Using Your Facebook for Business Page to Improve Your SEO

 
Categories
SEO

Utilizing social media marketing has a huge potential to increase your sales. Let’s talk about Facebook, specifically. And no, we don’t mean Facebook ads. Your business Facebook page helps you increase brand awareness, improve brand loyalty and get better ranks in SERPs.

And know that when we say “brand awareness” we are just saying make people more aware of your company and what it has to offer.

Did you know that 51% of Facebook users are more likely to buy from brands/companies they follow? And did you know 47% of Americans say Facebook has a greater impact on their purchasing behavior than any other social network? And this is especially true since Facebook added the widget for asking for recommendations.

Besides having a Business Facebook page with your address, hours, location and the basics, what’s a business owner to do? We have some suggestions that relate to updating your Facebook page as a whole, and with posts:

  1. Place keywords in strategic locations. Facebook limits where you can write large amounts of text, so if you want to use key words and phrases, you should use them on every post. The About section allows you the greatest opportunity for a large amount of text that explains who you are and what you do, and allows you to use your key phrases and related phrases to your benefit.

 

So there really is no justifiable reason to leave that About section blank. Use the About section on your website for guidance, but don’t copy and paste.

  1. Optimize Facebook status updates for SEO. Every time you post an update on a project, talk about a special, wish your Facebook fans Happy Holidays, create an event or share cute photos, it’s an opportunity to improve your SEO. Take advantage of the descriptive fields to add keywords because even if it takes only one minute to fill in everything, it can make a difference in your SERPs ranking. Keep in mind that this text will become the SEO title of your Facebook post.
  2. Include your address to improve your local SEO. This one is pretty simple. And if you want people to know you’re in their part of town, why wouldn’t you include your address? Even if you run your business out of your home, you need to include something.
  3. Link to your business Facebook page from your website. This is a no brainer for whoever built your website. If you don’t already link to your business Facebook page, get that done ASAP. Many people who visit your website will click on the Facebook link to see reviews of your company, and to see if they can get a discount or special offer by “liking” your page.
  4. Use the Notes feature on your business Facebook page. You can post Notes to update your fans and customers on important news, or update them in a crisis. This is different than just writing a post. And assuming your business page is public, Google will search and index the Notes section on business pages. This is not true of personal pages. So, this is another chance to write keyword rich content on your business Facebook page. Be sure you include relevant keywords in the title of your post. And yes, it should have a title.
  5. Post direct links to your website on your Facebook page. Every post should have a link back to your website (backlinks). Post links to your blog on your Facebook page. Post something about a recent job you completed and link to the relevant Services page. You get the idea.
  6. Engage with your reviewers. Thank people for good reviews. Publicly offer to work things out with people who left negative reviews. Visitors to your Facebook page will appreciate that you didn’t just ignore the person who left a negative review.
  7. Above all, post frequently and post content that will engage visitors. Post about something good that happened that day. Post about a new service. Post about a special offer. Post pictures of your employees on the job. Ask questions. Take a poll. The more engaged people are on your Facebook page, the more visible it becomes to Google. And the more engagement you get on positive posts, the less likely that negative review is t stay at the top of the page.
  8. Use calls to action (CTAs) and ask people to like and share posts. Consider offering a chance to win something or get a discount.
  9. Have fun with it. Use your own voice, and be real. Of course, always be professional.

If you as a business owner take a little time to review your Facebook page and make sure it gets new posts on a regular basis, you should start to see some results. If you feel you have the time or computer savvy, hire someone to do it for you, whether that’s a company employee or an outside firm.

If you need help keeping your business Facebook page up to date and adding new and engaging posts, Coastal Web Services can help. We offer SEO consulting services, social media marketing services and web design services to small businesses in the Mid-Atlantic and Alabama.                              Call us at 410-420-9390 for a free SEO analysis.

Google Confirms Algorithm Update Affecting Core Search Rankings

 
Categories
SEO

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.

Top Reasons Why You Should Have a Business Website

 
Categories
Website Design

If you’re still a Yellow Pages kind of business, this article is for you. Did you know that nearly 90% of consumers do online research and read reviews before choosing where to buy a product or service? By not having a business website, you are taking yourself out of the mix of businesses that people consider. Sure, you may be listed in some directories, but if you don’t have a website that tells prospective customers more about who you are and what you do, they may think you’re behind the times, or have something to hide. This is especially true for people under 45 who have had internet access for most of their adult lives.

Hiring a professional web design company to build your website is an investment in your company’s future. A functional website design is one of the most important pieces of your marketing plan. Take the money you’ve been using on Yellow Pages and newspaper ads and put it towards a website. Your new website should be attractive, easy to navigate and provide valuable, informative content to current and prospective customers.

There are several reasons a website should be a part of your marketing campaign:

Flexibility. Websites provide opportunities to post new and different content daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Your website can also be easily revised and tweaked for constant improvements and/or changes in your business’ product or service information. This includes adding special promotions as well.

Convenience. It is far more convenient for a person to research a product or service, schedule a free quote, sign up for a class, or buy a product online, compared to driving to a store to accomplish the same task. And if it’s after hours, don’t you want people to be able to contact you through your contact form? A lot of people can’t call during regular business hours.

Credibility. A website gives you the opportunity to tell potential customers what you do, what products and/or services you offer and why you deserve customer’s trust and confidence. As discussed above, not having a business website these days sends a negative message to a large part of your potential customer base.

