Tag Archives: search engine marketing

Links, Traffic, and Clicks: The Basics of Search Engine Optimization

As the web and search engines grow and change, so do methods for gaining competitive search engine rankings. While there is no concrete template or ingredient list for search engine optimization, knowledge of how search generally works helps quite a bit. There’s plenty of information about Google’s thought processes when it comes to search, which can be found on Google’s site. The main idea is that the more people engage with, read, and link to content, the higher the content generally ranks

By default, many search engines show only 10 results per page.  Most searchers tend to click on the top few results. If you rank at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), business is good, but if you are on the second or third page you might only get 1% of the search traffic that the top ranked site gets.

The two most powerful aspects of search engine marketing are:

Users type what they want to find into search boxes, making search engines the most precisely targeted marketing medium in the history of the world.

Once you gain traction in the search results the incremental costs of gaining additional exposure are negligible when compared with the potential rewards, allowing individuals and small businesses to compete with (and perhaps eventually become) large corporations.

There are various factors that help sites rank highly on search engines, as far as one can tell. For example, content linked by other sites may rank higher because it has more relevance and context. In short, a site that receives links by other relevant, high-quality sites means it has veracity. The types of keywords used, and their relevance to the surrounding content might also be significant. Other factors include keywords in titles, meta descriptions, subtitles, and natural use of keywords in content. The right user experience can also help search rankings, since more traffic to a site and more clicks may mean higher rankings. Also, keep in mind that social media sites rank in search engines as well, so it’s important that social media sites take viewers to a business or organization’s main site to direct traffic and perhaps to boost search visibility.

It’s well-known that search engines value quality. Therefore, material that offers in-depth information may rank more highly that surface-level information. Content that offers specifics and new ideas rather than generic information may also contribute to better rankings. Finally, SEO is about reflecting what people value. So if you’re content is popular by those who read it, then it will likely rank pretty well.

If you are interested in discussing your specific SEO goals, contact us.

 

How to Increase Conversions in Search Engine Marketing

One of the greatest challenges of search engine marketing is converting visitors into paying customers. Here are some tips on how to optimize your website in order to increase conversions.

 

Relevancy

Depending on your ad copy, your potential customers will have a preset expectation upon arrival. It’s important to set expectations in ad copy and then meet this expectation in the landing page to help reduce bounce rates. Here are some simple ways to relay relevance to your audience.

Use images to reinforce relevance as the image is likely to be one of the first things that catches the eye in the critical two seconds that follow the page load. Be sure to apply action captions that also use relevant text.

Use keywords in scannable content portions.

Domain relevancy is shockingly important. We’ve found through domain split testing that keyword relevant brands can increase conversion rates upwards of 4x.

 

Trust

This is one of the most overlooked factors that can have a dramatic impact on conversion rates. Users are habituated to search for genuine trust signals that help them judge the credibility of a page and, to a certain extent, the brand.

A website’s ability to quickly create confidence means more conversions and a shorter buy cycle. Remember, skepticism and a lack of information are the primary catalysts for comparison shopping. Try to:

Include reputable third-party badges, certifications, or awards.

Use trust-inducing language in calls to action, such as “check out using secure server” and be sure to include small privacy protection disclosures below information requests.

Include reputable and verifiable testimonials. Anonymous testimonials reek of insincerity and are likely to trigger alarm bells. Video content that relies on user testimonial can be surprisingly effective.

Create a design that has depth and detail. A detail-focused landing page communicates that the brand is strong, reliable, and reputable. Also, expensive-looking design does not always have to be expensive with a solid outsourcing strategy and clear vision.

 

Have a Call-To-Action on Every Page

You should have a separate call-to-action on every page. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to turn a visitor into a customer of yours. Not every call-to-action must be about buying something. At the end of a post, you can ask visitors to share your post on social media, which will bring you more exposure. You can ask them to comment on your post, which helps for SEO. Be creative! Try creating a call-to-action that fits with the blog post it is on.

