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What is Google E-A-T and Why it Matters

Way back in 2013 Google released a 160-page search quality evaluator guidelines paper. The document revealed that good content is among the top three webpage-quality factors. It went on to define high-quality content as content that demonstrates a high level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T). In August of 2018, Google released an algorithm update, and SEO experts determined that sites with low E-A-T suffered the most from the algorithm update. If you’re looking to optimize your SEO in Omaha or to improve your web marketing, this is an essential read.

Expertise

Google’s search quality guidelines have identified two types of expertise: Formal and Everyday Expertise.

  • Formal: Especially in the medical, financial, and legal industries, a certified professional is considered the most reliable source of expertise. This is because if incorrect information is published in these areas, the chances of putting consumers at risk dramatically increases.
  • Everyday Expertise: The Google guide document states “For some topics, the most expert sources of information are ordinary people sharing their life experiences on personal blogs, forums, reviews, discussions, etc.”

The takeaway here is that you won’t necessarily need someone with credentialed expertise to fulfill the “expertise” factor is you’re working with a professional writer or are one yourself.

Authority

Authority is all about proving to your audience that the content on your website is legit. If your website falls under the “everyday expertise” category showing credentials aren’t as important. You can show authority by adding the author’s job title to their byline or linking to their professional website or full bio.

  • Cite Your Research – If your content creators aren’t “experts” thorough research and proper citation will make up for it. Linked sources is a signal to Google that you’re correctly attributing sources. Make sure your sources are high-quality backlinks. 
  • A Good Reputation – Reviews, and good reviews are critical. Most people rely heavily on reviews when considering using a company’s product or services. The Google guidelines state “Popularity, user engagement, and user reviews can be considered evidence of reputation.” Responding promptly and providing top notch customer service should be a part of your social media content strategy giving your customers plenty of motivation to leave you a positive review.

Trust

Transparency builds trust with your audience. Your website should clearly communicate who you are, how you make money, and that you will do what you say you will do.  If you’re accepting payments on your website users need to feel like payments can be accepted safely and appropriately. Your site should have a proper SSL certificate even if you’re not accepting any form of payment.  Providing helpful content rather than just trying to sell is another way to build trust.

  • Secure & Transparent – Be crystal clear about who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Make sure your site is secure and people know it.
  • Be Helpful – The whole idea behind content marketing is to provide value to your audience. Google is continually refining their algorithm with this in mind. They’re also using real people to determine if websites and web pages are meeting these criteria. Your content should either help or teach your audience something about a topic that is relevant to your business. Just trying to sell without giving value first is a trust buster.

The Big Takeaway for Google E-A-T

If you’re thinking that creating content that satisfies the E-A-T guidelines will take time, you’re right. The Google guidelines state it clearly, “We will consider content to be low quality if it is created without adequate time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill.”

The good news is you don’t need to become a content creator to satisfy Google E-A-T. There are plenty of affordable experts you can outsource who can create valuable user experiences for your customers. And before you know it, Google will recognize and reward you.

Local SEO, Paid Ads, Website SEO: Why all Three Matter

A business providing services to a local market should not underestimate the importance of local SEO services. Local SEO efforts often produce more website traffic and more leads. Higher conversions result when your local listings are optimized to accurately reflect your business information, products and services.

Our Omaha SEO team can tell you over and over about why local search engine optimization is important, but how about I just SHOW you. But before I do… let me tell you one more time.

GMB, Apple Maps and Yelp are all big players in local SEO

An optimized Google My Business (GMB) listing will help you pull up in Google for relevant searches – as this information pulls into the local map-pack, which has high visibility. Get a Step-By-Step Guide for setting up your GMB page, if you don’t already have one.

Your Apple Maps listing helps your business rank well for Siri voice command searches. And with over 700 million iPhones current being used worldwide, many users are using Siri search on their iPhones. And, Yelp provides Apple with access to some of its business page information, including reviews. So, optimizing your information and managing reviews for Yelp could not only assist you in organic rankings, but can also help with visibility in Apple Maps.

OPTIMIZE MY LOCAL SEARCH

To help you visualize

Here’s an example Google search for Dentist Omaha.

