Search Engine Optimization

Using website SEO to transform your site

If you have an existing website, it is crucial for your long-term success that you continue to develop your site over time. Without continued attention and work, you will eventually find that your website stagnates, and begins to lose momentum. There are different ways to curb this threat, however only one makes sense in the long-term. Also, only one is truly affordable, and this is website SEO. If you aren’t yet familiar with this term, then don’t worry. You’re not alone, and we will explain as we go through this post.

SEO
In simple terms, SEO includes all practices used to improve a website. The focus is primarily on improving the website insofar as the search engine ranks it. However, it is also deeply interconnected with how your visitors experience your site. SEO includes everything from website design, blog creation, content production, keyword research, and many other techniques. Generally, SEO is broken down into “on page”, and “back-end” SEO.

On-page SEO
On-page SEO refers to all SEO techniques that will be visible to a visitor of your site. It includes everything listed above, all of which play a role in how a search engine will rate and rank your site. There is no one area which should take priority over others, however, you should generally begin work on the areas which your site is weakest in. Or otherwise, try those things which you have yet to try.

Back-end SEO
On the other hand, we have back-end SEO. Back-end SEO includes all of the SEO practices which will not be noticeable to your audience, but which makes a big difference to the search engine. One exception which your audience will see includes meta titles and meta descriptions, these being the text and title that you see on the search engine results page that describes what is on the page.

The best cost-effective website SEO techniques

It is always surprising to realize how many businesses, particularly small ones, that avoid investing in website SEO. One of the main reasons seems to be a fear of costs. It’s difficult to know why this misconception is so common. One potential reason is that prices can vary so much, and there are no set prices for specific SEO techniques. Rather each developer decides their own prices. With this said, there are many cost-effective SEO methods available, and in many cases, these are the most effective and widely used techniques in any case.

Keywords
Doing some keyword research, and spending the time to implement those terms in the content of your website and / or blog is one of the most cost-effective of all SEO techniques. It is also one of the most foundational.

Backlinks
A backlink is a hyperlink used on your page which connects to other websites. By offering the content of complimentary websites you will provide a useful service to your clients. You will also be ranked more highly by the search engine. Plus, over time, you might find that sites which you’ve linked to are now linking their content back to yours.

Back-end practices
The back-end of your website is the part that your visitors will never see. Though this certainly doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. Tidying up the back-end of your site is read positively by the search engine, plus it’s quick, easy, and affordable. 

Design
Finally, I wanted to add design to this list, especially since it is an essential investment to get you up and running in the first place. Making a big impression with website design is easier than you might think, and by offering a simple and clean layout you will make a big first impression with visitors. It is also highly worth investing in responsive design since this can handle your website over all platforms, including mobile and tablets, for little extra cost.

Website SEO basics

It’s useful for anyone running a business online to understand a little about how the web and in particular how search engines operate. Understanding this will give a more intuitive grasp of the value of a solid SEO service as the foundation for online marketing as well as giving some ideas about design formatting to consider.

Firstly, what do search engines do exactly? Well they do plenty of things, in terms of processes somewhere beyond the trillions. In practice though a big part of what they do can be broken down into crawling and indexing.

Crawling involves using software known as crawlers like Googlebot to collect info from public web pages much as we do when browsing, by moving from link to link. This explains why a clear site map is so important for your website, as well as for usability.

The masses of information are then indexed and data banks all over the world help meet the almost immediately supply to an unlimited demand for information. Pages are sorted by relevance and popularity and are ranked by a combination of the two factors. Rating highly here is what website SEO campaigns are all about.

It used to be the case that websites could shortcut search engines by filling their pages with keyword text, though they’ve developed a great deal since.

The search engines use algorithms to determine the order and content of the results from any gives arch query to allow instantaneous results.

Knowing a little more about how search engines work helps to explain what exactly it is that website SEO is for, as well as informing us on how to engage with SEO.

