Search Engine Optimization Archives - X-Factor
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    Watch this brief but informative webinar and see if your website is fine-tuned to deliver abundant sales volume. Today, it is vital that your company communicate with a strong digital presence, informative content and convenient user experience.

    You'll learn how to:

    • Make a great first (digital) impression
    • Assess the quality of web content
    • Build trust through your site
    • Improve organic search results
    • Enhance browser experience
    • Convert more leads through the site
    • Measure for success!

    SEO (search engine optimization) is just as important as website design and development in building a highly functional website. Web design and SEO are not necessarily interchangeable. A top-notch designer who builds killer webpages aesthetically doesn’t necessarily understand SEO. Are the meta tags optimized on every page of your site? Do your images contain alt tags with keywords and phrases? Do you have professionally written, keyword-optimized content that captivates your audience and compels them to action? These are just a couple of examples that fall under SEO and can be a detriment to your website’s performance and search engine rankings if ignored.

    SEO contains numerous components that must be researched, created, and managed. It’s not about just adding special codes to a website and calling it a day. Researching competition, link building, keywords and keyphrases, and crafting compelling content are just a few of the processes an SEO specialist will deploy to enhance search engine rankings. In fact, approximately 80% of the websites we audit are not properly optimized for search engines. Many designers view SEO as an additional revenue stream and sell the service without a fundamental understanding of how it should work, and the unsuspecting client doesn’t know the difference.

    SEO is constantly changing, and learning best practices is not easy because it is a moving target. Search engine algorithms for ranking frequently update and change. Your SEO expert has to be current on these updates to make sure your SEO strategy remains compatible. If your web designer proclaims expertise in SEO, it’s worth the money to have a third party audit your website for SEO best practices.  If your website architecture, content, keyword density, and overall backlinks are not up to Google’s algorithm standards, your site could be penalized.

    An SEO specialist is responsible for maintaining, changing, and updating your site for consistently better performance. Building top-performing SEO is a long-term process.

    The ideal solution is to hire an inbound marketing firm that has both website developers and SEO specialists on staff. X-Factor Web Marketing can affordably review and audit your website for SEO best practices. Since 2008, we have been bringing our clients’ messages, missions, and value propositions online and helping them achieve trackable and measurable sales growth. Wouldn’t you like to know if you are leaving dollars on the table because of a poorly optimized, low-ranking website?

    Let’s be honest. You don’t exist if you don’t show up on Google. It’s just a fact these days. Sure, there are plenty of other ways to market your business, and many of them can be very effective. But at some point, prospects are going to Google you, and what they find can make or break your chances of doing business. Why is this?

    Professionalism

    The website is often your company’s first impression. If it is outdated, clunky, slow, or ugly, you already look unprofessional to your prospects. Some folks will forgive that and give you the benefit of the doubt, but most won’t.

    What if your website doesn’t even show up when they search for you? The automatic assumption is that you’ve gone out of business, or that you’re some guy’s basement hobby, not a real professional company worth hiring.

    The best first impression you can give them is a well-designed, functional website that shows up high in the search engine results for terms they’re going to use to find out about you and what you offer. (And don’t forget, there’s a good chance they’re searching for you on a mobile device, so your site had better look good there, too.)

    Customer Service

    Your prospects and customers don’t want to call you anymore. They certainly don’t want to invest half an hour or more in an on-site meeting just to see if you’re someone they want to hire.

    They want to be able to Google the products and services they need, and find websites that answer their questions ahead of time, at their convenience.

    They want to be fully informed and completely comfortable before they talk to you. Then – and only then – will they initiate contact or respond to an ad you’ve put out there.

    The best thing you can do is fill your website with helpful content that naturally and effectively answers all your prospects’ questions while building trust and a desire to do business. And this content has to be search-optimized to show up high in the search results so that your prospects find you before they find one of your competitors.

    Brand Reputation

    In some cases, search results can do more harm than good.

    If an unhappy customer has lambasted you on local review sites such as Yelp or Foursquare, or if someone has posted negative comments on Facebook or Twitter, there’s a good chance your prospects are going to read those remarks when they’re researching your company.

    Specialized SEO tactics and reputation- or brand-management techniques combined can make sure that what appears first and foremost in search results helps instead of hurts you. There’s no way to completely avoid negative information about your company online, but it’s definitely possible to be aware of it and control its impact.

     The Bottom Line:

    If you don’t appear on the first page of Google, or if what appears doesn’t put your business in the best possible light, your business is being hurt. For more traffic and better conversions, apply the right inbound tactics to your website.

    For more information on website design, SEO and brand management, visit www.x-factormarketing.com.

    Many companies operate without understanding the value of their website to their overall marketing performance. Some feel that if they have a website, their job is done. The most beneficial websites to prospects are those that change frequently, have beneficial case studies and demonstrate how a company’s products and services add  value to a prospect.