Paid Ads, Map Pack and Organic Search Results Illustration

You will see the paid ads appear at the top of the page, then the map pack, then organic results. Then at the bottom of the page are more paid ads.

What does this mean?

This image shows us two things. First, it shows us the importance of having a local SEO strategy. The map pack pulls in GMB pages organically based on the search query, matching the GMB listing with the keyword(s) being searched. And, the first organic result is from Yelp. While that isn’t the case for every search result for every product of service Yelp still ranks well for local product and service queries.

Second, this image shows the need for a holistic approach to your web marketing strategy. A Google Ads strategy partnered with local search optimization AND website search engine optimization efforts will help your business appear in all three sections.

OPTIMIZE MY LOCAL SEARCH

Why you Should Optimize for Local Search

Local Search pulls results into the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) based on businesses and places near a user’s location. These local search results appear in the map, commonly referred to as the map pack or three pack, and results.

Being present in local search for relevant searches can dramatically affect your impact, pushing quality traffic and increasing conversions. Three critical places our Omaha SEO team pushes for local search impact is Google My Business (GMB), Apple Maps and Yelp. In fact, we’re offer a FREE optimization of all three of these platforms during December 2018.

Google Maps local search icon

Why is local search so important?

If you’ve done a Google search for a product or service, you’ve noticed that Google is putting more and more emphasis on serving results from its server instead of pages from individual websites. This is by design and is only the beginning of how Google plans to morph in a source of knowledge, instead of serving a knowledge buffet.

Considering these ongoing changes, local search is more important than ever. With its prominent placement on SERPS, the map pack can provide big results for your local business in the search engines. This information is pulled in through Google My Business account information.

Google serves its local results based on three main factors: relevance, distance and prominence.

HELP ME OPTIMIZE FOR LOCAL SEARCH

Of course, you should care about Google My Business.

An optimized GMB page is necessary for success in local results on Google. Not only does it appear in relevant searches on the map pack, but it also provides quick, easy to access business information for customers and prospects.

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO SET UP GMB

Knowing that Google serves its results by relevance, distance and prominence, and that the most visible results are being served by Google’s servers, its easy to see why GMB is an important factor for local SEO success. All three of these factors play upon your accuracy and investment into the page. There is no way to pay for better local ranking on Google, but by filling your GMB page with accurate information and actively managing the listing your going to make progress toward being found on local search results.

screenshot of Google Search local map pack results

Why care about Apple Maps & Yelp?

If you’re not an Apple user, you probably don’t use Apple Maps. But you’ve likely heard of it, having marred with bugs and broken data partnerships. Nevertheless, Apple has put big money into fixing its Apple Maps App and its reputation over the last couple of years.

Apple Maps is relevant because over 700 million iPhones are currently being used worldwide, and many of these users use the default Siri search on their phone. Siri returns Apple Maps results and, in fact, to use Google Maps on an iOS requires an additional step to query a local business, product or service. With the popular rise of voice command search it’s clearly important to have an optimized listing on Apple Maps.

As for Yelp, it provides Apple with access to some of its business page information. And instead of building its own database for reviews, they utilize Yelp reviews. So, by optimizing and managing your Yelp listing to include accurate information and responses to reviews, you are syncing with Apple Maps to provide it better data.

Get in on local search optimization NOW

Do not wait to use these free tools for local SEO. Not only will these tools help you be found in local results, but when optimized and managed well, will help you to complete on Google amid its changing algorithms.

Want to make sure you get this local optimization in the bag? During December 2018 we are offering a FREE local search optimization, so don’t miss out.

OPTIMIZE MY LOCAL SEARCH

How to choose the right keyword

Selecting a keyword seems easy. In theory, you would select what you think your customers might type into Google to find you. But to do this process well, there are many things to consider. After all, is not about getting traffic, it’s about getting the right traffic.

The right keyword will bring in more potential leads, leading to more conversions. Additionally, the right traffic will stay on your website investing time in what you have to offer. This leads to low bouncerates and increased time on page – both important factors for search engine success.

keyword search icon

How do I start?

We recommend asking prospects and current customer how they found your businesses. After a while you may find a trend in the keyword or keyword phrase people are using.

