Unraveled Media

Search Engine Optimization Services: 10 Reason Your Company Needs Them

In 2008, search engine optimization services were great to have. You were ahead of the curve. Now, however, if you don’t have them working for your business, you’re lagging way behind.

You’re doing more than just a disservice to your company and your brand. You’re actually doing a massive favor to the competition.

It doesn’t matter what sector you are in, from business-to-business (B2B), to business-to-customer (B2C), to not for profit, nearly all purchase decisions begin online.

Still not convinced? Here are 10 reasons you need search engine authorization services for your business. Like, today! Right now.

1. You Don’t Have Time to Do it Yourself

Search engine optimization services aren’t something you dabble in. There is way too much to know today, and much of today’s information will be obsolete in 2019.

Search engine optimization is a full-time job, and you need to stay connected to it seven days a week to be able to survive. Or you need somebody like that working for you.

2. Hiring an SEO Expert is Inefficient

The classic debate is to build it vs buy it. Should I hire a team to keep my search engine optimization services in-house, or should I outsource to an agency? There are certainly arguments that can be made for either side.

You may want to hire somebody so you can literally have them in the building. You can manage them, you can train them, you can ensure they’re entrenched in your company culture and understand everything about you.

However, that logic starts to fall apart when you look at the numbers.

When you hire a full-time employee, you have to pay for a lot of “extra costs.” You have to pay for this employee’s benefits, sick time, bonuses, taxes, and much more.

In fact, the average employee will cost you anywhere from 25 to 40% more than their annual salary.

Or, if you go with an outside firm, you’re eliminating these hidden costs and all of your SEO budget goes to actual SEO performance.

3. Mobile is Now Everything

Google recently announced a major shift towards mobile-first indexing.

This means your mobile site is now officially more important than your desktop site. Mobile-first indexing means we need to move to mobile-first planning when it comes to optimization.

How is your mobile site?

It needs to be amazing. Because 60% of people surveyed have said they won’t recommend your business if you have a bad mobile site. And 40% of those people will leave you and go right to your competition.

The key takeaway here is that a bad mobile site hurts your business and funnels your traffic directly to your competition.

4. Keyword Optimization is Changing

Again, it’s not 2008, so there’s no reason to write your website or blog using tactics or search engine optimization services that worked 10 years ago.

Are you still focussed on exact match keywords? Don’t be. Google doesn’t want to see them anymore. They are now focussed on rewarding sites that use keywords in a natural and organic way.

This also means you can stop tracking your keyword density. Again, Google doesn’t care. They are more focused on how you are using your keywords, not how many times.

In fact, if you are currently awkwardly trying to wedge exact match keywords into the middle of your blogs or web copy, this comes off as really transparent.

The reader knows what you’re trying to do, and will leave you. This will drive up your bounce rate and hurt your SEO score.

5. Siri and Alexa Need to Be Reckoned With

Speaking of keywords, longtail keywords are the new search engine paydirt.

People are asking Google, Siri, and Alexa complete questions and expect a complete answer. Leveraging search engine optimization services and organic content are how you position your business as the answer to these questions.

Depending on what sector you’re in, the long tail keywords you want to focus on could be anything from:

  • Where can I find a calzone?
  • I need a personal trainer
  • How much does a divorce lawyer cost?
  • Can I change my own winter tires?

Locking into these questions is the first step in succeeding in today’s search engine optimization landscape.

How to Find Your Longtail Keywords

There are actually a lot of places you can turn. First of all, you already probably know several of them.

Pull from the real world. What words do your customers use when they are describing their pain points? Ask your sales and customer service team for the exact verbiage.

Don’t get hung up on whether or not they are using the proper terminology. These are the words people are using, so they will be the same word googling. You want to optimize what they search for, not what you think they should search for.

Next, turn your attention online. Again, pay close attention to the exact verbiage people use when asking questions about your industry in places like Quora, Reddit, or even Yahoo Answers.

Free Social Research

Take that same approach and look at the conversations happening on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And finally, take a look at your online reviews, both good and bad.

