How to Use Search Engine Rank Reports

How to Use Search Engine Rank Reports

Businesses Need Ranks

Businesses get customers from their websites. Websites get visitors from the search engines. A website’s rank can have a significant impact on the number and quality of visitors that view the site. And that can have a significant impact on the number of new customers a business gets. SEO is a critical element of many websites of small businesses. Those businesses can get help in their efforts from a range or sources. Knowing your real ranks in the search engines can be a valuable asset.

Getting Accurate Data

Many people check their ranks on their office PCs and they see their website in the top position. This gives them a sense of security that is unwarranted. Those ranks are not likely to be the ranks viewed by someone who has not viewed your site in the past. Those ranks have been influenced by the search engine that is trying to modify the results to make you happy. It sees that you have view your own site in the past, so it give your site extra credibility. That causes the rank you see to be better than the rank that a new visitor will see.

Businesses need a source to get accurate rank data. This is available in our search engine rank report. It checks your ranks and indicates to the search engines that it has not viewed this site in the past. This produces results much closer to those that will be seen by a new searcher. This is the information that you need. Your ranks will be lower, but you will be able to see where your search engine optimization efforts need to focus.

The Search Engine Rank Report

The search engine rank report allows you to track the rank of your website for phrases of your choice. It is easy to get started. All you have to do is provide your website address and the phrases you want to view your ranks in. Within 24 hours you will have a report that provides you with ranks that were retrieved by the service.

In the rank report you will see your ranks in Google, Bing and Yahoo. The results can be customized for a location. And the report give you a value on the frequency that your target phrase is searched. This element can be very valuable in determining where to invest time in your SEO efforts.

Time Adds Detail

Over time your report will keep records of your ranks. Your latest report is the day before. And you can check results any day prior to that, back to the day you started the service. It also has many options for viewing where valuable comparisons can be made. The report will show you movements made in your ranks over the long term. You can set the report to show your changes in ranks over a single day, seven days, thirty days or from the time you began the service. This can prove to be very valuable in the evaluation of SEO personnel or SEO services.

Ranks will likely change daily. The daily changes evolve into movement over the long term. Those long term changes will indicate the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. The changes in your competitors’ ranks can give you an idea of what kind of successes they are having and what phrases they are targeting.

Search engine rank report compares ranks on diffenent dates.

Track Your Ranks and Competitors’ Ranks

The reports can go beyond showing a business where their site ranks. It can be used to monitor other sites. Businesses can get search engine ranking reports to monitor their ranks and the ranks of their competitors. They can use those reports to track their sites and track their competitors’ sites over time. Comparing your SEO successes to those of your competitors can give you an advantage and generate some ideas for new opportunities.

Search engine rank reports for two competing businesses.

In the example above, a stone company has found a market segment in an area that it had discounted in the past. The phrases “pet grave marker” and “stone pet memorial” are searched more often then was realized. This created an opportunity. So the company targeted these phrases and began to cater to this market.

Check Behind Your SEO Services

If you already employ an SEO service, then you should still consider tracking your search engine ranks to keep the contractor in check. SEO services have incentive to show you good results. The questions is: “Are they being honest?” With your own rank report you can  find out if they are.

We offer results that can be viewed on the day of your choice. If you get data from your SEO service for a particular day, then you can go to our report and retrieve the data for that date. You can compare those results with the results your SEO service presents.

SEO for Business Websites is Long Term

Small businesses need to keep a close eye on their ranks. The reports we provide will keep a history of results from the day you begin the service. Dependable search engine rank reports allow you to track their search engine ranks over the long term. And they allow you to evaluate your SEO services for your business’s website.

Get started on your reports today. If you want to give it a try then sign up for a free report. We will let you use this for a limited time. You will get to see where your site ranks and get some ideas on what needs improvement. You can see how your ranks change daily. If you decide that SEO for business is in your interest, then we will be available to help you.

Web Content Selection

Web Content Selection

Content is King

In January of 1996 Bill Gates, a co-founder of Microsoft, wrote an essay that holds true today, just in a slightly different context. The “Content is King” essay referred to the process of selling information over the Internet.  In 1996 less than one percent of the world population was using the Internet. The essay was written before most people knew anything about the web.

What is Web Content?

Web content is the textual, visual, or aural content that is encountered as part of the user experience on websites. It may include—among other things—text, images, sounds, videos, and animations.

Wikipedia

website content examples

A business has many options in the type of content it can present on the web.  The two primary elements of web content are text and media. We all know what text is. Media includes several elements. Those are images, video, animation and sound.

