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The Importance Of Google Reviews For Local SEO In 2018

SEO in 2018

SEO in 2018

There have been several studies that show the importance of solicitation of Google reviews to your “Google My Business” listing, these studies illustrating a concept that is already well documented and well known as they apply to other testimonial and review websites like Yelp. These studies illustrate the importance of creating and maintaining a listing for your business, and connecting that listing to your existing website. From within that listing, you have options to include information about the business, photos and as a recent addition text posts. As Google attempts to push further into the section being used for legitimate direct interaction between businesses and customers, they have included these sections with mixed results.  For example, earlier this year a section was added that would allow customers to ask the business questions directly through the listing in a public forum.  The section has received little usage,a s customers rarely know it is there and businesses rarely know how to answer or how they are notified that a question has been asked.  The posting section is receiving the same mixed results, as there seems to be few areas where the posts are actually shown publicly which discourages their usage by businesses. This being said, there have been a few consistent players within the Google Business sections and maps, mostly being that you need to maintain your listing for accurate information and you need to solicit reviews by your customers. But how important are these reviews to the process of SEO?

The studies that have been done regarding Google reviews by companies like BrightLocal have revealed data-backed reasons that your business should be soliciting reviews.  These reasons include things like “most consumers read reviews before making a decision” and “people trust online reviews as much as personal reviews.” These reasons are completely valid, and will come into play to create larger conversion and clickthrough rates to your website when a potential customer has found you and is deciding between your business and a competitor. For these reasons you should be encouraging reviews on Google and Yelp and making it as easy for customers to provide them as possible, especially pushing for high tar ratings because of the increased visual presentation that star ratings provide. However for the purposes of SEO and figuring out how Google is positioning business listings within the maps section in order to influence it, this data really doesn’t provide much help. The question that everyone who does localized SEO wants to understand is what factors are being used within the maps sections, so that they can manipulate their client’s listings to higher positions (preferably in the top 3, so that they show on page one of SERPs.) Google reviews do play a role in deciding these positions, but it is far harder to manipulate than typical SEO programs will effect. Links that are driven directly to Google maps listings will not push your listing higher in general search, so how can you do SEO in a way that will provide higher maps rankings? Here is what you can do.

  1. Create and maintain your Google My Business listing. This means that the address, business name and description, photos and other information on the page should accurately reflect the same information that is on your website. Do not name your business something different on Google maps than your business name is listed on your website. If you have multiple locations, list them on your website and embed directional maps provided by Google in order to help Google understand that the locations are part of your business. Use the sections provided and do not be lazy. There is not a lot that you can put into your maps listing, so use it all.
  2. Do SEO on your website. The website that is connected to your Google maps listing provides information to Google about the business. This information about your products and services is used to help them position your maps listing in specific searches.
  3. Make sure that your service area is accurately reflected on your listing.  If you only serve customers from Las Vegas, make sure that your listing reflects that fact. Maps is a way that Google helps customers find the physical location of a business, so assist them in providing this information accurately to customers.
  4. Solicit reviews. This is really what this article is about, so aside from the obvious ways that people use the reviews to make a decision between you and a competing business, we can state that Google does use the reviews themselves to decide rankings and position on the maps SERPs. Years ago, it was believed that simply getting a lot of reviews would get you to a number one position for generalized searches about your services (not just your name) however that is proving to not be the case any more. You will notice many businesses with hundreds of reviews being outranked by businesses with only one or two. As Google has grown more savvy with regards to identifying good links vs bad links, they have applied this same logic to reviews. This means that a review from a profile that has developed a certain amount of trust by Google is worth more than a review from a profile that has not. Because the SEO strategy of developing as many reviews for customers as possible involved the creation of profiles specifically to provide a review for a business, Google is able to easily identify these profiles and discount them as far as value to rankings. A profile may have a long and well written review that uses the appropriate keywords and also talks about the business in depth, but this review may not have as much influence on rankings as a single line review from a profile that has been around a while and has been leaving reviews for many businesses over time. The concept of “developed profiles” is what is at play here, where a single review from a real person who has proven to Google over time that they are legitimate may be worth hundreds of reviews from people who have not proven themselves.  Even if the person is real and simply has not used Google reviews for discussion of their experiences at different businesses, their reviews do not hold a lot of value in order to push the listing up in rankings.  The review may be displayed, but it is not having a lot to do with the actual rankings that are being shown. If the review comes from a legitimate and proven profile that has reviewed other businesses that are not connected to this one, the review has weight. Even the verbiage that is used in the review may come into play as Google is now displaying snippets of reviews under the listings.