This can get a bit complex if you’re a business who provides many different services. For instance, we have an architecture and engineering client who provides 10 different services. You cannot optimize for all 10 services, but you can begin to question prospects and find some potential trends and keywords that stand out among the others. Additionally, in this situation, you can provide good, informative, keyword-rich content on each unique service page for good page performance.

Once you’ve gathered some ideal keywords, search these keywords in the search engines to find how you currently perform under these keywords verses your competition, and any others you think might be a good fit.

Help me gather ideal keywords

Digging into keyword data

Ideally, you would use data to make final decisions about your keywords. There are many free tools available that can help including Google Analytics, Search Console, Moz and SEM rush.  These tools can give you some basic info about bouncerates, time on page, keywords, backlinking and information about your competition.

At the very least:

Check your website’s bouncerate: If your bouncerate is high for organic search, it’s likely that the right users are not finding your website.

Check search console: Search Console should be able to tell you the keywords you’re being found under. Go to search.google.com/search-console then performance. You’ll see a list of queries (keywords), clicks and impressions.

High volume, low competition: Google Ad Words Keyword Planner Tool is a good starting point. Here you can pull data on your potential keywords, along with other related keywords, and find the volume of searches for each. Ideally you want keywords with a decent amount of searches and low competition.

Help me gather data

In it to win it

For our Omaha SEO team, the value of a keyword is determined through data and testing. Depending on your industry and the competition, demand may be high for your ideal keywords or phrases. This just means there may be more work to achieve high rankings. So you need to be all-in.

Making a commitment to an SEO strategy is a commitment to invest time, resources and, often, patience. Constantly reanalyzing data, making tweaks, reanalyzing, making more tweaks. Occasionally the data indicates a need for major overhauls. Going the DIY route can be a lot of time spent for mediocre results, but a team of SEO experts can put in the hard work for the desired results.

Help me pick the right keyword

Make Your Website Faster: Tips to Increase Page Load Speed

In a time where Google puts its highest priority on user experience, and users are not willing to wait for much of anything… website load time is a critical factor for search engine rankings and retaining potential leads.

There are many factors to consider: browser, website host, device, page content, etc. But first, let’s start with YOUR website’s load time.

What’s my website loading speed?

You can check page load time through a couple avenues. If you use Chrome, you can use the Chrome extension “Page Load Time” or a separate tracker like Pingdom. You can also check if your website is loading fast enough for you visitors by checking your bounce rate. Bounce rate can be seen through Google Analytics. If the bounce rate is high, it can indicate load time is too slow. High bounce rate can also negatively impact Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Google Webmaster recommends a maximum of 2 second load time for an ecommerce website, but Google aims for a half a second. That’s fast.

Help Check my Website Speed

frustrated user waiting for website to load

How to make my website faster

Compress: The file size that the browser renders is king. The smaller the image the faster the load time. Here are some tips to optimize your images for faster website load time.

  • Resize your images before you upload them onto a page. Don’t load a 5000x3500px image when your image on the page displays at 500×300. Your browser needs to calculate this resizing, and this takes time.
  • Remove all the metadata from an image to reduce the image size. For example, you don’t need to know what camera was used, where the photo was taken, etc… This can bloat the filesize that the browser needs to render. This takes time.
  • Consider compressing your CSS and Javascript files so that they are condensed into fewer files and the overall bytes loaded is smaller. This can make future edits to your site tedious and time consuming, so be sure to consult your web developer and get their advice before doing this.
  • Consult your website hosting provider about how to utilize gzip to serve your website files to browsers. Compressing the resources that the browser requests can allow your browser to get information faster.

Help me Compress

Design, Coding & Content: The three main factors when building a website, all contributing to website load time. Here are some tips to optimize website design, coding and website content for fast website load time.

  • Remove the junk. Many prebuilt templates are built to sell and have ALL the features. By the time you have your content, images, page structure, etc. established, you’re left with a lot of dead weight you’re not using. Delete as much unnecessary data from your template as possible, including images, plugins and posts.
  • If speed is a top priority, consider getting a custom-built template. Often, prebuilt templates are built in a complex way to hide code, making it harder for others to “borrow” code. These hiding techniques are good at making it difficult to borrow, but they also sometimes make a browser load more files, or the structure of the code causes render blocking (some sections on the site cannot render until all the appropriate files are loaded). This can increase load time and create the illusion that the page loads extremely slow.
  • During the website design process, don’t force a ton of heavy elements into your design: Use fewer photos, host videos on YouTube, consider less “moving content” like ajax loading or lazy-load content.

