page contents
Create A User-Friendly Website

Create A User-Friendly Website

Having a quality website is critical for your online success. After all, your website is, or should be, the center of your online presence. The best way to do this is to create a user friendly website that your target audience will enjoy. In the interest of analogies, your online presence is the same as if you were to be hosting an event. When you host an event, you need to find the right location for your event. Regardless of the amount of time you spend planning your event, the success of an event can all come down to location, location, location. The right venue can make a good event great. On the other hand, a bad venue can make an otherwise well planned event, fail. So to is your website! If the center of who you are is not well chosen and thought out, your business may not do as well.

If you already have a website, the first thing you should do is spend some time really looking at it. While doing this, ask yourself some key questions: Does my website serve the purpose I originally it to do? Does my website convey the purpose of my business? Who are the people I want visiting my online business? Am I providing the content my target audience wants? What is my website really being used for? These are some of the most essential questions to ask yourself about your website in order to make sure that it is user-centered and effective. In other words, is your website user-friendly and does it give its viewers what they want?

The end result of all of your hard work on social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and online ads is to get customers, and potential customers, to your website. Your website is where your potential customers can be converted into paying customers. It is also where current customers can find what they need.

If you don’t have a website, it is in your best interest to use the following steps to help your website be exactly what your customers — both current and future — are looking for. However, we also encourage you to make sure that you are not spending all of your budget on a website that nobody can find. Be sure to hold back some budget for marketing your site.

Have Good Web Hosting

When it comes to your site running well, hosting makes all the difference. In fact, even the search engines want your site running smoothly. A slow site will often-times rank lower than better running site. In our opinion, some of the best hosting sites are:

Bluehost
Siteground
► GoDaddy
► Amazon Web Services

You may be wondering, what a hosting site does. In short, a hosting service keeps your website up and running. In other words, your site cannot survive and thrive without them. The hosting platforms mentioned above have different strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to do some of your own research to determine which hosting service is right for you. Looking back to our event analogy; strong hosting for your website is a direct correlation to the environment, location, and resources of a venue. Picking a hosting platform that provides the right resources for your business will set the stage for your website and your business in the digital realm. Using a good venue (i.e. hosting service) makes all the difference in the world for your guests. In a business situation, the hosting platform will take care of essentials that are otherwise difficult for you to do on your own — file storage, email hosting, server space, databases and much more. They provide these types of resources so that you don’t have to provide them yourself.

Basic Metrics to Look For:

► An uptime of 99.9% — this means your website will be up and running, on their servers, 365 days per year. Anything less than that can, and will, damage your business.

► Unmetered/Unlimited Bandwidth

► Unmetered/Unlimited Webspace or Disc Space

► Quality Customer Service

► High Ratings/Feedback

Additional Questions to Consider:

► How many domains can you have as part of their services?

► Do they support e-Commerce capabilities?

► How much does it cost?

best web hosting image

Web Hosting

Choose An Effective URL

A URL, simply put, is commonly referred to as your web address. It is what people use to locate your website. The URL is basically a global address for specific documents, pages, or other resources on the World Wide Web. In fact, the word “locater” is even in the name — URL stands for Uniform Resource Locater. Best SEO Masters URL is http://www.bestseomasters.com/. If you will follow these tips, you will be able to create an effective URL for your business.

Make It Relevant

Your URL should represent either your company name or what visitors will find on your website. It is common practice to use your company name with no spaces followed by a domain name like .com or .org. However, there are times when it makes more sense to have a URL that is related to what you do instead. For example, if you sell kitchen supplies, your URL could be, http://www.kitchensupplies.com/. Either way, your URL should be relevant to your company. If you choose a URL that is not readily associated with your business, you may need to pursue a variety of branding opportunities to connect your web address to your business in people’s minds — making your URL relevant to your company.

Keep It Simple

There are a lot of good reasons to keep your URL short and simple. Of course, short is relative but you need to make sure that your URL is short and simple enough to be typed without difficulty. Long and/or difficult addresses can cause problems for users and introduce opportunities for typos to land people in the wrong place.

Things to Avoid:

► Words/Names that are difficult to spell

► Excessive and/or irregular repetition of letters

► Long strings of words

► Hyphens and underscores

When listing your URL on both physical and digital assets, you may choose to capitalize the beginnings of words to help separate them in people’s minds. For example, if your URL is something like happygoluckytime.com*, you may want to think about listing it as HappyGoLuckyTime.com*. The capital letters won’t affect people’s ability to get to your site, but it will help separate the words in their minds.

url on computer screen to demonstrate the need for a quality website url

Make It Effective

Your URL will be present in many different locations. In order for it to be effective, you’ll need to think about how your URL will be used on your social media platforms, on other websites, and even on signs and other physical assets. As mentioned above, you may choose to use capital letters to delineate words within your URL. Whatever you decide, however, make sure that you are being consistent in your use. To really be effective, it needs to be both clear and memorable. You should also determine whether you will pursue your URL as a keyword for search results because this will affect how you use your URL on your site and elsewhere.

A URL, simply put, is commonly referred to as your web address. It is what people use to locate your website. The URL is basically a global address for specific documents, pages, or other resources on the World Wide Web. In fact, the word “locater” is even in the name — URL stands for Uniform Resource Locater. Best SEO Masters URL is is http://www.bestseomasters.com/. If you will follow these tips, you will be able to create an effective URL for your business.

Keep the User in Mind

When creating and branding your URL, you need to keep the user in mind. People are more likely to visit your website directly when your URL is memorable and easy to type. That is because strong URLs make it easy for users to get to your site.

Examples of Strong URLs:

► color.adobe.com — Very simple and highly relevant to the site’s content especially since Adobe is already branded in most people’s minds.

► www.idahofallsdental.com — This URL has strong ties to both an industry (family dentistry) and a location (Idaho Falls), making this a very strong URL.

