The WHY and the HOW of UTM Codes for SEO
UTM codes stand for Urchin Tracking Monitor. The name comes from Urchin Tracker which was a web analytics software that served as the base for Google Analytics. These are often used with Google Ads (formally Google AdWords). Marketing in the old days you spent hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on newspaper ads. These ads you often didn’t know the results. Either due to you or your employees not asking how you heard of us or truly thinking the newspaper was making results (e.g. you guessed). Today with technology you often will spend less but demand to know whether the results are working for you. First, you should’ve been asking that question under old school methods but there really was no 100% way of knowing. With UTM codes you can have some pretty accurate methods of how people are reaching you. They also can be used beyond just paid ads if used correctly. We’re going to not only dig into what UTM codes are but how you can use them and how to create them (easily).
Search Engine Adrenaline Shot
We are hearing this more and more from companies talking with us. They ranked high once and now they are dropping and their competitors are ranking higher. These can be local or national companies organically (e.g. free) ranking higher than they and they think it’s because these corporations are outranking them because they are spending money. The answer is yes but not in the way they are thinking. They are ranking not because they are paying the search engines to rank to get those organic listings. They could be paying for ads but that doesn’t measure into the organic listings. They are paying their employees or a digital marketing company to make them rank that way. Let’s take a look and see what a business owner can do to fix this problem.
Why technology matters with SEO and Social Media
We feel it is great that companies in Northwest Indiana and really all over the United States are looking to streamline and save money. The question comes to where do you automate and have truly in-personal communication and where do you have that personal touch we all enjoy? Technology has a place to help cut costs. No longer do you need to pay $500-$1,000+ for social media digital marketing management. Technology can help keep costs low and increase your brands reach. Let the computer do the heavy lifting that used to take hours to gather information so that you can focus on what matters; the customer. Let’s look at where technology can (and should) be used, where it can (and shouldn’t be), and where you need to still use that 100% personal touch.
Is your entire SEO plan paid marketing?
If your entire marketing plan is paid marketing prepare to continually increase your paid marketing overtime. Paid marketing or pay-per-click is an effective way to reach new areas you weren’t previously in or areas where you want to further grow. Paid marketing though is not where you want your marketing efforts to be spent. You need to be looking at building up the content of your website for organic (e.g. free) marketing. Free marketing doesn’t mean it’s free though. It means you must do things the “old fashioned way” by working for it. You need to be updating your products, your services, and start a blog.
All too often we see businesses making a big mistake when it comes to the search engines beyond ignoring them or just paying to play. They are still thinking the early 2000’s and the internet on how they worked before they could do a lot of 'self thinking'. The search engines have evolved, yet many businesses have not evolved with these changes. Google is a major force recon with when it comes to the search engines and they are not slowing down with their updates. With over 500 updates per year you need to continue to bring you’re 'A' game to make the search engines work for you. Paying for your search engine optimization or SEO is a short-term fix to a long-term problem.
Growth & Transparency
Many of our clients, friends, and even local competitors we’ve been talking to over the past several weeks and they say we seem to be busy. We are and we know why and are going to tell you how we’re doing in one area. That area is search engine optimization and social media. It’s actually technology that gives us our edge. As software developers we think analytically to grow business. We have spent tens of thousands of dollars on tools to help our small business clients rock it. We get tools that work together that give us insights into what the internet is doing. With that information we can dig deeper than most and spot trends months before others start reacting.
What are heatmaps?
Heatmaps are dynamic and interactive reports to visually show you what users are doing not only on your website but in great detail on a given page. A heat map will overlay colors on your website to show where users are clicking, where mouse movements are (e.g. this is considered eye tracking as well!), how far down on a page someone scrolls, percentage of clicks on a given area, and many will even allow you to export the information for deeper dives in analytics software or spreadsheets.
Top 5 SEO Lies
As a company that everything is based on 'no lying' it's always good to cover some of the biggest lies that we know people have been told. Today we're going to cover search engine optimization and the most common lies that we routinely here. Slick talkers will say whatever they can for a sale. Business owners want to get as high on the search engines and when they hear a deal, even one too good to be true, many will jump on board.