In creating web content, text is the first thing most of us think about. But, the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings as true on the web as anywhere. And the presentation of a quality video can raise a presentation to another paradigm.

Today, on the web, the impact of animation and sound can be very good or very bad. Poor animation can simply be ugly. Unexpected sound can catch visitors off guard and simply piss them off. Be extra careful when using these mediums for your web content.

Web Content Management

Content is king, especially on a website. A beautifully designed website is inviting to new visitors. But, quality content is what gets them to stay on the website and, in most cases, come back repeatedly.

Business Website Content

Content is the key element that makes a business website. It needs to be created thoughtfully and carefully through effective web content management.

Businesses need to update the content of their websites on a regular basis. Old content carries a range of liabilities. It chases away regular visitors to your site. It sends harmful signals to the search engines. And it brings your commitment into question. Updated content can be enticing and encourages them to visit in the future.

Blog Content

Blogs run on a timeline. Content is updated in younger blog posts. Older posts serve as a record of the past and don’t always need to be updated, especially if newer posts update content that is outdated on older posts. Creating a link from the older post to the newer one with a little explanation of the changes helps visitors and has a positive impact on your search engine ranks.

Republishing is another option for older posts. But, they need to be updated and the post should reveal that it is an update. Blog content that is no longer relevant, or out of date, should be deleted and/or replaced when republishing.

Selling Website Content

Many people consider “selling content” as selling a subscription to a blog or selling ad space on a blog. Gates predicted in his 1996 essay that this type of content provider could “expect a lot of disappointment in the short-term as content companies struggle to make money through advertising or subscriptions.”

He went on to predict:

In the long run, advertising is promising. An advantage of interactive advertising is that an initial message needs only to attract attention rather than convey much information.

-Bill Gates

Today, that “initial message” comes in the form of the title and description of the website. These are the first things a searcher sees when they get results in the search engines. If their content quality attracts the attention, then the visitor will click through to the site. Next come the quality of the websites first headlines and text. Their quality determines whether the visitor scrolls further on the web page. Then the quality of the web page determines whether the visitor goes to additional pages.

deck of cards stacked up

As you can see website content can break down at many points. Quality web content management helps avoid this.

Contact us if you need help with your web content.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO for Small Business

Small businesses in small towns have been the backbone of America for centuries. In the early days the most common way to find a business was through word of mouth. In later years, as technology advanced, tools like the printing press, radio, television and other resources were used in promotion. When people wanted to find a product or service right away, a vast number turned to the yellow pages.

the yellow pages

Search Engines Have Replaced the Yellow Pages

Today, when people want to find providers of goods or services, they go to the search engines. This has been going on for years, but it has become more dominant as the use of smart phones has increased. Businesses need to be found in these searches.

There are two ways for a small business to get into the search results that they don’t have to pay for. First, they can open an account on the search engine and sign up their business. This will list their location, their website and their contact information. The search engine also gives preference to local business websites in the rankings below the local results section. Second, they can target a niche market. With a specialized good or service it is easier to get ranked due to the lack of competition for the phrases that describe the good or service. Not all small businesses have a niche market they can target. So they need to focus on the local listing features of the search engines.

Small businesses can be found in local searches many ways.

Business Websites Must Go Mobile

With the majority of searches taking place on mobile devices and the sale of desktop computers going down, a business today must have a website that will work well on mobile devices. There are a surprising number of businesses that do not have pages that will accommodate the smaller screens. They need to redesign their websites.

Business Website Redesign

For small businesses to get the maximum benefit from the web and the search engines, they must have pages that work on all devices. A website can be redesigned for a fraction of what it cost to build it. The website designer already has the content from the existing site to work with. All that has got to be done is to put that content in a different code format that will work with mobile devices.

This is an example of the redesign of a business website.

Let us redesign your website.

SEO and Website Redesign

For a business that has an outdated website, redesign has two benefits. First, the site is easier to view and use on mobile devices. Second, it shows the search engines that you are targeting the mobile market. That will improve your search engine ranks for both mobile and desktop searches. Website redesign will pay for itself many times over for a small business.

Local Businesses and SEO

Local businesses sometimes feel pushed out by big companies in the search engines. But this shouldn’t be the case. The search engines have done a lot to accommodate local businesses in their local markets. They favor local websites for area searches and they have created local maps that focus strictly on the businesses in the local area. All a business has got to do is work with the tools available in Google and Bing to get into those searches. If you want help getting your website working in these searches then just contact us.

