Improving the ranking of your website can play a huge part in the success of your local business, but it takes specialist skills to achieve it. Trying to do it yourself might seem worthwhile, but it can cost you a lot in terms of time and money. The wisest course of action is to employ a local SEO agency or company who have the skills and resources to implement an effective SEO campaign for you.
The first advantage of using a local SEO agency might not seem obvious, as you will likely have to pay them a fee upfront, but doing so will reduce your costs. The reason is that each element of an SEO campaign will require a specific expert whose work you would have to pay for. If you are contracting each individual piece of work to a different agency or company each time, the costs will be huge.
By comparison, employing an agency who will oversee all the work, means the overheads will be greatly reduced, as most of the work can be done by the staff which the agency employs. Even if they must outsource some of the work, they will be able to secure the services of experts with whom they may have negotiated a special rate due to the volume of work they are generating for them.
More people will access a website using mobile than they will using a desktop or a laptop. That’s just the way the world works today, so you have to think about responsive web design for people who use their phones to look up companies, make purchases, and just browse the web.
In order to optimize your designs for people who browse on their phones, think about the following areas:
Remember that the person who is looking at your web design is going to be on mobile, which means simplicity is king. Take away anything that isn’t strictly necessary or anything that will make load times faster. Think about the necessities of your design, including the logo, contact information, store locator, and key information that the person is probably looking for.
Keep the blocks of text and huge images for the desktop websites. When possible, use things like lists or drop-downs to avoid large amounts of text.
While adwords marketing is often a great way to get traffic and conversions in your business, it often becomes overwhelming for the newcomer to manage, especially when you have a great many keywords. You can have better success for less cost using just 10 exact match keywords if you take into account these few tips.
- Choose short tail keywords for your campaign.
- Advertise on Bing. The keywords will cost less and you won’t start a bidding war because many advertisers stay in the Yahoo environment.
1. Having your website linked from your Google+ profile gives it search credibility.
Simple fact. Plus if your business sells widgets, and you post to your Google+ account about your widget blog, and your location is known to Google, then when users search for widget merchants in your area, your site or your account will pop up closer to the top.
If you’re seeking start-up funding for your web business or continuing financial sharing to help it grow, you’ll be interested in this in-depth discussion on “10 Views On What To Look For In An Investor” over at Read/Write.
The answers contain a few surprises, but all of them also illuminate some marketing strategies. For instance, one person values networking – she will always “consider the connections that an investor (or anyone else) can bring to the table over anything else.” All of these are refreshing takes on philosophies of business. (Is that even a thing?). Continue reading
A fascinating and soul-searching read at hand over at the Central Desktop Blog, on The evolution of the ad campaign. It talks about how moving the marketing industry into the web age has led to some advantages, but some disadvantages as well. The interesting point is the lack of “big ideas”.
We don’t see those really inspired advertisers that capture our interest. Instead, everything kind of blends into a slick, over-produced corn mush, with hardly any commercial distinguishable from product to product. Take this away – advertising is all about getting your potential customer to remember your product. If your marketing strategy doesn’t stand out in any particular way, your product won’t either.
We’re all beautiful and unique snowflakes, are we not? We all have special skills to bring to the table, each of us good at one thing, none of us better at everything. Online marketing blog TopRank has a post on fitting all those snowflakes into one useful corporate snowman. Don’t you love that analogy?
It raises some interesting parallel discussions about how one could use customer’s personality types to market more efficiently. The Dominant customer could be sold with “Our product will help you conquer the world.” The Influential customer could be sold with “Get things done with our product.” The Steady customer could be sold with “Our product is the same tried, tested, and true solution you’ve come to expect.” And the Conscientious customer could be sold with “Our product is made with quality in mind.” Read more website strategies.