All in all, the solicitation of reviews on Google will influence your rankings for general search terms. For your business name it will probably not have much effect and you will probably have all locations displayed on the maps even if there are no reviews.  However the more reviews that you can solicit with high star ratings, the more reviews will be noticed as coming from legitimate profiles by Google and used for their decisions. SEO for local maps listings involves both the standard types of SEO that are performed for your website as well as the verification that the data that is included in your maps listing matches that of the website, but also the additional factors of attempting to manipulate the volume and tone of reviews that are provided. By encouraging as many customers as possible to review your business using any one of a number of tactics, you should be able to move your business higher in the SERPs. While this will not be as straight forward as traditional SEO, the strategies can provide results that pay dividends.

If you are interested in localized SEO for your business either in Las Vegas or elsewhere, please contact us directly at 702-997-1252 for a free analysis of your project and proposal. We are physically located in Las Vegas, and provide both Las Vegas SEO as well as local SEO for any city.

By | 2018-07-06T20:32:07+00:00 July 6th, 2018|SEO Educational Information, SEO Information|Comments Off on The Importance Of Google Reviews For Local SEO In 2018

New Marketing Rules For Vape Companies

If you own or operate a vaping company, you are most likely aware of the vaping regulations that are being imposed by the US government on August 8th, 2018. This will be the day that the majority of your presentation of your e-liquids and products will have to change, as there are a slew of regulations that will take effect on that date that will seriously impact the way you currently show your products. While there are many aspects of these regulations that will impact your business, for the sake of this article we will concentrate on the effects on marketing. Advertising vape products has been a bumpy road that is difficult to keep up on, and companies that are attempting to stay within the regulations are forced to continually change their marketing materials in order to comply.According to the FDA, packaging and marketing materials for vape products will need to be within the specifications put forth by August 10, 2018. These changes will impact your in-store displays, your bottle labels and your presentations on your website as well as social media. These regulations are specific for the US government as well as having special extra considerations if you plan on selling in California. You are going to need to change all of your current labels and packaging, as well as your website and social media accounts. Businesses who continue to sell without compliant labels after August 10 will face unspecified punishment.

So lets get into what the specific rules are for vaping packaging, labels and online displays, and how they will effect you.

Probably the biggest change to your marketing and labeling is going to be the necessity of including the new “nicotine warnings.” These are large areas that will be prominently displayed on your materials that contain a warning about nicotine and it’s potential side effects. The warning must compromise a minimum of 30% of the visual space that is displayed on a bottle, advertisement or web display. Yes, you read that correctly, you are going to need to dedicate 30% of the front and side panels of your labels on your bottles to the nicotine warning. The nicotine warning will be required to be presented in a bold font (Arial or Helvetica) and be in a 12 point font size minimum. It also is not allowed to be smaller than the largest font that you use on your labels, so if you were using a larger font to display the flavor name or other information, then the font size of the nicotine warning must be larger than that font. When you actually put the warning onto your label it will need to be either black text on a white box or white text on a black box, and when you see how big that a 12 point font looks on your label, you are going to realize very quickly that the majority of your displays is now going to be showing ugly warning labels. It is quite difficult to display these warnings as well as the required information for the e juice itself, so you are going to have to deal with the fact that there is no way to really draw attention away from it. If you are selling into California, you are also going to have to put the California Proposition 65 warning into that label as well, which is not allowed to be any font size smaller than the largest font on the lable. This means that if you were using the 12 point font for the US warning, you will also need to use the 12 point font for the California warning. Unfortunately in many cases this required font size makes it nearly impossible on many label sizes to actually display the required word “California” and the website address that is required within the visual pane. This is a future requirement that may be changed as these issues are debated within the state, however at this point in time we must plan for the California warning if you plan on selling in California. This will make your labeling projects challenging.

These requirements will also need to be on shelf displays, advertisements and on your website and social media posts. That means that every Facebook and Instagram post that contains a viaual of any kind will need to be formatted to display 30% of it as a warning. Once again, this poses significant challenges to visual displays.

If you would like to have assistance on your labeling redesigns or templates for social media portrayals, as well as web design changes and other compliance issues, Focus Internet Services is able to help. We are familiar with the latest regulations and have assisted vape clients to bring their displays into compliance in preparation for the August deadline. Contact us directly at 702-997-1252 to discuss your project.

