The Difference Between On-Page And Off-Page SEO

By | On-Page and Off-Page Differences | No Comments

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is a quite common term in internet marketing. Now, in the 21st century, everything spins around the Internet and online presence. If you want to increase the visibility of your website, SEO is the right solution to your situation. If you are not visible online, it means your potential clients will have a hard time finding you. You could lose many customers just because you are not visible online.

Thanks to the professional services of Hit Me SEO, LLC, your website can lift you above your competitors. They ensure it has a unique setting that attracts visitors. The purpose of SEO is to bring traffic to the site, which affects its visibility and search engine rankings. If you want to benefit from these services, you need to understand the difference between On-page and Off-page search engine optimization.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the content on a website or blog and has a purpose of increasing the traffic. It represents the foundation for your ongoing search engine optimization process. If you want to increase the rank of your website in the search engine results, it needs to be user-friendly. You can achieve this by adding targeted keywords, genuine and relevant content, headings, page titles, images, domain names, and more. Also, it should be easy for users to navigate through your website. On-page SEO needs constant revision, to improve and maintain the position in the search results.

On-page SEO Factors

  • Blog Title – it is the most important part of a post when it comes to search engine ranking. Also, it makes users click on it, and that’s why it needs to be interesting. You must use the target keyword in the post title. Make sure your title doesn’t exceed the limit of 65 characters.
  • Permalink – the URL of your post must contain targeted keywords, especially in the beginning of the address. What you need to avoid is using any special characters, like commas, brackets, symbols, etc. You can use numbers, and dashes that are helpful in differentiating the two separate strings in the URL structure.
  • Meta Tags – they represent a short description of your website, services you provide and focus areas. Youmeta_tags_titles need to use a set of unique and relevant description and keywords for each of your posts, according to the content. They are considered as an overall summary or your post. Make sure description stays within a maximum of 160 characters. Additionally, they need to be user-friendly so that they can improve the click through rates or CTRs in the search engines.
  • Heading Tags – your blog or article should have a heading and sub-heading tags. That way, you will highlight key points. However, avoid using them too many times, because it could be considered a negative SEO practice.
  • Use Of Images – they are quite helpful when optimizing a post. Thanks to them, your website will be unique. Include appealing images related to your blog or article. However, you need to use them per certain criteria. Pay attention to the loading speed and file size of a particular image. Also, you should name them adequately, meaning you should include the target keywords. Keep in mind that search engine spiders can only read a text, not images.
  • Keyword Density – it represents a percentage of keywords in the total number of words. It should be approximately between 1.5% and 2% within the post. The purpose of this is to show to the search engines that your content is relevant to the keyword. You shouldn’t use them too many times, as it can be suspicious. It is a good idea to either underline, bold, or italic the keywords and phrases in the article, to improve the popularity of your website.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to everything you can do outside of the website, to make it more user-friendly, and to increase traffic. It includes various techniques that consist of using outside influence to improve the ranking of your site in the search engine results. Its purpose is to complete your on-page SEO, and it focuses on link building strategies. Thanks to off-page SEO, you can increase traffic to your website by generating it from other sources. If you have references from another site, people will be more interested in taking a look at what you have to offer.

Off-Page SEO Techniques

  • Search Engine Submission – Sometimes, it can take a while for the search engines to find your website online. However, you don’t have to wait for that to happen. If you want to speed it up, you can submit your site to the most popular engines, like Yahoo, Google, Bing, etc.
  • Directory Submission – It focuses on how efficient we are when it comes to selecting the directories, and choosing the submission category. You can always submit to general directories. However, for the maximum results, it is a better idea to pick niche directories.social_media
  • Social Bookmarking – it is another fantastic way to promote your site. The primary benefit is that it can be passed on to an unlimited number of users, and therefore, lead to the significant increase in traffic to your website. The ranking of your page will also improve. All you need to do is to submit your newest articles or blog posts to the most popular sites of this kind, like Delicious, Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc. They update the content quite frequently, so it is no wonder search engines like them. It is a perfect strategy for the brand building.
  • Blog Commenting – If you want to improve the position of your page in the search results, you can post comments on blogs within your niche. You can use the comments section to add a link to your website. Thanks to this, you will eventually drive visitors to your site, which will result in the traffic increase.
  • Social Media Marketing – it is one of the most important Off-page SEO techniques. These days, everyone has a social media profile, no matter if it is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. You can set up an account on these networks, which will allow you to connect and interact with potential clients, and to promote your page by building an online reputation. It is quite an efficient technique for increasing traffic to your site and promoting your business.

If you combine efforts of On-page and Off-page SEO, you will attract potential clients very quickly. You should focus on the usefulness of your website first, making sure it is user-friendly. Thanks to the right On-page SEO techniques, people will start noticing your page. After that, it is time to concentrate on Off-page search engine optimization.

 

pie showing driving traffic vs conversion

Traffic or Conversions? Which Is More Important?

By | Traffic and Conversions | No Comments

It can be argued that in any business, two critical factors come into play. Those two critical factors for your business are traffic and conversion. If you own a retail store, an online business, a bakery, or a successful personal injury law practice, you need to focus in on these two aspects of your business. The answer to this question is a bit more detailed, and we are going to explain why a combination, plus one additional factor, is going to make you more successful as a business.

How Do We Generate Traffic?

For the sake of this article, we are going to focus a bit more on online businesses, but it does relate to every business. If you have a bakery, and you have the best cupcakes the world has ever tasted, you have to rely on traffic to sell your baked goods. There are several ways to do this. You could advertise online; you could send out flyers, put an advertisement in the newspaper, send out direct mail, have yard signs prominently displayed, etc. These promotional efforts come down to getting bodies in the store so they can taste your delicious product.