What are backlinks?
When it comes to search engine optimization or SEO and you are talking about organic SEO every conversation will eventually cover backlinks and why you need them. Backlinks are a key way to organic search engine success but that doesn't mean they are a good thing. As with everything in life, there are good and bad when it comes to backlinks. backlinks are links from domains outside of your control that link back to one or more pages to your website. backlinks are also referred to as referring links or referring domains.
SEO and how it benefits your website
We talk about the benefits of SEO or search engine optimization with every project we work on. Whether it be a basic brochure site, a site designed for lead generation, a customer support site, or an eCommerce site. You can build the most beautiful site in the world. You can have the greatest content in the world. Only when you let people know it exists will they be able to find you.
Organic SEO vs Pay Per Click vs Doing Nothing
Debate as much as you want regarding organic search engine optimization or SEO versus paid advertising or PPC and you will find out it is a hot topic with people fighting on both sides of the fence that one is better than the other. A third option we see all too much is to be completely lazy and do nothing as you've vested so much money that you expect that money to also be heard by the search engines that you didn't even pay because your site is just 'that great'. The question comes down to which one will work best for your brand, your timeframe, target market, what your budget is, how patient you are, and whether you have truly great content. We've re-written this several times and are going to lay the pros and cons to each.
SEO Best Practices for Your Small Business Website
We believe that small business truly makes our communities grow. They have heart, passion, raise their families, and are 100% committed to our communities. We believe big business is important but will never be as vested in our local community as much as small business. To that end we look for ways to improve small business search engine optimization for small business whether you are in Valparaiso, Merrillville, or in a big city like Chicago. These SEO techniques work for every small business.
Elements to a quality blog post
As part of any good search engine optimization or SEO technique is to provide consistent content to your audience. Consistency comes in many forms when it comes to blog posts When we are sitting in our downtown Valparaiso Indiana office looking out the window and hear the cars drive by in the early morning there are periods of silence. This silence allows us to reflect on the past traffic and think about the traffic that is about to come. Your blog post is similar in that you write a post, publish the post, and then think of the next one. You'll then repeat the process. But what all goes into a quality blog post and how can it help you with your search engine optimization? Well, let's read on and find out.
Power of META Descriptions in the sales cycle
Every page has a brief description outlining what your page is about. This description the normal human will never see on the website itself. You will see it within the search results if the search engine believes your description portrays an accurate representation of your page. Having a poorly crafted description could turn off a wood be customer off while a well-crafted description will not only bring them in wanting to know more but be your first step in the sales process. Let's delve in and learn what the META description is and how it can help you increase your visitor traffic to your website.
Dealing with Negative Customer Reviews
It's time to talk about the pieces of our business that no business owner ever hopes to be discussing. Being prepared though is the first step in this situation. Dealing with your own mistakes, mistakes of employees, mistakes of other customers, misconceptions, missed expectations, and dealing with people that are just unhappy with your services. How you handle these situations will either turn them into an advocate or make them your worse enemy. Let's shoot for your advocate! Whenever we take on a project for our SEO and social media Business Improvement Plan clients we do an onboarding meeting whether on the phone or in-person. We discuss how to deal with negative reviews and remarks. In this article, we are going to talk solely on about the review side but pertains to any negative attributes you receive regarding your products, service, or business.
How can local SEO help me nationally?
As we continue to do a lot of local SEO which accounts for half of our daily work there is a large portion of our clients that sell nationally as well. These clients are already optimized for local search using items like latitude and longitude, local specific words, etc. so the search engines know where they are. Today one asked if they are configured for local SEO how does that help them in the national scene of SEO and if the local SEO optimizations might be hurting or holding them back. Today we look at these questions in a bit more detail.
SEO Keywords are dead
When it comes to the search engines keywords are truly dead. This doesn't mean you should completely forget about them but they should not be as much of a focus as people still put on them. The search engines are a lot smarter today than they were five years ago. If your strategy is about keywords like 'web design Valparaiso Indiana' you are missing the point of what the search engines are doing in today's world. Let's explore why keywords are dead and how you should change your search engine strategy.
You can do SEO yourself!
