at Pathmaker Marketing LLC are experts in their fields.  We’ve worked with a wide range of small business, ministries and Internet-based efforts.  The diversity of our client list has pushed us squarely into the areas of Social Networking and Search Engine Optimization.  We’ve learned how to effectively use several essential tools to help our clients achieve optimal results from our efforts on their behalf.  Simply put, we can help you hit the bullseye with targeted marketing and messaging that will bring potential clients or donors to your door. If you aren’t absolutely convinced that your Christian marketing efforts will be as successful, we encourage you to consider using an outside agency like Pathmaker Marketing.

Marketing is an intensely diverse field.  As a small business owner or ministry leader, you undoubtedly have exceptional skills in many fields–one of which may or may not be the field of marketing.  Choosing to use professionals for your Christian marketing efforts may be the the best choice you make–and the one that helps you hit your target dead center.

Can You Hit the Target on Your Own?
Coming in Part Two:  Collaboration and Speed

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Keyword Marketing Will Get Visitors to Your Website

The simple definition of keyword marketing is that it is a process of getting your message in front of people who are searching websites such as Google, Yahoo or Bing with words and phrases that match the words and phrases found on your website. 

The reason to do keyword marketing is that you will get more people to your website who are (1) inclined to do business with you and (2) are looking for someone with whom to do business online. In short, keyword marketing brings qualified people to you website, and when you put in the appropriate systems to convert visitors to assets, you should see increased income from your website as a result of keyword marketing. 

But keyword marketing can mean different things to different people. Someone specializing in search engine optimization (SEO) might say it’s a process of getting the right words and phrases on the pages of your website. Someone specializing in ad buying, the process involves buying ads on the sites of search engines or other sites that attract people who are pre-disposed to do business with your type of organization.

For Pathmaker Marketing LLC, Keyword Marketing is a service we provide our clients that involves five elements of search engine marketing:

  1. SEO
  2. Link Building, globally, locally and in authoritative sites such as Wikipedia
  3. Social and professional networking
  4. Pay Per Click Advertising
  5. Blogging


The first step we take is to carefully select your keywords. That involves conversations with you to determine what types of words we should look for and then to discuss our list of choices with you. We do extensive research to find the right words, and we run the words through a difficulty ranker to make sure we choose the words and phrases that not only describe your business but also will be the easiest to get you listed into the top 10 search results.

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Small Business Marketing Strategies to Winning Website Visibility

If your website isn’t getting the traffic you hope for, maybe you’ve not properly optimized it to be found by search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important step for getting your website listed in the top 10 search engine listings when someone is searching for a keyword that applies to your business. That makes SEO a key small business marketing strategy for you to consider.

Here are some tips I picked up from SEOMoz, specialists in this field.

The first step is to know the keywords that will get your website listed. Pathmaker Marketing LLC is a solid online fundraising company and non profit consultant that does extensive research for our clients. We first identify the keywords that could apply (the list is always quite long), then we get the client’s input, then we run them through a difficulty ranker. The difficulty ranker helps us determine which keywords will be the easiest for us to get a higher listing for on our client’s behalf. We can help you with this step. Give us a call at 623-322-3334 to see if there’s a fit.

Once you know your keywords, then you can begin the process of optimizing your site. Here are some important elements.

HTML Tags – the most important one to use is the <TITLE> tag. Optimize every page of your site for a different keyword. Be sure to use the keywords near the front of the <TITLE> tag for the page you are optimizing. Also, while using the Meta Description won’t get you a higher ranking, it will show under the title of the page in search results, so be sure to write a good description.

URL – if you can, get your keyword in the URL of the page. Shorter URLs work best, so don’t hide your page behind lots of directories (example: www.yourbusiness.com/page is better than www.yourbusiness.com/directory1/directory2/page.

Body Copy – be sure to use your keywords two to three times on shorter pages and four to six times on longer pages, and get at least one of those occurrences in the first 50-100 words. Use the keywords in a context that makes sense. You can also use variations of the phrase throughout the copy. Use the <H1> tag for your headline rather than an image or just making the size of the text bigger. Use <ALT> tags (using your keyword) for images, and try to name images using the keyword. It wouldn’t hurt to put the keyword in bold/italics at least once, but this only helps a little.

Linking – link to pages within your site (and make the click-through depth shallow), and do your best to get other sites to link to you. When you do, ask if you can provide the appropriate text. This small business marketing strategy will often mean you’ll need to do reciprocal links. Don’t be afraid of that – just open the link up in a new window so people won’t lose your website, but don’t make the link any more prominent than necessary.

Social Networking – have social and professional networking accounts, and link to your site from them. Work to get followers/friends in your accounts.

According to SEOMoz, here is the weight of the various factors considered in search engine optimization. Take them into consideration and make them part of your small business marketing strategies.

  • Trust/authority of your domain – 23.87%
  • Link popularity of specific pages – 22.33%
  • Anchor text of external links to specific pages – 20.26%
  • On-Page keyword usage – 15.04%
  • Registration and hosting data – 6.91%
  • Traffic and Click Through Ratio (CTR) data – 6.29%
  • Social graph metrics (the popularity of your site in social networks) – 5.30%

A good graphic and blog post from SEOMoz that illustrates this topic further can be seen and read here:

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Business Marketing Promotion Online

After you’ve made your masterpiece of a website, the next thing to do is get people there. And then you’ll want to convert them to assets such as lists, leads, sales and donations. Business marketing promotion online consists of five basic elements. All require some level of online marketing expertise that professional fundraisers offer. One excellent online marketing professional and non profit consultant you may want to contact is Pathmaker Marketing LLC.

The five elements of a complete business marketing online promotion plan, particularly as it relates to search engine marketing, are outlined below.