 

Without Traffic There Can Be No Conversions

If you think about it, Traffic is the gas that runs the engine of your business. If you are not in front of people online, or you don’t show up when people do searches for your most important keywords, phrases or terms, you are not going to sell anything. Traffic is vital to the success of your business, and getting more qualified prospects is what will explode your business. There are many ways to capture traffic online. Here are a few ways to make people aware of your product or service and drive them to your website:

  • SEO
  • Pay Per Click Advertising on Google, Bing, or Yahoo
  • Facebook Advertising
  • YouTube Video Marketing
  • Content marketing (i.e. blogging)
  • Email Marketing
  • Banner Ads
  • Retargeting

If you can drive traffic to your website, you then can see how well your site converts visitors into paying clients. Yes, you are going to drive people that are not going to buy from you, and those people can be marketed to know again what you are doing through remarketing. However, the data that you receive from this traffic is critical to knowing how to increase sales month after month. If your traffic increases, then you should be seeing a higher number of sales, if the second piece of the puzzle is correctly placed, which is Conversion.

Traffic Is The Gas and Conversions Are The Engine

Now that you are driving traffic to your site, you want to see how that traffic is converting into paying clients. If you drive 1,000 unique visitors to your website, and you convert 10% of those visitors, you can sell 100 clients on your product or service. The problem is, a 10% conversion ratio is a lofty goal, and many times,achieving success with online marketing businesses see a number closer to 1/2% or 1%. Even a 1% conversion rate is going to get you ten newly paying clients from 1000 visitors. This isn’t bad if you sell a service for $5000, but if your product sells for $19.99, it may be hard to justify paying for traffic.

Measure The Conversions So You Can Open Up The Traffic

If you have a poor conversion rate on your website, you may find yourself in the unfortunate position of spending money on traffic that does not convert. If your potential clients visit your website and leave within a few seconds, they were unable to find a solution to their problem. You either are targeting the wrong type of client, OR, and this is the case, your website did not guide them down the proper path to conversion. The website is simply a sales funnel for your business. You pour visitors into the top of the funnel, and the sales come out of the bottom. If you pour more visitors, you should capture more clients. Now that we understand why, both, traffic and conversions matter, now we can discuss how to improve your marketing efforts.

The Right Prospect Will Convert Much Higher

One aspect of traffic that most website owners often miss is the type of traffic that is entering and exiting the site. If you are a local plumber, it doesn’t make sense for you to attract people with plumbing problems on the other side of the country. You want people faced with plumbing problems close to home, in your backyard that are more likely to call your business when the toilet starts leaking. Steven Twomey of Las Vegas SEO told us: “often, we see people trying to optimize their website for a national term when they really should be focusing on the city or surrounding cities they service. Why make things harder for you to succeed? Target the right prospects and your traffic will increase naturally over time.” When you are laser focused on the right prospect, your conversions shoot through the roof.

Data Helps Your Find The Right Prospect

If you are driving traffic to your website, and have conversion metrics setup on your site, you can see when people enter your site, how they interact, which pages they visit, and how long they stayed on your site. If you operate an E-Commerce business, you can even see how many people made it to your shopping cart and didn’t purchase your product. Wouldn’t it be great if you could market to these people again?

Maryland search engine optimizationIt is more likely that someone who has been on your website before, had an interest in what you were offering, and went so far even to put a few items in their shopping cart before they decided to leave, would be an ideal candidate for you to market to again. It is scary how few people know how to sell to these people a second time, and it is even scarier how much money is left on the table by not re-marketing to this group. They almost bought the first time, why not ask them again if they would like what you have to offer.

When you dig into the data, you can see what pages people like on your website, where they spent the most time, and also, what path they took to buy your product or service. As you measure the data and work on improving your conversion rates, you can automate your marketing budget and expect the same results time and time again. There is a reason why some businesses are willing to pay $250 per click on Google Adwords for just one person to visit. It is because that company knows how many visitors they need to capture a conversion. If it costs $2500 to obtain one client, but they make $5,000 off each customer, they see a 2 to 1 ROI on their investment. I don’t know about you, but I would spend a dollar to make two every day of the week!

Tweaking Your Traffic and Conversions

Ok, so this is the part that will transform your business. If you know your traffic, and you know what your conversion rate is, you can predict how much you are going to make for every dollar spent. However, if you pay the same amount of money for traffic, AND INCREASE YOUR CONVERSION RATE, you are printing money. Using our example above, 1% conversion rate for 1000 visitors = ten sales per month.

Take that same amount of traffic, and increase your conversation rate to 3%, and now you just tripled your monthly sales. If you increase your conversion rate by 1% every month, you are looking at ten new sales per month, and this is with the same amount of traffic you have had all along. If you can increase traffic and conversions, now you are printing money of higher denominations.

Keep It Simple Stupid

The KISS formula is nothing new, but as SEO consultants or business owners trying to optimize our own website, we tend to get caught up in so many things that truly don’t matter.  With the traffic and conversion scenario, we can focus on two very important aspects of our website, continue to refine and tweak each one, and improve over time. Drive more traffic, tweak your conversions. Drive a little more traffic, continue to tweak your optimization. Over time, you create a well-oiled machine that is supplying you with new potential clients day after day.

To see how well your website is optimized for both traffic and conversions, use our free website test for a detailed breakdown of your site, and actionable items you can take to fix your site quickly.

 

Paid Ads To Appear On Google Map Results

By | Google Maps To Include Paid Results | No Comments

Google is looking for yet another way to make more money with their search engine platform.  Barry Schwartz reported this morning on seroundtable that Google announced yesterday they would now start placing ads at the top of the local pack results.  Which was once 7 to 10 local businesses, has been shrunk down to three within the past year, and will ultimately be moving to just 2 top local listings, and a paid advertisement at the top of the results.  A search on a mobile device will now likely show 4 advertisements at the top, a paid listing in the maps, 1 to 2 organic listings, and then the organic results.  Ultimately, it means more competition for local businesses, and another revenue stream for Google.