This post by marketing strategist B to B points out that bad research proliferates online and gives you a much-needed pointer on how to sort the correct information from the mirages. We love this quote: “…where statistics are plentiful but facts are elusive.” Yes, it is true, many marketers out there seem to be able to draw whatever conclusion they want to from any set of data. The industry contains a great deal of spin and hype, and very few people calling it out. For web entrepreneurs, be at least a little bit skeptical and do some research before just giving anybody your marketing dollars. Continue reading
We’re downright nostalgic for the good old days when SEO work didn’t involve so many animal names. here’s the latest breakdown on Google Panda vs Google Penguin and what they mean to you. It’s a great resource and you should read it carefully, because there’s a lot of half-baked theories and general panic going on out there and this post is a smooth voice of reason.
Let’s try to view the Google Penguin update rationally: Keywords are not dead. Even Google’s own webmaster guidelines advise “Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.” That’s all you have to do. Deep breaths, everybody. We’ll get through this. Continue reading
Once upon a time, Google and SEO were at a relative truce. Then Google began swatting at black-hat SEO tactics. Then gray-hat SEO tactics. And now, it just hauls off and clobbers everybody, damn your hat color. The latest news on the Penguin update is just par for the course. It’s just getting to where if you’ve ever made page one ever in your life, Google now hates you.
We’re wondering how long it will be until paranoid conspiracy theories develop in the SEO rank and file. Well, of course, that’s “more than the usual conspiracy theories”. Yet we don’t see demand for the old-school black-hat SEO diminishing in the slightest – the more Google punishes some behaviors, the more people stubbornly cling to them. It’s like a battle of wills between a domineering mother and a rebellious teenager.
You know what your goal should be with marketing? To make your advertisement so interesting that the user forgot that it wasn’t why they came there in the first place.
This post on Content Marketing Done Right is a good example. There’s one of those ads on YouTube – where you normally sit there waiting for the ‘skip ad’ button to pop up. Except, saith Chris Brogan, this ad is produced so well and hooks you so thoroughly that it’s tough to stop watching it.
In Nevada, USA, a judge has made an unusual ruling regarding search engines. To say the least.
See, Chanel (a fashion and beauty company) was in a fit because counterfeit websites are ripping off their good name. Fair enough. Then they had a court ruling to seize all of the domains (raising an eyebrow here, but possibly justified). But then the judge also ordered “all Internet search engines including, but not limited to, Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and all social media websites including, but not limited to, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter” to remove any index listings for the counterfeit pages.
Uh, your Honour? I’m sure your desk in Nevada doesn’t have jurisdiction outside the USA, so what good will this do at all? You’ve heard of a little company called “Yandex”? It’s kind of in Russia…
It’s hard to believe that we’re still hearing about Panda. It seems as old as Y2K now. Yet here we are looking at another story about a webmaster sore at Google over it. Search Engine Watch gives us a refreshing reality check: Maybe a site drops in Google’s SERPS just because its junk?
There’s also, at the bottom of the article, a handy list of things to check when your site rankings drop. It’s good to keep in mind that sometimes webmasters throw themselves into a panic when they don’t have to. We’ve seen web-workers at lunch with a laptop: They order lunch, hit F5, pay the cashier, hit F5, take a seat, hit F5, and they go “Whoa! We dropped three places!” and out the door they run while we watch their sandwich get cold, or until somebody eats it.
Search Engine Land reports on Google’s latest move in its attempt to horn into the social networking banquet, where they’re going to start verifying an account identity. The chatter about this one is, surprisingly, more positive than you’d expect. While there are still concerns about online privacy, it seems that web users are sick of something else even more:
Trolls, scams, spammers, sock-puppets, and general fools using the whole wide world for their personal playground.
It is true that the state of the web as we know it does lend itself to a hostile environment. Take the case of David Mabus, a Canadian who made a career out of sending thousands of threatening emails and IMs to everyone he saw on the web for more than ten years. He has just now been arrested. If you were on any side of an issue opposite him, chances are you were threatened under one of his many accounts.