Websites Viewed on Mobile Devices

Websites Viewed on Mobile Devices

The Web Viewing Shift to Mobile First

It was not long ago that most Americans felt they needed a personal computer in order to stay in touch with the world via the web. Today, most of them are able to do everything they want on a tablet or a smart phone. So why should they spend their money on a desktop computer? Website designers are creating sites with this in mind. They know that over time more and more sites will be viewed on smart devices while fewer will be viewed on desktops. So the place they need to invest their time is in the mobile design. Today this is done in the “mobile first website design” format.

What is Mobile First Website Design?

For years all of the sites we have designed have been mobile friendly. That means they have pages that will operate on mobile devices. As the share of website views has shifted from desktop to mobile, the primary method of website design have shifted to mobile first. A mobile first website design begins with the layout of the website in a mobile device. After the mobile design is completed, the site is modified to accommodate the desktop screen.

Mobile First Website Example

We recently finished a mobile first business website for a new client. J & J Marine asked for a new website. They knew that most of their visitors would use mobile devices. So we approached their site with mobile first website design.

We designed the J & J Marine site in the mobile first format. When a website is designed in mobile first format the designers focus on the layout and look of the site on mobile devices. Then they modify the design to accommodate desktop screens. This is a good way for businesses to create their websites today. The reason is that most site visits today are made on mobile devices.

 

Mobile Focus Will Increase

In the near future the share of devices sold is expected to increase for mobile devices and decrease for desktops. Take a look at the predictions made by statista:

Old Sites Need a Mobile First Website Redesign

There are still many small businesses that have websites that are not mobile friendly. In order for their websites to live up to their full potential, they need to be redesigned in the mobile first format.

We offer mobile first website redesign services. If you have a website that needs to be redesigned, then give us a call. We will review what we can do that will make it mobile friendly.

Websites and Social Media

Websites and Social Media

Social Media and Websites

Websites can be managed to work with social media so they both complement each other. A business can provide links from its website to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media resources. This can increase the credibility of the business and can give the website visitors more opportunities to find information and learn more about what the business offers.

 

Different Businesses Need Different Social Media Resources

There is a wide range of social media tools that help businesses in their promotions. Individual businesses can choose what tools will best meet their needs. Information can be shared on Facebook, images can be shared on Instagram, and videos shared on YouTube, just to name a few of the possibilities. Below are some of the most popular tools.

Blog Sites

More and more today, websites need blogs to increase their value and their traffic. While the blogs are designed to serve visitors, they can be set up to automatically post on other social media assets, such as Twitter. This multiplies the value of the time invested in the blog posts.

Facebook

According to CNN, Facebook reached over 2 billion users in February (CNN website 02/01/17). Giving your business the ability to connect with customers and prospects all over the world, Facebook is an absolute necessity for social media marketing. It is a communication tool that is very easy to use. With a connection from posts on your website, it can complement the sites content.

Twitter

Used with limited content, Twitter posts can include links to outside content that can expand the message being communicated. Skillful use of the tool can cause messages to go viral and spread to a wide range of viewers. This can increase the number of followers a business has. The value of a short and sweet message to thousands of followers can exceed the cost of the time invested many times.

Instagram

To show photos and short videos to followers, Instagram is an ideal tool. Businesses can promote events, products and people by posting images on the service.

LinkedIn

This B2B social media tool is ideal for connecting to business professionals in any industry. LinkedIn has a feature called LinkedIn Groups that are established and used by business in specific niches or markets.

Pinterest

Businesses can upload, save, sort and manage images on Pinterest. These images are known at “pins.” This tool has been known to serve as a more powerful sales generator that other social media tools. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what are hundreds of pictures worth? Pictures can generate sales and that makes them worth a lot!

“In one case study of a fashion website, users visiting from Pinterest spent $180 compared to $85 spent from users coming from Facebook. These users spent less time on the company’s website, choosing instead to browse from the company’s pinboard. Further brand studies have continued to show Pinterest is more effective at driving sales than other forms of social media. A study carried out by Wolfgang Digital study found that site traffic originating from Pinterest Business pages was more engaged spending up to five times longer on site.”

Wikipedia.org

YouTube

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is a video worth? More businesses are beginning to see value in YouTube. It is owned by Google and is the second largest search engine. Businesses use it to promote their products, educate their market, train employees and do many other things.

For a look at how powerful a video can be, take a look at this video on social media:

Small Business Marketing in 2017

Small Business Marketing in 2017

Changing Times For Web Marketing

“The times they are a-changin’” (-Bob Dylan, 1963). One of the most famous lines in rock history is as true today as it was over 50 years ago. Even more so, if that’s possible. This holds true for every element of our society, and especially in small business marketing. Change is exciting. And changing times create opportunities.