Changes to the way ads have been displayed are nothing new in the SEO world.  In February of 2016, Search Engine Watch reported that Google killed all the pay per click ads on the right hand side of the page, and implemented a new format that includes four paid advertisements at the top of the page, and the additional ads on the bottom below the organic results.  Here is a screen shot of how the results look now for the snack pack and a search for Maryland SEO Services.

Going forward, the top listing of Hit Me SEO, LLC will be replaced with a local business paying for the top spot. What is unclear at this time is how customers will bid for these top spots, and what criteria will need to be met in order to secure the top positions on Google’s local map listings.  Under the current Adwords platform, companies bid for the top listings on the page. Some companies with larger budgets may have no issue always paying top dollar to secure the top spots. Others try to look for value and are comfortable with a 3rd or 4th position, as long as they stay above the fold with their existing ads.

Google Search For Maryland SEO with 4 paid ads

Here are some questions that will be on the top of all online marketers focusing on local results in the months to come:

  • Will the companies with the biggest budgets simply be able to pay for the top maps listing and push all others down the page?
  • Does the company that bids on the top spot have to have an physical location in that particular city?
  • Can you advertise at the top of the page with a paid ad as well as in the maps listings?
  • Does the current optimization of your website impact the price you will pay?
  • Can you be listed in the paid section of Google Maps as well as one of the other two listings?
  • Will you be able to implement site links and other extensions on the Maps listing?
  • Will the ads for Google Maps cost the same as top listings, or will there be a premium charged?

 

 

Google Loves To Experiment With Paid Ads

A month ago The Verge reported that Google maps was to begin experimenting with showing logos or the businesses in the geographical location of the search on both mobile and desktop searches. According to Katherine Boehret who wrote the article, Google calls these “promoted pins” which simply means the companies willing to spend the money would receive these pins.  What is even more interesting, is the bottom of the page would then offer the advertiser the ability to promote specials and other discounts to customers as a enticing call to action for potential buyers.

A positive note with all of this is that current businesses currently listed in the top 1 or 2 position on the local maps should stay in those positions, just below the paid ad. This is why it is so critical to have all of your information listed accurately online.  If you are not familiar with NAP – (Name, address, and phone number) you will be in the very near future if you want to crack the top 1 or 2 listings on the local map. In one of their famous Whiteboard Friday presentations on June 17th, MOZ broke down the importance of listing accuracy for your business.  To save you some time, your NAP must be consistent on every listing you have on the web in order to rank higher in the local results. Google breaks down their guidelines in their support group and stresses the importance of precise and accurate listings online.

Why Would Google Charge For Paid Maps Listings?

If there was ever a doubt exactly why Google would charge for these listings is because these results are extremely popular, and a lot of people click on these local maps listings. At the end of the day, Google is the best search engine on the planet, and the results they provide are amazing. Their goal is to end search. What I mean by this is they want to provide the best listings possible, and they want people to click on the most relevant listing, find what they are looking for, and end their search at that point. This is why click through rates, time on site, and bounce rate are so critical to your overall organic results.

If Google has an organic listing that made it to the top position of the search results, and people click on the listing, then immediately leave the page, this indicates that the searcher did not find what they were looking for, and went to another website who had better information, or the product or service they were looking for. Google wants to put the best results at the top.  That being said, Google is a business, and they want to continue to add zeros to their revenue each and every year. Google made 17.3 Billion dollars in the first quarter of 2015.  Of this amount, 15.5 Billion was from advertising sales. With all of the businesses and acquisitions, they still made 90% of their first quarter revenue from just ads.  Like all businesses, they want to continue to grow revenue, and this is simply an easy way to do so. The “snack pack” is a very coveted and popular area for searchers, and businesses can grow significantly just from the traffic and phone calls this map listing generates.  Google now just wants their little piece of the pie from those willing to see the value in this top spot.

In order to keep investors happy, and the stock price of Alphabet growing, new and innovative ways of advertising must be introduced. This new method may be one of the most profitable yet for Google.  Let the bidding war for the top local spots begin!

 

 

 

Latest Google’s Update Impacting Local Results

By | Google Places, Uncategorized | No Comments

If you are not involved in online marketing or if you don’t rely on Google to generate google searchbusiness for your company, you may have missed a massive rollout over the past few weeks. Google has changed the face of the SERPs (search engine results pages), and this will have a significant and immediate impact on local businesses and those spending money on Google Adwords.

This change will have a significant impact on local businesses, and could mean the end to organic traffic for many. In my opinion, this is exactly what Google is looking to accomplish, and is simply the next step in Google’s process to have advertisers pay for local maps listings. First, I want to be sure you understand the change.

 

Removal Of Google Ads On The Right Side Of The Page

Adwords is Google’s advertising platform that requires businesses to pay for placement on the search engine results page. At the most fundamental level, companies choose keywords that they want their ad to appear for, and then the advertiser pays for a click. This is why Adwords is also referred to as Pay-Per-Click. The more the advertiser is willing to pay for the click, the higher the advertiser will show in the results. (There are many other factors that go into placement, but I want to make this simple to understand).

In the past, Google would display three ads at the top of the search results, followed by eight ads on the right-hand side of the page. Here is an example of what the search results looked like before February 19th.

 

organic seo services

As you can see, the three listings at the top are paid ads, and the listings on the right were paid as well.   The organic listings appeared in the #4 spot below the ads.   This listing was not for a local search, so there were no Google My Business listings displayed on the page.