Optimize my Design

Other Considerations: Consider utilizing the open source Accelerated Mobile Pages provided by Google. Basically, Google renders a snapshot of your site instead of reloading it for mobile users, so it loads lightning fast. But be sure to understand the problems with caching for this method of Google displaying your content.

How to design a fast website

The best route to go is to ditch the out-of-the-box solution and partner with a website design and SEO company. If you’re working with a team that builds websites to look beautiful with best SEO practices in mind, website load time will be considered through every step of the process.

Our website design and Search Engine Optimization Omaha team considers website load speed from the initial planning stages through our SEO strategy implementation. So, if you want to know how to design a fast website, let us know, or we can make it happen for you.

Make My Website Fast

Why is Quality Content Important?

The short answer… quality content is important because it’s important to the search engines. There’s not a single client who walks through our door who doesn’t care about success in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). And if Google loves good content, then you should too! The strategy of website design has made major shifts over the last few years. The goal has always been for good user experience; and years ago, our Omaha web designers and web developers would put most of the focus on functional and beautiful design for the best experience possible. Functional and beautiful design are still important to user experience, but now we must also put heavy emphasis on website content. So, let’s approach your website from a more holistic point of view. Let’s build a website that is both beautiful to the eye and rich in valuable information.

Where should you start?

google search example image You can start by understanding how results are served on Google. Google’s algorithm is multifaceted and based on more than 200 factors. But Google’s focus when serving results is relevance. Google does not see the design of your website, but instead sees the words and their location. Because of Google’s commitment to serving relevant websites and content, high quality content serves itself. This is not keyword stuffed content. This is content that is readable, that is appropriately placed on the correct page, that is keeping a user on your website. This is more than just plunking in a keyword every-so-often.

So, you think you optimized your pages…

You’ve selected your primary keywords based on what you think your potential customers are searching. Or even better, perhaps, you’ve partnered with our Omaha SEO team to do some in-depth keyword research and analysis. And you’ve tried to integrate your keywords into your web page titles and H1’s, and as frequently as possible into your content. (We offer this service as a one-time SEO optimization.) But if your website content is only a few sentences per page, with very little substance, your efforts hold very little weight in the search engines. In fact, it’s often more beneficial for you to invest in creating valuable content than implementing our one-time SEO optimization.

What’s the next step?

icon to show searching through website pages The only way to know your best way forward is to analyze how your website is performing. Though Google Analytics and Search Console you can see how each page is ranking, how you’re performing for your desired keywords, and what your user time on site and bouncerates are for each individual page. Quality content is going to establish, at least three critical factors for SEO success:
  1. The search engines will read it and rank it according to its context and value.
  2. Users will read the content, because it is relevant and valuable to them, increasing user time on site
  3. Users will likely be funneled into the website, decreasing user bounce rate.
If your questioning the value of any page on your website, I’d venture to say you probably need to rewrite it. And as a website design company who approaches your website from a holistic point of view, quality content is not only important from an SEO perspective, but also from a design perspective. Did you know that we have a copywriter on staff? Quality content is worth the time and financial investment because it can, and will, bring in new business. So, let us help you improve on every facet of your website – design, performance, content.

Help me with content

SEO Facts to Protect Against Dishonest SEO Providers

A Nebraska small business owner recently called us asking about our SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services. He had signed up with an “SEO service provider” who promised a #1 ranking in Google for only $100 a month. And it worked – for one month. The next month his site dropped to page 6 in search results, far worse than before. Now the “service provider” (Can you read my sarcasm?) was telling our caller that he would have to pay a lot more money to fix the damage. Damage caused by this provider’s “services.”

Unfortunately, this provider took actions that not only didn’t help our caller’s ranking but likely severely damaged his website’s reputation with Google. Recovering from such penalties will take much longer than 1 month and more than $100.

