Google Confirms Algorithm Update Affecting Core Search Rankings


If you’ve noticed a drop or gain in the ranking of your website in Google’s search results in recent days, you’re not alone. And it’s not anything you did or didn’t do. Once again, it’s all about Google.

Here’s what Google recently posted on Twitter:
Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Some are focused around specific improvements. Some are broad changes. Last week, we released a broad core algorithm update. We do these routinely several times per year.
As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.
There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.

So, have you updated the content on your website lately? Is it informative and conversational? Have you added new pages as your business focus has changed or you have added new services? Do you have a blog, and do you post at least once a month?

If you need help writing new content and adding it to your website, Coastal Web Services can help. We offer SEO consulting services and web design services to small businesses in the Mid-Atlantic and Alabama. Call us at 410-430-9290 for a free SEO analysis.

Including PDFs on Your Website Can Improve Search Engine Optimization


Including PDFs on Your Website Can Improve Search Engine Optimization

A good search engine optimization company is always on the lookout for new ways to help you in your SEO efforts. While some of that is on the technical, back end of your website that you can’t see (think title tags, header tags, image alt tags, url names optimized for SEO, etc.) good, informative and continually updated content is critical to placing high in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Did you know that including PDFs on your website can help your search engine optimization efforts? Much like a good SEO company optimizes the images on your website with specific image alt tags containing key phrases, the same can be done with individual PDFs. If you sell or rent power equipment, put all of the owner’s manuals on a separate page. If you install HVAC systems with programmable thermostats, put the owner’s manuals up. If you sell technical equipment, put the product specifications up. You don’t have to be an e-commerce site to utilize PDFs in your website’s search engine optimization strategy.

Depending on how many PDFs you have, you can create one page just for the PDFs, or you can link to them from individual pages.

The beauty of this is, if properly optimized, those PDFs will turn up in two different kinds of searches. First, they’ll pop up when someone is looking for a specific product. Second, they’ll pop up when someone is specifically searching for an owner’s manual. How many times have you lost the owner’s manual on a product, or it never came with a printed manual and you looked it up online?

If you’re the one who posted the manual, it improves your chances that if someone discovers they need repairs, or need a new product or system, they’ll contact you. It’s critical that your SEO company optimizes the PDFs so that someone reading them can navigate to the rest of your site to contact you for service or order products.

We hope you’ll consider working with Coastal Web Services. We are a Maryland search engine optimization company providing SEO consulting services to clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. We offer a free SEO analysis, fixed pricing and a project manager who will be your point of contact. Call us today at 410-420-9390 or use our contact form to schedule a meeting. We look forward to meeting you!

Do You Need a Website Redesign?

Website Design

If you ask 10 people how often you need a website redesign, you’ll get 10 different answers. A website redesign is not like changing the paint color in a room. It’s more like gutting the kitchen during kitchen remodeling. If small adjustments or tweaking can fix problem areas, then a full-fledged website redesign may not be needed.

The main question to ask yourself is if your site is performing well. Are you getting plenty of good leads? Do site visitors convert to customers? If the answer is yes, then just some minor adjustments may be all that’s needed to keep your site fresh and current. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Just because your website is old, if it’s performing well, you may want to leave it be. A website redesign just for the sake of it might actually hurt you.

On the other hand, there are many reasons to implement a website redesign.

  • People can’t find your contact page without a lot of effort
  • It’s hard to find what you need on your website
  • Your site is incredibly slow to load
  • You can’t update your site easily, and really old information is misleading.
  • Mobile users visit your site, but it’s not mobile friendly, so they leave quickly
  • Your website is 80% images and 20% text and you want to do better in search results
  • You want to incorporate SEO

Here at Coastal Web Services, we just recently launched a website redesign of our own website, for various reasons. We hope you like it!

If you decide to say yes to a website redesign, it’s important to do your homework before anything is changed. If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics or other web analytics tools, opt for a free web analysis and SEO analysis from various web design and SEO companies. Or better yet, find a company that does both.

The website analytics should help you figure out what’s working and what isn’t, how visitors arrive at your site, what pages they go to, are they converting to sales or do they leave? Also, take a look at what your competition is doing. Do they now offer online appointment scheduling or the opportunity to buy online?

If you’re investing in a website redesign, it makes sense to invest in SEO at the same time. An SEO analysis will help make recommendations on what pages to keep, which to delete, which to combine with other pages, how to set up your website navigation, and more. This is also the time to develop a user profile – who comes to your website? Who are your current clients? Who are you trying to attract?

The SEO research and target audience research needs to be done BEFORE designing your site. Think of SEO and user profile research as the blueprints for your website. Everything is built around them.

Things to Include in Your Website Redesign

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) See above.
  • Responsive Website Design Your site should be easily viewable on any size screen, without enlarging or swiping to the side.
  • Professionally written content. Writing for websites, and especially for SEO, is not like other writing. There is a whole different set of rules to follow. Above all, make sure your web content is easy to read and informative.
  • Content Management System (CMS) Getting a site built with a Content Management System (CMS) would be optimal as well, allowing you to make updates to your site yourself, such as changing photos, changing special offers, changing staff bios, etc.
  • Call to Action (CTA) on every page. This should be built into the web pages, but a CTA should also be included in your text.
  • A Home page that clearly defines who you are. Your Home page should pass the 5 second test. Can anyone visiting your site clearly identify what it is you do within 5 seconds?
  • A Blog page. Including a blog on your website is one of the easiest ways to add fresh content on a regular basis, and Google loves fresh content.