Here is a listing of the current algorithm for a geographical search of Maryland SEO services.   As you can see, the top 4 placements are ads purchased by advertisers.

Maryland SEO Services Google Search

 

The next section being displayed is for the local results, which are referred to as Google My Business. Finally, in the 7th position is the first organic result.  More organic listings will now appear on the page, followed by the remaining 3 ads on the bottom of the page.  This means the total paid ads on a search page will decrease from 11 to 8, which will likely create more competition and an increase in price.

 

What This Means To Local Businesses

Why there are some different takeaways from this shift in the SERPS, the biggest opportunity for local businesses falls into Google My Business listings, often referred to as Maps or Google Places. Many online marketing experts would argue that most people realize that the top listings are ads, and are glossed over by many searchers. In this day, people do not want to see advertisements, but would prefer to see the organic results. There are instances when searchers are more inclined to click on the PPC ads such as when buying a product, but from my years of experience managing both SEO and Pay Per Click, the “better traffic” comes from the organic listings, including Google My Business.

This shift opens the door for many local businesses to capture the vast majority of local searches by appearing in one of the top three places listings. Google’s goal is to provide the searcher with the best possible result for every search, and providing a searcher with a local business is the way the algorithm is set up. If you do a search for a plumber, and you live in Maryland, you do not want to see results for plumbers in Sacramento, California. Google is the best search engine in the world, and they have achieved this status by refining their algorithm and looking to consistently provide the best possible results.

 

Getting Your Business Listed In The Snack Pack

Last year, local listings offered seven maps listings when a local search was performed. This presented many businesses with the opportunity to appear at the top of a Google search engine results page. However, a change was made to now only list three Maps. This created another opportunity for Google to attract advertisers to their Pay-Per-Click platform, which is ultimately how the company makes the vast majority of their money. Cost-per-click ads were down 13% in 2015 compared to 2014 which can be seen in further detail here.

The opportunity to get listed in the top maps listings is not something that is easily done. There are several factors at play, and the biggest opportunity for local business lies in these three results. Capturing the local market is going to provide the largest ROI for local businesses, and under the current Google platform is free. This is an area of focus at Hit Me SEO as we have seen businesses transformed instantly by achieving one of the three coveted spots. We have been extremely successful with our focus on attorney optimization programs as evidence of the testimonial below.

Steven Chung, a car accident attorney in Philadelphia, stated “capturing the top placement for Google Maps is such a necessity for our business. Potential clients are searching locally, and they aren’t going to go to page 2 to find your business. In the first month of working with Hit Me SEO, we received eight new clients from our listing in the maps section. The ROI for attorneys on this type of investment is through the roof”.

 

Google My Business Is Free, But For How Long?

Google currently has a paid service for Google Maps APIs, but this is different than the Google My Business listings. With the latest shift in the algorithm and the movement of paid ads to the bottom of the page, speculation is that these premium listings will not be free for long. The traffic generated by a free Google My business listings is something Google will be monitoring, and future adjustments will likely be made.   For now, expect the prices of Adwords to increase for the coveted top three positions as competition increases in each industry, and the cost for the ads on the bottom of the page to decrease slightly. You can also be sure that forward-thinking companies are going to be ramping up the attention paid to the Google snack pack, and hiring top-level SEO agencies that focus on Google Maps to deliver those results.

Fast Results For Attorneys With Google Maps

By | Google Places, Uncategorized | No Comments

There is no question that it takes more time to rank a website than it has in the past.  Five years ago, an SEO could work on a website, make some alterations to the site, and within a few days, he would quickly see ranking improvements.  This has changed, and will likely not be seen anytime soon.  Google relies on Pay-Per-Click revenue to generate the vast majority of the returns for stockholders, and while they can keep SEO’s guessing, they will continue at a slow pace, especially when it comes to high dollar Adwords spenders like attorneys.

Google’s Guessing Game

Maryland SEO Company Hit Me SEO ResultsOne of the easiest ways for Google to know how SEO’s are trying to improve rankings is simply by watching and observing. If changes are made to a website, and the rankings improve, then it would make sense for that same online marketing professional to continue to implement the same strategies again and again, for a large number of websites.  A Google Patent adds a little wrinkle to this line of thinking.

Google will initially assign a rank to a keyword based upon how the site is optimized, and then over a period of time, will move the rankings up, down, or have little to no fluctuation.  How long is this time period? Many people believe this is for about 21 days.  Our internal testing has shown that often times, websites will sit static with absolutely no movement for about three weeks, and then we may see sudden jumps in either direction.  This lag time is nothing new, but what appears to be happening even more frequently is that there are often multiple 21-day freezes on sites causing even more confusion, exactly what the search engine giant is looking for.  Now instead of ranking in 3 weeks to a month, it can take 3 to 6 months to really see any movement.   There is Google property that seems to move at a much quicker when optimized properly…..Google My Business.

Capitalizing on Local Maps Traffic

We have written in other blogs on this site about the success we have had utilizing Google Maps.  In the past, there would be 7 local listings for a search phrase, but that changed when Google introduced the Snack Pack (only 3 listings) in 2015.  There are rumors that the local “snack pack” will change to a paid service in the next few years which would make sense considering Google makes no money off of this free service.  However, for the time being, it makes sense to take advantage of this free traffic as much as possible.  If you cover a geographical area and provide goods and services within that area, then you can take advantage of the “free listing” provided by Google.  We use quotes here because the average person on the street trying to get listed in the snack pack is going to find it next to impossible.  With the reduction of listings from seven down to three, it is now critical to optimize everything about your listing perfectly, and follow the signals Google has given us over the last six months.