Having people visit your website is one of the hardest things about being online. You can do paid advertising but that will only get you so far and often are not the key people you are looking for. When it comes to search engines you have paid and organic with organic being the free part of the search engines. Today we are going to talk about the organic parts of search engine optimization or SEO. Everything we outline is items you can do yourself (e.g. you do not have to hire a company like JM2 Webdesigners & Marketing out of Valparaiso Indiana – we hope you do but we know not everyone has the money and does have the time to do it themselves).
Ways to increase your Domain Authority (DA)
You have a business that you want to grow. You want your business found online ahead of all your competitors. There are many factors that are involved to get your domain found online and above your competitors. A key piece of information is your domain authority often called DA. There are many aspects that you can do to help improve your DA. In this article, we will list several ways to improve your DA which can give you the potential (keyword: potential) of moving your rankings up in the search engines.
20+ SEO Checklist for new & existing websites
When it comes to websites one of the first questions we think about and our clients ask is what is the best way to get on page 1, position 1, of Google. That answer is simple. Follow all the best practices Google Webmaster Tools recommends. These best practices will let you know you need quality content, not 'break the rules', write for humans (not computers), and have an easy to use navigation structure that answers the questions your visitors want to know. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is! With some time, effort, and a dedication to grow your business you can do it as well. In this article, we'll cover what you need to do for new or your existing website.
Article Writing Scam with SEO
Recently we have seen an influx of search engine marketing (SEM) 'experts' pushing article writing to achieve page 1 results on the search engines. This can boost you in the first few months (sometimes even for a year or two -- this is more rare). This type of trickery people continue to do as it does work in the beginning. Once you are caught by the search engines you will start to not only drop in your search engine ranking but more importantly be penalized for doing these 'spam tactics' that were designed to trick the search engines. In this article, we are going to dig into what article writing or article marketing is and how it can hurt your business
Pay-per-Introduction vs. Search Engine Optimization: Which Is Better for Your Business?
Today I was approached by a fourth pay-per-introduction service. After evaluating the pros and cons of these services I conclude great SEO has a better return on investment than pay-per-transaction services.
SEO: 5 Keys to Writing Quality Content
The quality of your website content is essential not only for search engine rankings but for business credibility as well. Your content should include the keywords and phrases that you want to rank higher for, but it should also make sense and not be repetitive to your readers. Writing good content that also helps your SEO can be tricky, which is why we've compiled a list of easy ways to help improve your content.
SEO: How Crucial is Mobile Optimization?
In 2016, mobile overtook desktop as the primary device used to access websites. People use all sorts of devices today to browse the internet, including cell phones, tablets, laptops, and even smart watches. 'Responsive design' is the term used to describe how a website responds to the screen size, orientation, and resolution of each platform. Even though responsive design has been around for a while now, the majority of sites still fail to meet usability standards. Most websites are built for desktop and then dialed down for mobile. Having a mobile optimized website will not only make your website more user-friendly and universal, it will help your search engine optimization and get you ranked higher in search results.
SEO: How Important is Social Media?
Social media sites like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter are a popular way to share content and get involved with the online community. They are free to use and they give the public a place to create a profile and keep in touch with their local and global community. For businesses, not only does this give the public a way to connect with your business more personally and stay up to date with your products and sales, it also helps your search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO: How to Optimize Your Web Pages
Web page optimization is the first step to increasing your website's search engine optimization (SEO). Optimizing your web pages means designing them to get the best use out of them. Whether it's search engine optimization, which increases your website's ranking on search engines, or performance optimization, which ensures that your website runs quickly and smoothly, it is extremely beneficial for you and your visitors to have your web pages be the best they can be.
Back to the basics of SEO
What exactly is SEO and how does it affect my business? Let's break things down and start from the top! SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and we already know what a search engine is, right? Google, Yahoo, Bing, and many other websites serve as search engines, where a visitor types a phrase or word into a search box and a list of results pops up instantly. These sites look through every page of every website on the world wide web and matches results to the phrase or words searched. Optimization means making the best and most effective use of this resource, or in our case, designing your website so that search engines list it near or at the top of their search results list.