Examples of Weak URLs:

► www.a4pt.org — This URL is so simplified that it could lose all meaning without strong, targeted branding.

► www.commoncompanyname.com — Using a common name for your URL gives no indication as to who you are and what you do. It can also me confused with other common company names.

Build A Strong, Effective Website

As we already mentioned, a strong, effective website should be at the center of your online presence. Everything you do — all of your social media outreach, search engine results and online advertising — should be geared toward directing qualified traffic to your site so that you can sell your products or services. In order to accomplish this, your website needs to be built on a strong foundation. You need to have a strong Content Management System (CMS). Some of the best, and most commonly used, CMSs are WordPress, Wix and Joomla.

A STRONG, EFFECTIVE WEBSITE SHOULD BE AT THE CENTER OF YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE!

Finding the right CMS for your website is the key to effectively managing your time while still having a great website. Even if you know how to code, manually coding your website can drain a large amount of time and energy that could be directed more effectively elsewhere in your business. One of the main benefits of these CMSs is that they do most of the background coding and programming for you.

If you don’t have any web design or coding experience, we strongly suggest that you have your website designed by a web design company. However, you’ll want to make sure that they build your site with a CMS that you can learn how to update yourself. You generally don’t want to be responsible for making big changes to your site, but being able to make small updates without working through a third party can be very beneficial under specific circumstances.

Most hosting services will allow you to connect your website directly to your chosen CMS, but it’s important to make sure that you can use the two together. The whole point of your CMS is to make website creation easier, not more complicated.

Additional Ways A Good CMS Can Help

Pre-Designed Themes

wordpress logo with blue gearsA pre-designed theme is a template that can be used with a specific CMS to build a strong, attractive website more quickly. Some of these themes are available for free. If you would like to find specific features or designs, you can also purchase themes ranging from $50 to $100 depending on the developer and the features that are included in the theme. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for so it can be a good idea to invest in a quality theme. ThemeForest*, TemplateMonster* and Wix Templates* offer many attractive, effective, and mobile friendly templates that can be used to create a strong website. Many of these themes are also designed to be responsive and look good on a variety of mobile devices as well as in web browsers.

CMS Plugins

Most CMSs offer a variety of plugins that can be used to help you create landing pages, slideshows, and more. Most of the plugins are quick and easy to install, but you may need to take some time to learn exactly how to use the plugins to your advantage. Also, be sure to read any feedback and reviews that the plugins have so you know whether its functional for what you are trying to accomplish.

E-Commerce & Back Office Options

If you are looking to sell tangible products and need some ecommerce functionality, or any other back office options, you’ll want to make sure that you choose a CMS that is designed to support these functions. This will allow your website to function correctly without having to spend a lot of time on custom coding.

Provide Useful Content

Once you have the right hosting platform, a solid URL, and a strong website to send your users to, it’s time to fill it up with content. If we go back to our event analogy, content correlates to the drinks, appetizers, entrées, and desserts that you serve in order to satisfy your guests once they are at your venue. But you may be asking yourself, what is content? To put it simply, content is information that you present in order to help your clients and prospective clients. Content comes in a wide variety of forms from onpage text to infographics and videos. This section is not intended to be a comprehensive look at content marketing, but it should help you understand the basic idea.

digital marketing funnelIn our experience, content should be used to strategically funnel your website visitors toward the actions you want them to take. To this end, we suggest creating a variety of content that fits into different sections of what we call the content funnel. Each piece of content should be designed to help your website visitors in some way. The main portions of the content funnel — and the ways you can help your visitors — are to: Inform, Instruct, Solve, & Sell.

Depending on their needs, visitors to your site may enter at different points in this funnel. The best results come when you provide content that addresses their specific needs at the point at which they enter your funnel. Users are generally looking for a solution to a problem for which you are able to provide an answer. As with any other strategic funnel, the upper levels are designed to expose a large number of people to your information. The trick is to use upper level content to help create more qualified traffic to your lower level content. Content can take a wide variety of forms, but it’s your job to make sure that it is the relevant solution your users are looking for. And, yes, one piece of content can sometimes fill more than one of these needs.

Having a quality website is critical for your online success. After all, your website is, or should be, the center of your online presence. The best way to do this is to create a user friendly website that your target audience will enjoy. In the interest of analogies, your online presence is the same as if you were to be hosting an event. When you host an event, you need to find the right location for your event. Regardless of the amount of time you spend planning your event, the success of an event can all come down to location, location, location. The right venue can make a good event great. On the other hand, a bad venue can make an otherwise well planned event, fail. So to is your website! If the center of who you are is not well chosen and thought out, your business may not do as well.

If you already have a website, the first thing you should do is spend some time really looking at it. While doing this, ask yourself some key questions: Does my website serve the purpose I originally it to do? Does my website convey the purpose of my business? Who are the people I want visiting my online business? Am I providing the content my target audience wants? What is my website really being used for? These are some of the most essential questions to ask yourself about your website in order to make sure that it is user-centered and effective. In other words, is your website user-friendly and does it give its viewers what they want?

The end result of all of your hard work on social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and online ads is to get customers, and potential customers, to your website. Your website is where your potential customers can be converted into paying customers. It is also where current customers can find what they need.

If you don’t have a website, it is in your best interest to use the following steps to help your website be exactly what your customers — both current and future — are looking for. However, we also encourage you to make sure that you are not spending all of your budget on a website that nobody can find. Be sure to hold back some budget for marketing your site.