 

Long-term Website SEO tips

It’s true that the best practices used for website SEO are constantly growing, evolving, and developing. For this reason it’s always going to be necessary to update your website SEO from time to time, and in fact many services will even look after this for you as part of the service. None the less this doesn’t mean that we can’t kind of gauge the direction that things are going and plan for the best long-term strategies for achieving success in advance.

Great competitive keyword research is one of the most important aspects of SEO and it’s also one of the most traditional ways of optimising for search engines. For this reason it’s a sure fire bet that good investment in keyword research and implementation is one great way to guarantee long term yields.

However the most effective keyword research will still need constant revision as the rules which govern keyword use change. Previously websites did fairy well out of monopolising the most important keywords, today though the right words need to be used in the right content if you’re going to draw in traffic in the long term.

Finally for effective long-term keyword research your business should consider if taking advantage of your local area could boost your traffic. If your website is more for drawing customers to your store or restaurant then using local area keywords could be one way of carving down your competition to stand out.

building long-term back links, which become business relationships is another main way to get great SEO results. Be sure that you direct your customer to reputable related websites so that your customers can leave even better informed, and more likely to return.

By working together with the websites you link to you can also make sure that you’re not stepping on each other’s toes, and not wasting time duplicating content across both sites.

simple design and layout is the final essential way to determine if your traffic is likely to be long-term rather than one off visitors. Your site should be simple and minimal in design, and made for clear and direct navigation. A difficult to navigate design is one sure fire way of frightening users off, and it can also be more costly.

Website SEO: The Grammar of a Search Engine

Search engines, by their very nature, have to understand grammar. Grammar is inherent in every human language, and that includes the language we all use in our search terms and our web pages. But grammar is also insanely tricky; it’s very easy to get it wrong, and to add to that, it’s constantly evolving. (Just try going back to pre-Mackelmore days and asking someone on the street how to pop a tag!)

Search Engines Radically Simplify Grammar

For an English teacher, our language is rife with elements. Articles, prepositions, nouns, verbs, adverbs, pronouns, postpositions (yeah, that’s actually a thing), each of those things with the word ‘clause’ after it — the list goes on and on. But for a search engine, a vast majority of English is irrelevant. Google doesn’t care about words like “the” or “very” or even “ourselves” or “through.” Those words don’t even register on Google’s algorithm, because Google cares about exactly three parts of each sentence:

  • Subject
  • Verb
  • Object

That’s it. As far as Google is concerned, the sentence you are reading right now scans as “Google is concerned. Sentence scans eyes.” to its eyes. Because when Google is trying to determine what a website should rank for — or even what the website is about in the first place — nothing else really matters. All of the flowery superlatives and complex subordinate phrases in the world aren’t nearly as important as “hey, this webpage is about how subject verbs object.”

But There’s More

Of course, Google doesn’t keep its understanding of your website at that level, because that level introduces a lot of questions. For example, if subject is “fly,” are we talking about bugs, zippers, tent flaps, or fisherman’s lures? See last week’s article on LSI for the answer to that question.

Writing for Search Engines

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to write See Spot Run-type grammar in order for to craft solid website SEO content — Google has been parsing the most complex (and foolish) human sentences for more than a decade. What it does mean is that when you write about a topic online, you want to make sure that your topic appears at least a couple of times in subject verbs object form. Whether it’s ‘How to Dance the Tango’ (subject: implicit ‘you’/verb: ‘dance’/object: ‘tango’) or ‘7 Lifehacks that will Improve Your Office Space’ (subject: ‘lifehacks’/verb: ‘improve’/object: ‘office’ and/or ‘space’), taking the time to present your topic in a clear s/v/o relationship will help Google decide where you put your site — and if your keyword happens to show up somewhere in that sentence, it might even help you rank well once you arrive there.

Website SEO: Explaining LSI

Website SEO has changed a lot in the past few years. A lot of that is because of Google — see our previous three posts for more on that — but another lot of is because SEO folks have expanded quite a bit on their own understanding of how search engines work. The rise and fall of schema.org metadata structures (which do still exist, but frankly few people care) is attributable largely to the fact that people realized they didn’t need them. What they needed was a clearer comprehension of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).