 

Have a Site-Wide Call-To-Action

Another way to optimize any page that someone may visit is by having a call-to-action that shows up across your entire site. This can be a banner or advertisement in the sidebar, header, or footer of your website. It can also be a pop-up that contains an offer or an invite to a mailing list. Keep tweaking your site-wide ad until you get one that brings in the most business.

 

Pick Your Pop-Ups Wisely

Nobody wants to enter a website with the intention of gaining information only to suddenly be blocked by an annoying pop-up. When choosing your pop-up, try one or more of the following tactics: Get a pop-up that displays a countdown until when it will automatically close, delay the pop-up for 20-30 seconds after your visitor enters your site, or make a pop-up that is as unobtrusive as possible.

For more help, please contact us.

 

 

Effective Search Engine Marketing Requires Concentrated Brand Development

When you discuss your small business with a digital marketing agency, you know that you want affordability, website development services, and social media engagement. When the experts start talking about search engine marketing of your brand, you pause. Have you truly defined a brand message, so that video marketing, local engagement, and online services can envelop it?

Before choosing keywords, it pays to characterize your brand. Within business, we accept that your brand is what you promise to your customers. When it comes to marketing it, your label means a lot more.

What are the Benefits of Search Engine Marketing?

 When done properly, search marketing can help businesses increase brand visibility, traffic, and conversions. There are various strategies that are used by search marketers to achieve these goals. Running social media campaigns is a great way to increase brand recognition, and drive social traffic to a website. Another strategy is to redesign a website to comply with SEO best practices. Doing so will not only provide a better user experience for potential customers, but increase conversions on the site as well. Finally, targeted pay per click (PPC) advertisements can be used to drive qualified traffic to landing pages in order to increase sales for specific items.

The why behind the what

Why do you make green widgets rather than blue ones? Why do you operate a French bakery and not a German one? Defining your “why” helps draw in a targeted demographic.

Differentiation

How are you different from the other widget makers in town? Considering that everyone advertises great quality products and superior customer service, how do you stand out among even these promises? Adding depth to the traits that make you different gives customers a concrete reason on which to base their buying decisions.

Dedication to your brand

How far do you go to protect the integrity of your brand? Using organic, locally sourced ingredients is a good example for the bakery. For the widget maker, it may be the reliance on non-toxic, American-made raw materials.

The Bottom Line

 Companies need to do thorough research before selecting a search marketing agency. Be wary of agencies that promise immediate #1 search rankings, or drastic increases in Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Even the best search engine strategies will take months to prove ROI.

Now is the time to add keywords that have the power to propel your brand to the top of the search engine listings. Marketing via social media with a local emphasis is now also possible. Contact us today to learn more about putting your brand front and center on the search engines.

 

 

The Two Types of Misconceptions Related to Search Engine Marketing

There are a ton of misconceptions related to search engine marketing, but just about all of them fall into two categories. This recent Search Engine Land article defines them clearly:

“If you break it down, there are two broad categories of misconceptions about SEO, each of which is damaging in its own way. The first category is misconceptions about what SEO is and what it’s used for. The second category of misconceptions is related to the strategic execution of a campaign.”

So if you’ve heard something about SEM that sounds wrong, the person who said it either doesn’t understand SEO or doesn’t know to how to plan a strategy or campaign related to it.

Misconceptions regarding SEM’s use

The most common SEM misconception is that it’s just a way to spam Google’s search algorithm to give your website a good site ranking. Although black-hat tactics definitely exist, no respectable agency would ever recommend them. Saying SEM is spamming is like saying social media marketing is spying on your followers.

There are many reasons to prove SEO is alive and well, but to save time, I’ll just reference a quote from Google Software Engineer Matt Cutts: “Our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white-hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive web spam tactics.”

Misconceptions regarding SEM strategies

Misconceptions in this category are often just outdated strategies. Stuffing keywords, for example, used to be widely recommended within the context of SEM. But that changed about five or six years ago, and some businesses still approach SEM with the same mentality. To be able to plan a good SEM strategy, you have to be knowledgeable regarding Google’s algorithm and its corresponding updates.