Have Good Web Hosting

When it comes to your site running well, hosting makes all the difference. In fact, even the search engines want your site running smoothly. A slow site will often-times rank lower than better running site. In our opinion, some of the best hosting sites are:

Bluehost
Siteground
► GoDaddy
► Amazon Web Services

You may be wondering, what a hosting site does. In short, a hosting service keeps your website up and running. In other words, your site cannot survive and thrive without them. The hosting platforms mentioned above have different strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to do some of your own research to determine which hosting service is right for you. Looking back to our event analogy; strong hosting for your website is a direct correlation to the environment, location, and resources of a venue. Picking a hosting platform that provides the right resources for your business will set the stage for your website and your business in the digital realm. Using a good venue (i.e. hosting service) makes all the difference in the world for your guests. In a business situation, the hosting platform will take care of essentials that are otherwise difficult for you to do on your own — file storage, email hosting, server space, databases and much more. They provide these types of resources so that you don’t have to provide them yourself.

Basic Metrics to Look For:

► An uptime of 99.9% — this means your website will be up and running, on their servers, 365 days per year. Anything less than that can, and will, damage your business.

► Unmetered/Unlimited Bandwidth

► Unmetered/Unlimited Webspace or Disc Space

► Quality Customer Service

► High Ratings/Feedback

Additional Questions to Consider:

► How many domains can you have as part of their services?

► Do they support e-Commerce capabilities?

► How much does it cost?

best web hosting image

Web Hosting

Choose An Effective URL

A URL, simply put, is commonly referred to as your web address. It is what people use to locate your website. The URL is basically a global address for specific documents, pages, or other resources on the World Wide Web. In fact, the word “locater” is even in the name — URL stands for Uniform Resource Locater. Best SEO Masters URL is http://www.bestseomasters.com/. If you will follow these tips, you will be able to create an effective URL for your business.

Make It Relevant

Your URL should represent either your company name or what visitors will find on your website. It is common practice to use your company name with no spaces followed by a domain name like .com or .org. However, there are times when it makes more sense to have a URL that is related to what you do instead. For example, if you sell kitchen supplies, your URL could be, http://www.kitchensupplies.com/. Either way, your URL should be relevant to your company. If you choose a URL that is not readily associated with your business, you may need to pursue a variety of branding opportunities to connect your web address to your business in people’s minds — making your URL relevant to your company.

Keep It Simple

There are a lot of good reasons to keep your URL short and simple. Of course, short is relative but you need to make sure that your URL is short and simple enough to be typed without difficulty. Long and/or difficult addresses can cause problems for users and introduce opportunities for typos to land people in the wrong place.

Things to Avoid:

► Words/Names that are difficult to spell

► Excessive and/or irregular repetition of letters

► Long strings of words

► Hyphens and underscores

When listing your URL on both physical and digital assets, you may choose to capitalize the beginnings of words to help separate them in people’s minds. For example, if your URL is something like happygoluckytime.com*, you may want to think about listing it as HappyGoLuckyTime.com*. The capital letters won’t affect people’s ability to get to your site, but it will help separate the words in their minds.

url on computer screen to demonstrate the need for a quality website url

Make It Effective

Your URL will be present in many different locations. In order for it to be effective, you’ll need to think about how your URL will be used on your social media platforms, on other websites, and even on signs and other physical assets. As mentioned above, you may choose to use capital letters to delineate words within your URL. Whatever you decide, however, make sure that you are being consistent in your use. To really be effective, it needs to be both clear and memorable. You should also determine whether you will pursue your URL as a keyword for search results because this will affect how you use your URL on your site and elsewhere.

A URL, simply put, is commonly referred to as your web address. It is what people use to locate your website. The URL is basically a global address for specific documents, pages, or other resources on the World Wide Web. In fact, the word “locater” is even in the name — URL stands for Uniform Resource Locater. Best SEO Masters URL is is http://www.bestseomasters.com/. If you will follow these tips, you will be able to create an effective URL for your business.

Keep the User in Mind

When creating and branding your URL, you need to keep the user in mind. People are more likely to visit your website directly when your URL is memorable and easy to type. That is because strong URLs make it easy for users to get to your site.

Examples of Strong URLs:

► color.adobe.com — Very simple and highly relevant to the site’s content especially since Adobe is already branded in most people’s minds.

► www.idahofallsdental.com — This URL has strong ties to both an industry (family dentistry) and a location (Idaho Falls), making this a very strong URL.

Examples of Weak URLs:

► www.a4pt.org — This URL is so simplified that it could lose all meaning without strong, targeted branding.

► www.commoncompanyname.com — Using a common name for your URL gives no indication as to who you are and what you do. It can also me confused with other common company names.

Build A Strong, Effective Website

As we already mentioned, a strong, effective website should be at the center of your online presence. Everything you do — all of your social media outreach, search engine results and online advertising — should be geared toward directing qualified traffic to your site so that you can sell your products or services. In order to accomplish this, your website needs to be built on a strong foundation. You need to have a strong Content Management System (CMS). Some of the best, and most commonly used, CMSs are WordPress, Wix and Joomla.

A STRONG, EFFECTIVE WEBSITE SHOULD BE AT THE CENTER OF YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE!

Finding the right CMS for your website is the key to effectively managing your time while still having a great website. Even if you know how to code, manually coding your website can drain a large amount of time and energy that could be directed more effectively elsewhere in your business. One of the main benefits of these CMSs is that they do most of the background coding and programming for you.

If you don’t have any web design or coding experience, we strongly suggest that you have your website designed by a web design company. However, you’ll want to make sure that they build your site with a CMS that you can learn how to update yourself. You generally don’t want to be responsible for making big changes to your site, but being able to make small updates without working through a third party can be very beneficial under specific circumstances.

Most hosting services will allow you to connect your website directly to your chosen CMS, but it’s important to make sure that you can use the two together. The whole point of your CMS is to make website creation easier, not more complicated.

Additional Ways A Good CMS Can Help

Pre-Designed Themes

wordpress logo with blue gearsA pre-designed theme is a template that can be used with a specific CMS to build a strong, attractive website more quickly. Some of these themes are available for free. If you would like to find specific features or designs, you can also purchase themes ranging from $50 to $100 depending on the developer and the features that are included in the theme. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for so it can be a good idea to invest in a quality theme. ThemeForest*, TemplateMonster* and Wix Templates* offer many attractive, effective, and mobile friendly templates that can be used to create a strong website. Many of these themes are also designed to be responsive and look good on a variety of mobile devices as well as in web browsers.