The bad ones can be a bit humbling or jarring to read, but this is information you need to know. These are the words that people are using when they’re frustrated so these are the words you need to use to position yourself as a solution.

Take this a step further and peek at your competition’s reviews. Their complaints and pain points there are also very valuable to you.

Now, if you really want to focus on these keywords as effectively as possible, work with a search engine optimization services company who can study the search volume for these questions and let you know where you should focus your efforts.

6. Facebook Zero Has Shifted the Social Landscape

Recently, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook’s main focus for 2018 will be making sure that users see more of their family and friends in their newsfeed, and less from Business Pages.

Prior to this, Facebook had shifted its model to make it very difficult to get organic content in front of your target customers’ eyes without paying to do so. Now that is darn near impossible. Facebook is now a 100% pay to play application.

This means you have to start paying for Facebook ads, and running them like any other ad campaign. Or you can focus more of your attention on free or affordable social media like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Instagram is not necessarily for every business, but we will say it is for most businesses. It provides amazing reach and engagement numbers, without the limitations of Facebook.

And the recent addition of Instagram stories has pretty much made Snapchat irrelevant. If you were thinking about investing in Snapchat, you’re better off to put that money into Instagram and a solid search engine optimization services compay who can help yo make the most of your social media strategy.

And if you’re in the B2B sector, do not forget about LinkedIn. Linkedin traffic has steadily climbed over the years, and it now has over 530 million users.

It did this by becoming one of the world’s biggest publishers, and an amazing place to share and view blogs or videos.

7. Good PPC is Really Hard

Most companies are frustrated and bewildered by the PPC advertising aspect of their search engine optimization services. They expected a magic switch that they could just flick, and it would send traffic in qualified leads their way. It’s far more complex than that.

PPC ads take time and TLC to reach their full potential. And when they do, that’s when the magic happens. Suddenly, your site reaches record levels of traffic, and qualified leads start filling in your inbox.

However, there is definitely an art and a science involved. You need to be 100% strategic and deliberate in everything from the verbiage used in the actual ad, to the landing page you send traffic to, and any other steps along the way.

Any potholes in that journey result in a leaky hole in your sales funnel.

8. Link-building Has Changed Forever

One of the most important parts of any search engine optimization services firm is their link building or digital PR team.

A few years ago, you might have gotten away with getting some link building “juice” by spending a little bit of money to promote your business at “Link Farms” or depositories.

However, Google figured out that these websites only benefitted the businesses involved, and provided no actual value to the searcher. So the Google Penguin update put an end to this.

The Penguin Update ensured that only relevant and organic links were rewarded, while spammy links would be ignored. This resulted in an almost overnight shift to the link-building landscape.

Suddenly companies that were already doing link-building the right way saw their keyword rankings skyrocket.

Meanwhile, companies that used spammy link building practices saw their keyword rankings plummet.

9. Intent-Based Marketing is a Game Changer

This is such a simple science, in theory. When somebody comes to your website, give them the exact thing they’re looking for, in the exact way they expect to find it.

However, doing this is incredibly difficult. The real danger is thinking you know the answer when you’re actually way off base.

But you may say, “We know who is coming to our website. We have detailed demographic data and have used that data to construct detailed buyer personas.”

Fantastic. But that is only half of the battle. Less than half, actually.

Understanding intent-based marketing takes that a step further and shows you how these buyer personas want to interact on your website.

And if you don’t know the intent, you don’t know half of the story. In fact, Google has said that simply relying on demographic data can cost you as many as 70% of your mobile buyers.

A search engine optimization services team can help you take a deep dive into intent-based marketing.

10. SEO Work is Never Actually Over

The real reason you need to hire a search engine optimization services team is that success in this world is never actually achieved. It is only maintained. The work is never done.

Your customers are constantly getting smarter, and changing the way they want to browse, and Google is constantly evolving to keep up with this.

These changes will present both challenges and opportunities along the way. We already outlined how the Google Penguin update was an opportunity for businesses already doing things the right way.

