Thursday, December 27, 2012

Social Media’s Role on SEO

The new year is vastly approaching and you want to drive more traffic to your website.  Makes perfect sense to us!  As a team of web designers and SEO specialists, we cannot stress the importance of SEO enough when it comes to getting more traffic to your website.  We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: social media greatly affects SEO rankings, but what is social media’s role in it all?  Here’s a few ways that social media can and will affect your SEO rankings:

Social media site content speaks to the search engines

Okay, well sort of!  Social media content, when updated regularly and when well written, lets search engines know that your business is an active online participant.  If and when social media engagement becomes a ranking factor for your website, you will surely benefit if you spend time on social media sites.  If you haven’t immersed yourself or your business in social media, now is the time to do it.  Don’t have the time?  Set up a consultation with a social media company or a marketing company well-versed in speaking social media

The more links back to your website the better

The more sites that link back to your website, the better your SEO rankings will be, so this means all those social media sites you have created and began using are great links back to your website.  Because social media sites point back to your website, it will help create better SEO rankings for your website.  As an SEO firm, we always tell clients to picture their website in the center of a spider’s web and that it’s their job to create extensions from that web that will bring people straight to their website.  That is exactly what creating and using social media sites will do for you.  Perhaps someone didn’t find your website yet, but they did find your social media page.  Great.  Now bring them to your website and sell them on your services and products.  That’s what it is all about!

Be an active participant

Don’t expect to receive any kind of rankings boost just because you finally set up that Twitter account last week.  You have to be an active participant and yes, the search engines know who is an active participant and who’s not.  This means that if set up your social media accounts a year ago, but have never used them, they will not do you any good.  Try to set aside time out of your day each day to post some relevant content for potential customers to read and for search engines to grab on to.  Being an active social media participant means that you are posting great, original content, reposting other people’s great content, and interacting with potential customers.  If you find that you just do not have the time consider speaking with a social media firm or a marketing company.

Social media sites provide an opportunity for optimization

Social media sites are a great place for optimization tactics to take place.  Utilize social media sites as a way to get friends, fans and followers back to your website.  Social media profiles can be optimized for search similar to internally optimizing a website, so tag your images, write a great about us or company bio and utilize those keywords. 

The ability of sharing content greatly affects rankings

Encourage friends, fans and followers to share your content.  Sharing content is a great way to give your search engine rankings a boost.  Use strong calls to action in all of your posts and encourage readers to share your content through social networks.

Comment or questions are always welcome, feel free to comment below or contact us.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What to Expect When You Begin the SEO Process

You’ve began the process of search engine optimization in hopes that it will boost your search engine rankings and get you and your website in front of a larger audience.  What is to be reasonably expected when you begin the SEO process?  Here are a few things to expect when beginning the SEO process:

Rankings won’t happen over night

Often times people will post a blog or two, insert a few links and expect immediate results, but unfortunately SEO doesn’t work like that.  SEO results take time to appear.  Most SEO resources will tell you don’t expect to see any results until the 3 to 6 month mark and for the most part, that is somewhat accurate. 

As a Chicago SEO Firm, our search engine optimization specialists say that there are a lot of variables that will cause a website to rank or not rank highly for chosen keywords.  One variable would be the chosen keyword’s competition association.  If the words you have chosen are highly competitive words (meaning lots of people are using the same keyword) it will be a lot harder for you to rank on it.  It doesn’t mean you should discard the keyword, it just means it may take awhile for you to begin ranking on it.  The other variable that could really affect your ranking results is your industry competition.  If you are in an industry where lots of people are optimizing, then you should expect your own ranking results to take a little more time. 

It’s a time consuming process

Search engine optimization can be a very time consuming process for people and as an SEO firm, we completely understand.  Backlinking, blogging, social media postings, directory and article submissions, and all the other little external optimizing your doing can take up some serious time.  That is why there are lots of SEO companies out there.  If you’re going to pursue doing search engine optimization or really just internet marketing yourself, make sure you put aside enough time out of your day to be able to do it.  Doing the bare minimum isn’t going to get you those results you’re looking for.  If you find yourself with no time to do it (like so many people out there) consider looking for an SEO firm to do the work for you.  Typically, an SEO firm will charge you a set fee per month to perform SEO work.  That set fee will usually include a whole bunch of services determined necessary by both the client and SEO firm.  Working with an SEO company is a great way to get a professional's view on how to get the most out of your website.  An SEO company will help you map out a strategy that will get you rankings.

Stay on top of frequent algorithm changes

Every so often you can expect algorithm changes. In fact, SEOmoz reports that “Google will change its search algorithm up to 500-600 times.”  While most updates made are rather minor, it can still greatly effect your results.  Stay on top of the latest algorithm changes and do your SEO research as frequently as possible.  Another benefit to work with an SEO company is that their search engine optimization specialists stay up to date on the changes knowing exactly when they need to tweak your SEO plans to make sure you are getting the most of your chosen SEO package. 

Have comment or questions regarding beginning the SEO process?  Feel free to comment or contact us.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Things You Need to Know About SEO

As a Chicago SEO Company we know that starting the all-important process of Search Engine Optimization is no walk in the park.  While many people want to see results overnight, the truth is that it could take anywhere from three months to an entire year to begin seeing solid numbers.  When starting SEO there are some basics you need to take into account to help see your website begin ranking for your chosen keywords.  Here’s our list of the core basics:

1- NO duplicate content: Under no circumstances should you copy content from someone else’s website and paste it on your own and not because that is just plain stealing, but because you will be punished by the search engines for such conduct.  The search engines are looking for original content and in that process, they are apt to rank websites with original content much more highly and penalize anyone who has duplicated content.  Search engine's are all-knowing.  They know who put up the content first and who put it up second and will punish the website that has the bootlegged content accordingly.    

2- Backlinking: Backlinking, what most SEO companies deem as an external SEO service, is the process of providing links to places outside of your website that link directly back to your website.  When you create links from external sites they need to be carefully created to be valuable as links for search engine positioning.  Backlinks are a great external SEO tactic to help your website to improve in search engine rankings. 

3- Quality content: As we already addressed, not only can your website content not be duplicated from another source, but it also needs to be good quality content.  Keyword stuffing your content, which just means filling your content with as many keywords as possible, will only hurt your rankings and the search engines will see that you are doing that and penalize you and your website accordingly.  Instead create great, engaging content that utilizes your keywords properly and that will help you increase your SEOrankings.

4- NO hidden text:  Are you hiding text in your website in hopes that you can trick the search engines into ranking you?  Think again!  Search engines are extremely smart and know when text is being hidden and yes, they will penalize you and your website for it.  Just say NO to hidden text!  Stick to lots of visible, quality text.

5- Powerful title tags:  Title tags are undoubtedly one of the most important parts of searchengine optimization.  Your title tags should comply with the theme of the page.  Each page should have a different title tag since all of your pages are different.  Search engines look to title tags as a simple phrase that lets them know what the page is all about.  It helps greatly with rankings, so make sure you are creating great title tags for all the pages belonging to your website.

Check back with us next Thursday as we continue on with our SEO-themed Thursdays.  If you have any comments or question regarding SEO, feel free to leave us a comment below or contact us with questions.