CMS Plugins

Most CMSs offer a variety of plugins that can be used to help you create landing pages, slideshows, and more. Most of the plugins are quick and easy to install, but you may need to take some time to learn exactly how to use the plugins to your advantage. Also, be sure to read any feedback and reviews that the plugins have so you know whether its functional for what you are trying to accomplish.

E-Commerce & Back Office Options

If you are looking to sell tangible products and need some ecommerce functionality, or any other back office options, you’ll want to make sure that you choose a CMS that is designed to support these functions. This will allow your website to function correctly without having to spend a lot of time on custom coding.

Provide Useful Content

Once you have the right hosting platform, a solid URL, and a strong website to send your users to, it’s time to fill it up with content. If we go back to our event analogy, content correlates to the drinks, appetizers, entrées, and desserts that you serve in order to satisfy your guests once they are at your venue. But you may be asking yourself, what is content? To put it simply, content is information that you present in order to help your clients and prospective clients. Content comes in a wide variety of forms from onpage text to infographics and videos. This section is not intended to be a comprehensive look at content marketing, but it should help you understand the basic idea.

digital marketing funnelIn our experience, content should be used to strategically funnel your website visitors toward the actions you want them to take. To this end, we suggest creating a variety of content that fits into different sections of what we call the content funnel. Each piece of content should be designed to help your website visitors in some way. The main portions of the content funnel — and the ways you can help your visitors — are to: Inform, Instruct, Solve, & Sell.

Depending on their needs, visitors to your site may enter at different points in this funnel. The best results come when you provide content that addresses their specific needs at the point at which they enter your funnel. Users are generally looking for a solution to a problem for which you are able to provide an answer. As with any other strategic funnel, the upper levels are designed to expose a large number of people to your information. The trick is to use upper level content to help create more qualified traffic to your lower level content. Content can take a wide variety of forms, but it’s your job to make sure that it is the relevant solution your users are looking for. And, yes, one piece of content can sometimes fill more than one of these needs.

How To Submit Your Website To Google

How To Submit Your Website To Google

Why do you need to submit your website to Google? Well, you have spent a great deal of time developing an amazing site. All of your valuable content has been placed strategically in all of the right places of your site, your design is immaculate, and you have gathered a ton of feedback. You have determined that now is the time to share it with the world! Submitting your website to Google will speed up the amount of time it takes to get in front of your target audience.

The common mistake that most businesses make is they assume that as soon as they publish their new site for the world to see, all of their content will immediately start showing up in Google. However, it’s never just that simple. It happens to take a little more than just hitting the publish button. In order to get your site listed, you’ll need to move methodically through a checklist.

How Google Finds Your Content

Essentially, Google uses a huge set of computers to crawl billions of pages on the web. This crawler, called the Googlebot, begins with a list of web page URLs generated from previous crawls and then augments those pages with sitemap data provided within Google Search Console. The Googlebot looks for new sites, updates to existing pages, and any broken links during the crawling process.

This is why maintaining a sitemap is crucial to the success of your website. If new and updated pages are listed in your sitemap, Google will discover those pages and crawl their content. Then, Google will potentially list the page within search results based on its evaluation of 200+ criteria.

Once the crawling process has been completed, all of the results are fed into Google’s index. Any new sites or updated content will be listed accordingly. Google looks at information on your page such as title tags, meta description, alt tags, and more as those results are being processed. If you have dynamic content on a page, the Googlebot may not be able to read it and will crawl the default version — it is recommended that your default version is optimized for search.

As a result of Google’s crawling, you may never need to submit your website as it will be discovered automatically. The downside to this approach has always been that it’s reliant on Google’s timeframe to crawl and index your site content. This means that a crawl of your website may not happen as quickly as you would like.

If you want a quick way to check and see what has been crawled and indexed by Google for a particular website, all you have to do is begin your search with “Site:Sitename.com.” For example, here’s what is displayed in Google for BestSEOMasters.com:

Google search results for SEO marketing agency Best SEO Masters in Idaho Falls

If no content is indexed yet for a site, Google will let you know that your search did not match any results. If no content is found, your next step should be to create a sitemap that can be submitted to Google.

If you want more information about sitemaps and how to create a sitemap, take a look at this post.

How Long Does It Take to Index Content?

A lot of research has been done in this area. You may find some information varies from blog to blog but two of the most reliable sources are HubSpot and Moz.com. When publishing content without manually submitting an updated sitemap, it was noted that it took Google 1,375 minutes to crawl, while Yahoo took 1,773 minutes. To put those numbers into perspective, that’s roughly a full-day just to crawl your content.

graph showing the results of crawl time with no sitemap submitted to google

Source: Moz.com

On the other hand if you are launching a new website, or adding a number of new pages, it may be worth submitting an updated sitemap. According to the same study, it was found that after submitting an updated sitemap to the search engines, the average time it took for a bot to visit the page was 14 minutes, compared to 245 minutes for Yahoo. As you can see, your new page can start generating organic traffic and conversions on the same day.

graph showing the results of crawl time with a sitemap having been submitted to google

Source: Moz.com

How Do I Submit My Site to Google?

Now, we get down to the nitty-gritty. If you do happen to have a brand new site, you should first verify you own the site within Google Search Console and then submit your sitemap here.

If you have an existing site and are launching a number of new pages, then instead you should submit an updated sitemap in the same place as a brand new site (Google Search Console) to ensure it gets listed as quickly as possible.

To submit an updated sitemap, you need to log in to Google Search Console > Crawl tab > Sitemaps. Once you’re there, you can submit your updated sitemap for Google so it can begin crawling it as soon as possible. The steps are very similar for submitting to Bing Webmaster Tools as well — which does the same thing as Google Search Console, only for Bing and Yahoo!.

