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Smart Web Design: Using SEO and PPC to Design Your Site

Posted on Jul 02, 2013 by Calandra Buckner

Often when designing or redesigning websites, we mostly think about the design and overall aesthetic, and less about the ability for users to find the site, or the overall optimization. What’s the point of a website that looks amazing but can’t be found and isn’t functional? Or even a site that can easily be found but isn’t visually engaging? The whole purpose of a website is for it to be found and for relevant content to be delivered to its visitors. The design and optimization of your website affects your SEO campaign, PPC campaigns, and the overall user experience of your website.  When building or redesigning a website or pages, it’s crucial to incorporate aspects of both SEO and PPC. These tactics should be utilized during the design process and also used for future optimization further down the line. Let’s take a look at some of the most useful SEO and PPC tactics and practices you should apply when creating a new website.

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SEO – The Myths, the Facts, and the Secrets

Posted on Mar 25, 2013 by John Wagner

If you have a website or use a search engine on a regular basis, it’s likely that you’ve heard of SEO Sydney or PPC. These two common acronyms are mentioned and preached every day. However, does everyone really know what they mean, or how they work? If you don’t, you’re not alone.

Let’s answer any lingering questions, settle myths, and clear the air of this Edmonton SEO madness! I’ve compiled the most common myths, most important facts, and the most exciting secrets in this post! I know what you’re thinking, “Whew! it’s about time!”

So let’s start from the top…

Define:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – An algorithm designed to impact visibility of web content (pages) through organic search results. Commonly used as a free alternative to PPC (pay per click) advertising.

Purpose:
Direct targeted traffic to your website without buying ads and clicks.

Myths:

…Your site will or can be optimized overnight
…Repetitive words and content will increase ranking
…Always use the most competitive words and phrases
…High page rankings are set in stone
…Organic “tastes” different

Facts:

  • Organic search results is a natural method for locating a webpage. This process will match search terms with relevant content on competing webpages. The stepbrother of organic search results is “non-organic”, or paying per click. “Paying per click” are ads that allow a company to blindly bid on highly competitive key search terms.
  • Relevant content is the fuel for your page ranking.  The more industry specific content your website holds, the more your website will be found, organically.
  • New content is the maintenance that will keep your page ranked. The most effective way is blogging and tagging with search terms. Google, and other leading search engines will reward your website for publishing relevant information. Since you know your business, show off and show off often!
  • Unique content is the muscle that carries web searchers directly to your website. Unique content can distinguish your brand and website from companies with the same industry focus and target.

Secrets:

  • Content is king. Keep relevant and new content flowing like a river! Adding content is important for your ongoing ranking; the most effective way is with a blog attached to your website. All blog content should follow the relevancy rules while it gives you space to display content that your website does not have room for.
  • Play to win. Similar to Monopoly night with your Grandmother, the SEO game is never ending. Compete, and compete often to maintain and most importantly to increase your ranking.
  • Leverage Google AdWords/Analytics.  Stay updated on monthly searches for keywords and phrases by using Google Analytics to view what keywords visitors used to find your site. Competition will change just as fast as your ranking does, so stay on top of your words!
  • Duplicate and be dumped. Search engines (especially Google) are smart enough to detect fluff and manipulation; so think of these algorithms as more of an art than a science.
  • By the numbers. If you’re more of a numbers person; you can make SEO a science project by using the KEI (keyword effectiveness index) equation. This will give specific words a rating based on the number of times a word is searched over the number of webpages displaying the word or phrase. Using this approach will show you what words and phrases can give you the best chance of winning the keyword game.

The internet can be the most rewarding source of marketing if used properly. Website optimization best practices are ever evolving and will only become more competitive as time passes. Adopting this process now can completely change the way your business operates in a positive way for years to come.

 

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Responsive Design & Mobile SEO

Posted on Mar 06, 2013 by Calandra Buckner

The digital environment is constantly changing. Consumers are consistently taking in information through various channels, which include: laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, and even smart TV’s. Smartphones especially, have become so indispensable to our daily lives that 80% never leave home without their phones in hand. Given this shift in devices and usage, organizations need to adopt websites that are functional, searchable, and provide a great user experience to visitors in all aspects. This is where responsive design comes into play. Responsive design refers to having a website that is designed and programmed specifically so that the design layout is universal across all platforms. The chief benefit of having a responsive design is that you don’t need to have separate mobile, tablet, and PC versions of your site. Responsive design is a shift in how we view websites across all devices. However, most don’t realize that a responsive design layout is a little different from a mobile design layout. A mobile website refers to designing a website that will appear on smartphones and tablets in the most user friendly way possible for those screen sizes and the correlating style of interaction. Design layouts for mobile websites aren’t usually the same or largely congruent to the desktop version of the site.

