Monday, July 30, 2012

Working with an SEO Agency

It appears the demand for Search Engine Optimization Agencies is only continuing to increase.  Recently conducted surveys have found that businesses today are spending more and more of their marketing budgets on search engine optimization.  Some businesses have claimed that they spend nearly a third of their marketing budgets on SEO services.  And why not put the money into SEO?  Businesses who put money into SEO report higher earnings. 

An SEO company has the expertise to launch a full-scale campaign for a brand.  If your company is getting serious about working with an SEO company, here are a few things to look for:

(1)  They research keywords for your company: A good SEO firm will start by evaluating keywords that will directly link to your business.  SEO firms will make sure your website is properly optimized so that it will appear in a higher ranking spot on search engines.  After all, that is the goal.
(2)    They optimize your content: An SEO company will continually generate new, compelling content to captivate readers and of course, improve search engine rankings.
(3)  Link Building: SEO companies know that content that is constantly linked can improve search engine rankings. Links help establish a level of credibility with websites as well.
(4)   Generate new content: Search engines love constant new content.  SEO companies know that generating a plethora of content is key to improving search engine rankings. 
(5)   Perform website analytics: SEO agencies will frequently perform website analytics to ensure that business objectives are being achieved.  Search engine marketing tools help measure, research and report results.  It helps keep a campaign on the right track.

Investing part of a marketing budget into SEO efforts is well worth the spend.  Firsthand we have watched our clients greatly benefits from our SEO campaigns.  If you are interested in what SEO can do for you and your company, talk to us.   

Monday, July 9, 2012

Picking Keywords

            No one said the process of SEO would be easy.  Picking the right keywords is crucial to maximizing your SEO efforts.  Now how does one go about picking the right keywords?  This is a question we are frequently asked.  Keywords can be hard to pick, but here are some tips on how to pick out keywords:
(1) Relevancy- This may seem obvious, but it is important that the keywords you choose are relevant to your business.  We suggest jotting down a long list of some ideas first.  For now simply focus on brainstorming.  Just generate as long of a list as possible to get started and keep them relevant.  If you are having trouble generating a decent list, then check out Google Insight or Google Keywords Tool.  Type in a word to search it and you’ll be able to see a list of other possible suggestions.  Pretty cool!
(2) Traffic- Type your entire list into Google Keywords Tool and check how much traffic there is on the Internet from your suggested words.  There would be no point to picking a word or phrase that is never searched. 
(3) Competition- Here’s where things can get tricky.  Think again if you are trying to break into the top ten using a keyword with alot of competition.  If the sites utilizing those keywords have mass amounts of traffic it will be even more difficult.  There are programs available to help you in this area such as SEO Power Suite and Market Samurai.  You can also use Google Keyword Tool to check to see if competition is low, medium or high. 
(4) Optimization- Once you’ve selected your keywords you can begin optimizing your content.    
SEO efforts can take time to be effective, so hang in there.  If you’re still unsure about your keywords or anything else related to SEO, feel free to contact us.  