But what if something happens and you don’t have the search engine optimization services to understand it, or why it is hurting your company?

Bit By the Hawk?

Let’s take the Google Hawk update for example. The hawk was Google’s way of cracking down on businesses cheating Google maps by creating two or more listings of the same business in very geographically close locations.

The update did crack down on this, but there was an unfortunate side effect.

If you were geographically close to your competition, say a pizza shop across the street from another pizza shop, Google may see one of your businesses as a spammer fabrication.

You might find yourself literally disappearing off of the (Google) map.

If you have a search engine optimization services team on your side, you can anticipate these updates before they happen, or deal with any fallout quickly and professionally.

If you don’t, you’re completely in the dark when it comes to the world of SEO. And now your pizza parlor will disappear from Google Maps, your foot traffic is going to suffer greatly, and you will have no idea why.

Take Your Search Engine Optimization Services Further

Are you ready to talk about how your company can make the most of search engine optimization services?

We can launch your ranking sky-high with our proven-to-succeed strategies that consider both your business niche and your competition. You can start today by clicking here for a free consultation.

The Important Impact of Web Design on SEO

web design seo

“If you build it, he will come.”

This famous line from the movie Field of Dreams embodied the hearts and souls of a generation. Kevin Costner built it (a baseball field) and not only did he come (Shoeless Joe Jackson), but so did they (the ghosts of baseball past).

Wouldn’t it be nice if building a website was that easy?

Your famous inspiration would read: If you build it, they will find. Because it’s such a work of art people across the globe will talk about it. And it will rank #1 in all searches.

Sadly, that “site of dreams” probably won’t become reality.

Some happy news: by using some thoughtful web design SEO, you can build a website that is easier to find. And then . . . they will come.

What Is Web Design SEO

Read an industry blog post today. You won’t find many where the author doesn’t mention SEO.

In fact, there are entire companies dedicated to helping businesses develop sustainable search engine optimization strategies. In or search-driven society it’s necessary for building brand awareness.

Did you know that you can begin your SEO strategy before your website is even available to the search engines?

It’s called web design SEO.

By including specific behind-the-scenes techniques during your website build, you will have an advantage before you add your first keyword-loaded piece of content.

Some of the techniques we will discuss include:

  • Navigation SEO – using an intuitive site structure is one of Google’s criteria
  • Image SEO – how to effectively assign alt attributes to your images
  • Content SEO – yes, content is king, but here we explain the importance of intentional design as you develop your site
  • Schema – not everyone uses structured data as part of their SEO strategy. We’ll discuss why you should.
  • Responsive SEO – Google said it; you should do. It’s time to optimize your pages for mobile viewers.
  • Housecleaning – why it’s important to maintain and update your website regularly

By using these suggestions you will not only make sure your website is search engine ready, you will maximize its ranking potential. Let’s optimize!

Navigation SEO

Navigation is very important for search engines. If your site is not user-friendly, if it’s difficult to find products and services or information, ranking suffers. Poorly executed site navigation may reduce the percentage of visitors that turn into leads.

As you hit the drawing board, keep these suggestions in mind.

Site Structure

A logical site structure (how a user navigates your site) guarantees a positive experience for your customers. Unfortunately, many website developers tend to overlook this crucial area of web design SEO.

Think about it.

If your customers can easily move from page to page in a logical fashion, so can the search engine crawlers. If your customers get frustrated and “bounce” quickly, Google notices that too.

Want to get noticed in SERPs?

As Neil Patel explains, an effective site structure can result in a listing format with included sitelinks. He says: Sitelinks are a huge SEO advantage. They increase the navigability of your site, point users to the most relevant information, increase your brand’s reputation, improve user trust…”

URL Structure

Seo-friendly URLs are another aspect of quality site navigation that is often overlooked. Although they won’t rocket you to the number one spot by themselves, they are an effective detail not used by many of your competitors.