When LSI first became part of Google’s arsenal back in 2004, it was dramatically misunderstood. People thought it meant “you have to add other keywords that are like your normal keyword only different.” For example, if your keyword was “Los Angeles SEO,” you might also add “LA SEO” and “Los Angeles SEM” and so on. Or if it was “Run faster,” you might add “running faster” or “Run more quickly.”

As it turns out, that was entirely wrong, not just about what LSI looks for on your site, but about its purpose in the first place.

LSI: A One-Sentence Description

  • LSI is an algorithm that determines, using other key phrases in the vicinity of a given ambiguous word, which of the multiple potential meanings that ambiguous word has.

In other words, LSI only matters if your keyword of choice is ambiguous. Now, a lot of words are ambiguous. “Run faster,” for example — “run” can mean “to propel yourself forward by moving your legs quickly,” or “a long vertical flaw in your pantyhose,” or “a string of repetitions of a given event or item,” or a few other things. “Faster” can mean “more quickly than,” or “held more tightly than,” or “further ahead of the correct time than,” and so on. So LSI is really really important to getting the correct search results for a lot of search terms.

“Los Angeles SEO” on the other hand, is almost entirely unambiguous. (There is another place in the world called ‘Los Angeles,’ but it’s an unincorporated crossroads in southern Texas most famous for being ‘that place with the barbeque stand in the middle of nowhere.’) There’s no amount of LSI that will ever affect that search term, because Google knows what you mean.

If LSI Doesn’t Matter to SERPs, What Does?

That’s easy: grammar! Come back next week, and we’ll show you what we mean.

Here’s How Website SEO Can Get Money in Your Pocket

Back in the day where internet became a medium for users to get information about a certain topic it was enough to build a website in order to establish an online presence. As years went by websites became a common standard for any business out there, and today having a website just won’t cut it. You need to invest in website SEO in order to gain a reputable online presence. Below you will find some of the benefits that explain how this, and this only, can turn your business around and fill your pockets with some solid cash.

Increasing Your Traffic

By developing a site taking into account and investing into website SEO you will find that your traffic increases exponentially. This is because when a site has the correct design and keywords it increases its visibility on search engines. Therefore, increasing your traffic will also give you visibility and credibility which will in time create permanency and a reputable image to your users to turn them into consumers.

ROI

An acronym for “return on investment” is the primordial stepping stone in many professional SEO companies and there are lots of testimonials that can back this point. Putting it simple, this just means that if you can’t get users to your site by ignoring search engine optimization, your website will just be as useful as a sign on the local drycleaners. But on the other hand, if you get your site ranked up high in search engines, you are likely to see a profit from the investment in a couple days time – which is just what it takes for this investment to impact your site’s traffic.

It Is Not Expensive

If you take into account the cost of setting up a website, you will find that developing proper SEO is not costly. You may even think it is an unnecessary expense but it will make the difference between success and failure – and that is certainly not affordable for any business. However, you should hire professionals in order to do it properly. Website SEO is a process, but it is also an art, so don’t hesitate to put your site on the hands of those who can make it your best site ever.

All about Website SEO

Website SEO is a very important aspect when it comes to online marketing. It also determines if an online business project will be successful or not. An online business that is not visible to customers will most likely be unsuccessful in the long run, which is why it is important to understand how ones website can become visible online. One of the most effective and easiest ways you can help your business succeed and improve the visibility of your website is by working with a company that provides website SEO.

Key Steps

The key steps involved with SEO for a website help to drive traffic that you desire to your website. The first of steps is keyword research, which can be obtained with help from an online marketing company. Once you have selected the appropriate keywords, you can instantly begin to track targeted traffic, as a replacement for random. What this means is the visitors that view your website will be looking to buy the services and products you have in place, which will turn out as a successful transaction for your business.

Two Major Parts

Two major parts are included in website SEO, first of which is onsite actions. These can be taken in order to enhance the rankings of your site amongst search engines. It is vital that the entire content on the webpages of your site features targeted keywords, as this will surely help search engines to catalogue your webpages and further direct traffic, which involves those that are looking for exactly what you have to offer.

