Beating the SEO Summer Slump

The beginning of summer often means a decrease in organic traffic. Depending on your industry, business might really slow down during the summer months. The cyclical nature of search doesn’t have to affect your website as much as it has in the past. Instead of bracing yourself for the worst, here are a few options that may help:

Paid Search: Pay per click marketing is a good way to dominate SERPs. Even if you rank well in organic search, PPC ads can help reassure searchers of your authority and relevance, as your site will also show up in the paid ad sections.

For broader terms or keywords that you aren’t doing so well for in organic, PPC is a good way to give your website more exposure. This way, you’re covering more of your bases than with just organic SEO alone.

Remarketing and RetargetingRemarketing is a way to reach visitors who have previously landed on your site via relevant ads when they visit other sites within Google’s Display Network.

Retargeting is focusing on engaging a visitor who has already visited your site. Think of it as a way to make a current/previous customer happy and have them wanting to come back for more.

Consistently Blog – Blogging is always encouraged as it can consistently have search engines crawl your site for new content. This means more chances of showing up in search results and more changes of clicks and conversions. Even though the immediate nature of blogs aren’t meant to last as long as page content, good blogs still show up and will help further boost your credibility in the field.

Increase Conversion – Customers want a good reason to buy, so give it to them! Summer is all about sales, savings and different selections. Ecommerce stores can definitely take advantage of coupons and sales. BOGO, get X% off, free shipping of orders of $X, red tag items, and more! There are so many variations that you can keep it going all summer!

Social media contests and hashtagginc pictures on Instagram are also another way to increase brand engagement during the summer. There are many different options and you can only complain about slow traffic if you’re not doing anything about it. What are some ways you’re looking at to bring in traffic to your website this summer? Let us know.

What to Look for When Choosing a CMS for Your E-commerce Store

Using a content management system might be more convenient but there are still many elements to look at, especially when choosing a CMS for your e-commerce store. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:

Shopping cart: Is your shopping cart secure and easy to use? This is the most important part of keeping track of your orders and making sure that you have enough goods in stock. Security and ease is also a part of it, which is why most e-commerce site owners use an e-commerce shopping cart from Yahoo!, Google Checkout, PayPal or plugins that enable these. Other popular alternatives include Magento, Shopify and many other WordPress plugins.

Easy to use backend: Do you plan on having a lot of different products? Make sure to choose a CMS that lets you easily name (and change if necessary) a page name. Your store should be structured into specific folders and sub-folders for easy navigation and organization. Many custom CMS allows different users with different editing abilities so that you can’t accidentally erase an existing product/page.

Design: Don’t be fooled by the limited, generic templates available on WordPress. Using a CMS doesn’t mean that your site has to look like hundreds of other online stores. There’s always a way to edit or customize an e-commerce site design to your specific wants and needs. Just like with any other website, it also doesn’t hurt to think about display options for mobile. Perhaps, responsive website design is an option for your site.

Customization: It all comes back to customization and what you need for your e-commerce store. Some owners will put up all the products they need at once and just update the quantity. Other stores might have new additions every month or have a different rotating stock of merchandise based on seasons. Although content management systems like WordPress have custom fields, they might not be customized enough to your specific needs. Especially when it comes to pricing, product details and everything that is important to an e-commerce store that wouldn’t be a concern for a normal site.

There’s a lot more to a content management system and managing an e-commerce site than meets the eye. If you have any more questions about the flexibility of a custom CMS, feel free to contact us for more information.

Is Your Business Using Maps the Right Way?

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A website’s contact page is one of the most important things you can optimize. Many times, these pages aren’t properly optimized because let’s face it, how often do you see a company’s contact page/form in search engine results pages? Here are 2 ways you want to ensure maximum visibility and conversion:

Making it Easy for Humans
Having a map of your location shows that your business is real and tangible. Nowadays, virtual office spaces and other placeholder addresses are very common. The actual address of your physical storefront shows that you are a part of the community and a place that potential customers can check out if they please. Maps also have customer reviews and lead to your Google + Local business page. Even though this action leads them off-page, it helps provide credibility and trust.