An infographic compiled by Backlinko founder, Brian Dean offers some excellent advice on structuring URLs for better search engine optimization:

  • Rank higher by using shorter URLs
  • Limit the number of keywords used in URLs
  • A URL should be simple; easily read by humans
  • Use descriptive names for your URLs rather than hard to read dynamic ones
  • Use subfolders, not subdomains

Another great tip: Use search friendly page names to improve web design SEO.

Create a sitmap.xml

For web pages to show up in search results they must first be indexed. Indexing basically means discovered by search engine bots (crawlers).

Once discovered, web pages are included in Google’s (and other search engine’s) “library.” Now they are available to show up in user queries.

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re looking for a restaurant in an unfamiliar area. You get lost.

Some people will dig in and continue searching until they find the intriguing eatery. Others think “it can’t be that good if I can’t find it” and head to their local haunt.

Googlebots are the latter.

If indexing a website becomes too difficult or confusing, they stop and head off in a new direction.

Many website developers don’t realize the amount of traffic they might be missing. Creating a sitemap.xml gives Googlebots an easy road to all the areas of a site you want indexing.

Make finding you easy. Make a map.

Image SEO

The images on your website are not just about aesthetics.

Search engine crawlers cannot “read” images. The need text to inform them. Added correctly, images deliver the perfect combination of web design SEO and creativity.

Image Size

Size does matter. Especially when it comes to loading time.

Reducing image size improves site performance. Search engines rank pages higher that load faster.

Alternate Attributes

Many website designers take short-cuts and one of those is not assigning alt attributes to images. But when it comes to web design SEO it has valuable benefits.

Alternative attributes, or alt tags, are the textual information used to describe an image. It may also explain the purpose of the image on the page.

Why should every image on a web page have alt text?

Search engines find it very important. Crawlers find more indexing possibilities when alt text provides useful and descriptive information about images.

Alt tags are an additional area to include important keywords. But be judicious. Stuffing alt attributes with keywords gives a negative rating and may get your site penalized. Google’s image publishing guidelines encourage webmasters to “focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.”

Important note: the text in an alt tag is important for more than SEO purposes. Giving a useful description of images helps visually impaired users with page readers to experience your website to the fullest.

Text in Images

A neat trick, but not something to do.

If you want particular strings of text indexed by search engine crawlers, do not include it in an image. Bots cannot read that type of text. By putting the text in your images you miss opportunities for keyword placement.

Pay special attention to page headings and menus, as well as your logo design. Do not include important brick-and-mortar information (company name, address, phone number) as part of the logo or banner. Having that information accessible to bots makes it accessible to customers.

Content SEO

Yes! Content is still king. And it’s not a web developer’s responsibility to write killer content.

What’s necessary is a website design that ensures maximum content exposure in search engines.

Here are a few techniques for using content as a web design SEO tool.

H1 Tags

Each page on your site should have an H1 (or header 1) tag. Add target keywords to these heading tags. They are important elements for improving visibility and web page rankings for your site.

But headers are only words, right? “That’s not my job,” says Ms. Ida Zyne-Sytes.

Here’s the scoop.

The mere presence of an H1 and what is says isn’t the total difference maker. The formatting of an H1 and where it’s placed on the page has a greater impact on user experience.

To dive deeper into the importance of H1 tags, read Neil Patel’s article “How to Create the perfect H1 tag for SEO.”

More Pages Equals More Content

Now don’t go crazy on this one. Remember the importance of easy navigation?

Thanks to the popularity of infinite scroll, web designers err on the opposite side of this spectrum. But one page does not fit all!

For companies with multiple products or services, a one-page-fits-all design can negatively affect search engine position.

The best web design SO practice is to create separate pages for each category of product or service. And include your target keywords on every page.

This presents three advantages over the competition:

  1. A cleaner, more intentional site structure encourages users to stick around and explore. Improved dwell time leads to improved rankings.
  2. More organic keyword opportunities equal more potential for click-throughs. This can lead to higher conversion rates.
  3. More website pages lay the groundwork for building “link juice” (link equity). More pages mean more internal link possibilities.