Quick tips to kickoff your SEO efforts
Search Engine Optimization or SEO can't be done in a single day. You can in one day though make a lot of small changes and improvements that will help you get a great jump start on improving your SEO. The improvements we outline today are all foundational items that are needed for any SEO and items we've been fixing left and right for many clients we've taken on updating their websites over the past several months.
More on Local Search
Every business has a story and they want to be heard. Whether you are in a small town like Chesterton Indiana, a college town like Valparaiso Indiana, or a big city like Chicago Illinois. You want your story told and to be heard by others. To get your story heard you need to market to those looking around you. In this post, we delve into more on being found locally.
Be Found on Local Search
Being found locally for any small business is crucial. As of May 2015, Google acknowledged that search on mobile devices in ten counties, including the United States, surpassed that of desktop searches. With this revelation of how important mobile search is it is more important than ever that your business is truly prepared for local search. Searching on mobile uses geographic (location based) search to determine the most relevant information.
Trump your competition with a maintenance plan
When it comes to getting your business online having a strategic plan that is optimized to grow your business is crucial. With a maintenance plan, you can take care of not only your website, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media needs but take it to a level never thought of. There are many companies that have solutions that do one and not the other. We're going to outline our 'Web + Social' plan. This is our most popular plan as it takes your business to the next level.
Earn your way to SEO success with Blogging
When it comes to being found online you need an SEO strategy to reach the maximum audience possible using solely white hat SEO techniques. We are not going to delve into white hat or black hat SEO here. We will strictly be talking tactics that we use in every blog post to achieve SEO success with content through blogging on your website. Before we even get into the article I want to be very clear that when you write do not write for the search engines to get your SEO. You want your content human readable and in a way, that is engaging and provides value to your intended audience.
Improving your SEO on eCommerce pages
When it comes to search engine optimization or SEO it should never be considered one and done or something you can learn in a blog post or a few short hours. SEO is truly a craft that can take a good website and make it great. The opposite is also true that a good website with poorly thought out design and content can create a bad website to the search engines. In this article, we'll go over the core areas for SEO on an eCommerce website.
Content is Crucial to SEO Success
When it comes to getting your website indexed on the search engines you need high-quality content that tells a story to your users. This story needs to be clear, concise, and most importantly covers what your users are looking for.
Handling SEO for your company
As we work on content writing, graphic design, social media and search engine optimization (SEO) we often look at what a typical day looks like. Below is a list of what we do for our clients on a weekly and daily basis.
Pogo-sticking Search Engine Optimization
Pogo-sticking is not like the pogo sticks many of us grew up as a kid. When we talk about pogo-sticking this is when a person types a search term in the search engines, click on a link and then immediately after reaching a page clicks the back button as the page they landed on was not what they were looking for. In the terms of a business when pogo-sticking happens on their page a lost sale has most likely just happened.
Let's Talk Maintenance Plans
Coming off of Labor Day weekend we thought we would talk and discuss maintenance plans. Maintenance plans are specific tools for getting the job done in a timely and efficient manner. A form of labor that JM2 Webdesigners from Valparaiso Indiana does to help your business grow. Your employees are dedicated to helping your business grow in the real-world. We become employees for you in the virtual world and help them come to the real-world to learn about your products and services for a lot less than you think. In this article we go over everything in our 'Web and Social Media Package'. If you only want search engine optimization (SEO) take the social media away and that's that package. These are designed to be simple and complete to meet every need your business has when doing digital marketing.
Are you Overwhelmed with website, social media, or SEO?
Today we had the water turned on for our new office. This sounds like a simple ordeal to have done. The week before as we had it scheduled we found out that it had been seven years since water was on. This raised a flag so we looked over all the pipe by feeling every inch we could see and it was relatively all new with shut offs, etc. We set all the shutoffs to closed so that we could test each section one at a time. When the city turned on we had leak number one and it was in a wall. Five hours later and that was fixed. Water back on and good. Turned on the next shutoff valve and another leak (again in a wall). Repeat this four more times. Have you ever felt overwhelmed with your website, social media, or SEO as we did with our water today? We will go over some ways to ease that feeling so that you can grow your business with today’s article.