When you use the Google keyword tool to make your keyword research, it is normal to select keywords that have high traffic thinking that this way you will gain more visits to your website. This is a misconception because high traffic keywords are also high competition keywords that are very difficult to rank. The end result will be zero traffic and disappointment.

What you should do instead is target low competition, long trail keywords which are relatively easier to rank and once you have top positions for a number of low competition keywords, you can go after medium and high competition keywords that will also bring in more traffic.

There are many SEO misconceptions circulating the web mainly because of the confusion caused by the various Google updates. SEO rules change all the time and if you are not following the recent developments you may end up in confusion.

The best way to minimize your risk from Google updates and to stay unaffected from any SEO misconceptions or changes it to create a high quality website with attention to design and user experience. If you can manage to offer a unique experience to your users with good quality content then success is inevitable with or without SEO.

SEM is the most misunderstood aspect of online marketing. While social media and email marketing are somewhat intuitive, SEM is more sophisticated in nature. As a result, there is an endless amount of misconceptions concerning SEO, all of which show a lack of knowledge in regard to its function, use, and effect.

Unless you’re speaking with an agency, it’s unwise to take SEM advice as fact. To talk more about search engine marketing, or anything else, contact us today.

 

The Multi-faceted Approach to Successful Search Engine Marketing

It would be simplistic to suggest that search engine marketing is merely a minor player on the stage set by search engine optimization. In fact, it is the engine that drives the machine. Known in the industry as SEM for short, this process calls for the business to allocate funds that pay for a carefully crafted strategy.

 

Pitfalls of SEM

The majority of SEM campaigns fail because there is either a lack of focus or funds. Since this process includes paid search ads, cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) ads as well as pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, it is possible to set a goal that is simply too ambitious. Another pitfall associated with the process is the neglect of second tier platforms. The latter applies specifically to PPC ads. Although relying on Google AdWords is an excellent start, quite a few consumers are looking to other platforms for their information.

Should You Go It Alone? (Hint: the answer is “no.”)

Working with a marketing services professional sounds like it is a costly undertaking. That said, consider the wisdom of being penny wise and pound foolish. While you may be able to save a few dollars and perhaps even get started yourself on an admirable SEM campaign via Google AdWords, you are soon going to be treading water.

After all, each platform has its own set of rules that come with a learning curve. When you go it alone, you can spend quite a bit of time there. Secondly, remember that SEM is only one part of your promotional campaign. Aside from this discipline, you also need to actively work on your social media marketing and reputation management, search engine optimization of your website and content creation for social media and website usage. If this does not seem like a daunting process, add the need to measure results and adjust the campaigns as needed.

When you are ready to entrust your search engine marketing to the pros who tackle all of these processes – and more! – contact us at MaaS Pros.

 

Changes in Search Engine Marketing Trends

Proper search engine marketing can take your business to the next level, and maybe it already has. Whether you are a search engine marketing guru or just starting to grapple with how to use SEO in your favor, it’s important to stay on top of changing patterns.

In 2012, SearchMetrics released its first annual “SEO Ranking Factors Study.” The most recent report indicates some trend changes that are worth noting.

Content

Average HTML word count has increased 25% since last year, making an average of 1140 words per page. This might seem counter intuitive given the rise of image-based web content, but integrated media allows for a nice visual balance of words and images, with more complex written pieces.

Time and clicks correlation

More time spent on a website generally means more clicks. Internal links, videos, and quality text will lead to individuals spending more time on your site.

Social media integration

Those Like Buttons, Twitter Feeds, and Pinterest Pins are key these days. They indicate that you are a true brand and they represent content and connectivity.

Mobile searches Google

Searches are now more common on smart phones and tablets than on computers. Knowing this is key in prioritizing the way your website is designed. We will see more and more consumers searching for information, products and prices from mobile devices. Businesses need to be prepared to monetize traffic from mobile search. Site experience, content and transactional flows need to optimized to meet the increasing flow of users from mobile devices.

Video Advertising Accelerates

Video advertising on sites as YouTube is still less competitive and cost effective compared to other forms of online ads. But it does offer a lot of potential for raising businesses awareness and increasing conversion rates. For example video viewers may engage your business for 30-60 seconds compared to a 5-10 second glance at search or display ads.