    Once the web presence is tightened up, one can’t expect to operate under the “Field of Dreams” scenario, “if we build it, they will come”. Promotion of the site in major search engines is essential to attracting the most desirable prospects. Proper web promotion really begins with keyword/key phrase selection. I would venture to say only 10% of all corporate websites are optimized correctly. The majority of websites we review either have no SEO or keywords included  only on the home page. Even then, the keywords are generic, obvious and not likely to rank well due to tremendous competition on the web.

    To inspect your own website, open your website in an internet browser and under “View” open “Source” or “Page Source”. Near the top you will see “Title”, “Description” and “Keywords”. “Title’ and “Description”  become the two items that appear in a Google Search as the underlined  title and the short description that hopefully entices the browser to  select your listing out of a list of competitive options. These tags should be written with keywords, and should entice someone to click on your site for more information. Every page of your website is an opportunity for search engine optimization. Open subsequent pages and “View  Source” to see if you even are optimized beyond the home page.  Another classic problem is the use of the same keywords on every page. This is a web designer’s lame attempt at optimization and not very effective.

    You can test this “lame optimization” theory by using your own keywords to “Google yourself”. If your company doesn’t turn up in the first two or three  pages of the search for your main product or service, you can be assured that your website  needs attention and quick!

    Selecting the right keywords for your website is essential when optimizing for search engines. Many people think that adding basic keywords to their website will do the trick. Not true. For example, a website promoting “vacations” should not optimize their home page with the word “vacation”. Your chances for ranking for such a basic, highly competitive word are slim (unless of course you’re a company like Expedia, with a page rank of 7!). If you were to specify the type of vacation you are promoting, such as “all-inclusive family resorts in the Bahama’s”, you’re chances for search engine success are much greater. This is known as a “long-tail keyword phrase”. You are still promoting vacations, however, you are targeting specific, pre-qualified visitors. Did you know…. The highest conversion rates from search engine traffic come from people typing in three to four word search queries?

    Tips for Keyword Success:

    • Select keywords that have a moderate level of search volume, yet have low competition.
    • Optimize using keyword phrases, not just single keywords.
    • Use main keywords in url’s for maximum optimization.
    • Take time to do keyword research. Brainstorm. Visit competitor’s websites.

    Take a “keyword test”. Google specific keywords that you would like to rank for. Is your website listed in the top 10 results? Who is?

    Web optimization, often referred to as search engine optimization (SEO), should be an integral part of your internet marketing strategy. As with any new(er) product, service or technology, it takes time to work out the kinks and get it right. This process is Darwinian in nature, as individuals and businesses of all shapes and sizes claim to be internet marketing specialists, all of which undoubtedly market themselves as providing “top search engine results.”When evaluating your internet marketing strategy and choosing web site optimization consultants going forward, consider these seven deadly sins of web site promotion that can condemn your business to the inferno of irrelevance that is Google’s basement.

    • “If you build it, they will come.” – Well, maybe. Optimizing your site is not a one time cure all, it’s an ongoing process. Your site is a living, breathing part of your business – constantly feed it with quality content and optimized materials so it will grow and remain relevant on the organic search engine results pages (SERP’s).
    • Flashing sites – Try and avoid a Flash-based web site. Flash sites might be attractive, but not to search engines and users. Search engine “crawlers” can’t read Flash content and therefore can’t index it – not good for your business.
    • “Noticeable search results in two to three weeks!” – Once you’re finally convinced to invest in web promotion services, you hear this phrase from dozens of “social media experts.” Don’t fall for this sales pitch. It takes time to get your site to the top of the search engines like Google, but it’s worth the effort when done correctly.
    • Did you know? – Google puts all newly indexed web sites into its “sandbox” where they are monitored for months before being permanently added to its database…there’s no breaking in line kids.
    • Keywords and Key Phrases are two different things – Your regional furniture distribution business will not compete for the word “furniture” on Google – too much competition. Work with your internet marketing consultants to develop tightly targeted phrases that apply to your services, i.e. “Furniture distribution business in High Point, NC.”
    • Already wearing too many hats? Try this white one – “White hat” SEO, or ethical and search engine approved web promotion is where you should be investing; don’t sacrifice your business’ long term reputation by cutting corners for short term results.
    • o Still tempted by instant gratification? Read how BMW was banned from Google for “black hat” SEO (unethical/unapproved web promotion)
    • Don’t be a bad neighbor – Link to other quality sites that your visitors may find as useful resource tools. The reciprocal links that may be created will also help increase your Google ranking and placement on other organic search pages.
    • “Public Relations + Search Engine Optimization = Success” – Combine public relations with your web site optimization strategy for increased search engine results and new business inquiries. It’s one thing to apply key phrases and other web promotion techniques to your web site; it’s another to effectively market your web site and business in a credible, compelling and relevant manner.
    • Consider online press releases, SEO copywriting services, regular blog posts, online articles, newsletters and how-to’s, etc.

    It’s a lot of work, but nobody that knew what they’re talking about ever said success comes easy!

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