Search Engine Optimization – SEO
If your website does not have a high ranking with Google, Bing, Yahoo and the other search engines, it’s effectively invisible to potential customers. SEO optimization will drive motivated visitors – people who are searching for your product or service. The goal of the search engines is to quickly and efficiently help internet users find what they’re looking for. Those websites ranked the highest are considered by the search engines to provide the best answers to the user’s search query.
Our job is to ensure that the search engines have all of the information needed to direct motivated visitors to your website. Every time someone searches for your product or service, our goal is to have your website appear as high as possible in the search results. We want visitors to click on your website, not on your competitor’s.
Our SEO Services Include:
The importance of keyword research is often underestimated. There are many factors involved in achieving a top search engine ranking, but keyword research is the foundation of the SEO process. The better you understand your customers, the more of an edge you will have over competitors. There’s a lot more involved in choosing the best keywords than simply plugging keywords chosen in a quick brainstorming session into Google Keyword Planner.
Relying on any keyword research tool too heavily can cripple a website’s goal of achieving high search engine rankings. Effective keyword research is a multi-step process.
- First, a niche market or markets must be identified.
- Next, thoroughly analyze the customer demographics. Define a typical customer. What motivates a buying decision?
- Finally, choose keywords or keyword phrases that prospective customers are most likely to use.
If the keyword research is not executed thoroughly with human insight, much potential business will be lost. Keyword research is not a one-time project. When conditions change, ineffective keywords need to be replaced with better choices.
An SEO Analysis looks at your website much as a search engine does. The analysis will identify strengths and weaknesses, identifying areas needing improvement. The website’s architecture, content and linking structure will be examined. Social media accounts and the overall authority of the website on the internet will be reviewed. Recommendations for improving the website will be part of a detailed SEO Analysis.
Google Analytics is the most commonly-used tool for tracking, measuring and testing a website’s performance, but other tools are also used. Analytics provide a wealth of information, including where traffic is coming from and which keywords were used. A/B testing can be performed on web page variations to see which works the best.
No website’s performance will remain unchanged over time. Search engines’ algorithms change, rewarding or penalizing a website’s ranking. Customer behavior also evolves. In order to become or remain successful, a website must adapt to the ever-changing demands of the internet. Analytics provides insight into what is working, what needs changing or updating and is a key factor in successful marketing campaigns.
Quality Link Building
Some of the worst website offenses in the past involved quick and dirty link building schemes. Legitimate link building techniques are known as “white hat” or “natural.” “Black hat” techniques are just the opposite, violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Black hat techniques were used to quickly increase a website’s search engine ranking by adding large numbers of irrelevant or spam links to a website. Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithm updates severely penalized sites using this black hat method with huge losses of traffic.
No reputable SEO firm will recommend or use any black hat link building methods.
Building quality links, however, remains a critical component of website optimization. High-quality links, such as from recognized authorities in the field, government sources or educational institutions, are considered natural links and improve a website’s authority and trust. This has a positive affect on the website’s search engine ranking. A poor quality website will not attract or retain high-quality links.
Google’s overall policy on links is relatively clear. Google’s stated goal is to emphasize a good “user experience.” As a corollary, websites providing natural or high-quality links will benefit and and sites with unnatural or poor quality links will be penalized. However, link building is tricky. It takes experience and time to accumulate worthwhile links. Trying to manipulate the system is never advisable and will ultimately result in a Google penalty. Understanding and remaining compliant with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines is essential.
So, with all the possible repercussions, why do links matter?
- Links point to content, which is and will continue to be all-important. If there are no other websites pointing to the content on your website, another website with poorer but optimized content and high-quality links could achieve a higher ranking.
- Links are used by Google to find, categorize, index and rate websites and website pages.
- Visualize a thermostat. Each quality link increases the temperature of the website by a degree while each unnatural link lowers the temperature. As a website accumulates great links, the temperature will finally reach the hot zone. This will help to send the website to the top of the search engine results page.
Local Search Marketing
Local search is much more than simply adding a city name to a keyword. When the website is optimized appropriately, targeted traffic will be driven to the website. Research has shown that local visitors are very motivated consumers.
- Local search marketing is set to explode in 2016, pushed by the fact that mobile devices now account for more than half of all computing.
- Location data (name, address and phone number) is increasingly important and must be consistent and accurate. Large publishers like Apple spread this data to customers wherever they happen to be.
- Google has indicated that it will be spending a lot of effort and money on local search.
- Businesses have discovered that apps such as Snapchat are very useful when included in marketing campaigns, inviting consumer response.
- Consumers love mobile wallets and will save offers to them. Applications are diverse, ranging from coupons to loyalty programs to mass transit.
- Google is still the dominant search engine, but Facebook and Apple continue to encroach upon Google’s territory. Facebook is positioning itself to become increasing important to local search.
Website Content Creation and Optimization
Content is still king. Relevant, informative and useful high-quality content is essential for a high ranking in Google and the other search engines in 2016. Poor or outdated content will contribute to a lower ranking and less traffic. Content marketing provides useful information to prospects and current customers, building trust and enhancing the brand. Interactive content is becoming increasingly popular with consumers.
Quality content offers many benefits in addition to boosting search engine ranking.
- Business decision-makers and consumers as a whole prefer to receive information from a series of articles rather than from an advertisement.
- Most consumers tend to believe that those organizations providing useful custom content are interested in building a good relationship.
- Videos are increasingly popular. Over half of all consumers feel that video content is the most trustworthy.
- Videos provide a positive image of the company for 71% of consumers.
- Content marketing is extremely cost-effective, costing 62% less than traditional outbound marketing.
- Whatever your niche, strive to be seen as an expert in your field.
- B2B organizations are heavily into content marketing. A survey released by the Content Marketing Institute revealed that 86% of B2B companies have implemented content marketing into their strategic marketing plan.
Meta Tag and Alt Tag Optimization
Meta tags are used to give information about the page to the search engines and are usually placed in the <head> element of the HTML page. Visitors to the page do not see meta tags. A meta tag should be relevant, descriptive and accurate about the page’s topic or subject.
Google has said that meta tags don’t help with page ranking. If meta tags are used improperly, Google could penalize a website. However, this is unlikely when the tags are descriptive and useful.
Alt tags should be used for all images on the website for two reasons:
- Those who are blind or visually handicapped should be able to use the website. Alt tags permit screen readers to read the description of the image.
- The search engines are also unable to read images, so alt tags allows the content on the page to be counted for page ranking purposes. Optimize alt tags by including keywords within the descriptions.
A hyperlink, or more commonly link, has two parts:
- The URL to which the link points (www.mydomain.com);
- The anchor text which the user sees (“click here“) or the URL, if no anchor text is used. Anchor text looks professional and aids the search engine in understanding the relevance of the target page, which helps raise the website’s ranking.
In the example above, “click here” is commonly used on web pages, but is not a good choice for anchor text. It contains no information about the page being linked to. To optimize the anchor text, use the subject of the target page, such as “Schedule an emergency plumbing service call.”
Optimizing hyperlinks is a small step, but effectively optimizing a website or page is like most large projects. Many small steps make up the whole.
Millions of users share their favorite websites every day. Social bookmarking websites allow users to store and organize their favorite web pages with keywords and to search through the top picks of others. Having your website listed on the social bookmarking websites can be very useful for website promotions as it will drive quality traffic to your website. Social bookmarking websites may not send a lot of traffic to your website, but each visitor will have already demonstrated a strong interest in the topic.
Effective SEO is the key to a high ranking in the search engines and a significant boost for your business. What’s your SEO score? Get a Free Site Audit today and find out!
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