Three types of Search Engine Optimization
Believe it or not there is more than one type of search engine optimization (SEO) out there. Most people that are trying to sell your business on SEO mention that they handle SEO. We find that interesting as part of our conversations with SEO we ask 'what type of SEO are you referring too'. More often than not we here 'SEO'. There actually are three core pieces to optimizing for SEO. In this article we'll go over those three pieces.
On-Page SEO Success
When it comes to getting the word out about your great website you need to be found. Sure your marketing materials, even your social media, will link to your website. What about the search engines? They still play the biggest factor in getting your website found. This is where on-page SEO can increase the success of your website. In this article we'll cover the factors that influence the search engines to further improve your SEO success.
Structuring URL's for SEO Success
When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) one of the core items when developing your overall site plan is to design the site architecture. Having your sub-pages more than three layers deep is not good from a search engine perspective as no normal human can remember items that deep. We always shoot for a maximum of two layers deep when possible; three at most. URL structure doesn't stop there. There are many areas that should be looked at when developing your site architecture.
Creating Organic Content versus Sharing Content
We have a lot of clients that we talk to about the true difference between creating unique quality content and sharing quality content. We have and will continue to state that high-quality content is the best way to get the search engines to start taking notice of your business. The problem with this process though is it takes time to get the search engines and users to notice this quality content. Sometimes taking years to achieve results. So what can be done to get your high-quality content out there as fast as possible?
Difference Between On-Page versus Off-Page SEO
Depending upon who you talk to you will find that there is a true divide when it comes to on-page versus off-page search engine optimization (SEO). We are one's where we actually fall right squarely in the middle and we feel that both are equally important to your overall search engine strategy if you want to reach page one results on the search engines.
Local SEO and Page One Guarantee
We are often asked by clients to match a competitor 'guarantee' of a page one position one organic spot within the search engines. No one can do this and those that do you truly need to run from. No matter how much money is thrown at Local SEO you cannot guarantee a page one position. When it comes to your search engine optimization (SEO) results you need to do the right thing (white hat SEO techniques), having truly awesome content (content is king), and staying in it for the long haul (sounds like the stock market doesn't it?). Whether you are in a smaller and growing community like Kouts Indiana or in a big city like Chicago Illinois the techniques we will discuss pertain to all.
Improving your SEO and your User Experience
The internet is a fast moving machine where performance is key to being successful. There are design trends that look cool but can negatively affect your visitor performance. Many of these trends are good as they improve the overall user experience (UX); others though make the experience worse after the 'wow' factor has been seen one or two times. A positive user experience is one that enhances, doesn't slow a site visitor down, doesn't distract, aligns with the core objective of the site, and doesn't have to get them to think of 'what do I need to do here'. Many design trends over the past year have some great 'wow' factor but can actually hurt your search engine optimization, slow down your website, and detract from what you are promoting.
SEO Tips to Increase Traffic
No matter what your content management system (CMS) is you will find that they all have several things in common that can help you achieve a great search engine optimization (SEO) for your website. Google has very clearly stated that content is king, links rank right next to the king, and that they utilize machine learning artificial intelligence (RankBrain) as the third most important ranking factor. With all of this public knowledge of how Google works can we take advantage of this information to better promote our website? Today, we are going to look at some core ways to improve your SEO to increase your website traffic.
Black Hat SEO - Don't do this!
Everything outlined here you should never do ever! These are all techniques we have found that 'SEO Experts' (they are NOT) have used in the past 6 months that do web design in Northwest Indiana. We will not mention names but as they read this they will know who they are and hopefully correct their ways. This is to be an educational article for those wanting to make certain they do not do this as it will ruin your online reputation with the search engines and cost you not only your rankings but also money to fix.
How to SEO in 2016
Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short is a key component to getting your website to rank well. In today's article we are going to cover the bare minimum to rank well on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. These are predominantly the three most used search engines and feed many of the smaller search engines on the Internet. This will not be a complete guide to what we do for our clients under our monthly maintenance contracts but for those not wanting a maintenance contract, with another company, or would like additional knowledge regarding your SEO this guide is for you.