Or take Sanford Wallace, the notorious “spam king” of Facebook, who’s now in US authority custody and looking to serve about 40 years.
Can we really measure how much human misery these people cause? Making everybody online have to carry an ID badge may not be the perfect solution, but we just might be ready to sit back and give it a try.
In the film Minority Report, we see that advertising in the future is triggered by iris scanners who identify you by eye pattern and use that to have talking billboards address you by name. Our present is getting closer and closer to that science fiction scenario!
The latest musing on Google+ is over at SEO Chat, which asks How Google Plus Could Change SEO. There’s a list of features which Google+ adds, each of which have the handy side effect of offering more targeted advertising. Briefly, the list is:
circles – tracks influencers
+1 button – tells user’s likes
sparks – shares interests
profile data – nothing new there
hangouts – group chats, could be targeted for more keyword focus
location data – get to know the potential customers in your area, anyone?
photos – soon to be crawled with facial recognition software
It’s coming! We can almost hear the hologram billboards at the subway terminal: “Jon Anderton! You could use a Guinness right now!” Continue reading
SEO bloggers were abuzz only a few months ago about the mighty Google update. Nicknamed “Panda”, this was the update that was to limit the ranking of low-quality text-farm type sites that clog search results. The new update valid about June of 2011 is Panda 2.2, and Search Engine Roundtable has the dirt on that.
Now, they didn’t specifically come out and say content farms… but it’s pretty clear that they were looking in their direction.
We love posts like this that explore the human side of computer-human interactions. In Clients Who Panic – Tips on Calming Their Nerves, some deep Zen is offered to combat the nervous feeling that search engine spiders and other websites are plotting against you.
Because, they are, you know! While you sleep, other webmasters around the globe are spending the night whittling away at your PageRank… they wants it for themselves, the greedy hobbitses…
Those sudden drops in the rankings especially leave an acid pit in your stomach. But the fact is, Google keeps its algorithms secret, and as long as the process is closed, there’s going to be some anxiety. Anyway, changing site rankings are just a fact of life in the SEO game. That’s kind of also why it’s such a fascinating business.
A very sobering blog post up at SearchEngineWatch, White Hats: This is Why You’re Getting Beaten, about how the bad guys are mopping the floor with the good guys.
(and is anybody else getting tired of the hat metaphor?)
Anyway, as good a point as is made there, we’d like to ask, “Is it really that way?” Because here’s the thing: attracting traffic to your website is all about converting sellers, via ads and point of sale. No matter what, that’s the goal.
A fun bit of engagement over at Matt Cutt’s pad, asking What would you do if you were CEO of Google?. Cutts admits that he’d think in terms of big projects – starry eyed dreamer, and hey, nothing wrong with that. The comments also have a ball with this bit of day-dreaming.
But we’re the boring old practical idealist. In Eric Schmidt’s shoes, we’d either (a) put even more guns into Android than it has already, or (b) modify a Linux into a desktop OS and push it to compete head-to-head with Microsoft.
Seriously, we’re tired of Microsoft owning the world with a small pocket for Apple and the rest is brave, tiny mites like Linux and BSD up against the Redmond Sauron. We’d just like to see somebody stand up to MS, just so we know its possible. Even if we still use Windows anyway, it would be nice knowing an alternative was ready.
How often we, in the web SEO business, chase down every rumor and scrap of information about search engine optimization, especially for Google. How seldom we get it straight from the horse’s mouth. Ok so most SEO consultants will know him, but for those that don’t – may we introduce Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO, a blog by a bona-fide Google engineer.
Chock-full of SEO wisdom, this candid blog should be mandatory reading for every budding web entrepreneur. A great example is the glossary section, with some down-and-dirty dirt on breaking a URL into its component parts, and busting some jargon on algorithms. And note, he doesn’t burble on about meta-tag voodoo and link-exchange witchcraft, he just tells you what’s going on!