Although design layouts and aesthetics for responsive sites are meant to span across all devices, optimization is still an important aspect of any website. Let’s take into consideration the following statistics:

  • 50% of mobile searches lead to purchase
  • 95% of smartphone users have searched for local information
  • 61% of users call a business after searching and 59% visit the location
  • 90% of these people act within 24 hours

Given that more and more people are searching for information through mobile devices, search engine optimization is an important piece of the puzzle that may sometimes get looked over. According to Google, responsive design and seo hamilton go hand in hand, more specifically mobile SEO. Mobile SEO consists of numerous best practices that should be implemented for optimal mobile usage, but here are a few key things to remember:

  • Fully optimize all local listings on both Google and Bing. Most mobile cenaless comprar search results are largely influenced by geo-location.
  • Target shorter keywords in order to show up in mobile search results. Most users searching through mobile devices tend to use shorter keywords, which indicates that these searches are usually fast or quick in nature.
  • Enable mobile web analytics in order to make data driven improvements to your mobile SEO efforts.
  • Focus on usability and ease of use.  Users are more likely to bounce from a mobile site if they can’t (1) easily find the information they’re looking for, (2) the load time of the mobile site is slow, or (3) the website isn’t optimized for mobile use. These among other things will deter a mobile user form your site.

It’s easy to see that responsive design and fully optimized mobile websites are a sign of the next frontier of the digital landscape and should be adopted by any organization that doesn’t want to be left behind.

Need a hand establishing your company’s online presence, specifically in the mobile space? Give us a call or shoot us an email today. Over the years, we have established a proven method to help our clients achieve their marketing goals. We have also built lasting relationships with strategic partners such as Apogee Results. Together, we can help your business be a dominant player on and off the field.

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On The Twelfth Day of Christmas, HMG gave to me: Twelve Websites Winning

Posted on Dec 24, 2012 by Daniel Alvarez

Web design has changed exponentially since the advent of web 2.0 in the early 2000’s. What used to be static-only websites have now been replaced with dynamic ones that incorporate many design features including widgets, social plugins and much more. Here are 12 tips to keep in mind when building or rebuilding your website.

1.  Show value– give people a reason to visit your site and keep them there.

2.  What does your website do? Are you informative, are you selling something? Include a call of action and let it be seen on the site!

3.  Simplicity– Keep it simple while still getting your point across.

4.  Myspace is out! That means no blinking text or magic cursors!

5.  Popups– Do I really have to explain this?

6.  Keep the home page accessible. I’ve been to many sites where once I click a link on the navigation bar, I cannot get back to the home page- so frustrating!

7.  Follow in Apple’s shoes and drop Adobe Flash– it’s processor heavy and there’s no place to embed SEO.

8.  I KNOW THIS MAY SOUND DUMB BUT DON’T CAPITALIZE ALL OF YOUR CONTENT.

9.  Speaking of words and content, check your grammar and spelling please!

10.  Use keywords and descriptive text that relates to your business. However, don’t over-embed keywords in your content- keep it natural.

11.  Be accessible, yes add a Contact page and put an email, phone number, something!

12.  Navigation is key! Keep a global navigation bar that allows accessibility to all of your pages.

I know the post reads “12 Tips” but I’m throwing in a BONUS, yay! 

13.  Social media integration- the key to the popularity and national/global success of your website and business.

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Search, Lies and Content Marketing

Posted on Sep 20, 2012 by Amy Kauffman

You have probably heard the overused term: “content is king.” But what does that mean, really?

Search, Social and Strategy

It started when relevant, fresh content became a key factor for search engine optimization, which also plays a huge role to position your company as an industry resource and expert.  Then social media emerged as a viable channel, increasing the need to push consistent communication to your (hopefully) engaged community.

Search and social initiatives are a necessity. You have to be seen and heard by your potential and current customers. If you aren’t driving your brand or company to compete with the thought-leaders or become one yourself, you will be obsolete in the marketplace. After all, if you aren’t talking to your customers, you can be sure someone else is.

What are the thought-leaders practicing? Content marketing strategy.

Content Marketing and PB&J

So what exactly is content marketing? Entrepreneur Magazine’s concise definition is: “The creation and publication of original content — including blog posts, case studies, white papers, videos and photos — for the purpose of generating leads, enhancing a brand’s visibility, and putting the company’s subject matter expertise on display.”

Simply, it is the way brands gain trust, credibility and ultimate loyalty from customers by communicating messages that represent something they care and want to know more about.

One online expert recently described content marketing by using the symbolism of my favorite childhood sandwich: PB&J.  (Stick with this, it’s good.) Imagine that search and social is peanut butter and jelly and content is the bread that holds it all together. So the content, the foundation of the strategy, must be something customers deem it valuable, want to consume and then want to pass on to family, friends and anyone in their social or off-line network.

