SEO Archives - Max Height Web Solutions
Category Archives for "SEO"

SEO Best Practices – Does SEO Still Work?

SEO Best Practices - Does It Still Work

If you have a website, you have most likely heard the term SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is not just a buzzword. It is a relevant step in helping to increase the amount of traffic to your website. Proper SEO best practices should be followed at every stage of your website development – from the content of your web pages and blog articles to the insertion of images and other media.

How to Promote Your Blog to Increase Business

How to Promote Your Blog

A growing number of businesses are using blogs to increase traffic to their website and boost sales. It is an easy way to begin offering your clients or customers informative content, which can build trust and show your visitors that you value their time.

Setting up your blog can be fun, exciting, and challenging. After performing research on your market, creating your blog, and posting your first several blog posts, you are ready for the increase in traffic and sales. When you do not notice a significant boost in the number of visitors that come to your website, it can seem that all that work was for nothing.

The first thing you need to realize about using a blog to grow your business is that it can take time for your efforts to create positive results. Do not get discouraged. Creating a blog has not been a waste of your time. You just need to take a step back and ensure you are doing everything that you can to promote your blog.

Coming up with informative articles, creating a blog that is easy to navigate, and including proper search engine optimization is only half the battle. You need to reach out and begin promoting your blog to get the ball rolling. If you have not detected a spike in your daily traffic, thanks to your blog posts, then take a moment to look over these tips and suggestions to promote your blog.

Search for Hot Topics in Your Niche to Promote Your Blog

[su_pullquote align=”right”]Search for Hot Topics in Your Niche to Promote Your Blog Click To Tweet[/su_pullquote]

One reason that you may not be generating the traffic to your website that you would like is that you are not choosing the right topics. While you may think that the topics you are blogging about are of interest to your target demographic, the truth is in the numbers. If no one is showing an interest in your blogs, leaving comments, or sharing links, then you may need to reconsider the topics you are blogging about.

To find out what your potential clients or customers may be interested in, start browsing the blogs created by your competitors. Look at the topics that they are covering. You should not copy their content, but this could give you a better sense of the type of information that you may want to write about.

Another way to find hot topics is to use an online tool to find popular search terms or discover the most talked about blog posts. Google Adwords can be used for more than pay-per-click advertising. You can set up an account for free and then use the Keyword Planner Tool to look for the most popular search terms. BuzzSumo is another online resource that can offer additional insight into hot topics in your niche. With BuzzSumo, you can search a term and discover blog posts that have been shared the most on social media.

Avoid Adding External Advertising to Your Blog

When you look at other websites, or browse the internet, you will surely come across blogs that are plastered with advertisements. These ads can be distracting, overwhelming, and take away from the overall user experience that you are providing your visitors. Using ad placement, such as Google Adsense, may help you earn a few dollars, if you can gain enough traffic, but it takes away from your credibility as a business owner. It is also difficult to choose what types of products are advertised on your site, when using these ad placement services.

Instead of using external advertisements to generate a few dollars, you could include a couple affiliate marketing links – linking to the products or services that you feel will provide a benefit to your visitors. For example, say you have a website selling pet accessories, such as dog collars and food bowls. If you happen to find a legitimate website offering professional dog training or dog grooming, a service that you do not offer, you could contact the administrator of the website and see about setting up an affiliate linking program. If an affiliate program is not available, you could simply offer your visitors a link to the site in a blog post or in a sidebar widget.

Start Networking with Other Small Businesses in Your Niche

The online community is much like any business community – networking is an important aspect of increasing interest in your business. Start searching the internet to find other blogs within your niche or industry. Create a bookmark folder in your web browser containing about 20 blogs. Read several of their latest blog postings and leave a comment whenever you can think of a relevant question or comment.

Begin networking with the owners of these blogs, build a positive relationship with these blog owners. You do this either through direct messages using their online contact forms or by starting conversations with them through social media. Share information, ideas, interests, suggestions, and do not be scared to ask for advice.

Promote Your Blog by Building Backlinks to Your Website

Link building is a major part of driving more traffic to your website. Google and other major search engines use the number of backlinks to your website as a determining factor in search engine results. If you want to get to the first page of Google searches related to your business, you need quality backlinks.

A good place to start is with the blogs that you are attempting to network with. When you place comments on these blogs, you may be able to include a link to your website.

Social media is another source of backlinks. Always make sure that you share your posts, throughout all your social media profiles. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest, share each new post. If you are using WordPress for the creation of your blog posts, you can even use a plugin to automatically share new posts as they are published.