The second part consists around the offsite portion. What this involves is forming content that will be placed on other parts of the internet, but will direct users back to your website. This is also very important, as search engines will easily be able to identify how high your website should be ranked for the specific search terms.

Effectiveness

SEO on a website is a very effective way to grow the traffic that visits your website. As well as increasing the amount of traffic, the SEO carried out will make sure that the traffic that visits your site is targeted, which could begin from a customer who ends up being a regular!

Do Not Skimp On Quality Website SEO

There is huge competition to get the highest possible ranking on search engines as they become the default way to obtain information on computers, mobile devices and phones. The use of improper techniques has been cracked down by the major search engines because people were growing dissatisfied by having to wade through results that contained links that had nothing to do with what they were searching for. When you use proper high quality techniques then you protect yourself and your website from the changes that are continuously being introduced by companies like Google and Bing.

Quality Website Hosting
It is important that you have a top quality host for your website. There are hosting solutions at every price point that will allow you to give customers and search engines the best experience when viewing your website. The two main areas are page loading speed and the quality of shared IP address hosting. Fast consistent load times will rank higher with search engines and stop customers from being frustrated and losing interest. Sharing an IP address that has other websites that use spam like techniques can see your site also marked us such.

Great Website Links
When you have links coming from well-regarded websites then your website SEO is boosted by this association. Quality links are very useful but recent changes have seen penalties added for sites that use poor mass linking techniques to try and shortcut using good techniques that take time and money to be built.

Social Media for SEO
Social media should be part of any quality website SEO techniques because it increase search engine rankings and makes your website more visible. Links on your website to your social media sites and links from social media sites to your website and content are simple basic ways to boost your SEO.

Real Content
Content is the number one way to get keywords in search engines associated with your website. Quality content is a ‘gift that keeps on giving’ as it will continue to add to your ranking and attract visitors as long as has relevant information. Building a base of quality content including product descriptions, articles and blogs are what search engines are focusing on. Adding content regularly allows you to improve website SEO, attract new visitors, add links and introduce new keywords.

What is involved in Website SEO?

The term website SEO or search engine optimization means making the website as optimized as possible so that it ranks highly in search engines. This helps potential customers find the website, providing more traffic and more potential sales.

In small and medium business environments the promotional value of website SEO can be the most cost effective ways to gain customers and raise your profile. The technical knowledge needed to properly implement this sort of optimization is extensive and they involve many different areas not just the use of keywords.

Some of the important areas to use are:

  • Keywords need to be researched so that they are aimed at the right target audience. It is important to be visible to people that are looking for the product, service or information that your website contains.
  • Links are an important area that needs to be implemented in an appropriate way. Social media can be helpful but keeping within the more stringent guidelines that the search engine operators use is vital.
  • Webpage optimization is becoming increasingly important as the crawlers that review websites become more sophisticated and advanced. The era of using brute force techniques is over and providing the right content with an appropriate level of keyword density is much more important.

When you hire professionals that understand website SEO you are getting the benefits of their experience and expertise. Here are some areas that an SEO expert can help your business with. Let’s have a look at those areas…

  • The ultimate goal is not having the ‘best’ website but to increase your internet visibility, bring more potential customers to your website and help you to convert this flow of potential customers to consumers.
  • Optimize the ability of your website to be seen. This can include changes to website design and content as well as looking at your competitors and researching how they are attracting customers.
  • Reinforcing your ongoing website development so that any changes in search engine rules are reflected in your website. This is indeed important because changes can quickly reduce the effectiveness of your website reducing the flow of visitors.

Three Paths to Social Bookmarking

Social Bookmarking used to be big, then it died back a little bit, but these days it’s back in the focus of websites’ SEO companies and small businesses everywhere. What is it? Pretty simply, it’s when you create a set of bookmarks about a subject and then stick it out on some public forum for people to vote on and comment about.

Back in the day, the big players were Digg and Reddit. They’re still around today, as are StumbleUpon and Delicious, their second-tier competitors. But the big news today is about Pinterest — and about the swarm of niche-specific social bookmarking sites like design:related, kirtsy, and others. Together, they represent the three main ways of using social bookmarking.