Blogging to win organic search

Many people have blogs, but you need one that is a workhorse to help you achieve your business objectives. Pathmaker Marketing uses a Premier Blogging Service that leverages each of your blog posts into several others. It’s keyword-oriented, meaning you identify the keywords that best relate to what you do, whittle those down to the ones that will be the easiest to get you into a top 10 ranking in search engines, and then really focus on blog posts that use your keywords. The advantage of the tool Pathmaker Marketing uses is that it automatically posts to several of your keyword blogs, giving you more content in your blog and more links back to your website. This makes your site easier for search engines to find. No other blogging tool works as hard for you as this one.

Link Building

Getting websites to link back to yours is essential for getting search engines to list you in the top 10 results on keywords that relate to you. You want national links, authoritative links, “deep” links and local links. It’s a manual process of submitting your site to directories, getting yourself into sites like Wikipedia and finding other websites to link to you. Pathmaker Marketing offers fundraising services that will help you build your links efficiently.

Social & Professional Media

There’s more to having a social media account that works for you than simply opening up an account in Facebook, Linkedin or some other professional site. You need to open the account appropriately so you can develop business content and link backs to your website. If you don’t set it up right, you could get limited value from your social and professional networds. Once you have the account set up properly, then you can increase the number of links back to your website, and you can auto flow blog posts through these account. It all adds up to increased visibility.

Pay Per Click Advertising

This is a good way to jump start your website’s traffic. You advertise on sites like Google using your keywords. You develop dedicated landing pages for these keyword ads so that people see the appropriate content when they click on a specific ad. Dedicated landing pages also help you measure how well your ad is working for you. And they give you a way to collect the information you need to build your email list and get sales or donations. You only pay for these ads when someone clicks on your ad.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This involves having the right content on specific pages so that when someone does a search using one of your keywords, they get directed to your page. You should optimize many pages on your site using different keywords. Pathmaker Marketing uses a tool that helps measure how effective your content is for a specific keyword.

Call 623-322-3334 to schedule a free consultation with Pathmaker Marketing, or click here to visit the website.

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How a Search Engine Optimization Agency Can Help Your Non Profit Website

Before I began working for a search engine optimization agency, I wasn’t really sure how to get qualified traffic to the non profit website for which I was responsible a few years ago. I’d heard larger organizations were raising significant funds online, and I could see that the site I managed was at least as professional looking as the others (albeit smaller), but the art and science of bringing qualified traffic to the site (and then converting them to assets) was a mystery to me.

If you’re in a similar situation, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned while working in a search engine optimization agency.

First, remember that search engine optimization, or SEO as professional online fundraisers like to call it, is indeed both an art and a science. It isn’t enough to have a killer website design or to write witty and professional text. Search engines look for keywords for which people are searching, and you need to have those keywords in all the right places – not too many times and not too few times. 

Just one example of a common mistake that a search engine optimization agency can help yo overcome is making sure you don’t put headlines into graphics. When you do, you’re giving up opportunities for your headlines to help get you into the top 10 listings for searches that apply to your content. Content trumps design when it comes to search engine optimization. 

Pathmaker Marketing uses a tool for professional web developers to help clients analyze and implement strategies that (1) identify the best keywords for your organization to target and (2) get those keywords into all the right places on your site so you show up in the top 10 results of searches in major search engines on those keywords.

But that’s only one of the ways a search engine optimization agency can help your non profit website. SEO should be part of an overall Search Engine Marketing strategy that includes optimizing the site, developing a targeted-keyword blog, building strategic links to and from your site, strategically using social media accounts and and implementing a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign.

You can call Pathmaker Marketing at 623-233-3334 to schedule an appointment to discuss how a search engine optimization agency can get your non profit website consistently into the top 10 results for searches on keywords that apply to you – thus turning your site into a much more significant player in your overall fundraising efforts.

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Top 10 Church Outreach Ideas for the Internet: SEO Your Website

 3. Search Engine Optimizing (SEO) Your Website so Prospective Churchgoers Can Find You is our 3rd of Ten Church Outreach Ideas for the Internet.

I challenge you to open your web browser and type the following: churches in (name of your city).  Did you find your church website on the first page of results?  If not, ask yourself this question:  If you were a new family who recently move into the community, and you were Google searching for churches in your area, would you have the patience to browse through each and every page of the 800,000 results that showed up?  Most likely your answer would be no.

In order to maximize your church outreach, you must make sure that people know your church exists in the first place.  One of the best ways to do that is to SEO your website.  Having a website that is rarely visited by people outside your congregation is like owning a great book that you never got a chance to read just because you cannot find it.

An excellent way to ensure that your website shows up among the top results in web searches is by employing SEO techniques in your websites.  These steps include modifying your site content and code to be optimized for your targeted, relevant search terms (aka Keywords). It also includes link building to establish your website firmly within local searches on the internet.

Since SEO requires some technical expertise, it would be good stewardship to invest in hiring a search engine optimization agency like Pathmaker Marketing who can perform the necessary keyword research, copy and HTML code modifications, and submit your website to the search engines. The main takeaway here is if your website doesn’t show up in a Google search for: churches in (name of your city), then how is anyone going to find you online?

Rabbit Trail: if you Google search the name of your church and find you are listed at the top, don’t get too excited. Google would be remiss to NOT list you on a search for your name. It’s their entire job in life to deliver the most relevant results for the search that is performed.  The more important issue is when someone searches: church in (your city), or churches in (your city), or best churches in (your city), etc, etc, do you show up. If you don’t it’s time to SEO.

Get your church website search engine optimized so that you show up in the list of Top 10 results, where people can find you, and enjoy the visitors you receive as a result.

For a free consultation in this regard, visit this Pathmaker webpage:

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