Monthly Archives: April 2015

Search Engine Optimization 101

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SEO If you’ve heard a lot about search engine optimization (SEO) but don’t know how to break through the industry talk, don’t feel alone. As a SEO provider who gets clients up to speed on SEO, we get it. SEO providers (like us) are so deep in search engine optimization technology sometimes what comes out of our mouth sounds like “blah, blah, blah” to anyone not acquainted with SEO (which let’s be honest, is most of us). So how do you make sense of all of the SEO blah-talk? Start by breaking down the “blah, blah” into clear SEO terms:

What is a search engine?

Search engines are sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo that people use to find information and businesses. A May 2011 Pew Internet survey found that 92% of online adults use search engines to find information on the Web, including 59% on an average day. The most popular search engine is Google, which processes more than a trillion searches each year worldwide.

When a user puts in keywords to find information, the search engine generates a list of websites. Studies have repeatedly shown that the websites listed near the top get the most clicks, with 75% of users never scrolling past the first page of search results.

What is search engine optimization?

Search engine optimization is just what it says—creating an optimal website for search engines. There are three different ways to optimize your website:

  • By creating regular and fresh user-friendly content users want to read.
  • By using search engine optimization tactics on your website such as writing accurate headlines and excellent content on each page.
  • By hiring a search engine optimization firm to optimize your website and use specialized SEO technology to target your local customers and get to the top of their search engine list.

What are organic search results?

The page generated with the information you are looking for is a search engine results page (SERP). At the top are sponsored listings with paid ads. Below the ads, otherwise known as sponsored listings, are the organic search results. This is the list of websites the search engine has pulled from the web. Organic search results are your goal, as “79% of search engine users say they always or frequently click on the natural search results. In contrast, 80% of search engine users say they occasionally/rarely/never click on the sponsored search results.”

Getting listed in the organic search results is not easy with hundreds of ranking factors used by search engines to generate the results. What’s even more challenging is to show up in the top organic search results in your local area, the bread and butter for most businesses.

What does SEO do?

Paid search engine optimization technology is one of the most effective online marketing tools for businesses. One of our clients, a local print company, was positioned at the top of search engines just a week after utilizing our SEO technology. Their results were localized, with their company showing up in cities and towns search results within 30 miles of their location including a major metropolitan area. Our work yielded long-term results; their printing firm has remained at the top of the major search engines—Google, Yahoo and Bing—since launch. Better search engine results have meant more digital exposure for their business, and stronger opportunity for online conversions.

ABC Flooring, one of our clients in southeastern Wisconsin, saw their website traffic double in just four months because of search engine optimization. In 30 days, their unique visits increased 122% and hit an impressive increase of 200%. Website traffic is just a number unless you can convert those visits to customer interest. ABC Flooring receives form submissions every week from potential customers, with 60% of those visits stemming from their search engine optimization package.

Any other SEO questions?

Did we answer all your questions? Or do you want to see how paid SEO technology works? Schedule a demo or contact us. Though search engine optimization produces local results, we’ve achieved results for businesses from Wisconsin to California. We can do the same for you, and in clear SEO terms you can understand—and benefit from.

Why You Shouldn’t Abandon (and maybe even care about!) Social Media

social media marketingFacebook, Twitter and other social media networks are littered with abandoned orphans; business profiles and pages started with well-meaning intentions and enthusiasm, and left to rot when the enthusiasm ran out. We’re not pointing any fingers here; often these social media pages are left behind because the owner doesn’t have time, the employee that started the page left or the author didn’t feel like they were doing anything because no there were no likes. It happens.

The most unfortunate part of the situation is that the business is not reaping any of the benefits of a solid social media presence. While we’ve written about the dark side of social media, there are some definite benefits of a solid social media presence for businesses—small, medium and large—on the social media network(s) that fit their brand. For example, a bridal shop would benefit from a solid social media presence on Pinterest, which has a predominately large percentage of female users. Remember, don’t just join any social media network, find the social media network where your customers are and that fits your industry. Avoid joining a social media network just because “everyone is on there.” You won’t do service to your brand, and won’t be reaching your key audience interested in purchasing your product (remember, you are doing this to sell products).

When choosing what social media network to join, factor in the amount of time and commitment you have for the network or networks. Many a business has signed up for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the works because they want to be everywhere and everything, without a thought about the amount of time it takes to properly maintain each social media network—yes, each network, because every social media network has its own audience and way of doing things. If you’re not playing by the “rules” on each social media network, you’re not going to get the results you signed up for.