Old School
The originals still work just like they always did: you get accounts on Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and each time you have a new piece of content you want eyes on, you put links up to that content on each of your bookmarking accounts. The more bookmarks you build up, the better of a reputation you get on each site, and the more likely it is that someone will pay attention.

Picture Perfect
Using the likes of Pinterest and Instagram can be more difficult for a small business, because they’re entirely picture-related. If you can’t find something visual — and not just ‘a picture’, but something memorable, eye-catching, and provocative — you may not be able to use these social bookmarking sites. On the other hand, they have such immense traffic and sway over the social sphere that it might just be worth it to put in the effort and make the graphics you need.

The Eclectic Slide
Not every industry has it’s own niche social bookmarking sites — but you’d be amazed. Restaurants. Theatres. Music. Web design. Architecture. Almost anything that causes people’s hearts to stir or their opinions to come bubbling out of their mouths has at least one niche social bookmarking site on the Internet somewhere. These might not be as good of a way to get in touch with your crowd, but it’s a great way to get in touch with your competition.

Mobile Website Design: Responsive Or Separate?

We’re going to assume that you know you need to have a mobile website designed for your business — there’s lots of blog posts and articles out there that can explain why if you’re not already convinced. This isn’t about selling you on the idea of a mobile site, it’s about helping you decide what kind of mobile site you need. There are two basic options: reprogramming your existing (desktop-oriented website) so it’s viable on a mobile device, or creating an entirely new website for the mobile crowd.

The advantages of each are profound.

Responsive Websites
A responsive website is a single site on a single URL that is meticulously programmed to show up differently on a mobile device than it does on a desktop site. It does this through a process called a ‘media query’, where it basically asks the browser that’s accessing the site a bunch of questions about the device that the browser is running on, including questions about the device’s screen size.

The responsive website takes the information it learns and adjusts the elements it displays accordingly, removing most of them and retaining only the ones that are the most critical for a user to see. It also adds elements as necessary at certain sizes — so, for example, a video rental site might retain the “search for a video” and the “list of our available videos” areas, but take away the various categories like ‘drama’ and ‘romance’. Then, it would add a small link to the ‘categories’ page so the full functionality is retained but it’s broken up across several pages — much easier for a mobile device to browse on.

Separate Websites
A separate website is a completely different entity from the desktop site; they are utterly independent of one another. There are some significant downsides to a separate site, not the least of which is that it’s hardly efficient in terms of the cost of a whole second batch of website SEO. On the other hand, for sites where mobile users have a distinctly separate set of needs and wants out of a mobile device that they want from a desktop, a separate website can be a very useful tool.

Is Your Website’s SEO Slipping? 4 Common Reasons For a SERP Slipup

Sometimes, you have a website and it seems to be doing quite well in the SERPs (that’s Search Engine Results Pages) — and then suddenly, it isn’t anymore. Why does that happen? Can you do anything about it?

Usually, yes, you can do something about it — but it depends on the answer to the first question: why did it happen? Here are the four most common reasons why a website slipped down the SERPs:

  • A competitor out-SEOed you.
  • Your shine wore off.
  • Someone hates you.
  • Google’s algorithm changed.

A Competitor Out-SEOed You
This is pretty straightforward: at some point in the recent past, someone who wants to dominate a keyword either has a better SEO company (not likely) or a bigger budget (much more probable), and they decided they were going to kick you off the top spot. If you’ve only dropped one or two spots in the rankings, this is the culprit a goodly portion of the time.

Your shine wore off.
All of the search engines give ‘bonus points’ to sites with new content. That boost can be enough to keep you on the first page if you keep adding new, valuable content. If your site did well for 6-9 months and then suddenly dropped a full page or so in rank, this is probably the issue — add new content to get your shine back.

Someone hates you.
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to attack a website and kill it. All it takes these days is for someone to copy your content, change a few words, and put that content on a page full of porn spam, and then link back to your page. All the sudden it looks like you’re desperate for backlinks and restorting to porn spam to get them…which will kill your rep with Google no matter how good the rest of your organic SEO is.