Look what marketing was like thirty years ago. The small business had to pay for a spot in the local Yellow Pages. They ran regular ads in the local newspaper. They put ads on the local radio station. They sent flyers to potential customers in their local markets. Most small businesses were somewhat confined to their local markets.

Expanded Market Area for Small Business

The web has allowed a range of businesses to expand their market areas. Thirty years ago my family was in the building supply business in a small town. We would have customers that wanted specialty products, like custom designed arch windows. The fact that we knew where to find carpentry shops that would create these items gave us a competitive advantage. Our builder client didn’t know where he could get the work done. So he ordered it from us. Now, the builder who needs the window can search for carpentry shops and find them on the web. Then he can make the purchase and cut out the middle man. Today, this happens across a wide range of goods and services.

Local Web Marketing

Local businesses are changing tactics. They use local web marketing in place of the good old standbys. As time passes fewer people are using the Yellow Pages. Local newspapers are losing subscribers. Local radio stations must create a local element to retain existing listeners. When the members of our communities are looking for goods and services, most go to the same place, the web. Many of these newspapers, radio stations and other mediums have tried to make their place on the web with websites and social media. The effort is failing to attract followers and advertisers. When the public is looking for goods and services it goes to the search engines instead, even in their search for local goods and services. This makes local web marketing a necessity. Businesses that don’t implement it are leaving money on the table.

Continued Transformation

Web Changes

Ten years ago PC sales were hitting records. More and more people wanted a home computer so they could have access to the web. Millions of businesses were designing websites for those devices to provide information and to influence their share of the market. Today, PC sales are declining while the public has found less expensive and more convenient products in mobile devices. Business web design must take this in to account.

PC sales are in decline (Statista.com).

The traditional website has had to be redesigned to fit these devices. The “mobile first” strategy is taking hold. It will be considered the norm very soon.

Another element that websites must accommodate today is the offering of interactive capabilities. Al Agrawal, a contributor at Forbes.com, gives some valuable advice: “Think of ways to get readers to actively participate instead of passively consume. Interactive content can include assessments (such as the classic Cosmo Quiz setup), polls, surveys, infographics, brackets and contests” (17 Marketing Trends to Watch Out For In 2017 – Forbes) Participation is a way to connect in a proactive manner.

Change is Constant

Don’t expect the changes in small business marketing to slow down any time soon. Our capabilities in information handling continue to increase. Moore’s law certainly appears to be holding true today. That is, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles every two years (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law). This allows us to put more information into the market place through a growing range of mediums. Today we do this with web marketing.

Be a Leader

Small businesses that don’t change will fall behind. This has been the case for centuries. Keeping up shouldn’t intimidate you. Through vendors, trade associations, trade journals and research of your competitors you can stay aware of the latest changes. Trade contacts should help you make educated decisions concerning the changes you decide to make. And those changes will make you a leader in your market.

The Ecommerce Website

The Ecommerce Website

Selling Products Online

Many small businesses dream about taking their products to the world through ecommerce. If you have a unique product then this can create exciting possibilities. If you have a product that is carried by many other businesses, then you will need to find a way create more value than your competitors. Otherwise you will be competing solely on price.

The “To Do” List

There are several bases that need to be covered to get your site off the ground and selling products online. As with any website you need to purchase a domain name and point it to the server where you will have your website.

Set Up Secure Hosting

The hosting for your business’s website needs to be on a secure server. This insures that credit card information and other personal data of your clients are not compromised. Your hosting service will provide instructions for setting up a secure server.

Choose a Shopping Cart

There is a wide range of shopping cart services available. One of the best ways to choose a cart is to set up a demo account for several and go through the process of setting up your products on them. This will give you a good feel for the shortfalls of those carts and help you make a better decision in choosing. This will require some time, but it is well worth it.

These are logos of ecommerce shopping cart services.

There are many ecommerce shopping carts available.

Different carts work well for some products and not well for others. If your items have a lot of size options, color options and other variables, then you need to make sure the cart will work with all of the options you need for your market.

Enter Your Products

The most time consuming part of building an ecommerce website is often entering the products into the database for the shopping cart. Most shopping cart services have this down to a very simple process. Even so, if you have several products, each with many options, then the number of SKUs can jump quickly. Creating these in a shopping cart can require some time.

Collecting Money

There are two primary ways to collect money for your online sales. First, you connect your secure website to your bank account. Your transactions will process from the website. Second, you need to set up PayPal to give site visitors another option for payment. Clients that do not know you or your business may be reluctant to turn over credit card information to your site. If you don’t accept PayPal, then it could cost you significant sales. Make sure the shopping cart you choose accepts PayPal.