Content

Quality is King. Search engine users are becoming smarter and manipulating links and keywords now frustrates individuals more than it leads them to new discoveries. The key to success is limited, relevant keywords with solid content.

You already have great content, and search engine marketing is the key to finding the right audience. Contact us for more tips!

 

 

 

Top 4 Search Engine Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

In between website development and landing page optimization, your business has to focus on positioning itself as a local thought leader in your niche. Doing this involves targeted search engine marketing that appeals to your local consumer base. Yet in this context, it is possible to make mistakes when you are unaware of the ever-changing aspects of content development and search engine optimization.

 
Failing to Think Like a Consumer

 
You have found the ideal pay-per-click (PPC) term that encapsulates everything your business stands for. Granted, it is a high-cost term, but you are willing to spend the money. The problem arises when this particular term is not something that your targeted customer would be searching for. The failure to think like a consumer and instead target the industry insider is costly.

 
Insufficient Tracking Metrics

 
What constitutes an excellent return on investment (ROI) for your PPC strategy? What would you consider acceptable – but only just? If you do not work with tracking software and analytics tools that give you clear information about your search engine marketing ROI, it is impossible to further define your strategy.

 
Questionable Inbound Links

 
When another website links to yours, it signals to the search engines that you are an authority in your niche. The problem arises when the websites that do the linking are associated with link farms or pay-to-play pages. What you want instead are highly authoritative sites that affirm your standing. This type of link building calls for expertise and an insider’s look at what search engines promote or penalize.

 
Part-time Efforts

 
Search engine marketing is not a part-time endeavor. It requires expertise, industry knowledge, dedication to a content strategy and a continuous honing of marketing strategies based on metrics. Unless you are running a business where your staff handles all of the day-to-day aspects of production, consumer interaction and associated tasks, it is a tall order to do all that and then add the online marketing to the mix. Leave it to the professionals for best results.

 
At MaaS Pros, we understand that marketing your business is no small feat. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

2 Myths and 1 Fact Concerning Search Engine Marketing

There’s always a certain degree of uncertainty when it comes to search engine marketing. In this blog, we’re going to dispel two myths and reiterate a fact to help you with your marketing efforts:

 
Myth: SEO tricks are more effective than content creation

 
This may have been true back in 2008, but times have changed. Content quality is now the single most important indicator of an SEO campaign. That doesn’t mean that your keywords, links, and headlines don’t matter, but you should at least prioritize content creation.

 
According to a recent Inc article, businesses should try to create content that interests their target audience:

 
“There are a lot of ways that website owners can improve the structure of their site and SEO-friendliness of the content, but the one algorithm-proof method to improve a site’s search ranking is to continuously create content that’s useful to the audience. Though it may take effort and resources, businesses should endeavor to create blog posts and other forms of content for their site on a regular basis.”

 
Myth: Social media marketing doesn’t affect Google’s algorithm

 
Again, this myth may actually have been true a few years ago. But now, we’re certain that there’s at least some connection between social media posts and search engine results. The relationship isn’t completely clear yet, but your focus should be on getting likes and shares for your posts.

 
Fact: Your Google page rank can make or break your online marketing campaign

 
The reality is that your Google page rank plays a greater role than you’d probably like it to. It may be unfair, but businesses just have to adjust to the playing field. Consumers pick websites based on their place on Google’s search engine results page, so make sure you’re in a competitive spot.

 
Search engine marketing can help your business attract prospective customers to its website. To talk more about search engine marketing, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

Focus on Your Business as a Whole for Search Engine Marketing

When you are trying to increase your business’s online exposure and success, you have to start thinking about more than just your website. While investing in search engine marketing for your website will produce positive results over time, this is not the only place where you will benefit from increased traffic.

 
Videos

 
It is becoming more common for business’s to incorporate videos. Whether it is a product demonstration, a portfolio review, or an animated video that describes your services, there are more than a few ways to make excellent use of videos for your business.
Investing search engine marketing into these videos will help them get ranked better on search engines when people are only searching for videos, as well as on the sites that the videos are hosted on.