So what are you signing up for when you hit the “I agree” buttons on the social media networks? Besides a marketing tool that requires time and commitment, you also get these benefits of a solid social media presence:

  1. Free connection to your customers (and potential customers). This is your potential customers’ chance to learn about you and you to learn about them. Note this is a two-way street! While you may be on social media networks for sales conversions, this is your chance to listen to what your customers want and give them relevant resources to help solve their problems (and no the answer to their life problems is not always your product or service!). This is also your chance to show potential customers that you listen to your audience, who you are as a business and that you can provide excellent and prompt customer service.
  2. Ability to provide excellent and prompt customer service (with an emphasis on prompt!). If your customer has a problem, this is your chance to help—and help quickly. Studies show that customers expect a response within two hours, and that number is dropping. Respond promptly, because studies also repeatedly show that customers come back to businesses who have delivered quality customer service in the past—even if their product or service costs more than competitors.
  3. Unsolicited testimonials. Customers can leave reviews or comments about your products on your social media sites. Obviously, these reviews can go both ways, but you can also turn those negative comments into a positive. Start by not deleting negative comments or reviews. Instead, choose the opportunity to show your business can provide excellent customer service. If the reviewer is particularly angry, use these tips to defuse the situation.
  4. Chance to sell your products, and your company. We’ve seen businesses where the customers messaged to set up appointments. They were sold based on what they had seen on social media and in the community and ready to buy. We’ve seen other customers comment on pictures on social media and tag their friends because they really like the product. The crux of getting to the point of sales is to create a social media site that is not all about the business. While this seems like an oxymoron, this is your chance to show how customer-centric is by providing excellent and prompt customer service and resources that meet your customers’ needs.

The takeaway: notice the catch. Your business can reap benefits from a solid social media presence, not just a social media orphan page with irregular and outdated posts. A solid social media presence has:

  • Regular posts (the definition of regular is dependent upon the social media network)
  • Relevant resources for your customers
  • A customer-centric presence, not a business-centric approach (remember, social media is not about your business!)
  • Prompt replies to customers questions and comments (excellent customer service)

If you want to cash in on the benefits and opportunities that come with social media but don’t have the time, outsource your business social media page or profile to experts that can manage your social media network(s). We’ve said it before: there’s no shame or blame in outsourcing. There are some do’s and don’ts that come with outsourcing, but the goal is the same: to create a social media site for your customers. Remember, don’t measure your success on the number of followers, but on the number of engaged followers. These are the customers who are your advocates in the community and on social media. They are leaving positive reviews and engaging with your business—giving your business the results that you joined social media for in the first place.

5 SEO Myths Made to Be Busted

search engine optimizationWe’re not going to sugar coat it. The term “search engine optimization” (SEO) is a term associated with a million misconceptions and SEO myths. We are going to suggest something revolutionary: take all those SEO myths, everything you’ve heard in the past, and throw it out the window. Forget everything you’ve gleaned about SEO, including these common SEO myths:

  • SEO is all about filling a page full of the same word. This is not the 1990s. This myth is based on an archaic concept called “keyword stuffing” which, honestly, spurred a lot of spammy and shady SEO tactics. Today’s SEO has evolved from keyword stuffing to an industry focused around creating professional content focused on the end user.
  • SEO is dead. We’re here to testify to the fact that SEO is not dead. To the contrary, SEO is alive, kicking and evolving every day. We’ve seen our new SEO localization technology get businesses to the top of local search results on major search engines, and stay there. No, SEO is not dead, as this SEO infographic shows.
  • SEO doesn’t work for targeting local customers. A reputable SEO firm can give you local results in markets surrounding your (and your dealers’) location. If you find an SEO firm that says they can’t get rankings based on location, walk away. Seek out a company that can provide local results.
  • SEO is all about the product. Too many business owners, and supposed SEO experts, get caught in the trap of thinking that search engine optimization is about what products and services they want the end user to know about. The truth is that SEO is about thinking about what problems are solved by your product or service, and what the user—the potential customer—is going to type in when looking for the product.
  • SEO is only about Google. A reputable SEO firm can get you top search engine results on Google, Yahoo and Bing. Google is the most common term associated with SEO because 83% of search users say they use Google as their primary search engine. However, Google is not the only search engine your SEO firm should be concerned about.

Still not convinced? See SEO results in action. At the very least, know that SEO is a modern online marketing tactic businesses are utilizing to reach local customers turning to search engines to find local products and information. Those potential customers are becoming the majority, because more than 90% of online users start their search with a search engine—but that’s the subject of another post.