You can protect yourself from cheats and liars by knowing a few facts about SEO.

lying service provider icon

No one can legitimately promise a #1 ranking

Even the best SEO agencies in the world are limited by one fact: SEOs are not Google. Google’s engineers make their own decisions and they carefully limit public information about how it all works. SEO practitioners depend on close readings of everything Google engineers say and on research by industry leaders. Legitimate SEO practitioners are experts on the research but they also know their powers are limited.

Link schemes are a bad bet

web link graphic

Some “SEO service providers” say they’ll get thousands of social media mentions and many thousands of links to your site. Run, don’t walk, away from someone offering you that “service.” Google knows these schemes exist, are constantly uncovering systems that operate them, and penalizes sites that receive those kinds of links and mentions. In the case of the business owner that called JM, his story had all the tell-tale signs of receiving a Google penalty. If your prospective SEO doesn’t show concern for good quality links, their work is likely to cause your site more harm than good.

That being said, there is a correct way to build links to your site: Creating good content that’s valuable to your audience. I’ll cover this in a future post.

Help me create good content

If the price sounds too good to be true, it is.

More than a few charlatans are willing to sell you empty promises for easy money. The truth is SEO, done correctly and without causing harm, requires months of work and costs a lot more than $100. If you can’t put that much trust in a prospective SEO, then trust your instincts, walk away, and find one you can be confident in.

A good SEO should be interested in your business

The point of a website is for new customers to discover your business and for everyone to buy your products or services more easily. SEO is one set of tactics to support that strategy. If your prospective SEO isn’t interested in your business, what you sell, and who your desired customers are, they’re not prepared to make decisions that will support your strategy and benefit your business.

When you’re considering hiring an Omaha SEO service provider, it pays off to take it seriously. Don’t look for a cheap deal. Find an SEO who knows what they can and cannot promise and who is interested in helping your business succeed online.

Help me with SEO

5 Ways to Increase User Time on Site

It all comes back to user experience. Whether its design, functionality or content – a successful website provides a user with value. User experience is so important that it’s become the main driver for Google’s algorithm updates over the last several years. And it’s been said in some major SEO studies that one of the most critical factors for SEO success is user time on page. User time on site is directly correlated to user experience. If your website design is pleasing, if your functionality is friendly, and your content is engaging and valuable the overall time on site will increase. Abandoning visitors increase the bounce rate (user gets to your website and leaves without clicking anything), which reduces conversions and profits. You can find out your average user time on site through Google Analytics under Audience > Overview.
Here are five tips from our Omaha web design and SEO team for increasing user time on site:

Spruce up design

Your website design gives users a first impression. The design entices or turns away a user before they even start reading the content. So, make that first impression count with a website design that’s clean, functional and accurately reflects your business. A user-friendly website will also be mobile-friendly. Make sure your website is using responsive technology. Google will reward your website for responsive technology and the added value and readability will increase time on site for mobile users, also increasing your organic rankings.

Quality content

Among Google’s guidelines for content is “make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.” Contrary to the old-school way of thinking, keywords stuffed into mindless or irrelevant content will not increase SEO value. Your website content, page structure, design… everything… should be geared toward adding value to your users. This is relevant to pages relating to your core services and to your website blog. Feeding Google consistent content through a blog/news page can be great. But the quantity of content is no longer a key factor for SEO success. Instead, focus on quality of content. If you are unable to produce quality content for your blog, then get rid of it (or hire JM to do it). A blog that’s not being updating with quality content is likely doing nothing for your SEO value and it’s not building credibility for website visitors.

Internal linking

Keep users interested by pointing them to the next thing they’ll want to read. Across your website, link to related services or key team members when relevant. On blogs, link to other related articles whenever possible. This will help provide more relevant information that will appeal to user’s direct interests and be good for your website’s SEO. Links are crucial SEO ranking signals. Inbound links, outbound links and internal links help Google figure out what is relevant and authoritative.