There is No “I” in Content

Now, with the internet becoming increasingly personalized in our multi-polarized world, content marketing is more important than ever. Budgets are increasing to develop deeper, thought-provoking messaging and strategy (evolving from, “Look at us” and “Wow, our product and services are fantastic,” to a storytelling technique that taps into the customer experience).

So how do you go from, “What’s in it for us?” to “What’s in it for our audience?” Simply, tell a story and stop talking about yourself.  (Sales reps, gasp here. Remember, there is no “I” in content marketing – well there is, but it’s a little guy.)

Stop Informing and Start Storytelling

How do you do content marketing and storytelling well? Tell a story that is personable, approachable, tangible and memorable. For more info please visit homeinsurance-companies.com .

For example, every year The Hartford sponsors the Paralympics, and just last year the company decided to tell this story. They launched a media and video campaign through the medium of Facebook highlighting the athletes themselves. The result was a successful and emotional story connecting with people on an individual and very personal level.

Check out the introduction video here: http://goo.gl/e0XPA

Say What You Know, Not What You Sell

Customers are not looking to read your blog or micro-site to see what you sell, they can view that in a catalog or on the products and services tab on your site. They are interested in what you know and what you stand for. It’s time to start communicating as a trusted and relevant source and not as a sales script. Storytelling is the new content marketing.

See where your expertise and your customer’s interests overlap to tap into your niche. Tell a unique story and communicate in a way that no other competition can touch.

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Debunking SEO and its “Experts” – Find a Contender, Not a Pretender

Posted on Jul 13, 2012 by Amy Kauffman

We are among the last generation to know the noun, “Yellow Pages.” All search happens on the internet (so I guess the new phrase is, yellowpages.com). And thanks to search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing, we know where we rank among competitors in the elusive race to land on the first page of organic results.

91 percent of adult internet users go to the web to find information over local seo services, products and making proper SEO more important than ever. That stat is hopefully not surprising to anyone; the web is and has been the go-to to find anything, with half of all searches performed on a mobile device (as mentioned in a previous post on the top reasons you should have a mobile site).

Site optimization is mandatory in the competitive, cluttered online marketplace; it is no longer optional to have an effective SEO strategy.

There are some things about SEO that will never change; by integrating fundamental tactics combined with the updated and advanced techniques to optimize your site, you will garner organic traffic, naturally increase your rankings over time, gain credibility and help your target audience find you with ease.

I’m going to assume that SEO is not in your short list of talents. If it is, you’re awesome. If not, it is important to know where your talents stop and others’ begin. But finding an SEO partner can be a scary, unknown territory giving the keys to your site to another company. So where do you start? A Google search? (of course!) Maybe a hashtag inquiry on Twitter? What you get is an overwhelming number of sites and individuals claiming they will get you a number one ranking; it can feel like picking a needle in a haystack.

Be aware that quick-fix, short-sighted techniques that raise clients’ hopes only ultimately penalize their websites. At a time when Google is becoming more proactive about combating underhanded SEO tactics, you must adhere strictly to white-hat strategies that comply with all search engines’ terms of use – the best interest for your site and SEO results.

Now here are a few things to do and avoid on your SEO partner search:

SEO Don’ts:

Don’t – hire a techy caveman who never steps out of his office, or sleeps

Don’t– think SEO is a mysterious Divinci Code that no one can crack. It’s an algorithm, not an urban myth

Don’t – expect an instant number-one ranking (that’s like expecting to appear on Oprah immediately after launching a business)

Don’t – be afraid to ask questions, a true SEO guru who is passionate about their work will be more than happy to teach others about their process and how the algorithms work

SEO Dos:

Do – your own research on keywords and phrases that are important to you and your company

Do – take note of your key competitors, aspects of their site and rankings

Do– Create content – You can optimize blog posts on your own with tags, keywords and phrases, linking and social sharing

Do– Trash any fluff articles filled with key words or any cluttering on your home page with filler copy in a weak attempt to increase your rank, and do NOT hire someone that condones this

Do – your homework; SEO experts like many self-proclaimed “experts” are a dime a dozen; sort through the clutter and learn how they handle their clients, reporting and strategy. Identify the best SEO strategy and true expert that fits with your business model
So that’s the short list that will hopefully direct you to be informed and be introduced to a trustworthy partner, maybe even us.

Want to know more about SEO or other online tactics like Google Pay-Per-Click, link building, content creation and monthly reporting? Give me a call or shoot me an email, would love to help out where I can.

Cheers,
Amy
amy@hmgcreative.com