SEO Scams Around Many Corners: Be Careful

Sometimes you can smell a search engine optimization (SEO) scam and sometimes they’re more clever.

If you want to guard your money and avoid some headaches, keep these simple tips in mind:

1. Does the potential consultant contact you in the middle of the night through e-mail? I doubt it’s a sign of a robist 24×7 operation.
2. What e-mail address do they use? If it’s Gmail, run fast. If they’re not even part of an established business or use Gmail to conceal their business, you don’t want to give them any thought.
3. Do they offer a guarantee? I don’t know anyone who can call in favors with search engines and land the #1 position. They’re lying or deceiving you in some way. I can get you to rank #1 for all sorts of phrases that no one will ever use. I doubt that you would like search engine rankings and no correspoinding web site visitors.
4. If you can look at their web site, what do you see? How evident is their address? Do they allow you to ask for examples of their work?
5. Finally, find out if they have any standing in the industry. Check out their blog and see whther they have produced any expert articles, guides or white papers.

World Synergy Study: U.S. Small Businesses Fail to Keep Up with SEO

small business seo studySearch engine optimization (SEO) has been around since the mid 1990s, but most small businesses seem to be out of touch when it comes to leveraging the online marketing opportunity.

Our new study, “Small Businesses Just Don’t Get SEO,” takes a close look at 200 diverse small businesses that typically don’t do enough to help with their search engine visibility. Who wouldn’t want to be one of the first web sites to appear on the search results page when someone conveys their product or service interest by the keyword they use on Google, Yahoo! or Bing?

Unfortunately, 62% of all small businesses don’t rank on the first page of Google for even a single keyword. And we were generous with some of the keyword rankings we tested. In quite a few cases, the phrases reflected small local cities that matched the locations of the businesses. If we had included some more competitive keyword phrases, the percentage of companies that don’t rank would be more like 80%.

Get your FREE copy of the 25-page SEO small business study today.

With Local SEO, Never Neglect Home Page or the Rest of Your Web Site

Web sites can succeed or fail on many levels – in huge or small ways.

Local search engine optimization (SEO) can be a major oversight or a minor one depending on how much you depend on the Internet to sustain sales or grow your business.

local seoThe Internet has plenty of opportunities off-site for local SEO – like Google Places (a pizza shop is just one of countless examples of small businesses that can benefit from local SEO).

But you really should start with your home page, other key pages of your web site and then look for other ways to establish your presence among search engine results:

Here are some tips for your own web site:
1. Get your full address in text on your home page. You may as well place it up high if you want people to find you.
2. Provide more details on your contact page – like a map, directions, etc.
3. Mention your address wherever it’s appropriate – like on product or service pages. Why force people to hunt for your contact page to learn how to find your business?
4. Add testimonial pages that can reference cities and communities you serve.
5. Add case studies – with or without customer names. You can always include the city where you provided your outstanding service.
6. Look for places to list an assortment of cities where you serve customers. If you’re clever, you can work in some county names and zip codes. The home page may be just one of the logical spots.
7. Be sure to link local references within your text, connecting internal pages with the links.

Would you like to know more about local SEO? Contact us today.

Search Engines Rule with Local Businesses

People have a lot of options when seeking  local businesses like bars, restaurants and clubs.

Pew Internet Project recently explored the trends and found that search engines beat out other sources when consumers start looking for what they need.

The report, “Where people get information about restaurants and other local businesses,” found that 55% of adults favor the Internet to find places to eat and entertainment hot spots. And 36% cite search engines are their favorite place to begin. Less popular options included newspapers (31%) and word of mouth (23%).

People still have confidence in search engines because they keep delivering what people want (even with new features and changing algorithms).

What’s the takeaway? While this study was focused on eating and entertainment, you can bet that people will search locally for all sorts of businesses. How visible is yours? Contact our Internet marketing firm today to get our help.

Defending the Art of SEO Consulting: Dan Zarrella Is Wrong

seo serviceI admire Dan Zarrella (@danzarrella), an author, speaker and nationally recognized marketing expert also known as the Social Media Scientist at HubSpot.

But he sure blew it last week (and apparently other times) during his outstanding webinar, “The Science of SEO!” With an audience of thousands, he repeatedly told attendees: “don’t hire an SEO consultant” in most situations. Instead, people should invest in content producers.

I’m sure it rankled me because we specialize in search engine optimization and other online marketing strategies.

But let’s dive right into this topic that gets people fired up. Dan keeps championing the notion that businesses can get by without an expert at their side. In the webinar and in other mediums, he suggests that SEO will take care of itself if the web site is supported by compelling content.

It’s just not true. People are often confused by SEO.

To help counter his misinformation, I’m going to take a look at several key factors that center more on reality than mere hubris.

Can companies succeed without experts?
Every business clearly doesn’t turn to seasoned pros to help them out. People attend conferences, read books and put some tactics to work – with marked improvement.