Optimize website performance

You have less than one minute to keep a visitor on your website. And if even a small portion of that minute is being spent on load time… you’ve likely lost your visitor. You can check your website load time using free tools like Pingdom, and if you’re load time is more than 4 second… you need to make some changes. You can consider: Getting a new website host: Nothing you can do to optimize your website will make any difference if you have a bad website hosting company. There are VERY cheap hosting options available. I, for one, love a good deal. But you’re not looking for a good deal when it comes to website hosting… you’re looking for reliable, secure and support-focused website hosting. Use a caching plugin: Caching can result in a 10x speed gain over a non-cached website. And the plugin is free! Remove unnecessary plugins and update: WordPress (our preferred platform) has lots of cool plugins. But they may be slowing your website down. So, you need to weigh the options and get rid of the ones you don’t need. Also, updating your plugins is critical for site performance AND security. Optimize images:  There are plugins available that can compress and optimize images for faster load time. Or, you can make your images smaller to increase load time.

Attract the right users

A great design, good content, internal links and fast load times are not relevant unless you’re attracting the right users to your website in the first place. Use keywords and long-tail keywords that your ideal customer will search, bid on these keywords for Google Ad campaigns, and create good meta descriptions so users will understand what they’re clicking on before they get to a page. After making modifications to your website and strategy to increase user time on site, check your Google analytics and analyze the success of each page, individually. Your data will help you make informed decisions. Don’t know how to analyze the data? Our Omaha SEO team can. Don’t have time to write valuable content? We have an experienced copywriter. Don’t have the ability to make the changes that need to be made? No problem. We can help!

Help Increase my Time on Site

Google+ Cutting Dead Weight

google+ logo

Google has considered Google+ a failed experiment for a few years now and eventually led to the creation of Google My Business (GMB) in late 2014. The G+ social media network has been plagued by low participation and engagement since the start, and due to those same issues Google has decided to cut the dead weight. In late June, Google began sending notifications to business owners that unused G+ Business pages are scheduled for deletion.

How will the deletions affect local business owners and their online presence in search results?

Does Google+ Still Have Any SEO Ranking Value?

It is important to first note that the deletion of Google+ pages will not have any affect on Google My Business pages. Your GMB reviews, information and Maps data will remain untouched. As G+ Business pages evolved into the current GMB pages, reviews and data were periodically stripped out leaving empty pages with virtually zero value. Google+ pages have been nearly wiped off Google search results as well, minus the extremely occasional appearance of posts from major national brands, which tells us that Google’s own ranking algorithms have zeroed out the value of Google+ Business pages.

Our Omaha SEO and Web Marketing team find that G+ Business pages only have true value if they have built up a community of engagement with a large volume of consistent +1s, Shares, Comments or Follows. A common misconception is that posting to your Google+ business page means you’ve given it immediate value. True value comes from how other users engage and interact with the content you have posted by sharing, discussing with others outside the core group.

Should I Keep Using Google+?

google+ icon on phone

Our SEO and Web Marketing team has created several G+ Business pages over the years through our website builds and marketing efforts. However, in our experience those same accounts have fallen by the wayside and joined the masses of other small business accounts that have gone nearly unused since creation or been completely abandoned all-together. Unless your G+ Business page has been carefully curated over the years and has garnered a high amount of engagement, we suggest taking a deep breath and letting it go. Focus your SEO efforts elsewhere.

I Want to Keep My Google+ Business Page. What Should I Do?

If you have been notified your G+ Business page is on the chopping block and want to keep the page, the process to do so is simple. Log into your Google+ account, navigate to your G+ Business page and create a post. You can also avoid deletion by commenting on another user’s post. Don’t stop there, dig deep and keep up your posts and comments to build your page presence and influence.

Contact Us With Questions

Increase SEO with Traditional Marketing

While web marketing is our jam, we still believe in the power of traditional marketing to reinforce your online brand. Even at JM, we use traditional marketing efforts in the Omaha metro and we believe the branding power it gives directly effects our SEO.

For years, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been thought to be a keyword game. Yes, using strategic keywords and regularly contributing rich content is still a factor in organic ranking. But search engines use many factors to determine a site’s rank and most do not rely on keywords.

What factors do search engines use for SEO rank?

semrush ranking factors

In 2017 SEMrush conducted a ranking factors study, analyzing the importance of 17 different factors for organic rankings. The top five factors are:

  1. Direct website visits
  2. Time on the site
  3. Pages per session
  4. Bounce rate
  5. Referring domains
  6. Backlinks

The factors that I’d argue can be strongly correlated to traditional marketing efforts are:

Direct Website Visits: Users arrive at your website directly, typing in your domain. This indicates to Google that the domain has high authority and value.

