Remember back to the time when mobile website design was more of a ‘luxury’ or ‘advantage’? Well, it didn’t seem that long ago..but, as we know it, mobile design is becoming a ‘must have’. If your company does not have a mobile site plan or is in the process of implementing one, we suggest that you should start considering or developing one. If not, you may find yourself behind in the digital World. For those that need options on launching a mobile website, this post may find you well. Keep in mind, that these are merely suggestions for short term and long term options.
- Create a separate mobile version: what this means is to have two separate versions of your site. One that uses your main URL and the other that has a mobile specific domain name, such as, m.netsearch.com. This is one approach, but not one that is highly suggested. It will not be responsive to all digital devices. It will only respond to the device it was designed for. Also, this isn’t the best option in regards to SEO. Having one URL to optimize is a much better solution. You may find this to be a better short term option while in the process of designing for number 4.
- Download a plugin: Another option is to download a plugin that will create a mobile site for you. There are certain plugins within WP that can eliminate the headaches that might come with a mobile site design. Once the plugin is downloaded it will allow for installation of software, which will develop mobile site versions that will work on all digital devices. As for SEO, this is a much better solution then creating two separate sites. But, it is still not the best. The problem with plugins is the fact you can lose a lot of branding elements. Typically the plugin will re-create the site nicely, but will be barebones in terms of branding. When users see a site that does not look like the one off a PC, they most likely will become confused thinking it is another company and leave the site.
- Develop a mobile app: Instead of trying to recreate your site. Another option would be to develop an app that has all of your site’s information and branding. This is just an added option, but truly it would not be a complete replacement of your mobile site. This would be another short term option.
- Design a responsive site: A responsive site is going to be the absolute best scenario in terms of both design and SEO. What responsive means is that it will automatically resize to the specified digital device each user is using, whether it be desktop, mobile, tablet, etc. It also allows you to keep one URL with your branding and content. NetSearch Direct is now offering only responsive designed websites. Please contact us if you would like to have a new website designed or with any questions in regards to responsive design!
Those who have started up a business or have thought about starting up a business may know that it can be a huge risk. We hope that one of those risks does not involve your SEO optimization. A new business whether it has a brand new domain or not will most likely not be ranking high with great optimization, especially if the site has never been optimized. Hopefully, these tips will set your start up on the right path because having a poorly optimized site can really harm your results.
- User Interface and User Experience: Most would think that it is not highly important to have a great interface or user experience and that is wrong. It is very important to keep a well-designed site. The search engines do in fact downgrade your site if not. For instance, the algorithm from Google, Panda, was designed to downgrade sites with a poor user interface and experience. So, before starting optimization it is suggested that you have a well-designed site.
- Page load time: Try to avoid interfaces that include flash, marquees, large text images, etc. It can slow down your load time tremendously. Everyone has different internet, so be sure to avoid anything that can slow it down. The moment your site is taking too long to load the user will close out.
- Social Media: It is now important to search engines that you are frequent on social media. Social signals have become part of the search engine’s algorithms for rankings. So, if you are a new business, there is no better way than reaching out to your clients in other ways such as social media. Plus, it will only help optimize your site.
- Natural Link Building: It is imperative when link building that you avoid automated software or building too many links too fast on your own. This may send flags to the search engines that the site is being manipulated. When it comes to link building it is best to contact outside help that has ample experience on the matter. That way you know your site is building links naturally.
- Choosing the right SEO firm: It is always important that if you do not know enough about SEO and how to optimize properly that you hire an SEO company to do it for you. We are very adamant that businesses know the importance of choosing the right SEO firm. If you choose the wrong firm it could do your site more harm than good. It is best to build questions that should be asked before making the decision. Some of these questions may include, their plans, how they operate, results of success, if they have a strong outreach, etc.
These are only a few tips that we find are important to starting up your SEO optimization. Keep in mind there are many more where this blog could become too long to read. If you want more information about your business and optimization, please feel free to contact us!
The day you decide to add a blog to your website may be the day you realize how much content you will need to write. Having a blog on your site is great for your users. You can keep them up to date on your company and also inform them on different information within your industry. Starting a blog means you will need to write content and that is not always easy. We are here to provide a few tips on how to create content your users will want to read!
