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Tagged with " seo"

The Value of an SEO

Aug 8, 2013   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet marketing  //  Comments Off

While there are a number of services that we offer to our clients here at Freshtraffic, we have always made sure that the delivered service is above par for the cost applied. Online branding, search engine optimization, sometimes it’s a social media campaign and a pay per click blitz that clients are looking for, but we always go above and beyond to deliver for our clients. Our experience and skill set come at a premium, and while it seems to be an insurmountable amount, for the value added to your business it does get paid back in spades.

growthOver the last 12 months especially there has been a dumbing down of the internet marketing world. I don’t mean dumbing down as in it has gotten easier, if anything it has actually gotten more difficult, but dumbing down as in the market is saturated with people selling themselves and their “services” for greatly reduced rates. Some of the more frequent occurrences we hear about from clients are being approached via email or phone that they guarantee to rank their website number 1 in Google for only $200 and so on. There are two extremely large issues with this scenario, and while most people know that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is, there are still business owners out there who fall for this kind of blast marketing.

The first major issue with these types of claims is you can’t guarantee a rank within the results pages. It’s even difficult to pinpoint placement with Adwords let alone in the organic listings, so if you have someone approach you offering to push you to number 1 on Google, the next words from you should be “no thank you” and hanging up. The organic listings that are derived from the Google algorithm aren’t something to be trifled with, and if someone is offering to drive your site up they’re running a scam of varying severity, and should your site and business get caught up in it, you’ll feel the effects for years online.

The second issue that I have with this type of approach is if you could legitimately rank a website at number 1 on Google consistently and within the guidelines, why would you charge next to nothing for that one of a kind skill? There is a reason that the average monthly charge for an SEO contract is in the $2,000 range, and it’s not because carve a monthly report into marble and hand deliver it to you. Making your site rank in the organic listings takes time, a good deal of effort into learning your brand and niche, and into working with your website to optimize it to it’s greatest potential.

It’s frustrating sometimes to hear from clients that they are the targets of these types of marketers, but we know that with the value and skill set we bring to them they’re more than satisfied with their results. What is even more frustrating however, is when businesses look to hire someone on a contract basis to provide services like social media optimization, SEO, manage a PPC campaign, develop and deliver an email campaign as well as rebuild their website, all for the grand price of $9 per hour. There is an understanding that is missing here on the business owners end, and it’s that no one with the skill set to deliver what they’re asking for will get out of bed to help them for $20 per hour, let alone what they are offering.

Clarifying Your Online Message

Jul 30, 2013   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet marketing  //  Comments Off

When we have a new client which comes to us looking for help with their internet marketing campaign, there are two major steps which we take from the beginning. We need to weigh the quality of your content, and we need to determine the strength of the call to action, and how it relates to your marketing goal.

closelookGoing over just how important quality content is to your search engine optimization goals is like a broken record at times, but it’s importance can’t be stressed enough. What has been happening recently in the quality content department is a departure from the past methods of a client creating the articles and snippets of text required to differentiate themselves from everyone else in their niche, and they’ve gone the easy route of using the franchised copy in order to save time. To put it simply, it doesn’t matter if there are 100 people selling blue widgets on the internet, if your copy is different than theirs, and relevant to your site and your goals, you’ll wind up above them in the search results. Why? Because your content is quality, it’s relevant, and it’s unique. Make sure to include relevant terms about your products or services, or something about the supporting services around them. Another useful tactic is to prove yourself an authority in your market, and truly set yourself apart from the competition all in ways that any users can effortlessly see, and identify with.

Now the other side of quality content has to do with how you capitalize on it, with the call to action on your site. A call to action is different for every website and could be as simple as having someone submit their email for a monthly newsletter from your website. But if your call to action is lost within a busy website, if it isn’t clear to a user within a minute, then you’re going to lose out on market share. First impressions are the most important impressions, and on the internet you only have a few seconds to get your impression, and your message across to a user. If you’ve done all of the proper work and are sitting at the top of the search results and continue to have less than stellar conversions, contact us here at Freshtraffic so we can help you find what you’re missing. We’ll work closely with you to build your positions to where you need them to maximize your potential and help you identify your niche market. Take for example the previous example of selling blue widgets, it doesn’t do you any good to rank number one in the results pages for purple widgets if you don’t sell them. It may mean as simple a step as reworking the message of your content, or it may require a completely new online branding approach. When you’re ready to make your business grow in leaps and bounds, we’ll be ready.