Google Knows Where You Have Been, And Where You’ re Going

Google is already tracking the way you search.  If you have a Gmail account, and you search from your desktop and your phone, Google is determining what geographic area you perform your searches most often.  By narrowing down this geographical area, you are going to be delivered different results than your wife, neighbor, parents, or kids.  Google wants to present the best search results possible for everyone using their search engine, and we all have different areas in which we travel, and different personality characteristics that they can take advantage of.  Sounds hard to believe right, but it is more realistic than you can imagine.

internet marketing resultsMaybe you noticed recently that a little pop-up appeared from Google Maps alerting you that you need to leave for your dinner appointment early because the traffic on your route is backed up.  Google is learning your schedule, habits, and knows the roads you travel most often. You put your appointments in the Google Calendar, use your Gmail to send and receive messages, you may have a Google Drive account or created some Google spreadsheets.  That information is being stored and used in some capacity. How much we don’t really know, but to prove the point, try this little exercise.

Same Location – Different Search Engine Results

The next time you are at a bar or a restaurant with a group of friends, ask if anyone in the group uses Gmail.  (actually you don’t need to be on Google for you to get different results)  It probably won’t be very hard to find someone using the free service.  It is even better if you have multiple people who use the free service and live in different areas.  Once you have found a few people, do a search for something local to you such as DUI attorney or Heating and Air Conditioning Company, and compare the results of the group.  You are likely going to find that many of the results are different.  If you are not using the free wifi that is being offered, they are likely going to be extremely different.  You may see the top 1, 2, 3 listings all different, or you may see them mixed and matched.  If everyone in the group has the same Maps listings, then you may be seeing a highly competitive niche that is spending a great deal of time and money on securing those rankings.  Just continue to go down the page and ask others who is in position 4, 6, 7, etc. Based on what we have seen with this little social experiment, you are going to see a number of different results, yet you are all searching for the same location.

Here is a local search done on February 18th in my living room.  My wife and I did a mere search for DUI attorney.  Remember, we are on the same Wifi Signal, and here are just the top 3 results in the Maps listing.  We used no Geo modifier like DC DUI attorney.

local dui attorney search                         DUI attorney search Google

As you can see, this search was done at 8:28 PM from the same location. The results in the top 3 are different.  The organic listings below were also quite different.

In addition to your browsing history and location, you will also have different results based upon the browser you use.  If you use Google Chrome for example, you will be given different results compared to Safari, Firefox, or any other.

The results here organically are based upon local search, even though no city was used in the search.  The attorneys of Bruckheim & Patel obviously have a very solid organic maps listing, and they understand how attorney marketing works, as they remained in the #1 spot on both devices.  They will likely show on most browsers as #1 in this location.

 The Success and Secret To Ranking in Google Maps

Some people may find this a bit too much like “Big Brother”, but we wanted to share with you the opportunity to rank well in Google Maps. Since we are getting unique results, it is critical to make sure your Maps listing is laid out exactly as needed, and the proper signals are being sent to Google when it comes to your listing.  By planning out this process, and then building on the strategy, you will move to the top of the Maps listings, and depending on how well they are optimized, and the maintenance performed on them each week, will stay there month after month.

In the last 45 days, we began working with a group of attorneys that had no listings in their top three markets, yet they had physical locations in all three.  They had the listings filled out properly, they had reviews, they had images and even published to their Google My Business account on occasion. To the untrained eye, they had everything they needed to rank for the keywords and phrases in their back yard.  We made a series of adjustments and alterations to all three listings, and within 3 weeks, two of the offices ranked for all of their keyword phrases in the Snack Pack.  Within 45 days, a total of 51 keyword phrases, all with search volume ranked on the front page of Google in the top 3 listings.  What was even better, is the listings in the Snack Pack were also accompanied by organic listings in the top 10, so they had claimed two front page listings just by our efforts on Google Maps, or as the search engine giant calls it, Google My Business.

I know the headline of this section was the secret, but we would be fools to give away the strategies that we have learned from testing and optimizing site after site over the last several months.  We have helped personal injury attorneys, DUI lawyers, corporate attorneys, as well as other types of businesses including Heating and Air, chiropractors, video production agencies, landscapers, and several others.  There simply is not a better way, or a quicker way,  to capture organic traffic at this time.  If you want to learn how Hit Me SEO can help your business, then have us do the heavy lifting so you can focus on your business.  We encourage you to fill out our Discovery Form, or if you have a law office, fill out our specific form for attorneys, and we will let you know exactly what we can do for you.

Information About Google Penguin 4.0

By | Penguin 4.0 Update, Uncategorized | No Comments

Google’s algorithm updates are always nerve-wracking for site owners. There are so many variables that are tossed into the equation with each update, and that is always frightening. You never want to make a mistake that is going to send the sight plummeting into the graveyard of poor sites on Google. This essentially means the end of any success you might have been having. Google Penguin 4.0 has been released, and is still rolling out at the time of this post, and it has brought along with it a few new changes. Let’s take a look at what this update is all about and what it means for site owners.

Will This Update Stick?

Now, this is really interesting because this update has allowed so spammy sites to slip through the cracks and improve drastically in rankings.  The point of Google’s updates, other than forcing businesses to use pay-per-click advertising, is to provide the best user experience possible, and provide searchers with the most relevant search results in the top few on the page.  There are some rumblings in on-line forums that Google could possibly roll this update back like they have done in the past if the search results begin to reward spammy types of sites.

Many online marketers spend their days searching for loopholes in Google’s search algorithm to find ways to rank sites quicker and easier. Google has stepped up its game once again and is going to have this update ongoing, making adjustments and alterations along the way.  This can be frustrating for many businesses and SEO’s that make adjustments to sites, and wait to measure the results.  An ongoing update along with the obvious delay Google has put in place for the movements in the search results is going to have many scratching their heads wondering what strategy will work best.