Still have questions about whether w website redesign is right for you? Call Coastal Web Services at 410-420-9390 for a free website analysis and SEO analysis, or use our contact form, and someone will get back to you. We work with small business clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas and Alabama.

How Long Before I See SEO Results?


The folks at Google recently released a video about how to hire an SEO company in which Maile Ohye of Google says that you really need to give the SEO company you hire 4-12 months to see tangible results from their search engine optimization efforts.

A good SEO company will tell you up front that results will not be immediate, and that implementing SEO efforts takes a bit of time to see results, and then fine tuning once your rank in the search engine results (SERPs) starts to improve.

Even once you are on the first page of results for the key phrases you want to do well on, work still needs to be done. Things change so fast in the SEO world that it’s important to continue to work on your SEO strategy over the long haul. Search engine optimization is not a one and done thing. It’s a long term investment in your company.

If you’re ready to use the power of SEO to help you bring in new clients and grow your business, contact Coastal Web Services today for a free website analysis and SEO analysis. Your SEO is only as good as your website’s design, ease of navigation, page names and content.

Coastal Web Services is a Baltimore area web design company providing web design and SEO services to clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as California and Alabama. Call us today at 410-420-9390 for a free consultation.

Google Video: How to Hire an SEO Company


We’ve posted blogs before about how to hire an SEO company, but sometimes hearing it from an independent source is more persuasive. How about tech giant Google? Google recently released a video named How to Hire an SEO, by Maile Ohye. Ohye has been part of the Google search team for more than ten years.

According to Google, the SEO hiring process has three main steps:

  1. Conduct a two-way interview with several SEO companies. You ask them questions, and they ask you questions. For suggestions, check out this blog.
  2. Check their references. Call up existing or previous clients. Don’t just read the testimonials.
  3. Ask for a technical and search audit and analysis of your website. Most companies will do this for free.

Here’s the video.

If you’re in the process of hiring an SEO company to optimize your website, Coastal Web Services would love to meet with you. We offer free website analysis and SEO analysis to help us and our clients see what’s working and what needs to improve or be scrapped altogether.

Coastal Web Services is a Baltimore area web design company providing web design and SEO services to clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as California and Alabama. Call us today at 410-420-9390 for a free consultation.

Is Your Web Design Company a Good Fit?

Website Design

Is Your Web Design Company a Good Fit?

Let’s face it. People change. Goals change. Budgets change. For all of those reasons and more, it’s a good idea to reevaluate your relationship with your web design company every once in a while.

Just like you would do with any other vendor, take stock of what your needs are, what your budget is, and if your web design company shares your vision and can get the job done on time, on budget, and most importantly, to your satisfaction.

If you’re looking for a Baltimore web design company to bid on your project to see what else is out there, call Coastal Web Services today at 410-420-9390 or use our contact form to set up a free consultation, complete with website analysis and SEO analysis.

Unless things have deteriorated beyond repair, keep your current web design company in the bidding process for your project, whether it’s a website redesign, implementation of SEO services, or adding a shopping cart / e-commerce to your website.

Before you start looking for a new web design company, there are several things to think about.

Know Your Company’s Goals

Why do you want a new website? What do you hope to accomplish? How will you measure the success of your new website? What is the main reason for building the website?

For example, if you’re a small company with a one page website you got for free online, your main goal is likely to increase your visibility on the web and have a professional-looking web presence. A good web design company can do this with a five to ten page website that clearly states what your company does, and educates visitors about your services and your industry. You’ll be able to measure success through a number of web analytics and leads generated through your website.

If you’re an established company, you may be thinking about upgrading your website design to reflect new services you offer, integrate a new logo, or a complete overhaul.

In either case, once you identify your goals, you’re better prepared to interview web design companies.

Understand That Content is King – and the Web Design Company Should, Too!

In the web design and SEO services industry, the phrase Content is King is a common one. Good, easy to read and informative content is attractive to visitors to your website, but it is also key to getting the search engines to recognize your website for what it is, and place you higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone is looking for the services or products you offer.

The overall website design and functionality of your website is important, but if you have a pretty looking website with crappy content full of errors, the pretty packaging doesn’t do you any good.

Look for a web design company that will do the web content writing for you. Web content writing, and especially writing for SEO, is a specialized service. Most business owners are not writers. Working with a content writer allows you to get your point across, but leaves the writing to someone else, so you can focus on serving your customers.

Be Realistic in Your Expectations

Don’t just think about what your website will look like and how you can cram keywords into the text. Don’t expect to be first in the SERPs right away, and don’t expect your business to grow by leaps and bounds in the first six months. Sure, that could happen, but it’s not the norm.

Investing in a new website is a long-term investment. Long-term goals can include:

  • Improving brand awareness within a specific online audience
  • Generating more positive leads
  • Increasing and improving communication with your customer base.

Your web design company should be in it with you for the long haul – reviewing analytics with you and tweaking your website to help you achieve your goals.

Communication is Key

Well, duh. Like ever industry, web design and SEO has its own jargon. When you interview web design companies, do they speak in plain English? Do they explain terms and concepts as they go, as well as pause to let you ask questions to make sure you’re both on the same page? If not, that’s pretty much an indicator that they won’t communicate well with you during your web design project.

Coastal Web Services is a Baltimore area web design company providing web design, graphic design and SEO services to clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as California and Alabama. Call us today at 410-420-9390 for a free consultation.

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