 
Review Sites

 
Much of your reputation comes from online reviews. If you have not-so-great reviews, your first step should be communicating with the individuals that rated your business poorly, and doing whatever you can to come up with a solution that will have them change their rating or delete the poor review.

 
In the meantime, you can use search engine marketing to improve the search engine rankings for your business’s page on these review sites, which will help when people look up reviews for your business.

 
Social Media

 
Social media usage has become a norm for many businesses including popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more. Using social media allows you to communicate directly with your customers, which can put a face to your business and make you more reputable overall.

 
Ranking your social media pages higher will lead to more traffic for your business, even if it does not directly go to your website. Oftentimes, after reaching your social media page, if they like what they see, they will transition this into visiting your website to learn more.
While it is important to invest in ranking your website, you should not forget about the other parts of your business that can be found online as they provide you with more business, as well.

 
Contact us if you are interested in professional search engine marketing for your business.

Collect Positive Reviews for Search Engine Marketing

Online reviews are something that every small business owner dreads. But when it comes to local search engine marketing, reviews on Yelp and Google+ play an important role that you can’t ignore.

The real problem is that even if you have a great product and offer impeccable service, you still need a bit of luck to get good reviews. You can’t force customers to write anything, and there’s always a chance that one upset customer will try to ruin your reputation.

To prevent this from happening, you have to collect as many positive reviews as you can. If you only have a few reviews and you get a rotten one, then it won’t look good to prospective customers. But a bad review will likely get drowned out if you have a hundred good ones.

A recent Forbes article explains how you can go about collecting positive reviews:

“Reviews are another crucial element that goes into your local search strategy, however, legitimate reviews tend to be the most complicated to obtain. Working closely with your clients and walking them through how to easily review your company on the best review sites will help ensure your business obtains a healthy amount of reviews. A mixture of reviews on a variety of key sites is crucial to helping you achieve the results in your search rankings.”

You have to personalize your customer service and sales process. You have to stand out to your customers by going above and beyond their expectations.

And when you do this, you can draw attention to your social sites. Don’t ask anyone to write a review, but tell them that they can find more information about your company on Yelp and Google+.
Skeptical people will say that you still need to rely on luck, but there’s unfortunately no sure thing when it comes to online reviews. Soliciting reviews will just get you into trouble and it’s not worth the effort. It’s best to stick with great customer service and promoting your social sites.

To talk more about search engine marketing, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

Web Design Tips for Niche Markets

Continue to pay attention to web design; this will simplify search engine marketing in niche markets.  Companies that appeal to a small demographic isn’t going to have the resources to compete with the major chains.  Instead remain focused on what you can do – be a popular alternative.  Simple changes to your website are the best solution to look brand new all the time – even if you rarely update it.

Evergreen Content

In articles and blogs, evergreen means long-lasting.  If you don’t have the money or resources for blogs, create blogs that speak volumes for years.  Users read content that is two to five years old and can tell if the information written is useful in today’s mind frame.  How-to blogs, advice, tips and tricks work the best.  Eliminate trends, news and opinions as those will fade or change in a few months.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design is one website converging many devices.  It fits the screen of those devices automatically for easy viewing.  It’s easier to navigate the site and read the important stuff without scrolling the page or jumping through hoops to find it.  While this set-it-and-forget-it approach works for every niche industry, it is especially great for interaction modules such as polls, surveys, graphs, charts and calculators.

Image

A large image like the Bing homepage is a great way to freshen up the page.  To prevent loading issues shrink the image file size using file compression websites.  If a large image has loading issues, a medium size image will do.  However, make sure to use the rest of the space to its full potential.

Simplicity

Niche markets don’t have a lot to offer like the large corporations so keep the website simple.  Landing pages and landing homepage websites are great examples of this.  A simple navigation bar across the top, side or bottom of the page shows organization and elegance. The target audience are on a mission to find something so allow them a platform to find it as quickly as possible.
For more information on niche markets and web design, contact us.