You may be trying to figure out whether you need to submit an updated sitemap every time you publish a page. While you certainly could do that, it’s best to manually go through the submission process if you’re working with critically important content that needs to be indexed quickly. However, if you’re just making minor updates or corrections to pages, then it is probably ok to simply wait until Google crawls that page and updates its index.

8 Ways To Optimize Content

8 Ways To Optimize Content

When you here the term “content,” you probably think only of blog articles. But, content is all-inclusive when it comes to your website. It is important to optimize any content on your site if you want it to show up on the various search engines. SEO is constantly changing and it can be difficult to keep up with it. You may be struggling to differentiate the tactics that will be most effective — especially if you’re resource-strapped. However, there are some things that you can do to remain consistent with your content and blog. If you follow these steps, regardless of how frequently SEO tactics are changing, you will have a successful blog and be more likely to rank with the search engines.

Avoid Duplicate and Poorly Written Page Titles

Some websites feel the need to list everything but the kitchen sink in a title tag? Other sites may just ignore the title tag for each page. They may opt to simply duplicate them by default. I’m not sure if it’s just the website owner who is doing it or a poorly trained SEO marketer. The title tag has long been one of the most abused tags on the Web page, with some SEOs desperately stuffing keywords into the title tag like it was a Thanksgiving turkey.

The title tag’s most important role, however, isn’t SEO rankings — it’s what it offers you after you get the ranking. You should use the title tag to your advantage. You have between 50 and 60 characters to complete a message in the title tag. Of course, you want to use keywords in the title but you should also think about what message you want the title tag to convey to the searcher. With such a short space, you may need to get creative.

Optimize Your Meta Descriptions

meta descriptions from google search engineA marketer’s best opportunity to write something compelling that will entice the searcher to click on the search engine results page (SERP) is to take full advantage of both the page title and the meta description. Unlike titles, meta descriptions also show any keywords from the search query in bold, helping the searcher identify at a glance which search results are most likely to match the query.

In addition to containing some keywords to aid with bolding and visibility, the meta description should be a sales piece. As you are writing your meta descriptions, ask yourself, “Why should the searcher click on this result?” Whatever you write needs to catch the attention of the searcher. In other words, sell it!

So often, marketers and website owners alike write descriptions that are confusing. For example, the page title may convey one message while the description conveys another message entirely. The two should flow together so as to not create any confusion for your potential readers.

But what happens if you don’t write a meta description? This is where the fun begins. Google may actually choose a description for you. As amazing as that sounds, do you really want Google to decide what is best for advertising your site? Probably not. It’s not worth the risk or any potential time-saving that you may enjoy on the front end. So, define your own meta description. Tell people why they should click on your result and not your competitors’. Make your most compelling argument.

Monitor Your Sitelinks

While sitelinks are generated automatically by Google, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check them out once in a while to see what’s being generated. Sitelinks are a great way to drive traffic deeper into your website — if it’s to a place you want visitors to go. As you may remember, Google rebranded its Webmaster Tools as Search Console back some time ago. However, if you notice when you do the search, the sitelinks still show the old branding in the links. So, ironic as it may sound, be sure to use Google Search Console to monitor your sitelinks for errors and for those links you want to exclude.

Use Quality Structured Markup

Structured markup, or rich snippets, are a fantastic way to make your SERP result larger and more visible. While it’s always optimal to use structured data to markup your code, it’s not always feasible. To be honest, most people running websites theses days don’t even know what that last sentence means. If you’re in that same boat, if you can’t program structured markup, don’t start stressing. One option for you is to use Google’s Data Highlighter tool (however, this will only generate rich snippets in Google, not in other engines). Other options have been developed as well. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, there are several plugins you can use to help you with your structured data markup.

Setup Your Analytics Correctly

google analytics on an imac that is being used to optimize a website by best seo mastersIf nothing else, you should pay most attention to this part of the article. Analytics are the marketer’s and the webmaster’s best friend. It tells you the inner workings of your website and how it is performing. From analytics, you will learn who comes, who goes, how they get there and how they interact with your website. The scary thing about analytics, however, is that about 80 percent of the time when we’re doing an SEO audit, we find that the analytics has errors.

You can’t possible hope to track your progress and adequately benchmark organic traffic levels without your website’s analytics operating correctly. So, if you’re using Google Analytics, be sure to check your code. If you’re not sure where to start, a handy tool provided by Google is the Google Tag Assistant plug-in. This tool checks Google Analytics tags, as well as other types of Google tags (like AdWords conversion tags), for errors.

Properly Execute Video Embedding

Videos can be a great addition to any website. Done correctly, they can be very engaging. Sometimes, though, the execution of videos on the website isn’t ideal for SEO. Many websites use JavaScript popovers for video. Case studies via videos are compelling marketing tools. The downside to using a popover, however, is that the popover doesn’t allow your story to rank on its own Web page.

This is a missed opportunity to get additional content ranked. What happens instead is that your story ends up on a page with lots of other information. And, while that’s not entirely bad, there are opportunities to have this page rank in addition to the main topic page. Consider how you’re adding video to your site. Consider allowing each video to have their own rankable page, as opposed to employing JavaScript popovers.

Don’t Go Crazy With Unnecessary Code

So many web designers, talented as they may be, love to show off their talents with unnecessary code. We have to stop the insanity with extraneous code. If your page doesn’t need that code, get rid of it. All the extra code does at this point is just slow down your page load speed. If you have a site you think may fall into this trap, Google provides a helpful list of suggestions of certain types of code that can be mini-fied to improve page speed load times.

Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool and enter your URL to see which improvements you may be able to make to your website. Just keep in mind that Google’s tool can’t always tell if you have old code on your site. For example, if you started using one marketing automation tool and changed part way through to another but never removed the old marketing automation code, you have extraneous code on the site.