The Myth of Dieing SEO

Jul 25, 2013   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet marketing  //  Comments Off

There is a re-occurring trend within the bloggosphere that search engine optimization is either dead, dieing, doesn’t work, or is a good way to get your website banned online. The only real issue with any of those assumptions is they’re all mostly false, if not entirely fiction.

viralWhen you hear the line that SEO is dead or dieing, it’s actually in a humorous context, because the article in question is written to be link bait, a very tried and true method for generating discussion about your website. There are some facets of the online marketing game which are outdated, whether they were deemed “illegal” by the search engines like using invisible text, mass stuffing keywords and the like. Or if they were just poor coding techniques to be used as a website, take the slow death of Flash as an example. The internet is the fastest growing business technology available to a business owner today, where people get caught up in particulars is that it is also changing as quickly as it is growing. The methods you can use to help build your online visibility these days are almost entirely different than what was used 18 years ago, but there are still some components which remain. The core concept driving SEO is the generation of highly relevant, quality content, used to prove to the search engines that your business is the authority in your niche.

One of the more fictitious arguments that SEO is dead and dieing, is that search engine companies like Bing and Google, hate the practice and want to ban all the practitioners of the art. Again, that’s another false statement, and in fact the search engines out there have freely available guides on how to use SEO to help your website perform at it’s best! The best practice guides are easily found with a quick search on any search engine, and even just by following those guides you can help a new site, a floundering website or even one which has fallen into the depths of the search results.

If you still find yourself believing for what ever reason that SEO is an unnecessary measure to be found online, then just remember that almost all searchers out there don’t even scroll to the bottom of the to 10 results on the first page, let alone visit page 2 or 3. If you’re not sitting in the top 5 for your niche market, I can promise you that you’re losing out on a significant amount of potential. But on the other hand, if you’re ready to experience what it’s like to be the biggest boy on the block, contact us here at Freshtraffic and we’ll begin the process of turning your business into the boss.

Right People Right Time

Jul 24, 2013   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet marketing  //  Comments Off

We often field phone calls and emails from people looking for help with their website, whether it is a design issue or a results page placement, we can help you out with the team we’ve built here. What we find more often than not, is that they were the unknowing recipient of someone who sold themselves as an individual who could do it all for them, and in the process got overall wishy washy results. It’s a topic I’ve had to go over every now and then to get that information back out there, but here it is again – use the right person for the job.

Web DesignThe danger of someone selling themselves as something that they are not online is easy to spot, if you know what to look for. It is when you have not been educated about, or have taken your own time to learn about the differences between website design, website development, and search engine optimization that you can fall into a less than ideal situation. In order to keep this explanation short, I’ll refer to WordPress and the way it is constructed when discussing the differences of development, design, and optimization.

Typically a WordPress website will require a number of different programming languages. The most commonly used are PHP, CSS, javascript, with mySQL as a database. The CSS and javascript of a website is used to style the page, it’s colors, and handle all of the interactive portions of a website – these are all design elements which are part of the user experience end of the site. PHP is the server side language used to handle everything behind the scenes, this is the portion of the development stage of the website work. The development portion of a website also handles aspects like checking credentials of a user when they log in, accessing the database for information etc, or dynamically changing the website based on certain conditions.

Then there is the optimization side of your online presence, because having an amazingly designed website that has no visibility is like building the fastest boat in the world and never putting it in the water. It will never reach it’s potential if you don’t take full advantage of it’s capabilities, and knowing the right people for the job is priority number one.

Local or National Results

Jul 22, 2013   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet marketing  //  Comments Off

Almost every time we get a phone inquiry from someone wanting to have their website optimized, there is a singular question which seems to trip everyone up. And it is an important question to get a clear answer too, because it dictates to us what kind of campaign we need to get your site geared up for. To try and help you answer that question for yourself when you’re ready to make that phone call, I’ll lay out some of the differences you need to consider – are you going after local visibility, or are you going after the big prize of national visibility.