By | 2018-06-29T00:52:51+00:00 June 29th, 2018|SEO Educational Information|Comments Off on New Marketing Rules For Vape Companies

Local SEO For Your City

Small businesses generally sell things to people who are located within their local environment or city. If they are an online business that has a physical location in a city, then they can sell to  global audience and ship their products to their customers, but if they cater only to the local customers who patronize their business in person, then there is a big difference in the types of SEO that a company must do in order to succeed.  Too many SEO companies will attempt to perform SEO tasks that are targeting terms that describe the business products and services without localizing them with the city name, zip codes, etc.  If you are not careful, the strategy can fail by attempting to capture a market that is too big and competitive, even though you did it completely by accident.  Take the example of a dentist that is located in Las Vegas.  If the SEO company attempting to get that business rankings for the term “dentist” does not also attempt to get them rankings for the term “Las Vegas,” then there is a good chance that they will not come up in the searches that are performed by people in the local Las Vegas area.  If you Google “dentist” from different places in the country, you are going to get a mix of results that have both local dentists and also dentists that are offering information that is not localized.  This means that the results might have a few local dentists and also articles and web pages from dentists all over the country that are giving information that is not specific to their location.  Articles might be about how to choose a good local dentist, how to decide which kinds of braces are good or bad, or even reviews of toothbrushes.  These results will be different than if you were to Google “dentist in Las Vegas” which will give you a more streamlined list of local offices.  Google decides which results to put into their searches based upon what they believe people are looking for, and it is always best to make sure that you are not being misunderstood as far as what you offer, and the location that you offer it within.  Ranking for the word “dentist” outside of Las Vegas would do this business almost no good.

This is the crux of local SEO and global SEO.  You must always think of what Google may deliver as far as the results and then tailor your SEO program to fitting into those results. This does not mean that a business can’t benefit from global rankings, it means that if you are trying to rank globally it is more difficult.  Our business is located in Las Vegas and specializes in Las Vegas SEO simply because we know the area and can meet with our customers in person.  We can absolutely do effective SEO for any business in any city, but attempting to compete with dozens of SEO firms in each and every local area makes the competition level so high that we would have little to no chance for success. For this reason, we leverage the localization aspects of Google for our programs, Google Maps, Google Places and Google My Business listings, as well as adding a localization aspect to both the website and content generated that involves Las Vegas elements.  This tells Google that even though we are qualified to rank for SEO searches globally, our specialty is our local environment. While this may not be the correct strategy for your business, we do not dedicate enough work hours to our programs to effectively compete in that broad a market, so the strategy is not right for us. Our focus on the local Las Vegas area gives us the ability to secure business that finds us using searches for “Las Vegas SEO company” or “SEO service in Las Vegas,” as well as versions of these searches.  Our salesmen can meet with these customers in person, which fits into our business model.  If someone from outside of the area finds us using Google, we will happily take the account and will do a great job, but it is not our primary sales strategy.  The same type of thinking needs to be applied to every small business, first identifying if they are targeting a local or global audience, then crafting the strategy and content that is appropriate for that market.

By | 2018-06-27T01:27:59+00:00 June 27th, 2018|SEO Educational Information|Comments Off on Local SEO For Your City

How Much Does SEO Cost On Average?

How much does SEO cost on average? This is a common question that is asked, because most business clients are trying to make a comparison of companies that provide SEO services before they commit to one.  The issue with answering the question is that there is not really a “one-size fits all” type of program that companies offer, and what you are comparing is the actual prices charged as opposed to the effectiveness of the program.  Think about it this way, if you are comparing cough medicines and one bottle is 1 dollar and the other is 10 dollars, you will probably lean towards the one that costs less money.  However if it stated on the bottle that was 1 dollar that you would need 50 bottles to cure your cough, while the other bottle would cure it with a single serving, you suddenly realize that you are not comparing two equal products.  Why does one major league baseball player make more than another one? Probably because that particular player is better than the one that makes less.  This is the same idea, that when you are comparing SEO prices you have to understand that one company might have an automated strategy that saves them time, but provides less results.  The main thing to think about is what you are getting for your money.

Most articles that give ranges for SEO prices will say that a typical monthly program runs anywhere between $300 and $2000 per month.  This is not taking into consideration any of the specifics of each case studied, and is only looking at the prices paid.  If a phrase that you are targeting is very competitive, it is going to need more work to get a first page ranking than one that is less competitive.  If the company you are considering builds automated links or doesn’t create unique content for you, then the strategy will preform less well than a different company that does.  The numbers that you see as averages actually represent the typical advertising budget for small businesses and therefor SEO clients.  The amount that they pay is going to have to do with several different things, namely being the competitiveness of the industry terms you are targeting, the amount of terms you are targeting, and how quickly you want to be on the first page.  By considering all of these things, you will be able to distill a package down from almost any company.