- Brainstorm your content: Do not try to sit down and immediately start writing. Brainstorming will help organize ideas you want to post about. This is great if you are updating your users with company information. If you are updating on industry information this is a great time to do research. Find out what is new.
- What is the most meaningful?: It is extremely important to make sure your content is easy to understand. Keep out any useless information. It is better to keep a shorter informative post then a lengthy post that is filled with unnecessary information. Also, make sure you have a proper title that makes sense to the post. Try to choose a heading that will grab the reader’s attention. A dull heading will not make a user want to click on your post.
- Keep it short: Following up on #2, it is important to keep your reader engaged. No one enjoys reading a very lengthy post. You may be surprised how much information you can share in a short post.
- Make sure your content is accurate: The great thing about the Internet is having so many sources to read on different topics. But, be careful, not all of it is true! So, check a couple sources before putting information in your post that you are not sure about.
- Find other blogs to be inspired by: Typically, blogs are the most current information. People are posting frequently, so it is a great idea to review other blogs for fresh, up to date information. Once you are inspired, spin it to your own style of writing.
- Keep clear and concise: After writing your content, check, re-check, and check again. Make sure the content reflects on your typical user and that it is easy for them to understand.
- Follow up on comments: If someone has input and insight on your blog post, this is your opportunity to engage and write back. This can create great customer service and later, customer satisfaction.
These are just a few tips that we wanted to share in order to help you and your business create great content on your blog. Comment and let us know if you have any other great tips to share!
Survey Monkey held a recent study to explore if users prefer Google or Bing more. The study was conducted for SEO assumptions and purposes. Those in the study were shown two search result pages. One would show with the label Google and the other Bing. The respondent was then asked which they preferred. To wonder if people choose one or the other due to brand, the survey swapped the titles in the second survey. The results showed that even when the labels were switched, respondents still preferred Google. To explain further, the first survey went out to 379 respondents and they received one page of results for ‘file taxes’. The respondents were asked to choose which they preferred. One result page had true Google results and the other had true Bing results. The second survey was given to 262 respondents where they used the same search term but, instead swapped Google for Bing’s results and Bing for Google’s results. In both surveys the participant majority went to Google, proving that users are choosing Google as a result of the brand. So, continuing from last week’s post, Bing is coming out with their new product ads, if majority of respondents are still choosing Google, should businesses pay for Bing ads or would it be a waste of money? What do you think? Do you Bing or Google?
If anyone was following the Bing Developer blog today, then you have also found out that Bing will be bringing you product ads! Bing has announced that in Q3 of 2013 they will be rolling out product ads to the U.S. This will be a new search ad format that allows retail advertisers to include more details to their products. The details within the ad would include a thumbnail image, price, description, and merchant information. The purpose is for the user to see the most important details of a product in order to make the decision to click on the retail advertiser’s site or not.
Currently, Bing has been testing the new product ads with a limited group of retail advertisers. Most users most likely have not even seen one of the product ads. Those that have seen some are searching items such as home goods through Internet Explorer. But, even then, they won’t always show. Bing has provided a screenshot of what the product ads will look like and plan to have them up and running by early summer. Bing will continue to release more information on their product ads as the time gets closer. But, until then, how do you feel about Bing’s product ads?
The New Year has brought new things to NetSearch Direct, including another new face around the office. Kendall New has been brought on to the SEO team as a new Junior SEO associate. Kendall’s day to day workload consists of training, optimizing, and creating SEO content for website set ups. In the amount of time that Kendall has been working here at NSD, he has really enjoyed the employees. He has also found out how small the World is by being connected with a friendly face around the office that he has seen before. When it comes to Kendall’s day to day work load he has really enjoyed learning and using math behind keyword density, placement, and variation. Kendall’s father is a poet, which is how he has found a great love for words. But, his true love may remain within numbers. As he says, “He destroyed two years of calculus in High School”. Kendall might be new to the internet marketing niche, but he is no stranger to marketing in general. Kendall spent over a year doing marketing, sales, and web content development in the restaurant industry. He also received his undergraduate degree in Marketing from JMU. Alongside of Marketing, Kendall really enjoys computers; In his words, ‘I have a nerdy predisposition to computers.’ Kendall went on to quote Mitch Hedburg when asked where he may see himself in ten years, “Celebrating the ten year anniversary of you asking me this question.” But, on a serious note, Kendall feels that he will be in the same industry that he is in now. He hopes he is able to learn as much as he can from everyone who works here.
