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Archive for the Local SEO Category

SEO and Unrealistic Expectations

SEO and Unrealistic Expectations

One of the hottest topics of the Internet for people who have existing businesses on the WWW or are looking to get their hands in the global marketplace is SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of making performance adjustments toy our web pages and web site through better design and content to increase your ranking on Google or other search engines. The reason it is such a hot topic is because search ranking is critical to generate traffic to your website. The higher your ranking for a given search by a user, the more likely your site will attract visitors, or traffic. SEO has received much praise for its ability to increase the ranking of websites and result in significantly increased sales or certain companies. Even though Google continues to change its algorithm to sidestep attempts by webmasters to “rig the system” in their favor, companies are spending millions of dollars on optimizing their websites. What is separate from the SEO efforts is the actual return on these efforts, called conversion optimization. To put it simply, SEO can bring the traffic to your door but that does not always translate into a sale. High conversion rates are the real goal of SEO. The problem is that businesses that invest heavily in SEO and see no significant results often fault the SEO process. Before jumping the gun, it is important to understand that while SEO may be the problem, it is equally possible that there are other, more

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Has Google Changed or Have We Changed Google?

Has Google Changed or Have We Changed Google?

In the early days of SEO, companies and webmasters spent oodles of time finding ways to manipulate Google’s search engine to move up the ladder and find themselves number one in the rankings. Those were effective and profitable strategies back in those early days. Since then, Google has changed it algorithm several times and made web sites change their design and content if they were going to be relevant on Google. The result has been a better user experience and a more accurate ranking of web sites. Throughout this process, websites and search engine competition has had to keep up with Google, as Google became more localized and personalized with its search results. Ads and other result-related links now appear along with the search query and results. SEO has not lost its roots in its primary function of finding subject related matter, but it also has expanded its functionality to evaluating a web site’s content and relevance in the world of social media. Yet these latest optimizations are the result of user demands for better search results and relevant content. Keywords have expanded to key phrases. Links that once were intended to send the user to related sites now backlink to authoritative sites where information can be validated by the user. Google itself has become an information portal of sorts. From the perspective of marketing, the evolution of the Google search engine resulted in brand oriented marketing strategies that combined the best page content with the best SEO strategy. Searching

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Doing SEO Differently the Same Way

Doing SEO Differently the Same Way

There is a double-edged sword that goes with implementing SEO either with a new website or as part of an ongoing strategy with an existing website. As a business owner trying to stay relevant in the global marketplace, you have to pay attention to what your competitors are doing in the world of SEO. On the other hand, you cannot spend so much time analyzing the competition that you ignore your own business. The two edges are copying what competitors are doing and trying to decide when to integrate SEO in your own company’s marketing strategy. It is a mistake to believe that SEO is a single, solitary solution to your marketing problems. If we first look at the competition edge, we can see both success stories and situations where SEO simply has failed to make an impact on the company’s bottom line. Regardless of where you choose to look, thinking about using a competitor’s website design or SEO strategy is a formula for creating more problems than solutions. The reason is that your company is your company, not theirs. Selling similar products or being in the same industry are simply classifications, not approaches to doing business. You may have the same general target audience in common, but your specific segment and approach are likely to be entirely different. SEO is not a one-size-fits-all solution for any company. The other edge is deciding when to integrate SEO into your marketing strategy. Looking once again at the competition, it may seem

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A Short Course on Local Business SEO

A Short Course on Local Business SEO

Just because you have a local business does not mean that you should ignore the possibilities of how search engine optimization (SEO) for your site can increase your customer base and profitability. The reason is that according to a study by Lawyernomics, about one-third of potential clients use the Internet to search for a lawyer. This percentage is roughly the same for other local industries such as chiropractors and dentists. That means that your Internet presence, particularly among the top three search engines – Google, Yahoo!, and Bing – is critical for new business to discover you. The problem is that for a smaller, local business to spend the     time learning how to improve their SEO presence requires a   significant amount of time best spent taking care of existing customers. Each search engine has a set of rules called an algorithm which determines the rank where each web site appears when a search is performed. The lower the ranking, the less likely it is for a potential client to find your business. Ask yourself how many pages of search results you read before you either choose one or move on to a different search. Your customers act in the same manner, for the most part.  What this leaves the local business owner is a choice between  leaving SEO an unmanaged function of the business or to hire in  a professional to regularly update and maintain your web site,  especially in the area of SEO. Because SEO is

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Become A Social Media Maven

Become A Social Media Maven

You probably intuitively understand that social media can play a huge role in the success of your business.  What you may not know is what, specifically to do in the social media sphere to get the most out of your social media presences.  Don’t worry, just below we’ll show you how to become a social media rock star. Engage! It doesn’t matter whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, or any of the others, social media is well…social.  That means it’s not about you using it as your own personal soapbox to sell your wares.  Rather, it’s about relationships.  It’s about creating opportunities for conversations.  If you’re not having conversations with your customers, potential customers and future customers, then you’re missing the fundamental point of social media, and that needs to change. Timing Do you know what the optimal time for posting updates to your social media accounts is?  If you don’t, then you need to, because posting at update at four in the morning when nobody’s awake to see it won’t help you.  By the time your customers get up, your entry is already off their news feed.  Post updates between noon and 6pm. Don’t Use A Shotgun Approach Don’t overwhelm your staff or yourself.  There are only so many hours in the day, so don’t try to develop a presence on every social network in existence.  Identify the ones that are most relevant to the niche or industry you’re working in, and stick with those. Get Personal & Be Personable

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Are Your Headlines Awful? Is It Costing Your Business?

Are Your Headlines Awful?  Is It Costing Your Business?