Connecting to Your Bank

Your shopping cart needs to be set up to transfer funds from your customer’s credit or debit cards to your bank account. To get this set up you need to get instructions from the company providing your shopping cart. It will require you to get some information from your bank that directs the payments to the right account.

Review Your Ecommerce Site Regularly

Your shopping cart needs to be reviewed regularly. When you have a change in a product, like the colors available for a shirt, you need to update it promptly. You don’t want to be contacting customers and telling them that you don’t have the item they just purchased. This will cost you repeat business and will likely keep other people away from your site.

Affordable Websites

Affordable Websites

Small Businesses Need Affordable Websites

Too many small businesses got burned on their websites years ago. They were led to believe that a simple site would require a costly investment, an investment so high that many decided to go without. Those that took the risk got burned. Over time the costs of sites have gone down. Part of that is due to more competition, part is due to improved technology and a lot is due to the improved awareness of business management.

These photos are of businesses that use websites.

Different businesses have different website needs.

What Does A Website Cost?

This is the primary question we are asked when potential clients contact us. But before we can give them a number, we need some details. A website that has a single page with a few images and several paragraphs of text can run as little as $300. A site that sells 100,000 products online, posts regular blogs and manages social media can cost millions to build and requires the hiring of several employees to maintain it. Give us details and we can give you an estimate on the cost of a website.

What Do You Need?

The first thing you need to do is determine what kind of website best meets your needs. To do this you need to answer some basic questions. And the primary one is “What is the purpose of the website?”

Determining the Purpose of Your Website

The possible functions of websites for small businesses are great.  Different businesses have different motives for creating a website. Some use it as a tool to communicate with clients and/or employees. Others use it to promote their business. And some creates sites to do both. The sites required by most small business fall in three primary categories. Those categories are information, marketing and ecommerce.

Different websites have different functions.

Business website categories include information, marketing and ecommerce.

An Information Website

Some businesses simply want to use a website to get information to their clients. For example, a window treatment business may want to post PDF files that give the customers instruction on installing products. Creating such a site requires some effort on the way the website works and the process for posting content. Something like this could be done at low cost in a blog format.

A Marketing Website

If you are promoting goods and services on your site then one of the best places to start in determining what you need is other websites in your market. It is ideal to have the best site in your market. But, some businesses cannot afford to make that investment. Even so, it is a good idea for a business to create a site that is compatible with others in its market.

An Ecommerce Website

Selling products online normally requires the most significant investment. If it is managed properly in the right market, then it can also provide the greatest rewards. Creating such a site requires the design of a marketing website, the installation of a shopping cart and the process of posting products on the site. Deciding to create an ecommerce site should be reviewed carefully before putting significant resources at risk.

Starting Small Can Be a Good Option

For a business that has no history with a website, a relatively safe possibility is to start with a small website. From a single page site to one with several pages, a custom website can be created without putting too many resources at risk. And as you see the need you can always grow the site over time.

SEO and Social Media

SEO and Social Media

Do Social Media Posts Impact Ranks?

There is a lot of debate on whether search engine ranks are impacted by social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. Those who argue that is has no impact are very naïve. Even if the posts to social media have no direct influence, they will likely generate traffic from the posts back to the business’s website. And that can have a significant influence on the rank of the website.

So, social media activity will have a positive impact on ranks if it is properly managed. The only question is whether the impact is direct or indirect. Posts should point traffic to your site. That would improve your ranks. Visitors that like your posts could link to your posts from their business websites, blogs or other social media. Those links will definitely improve your ranks.

Search engines and social media logos

Set Up Blogs to Post to Other Social Media

Blogs should be designed to post automatically on social media outlets. Tools are available that will do this every time you activate a post. This will reduce the time that must be invested in your social media efforts.

What Are Your Competitors Doing?

One factor that should influence your use of social media is how your competitors are using it. Many businesses think their competitors are not. And many of those are mistaken.

About 81 percent of small and medium-sized businesses are now leveraging social media for sales and growth. Don’t get left behind. Aside from being seen on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it’s more important to understand how to utilize their features efficiently to better serve your customers.

SEOExpertpage.com

Whether your competitors are using social media or not, you should seriously consider using it. If they are not using it, then you have a chance to get ahead of them. If they are using it, then you are already behind and you need to try to catch up.

Social Media Does Have An Impact

As you can see in this post, social media does have an impact on your search engine optimization efforts. One thing you can count on over time is that the algorithms will change. So the impact of social media will also change over time as well. And I will bet that its influence will increase.