The Ghostery plug-in for ChromeOne is helpful tool that will check to see what types of code may be on your site is the . This plug-in is capable of identifying all of the tracking code on a page. This means that it will help you quickly see if you have old tracking code on the site, even if you don’t know HTML. If you happen to be more HTML-savvy, check out the raw code directly, and see what you can remove yourself.

Setup An XML Sitemap

Sitemaps allow website owners to inform search engines which pages on their website are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a sitemap is a document that lists all URLs of your website (that you want crawled). The document details additional information such as the date a page was last modified, how frequently a page may change and whether the page should be given priority over others. Specific sitemaps can be created for each type of content. For example, one sitemaps for blog posts, another for videos, etc.

The importance of Sitemaps should never be downplayed. Sitemaps help search engines navigate your website more easily, which helps search engines index your content better. If you think of your website as a building, the sitemap is a blueprint that informs search engines exactly where everything is located.

Every website and blog should have a sitemap. If you aren’t as tech-savvy as you’d like to be, don’t worry. One of the best, and easiest to use, tools for building a quality sitemap is the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress

 

Build Trust on Social Media

Build Trust on Social Media

It’s no secret that social media is a powerful marketing tool. Many businesses use social media to promote their business and engage with their target audience. They hire designers, writers and social media experts to build a strong brand through a creative communication strategy. It is important, along the way, that you learn how to build trust on social media.

Social media has provided a level playing field to small businesses and individuals for competing with established brands and making a name for themselves without having to spend a fortune on their marketing efforts. Over time, the platforms became highly competitive and cluttered.

Building trust on social media can be an especially daunting task for new businesses. Not all new ventures can afford to hire top rated professionals to develop unique messaging. And yet, they have to become a reliable brand on social media to survive and thrive.

When you don’t have deep pockets, time and patience become your best friends. In real life, you consistently need to do genuine work to win the trust of the people. There is no shortcut — you have to be patient, take a stand and sacrifice short term gains to become an authentic voice in society. The same goes for building trust on social media.

Regardless of the business you are in, there are three things that you must do to become trustworthy on social media:

BE ACCOUNTABLE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

As a business or an individual, you must be accountable for your actions, policies, products, services, or communication. The accountability is not meant only for customers. You have to be responsible towards your employees as well.

You need to prove that you are accountable for any action you or your employees take. This demonstration begins with your social media messaging. If you make a mistake, admit it. More importantly, ensure that the same does not get repeated. If you are selling products or services of other brands (if you are a trader or brokerage firm), you have to be accountable for whatever information you provide to your customers.

In certain cases, you may not control the behavior of buyers or sellers. However, you need to handle the situation with complete responsibility and show this to your social media audience through appropriate messaging.

BE TRANSPARENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Transparency breeds trust. Being transparent is the easiest way to build trust in real life as well as on social media. However, being transparent is also tricky for the business. You can’t be 100% open, as it will go against your business interest to share everything publicly. However, you need to decide the degree of transparency you are willing to adopt to build trust. Some companies publish their income reports on their websites to build trust among their target audiences. This is an instance of a high level of transparency. Some of the businesses show real working and internal processes through videos, images or blogs. They hide the critical parts but show what is relevant for end users. This is the middle level of transparency. You need to decide whether you want to show a low, middle or high level of transparency to build trust for your brand.

BE AUTHENTIC ON SOCIAL MEDIA

The most basic requirement for being trustworthy on social media is to be authentic. Authenticity show that you are being true to yourself. The Internet is full of expert articles and contents that show how to do everything in your life. However, readers believe very few of these blogs.

If you want your content to be read, liked, and shared by the people, then be honest while writing. Don’t exaggerate the benefits of your products or services. No one can advise you on how to become authentic. You simply need to write your feeling and experiences honestly to become a trustworthy person or business.

If you change your stand to please a particular audience, then you will be like all of the politicians around the world — loved by some and hated by others, but trusted by none. The choice is yours.

While it can sometimes take years to build trust, that trust can be destroyed in as little as five minutes. Therefore, be sure to adhere to a high level of standards when posting your words and graphics on your social media page. This doesn’t mean that you should be afraid of making mistakes. It simply implies that being original and sincere towards your customers is an effective way of building a brand.

You can’t buy trust. However, you can definitely sell a trustworthy brand at a premium price.

Have a long-term vision and be patient when dealing with short-term hiccups and disappointments to build an ever enduring brand on social media.

 

Improve Your Medical Practice Google Rankings

Improve Your Medical Practice Google Rankings

Many doctors want to increase the business they receive to their medical practice. As advances in technology control the methods by which individuals choose their service providers, it is becoming more and more important that medical practice’s increase their presence online. In other words, to attract new patients, doctors must make themselves visible to a growing audience of online patients.

According to a recent report put out by Physicians Practice, more than 40% of people begin their search for a doctor online. Many also use Doctor Review Sites to check the public perception of the doctor they are considering visiting. Most modern consumers typically begin their search for a doctor via Google. But Google isn’t the only search engine that people use. They may also be using Yahoo! search, Bing or a group of smaller search engine options as well. As you may have guessed, though, Google is still the search engine used by the majority of internet users. In fact, a recent report shows that 64% of all searches online in 2016 were performed by a Google search engine.

Tips for Increasing Your Medical Practice Google Rankings

 

1. Identify Keywords Used By Your Patients

The term, ‘keywords,’ refers to the words, phrases, or questions that a person types into a search query when searching for something specific online.

For example, if a potential patient were looking for a primary care physician in Idaho Falls, Idaho, she might enter the keywords “Idaho Falls doctor” into the Google search field. There are several variations that one may search to find you. As a doctor, you might use words such as ‘physician’, ‘primary care’, ‘family care’, etc. But you might find that your patients are not using these terms. Because of this, it is important that you ask your patients how they found you and what they specifically searched for online to find you.