The difference between a local results page, and national results page can be a staggering amount, the term that I’ve used in both searches is “best hotel”, and added the local of “in Winnipeg” to illustrate how different the results can be.

localTaking a look at the local results, you start off with reviews, prices, a map picture with locations, and after a scroll to the bottom of the page, you start to find the organic results for the search. While it looks like there are no adwords on the results page, the listings at the top noted as sponsored and the dialogue box notes that they may have paid to have the average room price, and ranking displayed within that box. Something else to note, besides the way the page is laid out, is the amount of results delivered – 19.1 million. In almost every case Google doesn’t really expect anyone to go all the way back to, page 1.9 million in this case, so they usually stop displaying results after page 100. For the purposes of the discussion however, we’ll note the results delivered at 19.1 million.

To acquire a search result that excludes localized data, you need to use the url switch /ncr, meaning “no country redirect”, and use “best hotel” as my search parameter.

nationalRight off the bat it’s clear that the results are completely different. There are no sponsored ads on the page, it consists entirely of organic results. Of those results, the top two are from review sites, followed by a couple of referral sites, then an actual hotel. Once you scroll to the bottom half of the page it’s a similar image, you have a couple reviews, Wikipedia articles and pictures, with a hotel chain bringing up the bottom of the top 10 results. No ads, no maps, no local locations, just a handful of review sites, two hotels and the definition of the word “hotel” on the page, and the total results delivered? Dwarfing the local page at 497 million it should be clear how different the local market competition can be versus the rest of the world, not that it should have been in question.

Now to go back to the initial question, are you looking for local search optimization, or national search optimization? Hopefully the brief descriptions and the images can help you determine your course of action.

Three Kinds of SEO Issues

Jul 16, 2013   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet marketing  //  Comments Off

taoofseoA good deal of the time when we’re working with a new client, we have to bite our own tongue when we’re getting the full story on previous optimization efforts. Sometimes we hit the jackpot in the game and find out that the site is new, built by an actually web developer who knows a thing or two about the best practices that you should be using and they are actively working on their content and images. When we run into this type of diamond in the rough client, we can shape their online presence to not only proudly display them, but drive them quickly up the results pages to where they want to be. This is a win/win situation for both us, and the business owner as they see a strong growth in business and online conversions, allowing them to grow into the market force they want to be.

On the other side of the spectrum, we’ve also had contact with those clients who have used every trick in the online marketing book to be noticed online. We have seen all sorts of bad habits, everything from multiple sites with identical content, and wondering why they can’t find any of their sites in the results, all the way up to some site owners using hidden text, divs. The least troublesome problems to deal with are the multiple identical sites, once we’re able to pin point which goal is the prize, we make it very clear that the clean up operation will take some time to take effect, but it can be fixed. Now the other shady tricks, we’ve gone so far as to recommend one person looking for our help to completely dump their site and start over with a new branding campaign. It was at that point we had learned they had put all of their eggs into the proverbial basket, and were stuck with what they had, and in the end we had our hands mostly tied with how much we could do for them. While no cause is completely lost, there are those which are somewhat unable to be fixed.

And the trend which has been cropping up more and more as of late, there are the DIY clients who felt they could build, optimize and manage their website all while running their business. The major issue that we have had working with these types of clients usually comes in the form of meddling, or the alteration of any on page and off page work we are using. The internet is a great and powerful informational tool, but here’s the thing aboud search engine optimization that the DIY crowd doesn’t fully understand yet: just because you followed the steps to an online guide about optimizing your website, doesn’t mean you have optimized your site. It is in the same difference of quality and time usage that you would find when you hire someone to professionally paint your interior of your home. Yes you can both do the job, but the pro will get the job done better, quicker, and correctly, we’ve all been to that friends house that has strange paint coverage.

It takes more than just going through the motions to be able to properly optimize a website, on or off site. Knowing what to do is only a sliver of the toolkit we employ as SEO experts here at Freshtraffic, don’t be so hasty to lump search engine optimization into the “I can do it myself” bag. It’s much more than just how to do your SEO, once you realize that point about online marketing, we’ll be ready to help you. Just because you think you can do what we do, doesn’t mean you can.

