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57

by Jayson DeMers



SEO is a
process that requires ongoing education and learning. And while much of the
focus is on building quality inbound links, identifying and optimizing for the
right keywords and semantic search terms

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, and investing in quality content, you
can't ignore the obvious impact of web design on your site's search rankings.



The Dilemma: Unique vs. Searchable



When
designing or redesigning a website, most companies come face to face with a
pretty significant dilemma.  On the one
hand, you want your site to be unique and engaging. On the other, it needs to
be easily searchable by the major search engines in order to attract the right
traffic. This is the heart of the SEO-web design relationship and something
that you need to understand in order to help your website succeed in 2015 and
beyond.



How Popular Web Design Styles Affect SEO



In order
to speak to the masses, let's start by analyzing a few of the most popular web
design trends and how they impact SEO.



·        
Parallax design. One of the more popular web design styles this year
is parallax design. This trend is defined by building an entire website on a
single page. It usually has a very large background image with clean, crisp
menus that drop down or appear when the user scrolls his or her mouse over a
designated area. While it's visually appealing, Google and other search engines
find it difficult to hone in on specific meaning or themes. Furthermore, your
site naturally has fewer pages that can rank - diminishing your potential
reach. If you're only trying to rank for a single search term, parallax design
may be okay. However, if you have a lot of content and various products and
services, you should probably pursue different web design.



·        
Infinite scrolling sites. As you may assume, parallax design typically
means longer load times. If you like the idea of parallax but don't want to
take a negative hit for longer page load times, you may consider incorporating
infinite scrolling. This is the type of design sites like Twitter and Facebook
have and allows content to load as the user scrolls. Google seems to like
scrolling sites and typically prefers them to standard parallax pages. You can see
some good examples of infinite scroll by checking out these award-winning websites.



·        
Graphic-heavy. Because of the success of infographics and
visual marketing content, many brands are attempting to develop graphic-heavy
websites that essentially look like large infographics. While they may be
visually appealing, you have to remember that Google and other search engines
can't read images (outside of alt-tags and accompanying text). 



·        
Responsive design. That leads us to responsive design - the ideal
web design trend for SEO purposes. As you likely know, responsive design allows
a web page to be viewed on any device, regardless of screen size. In terms of SEO, responsive design is
valuable because it doesn't require you to create a separate website for each
device and helps maintain a consistent user experience (which lowers bounce
rates and increases average time on site).



4 Things to Keep in Mind



In
addition to understanding how current web design trends affect SEO, you'll want
to keep some of the following tips in mind:



·        
Use the right website builder. Despite what many will try to tell you, not all
website builders are created equal. Some may offer thousands of unique design
templates and responsive options, while others might only have a few dozen
templates and no responsive design capabilities. Do your research and carefully
compare all of your options before honing in on a website builder.



·        
Size matters. The size of your website has a major affect on search engine
rankings, primarily because it affects the average page load time. When
designing web pages, it's better to eliminate unnecessary elements and focus on
content that truly matters. If it doesn't serve the purpose of pushing users
through the conversion funnel, it probably isn't necessary.



·        
Reduce bounce rates. Remember this: It's not the actual aesthetics
that the search engines are looking at - it's how users respond to those
aesthetics. In other words, Google isn't going to penalize you for a gaudy bright
neon color scheme, but they may penalize you if your bright neon color scheme
causes users to immediately click the back button after accessing the homepage.



·        
Lean is better. The mantra of less is more certainly holds true
for web design. While designers may try to sell you on the idea of investing in
the latest trend or layout, you're better off going with a proven result. In
the end, it all comes down to user experience, and today's online user is
interested in a clutter-free, simplistic design that eliminates distractions
and allows them to hone in on a clear call-to-action.



Be Smart With Your Web Design



As the
internet landscape becomes increasingly crowded, it's becoming more and more
apparent that search engine visibility is a scarce commodity. If you want to
maximize your potential for accruing high ranking SERPs, keep the information
in this article in mind and don't ignore the importance of web design as it
relates to SEO.



Be sure and visit our small business news site.



24

Search engines use algorithms to calculate a website's page rank, taking various factors into account to do so. The number of incoming and outgoing links and good SEO help, as search engines such as Google view these types of websites as more useful...