Poor Backlink Profile Will Hurt

If there is one thing a website cannot afford now with the new changes, it is going to be a poor backlink profile. Each site is going to have inbound and outbound backlinks that are going to have an impact on how well it attracts traffic and showcases authority to Google.

Now, in the past, you could still get away with some “spammy”‘ backlinks pointing to your website, but Google has become more and more sophisticated in locating link farms and blog networks, and many sites have been decimated with huge decreases in rankings.  Right before this post was finished, Hit Me SEO was contacted by a very large potential client that has seen a decrease in organic traffic by 65% over the last week.  The crazy thing, this company hasn’t participated in any forms of poor linking campaigns in the past, but it does appear they were caught up in this update in some capacity.

SEO Experts in Maryland

Google Penguin 4.0 is going to be stringent when it comes to those spammy backlinks, and those who are not paying attention will get hammered to say the least.

So, what should you be doing regarding your backlink profile to get the results that you need and continue to rank? Well, the suggestion is to make sure the backlinks that are of poor quality are removed as soon as possible, and you are creating new content on your website or blog that can be picked up and shared on social media channels. Content that has little to no value to a reader is going to be linked to or shared, and this will ultimately not help you in any way of increasing or improving your backlink profile.  Yes, there is a reason why we are writing our first blog in about three months.  It is that important!

 

Redirects Can Be Damaging

Do you have a lot of redirects on the site? This may impact your rankings if they are not set up properly.  It is perfectly fine to change the destination of your site to a new page if you now have content that is more relevant to the searcher.  However, bouncing visitors from one page to the next to the next, or having links that are broken or cause 404 errors are going to begin to show increased damage to your rankings over time. What we see most often at Hit Me SEO when we do a technical crawl of a website is redirects have been put in place, but often times, they are setup incorrectly, or the site owner has failed to alter internal links within the site to match the new content.  You want to make it as easy as possible for the search engine spiders to crawl your website and find all of the relevant information quickly.  Redirects just add an additional step or layer to scan the website.

Relevance Matters

Google Penguin 4.0 UpdateEver seen a search result on Google, clicked it, and then wondered how this was able to rank?
It does not always have to do with keyword research, backlinks, or the trust and authority of the website. Google is looking at the entire website as a whole, and trying to understand the relevance of the entire site.  If you have one page on your site dedicated to dog training, and the rest of the website is about cosmetic dentistry, that dog training page is not going to be given nearly the weight or trust as all the other pages on the site.  Google continues to view ‘content relevance’ with regards to the sites that are being put up and ranking.

Think of your website as a grocery store.  Your brick and mortar grocery store is going to be divided into different sections, and like products are going to be grouped together. You won’t find milk and bread in eleven different sections of the store, and your website should follow the same structure.  Link and match topics together into groups, and link those pages to other pages within that group.  Each section will then make up a portion of your website, and each portion or silo is going to help Google understand what the entire website is all about.  That is how you create a relevant website covering a wide variety of subjects and topics.

Mobile-Friendly

Imagine looking at search results on your smartphone and then clicking on one of them only to realize it does not work on your mobile device. Is that really something you are going to appreciate or will you start to look elsewhere?

Well, in the modern age, mobile-friendly sites are a must and Google has been rewarding mobile friendly and easy to navigate sites for years. If the mobile experience for users is bad on mobile, you can be sure your rankings on all mobile devices will suffer.  More people are now doing their browsing on a mobile device.  Doesn’t it make sense to have your website as easy to navigate on an Iphone as it is on a desktop?

 

Be Care About Blog Comments

Now, this might come out of nowhere for a lot of blog owners as you are not even going to think about looking into the comments section of your site. Well, you should as the new update is going to be looking into this as well.

While, a lot of them are not going to be followed concerning ranking requirements, you still have to be on top of this for as long as you can be. Get rid of those comments that are going to be spamming links.

This is going to hurt the blog and its ability to rank. A lot of people don’t even think about this and get lost in the other details only to realize they are still not ranking. What could be the case they tend to wonder? It has to do with the blog comments and how they are being structured. Either get rid of the comments entirely if the spam is out of control or setup some form of control that is going to ensure humans are the ones who are commenting.

Traffic Is The Key To Your Success in 2016

A website without traffic is going to drop in the rankings fast.  You may have already seen this happen to your site.  Google will not reward websites that are not useful to the end user, and a website without traffic really doesn’t have much value in the eyes of Google.  If your website information is good, people will read it, share it, and act on it.  There are multiple ways to generate real traffic to your website such as social media, content marketing, video marketing, paid traffic, and many other options.  This needs to be something you are focused on in 2016, or you will watch your competition quickly jump over you in the rankings.  Take a look at your Google analytics and see how many people are interacting with the website.  Where do they spend time?  Is your bounce rate higher than 36%?  Are people interacting and filling out forms or responding with live chat?  Read between the lines here…….this is beyond important to your success going forward.

Ranking is not easy, and the algorithm changes don’t make it any easier, but as long as you are aware of what Google is on the lookout for, you will have an advantage over many of your competitors.  As an SEO agency, we see algorithm changes daily, but the big changes usually get our phone ringing off the hook.  We study, test, implement, and make changes on a daily basis.  SEO is one of the few professions that changes from day to day, and it does so dramatically.  This business is so hard to systematize because everything we do is customized to the business, website, and the industry.  We have yet to see two websites or businesses that were cookie-cutter optimizations, and with the latest release of Penguin 4.0, we don’t expect to see any in the near future.