Google’s algorithm changed.
This is a surefire sign that your websites’ SEO practices need cleaning up. If you’re creating legitimate, clean, strong links — or better yet, getting them naturally by consistently posting awesome content — this shouldn’t ever be an issue. But if you have iffy or even ‘light grey hat’ SEO, you can count on, one day, Google deciding that it doesn’t like you anymore.

Blog Posting, Status Updates, Tweets, and the Time it Takes To Write Them All

As the internet gets ever larger, so does the day’s work for a webmaster! Gone are the days when all he had to think about was his own site! Nowadays, any self respecting website owner really does have to have a huge number of peripherals to make sure that he is keeping up with the other sites in his competition.

Firstly, there’s the all important Facebook. That means status updates, links to the website, regular posts and a duty to respond to anyone who happens by. Then there’s Twitter. It’s so important to become an important part of the community in the Twittersphere, so this naturally takes time, and too much of it! Of course then you have the crucial branded blog. If you’ve got a website, you need a blog to run along said it to give you a voice. Well this needs regular blog posts of course, and even once you have written and posted these, your work is not done! You then need to cross reference by posting your blog on your Facebook and Twitter pages!

The work of a website owner is never done! This is of course why so many people enlist the help of SEO companies. Of course, it is to be hoped that they add value through their knowledge and expertise, but at the heart of some decision makers it is often simply because they just don’t have time to do it themselves.

Employ a decent SEO company and you can expect regular blog posting, social bookmarking, they should look after your social media sites, and of course apply standard Website SEO techniques to your website. You’ll of course pay a fee, but this should come back to you in the monetization of your site.

Trying to deal with everything to do with your website is going to be almost impossible if you want it to be successful. Get a bit of help and give your website the chance to be really successful.

Think You Can Slack On Your Website? SEO Doesn’t Work That Way

What comes up must come down. It’s a famous phrase, and, actually, it’s a great way to look at the performance of your website – if you don’t maintain it. It’s easy to be casual about something that’s working well, but when it comes to success on the net, there is no respite. Most sites do not do well by accident. It is usually a combination of great content, a well built site and excellent attention to detail from an SEO expert. You might also have needed a decent PPC management campaign to get you up and running too.

That’s all fine, but there does not come a point where you can look at all you have done and think to yourself that it will all take care of itself. It’s not the case of climbing to the top of the tree and just sitting there. All of the other people who have chased you to the top of the tree are going to be taking pot shots at you – you have to stay one step ahead of the competition, and that means hard work and a bit of cunning.

Keeping a website in a good position takes a lot of work in terms of SEO. If you can find a company who will take an organic approach to your website’s SEO, they’re probably your best bet. Google are very quick to penalise sites following the Panda and Penguin updates, so you have to be extremely careful not to employ a company who aren’t taking ethical SEO seriously.

With a good company in place, there’s no reason to believe that you can’t stay at the top. You really do need a large amount of fresh data and you have to stay relevant for your market. Continue to research the needs of your clients, continue to give them what they want and strive to do new things before your competitors and you stand every chance of remaining in top spot. Stand still, and others will go past you before you even realise it is happening.

Consistency Is The Answer For Every Website: SEO Never Ends

You’ve probably all heard of this really old dude named Aesop. He wrote all of these short stories about intelligent talking animals called ‘fables’. The stories, not the animals. Point being, he wrote one called The Tortoise And The Hare, and we’ve all heard a dozen variations of it in our lives. The amphibian plods along endlessly, the mammal runs, stops, falls asleep, gets passed, and loses.

The mammal is an idiot — but the sad truth is that 90% of the websites in the world are more like the hare than they are like the turtle, and they’re losing. Why is the bunny rabbit dumb? Because he sleeps. Not because he runs fast — no one apparently ever told Aesop that fast but steady pretty much kicks turtle ass every day of the week — but because he stopped running.