43

by Jayson DeMers



In the coming months, local SEO and search marketing will become invaluable for small businesses everywhere. In order to remain competitive within your industry and capitalize on local traffic, it's important to not only focus on best pract
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ices, but also to avoid costly mistakes. Let's take a look at a few of those errors and show you how to stay on the right path.
Avoid These Local SEO Mistakes
While there are potential mistakes around every corner, an overly cautious marketer won't be a successful marketer. Instead of worrying about things you can't control, work on the things you can - like avoiding the following: 
1. Posting thin content. Quality content is still one of the key driving factors for local SEO. While quality content alone - without optimization - may not attract the right SEO traffic, you won't acquire any leads without it. Focus on posting content that's easily shareable and relevant to your industry. 
2. Listing the wrong NAP info. In local SEO, NAP stands for, "Name, Address, and Phone." Whether it's a local directory, social networking site, or your website, NAP information needs to be complete and accurate - as well as present across a wide variety of local directories and publications. Yext is a great way to synchronize NAP information for local directories, but other directories exist which are crucial as well. Crunchbase is a powerful and popular business directory (here's an example of Park View Legal's CrunchBase page, which is well-done). Other popular directories include the Open Directory Project, and the Yahoo Directory. Furthermore, you need to ensure there's 100% consistency across each one. Google will notice if you have inconsistent information and won't rank you as well as it would otherwise.
3. Not using page title tags. One of the most influential SEO page factors is the title tag. However, despite this, many businesses either don't use a title tag or leave it set as a default term like "home" or "about us." This is wasted real estate and should be named something like [City], [State], [Title].
4. Failing to invest in inbound links. Links have been, and always will be, an integral factor for Google and other major search engines. Thankfully, Google clearly explains the process of crawling and indexing so you can fully understand the value of attracting inbound links.  
5. Not seeking social reviews. While it's against Google's policy to require anyone to review your business or brand, you can encourage clients and customers to leave reviews on Google+, Foursquare, and Yelp. Google+ is arguably the most important, as these reviews show up in search results and provide added confidence for users. According to Neil Patel, "Reviews are so essential for local search optimization that it's worth it to go the extra effort and beg for these things (in a tasteful way, of course)."
6. Ignoring niche directories. While you likely have your NAP information published in YP.com, Yelp, and your Google "My Business" page, you can't afford to ignore specialty niche directories. These are invaluable sources of highly-targeted traffic - especially if they're tied directly to a zip code. 
Stay Up to Date With Changes and Trends
Few aspects of internet marketing undergo as much rapid and ongoing change as search engine algorithms and local SEO techniques. By staying current with recent trends, and continually educating yourself on what does and doesn't work, you can ensure that you always make the right decision.  


Be sure and visit our small business news site.



18

Delivering content via e-zine can come with some disadvantages.Electronic magazines -- commonly referred to as e-zines – are digital publications delivered through websites or email. E-zines can be small-circulation newsletters promoting products and services or large circulation electronic journals. Becau...

9

by Stoney deGeyter



Social media offers fantastic opportunities for content promotion. Opportunities that didn't exist even just a few years ago. But unlike traditional advertising, social media is less of a promot
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ional platform than it is an engagement platform. That means you can't just use your social media accounts to accost followers with your "commercials."  Effective use of social media requires planning and strategic implementation. While old school advertisement allows you to pay for reach on other people's networks, social media requires you to build up your own audience with which you can engage and advertise from. social media marketing strategy


This is no small hurdle, and many companies have failed at social media marketing due to improper use of their social networks.

Choose Your Social Networks



 Choose your social networksThere are literally hundreds of social networks to choose from. We all know the big players: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Snapchat... oh, well, that list can go on for awhile, too. How can anyone actively engage in all of the social networks, even just sticking to the main players? The truth is, you can't. 
 Every business has to determine which social networks are most valuable to them. Where is your target audience engaging? Which network is most friendly to your type of business? Which offers you the best reach? Not all social networks are equal, and a network that does great for one business might be a bust for another. 
I usually tell businesses that are just starting out in social media to choose one network at a time. Build that up sufficiently before jumping into another network. By focusing on one network initially, your efforts will be far more effective (we only have so many hours in the day!) and you'll more quickly be able to determine if your efforts there are producing fruit.
If they are, keep going and, as you have time, start building up your presence in another network of value. If not, jump ship and put your efforts somewhere else. Be careful to give yourself time to build up your network effectively before determining it has no value. Social presence building takes time.
 