Join a Growing Community and Learn More About Online Business Promotion

[su_pullquote align=”right”]Join a Growing Community and Learn More About Online Business Promotion Click To Tweet[/su_pullquote]

If you want to learn more about how to promote your blog, take a look at some of the other articles on my site or feel free to contact me with your questions. I truly enjoy helping small business owners make the most out of their websites and would love to offer some further insight into promoting your business. In addition to the articles on this site, I have also created an online series of community webinars, the Web Presence Institute, which includes step by step instructions, training, and tips for using your website to gain more traffic and increase your overall sales.

Learn more about the Web Presence Institute and join a growing community of like-minded small business owners.

Your Business Website Should Be More Than an Online Business Card

business website

As you begin setting up your business website, whether you are designing the website on your own or hiring a professional to handle the task, one of the decisions you need to make is what web pages to include on your site. You also need to think about the content that will go on those pages. These steps are among the most important parts of setting up your website.

What are the Most Commonly Used Web Page Categories on a Business Website?

What are the Most Commonly Used Web Page Categories on a Business Website? Click To Tweet

Obviously, every website is going to have a homepage. This is where visitors will go when they first type in the URL of your website. This is the online “front door” of your business. First impressions go a long way, especially with a business website. You should make an effort to ensure your homepage represents your business. As soon as a visitor arrives on your homepage, they should have a good sense of what products or services you are offering.

Most websites will have more than just a homepage; though, there is a growing trend of building business websites that use a single page. This is often called an online business card. While this may provide an easy way to quickly throw a website together, it lacks the ability to include good search engine optimization. The size of your website is one of the factors used by search engines when determining search rankings.

Basically, you need more than just a homepage. Visitors will not want to have to scroll through an endless amount of content, in order to find what they are looking for. Here are some of the webpages that you will commonly find on business websites:

  • Homepage
  • Contact page
  • Services page
  • About page
  • Gallery or portfolio page
  • Testimonials

That is just a quick overview of some of the webpages that you may include on your website, but it is not necessarily your exact guideline. Before deciding on your final layout and website structure, you should brainstorm a list, which starts with a look at your competition.

Start by Looking at Your Primary Competition and Examine Their Webpages

Before you start creating webpages using WordPress or build a list to pass on to a website developer, you should take a look at your competition. Find three of your competitor’s websites. Explore their webpages and see what pages and functionality they use. See how their website is setup and the type of content that they prominently display. You should never to try imitate or copy your competition, but it is a good place to start – to gain a better understanding of the type of webpages and content to display.

Begin Building Your List of Webpages for Your Business Website

After examining your competition, start building your list of webpages. You will need a homepage, a contact page, and probably an about page, but the rest of the layout is up to you. As mentioned, your homepage is the first thing that most visitors will see.

The contact and about pages are also standard for most business websites. Even if you display your contact information along your header or footer, you should still include a contact page. In fact, many search engines lower the ranking of a website if the contact information of a business is not within one or two clicks of the landing page. Your contact page may include a contact form, so that visitors can easily send you message, along with the rest of your contact information.

The about page provides a good spot for giving your visitors a little more information about your business. Explain why you started your business, what your goals are, what you bring to the table that your competition ignores, and any other details that help flesh out your brand.

The homepage, about page, and contact page are part of your core business website; however, you should not stop there. If you are selling a product or service, you should probably build a product or service page – whether or not you are selling your products and services online. Provide an overview of your products and services, offering details and preferably including images of your products or services. You should also try to include a “call to action” after every product or service listing. This could be a “buy now” button, if you are selling online, or a link to a contact form where potential customers can request additional information.

Gallery or portfolio page can also be useful, especially if you have a physical product or want to showcase the benefits of a service. For example, your landscaping business could include a portfolio page which includes pictures of your well-groomed lawns. An interior designer may showcase some of their past projects. Think about how you can use images to represent the benefits of using your product or service.

Another page that you may want to include on your business website is a testimonial page. Customer testimonials show potential customers that you are a bona fide business. Do not have any testimonials? One method of acquiring testimonials is to send customers a questionnaire, after they have made a purchase. This questionnaire could include basic input, including comments about the product or service purchased, as well as a checkbox that customers can mark to give you permission to use their input in a testimonial.

You could also reach out to customers and ask for a quote about why they were happy using your products or services. While these are both good options for gathering testimonials, never harass your customers or demand that they provide you with input that you can use on your website.