When writing a piece of content for your blog or someone else’s, far and away the most important component of the entire piece is the headline.  Why?  Because 8 out of 10 people will read your headline and nothing else.  Only 2 people in 10 will bother with the rest of what you wrote.  The reason?  Most people just don’t spend enough time on their headlines.  They’re not compelling and they don’t “pop.”  If they don’t pop, they’re not going to compel the reader to bother with the rest, no matter how good you think it is. This is a classic case in point for why quality is always more important than quality.  It frankly doesn’t matter if you’ve got a thousand blog posts, if nobody’s reading what you have to say.  You could save a lot of time by writing less and saying more with the blog posts you do write.  The next logical question then, is how do you go about creating compelling headlines. There’s no one “right way,” but if you’re mystified as to how or where to begin, then one excellent way to get better at it is to browse big, popular sites and look at what they’re doing.  Pay attention to how their headlines are put together.  You’ll start to see some trends very quickly.  Most are provocative.  Most ask a question (see above) that hints at providing the answer to it in the body of the piece. Another source for great headline instruction is

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Don’t Let “Bad” Links Drive You Crazy

Don't Let “Bad” Links Drive You Crazy

SEO was very different pre-Panda. Quantity mattered a lot more than quality. Of course, quality has always been important, but pre-Panda, there was serious gain to be had by focusing on quantity. This led, rather predictably, to large numbers of WebMasters taking the easy road, and after all, it was easy to use automated link building tools to spam out thousands of links to low-value blogs in a single afternoon. Hire a few VA’s and you could get millions of links over the course of a long weekend. That worked in the short run, but then Google introduced Panda. The moment that happened, the game changed, and Google announced that low quality links were very bad for your rankings. As a follow up to that announcement, they released the “Disavow Tool.” A funny thing happened when they did that. WebMasters all across the internet began to collectively lose their minds and started spending a huge amount of time trying to kill off links to low-value (and often no-value) scraper sites. It made sense, in a way. Google said the quality of the links mattered, they provided a tool for weeding out the bad ones, what was a good WebMaster to think? The problem is, the penalty for those bad links is all but nonexistent, and your time and energy are much better spent by continuing to focus on good, high quality links. There are a couple of different reasons why this is true. In the first place, Google has gotten

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Building The “Right” Audience

Building The “Right” Audience

Search Engine is all about traffic.  The name of the game is to arrange as many factors as possible in your favor so that your search rankings increase, which in turn increases your organic traffic.  That’s great as far as it goes, but don’t think your work is done once you’ve begun to claim #1 rankings in the keywords you’re aiming for.  If anything, at that point, your work is just beginning. See, traffic is fine, but it is only a means to an end.  If your ultimate goal is sales, then once you’ve got a reliable source of traffic in the form of high search engine rankings, the logical next step is to begin building a permanent, and growing audience.  This is about building and burnishing your brand.  There are a number of ways you do this, but the two biggest and most obvious to the eye are editorial excellence and paying attention to comments left on your blog.  We’ll go over both of these just below, and as you will see, they play a pivotal role in what happens after you’ve got your SEO firing on all cylinders. Editorial Excellence This is mostly about quality control.  If you are your own editor, then this falls on your shoulders, if you’re outsourcing your editorial function, then the Golden Rule is this:  Your editor has final say in content, and edits every piece for the site.  That includes content that you provide and write yourself.  The editor should fully understand

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Be Careful Letting Others Republish Your Content!

Be Careful Letting Others Republish Your Content!

A lot of first time WebMasters are so eager to get traffic that they will allow big name sites to re-post or re-publish an article from their own blog.  It sounds great because you get eyes on your article that otherwise would not have seen it, and you don’t have to write a unique piece of content for their blog.  Unfortunately, if it’s not done correctly, it can hurt you more than it helps. Think about your goals for a moment.  As a business owner, you’ve got two goals.  You want sales first and foremost, because a business without sales is a hobby, at best.  The best way to get sales if your blog isn’t getting a ton of traffic on its own, is to form partnerships with bigger blogs in your niche who aren’t head-to-head competitors, and do some guest posting on their blogs with a sign post pointing back to your site. The second thing you want though, is to build your brand.  One of the natural consequences of building your brand is to increase your rankings in organic search results, which is what SEO is all about.  To maximize the impact of your SEO efforts, you have to do more than just optimize your on-page SEO and build backlinks, you’ve also got to stay away from the Google Penalty Box.  When you allow another site to re-publish content that has already been published on your site, it creates duplicate content on the web.  Google isn’t all that

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Why Your Best Content Should Live On Someone Else’s Site

Why Your Best Content Should Live On Someone Else's Site

There’s a lot of conventional wisdom about SEO that’s just wrong.  One of those bits of conventional wisdom is that you should keep your best content for your own site, and farm out your lesser pieces of content to the blogs you’ve got guest blogging arrangements with.  On the surface of it, that makes a kind of intuitive sense.  You ultimately want to get more people to your site, so you tease them with some mediocre content on some other site, then dazzle them with the good stuff once they come pay you a visit. Unfortunately, you are selling yourself short by doing it that way, and here’s why:  The paradigm is wrong.  Ultimately, you don’t want visitors to your site, you want sales.  If you could get sales by having people visit some other site, would it matter to you?  Of course not, the sale is the thing, not the site visit. What you want then, is to put your best content where it will be seen by the most eyeballs, and unless you run one of the major destinations on the internet, that’s probably not your site.  Of course, having said that, you don’t want to cut corners where your own site’s content is concerned, it should sparkle too, but if you have something that truly stands out in your mind as being an exceptional piece, set that aside for a guest post on a site that gets more traffic than your own does.  In short, every piece

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