Backlinks: A backlink is any link from another website to your website. This indicates to Google that other people believe in the value of your website.

So what…?

dart board bulls-eye

Your marketing strategy “in-real-life” reinforces your company’s online presence. When people discover your offline brand, they are more likely to visit your website than to drive to your storefront and walk in.

Search engines know this and they recognize these direct visits as a mark of a strong, real life business. Since direct website visits are one of the greatest factors of high search rank, branding your business offline is a crucial part in strengthening your business online.

Also, develop relationships and partnerships in your community. Think speaking engagements, guest blogging, newspaper articles, supporting public charities. All of that community involvement and the publicity connected with it can bring even more potential customers to your site. It’s good for the place you love and it’s good for your SEO.

The point is…

If people see a bus ad, hear a radio ad, see your logo on a sponsorship banner, hear you speak at a seminar… they are more likely to look up your company directly, giving your business domain a powerful boost.

Being involved in your community by doing good and providing education can give you brand power AND SEO power through direct visits and backlinks.

So look at your current marketing efforts. Are they working together? Do they elevate your brand offline AND increase the value of your SEO efforts online?

Google Analytics can tell you a lot about the results your efforts are producing. And if you don’t know how to analyze that data, we do. Let our Omaha-based SEO team help you put together a comprehensive SEO strategy that can help you build power!

Help me with SEO strategy

Optimizing Google My Business for Multiple Locations

Google My Business has been around since 2014 and was intended to make local SEO efforts easier for local businesses. Recently, we wrote about the excellent FREE opportunity Google My Business provides to businesses amid a competitive Search Engine Result Page (SERP), and we provide a step-by-step guide for building a Google My Business page and how to optimize it.

In 2015 Google reduced the number of local results from 7 to 3, commonly referred to as the “3-pack” or “map-pack”, so it’s important to rank in the local Google My Business results. But competition is fierce.

google results 3-pack
The “3-pack” or “map-pack”

For businesses with multiple locations, how can you optimize for each location??

Optimizing each location

User proximity is the top local search ranking factor. This is often why results in the “3-pack” may have unclaimed pages.

Considering the number of searches that take place on mobile devices, and the visibility of the map on mobile search results, the value of multiple locations on Google My Business is clear. And the more locations you have, the more likely you’ll appear in results. But how can you get yourself positioned well for the “3-pack”?

You need to optimize for best results.

Verified listings: Each location must have its own verified and optimized Google My Business listing. Learn how to do that here. Each listing must link back to a corresponding location page, and not a main homepage. This means you need to have an optimized page for each location on your website.

Optimizing website pages: Each location of your business should have its own page. Each page should include the city and state of the location and contain unique content. Include a photo of the location with a good alt tag.

Gain reviews: For each location, gain reviews for increased online reputation. Unique reviews for each location will help you stand out, and positive reviews may help convert a prospect to a customer.

Consistency: Ensure your business name, address and phone number are an exact match, wherever they appear – including Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc.

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Our SEO Omaha team highly values Google My Business as an excellent tool for local SEO efforts. And getting an optimized page for each location is only going to make you more visible and build credibility among users.

Don’t have time to create and optimize a Google My Business page for each of your business locations? Or don’t have time to optimize your website to assist in local SEO efforts? No problem. We can do it for you.

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Pay-Per-Click, SEO or Both?

In an ideal world, you would be focusing efforts on both SEO and paid advertising to increase website traffic and increase sales. Both can serve you more traffic and increased qualified leads. Maybe you’re not sold on Pay-Per-Click, or SEO is not going to give you the instant results you need, OR you just straight-up don’t have the budget to do everything. We get it.

So, this begs the question – which should you choose?

SEO and PPC are both efforts to place your website in front of quality customers above your competition, but through different means. So, before you have your mind made up about what’s best for your business, let our web marketing and SEO team give you some basics.

graphic comparing SEO and PPC services

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of visitors to your website through organic search engine results. So not only do you seek MORE traffic through SEO, but also users who are interested in your company/product. Organic results are results served without paying Google.