If Kendall is not at work he enjoys going to hip hop workshops once a week at VCU. He also enjoys, going to the gym with his older brother, running by the river, and volunteering with students from JMU through the nonprofit ministry, Young Life. If Kendall was not working in the internet marketing industry, he feels he would find himself starting his own traveling smoothie street cart. He feels that on hot days the closest smoothie shop is 4 miles away, with his smoothie street cart, it would create a lot more convenience. It would have the blender and all! Out of all the restaurants Richmond offers, Kendall would choose Europa in Shockoe Bottom as his favorite. He likes that they specialize in tapas, which are perfect for dates and he loves their dim mood lighting for ambiance in a social environment. Of the social media sites, Kendall finds the majority of his time spent on YouTube. Kendall has his own YouTube channel where his obsession may have started. He made a lot of comedic dance tutorial videos in college. The other reason he loves YouTube is that he is able to follow choreography of his favorite dances. He recently took a class at a famous studio in L.A. that he found online! All in all he loves that Youtube can revolutionize musician’s ability to market themselves without getting deals from giant record labels. Like some other employees at NSD, Kendall would love to visit Australia. He found out about their laid-back nature when he met a couple Australians while backpacking in Europe. When he goes to Australia, he has taken on the challenge to ride a kangaroo along the beach at sunset with the outback behind him. Let’s hope this challenge is successful! Kendall has brought a very humorous and positive personality to the NSD team and we are glad to have him here, welcome Kendall!
Last week eBay released their study on the effectiveness of PPC to the Harvard Business Review. The article on the eBay study, dubbed “Did eBay Just Prove That Paid Search Ads Don’t Work?” has created a lot of debate for companies who are currently utilizing PPC as an advertising medium.
So – could it be true? Is PPC an advertising enigma? Of course not! At the surface level many people would probably side with eBay in belief that pay per click does not work, but when taking a deeper look it is easy to see that their case was atypical. First, almost everyone already knows who eBay is and what they do. This is not true for most other businesses; especially local businesses. This is why PPC is important – to build brand awareness. Secondly, it is important to remember that eBay does not have ‘core products.’ When building a quality PPC campaign it is important to create text ads and center on keywords that focus on your businesses main or most profitable products so that you can clearly see your ROI. As for eBay, their buyable products are constantly changing, making it difficult to have targeted keywords and keyword rich text ads. eBay’s ever changing product list also gave them a little trouble when creating dynamic ads:
So, although eBay is not drinking the PPC Kool-Aide, it is important to remember that the best advertising method for one business may not be the best for the next business. Read the article for yourself and let us know that you think – but I believe you will find that indeed paid search ads DO WORK.
Have you ever tried setting up your own Google local listings? If so, is your listing’s status “active” or “needs action”? Becoming active on Google’s local listings can be quite a process. After filling in all information for your business, Google typically gives the option to send a postcard for verification. In some cases businesses are offered a phone or email verification. In the event one of those options are given you should always choose one of those before a postcard, solely because postcards take the longest to receive. But, even if you receive a pin and put it in your listing to be verified it goes through a pending review phase. This can take a few days or longer depending on Google. Once the review phase is over then your listing should become active.
There are times that listings do not go active and are declined because Google looks through the listing to make sure all information is accurate. If Google feels the listing is not valid it will decline the local listing. There are a few things that Google will penalize you for, those include:
- Using a P.O. box for a street address
- Moving your address to the city when you are located a little bit outside of it
- Adding directions within the street address (ex: across from the Starbucks)
- Adding locations that do not exist
- Having the map pinpoint not in the correct location
For phone numbers:
- Using an 800 number as a primary phone number
- Using a call tracking phone number
- Using location-based keywords
- Using brand name keywords
- Using fake local reviews (having employees write them or writing negative one’s about your competition)
There may be something valid about your company that Google sees as an issue and declines your listing; that is if your business does not have a storefront location. If you do not have a storefront and put in an address, then your local listing will most likely be declined. What you need to do is specify that you serve at the customer’s location and check the option that says do not display my address on the map listing. Then, there should be no problem.
We recommend when setting up your local listing to avoid any of the above bullets that can cause it to be declined. If you have any questions about local listings or need help with set up, please contact us.