Take the Time to Plan Out Your Business Website and Create Your Online Storefront

Take the Time to Plan Out Your Business Website and Create Your Online Storefront Click To Tweet

These are just a few steps that you may want to consider as you build your business website. Remember, your website needs to represent your business. A growing number of people rely on the internet for learning more about a business. Even if you operate a local business with walk-in customers, they may stop to look at your website before walking through your front door. Take the time to carefully plan out your online storefront, to match the brand you are creating for your business.

Building your own business website is not an overly complicated process, when you have the right tools and resources available to you. If at any time you feel overwhelmed with the process of setting up your website, there are many ways to seek help or find additional tips. Browse some of my other blog articles for further insight into managing an online business website or learn more about community webinars – as part of the Web Presence Institute. Receive in-depth training, tips, and suggestions, from an experienced website designer and online marketing expert.

5 Key Components of Effective Online Branding

For most businesses, a major part of success comes from the connection that they can make with their customers. This includes the building of your online brand. When you are able to expand your online branding, customers can easily identify what it is that you are offering and why they should choose your products or services.

What is Online Branding?

The term online branding gets tossed around a lot, but what exactly does it mean? Online branding simply refers to how your business entity is perceived by customers online. At the simplest level – your brand is your business or your primary products and services.

Online branding is a large factor, when it comes to increasing your online presence. Sure, you can spend money on pay-per-click advertising, targeted email campaigns, and other forms of online marketing, but those methods only bring the customers to your doorstep.

Why should they step inside and look at what you have to offer? If you have a clear, direct message, customers will know what to expect and will become more likely to explore your website and browse your products or services.

With effective online branding, you can reach more potential customers and drive more traffic to your website. To ensure you are going about the process of building your online brand correctly, look over these 5 key components for effective online branding.

#1 – Research Your Audience

The first step to take is researching your audience. If you want to build your brand, you need to know who your audience is. Learn more about what they are looking for. Determine who your key demographic is. Create a standard customer profile and include the typical age, gender, occupation, income, region, and interests of your core customers.

Obviously, you may not have a just one type of customer that you are targeting, but focusing on a specific demographic can help you learn how to effectively target your customers. By narrowing down your attention to a single customer profile, you can develop your marketing skills and begin building your online brand. Eventually, you will be able to take these same steps to target other demographics.

#2 – Decide On Your Message

After researching your core audience, decide on the message that you want to deliver. What is it about your products or services that you would like your customers to know about? Focus on creating a voice for your brand. Remain consistent with the way that you deliver your message. This includes the tone that you use in your marketing, blog articles, and product descriptions.

Keep this tone in mind, whenever you engage in any form of marketing. Speak to your audience, converse with them, but do not throw content at them.

#3 – Use Multiple Marketing Methods for Online Branding

[su_pullquote align=”right”]Use Multiple Marketing Methods for Online Branding Click To Tweet[/su_pullquote]

You should never fully rely on one method of marketing. Try to include multiple marketing efforts, including social media postings, blog articles, targeted email campaigns, and provide them with relevant content. In fact – the majority of the content that you deliver to your audience should be useful, relevant information that they can actually use.

As you explore different channels for reaching your audience, again, remember to focus on sticking to your original message and tone. Consistently use the same techniques to build your online brand. Inconsistency will drive them away or even confuse your audience.

#4 – Include Social Media Integration

As mentioned, social media posting should be a part of your marketing efforts. It is a great way to reach your audience and actively engage them in conversation. People can easily comment on your posting and ask you direct questions. They can share the information that you provide, building more backlinks for your website and increasing social media chatter.

If you have no idea what type of content you should be offering your audience, take a look at your competitors. You should never try to emulate your competition, but looking at their efforts, their branding, can help point you in the right direction. See if they are more active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google Plus.

#5 – Increase Exposure Using Online Branding

[su_pullquote align=”right”]Increase Exposure Using Online Branding Click To Tweet[/su_pullquote]

Using multiple marketing methods and including social media integration is all part of the overall goal – increasing your online exposure. Start building your online reputation and getting your name out there.

One way to increase your exposure is to network more with your peers. Increase your reputation as a voice of authority in your industry. Your peers will recognize your value and even share your posts and blog articles with their own customers.

Putting It All Together

Combining these concepts and putting it all together, you can begin promoting your online brand and expanding your market base. Always start with a solid profile of your core audience. Learn more about their interests. Use this information to decide on what type of message you need to deliver and the tone that you should use for your online brand.