Here is how our pricing works for ongoing SEO, and what you get for your money.  All our programs are calculated by how many hours we work for you each month, and that work will be divided up into targeting the keyphrases you want to rank for.  If you have 10 phrases that you want to target and they are all competitive, but you only have a limited budget we will probably discuss targeting fewer phrases so that an adequate amount of work can be done for them.  If you do only a tiny bit of work for each phrase, you essentially get nothing for each one as opposed to rolling more time into a few phrases and getting results for them.  Our programs are simple.  We create pieces of content about your subject and targeting your phrases for you every month.  Each piece of content must be at least 500 words, which will take about an hour to write and then link to social bookmarking sites (about 15.) We do about half the work each month for content that goes on your site and half that goes onto article marketing websites with a link back to your site.  Each piece of content that is placed on another site is also hand-written and a minimum of 500 words, and also is spread via the same 15 social bookmarking sites.  This provides unique content onto your website every month as well as links coming back into your site from content on the same topics, as well as a “social seed” of bookmarks that make the articles appear as though they are popular.  We have found this strategy to provide consistent results for our clients over time, with only minor rankings fluctuations when algorithm changes happen.  Our strategies follow the terms of service of Google and other search engines, so there is nothing to worry about as far as lost rankings when changes happen.

Using our formula for Focus Internet Services, you can see how much a typical program costs.  If each piece of content takes one hour to do and we are targeting 10 phrases, we will want to do at least two pieces of content for each phrase monthly (one onsite and one offsite.) This will mean that we are working 10 hours for your business, which would calculate to $1,000 per month.  If you wanted more time dedicated to one phrase then we either take time away from the other phrases, or add time to the budget.  There are no tricks, and pricing for the work you get is straight forward.  We will be able to suggest the amount of work that should be dedicated towards phrases in your market by looking into the rank and work load of the competing sites for those phrases.  Our suggestions will try to create a work load that would get first page rankings in a time frame from six months to one year, although there is no way to predict rankings because the competition is also doing things that effect positions.  There is also no such thing as achieving a position that is fixed, because the rankings of the competition are always in flux.

A company that simply quotes you a fixed price for SEO work is actually quoting you a price for a certain amount of hours.  If you book too little work thinking that you are saving money, you will probably never get the rankings you are looking for and ultimately be wasting your money.  You are not paying for a position, you are paying the best company you can find to work for you in order to help you get to that position.  There are no guarantees with SEO, because while we are doing work that influences rankings so is everyone else.  If a company guarantees that you will rank, they are probably doing something that can get you permanently banned over time, which is a terrible strategy.  They might get you ranked quickly in order to start their payments, but those rankings rarely last.  The phrase “you get what you pay for” applies to SEO perfectly, so the best advice is to work with a company that has provable results that they can show you from other clients, and then target a smart list of words and phrases each month that are achievable.

By | 2018-04-25T00:49:13+00:00 April 25th, 2018|SEO Educational Information, SEO Information|Comments Off on How Much Does SEO Cost On Average?

Our 2018 List Of Content Publishers and Article Submission Sites

S. N. Articles_Site DA PA Alexa_Ranking Last_updated
1 22 30 1573921 November- 2017
2 82 85 157206 November- 2017
3 46 55 185861 November- 2017
4 88 78 11,989 November- 2017
5 58 65 55853 November- 2017
6 26 32 N/A November- 2017
7 38 48 246888 November- 2017
8 59 66 206443 November- 2017
9 26 38 778427 November- 2017
10 31 39 348815 November- 2017
11 34 42 172494 November- 2017
12 88 68 6453 November- 2017
13 62 69 261354 November- 2017
14 64 70 78769 November- 2017
15 33 40 730247 November- 2017
16 36 47 417098 November- 2017
17 56 63 124930 November- 2017
18 35 45 2393955 November- 2017
19 28 36 1413868 November- 2017
20 75 79 5013 November- 2017
21 63 69 45268 November- 2017
22 31 40 1239525 November- 2017
23 51 59 129702 November- 2017
24 56 63 520454 November- 2017
25 37 47 370234 November- 2017
26 18 30 1,441,319 November- 2017
27 42 51 1244300 November- 2017
28 46 54 1019261 November- 2017
29 22 32 1579664 November- 2017
30 52 60 428920 November- 2017
31 67 72 119790 November- 2017
32 82 85 4,356 November- 2017
33 46 52 31516 November- 2017
34 86 29 3089 November- 2017
35 39 37 3955841 November- 2017
36 32 42 313662 November- 2017
37 55 38 137874 November- 2017
38 48 41 5334459 November- 2017
39 26 1 2632852 November- 2017
40 92 93 6881 November- 2017
41 77 81 38890 November- 2017
42 82 85 60815 November- 2017
43 47 43 143,542 November- 2017
44 55 63 200679 November- 2017
By | 2018-01-02T23:46:56+00:00 January 2nd, 2018|SEO Educational Information|Comments Off on Our 2018 List Of Content Publishers and Article Submission Sites