Don’t make the mistake having blocks of images and minimal text on your product and service pages. Representing services in a visual manner is pleasing to the eye. But without the text to back it up the page rank suffers.

Remember: it’s not a beauty contest; it’s a “who gets the girl (or boy or customer” battle.

Schema

Time to put on your computer geek hat. (We say that with the utmost affection!)

Are you serious about catapulting your web design SEO to the next level? Then let’s get down to the grand schema things.

Schema.org – a quick history

Schema.org is a collaboration project between major search engines and webmasters.

The joint effort created a standardized vocabulary for content markup. This agreed upon language is recognized universally by all the search engine players (Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Yandex).

Structured Data

Add structured data to the back-end of a website. It is a best practice surprisingly few web developers use.

Structured data is on-page markup — in a sense, custom HTML tags. It “speaks” a clearer language to search engine bots than standard HTML code. This helps bots to develop a more detailed description of the content on web pages.

Some examples of content types that structured data markup can be used on:

  • Reviews
  • People
  • Products
  • Software applications
  • Local businesses
  • Organizations
  • Restaurants
  • Recipes
  • Events
  • Music
  • Video content
  • Movies
  • Articles

The prize: Site information becomes more relevant in search queries. Your listings become more visible in SERPs.

Adding structured data to your HTML code is truly the nuts and bolts of web design SEO.

Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are the enhanced display of SERP listings. They are the listings that stand out more noticeably because they offer extra information.

These richer details are eye-catching. They impact the appearance of query results. Some businesses have reported a 30% increase in click-through rates for their rich snippet listings.

When major competitors (the search engines) join forces and agree on a set standard, it’s worth paying attention to. It’s probably going to be around for a while. It’s definitely something to add to your web design SEO arsenal.

Responsive Web Design SEO

If you build it, they will change.

And that’s exactly what they (Google) did.

As Google prepares to roll-out their mobile-first index, it’s time to go mobile or go away.

It will happen, and it will penalize websites that do not have a mobile version.

At the Search Marketing Expo conference in March, Google’s Gary Illyes gave a few suggestions to prepare for the mobile-first index:

  1. Make sure your mobile site has the content you want to rank for.
  2. Make sure structured data are on your mobile site.
  3. Make sure rel-annotations are on your mobile site.

Housecleaning

It’s always important to make sure every bit of information on your website is working to benefit your bottom line.

You’ve put all that work into your web design SEO strategy. Don’t kill it by failing to fix these costly mistakes:

  • Old and low-quality pages – remove them, they don’t add to better results
  • Broken links – sites with a lot of broken links are penalized in search rankings
  • Not updating regularly – add new pages to earn a better FreshRank score than sites adding content less often
  • Crawl errors – Google analytics is your friend
  • Duplicate content – even somewhat modified content has negative effects on a site’s visibility in query results
  • Too much flash – remember, you want text bots can find
  • Pop-ups that appear before visitors can access content – this is a big Google no-no; they don’t like it at all
  • Keyword stuffing, cloaking, and creating or using link farms

Don’t sacrifice beauty over function. The best way to maximize your website ranking to its full potential is by implementing these web design SEO measures.

A website that generates ROI requires a lot more than simply having an online presence. Don’t leave your business to chance. To be successful a website needs to have a professional design that is SEO ready.

The design and SEO teams at Unraveled Media are ready to create your own personal field of dreams.

We love hearing about new projects. Tell us about yours today!

SEM vs SEO: Which Option Should I Choose?

sem vs seo

There are over 1.2 billion websites online and that number literally grows every second.

People very rarely go past the first page of search engine results. So companies that want to get noticed must take action to improve their site rankings or they will be lost in the shuffle.

Two of the primary online marketing strategies are search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). These terms are often used interchangeably, but there are several key differences. Understanding the basics between SEM vs SEO will help you to determine how to best spend your marketing budget.

SEM and SEO both have the same goal of making your website more visible to search engines. They can each be a valuable component of your marketing plan if you understand how to properly use them.

The Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization focuses on free website traffic that comes through organic searches. Site rankings are improved by using technical strategies to optimize your website.

Optimized sites make it easier for search engines to understand their contents. Search engines also favor sites that have:

  • Easy navigation
  • Fast loading times
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Clear benefits to the end user.

Companies using an SEO strategy can benefit greatly from consistently producing valuable content. Blog posts and web pages need to include keywords but must also be reader-friendly.

The best search engine optimization methods use both on-site and off-site strategies.

On-Site SEO

On-site SEO works by applying rules to your blog or website to make them more search-engine-friendly. It includes techniques like:

  • Using H1 and H2 headers
  • Optimizing images
  • Correctly formatting URLs
  • Using proper keyword density
  • Optimizing post titles
  • Proper use of meta tags
  • Having a useful sitemap
  • Using good descriptions
  • Optimizing page speed
  • Incorporating well-written copy
  • Adding social media sharing integration

Off-Site SEO

Off-site SEO increases the trust level of your site in the eyes of search engines. It does this by getting attention and recognition from other reputable sites.

Common off-site SEO techniques include:

  • Quality backlinks (inbound links)
  • Keywords used in link anchor text
  • Increased traffic from social media sharing
  • Recognition from social bookmarking sites (Reddit, Stumbleupon, Digg)

When you’re doing Off-site SEO it is very important to have a good management tool that can help you with your tasks. Linkio.com can be a huge time saver and also will automate your process and give you the exact link building game plan for any target website.

If your business is targeted to a specific geographic area, you can also benefit from local SEO strategies to further increase your web traffic. This may include local directory listings, reviews on social media, Google and Yelp, and a listing on Google’s My Business page.

The Basics of Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing uses various methods like pay per click (PPC) and banner advertising to increase site visits. The benefit of SEM vs SEO is that the business owner has full control over the keywords used, websites that are targeted, and the overall budget.

The most popular element of SEM is pay per click (PPC) advertising, also known as cost per click (CPC) advertising. Google Adwords is the most popular of the bunch. Bing Ads and Yahoo Search Ads also offer PPC advertising options, but it’s all about Adwords.

Using this strategy, businesses purchase a spot at the top of a search engine results page (SERP) above the organic search results. This is also known as “above the fold” advertising. The advantage is that you only pay when a user clicks on the ad.

Rankings are determined by the highest bidder. Google also factors in a formula based on the number of clicks received.

Surprisingly, the top two spaces are not the most coveted. The third through fifth positions are much less expensive and equally as valuable.

Creating a Pay-Per-Click Ad Strategy

PPC strategy involves creating clear advertisements and bidding on top keywords. The five key components of a successful PCP plan are:

  • Creating targeted campaigns with a specific audience in mind
  • Using keywords to create ad groups
  • Writing ad copy that is relevant and naturally includes the chosen keywords
  • Committing to a budget for ads
  • Monitoring your results (click-through rates, impressions, average cost per click)

Online, people are typically looking for the answer to a question or a solution to a problem. When relevant ads show up at the top of the search page, users are more likely to click on them, and those clicks are more likely to convert. This is one of the advantages of SEM vs SEO.

Other SEM Advertising

Another method involves purchasing banners or other ads to be placed on related authoritative websites. These ads are usually sold based on a monthly fee or cost per impression.

This type of advertising significantly increases traffic to your site. There is some debate, however, as to whether it improves conversion rates.

Potential Drawbacks of SEO

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are in the business of providing quality search results to users. Their job is to ensure that users get the information they’re looking for. If users are disappointed with the results, they will quickly move on to another search engine.

To keep up with user demands, Google and other search engines must frequently update their algorithms. When these changes are made, a previously high-ranked site can quickly drop down several pages in the search results.

It is also possible to over-optimize your site which can reduce your rankings as well. Plus, using unscrupulous methods to increase rankings can actually result in your site being banned from search engines altogether.