Stay Focused on Your Promotion Efforts



Stay focused

There are certain tasks that frequently get thrown by the wayside when other, more "important" tasks cross our plate. Social media marketing often suffers such a fate. Inconsistency in social media often leads to stagnation. Sure, you may maintain most of your followers, but you'll notice that as you start posting again, you won't have the same engagement as before. It'll take time to ramp that back up again. 
As much as other tasks tend to pull you in different directions, stay focused on your social media efforts. Set aside time each day to read, post, and engage on your streams to maintain an active presence.

Set goals that you can achieve on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, and don't give up until you achieve them.
 

Engage and Promote with Greatness



 Do it with greatness


As with all things, do social media with greatness. That means it might require the whole ass (as opposed to just half-assing it)! Don't think of social media as a chore, but as a way to reach your audience and solve their problems. Whether you're solving them with your own content or with content from some other sources, use your social platform as a way to demonstrate your knowledge and willingness to provide your audience with valuable content they may not be able to find anywhere else. 
Research top influencers in each of your channels and determine what it is they are doing that has brought them to where they are. Is it something you can duplicate? If not, are there any lessons you can learn and apply to your streams that might help you build up your own sphere of influence? 
Don't copy what others are doing, but do learn and apply those principles to your own networks. Don't let social media be an after-thought. Instead, seek to dominate it by giving it all that you can. Take time to invest wisely, build relationships, and be helpful. Only then will socializing your own content get any traction. 
Follow the 80/20 rule on socializing your own content. Self promotion should only be 20% of your network posts. The remaining 80% should be engagement, sharing other people's content and answering questions. While posting links to your blog posts is easy, proper network building and socialization is not. It's all about providing value, and knowing the limits of the value of your own content. It may be great, but that's not all your audience is interested in.
 

Go for the Big Win



A good blog is much more than the sum of its parts. As much as we think we simply need to write good content, being successful at blogging requires a lot more work than just the writing. Plan ahead and know what your goals are. Determine the best ways to reach your target audience and do so with strategic regularity. 
There are many tools at your disposal. Find those that will help you most effectively and put them to use. While you don't want to be a slave to your blog, you do want to make a plan that you can work from regarding publishing schedule, topics, etc. Every post doesn't need to be a masterpiece, but you should always seek to produce epic content at least some of the time. Finally, make sure your content can be found and use social media to publish it into your active social networks. 
For more more information, check out my Slideshare presentation that expands on on this and blogging techniques.


Be sure and visit our small business news site.



7

Impressions and visitors both help websites measure traffic for ad sales.Your Web page tracks activity using a number of passive measures, including impressions and visitors. The two are distinct in what they measure, with the former incrementing only when a page is accessed, and the latter counting only when a unique add...