Optimizing for Search Engines
We’ve talked about the importance of local citations before, so it’s no surprise that you can go the extra step and make your contact page more search engine friendly. Having a map shows a connection between your company and a physical location. Google also crawls other authoritative local listing sites and makes a connection to your address.  Using Schema.org’s code also helps search engines better read your address and categorize your business.

There’s nothing worse than landing on a contact page to find a generic form, an 800 number and a P.O. box address. If you have a real, physical location, it’s time to take advantage of that fact and differentiate yourself from competitors (especially in a field of professional services like SEO web design and internet marketing). And once again, don’t forget to optimize with maps!

Taking a Look at Google Plus and Search

google plus While there’s no argument that your website can benefit from an active presence on Google Plus, it’s still crucial to take a look at the different ways in which this is possible:

Inside the Social Realm
There’s no doubt that +1’s help web pages when we take a look at Search Plus Your World. This helps socialize your search results – meaning that your +1’s will show up when your Google plus friends search for something relevant to your recommendation (and vice versa). These +1’s act like a social sign of credibility and relevance since your friends are liking them and in return, endorsing that certain web page/company. This major change in search has businesses even more intently focused on creating content that will engage users and not just search engines.

Impact on Search Algorithm
The more +1’s your site has, the more it signifies relevance, credibility and trustworthiness. To what degree Google considers these social signals is unclear and their impact probably changes all the time, due to different factors. Of course, this also goes for Facebook Likes and Tweets, but some suspect that Google will give preference over their own social networking platform over the others that are out there.

Ongoing Debate
There is no direct answer on whether Google Plus can bring something “new” to your online organic campaigns but it’s the potential that people are focused on. In a way, you can look at Google + in a way that it isn’t doing anything to drastically change the search marketing game, but that it is amplifying the effects of things being spoken about in the SEO community for awhile now.

For example, these social signals are encouraging companies to create content that is more user-friendly and that will evoke more engagement. The addition of social factors to search engine results are also discouraging spammy content, keyword stuffing and other black hat methods that have been frowned upon because really, who is going to click on, read or even +1 a badly written, self-serving article?

Is Google Plus Right for Your Business?
This all boils down to making an analysis on what social platform will be a good fit for your company. Right now, big brand names and marketing/technology companies are doing well with Google Plus. Smaller companies might benefit as well, depending on their niche. In a comparison that can be easier to relate to, it’s like choosing whether direct mail, television ads or even paper directories are a good fit for your company. Believe me, there are some clients who still invest thousands a month in Yellow Page ads. Marketing is about choosing a mix of different strategies that will suit your company well – it doesn’t mean that you have to just choose one thing and stick to it.

Are You Obsessed with Keyword Rankings?

obsessed with seo rankingsobsessed – past participle, past tense of ob·sess (Verb)
Verb: Preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent: “he was obsessed with thoughts of suicide”.

If this word best describes your relationship with your keywords, there’s a big problem. Whether you’re dealing with your own search rankings or clients’, it’s important to remember that an effective SEO campaign means more than just where you rank.

Instead of asking the most obvious questions like “How can I rank #1 and how long will it take?”, you should be taking a deeper look and asking “How can useful SEO content help me achieve higher rankings for keywords that my customers are actually looking for?” Search engine ranking algorithms, competitors, your past work being indexed – these are all things that make search rankings fluctuate on a daily basis. This is why you can be #1 for a term one day and #3 for the same term the next.

Although we would all like to capture that much coveted spot, the organic optimization game doesn’t quite work that way. And there are new factors emerging every day, some that we have little control over. Take Google’s new Social Search, for example. Now social media connections have a greater impact on how search results are personalized depending on your friends’ searches, interests and location. With all these varying factors, this means that search rankings can and will vary for each different person.

Ranking well is still an important part of SEO, but being overwhelmed with the details is something that can truly drive you insane. For now, it’s more about practicing patience and building up your site with credible and useful information so that you can keep visitors onsite. Working on these social aspects with a complementary plan will also build your business’ trustworthiness so that potential customers will keep your brand in mind for a time when they do need your product/service. As you can see, nowadays search engine optimization has emerged as something much more than just ranking #1 for some keyword terms. There is MUCH more too it!

Take a look at some of our free whitepapers to see if you can get any new ideas for your search campaigns.