If your medical practice website doesn’t include the keywords your patients use in the Meta data, and throughout the headlines, there’s a chance your site won’t show up in the search results (or at least not on the first page). Your keywords will greatly affect your medical practice Google rankings, so it is important to get them right.

2. List Your Keywords Correctly

Once you’ve identified the top keywords that patients use to search for you, work them in throughout your site in the most natural way possible. Incorporate them into the individual page content as well as your blog or news feed. Doing this will give Google plenty of opportunities to match a user’s search with your site.

Important areas of focus for your keywords to appear in are:

URLs
The URL is the actual web address for your website and its corresponding pages. If you are doctor in Pocatello, Idaho, and your web address is pocatellodoctor.com, that is about as close to perfect as you can get. A domain name (another name for the URL) has a lot ‘authority’ once some time has passed, so choose your domain name/URL wisely. You should also make sure that your URL for each page is made of real words. This means pages such as pocatellodoctor.com/services or pocatellodoctor.com/hours are much more effective than those with numbers or other random characters (e.g. 10598, page_1, etc.). These URLs will give Google a good sense of the page content and, in turn, raise the listing in Google.

Titles
This includes your main website title as well as the titles and subtitles (also known as subheads) contained on each individual page. The words in these areas (often called H1s, H2s, H3s, etc.) appear more prominent to Google than the rest of the text on the page. This means they will have a bigger impact on SEO keyword ranking.

Internal Links
Internal links are any clickable text that leads to another page. For example, the navigation links across the top (or side) of your website are considered internal links. These allow your web visitors to move around to different sections of your site and get the information they need.

3. Ensure An Easy User Experience

While keywords and links are important to focus on, if you can’t keep people on your site, all that effort will be in vain. After all, Google’s main objective is to give searchers what they want — and what they want is a site that is not confusing, slow, or difficult to use. So, if you’re guilty of neglecting any of the following, there’s a good chance Google is sweeping your website under the proverbial rug.

Intuitive Organization
It’s no secret that Google prioritizes well-designed, easy-to-navigate sites over those with confusing or non-connected pages. It can prove beneficial to ask somebody you know to go through your website and try to find the important information. Have them look at the site with a fresh set of eyes. If they cannot source it within 5 minutes, then perhaps you need a redesign for easier access.

Responsive Design
Having a Responsive Design refers to a site’s ability to adapt to the device on which it is being viewed (phones, tablets, etc.). Though many people still use their traditional desktop computers when searching the internet, a study by Google showed that over 80% of searches performed online are done so using a smartphone or tablet. As I’m sure you’re aware, trying to look at a website that isn’t optimized for your mobile device can be tedious. If a patient needs to continually zoom and scroll it reduces their willingness to visit the site. The end result — they won’t turn into your office, costing you valuable patients.

Fast Load Time
Website Magazine noted in an article that 47% of visitors expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds. On top of that, 40% of visitors will leave the website if the loading process takes more than 3 seconds. This is why Google considers load time a factor in page ranking. To test your medical website load speed, you can visit Pingdom and do a quick, free test.

The web today has over 1 Billion websites. Over 500 new websites are being created every 60 seconds. To ensure you can be found, you have to increase your medical practice Google rankings. In other words, if you would like to assist your patients, and prospective patients, in finding your medical practice, you need to increase your medical practice Google rankings. The better your site is optimized, the better off your office and your patients will be.

 

SEO Techniques That Don’t Cost Money

SEO Techniques That Don’t Cost Money

Most people with websites are looking for SEO techniques to help improve their web presence. One of the most difficult things regarding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is that it is constantly changing.

Because of the ever-changing nature of SEO, techniques that worked a decade ago won’t work now. And, those which are working now might not work a year from now. The good news, however, is that there are a few SEO techniques that are consistent — they don’t change. If you have the capabilities of mastering these strategies, you will bring more search traffic to your sites.

Let’s take a look at some strategies and explain how can you use those strategies to grow your search engine traffic. We will also examine how you will increase your sales and how you will know where to start if you’re just beginning to dive into SEO with a minimal budget.

1. Long Tail Keyword Research

70% of search engine traffic comes from long tail keywords.

With all of the experience I have, I can definitely state that I know SEO is not easy. Getting quick results is a joke, especially if you are trying to get long term rewards in terms of traffic and sales. Anyone who tells you they can get you instant results is lying. You may even be familiar with the those obnoxious emails filling your inbox with promises of the #1 search spot on Google or Bing. The fact is, quality SEO takes time to do it correctly and legitimately.

If you only take away ONE tip, make sure it’s this — use long tail keywords. For example, “SEO tips for small businesses” is a five-word long-tail keyword. Long tail keywords are your best bet to rank, and they tend to send you more search traffic and sales.

For any content creation strategy, long tail keywords are a must-have! To optimize your keywords, start out by doing the following:

  • Analyze which keywords your competitors are using. Of those, find out the keywords that seem to be generating huge traffic to your competitor’s sites. This will make it easier for you to come up with a lot of great keyword ideas.
  • Next, it will help to create a list of all the questions that your target audience might have. In other words, what is your target audience typing into their search query to find your product or service? Type them on Google one at a time to get a better feeling regarding how many articles have been published on the web. Create the best content, answering their pain points or questions.
  • Finally, focus on finding and using the long tail keywords with the monthly search volume below 2000. The reason for this is that it becomes easier for you to rank quickly without spending more time on link building.

banner for long tail pro keyword finder

2. On-page Optimization

On-page optimization is a powerful SEO technique that you shouldn’t be ignoring if your goal is to bring massive visitors from search engines to your websites.

The great news is that on-page optimization doesn’t need to be difficult. The first step to any on-page SEO success is finding the right keywords that are proven to increase your traffic. As mentioned above, keyword research is essential. Once you come up with your primary keyword, you can then optimize your pages accordingly.