New Client Issues – Old Problems

Jul 9, 2013   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet marketing  //  Comments Off

When we work with a site owner one of the first questions we always make sure to ask them is if they’ve worked with any other SEO agency first. Ideally the answer is no, but as the industry becomes more and more populated with people trying to make a quick buck, the ratio of yes to no has slowly started to sway to the yes side of the scale. One of the biggest reasons we tend to worry is simple, we don’t know what we’re walking into when we take on someone elses problems which they either have created, or may have even inherited themselves. One of the most common issues that we happen to find when we dig into their online profile however, is one of duplicate content.

poisonedThere are unfortunately private SEOs and even some agencies who tell you that as long as you change enough of the text, your content can be rehashed again and again without incurring any sort of penalty. But in truth, here’s the thing that they either don’t tell you, or don’t know for themselves: search engines don’t want to list several pages that all say the same thing, so they look for content that is unique from everyone else. If you’re just spinning the same 600 words over and over again into different pages and blog posts, they’ll recognize it and it isn’t the SEO that catches the force of the penalty stick, it’s you and your website. Almost every time we find this to be the issue, our response may come across as a daunting task, but it’s for the best, we highly advise a complete rewrite and revamp of your site wide content. Cleaning up your own content and navigation is a major milestone to helping you improve your online branding image.

There is another side of this coin, and there really isn’t any one on the web that is immune to the problem, automated content scrapers and straight up content thieves. There are a few protections which can be used to safeguard your content on your website, but even then it wouldn’t be too surprising to find that someone somewhere has nabbed your content for themselves. Using as simple a tag as the ‘rel=author’ and linking it to your Google+ social profile is a quick and simple way to let Google know that you are the original creator of this content, and all others from that point forward will, hopefully, be ranked below you for your own content. For the most part thankfully, you don’t need to worry about scraper sites as the search engines are aware of them and they aren’t going to carry much weight in the search results in the end anyhow. The websites which blatantly steal your content however is a different sort of animal, and since you already use the proper markup to show that you are the original creator of the content in question, you can go so far as to file a DMCA removal request to have your content removed from the offending website(s).

Unfortunately duplicate content issues are not an issue which will be going away any time soon, thankfully the search engines have gotten faster, smarter, and there are more and more tools being developed which can show who created what content first, and when.

Web Designer or Web Developer

Jun 24, 2013   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet marketing  //  Comments Off

websiteupgradeWhen you’ve decided that you need a website for yourself, you need to have an idea as to what kind of a world you’re stepping into. It’s not like setting up an ad in your local newspaper that takes a phone number and a catch phrase, even the most basic of websites needs your attention while being developed in order to meet your needs. One of the most basic questions you need to first answer for yourself is do you need a website designer, or a website developer? While their titles and roles may seem similar on the surface, they’re as different as a plumber is to a mechanic.

Back in the beginning where a ‘brochure’ site (static content, basically putting your company’s brochure online), was the norm, you basically had one guy make up your entire site. It was very easy, the design was mostly copied from print materials, and there was little to no focus on user experience. Businesses simply wanted to know, or feel they had some degree of an online presence.

Fast forward to today and that task has been divided up by specialized individuals. While you are busy managing the product or services, you’ll have UI designers handling the design side of your website, engineers or developers handling the server side, and front end website developers handling the resources that interact with the browser.

The role of the front end website developer is specific, and it needs to be specific because the job is far more involved than it was back when static websites were the norm. There are a multitude of browsers to worry about (IE8, IE9, IE10, Firefox, Chrome, Safari), on a multitude of devices (mobile, tablet, desktop), and with clients requesting a specific look or experience, you actually have a lot of logic moving to the client-side and the server side scripting becomes merely a means to deliver your data.

With Freshtraffic having a dedicated in house website designer, we can focus on your design, usability, and ensure everything meets your branding requirements. As more and more of the general population has moved online, the expectation for a good user experience on your site has dramatically increased, so having a dedicated designer for this was imperative.