It’s interesting to see Marketing Vox’s reaction to the sale of the domain sex.com. $13 million may sound like a sexy price, but is it really worth it? Vox says maybe so. We’re going to have to go with “maybe not.”
Now, for a unique brand name, yes. That’s expected. Pepsi had better control pepsi.com, and all the other possible pepsi-dot-anythings out there. Ditto for Microsoft, Walmart, Disney, and so on. We expect that a company that big can afford to control its own brand name, at least that far.
But when you get to generic domain nouns, not so much. Being in the candy business and owning “candy.com” at first sounds like a great idea… in 1998. But who, these days, actually blindly types domains into the address bar? We’d bet nine out of ten users today couldn’t tell us where the address bar is. Hoping to hit Google searches is the next bid, but Google searches don’t always blindly follow the domain name either.
Lastly, ask yourself, when you want candy (and you’re using the web to get it), are you seriously going to type in “candy?” No, you’re going to type “Hershey’s,” “Reeses,” “M&Ms,” “licorice whips,” or whatever your specific desire is. Likewise, ask yourself how many people type “sex” into a search box and hope for the best? No, they’ll type in whatever their specific interest is; “hot coeds,” “online personals dating,” “videos of…” whatever their interest is. Continue reading
California may be far away geographically, but there’s an issue right there that hits home for every web marketer. It’s really quite simple: Californians are going to vote soon on “proposition 19,” a resolution to de-criminalize marijuana for personal use. Note, we’re not talking about medical marijuana any more, we’re talking about lifting prohibition altogether.
Who cares? Well, apparently some major websites do. And the way they care is by refusing to run ads supporting Proposition 19. Yes, you heard that right. Not for any amount of money!
Facebook, for starters. They recently forbade even displaying an image of a marijuana leaf in an ad. And it’s quite ironic that we have to link to Wired to report this story, because Wired belongs to Conde-Nast Media, which also owns Reddit.com… And guess who else won’t run a pro-Prop-19 ad?
The Reddit reaction is amusing. Reddit users responded to the ad ban by submitting story after story about Prop-19 – with marijuana leaves festooned – until the entire front page consists of nothing but support for Prop 19. We haven’t seen a social-news-site rebellion like this since the great HD-DVD encryption key code backlash of 2007.
Well, anyway, file this under “know your market.” The web audience is a feisty little critter some days, isn’t it?
We all see dozens of articles targeted at the basic SEO strategies for daily use, but there’s a second set of techniques which we rarely see addressed: the needs of a mature website. If your site is five, ten, fifteen years old or older, and regularly publishes content, chances are good that you have pages on your own website that you haven’t even checked on in years.
You might want to blow the dust off of some of those. After all, you’re paying for the server space to host them and they’re all very well-indexed by the spiders by now. As time goes on, various little instances of webpage rot begin to creep in. here’s something to keep in mind if you do revisit those back-roads off the beaten brush:
In a move that comments on just how important search trends have become in our modern world, Google has launched Google Beat, a video blog reporting on weekly search trends and what they mean.
This is quite an awesome little development, and we’ll be watching the Google Beat YouTube channel to see where this goes.
This is one of those defining moments when it really hits you that you’re living in the 21st century. Twenty years ago, web searches were barely an explored concept. Sixteen years ago, the Google search engine launched. Four years ago, the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary added the word “google” to their listings. And this year, we have a hostess doing a video segment on the week’s most popular searches, available through a streaming video site.
It’s a pity that we don’t have an international version – so far they only cover trends in the US. However, Google does eventually get around to including the rest of the world. We could see this going to television. Certainly it is more newsworthy than some of the other technology-related content that makes it onto the telly.
Have you tried an alternative search engine lately? I know, as an SEO marketer or search engine marketing consultant, you probably groan every time somebody suggests it. Yes, these other have ridiculously small market share. But just remember, the one to watch in the future isn’t Google. The one to watch is the one who’s going to beat Google. It’s only a matter of time. No monopoly stands forever…