Make sure to come up with a primary keyword that will be the focus of your blog post before you even begin writing. Use that primary keyword in your title as well as in your Meta description. For your convenience, start using the Yoast SEO plugin (free) to easily optimize your blog posts for specific keywords.

  • Use your primary keyword in your introduction of the post or page. It’s better to use it within the first 100 words to rank better.
  • Use images all over your content. Make sure to add alt tags on all of them and also include your primary keywords in any one of them.
  • Link to relevant sources in your industry. Make sure to email the people whom you are linking to. And ask them to give a shout out to their audience. They will gladly do so if they like your content.
  • Use your primary keyword in your heading, sub headings like h2 and h3 tags, URL and throughout your body (but don’t do keyword stuffing).

3. Long Form of Content

A bit of information you may find interesting — over 2 million blog posts are published every single day! That’s a lot, right? So, how can you surpass all of those articles and get first page results for your targeted keywords?

Naturally, it’s safe to assume based on what we’ve discussed so far, that it’s impossible to get first page results by creating mediocre content. By mediocre content, I mean short articles that are less than 500 words. If you want to get people to your website and reading your blogs, you need more content than 500 words.

In fact, if you want to boost your search traffic — produce a long form of content. The importance of long form content can’t be stressed enough. What you need to do is search a topic and you will find that, for the most part, the first 5 results that appear will have an average word count of 2000 words. It will have detailed, valuable content.

As a rule of thumb, if you make sure to create articles with over 1500 words, you will see better results than your competition. That way you can bring massive search results. Here is a few tips:

  • Research the topic first. Don’t begin writing even the slightest of words before doing proper research around the topics you are going to cover. Take notes from the first page of results. Look closely to see what’s missing in them and try to cover them in your articles. That way you can write detailed content that your readers find valuable.
  • Read more. By reading the best blogs in your industry or books around your favorite topics, you will begin to develop the skill and talent that will help you write more. The more you read the more value you can add to the content you are providing. It’s as simple as that.
  • It takes some time to create detailed content. Try to spend at least 3-5 hours to create a 1500 words post. When you practice writing more and more detailed articles it will become much easier as time goes on.
  • Outline your post after doing research. Use sub headings. Fill them with great content.

4. Competitor Research

Do you really know what your competitors are doing? In order to stay ahead of your competition, competitor research is a must. It will also help you in your quest for more traffic from Google. The simple reason for this is competitor’s research is the surefire and fastest way to increase your search traffic and sales. It gives you a better idea about the topics and products you are promoting.

Competitor analysis provides the following benefits:

  • Helps you find the best content ideas
  • Helps you boost your sales
  • Helps you find unlimited backlink opportunities
  • Helps you increase your traffic and social shares

It really is in your best interest to spend a little money for the competitor research stage to improve your website’s SEO. Completing an in-depth competitor analysis is not a big deal when you have access to the right competitor analytics tools like SEMrush.

SEMrush

Pro tip: Find out your competitor’s best-performing keywords. Use SEMrush to find their top keywords. Figure out ways to use those keywords to boost yours search traffic!

Competitive analytics tools, such as those provided by SEMrush provide features which will help you thoroughly analyze your competitor’s sites along with the important data like backlinks, traffic sources, best performing keywords etc.

Do You Want to analyze your competitors properly?

Are you looking to learn which topics your competitors are posting regularly on their blogs? What you need need to do is study the content length, social media metrics and backlinks of your competition’s blogs.

Lists are a good thing for you to be able to refer back to. So, that being said, make a list of all the products your competition creates and promotes on these channels and how they seem to be educating their audience in order to boost their products sales. You can gain a lot of insight on what works and doesn’t work when attempting to target the audience you want to attract. At the same time, you can save yourself a lot of time and headaches by learning from the mistakes your competition may be making.

Something else you can do is find out your competitors broken links and email them about the issues. You can always provide a reference to your relevant posts to replace their dead links with yours. You can use tools like SEMrush to easily do a backlink analysis of any site to help you find those broken links.

5. Optimize Your Website with Regular SEO Audits

Last but not least, it is crucial to do a complete website audit to find and fix all your site issues. You can’t just do it once and forget about it, either. You should be performing regular audits on your website to ensure everything is working smoothly.

If you are struggling to increase your traffic regardless of creating content regularly, it could be because of some SEO related issues that your site has. So, find and fix any and all errors if you want to grow your search rankings.

Here are few website optimization tips you need to implement right away to bring more traffic:

  • Do a site audit of your website. If you have already grabbed SEMrush, they have a tool that provides a list of all the recommendations to boost your site rankings on Google. If you get their subscription, it is definitely worth the investment!
  • Make sure to find your website speed. Use Pingdom tools or Google page insights to know how fast your site is loading. They also give you site recommendations so you can improve them to boost your site’s speed.
  • Check if your site is mobile responsive or not. Use WPTouch (free plugin) to make your site mobile friendly.
  • Move to a better web hosting service. Get a reliable, faster and secured hosting to run your sites. Your website speed depends a lot on your hosting service. So don’t pick a cheap one and hate yourself later.
  • Constantly check your site for dead or broken links. You can use broken link checker tool to find and fix your dead links. 404 error pages are not good for your site in terms of SEO.

Final Tidbits

SEO is like a vast ocean and navigating it doesn’t happen overnight. Improving your site’s search engine traffic is not easy and anyone saying it is doesn’t really know what they are doing. Instead of using thousands of SEO techniques and strategies, find just a few key strategies like content marketing, on-page optimization, website audits, etc., and just stick to them. In the long run, it can help you out a lot.

Again, don’t think only about getting quick results with SEO. Rather, focus on getting consistent, long term results. If you implement all the key SEO techniques mentioned in this guide, you will surely notice a big traffic spike.

Pin It on Pinterest