On the other side of the spectrum, the server side landscape changed quite a bit. With the wide growth and use of web specific languages of PHP and ASP, and the explosion of languages such as Ruby, Python, Java and even ASP having a website developer is also greatly important. Being able to mold your data and shape the back end usability so you can directly administer your own website is just as important as the user experience on the front end. Together we have an amazing team built within Freshtraffic to deliver the best results for online branding in Winnipeg. When it’s time to put your best foot forward online, we already have our team in place and ready to help you grow. With how rapidly the web has changed, just be aware that the role ‘web designer’ was long broken up into dedicated services, and those roles have their own dedicated professionals. It had become far too much for one person to deliver on their own.

Search Results Position Is Everything

Jun 20, 2013   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet marketing  //  Comments Off

The golden chalice in search results has always been the same, that finish line that you always strive for, number one in the results. I’ve written previously about the ‘why’ to avoid the so called SEO companies which guarantee you a position at number one, simply because it’s not up to them. No bs, no fuss, no SEO company can tell you exactly where they can plant you in the results. We absolutely shoot to be number one however, and while there is the prestige associated with the top spot, there are also much more important reasons to place you at the top.

Simply put, when it comes to search traffic if you’re not number one, you’re missing out on a tremendous amount of potential conversions. Where position is concerned, if you find yourself in the top spot on average you’ll pick up nearly a third of all search traffic for that term. And if you’re in a highly competitive niche that receives thousands of searches a day, that translates to a very large amount of potential dollars you could be losing out on. The drop of search share from position one to position two is nearly half as much, with just 17% of the market share. Second to third it drops another 6% and the numbers become abysmal after that point.

searchshare

And that’s only when you count in where you rank on the first page of search results, and let’s be honest, when was the last time you saw only one page of results for a search term? Knowing how much of a drastic change can occur in search share from position one to position two, if you’ve found yourself on page 2 of the search results instead of the first page.. I’ll let the following image speak for itself.

 

 

 

searchpageshare

You can read more about the report containing this information here. After you’ve done a quick search for your website on your key terms, and you’re ready to improve your online presence, feel free to call.

Are You Mobile Friendly

Jun 18, 2013   //   by freshtraffic   //   internet marketing  //  Comments Off

Online marketing efforts have had a lot of changes come at them over the last 18 months or so, there have been large shifts in the ways and means necessary to properly compete for positioning on the results pages. At the top of the fastest changing metric for your online presence, is the rapid adoption of mobile devices to use the web.

leverageFacebookBefore you tear your website apart in a frenzy to ‘fit in’ to the mobile crowd, you need to consider the most basic tenet of online marketing and branding – your content. You need to be able to engage your visitors, and make sure that your call to action is clear in both access, and its message. Besides being relevant, engaging and unique, your content should also generate social signals for the marketing strategy to be considered truly successful. Access to their social media accounts is one the most oft given answer when usage details are probed with mobile devices. If you take the time to ensure that your content is socially shareable, you’ll have the larger hurdle over stepped.

With the rapid growth in the use of the mobile devices, once you have your content it is time to ensure that you have your pieces in position to found on those devices. Tablets, smartphones and even netbooks can be lumped into this space, as their small screen print and processing power can sometimes put your website into a poor position to be accessed by them. Some of the simpler steps to take is to avoid using flash, or building your pages to incorporate large images. If your website developer has done their job correctly then neither of these issues should cause any alarm. There are many ways in which to deliver a quick, easy to navigate website to a mobile device, and the majority of the development platforms out there already incorporate a ‘responsive’ side to the site. Essentially your website is able to determine if your visitor is on a mobile device, or on a computer, and will deliver the correct version of the site to them.

Search engine optimization is almost the fairest marketing game that can be played by any business, in any space. Unlike television, radio and newsprint you can’t just throw wads of money at your internet provider to place your brand image everywhere. But when the job is done right, and you make sure to start your campaigns ahead of time, you can very well be at the top of the search results when it is most important. As an example, we often advise new clients that depending on key terms, competition, market goals and the quality of their website and content, it can take four to six months to find themselves in the results pages at their desired position. From today, that window puts your website at the top of the results right in the heat of the largest selling days for the online marketplace, the last 6 weeks before Christmas. Ho, ho, ho everyone, don’t be left out in the cold.

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