SEO And Bitcoin

One of the perks of running a virtual business is that you can not only work from anywhere, but you can also work for businesses that are located anywhere.  If you look at Focus Internet Services as a virtual business, being that the work performed by us is done so by people living all over the world, then you can understand that we are not tied specifically to an office or specific location.  Naturally, many of our clients are more comfortable being able to meet a representative of the company in person, in the convenience of their office.  This has more to do with the sales process than the actual work performed by the business, making it easier for clients to discuss their projects at length in a setting that is more conducive to understanding than through phone or email.  Simply put, the clients want to know that you actually exist as a business and are not just some fly by night organization that is going to take their money and go out of business tomorrow.  They are generally convinced of this by offices and physical structures, as well as being able to meet you in person.  The actual business of SEO and web design is performed using the internet as a platform, which means that it can be accomplished from anywhere in the world and without ever meeting anyone in person.

Aside from the sales process, the difficulties of working with businesses that are not located in the same country that you are is the issue of payment.  Delivery of the services that are ordered are actually done through the internet from our computers to yours, or to the servers that your website is located on.  If we are doing link generation for SEO, the work is performed from our computers to the servers where the link is being generated.  None of these things are physically delivered, and because of this we can literally work from anywhere there is an internet connection.  Of course, it is more comfortable in our office and as a result we are more productive, but this is really just the comfortable environment again instead of the actual delivery of work.  That is done from any location.

So how do we handle the issue of working with companies that are not located in the same country as we are? Simple, we establish a working communication method that both we and the client are able to find beneficial, and then we establish the actual method of payment for the services.  The communication method will vary as to the client’s wishes, ranging from phone to instant messenger to Facebook messages.  The method of payment has been more difficult of an issue in the past than it is today.  Previously, if we were taking a check mailed from a foreign bank we would need to wait a longer time frame than typical before beginning work in order to make sure that the funds clear.  If we took a payment through a foreign credit card, we would need to expect that there may have to be some additional figuring of foreign transaction fees.  Now as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are becoming more mainstream we have begun accepting them as well.  This does not mean that we have not always accepted Bitcoin as payment, because we have.  Most internet based businesses have dabbled in cryptocurrencies and accepting them as payment for many years now, but essentially these types of currency must generally be converted into dollars in order to pay employees unless they are willing to also accept that same form of currency as their payment.  Within the ecosystem of web designers and programmers this will work to a degree, but ultimately we can’t spend Bitcoin to pay the electric company or buy office supplies at Office Depot.  So while we accepted Bitcoin to certain degrees from certain clients, we never made it an official way to pay us until the exchanges became more emainstream and we were able to convert cryptocurrencies more easily.  Now, more people understand what Bitcoin is and how it is used, and because of that we are able to more readily accept it as a form of payment.

One of the issues with accepting Bitcoin as payment is that it is not stable as a value.  The other issue is the fees that are paid in order to accept Bitcoin.  Other cryptocurrencies will generally have faster transaction speeds and lower fees through their blockchain system, but face the issue of not being as widely understood and recognized as Bitcoin, and therefore not as easily transitioned into US dollars to spend within our broader ecosystem of the physical world.  With regards to that issue, we must continue to accept the form of payment that may have the higher fees and take longer to have a transaction be finalized simply because it is easier to integrate with the physical world, or at least transition it.  The largest issue with regards to Bitcoin acceptance is actually the stability of the value.  Right now, you could accept a Bitcoin payment that will equal the value of $1,000 US dollars and in 15 minutes it might have a value of $500 due to market volatility.  Until this is better worked out, our process is to accept Bitcoin as payment to our wallets that are directly connected to an established exchange.  As soon as that payment is accepted we transition the Bitcoin to the exchange and sell it on the open market at the current price.  This system is far from perfect due to market volatility over the past few months, but it works well enough to allow us to continue accepting payments in Bitcoin for the work we do.  Since Bitcoin is not integrated into any central banking system controlled by any country, we can worry only about the exchange rate between Bitcoin and the US dollars for our purposes.  It is irrelevant to us what the price of Bitcoin will rise or fall to in the surrounding hours or days, as the receiving and sale of the Bitcoin at the current market value is what fuels our transaction.  On the customer end, it would make sense to either purchase the Bitcoin on an exchange at the moment you are going to send it to us for payment, or pull from a pool of Bitcoin that was purchased at a lower rate than the current market value.  The price you paid for your Bitcoin has no bearing on the transaction between yourself and us.  If you purchased your Bitcoin at four dollars and it is now worth fifteen thousand, you are getting a great deal on our services.  If you purchase your Bitcoin the moment before you send it to us, you pay us at the current market value.

