1. What is meant by web presence?
A. The web presence of a business is the complete digital footprint (hence the company name) of a business found on the Internet. While the website and the written, video and graphical content it contains is the cornerstone of a company’s web presence, there are quite a few other digital locations where a business might have a presence.
2. What is SEO?
A. OK, this one is going to be a little complicated… just kidding. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. You engage in SEO when you attempt to get a page to rank higher in a search engine’s SERPs (search engine results pages), with the ultimate goal being to increase organic (unpaid) traffic to that page. SEO consists of two parts:
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing elements on your website for search engines. This includes but isn’t limited to content on your websites, images on your website, blogs, and HTML. On-page SEO encompasses many different disciplines such as website speed, blogging, content, user experience and so much more. Any area of your website that Google “sees” is subject to on-page optimization.
Off-page SEO is the practice of optimizing elements off of your website for search engines. Probably the biggest example of off-page SEO is backlinks, however, there are lots of other elements such as social media, external blogs and many other factors that might come into play.
3. Why does my business need a growing web presence?
A. Increasing your web presence will help your company reach more new customers and prospects while increasing contact with existing customers. Your competitors are growing their web presence, so if you aren’t growing yours then you are falling behind.
People search the web for a business, product or service in different ways. Some people use popular search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo). Some people will utilize social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Other people may use business directory services like Yelp, CitySearch or FourSquare. There are numerous additional ways Internet users find businesses and these methods continue to evolve at a rapid rate. The more places your business has a presence, the more likely your business will be found.
A growing web presence also helps develops trust and authority for customers and prospects. The more places people see you the bigger and more familiar you are in their minds. In addition, a broader web presence will also frequently enhance search engine rankings for many of the same reasons.
4. Why do I need SEO for my business?
A. Search engine optimization is an essential component of a business’s marketing and sales strategy. With the rise and rapid growth of the internet and the demise of many traditional (offline) channels to reach customers and prospects such as the Yellow Pages, having a web presence has become increasingly important if not necessary.
Reasons for developing and implementing a clear SEO strategy include:
- Optimize your web presence and visibility.
- Build better branding and positioning for your business, products and services.
- Increase the online credibility and trust for your business.
- Identify a business most effective keywords.
- Rank higher in the search engines.
- Increase traffic from potential customers.
- Increase the number of repeat visitors and customers.
- To Grow Your Business – $$$
5. What are Keywords?
A. Keywords or keyword phrases are a core element of SEO. In its most basic definition of a keyword or keyword phrase is the text a web user types into a search box to find relevant information or content. Phrased another way, keywords are descriptions of the information people are searching for and can bring targeted traffic to your website.
Choosing the most profitable keywords for your website and SEO optimization is very important for getting targeted traffic to your website with the greatest chance of converting them to customers and repeat visitors. Effective use of keywords is essential for ranking well and being found on the Internet. Keyword research is focused on locating the optimal keyword phrases for drawing targeted traffic to a website.
Keyword research can frequently be dry and very detailed oriented. To do it well it requires special software tools and experience. However, this type of research and the information it provides is the cornerstone of any successful SEO effort. Many people also consider the optimal use of keyword phrases to be essential for creating and maintaining a successful website as keywords will appear in the website’s page content, in the off-page metadata and frequently in page titles and descriptions.
6. What is Social Media?
A. There are actually several definitions for the term “social media.” However, there are two answers that are consistent: it involves sharing information, and it is continually evolving. The most commonly recognized social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. A broader definition of social media would also include social sharing sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram. The number, scope and size of social sites continues to grow at a rapid rate.
According to Doreen Moran, a digital online marketing strategist, “Social media is a collection of online platforms and tools that people use to share content, profiles, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and media itself, facilitating conversations and interactions online between groups of people.
- Social Media is the platform/tools/assets.
- Social Networking is the act of connecting on social media platforms.
- Social Media Marketing is how businesses join the conversation in an authentic and transparent way to build relationships.
Wikipedia states, “Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.
7. What is Local Search?
A. Local Search is the use of a geographic tag, such as a state, city, or zip code (or NAP) as part of the search phrase when performing a search. Local search is an efficient way for a search engines to deliver relevant, results for businesses, products and services within a limited geographic area. An example of a local search, also referred to as Local SEO, would be entering “Italian restaurant Chicago” into the search box on Google, Bing or Yahoo.