Handling Google Algorithm Updates

Back in April, Google rolled out major algorithm update dubbed the “web spam update,” also known as the “Penguin” update.  Most major algorithm updates cause heavy protest, but “Penguin” caused much more than just protest.  It caused panic amongst webmasters and SEO experts.  Weeks of speculation and worry over the idea of “over-optimization” penalties lead to lost traffic and revenue.  The impact of “Penguin” was not just immediate, but quite substantial. 
            So what does this all signify?  Should fear of all algorithm updates always remain in the hearts of webmasters and SEO experts forever?  Not necessarily, but Google certainly won’t be backing down on combating spam tactics any time soon.  Never fear, we have brought you some simple tactics for surviving updates of this magnitude and really any other update that Google unleashes:  
            First- Before completely panicking, take things one step at a time.  This is where you recite a positive mantra and take a deep breath.  Figure out the exact damage from the latest update.  See exactly where you sustained your losses by reviewing your analytics first.  Fully evaluating the damages should be one of the earliest and first steps you take.  Segmenting data will also help you assess exactly where you have lost the most traffic from.
            Second- Keep note of exactly when you saw major traffic losses.  If your traffic losses coincided with the algorithm update, then odds are the new update is the culprit.
            Third- Make sure that the problems you’re experiencing with your site aren’t just  technical issues.  Solving the wrong problem will not just cost you time, but it can end up costing you a ton of money.
            Fourth- Don’t necessarily start removing all of your links.  The links may not even be the root of your problems, so quickly removing all of them is only going to cause your traffic numbers to drop drastically.
            Fifth- If any of your posted links are considered low-authority or are suspicious in any way, shape or form, remove them.  Focus on positive link-building.
            Finally- Seriously examine your content and links.  If you remove your links, does your content still hold up and serve a purpose?  If it doesn’t, it should.  Don’t think of the task at hand to be a process of de-optimizing your page, but rather re-optimizing your content.  Now that is optimal!
            One of the most important things to realize about being hit by an algorithm update is that you can only fix what you’re able to fix.  Not every issue is solvable.  Figure out the “real” root of the issue and solve what you can.
            If you need some more guidance on the subject, contact us.  We are happy to help.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Things Not To Post

It is probably safe to say that we all know someone that posts a little more information than he or she should be posting on social media sites.  Everyone has become accustomed to say things like “Be careful what you post” and “Did you check your security settings?!”  Yes, we are all now aware that our social media sites aren’t just for us anymore.  Colleagues, clients, and family all come and visit our sites and see what we post on a regular basis and that is exactly why there are certain topics to stay away from.  Here's our top 10.

Topics or things to stay away from:

  1. Erring your daily grievances- Of course your friends and contacts care about you, but they don’t need to be reminded on a constant basis about how much you hate your job, how horrible your girlfriend treats you, or how much debt you’re in.  Try and stick to posting more positive sentiments. 
  2. Too much information- Ah the dreaded TMI!  While we’ve all become so accustomed to blurting out personal information to our blogs and the like these days, try to refrain from overly personal information.
  3. Personal photos- Posting provocative photos is never a good idea.  Racy photos or photos from last week’s party can easily get into the wrong hands.  As a rule of thumb, anything you think is compromising to your job or reputation should never be posted. 
  4. Linking sites- Linking your social media sites altogether may not be the best idea.  While yes, it may make updating your sites easy, it could get you into trouble.  For example, your personal Twitter and business Facebook should never be linked together.  They contain two very different kinds of information that should be kept separate. 
  5. Company information- Keep information about your place of work quiet.  What happens in the office should stay in the office.  Leaking top secret company information could definitely put your job at risk.  It’s just not worth it!
  6. Posting photos of your kids- It may seem like a good idea putting up pictures of your kids for your family and friends to get constant updates, but if your site isn’t private, anyone could be viewing those family photos.  This includes Internet predators seeking out their next victim with the help of social media sites, especially sites that aren’t private. 
  7. Contact information or home address- Listing this information puts you at a definite security risk.  Posting this could put your at risk for identity theft or burglary.  If you post that you are away on business, then this lets burglars know that your home is empty.  By using a reverse lookup service phone numbers can be traced to home addresses. 
  8. Birthdate and place you were born- Believe it or not listing your birthdate (Including month, date and year) and the place you were born gives online identity thieves a perfect starting point to figuring out your social security number. 
  9. Vacation plans- Letting all 800 of your “friends” know that you are out of town is never a good idea.  Do you trust every single person on your social media site with knowing that you are away and that your house is completely empty? Again, if your site is not private this lets people, whether that be burglars or identity thieves know when your home will be empty and for how long. 
  10. Spamming someone’s wall- Sending out a mass message may seem like an easy way to get ahold of everyone in your contacts list, but truthfully, it is impersonal and viewed as annoying more often than not.  Try to keep things on a more personal level with people on your contacts list.
Questions on how to better manage your social media sitesAsk us!