Bitcoin gives us the ability to work for you, no matter where in the world your business is located.  It allows us to be your SEO company and help your website rank better, if you are located in the US, in Canada, in the Middle East r anywhere else in the world.  We want to work for you, and yes we accept Bitcoin as a form of payment.

By | 2017-12-22T23:56:08+00:00 December 22nd, 2017|Featured, SEO Educational Information|Comments Off on SEO And Bitcoin

How Long Do You Keep Doing SEO?

One common misunderstanding about SEO is that you are not purchasing a position on Google.  The reason for this confusion is probably due to Adwords, and people who have purchased an ad on google confusing this with an organic position.  When you buy an ad on Google, your ad and website link will show up in a position that is associated with the amount of money you pay for the click.  If you want to make sure you show up at #1, you simply outbid everyone else and you will show at #1.  SEO is quite different than this, and many times companies sending you solicitation emails about guaranteeing you showing up on the first page of Google are actually referring to ads instead of organic positions.  Basically, anyone can purchase an ad but only the best websites with the best information on a subject will show up in the organic sections.  These positions are created through ongoing content and SEO tactics.

If you can guarantee placement with an ad, isn’t that better than SEO? The answer is if you care about how much it will cost you to be there.  Basically, in the ads sections your competition is everyone who cannot figure out how to rank organically, and therefor are willing to pay for it.  While you are absolutely paying an SEO company to build your rankings, the idea is that if you can get into a first page position organically for a hard to achieve keyword, the money that you would pay out in ad clicks to keep a first page position showing will be far more than the money you would pay to an SEO company for their work.  If an ad is costing you 10 dollars per click and there are potentially 100 people per day clicking on it, that is $1,000 per day that could be paid to an SEO company to work towards an organic position.  Lets say that company gets you into a number one position in exchange for $5,000 in fees per month, that will translate to about $25,000 in savings every month.  The value of a position is what it would cost you to get the same exposure placing ads, and SEO will almost always generate better results.

So how long do you need to keep SEO going once you have achieved the desired position? That answer depends upon the competition in the space.  If there is not a lot of competition and none of the competitors are doing any SEO work, then you might stay in that position forever with no additional work.  However if it is a competitive word you can rest assured that the competition realizes that by them not being in that position any more they are losing business to you, so they are going to ramp up their own SEO efforts to regain it.  This means that you will probably be doing SEO forever on your site, as long as you want to maintain your rankings.  If the rankings positions are generating more in revenue and business than you are paying to the SEO company to keep your position high, then you are making money and should not stop.  It is fine to try and scale back the work once the position has been achieved, but you should do so while watching for downward movement while doing so.  If you begin to fall, then more work needs to be done.

By | 2017-11-30T00:00:35+00:00 November 29th, 2017|Featured, SEO Educational Information, SEO Information|Comments Off on How Long Do You Keep Doing SEO?

Managing Your Keyword List For SEO

SEO is a process of attacking achievable goals within a projected time frame.  The goals and time frames are not guesses or dreams, but actual goals that are viewed as being potentially achievable within a viable time frame based upon an understanding of the competitiveness of the terms as well as the work that would be necessary to move the website closer to the first page for those searches.  This is going to be different in every case, as the competitive market is going to be completely different from area to area, or nationally.  In addition to this, other factors need to be taken into consideration like how much work has been done previously that would apply to that target term, and can that work be built off in order to speed the process up.  The crawl rate for a new website might only be every few weeks, so if the site is brand new you can only expect Google to actually visit it a few times a month, essentially meaning that work that is done today might only be noticed weeks from now.  All this must be taken into consideration when creating a SEO plan that is logical and makes sense.  Sticking to the format and the plan is critical for success, and the failure of many SEO campaigns comes from not seeing the progress that you projected, then changing the plans as a result.  A good SEO will have the ability to provide you with an ongoing plan of attack that hits projections fairly well.  Work that is being done for SEO on the competition’s websites can make this a difficult thing to predict, but generally you should see progress that is reasonable.