26

by Jayson DeMers



Have you ever wondered what's holding your Google rankings and SEO efforts back? Proper SEO is complicated, and making a mistake in your SEO campaign is easy. It's possible your only roadblocks to higher Google rankings are foolish - yet fi
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xable - mistakes. What are some common SEO don'ts, and how can you fix them?
1. Ignoring Google's latest rules. It's difficult to keep up with Google's changing algorithms. Many inexperienced businesspeople working on SEO strategies are under the mistaken impression that if a strategy works, it will work forever. Google can roll out new changes with little or no advanced notice - and SEO strategies that worked yesterday can cause your rankings to plummet today. 
Optimizing for Google's latest changes can be difficult, especially if SEO isn't your area of expertise. SEO is one of the most changeable areas of marketing out there. Failing to account for Google's latest content rules can cause a previously high ranking page to fall very low in rankings.
2. Linking to the wrong sites. The reason Google refreshes its algorithms frequently is to keep up with businesses who are trying to game their system. Their goal is to provide searchers with quality results. With every new change come new SEO strategies. However, understanding the principle of Google's algorithm updates doesn't mean your strategy for beating them will be effective. One example of this is linking to suspicious and low quality sites on your business's page.
Outbound links are a way to gain credibility for your business, but simply having many outbound links isn't enough. Your links must lead to quality pages. Too many outbound links to suspicious pages can cause your Google rankings to plummet. When linking, you should focus on quality rather than quantity. Outbound links on your page should be relevant to your industry. Avoid linking to pharmacy, gambling, or adult websites. These are specifically flagged by Google's algorithms as low quality and undesirable.
3. Too many error pages. Another way linking can create problems for your business's page is if they are broken. Google will recognize your site as having quality problems if multiple links result in 404 errors. Broken links are a loss of credibility.
Sites naturally accumulate errors as time goes on - especially in outbound links. It's important to regularly check your site for these errors and update or delete any broken links. Checking for broken links on your site is easy; check your Webmaster Tools and look for any pages under the section entitled "Not Found."
4. Duplicate or plagiarized copy. It's fairly common for businesses to take another site's content and place it on their own page. This is illegal and causes Google rankings to plummet. If your business has a high level of plagiarized copy, Google may completely de-index your site. This is a death sentence for your brand.
Even duplicating content within your own site can lead to consequences. Having multiple pages with exactly the same content can cause several problems for Google. The search engine can't be sure which version is better to retrieve. Even having the same title or meta description on more than one page can be a problem. Supply your website with unique content and titles. This allows search engines to properly index and retrieve the most relevant pages for a particular search.
5. Optimizing for the wrong keywords. Choosing the right keywords might seem like a no-brainer. Selecting the wrong ones, however, is a common error, and can strike a big blow against your business. Your site should be optimized for keywords matching its purpose and the products it sells - however, the keywords should also be words people actually search for when they need your product or service.
When choosing keywords, it's best to be as specific as possible. Broader keywords can lead to increased traffic, but low conversion - because people landing on your page don't actually want your service. There are tools online for choosing solid keywords.
6. Slow page loading. Most people know that SEO requires good keywords and relevant content. However, many are unaware that Google actually ranks pages according to loading speed as well. If your business's site is slow, your search engine rankings will suffer. Especially when it comes to mobile webpages, it's easy to accidentally create a slow loading page.
Designing your business's page according to responsive design principles allows you to omit certain pages from the mobile site. A professional can help you figure out what is causing your business's page to load slowly.
Spotting and Addressing SEO Mistakes
These SEO mistakes are common. However, if your site is performing poorly, it can be hard to figure out exactly what the problem is. The best solution for all SEO issues is regular SEO auditing. According to Chuck Aikens, CEO of Volume Nine, "Because algorithms and weighted factors shift over time, it's a good idea to periodically conduct a technical audit of your website to spot unexpected issues that may have cropped up without you knowing it. An SEO audit can analyze your site to determine where problems are and provide the best solution." Because of the ever-changing ranking factors and the highly technical nature of SEO, it's important to have a professional conduct a regular SEO site audit.
Don't let your business suffer as a result of these simple SEO mistakes. If you've never had a professional SEO audit, that's the best place to start. If it's been a long time since your last one, make a plan to regularly audit your website. It's an investment not only for the health of your website, but also the relationship you have with your customers and business as a whole.


Be sure and visit our small business news site.



22

My Favicon ico fileHere we are, moving into the world wide web at 3G speed. We love to interact using the internet and like to favorite things we find to visit again later using a website's favicon ico file which is represented by their personalized favicon. The newest...

6

by Stoney deGeyter



Blogging isn't a one-and-done item on your web marketing checklist. It's a long-term endeavor. In fact, until blogs go the way of web directories, once you start bl

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ogging you really cannot stop. Not if you want to maintain the value of all the time and energy you've invested thus far.



There are certain components to blogging that will hold their value over time. Great, evergreen content you've published will be universally valuable. However, if you don't keep producing blog content on an active basis, even great ranked evergreen content will lose it's value and appeal, both to search engines and readers alike.



Go The Blogging Distance: Planning for the Long Haul

39

Build a Link Wheel to Get More TrafficOne great way to get a ton of traffic to your websites is to build a link wheel. These link wheels build backlinks to your website's main page, which give your website a higher search engine ranking.

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