If you are trying to go at this game alone, we wish you nothing but luck and success.  We spend our days researching, implementing, and testing, and we still don’t know what is coming around the corner.  If you want to have the professionals help you achieve the best possible results, so you can focus on growing your business, we invite you to fill out our discovery form to help us better understand your needs and goals for 2016.  Until then, write something interesting on your blog!!!

Google Snack Pack Impacts Local Results

By | Google Places | No Comments

How The Google Snack Pack Will Ultimately Impact Your Business

One of the easiest ways for real-world companies to get their business noticed on Google was to get placed into the Google local business listings. It was a fantastic way for businesses to get free advertising for their business without having to use Google Adwords. Unfortunately, Google has decided to take this benefit away from companies, making it very difficult for them to take advantage of the free traffic that these positions used to provide. In fact, they have removed 4 of the top positions, limiting it to a total of 3, and also removed vital information such as ratings, address, phone number, and the ability to look at reviews. Instead of a link showing the actual domain of the website, they merely put the name of the business, how many reviews it actually has, when the business closes, and a button to click for directions. To go to their website, there is also a button that you have to click with no visible URL as seen below.

Maryland SEO Google My Business

This is a dramatic change, one that has hurt many businesses that relied upon this free traffic to generate monthly revenue, yet another example of how Google is making changes to benefit itself. Now these companies will have to either pay for Google Adwords which can be very expensive depending upon their particular business, and the keywords that they will need to target, throwing everyone that relied upon these listings into turmoil. Fortunately, there are companies that can help compensate for these unmerited changes that Google has made to increase its bottom line. That’s why you should contact Hit Me SEO.  We are very adept at handling any and all changes that Google will make in its algorithms that are detrimental to businesses nationwide. Let’s take a look at how these changes affect business owners, and then show you exactly why Hit Me SEO should be your top choice for regaining your local listing traffic once again.

How These Changes Affect Businesses

The primary change that is going to affect most companies that used local listings before is that there are now only three spots in this list. Google has cleverly named it the Google Snack Pack as if making a cute name is going to cover the fact that businesses are going to see a sharp decline in traffic. What they have done is a detriment to businesses that trusted Google to help them generate traffic for their company, but this is fairly common. Considering that Google makes nothing from local listings, and billions from Adwords, it makes business sense to force more people to use their paid services. There are ways of getting into this top three which seem to be based upon common sense, as well as an assessment of what Google is looking for, something that they don’t easily reveal. That’s why you have to work with a company that has experience with not only local listings but helping companies move to the top of those listings, using proven strategies and techniques. In a sense, Google seems to be favoring businesses that are experts in this area like Hit Me SEO, helping them to earn a significant amount of money because of the many clients that are going to come their way. Fortunately, our company is not about making money from victims of yet another Google algorithm change but we are here to truly help businesses earn more money.

Why You Should Choose Hit Me SEOgoogle local maps

We are a company that is well-known in the state of Maryland for our ability to help businesses generate more traffic, and increase sales. We have built a solid reputation as a Maryland SEO agency that goes above and beyond to provide superior service. As you can imagine, this change within Google has impacted businesses all across the country, but our experts at Hit Me SEO can help you regardless of where you live or what type of business you are running. We are especially good at moving local listings up to the top three positions because we utilize the best search engine optimization techniques and strategies in the industry. On our website, you will clearly see the examples of happy clients that have benefited from achieving top organic placement. Many of our clients have nothing but positive comments on how quickly we respond to Google makes these changes. In fact, we are not only good at helping people ranking for one or two positions but we can help clients rank for hundreds of different keywords, most times claiming the top position. Hit Me SEO knows exactly what to do based upon the many hundreds of customers that we have helped in the past, plus we only employ fully trained experts on our team to make this happen for you.

If you have been affected by the latest change that Google has made, the so-called Google Snack Pack, and you need to reposition yourself higher in the local listings so that you can be found once again, you will be able to do this working with Hit Me SEO. Our company has built a solid reputation in the Maryland area for producing incredible results. By speaking to us over the phone, we can quickly gather your information and assess your situation to work out a plan of action to help you become more visible. There is nothing like having access to free traffic for keywords that will bring paying customers to your business, and this is exactly what we can help you achieve. Contact us today for more information on what we can do for you, and find out if we have an opening in our very busy schedule to help you get back on track. You can’t go wrong with our leading SEO company, a business known for producing the best results in the industry, not only with organic listings, but helping those that are currently suffering from the Google Snack Pack update. Go ahead and give Hit Me SEO a call today to learn more about our services that can help you generate more website traffic, as well as help you convert more visitors to clients, to improve your business this year.

Google Was Listening To Our Conversations

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

A few months ago, I did a post on something I found to be very odd, and felt that there may have been an invasion of my privacy with Google.  In the post which was titled….”How Did Google Find Out About That?”, I went on to say that I was receiving new offers for VOIP telephones.   I wasn’t searching for them online, and wasn’t emailing anyone asking for more information on this type of internet phone system.  I did however, have a telephone conversation with a client and we discussed the benefits of using VOIP telephone systems, and all of the bells and whistles that went along with them.  After the conversation, a more detailed discussion happened in our offices.  As the old blog post detailed, I then started to get offers in the mail, email, and phone solicitation for VOIP phones.  I thought it was possible that Google was listening to my conversations in the office.

A few days ago, an article was published about software that has been downloaded onto Google Chrome, (which we all use in the office at Hit Me SEO) and in a very sneaky way, authorizes the listening of audio over the computer.   You can check out this article from Alex Cope.

Google is listening

 

I don’t know about you, but this scares the hell out of me.  Google is downloading all of our personal conversations, where the information is being sent is unknown at this time.  It will probably not be a surprise to you that Google is listening, but it really is disappointing that our privacy has become such a joke.