What they may lack is an eStrategy, a comprehensive plan that connects the online and offline marketing activities with clear business objectives. In other words, businesses should tie everything together rather than work in silos with different marketing options.

Is SEO so simple that anyone can learn it?
It’s always changing, so I don’t know how anyone could possibly label SEO simple. Dan and others with backgrounds in SEO know that there is power in content, page titles, page headers, inbound links and more. The problem is that companies don’t often know what to do with all of the data and decisions. Even the professionals sometimes view SEO as a one-time exercise and never look back at the pages they targeted.

Can good content solve everything?
What’s good content? How often do you stumble across it? Good content (interesting and entertaining articles, free guides, tools, studies, white papers, case studies, collections of viral videos, etc.) can attract inbound links (a huge factor with search engine rankings). But if you have the wrong keyword strategy, the link efforts can fall short.

Get our free SEO guide about web site content.

Can’t content and link building pay off a little?
Yes, you can get visitors (if they’re the right type) from referring links. You can amplify your efforts with social media. With SEO, it all comes back to the keywords you have in play and how you’re using them. That can make the difference.

Some professionals suggest that you just research keywords and just go for it (I’m not making that up). Really? I always thought keyword research should be thorough. I thought the selections should be based on:

  • Relevancy
  • Competition
  • Current search engine rankings
  • Domain name
  • Page URLs
  • Page content
  • Trends in web analytics
  • Web site age
  • Capacity to add new content
  • And much, much more

Anyone can make headway if they give it a try, but what’s the foundation? Where is the wisdom?

Over the years, I’ve heard people proclaim that “SEO is dead” or it’s not “rocket science.”

Well, it’s not a piece of cake and it is thriving. Just last week, we wrote about the Merchant Circle study of 2,500 small businesses who were asked “If you had to put all your marketing time and budget into only one channel, what would it be?”

Guess what came out on top? SEO  by 32.9 percent. Don’t assume that the response means they are all doing it on their own.

Can pages rank on search engines without an SEO strategy?
What would they rank for? Page content is crawled and indexed by search engines all of the time. If you string together some unique text and search for it, you may be No. 1 on Google. But is anyone even searching for that phrase? What good is a top ranking if no one is looking?  Just because you write insightful content and throw in a page title (with your best guess at keywords) doesn’t mean you’ll be No. 1 among the organic search engine results.

Some would argue that the page and the web site will benefit from good links. Yes, links influence search engine rankings. But what’s the content? What are the links? What effort did it take to achieve them? What’s the anchor text strategy? How much content is on the page? Are there related pages? And what is the keyword focus for the page?

People can study SEO and apply what they learn.

But I talk with businesses all of the time. The top executives often don’t have time. Their staff are stretched to the max. And when people do learn,  they may not know how to make sense of the data or their options. In other words, while some do well, others aren’t sure where to begin.

The world still needs SEO consultants – not just for the big and elaborate web sites. All sorts of businesses could use guidance.

And good content doesn’t come naturally. It requires creativity and hard work. With the right strategy, it can deliver in a big way.

Some rankings are possible without the knowledge offered by a long-term SEO professional. Web sites can attract visitors beyond the branded keyword phrases. But who wants to put online marketing in cruise control and settle for limited web site visitors?

Collectively speaking, let’s avoid the sweeping statements and dig a little deeper. Keywords are competitive even at the local level. Long tail keywords are a must in many cases. Making the right choices with content and keywords requires skill and effort.

I have a blast every time I get to help businesses of all sizes benefit from what I’ve learned since the late 1990s- because they thought to ask for help in the first place.

We would like to hear from you too.

At World Synergy, we don’t leave people in the cold or confused by search engine optimization. We’ll be there to help you sort out SEO and related opportunities — on and off the Internet.

SEO – CPA Firms Falling Short with Search Engine Optimization

World Synergy today released a comprehensive study revealing how accounting and CPA firms are primarily falling short with search engine optimization (SEO).

When Will SEO and Accounting Firms Add Up?,” is a new study that looks at 200 small and large accounting firms across the nation to explore their use of basic SEO fundamentals including domain name choice, implementation of keywords in page names and page titles, adoption of social media, inbound links and other factors impacting search engine rankings.

The study finds that 62% of CPA and accounting firms are not ranking in the top 10 results for the search engine Google, only 20% of large accounting firms use a keyword in their domain name and 63% of small accounting firms have fewer than 25 inbound links.

“It’s clear that many firms aren’t paying enough attention to SEO,” said Mike Murray, author of the study and web strategy thought leader of Online Marketing Coach, a service of World Synergy.  “They have some momentum, but aren’t seeing the whole picture.”