One of the main mistakes that is made by novice SEOs is attacking an unrealistic keyword list.  If there are many different ways to describe the products or services a business offers, a SEO rooking might create a huge keyword list that would show the client how many potential customers they could have if they were to rank for all of them.  This is a completely unrealistic way to approach the actual SEO, as each term is developed individually with content that is being created specifically for it.  While there will be an improvement from that work that applies to long tail words as well that Google understands are in the same field, you cannot expect each and every variation of something to move up at the same levels.  The actual target term will provide a roadmap as far as how the progress is going among all terms that are related, but dividing the keyword list into manageable amounts that can be attacked over time is necessary so as to avoid the casting too broad of a net and thus achieving nothing.  If you are shooting for too many terms, you will probably do only small amounts of work for each one and therefor never outrank your competition for any.  A seasoned SEO is going to look at the keyword list for a number of things including competition, existing work and budget.  The SEO plan is going to allocate how many hours each month the SEO judges will be necessary for each phrase to eventually outrank the competition within either the local or national space.  If too little work is being done each month for that particular term, either more hours must be allocated towards it or less keyterms attacked so as to provide more time.  The idea of SEO is a dedication to developing rankings for specific words, and if you are trying to rank for them all you will probably rank for none.  Distill your list down to however many terms can be viably developed over a six month period, and attack them individually.

By | 2017-11-30T00:00:42+00:00 November 29th, 2017|SEO Educational Information, SEO Information|Comments Off on Managing Your Keyword List For SEO

The Content SEO Strategy

If you receive an email solicitation from a company stating that they can get you to number one on Google within a month or so, you need to realize they are lying to you.  There are a couple of factors that come into play that make this kind of promise untrue, first being that Google doesn’t even crawl your site more than once every few weeks, or maybe once a week if you are a site that is very popular with a large amount of traffic already.  This means that any work they do on your site will probably not be seen for upwards of a week or two if it is on the index page, and longer than that if it is on a page that is deeper than your index page.  Google does not crawl your entire site every time it visits, and many times it only crawls the main pages that are found in the navigation structure itself.  You might get a full crawl once a month or so, meaning that if they are using a strategy where content is developed for the site in order to improve rankings there is a good chance that content is only seen after multiple weeks of being online.  Now lets say that they actually do put content into your site that has to do with the target subject you want to rank for, and Google does crawl that content within a month, doesn’t that mean that you could suddenly shoot up to number one? Theoretically yes, but there is almost no chance of this happening.  Google will generally crawl the site content and then the added SEO value will begin to move the rankings, but for a few pieces of content to move a site all the way into a number one position from anywhere else would usually mean there is almost no competition to overtake.  If you are shooting for something competitive, it is going to take time to see those rankings develop, usually a span of months to even years.  In highly competitive areas, it might take months of work to move you up one or two places, let alone all the way to the top.  Google looks for consistency over time, quality of content and value to customers.  Over periods of time Google begins to trust you more and more as a source of quality information, that does not happen overnight.

This is usually the point in a conversation where someone mentions that the company who has promised them instant rankings is not talking about content, and instead is just going to make some changes to the code of the website in order to rank better.  While web design itself and meta data changes to titles and descriptions can have an effect, they are also not going to shoot you up into the number one position.  Google is looking for the website that provides the most value and information to people, and some small changes to code is not going to suddenly make them realize that you were that best information all along.  You might see small bumps up based on redoing some coding on the site and filling in all the meta data, but it is not going to be enough to move you into the top positions unless you were already there.  That is going to take a content strategy.

A content strategy for SEO is the process of creating text content on the site that informs people about a topic, and gives them valuable information that they can use.  This content has to be unique if Google is going to give you credit for it, and it has to be well written.  The hardest thing to accomplish is that your content has to be better than your competition’s content, at least for the subject matter that you are targeting.  Simply rehashing the same content over and over without anything new isn’t going to get you much.  It might get you more volume of text, but it probably isn’t going to get you that trust as an expert on the subject by Google.  The content strategy itself should involve in-depth and well written content placed into your website and then referenced within content on the same topic that is outside of your website.  This is how Google develops trust through links, seeing that the subject is being discussed and then your site is referenced as a place to go for even larger amounts of information.  The sites that it is referenced on are important as well, if they are sites which are completely devoted to this particular subject they are worth more than sites which have many subjects.  If the sites are also trusted by Google on this topic, then the link to your site is worth more.  Think about it this way, if a website doesn’t rank for a topic, then the link from that website to yours is worthless for that topic.  If a website ranks for a search on a topic, then a link from that site has value to you for that topic.