Businesses looking to optimize their sites should work with a professional who can proactively stay on top of trends. SEO strategy is not a “set it and forget it” marketing method. SEO analytics should be monitored regularly so that adjustments can be made quickly if rankings start to fall.

Potential Drawbacks of SEM

The primary drawback of SEM vs. SEO is the potential increase in costs. Search engine marketing relies on a bidding method for keywords. The companies that pay the most receive the greatest amount of exposure.

The drawback comes when your target keywords suddenly become more popular. This can result in your costs increasing exponentially for the same ranking results.

Keywords grow in popularity when there is a news event or other trend that spikes public interest. If your business is based on this event or trend, it’s a positive for you. However, it can put a significant dent in your SEM strategy.

If you choose SEM vs. SEO, you must be prepared to cover the ongoing costs.

There is also the possibility of click fraud. This occurs when a competitor purposely clicks on your ad repeatedly with the intention of depleting your funds. Providers of PPC advertising say they have methods in place to detect fraud, but the effectiveness of these methods have not been proven.

Choosing Between SEM vs. SEO

When choosing how to direct your marketing plan, you must consider your desired end goal. Both SEM and SEO methods seek to increase click-through rates and conversions. The unique features of SEM vs. SEO makes each one more or less effective for certain business types.

If you choose to start a campaign using SEM vs. SEO, you should ensure that your website is optimized. Your site should include quality content before purchasing PPC ads. People who are attracted to your site through paid advertising will quickly move on if they land on a poor-quality site without relevant information.

SEO can be significantly less expensive over the long-term than an ongoing SEM strategy. Once your site has been optimized, it’s easier to keep rankings high as long as you maintain it.

Some ongoing effort is required to maintain an optimized site. You must consistently post quality content and regularly promote your site on social media and other platforms. Some may say that there is less time required to use SEM vs. SEO strategies.

For newer sites that haven’t had the time to build up credibility, SEO can be an incredibly slow process. It can take a year or longer to achieve decent Google site rankings. For this reason, paid SEM is often the preferred method for newer businesses.

A strategic SEM strategy can instantly drive qualified leads to your site and quickly increase your visibility. The amount of traffic that you can receive is limited only by your budget. In the long-term, however, paid SEM should not be considered a substitute for a well-honed, organic SEO strategy.

Whether through organic searches or paid advertising, sites that rank on the top of the results page are likely to get better traffic. You should remember that site traffic is really a secondary goal. Your number one focus should be on getting the maximum number of qualified and relevant visitors to your site in relation to your online advertising budget.

The most effective online marketing strategies often do not require you to make a choice between SEM vs. SEO. Instead, they combine the two into a comprehensive plan that includes other strategies for getting higher Google rankings.

Do you need help creating an effective strategy for your business? Contact us today to discuss your specific needs. We’re happy to offer you a consultation and a free audit of your current site.

SEO for Local Businesses: Getting Started

If you own a business and target a localized market, then this post is for you. Local SEO often contains some different tactics than targeting a wider geographic area.

Luckily, ranking higher on a local level is typically much easier than reaching a national or global audience.

Although the following isn’t going to take care of all of your long-term SEO needs, tackling these tasks will start you off on the right path towards higher rankings.

Follow these tips to give your site a boost!

Google My Business Page

Showing up on Google when someone searches for a product or service that you offer is important as Google is the most widely used search engine. Setting up Google My Business gets you front and center both in search results and on Google Maps. Best part is, it’s easy to get started!

Step 1: Visit google.com/business

Step 2: Click the green “Start Now” button

Step 3: If you’re already logged into your Google account, go to step 4. Otherwise, create or login to your Google account.

Step 4: Fill out your business information and then click “Continue”

Step 5: Verify your business with Google. They will either call you or send you a letter (this is up to them). Once verified, your business page setup is complete!

Local Directory Listings

You may have heard that getting listed on “local directories” is good for your business, but do you know why?

You see, local directories are large, well-indexed sites and typically rank high within search results. Often times, these directories will rank higher than individual business sites resulting in more click-throughs to the directory site than yours.