Make sure that you employ a variety of marketing methods, with a large focus on social media integration. Interact with your customers and respond to their comments on social media or on your blog articles. Combine all of these methods to increase your online exposure and promote your brand.

The Web Presence Institute

Following these steps is not overly complicated, but if you need help – there are plenty of resources available, including a variety of webinars that will walk you through the process setting up your website, your social media profiles, and using online marketing to reach your customers. Learn more about the Web Presence Institute, in order to expand your online brand and increase your web presence.

How to Increase Business Opportunity Leads Using Blogs

Increase Leads

Generating new business opportunity leads is one of the key factors for success and business growth. As it turns out, blogging is one of the most effective ways to gather these leads, as well as grow your market base and reach more customers. Businesses that blog on a regular basis receive 55% more website visitors and 126% more leads than businesses that decide not to blog.

Blogging Improves Search Engine Optimization

How does blogging provide such an increase in leads and website traffic? Part of the reason stems from the improved SEO (search engine optimization). When you add a new blog article every week, or every couple of weeks, you are constantly adding fresh, new content to your website.

Search engines, including Google, place a priority on websites that are regularly updated. It makes sense that fresh content would be more relevant to a search query than older content. All it takes is two to four articles per month, to begin boosting SEO and attracting new visitors.

Increased Website Traffic Provides More Business Opportunity Leads

[su_pullquote align=”right”]Increased Website Traffic Provides More Leads Click To Tweet[/su_pullquote]

As your website gains more traffic, you will naturally gain more sales leads. Along with more web traffic and creating more leads, the sharing of your blog articles on social media will also help boost your potential leads.

People tend to share information that they find useful or articles that trigger an emotion. Let’s face it, there is no real reason for a website visitor to share a link to your homepage or services page with their friends and family on Facebook or Twitter. On the other hand, an article that offers beneficial information that provides real value is something that your customers may want to share with others.

Informative Blogs Improve Customer Trust

Your customers will appreciate the information that you provide. By sharing relevant, useful information, you are showing your customers that you care – that you want them to be able to find helpful information, tips, and suggestions, about topics related to the products, services, or industry that you are involved in.

Combining Blogging and Social Media

Blogging on a regular basis, combined with an effective social media strategy, helps you get your name out there and reach more people. This offers the best opportunity for instant feedback from your visitors. People will leave comments on blogs and across social media platforms.

Listen to what people have to say, where their interests lay, and what they are looking for. You can use this information to gain more insight about the interests and desires of your key demographics. You can communicate directly with your customers on a level that was not available before the rise of the internet. Harness the power of digital communication and connect with your customers through a combination of social media marketing and regular blogging.

Focus on Quality, Useful Information

The quality of the content that you post to your business blog is just as important as the frequency of your posts. Some businesses struggle to consistently release new, informative information. Without an effective strategy in place, you may not get the results that you want or generate any additional business opportunity leads. Your business growth is connected to these leads. This is how you reach out and attract new clients or customers.

Create Your Own Blog Articles or Hire Out

[su_pullquote align=”right”]Create Your Own Blog Articles or Hire Out Click To Tweet[/su_pullquote]

If you do not already have a blog on your business website, then you need to decide whether you want to create your own blog articles or hire out. Being able to devote the time to create original blog articles on a weekly basis is not a luxury that every business owner has. If you feel that you would not be able to keep up with a regular blogging schedule, then your best option is to hire someone else do it.

For a relatively small fee, you can begin taking advantage of the most effective form of marketing – blogging. You get to decide on the frequency of the posts, the topics, the tone and style, and whether you would like to combine this with a social media posting strategy.

When you compare services for quality blog writing and social media posting to other forms of marketing, you will quickly see that blogging offers the best return on investment for business opportunity leads. Pay-per-click advertising, targeted email campaigns, and press releases can all cost hundreds of dollars per month, in order generate sales, while blogging is relatively inexpensive.

Best of all – it does so much more than just draw visitors to your website. Unlike other forms of marketing, you actually get to connect with your customers, build trust, and learn more about what they think and are interested in. If you want to make the most of your marketing efforts, or if have not yet introduced a marketing strategy to your business, blogging is the place to start. Begin with a blog article per week and get ready to connect with your customers like never before.

What is SEO and How Does Using WordPress Help?