We recently wrote a post on quality website content that details how Google search works. Every search engine has a crawler that gathers information across the internet, brings back information and builds an index. This index goes through an algorithm that matches a search query with data.

There are many factors that play into SEO, and because of endless algorithm updates from Google and other search engines the factors are always changing. And while I won’t get into all the factors we consider when dealing with an SEO client, here are a few things you’ll want to consider about SEO to see if it’s a good fit for your business:

Long-term strategy: SEO is a long-term strategy. To gain a significant increase in traffic and quality leads can take up to a year or more. Depending on the equity your website already has in the search engines, you may be a tiny ant climbing up a huge mountain. The task is not impossible, but it will take time and money.

It’s not one-size-fits all: SEO strategies, and service costs, vary depending on where you are, where you want to be and how fast you want to get there.

Website design: To execute an SEO strategy your website needs to be optimized. This can be a large investment, but it includes a robust CMS, optimal site structure, valuable content, mobile friendly design and usability, among MANY other things. Without a solid foundation you cannot expect to see success in the search engines.

Build credibility: SEO strategies are often partnered with regular, valuable content. Investing in quality, relevant and consistent content as part of your SEO strategy not only builds credibility with the search engines, but with your customers and the community you’re serving. It’s also about about making yourself a valuable resource for the community your potential new customers come from.

Pay-Per-Click

PPC marketing through Google Ads offers advertisers two ways to reach people: 1. through Google Search Network and 2. through Google Display Network. Both use a PPC auction system, where advertisers bid to have their ads shown to matched audiences.

Google Search Network, or “search ads”, appear above organic results. The Google Search Network allows you to show your ads to users who are actively searching for the keywords that you’ve selected. So if you own a contractor business, for example, you bid to have this texted-based ad show up every time a user types in Windows Omaha.

PPC text ad example

Google Display Network shows ads to users who are searching for your product or service. These “display ads” are placed on websites you think your target will be on. These image-based ads work well for re-engagement campaigns, showing ads to visitors who have already been to your website, in hopes they will come back and purchase/convert. This is often called remarketing or retargeting. For instance, we purchased something from Williams Sonoma six months ago… and they are still retargeting us.

banner ad example

These Google search and display ads are a great opportunity to capture quality leads and is an excellent way to reach your target audience. So here are a few things you might want to consider about PPC advertising:

Long-term strategy: PPC, like SEO, is a long-term strategy. You’ll want to run ads and refine your reach/budget based on the data. These ads may bring much quicker results than trying to gain traction in organic rankings.

Cost: The cost is mostly dependent on your Google budget. If you’re in a highly competitive industry it can get pretty pricey.  If your AdWords campaigns are well-targeted, optimized correctly and have an appropriate CPC bid, you’ll be able to show your ads to a responsive audience, nearly guaranteeing a positive ROI. Many businesses can run successful AdWords campaigns for a reasonable cost relative to the amount of money you make with each conversion.

Remarketing: While retargeting is great for most businesses, it’s especially useful for eCommerce websites. You can create and target audiences of users who have already visited your website with tailored banner ads, including image and video ads. Through these dynamic ads, a product from your store can follow a prospect until they pull the trigger!

Target niche terms: PPC can provide an affordable way to advertise for a niche phrase. Often more specific keyword phrases can run much less expensive than a short keyword. So, for instance, instead of ‘tires’ consider ‘winter truck tires.’

Either/Or, or Both: You can choose to do text ads, or banner ads, or both. If you have little traffic to your website, you’ll want to consider text ads to drive quality traffic to your website. If you have a lot of traffic, but want to reengage that traffic, you’ll want to consider banner ads.

Assessing Your Marketing Goals

Your decision to invest in SEO and/or PPC Google AdWords should be based on your company’s marketing strategy. By assessing your long and short-term goals, your budget and your competition you should have a starting place for which service you should invest in.

Also, looking at the data can be difficult. Assessing where you are and where you want to be can be easier with the guidance of an experienced SEO and web marketing team. Let us know if we can help answer your questions, if you want to explore an SEO or PPC campaign for your business, or need help assessing your current SEO or PPC situation. We’re happy to help!