In this case, you want to make sure that you have a full, complete directory listing as people can still find and contact your business, even though they didn’t land on your website directly. Because there are many different directories, sorting through which to list yourself on and going through the process of actually doing it, can be painful.

If you need advice on which direction to take for your business, give us a shout and we’ll be glad to help.  

Get Reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook

Why reviews? Google reviews, Yelp listings, and business Facebook pages often rank high within search results and reviews serve as confirmation and reassurance that searchers are making the correct choice.

Not only that, Google reviews may have a positive impact on your Google Maps listing. Although it’s frowned upon to pay for reviews or ask others for “fake” reviews, it’s encouraged that you ask your real customers to leave genuine reviews if they are happy with the product or service that your business provides them.


Need help with getting started? No problem – contact us at any time.

 

8 Ways to Get a Top Google Ranking for Your Small Business

how to rank at top of google

If you’re a business owner, the thought of getting a top Google ranking for your website has probably crossed your mind. There are plenty of good reasons why you should have a website if you don’t already. And if you’ve tried ranking your site with no luck, or you’re not even sure where to start, this post will provide you with 8 simple hacks to ensure your site is properly optimized and set up for search ranking success.

1. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ll want to make sure you address this as soon as possible. Google is making a strong push for mobile and if you don’t have a mobile site (either responsive or dedicated mobile version), it may affect your rankings. Check out 9 Things You Need to Know About Google’s Mobile Friendly Update. 

2. Submit a sitemap to Google Webmaster Console

Depending on the platform your website is built on, a sitemap is either automatically generated for you or you’ll have to generate one yourself (which you can do using the XML Sitemap Generator). Either way, once you have a sitemap for your website, be sure to add your sitemap url to your Google Webmaster Console.

3. Don’t mistakenly block Google’s access to your site

Small business sites typically make use of a CMS platform for their website (such as Wix, WordPress, or Squarespace). These platforms will allow you to discourage Google from indexing your site. You’d be surprised how often I find that people who set up their own websites make this mistake. Don’t be one of them.

4. Use descriptive URLs

The internal pages of your website should use descriptive keywords and should always be static. Good url structure looks like ‘yoursite.com/page-keyword’ (or a real example: unraveledmedia.com/local-seo) and NOT ‘yoursite.com/page?=145’. See the difference?

It’s also good practice to keep your descriptive URLs short and concise.

5. Content really is king

There have been numerous studies such as this one that suggest in-depth content will outperform shorter, mediocre content. Web pages that rank high (in the top 10 results) for any keyword typically have at least 2,000 words, and the higher you go up in the search results, the more content each web page has.

6. Make use of title tags

Title tags allow you to provide short, unique descriptions for each page on your website. Essentially, these title tags tell search engines what the page is all about. For example, if you’re a kitchen remodeling contractor in Rochester, NY, your ‘services’ page title tag could read: Kitchen Remodeling Services in Rochester, NY.

7. Set up a blog

Regularly adding content to your business website is a great way to boost rankings and attract traffic. Be careful not to post just any random updates – those that may be better off as Facebook updates. A blog post should provide value to current and potential customers and should relate to your business niche. If you need help coming up with ideas on what you write, you can use something like Answer the Public – a service that displays what people are searching based on a keyword.

When you’re done setting your blog it’s time to start sharing the content and after that to start collecting backlinks for your website. With backlinks you have to be very precise about what you do. They should be natural, so it won’t hurt your online rankings. Building backlinks can quickly become a minefield of mistakes and mishaps for the uninformed SEOs. Check out this step-by-step process on how to build backlinks the right way in 2018.

8. Link internally to other relevant posts & pages

Internal links are most useful for establishing site architecture and spreading “link juice.” Ultimately, internal links refer your site visitors and search engines to related content, products, and services.

For example, I can direct you to our Rochester SEO services and that counts as an internal link. It’s good to scatter these throughout your content. Just be sure that they are relevant to what you’re talking about.