You can’t stop doing SEO — for the exact same reason that a smart racer doesn’t stop to take a nap. Every day that you don’t do SEO, someone who is doing just slightly less SEO than you were doing catches up, and they will pass you, and you will lose. There are a lot of turtles out there, especially at the bottom of the entrepreneurial pyramid: solopreneurs doing their own SEO by hand, but doing it well. If you pay for a few months of organic SEO and then go dormant assuming you’ve built up a good lead and no one is ever going to knock you off of the top spot for “Compleat Essentials”, you’ll come back a few months later to find that all of your traffic is being diverted to — and paying out for — someone else’s product.

Your website’s SEO isn’t some sort of requirement that has to be met once and then can be safely ignored. Like the hare’s lead over the tortoise, if it’s not getting bigger, it’s getting smaller. Parity is a very rare thing in the world of SEO.

More importantly, the more competitive the keyword, the faster the competition is running to get to the top. You might be acing your long-tail keywords with the level of SEO that you’re at now, but the same race that makes you the hare on the long-tail keywords is putting you in tortoise position for the high-competition keywords that make the big boys the big bucks.

Turn Visits Into Sales With Video: Introducing The Web Presenter

There are hundreds of ways to improve conversions — and every website converts differently. Years of A/B and multivariate testing by some of the biggest and baddest web design and website SEO groups in the world have unerringly revealed that (surprise!) nothing works well for everyone. Every industry and in fact every individual site has a set of conditions (background color, font color, font size, font family, background graphics, icons, arrangement of text, number of columns, etc. etc. ad nauseum) that works best for it, and those conditions even change over time.

But some things are true more often than others, and one of those nearly universal conditions is the presence of video. Video elements on a website make people pay more attention. It’s a combination of moving visuals, audial interaction, and the promise of information being doled out without any further effort on the surfer’s part, and it draws surfers in.

There are some kinds of videos that convert better than others — and that goes back to being something that works to varying degrees based on the type of website. But few websites should overlook the potential behind a specific kind of video called a web presenter. Web presenters are those pop-up people who smile, gesticulate, and talk to you from within the context of a webpage, outside of the confines of an obvious video box.

Web presenters can be used in a variety of different ways depending on your site and your audience. They can be set up to auto-play after a certain period of time, or they can require manual activation, or they can pop up and start explaining as the user interacts with some other element of the site. They can be set up to be in one place on the page, so as the user scrolls, the web presenter can roll under the fold, or they can follow the user as they scroll, so they’re always on screen.

However they’re set up, web presenters give the website an opportunity to present a human face to the world. They give your website an expression, a voice, and other human elements that websites normally lack — and by doing so, they engage your visitor’s empathy. Done right, that’s a conversion factory waiting to happen.

Small Businesses and Mobile Website Design: It’s Inevitable

If you have a small business with an Internet presence, you should commit yourself early on to having a mobile presence as well. Not sure what that means? It’s simple: there are two categories of devices using the Internet today. One is broadly called “desktops”, but includes anything with a mostly-normal keyboard and monitor, including laptops. The other is broadly called “mobile”, and it includes everything from an iPad down to the smallest smartphones.

Internet access works differently for these categories. Desktops connect to the internet via wires or, more and more often these days, via a Wi-Fi connection. Mobile devices connect to the internet via Wi-Fi at times, but more often they use a cellular connection over a 3-, 4-, or 5-G network — much slower than all but the weakest Wi-Fi connections. Furthermore, mobile devices are often on bandwidth-limited plans. Because of the slower speed and bandwidth limitations, mobile website design is performed differently — sometimes even written in an altogether different language than desktop-oriented sites.

As time goes by, however, more and more of the Internet-using population are logging on at least part of the time from a mobile device — and the ratio is rapidly approaching 50%. In short, if you don’t have a mobile-ready site, you’re potentially losing access to a large chunk of your market.

Fortunately, it’s relatively straightforward for a skilled web designer to convert your existing desktop site into a mobile-ready site. If they do it correctly, you won’t even lose any of your website’s SEO juice in the process — your mobile site will rank just as well as your desktop site, because they’re essentially the same entity, just showing up differently to different devices.