At World Synergy our services includes a combination of search engine optimization, business strategy, online marketing, communications and design (print and online), application development and computing infrastructure architecture expertise.  For more information about the CPA study or to determine how World Synergy can help your organization with online marketing solutions and website marketing services, contact Mike Murray at 440.349.4940 ext. 635

SEO Keyword Tools — Managing Your SEO Campaign

To Do, or Not To Do With Your SEO Campaign

An effective search engine optimization campaign can be beneficial to your company and increase your ROI, but only if it’s executed properly by online marketing experts.

There is no such thing as a perfect SEO campaign. SEO tactics involve several trial and error cases using SEO keyword tools. You can’t know every keyword or phrase to be targeting. It takes knowledge and expertise when picking out which keyword to optimize for.

But there is no room for common mistakes that can be avoided or fixed.

Here are 5 common mistakes when it comes to search engines marketing:

  1. The Endless Yellow Brick Road
    Keyword optimization is a journey of opportunities and obstacles. It’s not just a one-time attempt. It takes time and effort. You can work on the infrastructure of a website, while achieving higher rankings and driving more traffic. Adjustments and changes are expected with old keywords and new, fresh ones.
  2. The Unforgotten Page Title Tags
    Too often companies miss out on a powerful opportunity of including keywords in title tags. Companies need to take the time to test different keywords to see which ones will work and which ones don’t. Don’t forget, you can also spruce things up and include your company’s name.
  3. SEO OVERBOARD!
    Don’t try to tackle too many SEO tactics all at once. You will never know which strategy was more effective. Pace your tasks and make baby changes overtime. A ranking can simply improve by changing a graphic to text.
  4. Content. What’s that?
    Content! Content! Content! I can’t say it enough. Little to nothing content on a page isn’t going to cut it. By adding more phrases and paragraphs, it can make a big improvement with your keyword rankings. You can add little summaries with subheads, cross-reference links, include a testimonial. I could go on. At the end of the day, short pages aren’t going to deliver.
  5. Results, Results, Results!
    ROI isn’t just a completed a conversion. Businesses shouldn’t ignore the results of keywords ranking top of search engines or a significant increase of traffic to your website. Acknowledge and honor those improvements by including them in your list of ROI. Some baby improvements to a website can help increase your ROI. Ask yourself, is my website really effective? Does the colors and themes mesh-well? Is the website user friendly and easy to navigate? Do I have too much crammed in the navigation? Where’s my call to action-is it visible?

For more information on how to manage your SEO Campaign, contact World Synergy’s online marketing consultants.

A New Way to Work with Online Marketing Consultants

We’ve taken the mystery out of planning with online marketing consultants.

Online Marketing Coach, a service of World Synergy, today launched a comprehensive Online Marketing Navigator Package. It’s designed to help businesses understand potential strategies without needing to commit to a long-term contract.

Online Marketing Coach was started by industry veteran Mike Murray who recently joined World Synergy as the Web Strategy Thought Leader.

The Online Marketing Navigator Package includes:

  • Target market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Preliminary keyword research
  • Web site design evaluation
  • Call to Action analysis
  • Search engine rankings
  • Measurement
  • Opportunities to improve ROI

Some online marketing consultants ask for a long-term commitment before they’re willing to offer their insights and knowledge.

Not us.

We want businesses to feel comfortable about their online marketing opportunities. Our online marketing consultants are ready to help your company get started today.

Do you have an online marketing plan? We can help you define your next steps.

Get more details here.

Know SEO's Role Among Website Marketing Services

Mike Murray, World Synergy’s Web Strategy Thought Leader, has launched a new blog series called “SEO Is NOT a Candy Store” to help marketers and business owners understand the complexities of search engine optimization (SEO) among other website marketing services.

The series with video segments will look at a wide array of SEO issues – from web designers’ skills and promises to link building and Calls to Action.

Visit Online Marketing Matters to follow the series.

Website marketing services include many different disciplines, but SEO is among the most complex because it involves many technical considerations. Success involves diverse website factors – not  just having text on a page.

Website Marketing Strategy — How to Get a Short Facebook URL

In order to get a shorter URL for your Facebook page, you need at least 25 likes. You cannot get a shorter URL until you reach this threshold.

Once you have 25 likes, you’ll need to be logged into Facebook. You must use an individual’s personal account who is an administrator of the page (Business Accounts cannot shorten the URL).

Next, visit http://www.facebook.com/username/.

On the username page, Facebook will allow you to set a personal URL for your personal page. Below, it will say “Set a Username for Your Pages.” Click on this, then select the page from the drop down menu that you want to shorten.

You will be asked to type in your desired username. For example, “WorldSynergy.” NOTE: you must use at least five characters. Then, click “Check Availability.” If the username is available, click confirm. You now have a shortened URL for your Facebook page, for example, www.facebook.com/worldsynergy.

For more website marketing strategy tips get your very own complimentary “25 Ways to Succeed Online” guide.