Although there will be a lot more details released over the next several weeks, you may want to be cautious of using Chrome, and whatever you do…..Don’t say the words OK, Google.

Hit Me SEO Named Best Advertising Agency

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Hit Me SEO was recently awarded the distinction as the top advertising agency in Laytonsville for 2015.  We are extremely proud of this accomplishment, and have worked very hard to provide innovative solutions for online marketing to all of our clients.   The award is given to local businesses that demonstrate their ability to use various marketing methods to grow in all economic times.   The companies chosen for this award exemplify the very best in small businesses, through customer service and community involvement.

Hit Me SEO Awarded Top Advertising Agency

We strive to provide the very best customer service and results for all of our clients.  We create long lasting partnerships that help all of our clients grow.  We provide a wide array of services including on-page optimization, social media management, pay-per-click management, and conversion optimization.  If you would like to learn more about Hit Me SEO, and how we can help your business, we invite you to fill out the discovery form on our website for a free website evaluation and consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

By | FAQ, Uncategorized | No Comments

Each conversation we have with potential clients generates a list of interesting questions and concerns.  We thought it would be helpful to share some of the answers to our most frequently asked questions.  If you have any others, please don’t hesitate to ask.

How much do SEO services typically cost?

Each project is 100% unique, and the pricing is based on the competitiveness of the keywords that you are trying to rank for. It is much easier to rank in a small, local market, than it is to rank nationally. We require each client to fill out The Hit Me SEO discovery form so we are able to do a detailed analysis of keywords and website optimization prior to putting together a proposal.

FAQ page Hit Me SEO Will you work with my competition?

No – we don’t believe in helping our clients in getting to the top of the search engines, then turning around and doing the same for their biggest competitors. We only work with one client in an industry in each geographical area.

How long will it take my website to rank?

It takes much longer to rank a website than it did a year ago, three years ago, and five years ago. In the past, we could rank a website number one over a weekend, but now we ask our clients to give us a minimum of three months to get their website ranking. Google has implemented a delayed strategy in ranking sites, therefore, it takes us as long as Google decides it takes.

How long does the process usually take for the optimization to be complete?

The initial process of optimization generally takes 3-4 weeks, depending on the scope of the project. Certain situations including a website rebuild, implementing a social media campaign, and dealing with a penalty can extend the process for several months. Some websites will rank better than others initially. Once the initial optimization is completed, we continue to make changes to your website and adjust to each clients rankings. In addition to ongoing changes to your website, we also continue to improve your off-page optimization.

Do you guarantee number one rankings?

You should run away from any SEO company that guarantees you the number one spot on Google. Even the best SEO companies cannot always reach that number one spot for every keyword. That being said, we do have clients who rank in the number one spot for 500 different keywords. Additionally, our website’s rankings speak for themselves. Search for “best SEO in Maryland,” on Google, and you will see that our website, YouTube video, Our Maryland SEO WordPress Site, and other social properties are flooding the top spots.

Will you provide us with results?

Each month we provide our clients with detailed ranking reports. We also schedule a monthly call to discuss your Google Analytics in detail so that we are always on the same page. We believe in transparency, and strive to provide you with the best possible service each and every month.  Google delivers enough surprises to us, we don’t need additional ones by finding out our clients are unhappy or have had an ongoing concern.  By keeping the lines of communication open at all times, we have been able to work with some of our clients for more than four years.  We must be doing something right!

How do I measure the results?

There are two aspects of SEO ; traffic and conversion. Our first goal is to rank your site at the top of Google for the keywords most important to your business in order to generate highly relevant traffic. Once we start seeing more and more visitors going to your site, we can then monitor the conversion rate of your website. We us multiple methods to determine the conversion percentage on your website. From here, we use this data to improve both traffic and conversion rates in the future.  Increasing your traffic while increasing the conversion percentage is the fastest way to grow your business.

Why is there a monthly maintenance fee?

Once the initial optimization is completed, we continue to make changes to your website and adjust to each clients rankings. In addition to ongoing changes to your website, we also continue to improve your off-page optimization. Much like joining a gym, you can see results after a period of time, but without the proper maintenance, your body will slowly slip back into its original form. As Google constantly updates its algorithm, we stay one step ahead, and not only rank your site at the top of search engines, but keep you there.

Why is there an upfront fee and a monthly fee?

There are two very distinct differences in our optimizations. We first have the initial optimization that addresses the issues with your site. This process is very elaborate and time consuming. The monthly fee covers alterations and changes that we make throughout the month to keep your site ranking as Google changes its algorithms and as competition creeps up.  What is working today may not work in a few months or even a few weeks.  We have to provide Google with exactly what they are looking for, new and relevant information.

Do you require long term agreements?

We do not require long term agreements, but we do hope to provide you with the service that keeps you with our company for years to come. If you do not stay with us, we chalk that up as a failure because that means we failed to provide you with the best service and the best results. We have clients who have been with us for more than four years. Even though their contracts are month to month, they are happy with our services and choose to stay with us through the many changes that Google makes to its algorithm over time.

What makes you better than your competition?

There are a variety of things that make us different than our competition. We believe in an open line of communication in which our clients constantly feel updated and in the loop. We frequently provide you with new services that may not have been in our agreement. We view each customer as an opportunity to create a personal relationship in which we work together for years to come, and we believe that if we provide an amazing experience for each of our clients that they will be more likely to share their great experiences with their family and friends. This is how we grow as a company.

Does Hit Me SEO’s Mascot Luna really fly?

Luna - Hit Me SEO Mascot

No, our mascot Luna can do some amazing things, and she keeps us calm, cool, and collected throughout all of the Google updates, however, even though it may appear otherwise in the picture, Luna cannot fly yet.  She is only a puppy:-)