You may be surprised if you get a mobile website conversion — just because the mobile and desktop sites are the same digital entity doesn’t mean that they’ll look anything alike from the two sources. A web design scheme called Responsive Design allows for websites that ask the surfer’s device questions like ‘how big is your screen’ and ‘are you connected via a cell tower or wifi’ and produce very different “looks” depending on their answers. So while the same data is all there, it may come out arranged very differently depending on who is looking at it.

Mobile sites for small businesses: they’re going to become the norm. The only question is, how quickly will YOU catch on?

Affordable SEO is an Infinite Game

There are two kinds of games: finite games, that have a defined endpoint and usually a winner, and infinite games, which don’t. Both kinds of games have rules, moves, and goals, but infinite games’ goals move as the player moves. (Getting rich is an infinite game, too, as anyone who has ever reached their financial ‘goals’ can attest.) Either kind of game can be quit, but only infinite games can be voluntarily played for your entire life (some games of Monopoly notwithstanding.)

What the heck does all of this have to do with SEO? Simple: if you’re looking for affordable SEO, you’d better be prepared for an infinite game.

The rules of affordable SEO are as follows:

  • * Get your website ranked more and more highly for more and more keywords.
  • * Don’t spend too much money while doing so.

You can see from the rules themselves that there is no “winning” in SEO. There is only accumulating more and more keywords in your “First place ranking” pool. There is also an ever-changing goalpost in the second rule as well: “too much” is an entirely relative term. Too much may be a specific amount, like $50/month, or you can define it as a percentage of your income, but no matter how you define it, your definition will almost certainly change over a long enough period of time.

When you ‘play the game’ of SEO, your ‘playing piece’ is your website. SEO choices define the ‘moves’ you make with your piece. Your goal is to make sure that your ‘moves’ take you higher up the ranks than your competitor’s do. There’s a terrible amount of different SEO tactics that you can take, and they don’t all work equally well (or even work the same way for each industry), which makes research and information gathering vital to long-term SEO success.

That’s where SEO companies — and the notion of ‘affordable’ SEO — come into the equation. To play the game of SEO on the level of the big boys, you can’t do it yourself; you need help. Getting the smartest players that your money can buy to join your team, well, that’s the move you need to make first.

Affordable SEO Means Settling In For The Long Haul

Affordable SEO is at the top of every webmaster’s “to get” list. But the SEO industry isn’t like most others — having your website optimized for certain keywords such that they show up first or second when people search for those keywords on Google isn’t like buying a hamburger, or even like having your bathroom renovated. It’s more akin to, of all things, getting an annuity.

Annuities, if you’re not familiar, are interesting financial instruments. You pay in every month for a long time, and then suddenly they ‘mature’. Once they mature, rather than you paying in, they pay out — every month for the rest of your life. SEO operates similarly.

Every month, you pay an SEO company to build backlinks for you, and to optimize your existing online content for the search engines. As time passes, the stack of backlinks pointing toward your website grows, and your website creeps slowly up the search engine results pages for the keywords you’re targeting.

Then one day, you reach a point — usually, it’s the first page of a highly-competitive keyword, or the top three slots of a less-competitive keyword — and suddenly the payout comes. Visitors start trickling in, and you start making sales solely from the organic traffic you get from Google.

The difference between an annuity and your website’s SEO is twofold. First, you don’t ever stop paying into SEO — but on the flipside, the benefits from SEO continue to grow for as long as you pay in (unlike an annuity, which pays out a fixed amount each month forever.)

Every month you continue to pay into your SEO ‘fund’, the backlinks keep coming, and your website scores a higher rank for the keywords you’re targeting. If you achieve an optimal rank in one set of keywords, it’s easy to swap some out and start building toward more of them. The price never goes down, but the benefits keep going up with each passing month.

What that means, to bring things back around, is that the longer you spend paying for SEO, the more affordable — and more effective — it becomes. You can search for the best deal per backlink or whatever other criteria you choose, but in the end, there’s no such thing as affordable SEO at the beginning — and at the end, the only SEO that isn’t affordable is the SEO you stop paying for too soon.

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