There are many different valuations for links, but a well rounded content strategy for SEO needs them in order for Google to realize that the onsite content is valuable.  There needs to be a strategy in place that spreads the word to other websites that the content is out there and exists, as well as it having value to people.  There are different ways that different companies accomplish this, but if they are not mentioning it then you are probably not going to see any improvements when you use their services.  So why are they promising you that you will rank higher so quickly? They are promising you “the bump” and hoping to get a few months work.  Most SEO companies look at their clients as having a life span of a couple months to a year.  Most have three month contracts that they work under, which gives them three months to prove to you that their strategy works.  If you site bumps up within a few months they point that out as proof it will keep moving up and get a few more months out of you.  If it doesn’t bump up then they are expecting to lose you and then move on to the next.  Most SEO companies are not in the SEO business at all, and instead are in the “customer acquisition” business.  They pay high commissions to sales people who land new business every month, expecting to lose that same business within a short time when the client realizes that after the initial bump of a few positions higher, there is no more movement.

A good SEO strategy develops new content and links every month, and over time your site steadily rises in the rankings as Google begins to trust it as an authority on a subject.  A good SEO has clients that work with them for years instead of months.  If you are being made promises that your site will quickly climb to number one, pay close attention to how long their other clients have been with them.  If most of their clients are only with them for a few months and their websites are not currently number one, then it is because they fall and are fired by most clients.  Think about it, and make a good choice of SEO.

By | 2017-09-21T23:20:02+00:00 September 21st, 2017|SEO Educational Information, SEO Information|Comments Off on The Content SEO Strategy

SEO Is Not A One Time Thing

First and foremost, we should probably establish that all SEO programs are not going to be created equal, because they do not have to be.  The intensity of your SEO program is going to have to do with how competitive the space is that you are trying to capture.  What this means is that if you a re a local business selling a unique product with no competition in the area, you are probably not going to have to do a lot of SEO work to gain rankings in your local area.  If you are one of a hundred businesses selling the same products nationwide or worldwide you are going to need a lot of SEO work to gain rankings globally.  How much SEO is necessary is dictated by your competition at all times, which translates to the possibility of a business that has always enjoyed top rankings because they were the only game in town suddenly being outranked by a new competitor simply because the new guy has done more work than you.  Rankings are not permanent, and you can be knocked out of your top placement at any time by someone doing more.  The question is “how much do you have to do to gain those rankings, and will you stay in that position if you stop?”

If you are in the 5th position for a word that describes your business, it means that 4 other businesses are doing more SEO work than you are.  There are very specific things that Google is looking for on these websites, and they have fund more of them on the other 4 websites than on yours.  If suddenly you drop another position and are replaced by the business that was below you yesterday, it is because that business is now doing more than you were as well.  Rankings are constantly in flux based upon the comparison of the strength of your site vs the strength of everyone else’s, and the strength is determined by a myriad of different factors that can essentially be translated into only a few methods.

Websites rank based upon their level of expertise in a subject.  Google is looking for the website that has the best information on a subject, the information that is most useful to real people.  In order to be viewed by Google as the best in your subject area, you are going to need to create content about that subject.  Google is going to read that content looking for certain phrases or comparative terms, and then they are going to make a decision if your content is better than the content on another website.  This is accomplished by looking at links to your site, and even more specifically to links to that content.  You need to create content that is very specific, and has important information about the subject that is beneficial to people.  You also need to keep creating more content both on the website and off the website linking back to the site in order to develop a bigger link base.  Within the website, content on the subject that is created should be linked to the page that Google ranks on that subject, this builds up the internal link base and shows Google which page is the most important for that subject.  Externally, the links coming in to the website do the same thing, establishing the source of the good information that is being discussed outside of your site.  A simple link off another website will have almost no value to you, and instead those links must be within content on the subject itself.  There are debates about how much content is needed, but we prefer to always use at least 500 words on the subject because that is typically how much is needed in order to get  a point across.  There are no hard-set rules, but Google realizes that the longer an article is the more in-depth it usually is.

So how much content and linking do you need? The answer is “enough to get you into the top position.” There is no way of knowing how much your competition has done (although we can make guesses using scanning software.) There is no way of knowing how much they will do in the future.  The best SEO programs assume that there will be ongoing competition and that rankings are in flux, so we do a specific amount of work every month to keep building the strength, even once top rankings are achieved.

By | 2017-09-21T21:28:34+00:00 September 15th, 2017|SEO Educational Information, SEO Information|Comments Off on SEO Is Not A One Time Thing