Businesses with a physical location such as restaurants, repair businesses, contractors, dentists and plumbers, can derive significant benefits from optimizing their web presence for local search opportunities. There are a growing number of online directories and locations where local businesses can develop a presence.
Google, Bing and Yahoo all have services that allow local business owners to create a business listing online with the most accurate, up to date information about their business, products and services. These listing will generally include a link to the businesse’s website, their phone number and a map showing the business location.
8. Why do Search Engine Rankings Consistently Change?
A. The Search Engines (Google) is a dynamic place and the search engine results pages (SERPs) can change on a frequent basis. This can be frustrating to website owners as one day they may rank number 2 for an important keyword phrase and two days later they may rank number 5.
There are a number of factors that affect the rankings for a given web page and a given keyword on any given day. These can include:
- New sites, web pages and content are discovered by the search engines on a daily basis and may jump ahead of existing pages in the rankings.
- Older sites, web pages and content can be taken offline (removed from the web), or decrease in relevancy due to content that is unchanged or seldom visited over a long period.
- Older sites and web pages are upgraded or enhanced (SEO) to make their content more attractive to visitors and to the search engines.
- The search engines can change how they evaluate websites, web pages, content and links, which can result in the rank of a given page for a given keyword falling or rising without any changes by the website owner.
While these changes can be disconcerting to a website owner or business, they should be taken in context. By having a broader web presence that is not solely dependent on the rank of a given keyword in the search engines results pages a business lessens its dependency on any single source of web traffic. Diversity is important.
9. How much does SEO cost?
A. A VERY common question. Our normal answer is “it depends.” While not trying to sound cute, we do not offer specific “canned” packages of service. The cost of our services will depend upon the needs of a client. We work with a wide range of businesses and the needs, requirements, desired results and budget can vary. A few of the parameters that are evaluated as part of a business engagement include:
- How large is your website?
- How competitive is your business niche or market?
- Where do you currently rank for your most important keywords and where do you want to rank?
- How many keywords would you like to target?
- What is your existing web presence?
- What is the commitment level?
Also, you might seen these services around the internet, and ask, what’s up with SEO packages for $129 or $299?
These packages are usually cookie cutter packages that do very little and wont last to help your website in the search engines. We’ve even seen these packages hinder SEO in the past, for some of these “SEO packages” actually build shady backlinks or insert scripts or widgets into your website.
The old saying is true: you get what you pay for. Before 2010, a $99 SEO package might have given you some results. Today, not only would they not help but it may cause problems for your website in the short or long term.
10. How long does SEO take?
A. This is a loaded question but we’d like to start with a simple reference.
Think about taking violin lessons: within a few lessons I am sure you might be able to play a few notes and maybe even a short song. However after many years of practice, you can perform in front of people and captivate an audience with your skill. If you stop taking lessons, you will gradually lose your skill set.
SEO is similar, within a few days of doing SEO you might see some initial results. After a month, sometimes you will quickly rank on Google for some of your long keywords phrases. After a couple months, you might see even more ranking for more competitive keywords and a few months after that even more.
Remember, SEO is a marathon, not an race.
If you are interested in immediate results you may be interested in advertising or PPC marketing. If you want to build your business and gain exposure over a long period of time for your brand, SEO is the way to go.
11. I have a local business and most of my customers are within 10 miles of my business, do I need a web presence?
A. This is a valid question for small businesses. Especially if budget dollars are tight. One way to answer this question is to look at what your competitors are doing. In evaluating competitors be sure to look at both online and offline (brick and mortar or retail) competitors. If the products or services your business provides can be ordered or delivered via the Internet then your online competitors may be as important or even more important than your local offline competitors.
This is a good example of where, if your potential customers are not finding you, they are finding your competitors. Therefore, a good place to begin in answering this question is to determine how your customers and prospects are currently finding your business. If your business does not currently have a web presence then this could be an opportunity to reach many more potential customers and significantly expand your business. If your competitors have a web presence and you don’t, then you could be losing a lot of business to them now and in the future.