Max Height Web Solutions - SEO

SEO is a term that I am sure most people have heard tossed around in discussions and articles about business websites, but what exactly is SEO? First off, SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and if you consider the term, it is a fairly direct phrase. With SEO, a web page is being optimized for search engines, ensuring they can properly inspect a website and gather accurate information about the web pages. But that is just a generalization of SEO, there is much more to it, and using a website platform, such as WordPress, can streamline and improve the process of optimizing a website for search engines. Learn more about how search engine optimization is crucial to getting noticed online and how WordPress can help.

Using SEO to Increase Search Engine Rankings

The primary goal of SEO is to increase web page rankings on SERPs (yes, I am throwing another term at you), which stands for “search engine results pages”. When an internet user performs a search, the search engine provides a list of pages that they have determined will be most relevant and most helpful to the user’s search query. In order to determine the relevance of web pages, search engines employ a number of techniques and complicated algorithms, but first, they must look at a variety of criteria on the millions of web pages out there.

Search engines “crawl” web sites and create a record of what they find. They will follow the links on the pages, scroll through the content, and add information to their databases. While search engines use hundreds of pieces of specific information to determine SERP rankings, there is a handful of areas that every website owner should pay attention to. This includes the content of the web page, the use of a keyword phrase or phrases to focus on, the number of back-links to the page, the amount of social media sharing that links to the page, structure and layout of the page, as well as page load time. Ensuring a web page is setup with this criteria in mind in order to increase rankings on SERPs is the main focus of SEO.

The more often a website appears towards the top of SERPs, the more visitors that page will get. If you want to increase your online exposure, your website needs to include proper SEO techniques.

If you want to increase your online exposure, your website needs to include proper SEO techniques. Click To Tweet

Using WordPress Can Improve SEO

Okay, now that we covered the basics of what SEO is and why it is important, we should discuss how WordPress can help. With WordPress, a website is built from a theme and then edited and re-designed to meet the needs of each business. Once the site is built, a template is in place that each web page on the website will use. The web pages get added using the WordPress dashboard, which includes many enhancements that can help improve SEO, such as:

  • The ability to add custom Meta titles and descriptions
  • Using categories and tags for structured internal linking
  • Ensuring proper SEO is used when adding images
  • Offering an array of useful WordPress plugins

The WordPress dashboard makes it easy to ensure each new page has a custom title and description that is specific to that page and not auto-generated by search engines using the first sentence from the web page. Focus keyword phrases can easily be added to the title and description as the page is created.

Taxonomy is another area where WordPress helps improve SEO – namely the use of categories and tags, which are a useful function provided by WordPress. As a web page is created, categories and tags are chosen to help relate similar content from the website. If you think of your website as a large book full of useful information, the categories are individual chapters and the tags are like the index. This helps user navigation and search engine optimization. WordPress actually creates an additional web page each time a category or tag is added. The additional internal links generated by these pages increases a website’s overall SEO.

Whenever adding an image to a webpage, both the TITLE and “ALT” tags should be filled out to include brief descriptions of the image. The purpose of the ALT tag is to help those that are visually impaired and relying on a program to read them the content of a webpage or if the image fails to load; though, over time, the use of ALT tags has become a determining factor in SERP rankings and offers an additional opportunity to use focus keyword phrases. WordPress has made it simple to add images and has included a spot for entering text for both the TITLE and ALT tags each time an image gets added to a page.

WordPress SEO Plugins

WordPress itself can provide numerous SEO benefits, but one of the largest advantages is through the use of quality plugins. By adding an XML sitemap plugin, the sitemap automatically gets updated each time a new web page is added. Some of these sitemap plugins will even resubmit the updated sitemaps directly to the top search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Other than sitemap plugins, there are a variety of useful plugins that focus on good SEO techniques, such as WordPress SEO by Yoast. These plugins will allow a user to choose a specific keyword phrase for each web page and then keep track of how often it gets used throughout the page as well as verify that all search engine optimization techniques are followed before the page gets published. Best of all, many of these WordPress SEO plugins are free to use and updated on a regular basis.

WordPress itself can provide numerous SEO benefits Click To Tweet

Search engine optimization does not have to be an overly complicated process; though, the amount of competition and the number of people working to make sure their own websites, or websites belonging to their clients, achieve the highest search rankings does increase the stakes. By using WordPress, and possibly a helpful WordPress plugin, anyone can ensure their website is using quality SEO. If you want to learn more about the benefits of good SEO and using WordPress for the design of your own custom website, then please take a look at some of my other articles or send me a message.