Cost. The cost to build and maintain a website is relatively cheap compared to print forms of media. Shop around. Get several estimates from local web design companies. Going with a professional is your best bet, because they have the expertise in what is really a pretty technical area. The best way to spend your marketing budget is by creating an attractive and easy to use website that helps you attract customers.

Customer Service Your business’ website can provide valuable and informative content. This can be through the content on each web page, blogs, videos, FAQs, and industry specific information. Quality content enhances the visitor’s user experience and satisfaction. And by having a contact form or customer feedback form, you make it easy for current customers and prospective customers to interact with you, day or night.

Your website really is your best chance to make a good first impression with prospective clients. For more information on Maryland web design and SEO services, call Coastal Web Services today at 410-420-9390 or use our contact form and someone will get back to you shortly. We offer a free, no obligation consultation, complete with a written estimate. We serve small business clients in Maryland, DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina and Alabama.

Tips to Getting More Customer Reviews

 
Categories
SEO

Tips to Getting More Customer Reviews

In today’s competitive business world, having a bunch of positive online reviews is important. 90% of customers say their decision on which product to buy or which service company to hire are influenced by online reviews, such as Google reviews, Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews and Angie’s List reviews to name a few.

Customer testimonials on your website are still good, but some people may not even visit your website if your overall star rating is 3 or below, or if (gasp!) you don’t have any reviews at all.

With that in mind, here are some easy ways to get more customer reviews:

  1. Go above and beyond. You’ve probably heard the phrase “under promise and over deliver”. It’s great advice for any business, and allows you to exceed expectations. Nothing makes a happy customer like delivering on time and under budget or handling unexpected issues with grace. Make it a company policy to always offer polite and friednly customer service, every step of the way. Deliver a product or service so great they can’t wait to tell everyone about it!
  2. It’s not about you. It’s about your client. Let them know you care about their experience and appreciate their feedback. You can use any requests for a review to make sure your customer was totally satisfied with the product or service they bought, and the treatment they received. Asking for reviews is pretty common, but it’s important that you don’t talk about how important it is for you to have reviews, but to focus on how by completing a review, your client can help others make a buying decision when it comes to your products and services. Tell your customer how much you enjoyed working with them and hope to work with them again in the future.
  3. Make it easy. Make it easy for your customers to provide feedback and reviews. Provide them with links to the various review sites – you don’t want them to have to spend time searching. One of the simplest ways to do this is to have a Tell Us What You Think! Page on your website that links to your company page on the various review platforms. You should also include a link to the review page in your email signature.
  4. Follow up. If you have an ongoing relationship with a client, they are more likely to use your services again and again. Allow some time to pass, for your client to have gotten some use out of your product or service, and send them an email to follow up. Ask them if they are happy with the service, and if they are, ask them to consider writing an updated review. This is also a good time to correct any problems they may bring up. A follow-up review is especially helpful if the product or service has exceeded their expectations. Again, make it easy for them by providing a link .
  5. Show your gratitude. Offering an incentive for completing a review is an excellent way to increase the number of online reviews for your business. It doesn’t have to be anything big. It can be an entry to win a gift card, a free sample or a discount on the next product or service they buy. You need to be sure that they know this incentive is not tied to them giving a positive review. You want people to be honest when giving feedback, not feel like they are being bribed.
  6. Do not write fake reviews. If you don’t have any reviews yet, do not be tempted to write a fake review. Reach out to long-time, satisfied customers to get the ball rolling.
  7. Monitor your reviews. You need to monitor your reviews, thanking people for positive feedback, and offering to help work out a solution with clients who leave negative feedback. Keeping track of what people are saying about you, and responding directly to them, shows prospective customers that you are on top of things and offer great customer service.

As an added bonus, customer reviews can help your SEO efforts in several ways.

Creates fresh user-generated content. Google loves fresh, relevant content.

Boosts long-tail keyword traffic. People who leave reviews will use language similar to what your target audience will use in a search.

Boosts social conversation. What if a series of impressive/glowing reviews increases your company’s popularity? Consider incorporating reviews into your social media marketing strategy.

Google favors highly rated sites. Customer reviews boost your social proof, or online credibility.

Get visible star ratings from Google. When star ratings are displayed in Google search results, prospective customers can instantly judge if they trust your company enough to visit your website. This helps increase traffic, and possibly sales. Google relies on specific third-party review sites to determine your star rating.

Sites with 4-5 stars are going to get more clicks than sites with 3 or less stars, or no reviews at all. Check out this blog for more in-depth information on how the whole Google stars thing works.

So, there you have it. Once you implement a plan for asking for reviews, it gets easier.

Coastal Web Services can help you automate asking for reviews, and following up. We also offer online reputation management services to our clients. We offer a full range of web design and SEO consulting services. Call us today at 410-420-9390 or use our contact form and someone will gt back to you. We serve clients in Maryland, DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware, as well as North Carolina and Alabama.

 

Including PDFs on Your Website Can Improve Search Engine Optimization

 
Categories
SEO

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!

5 Things That Belong on the Home Page of Your Website

 
Categories
Website Design

5 Things That Belong on the Home Page of Your Website

Whether you call it a Home page, a Landing page or something else, that first page that visitors come to when they visit your site is your chance to make the right impression. Potential customers should be able to tell right away what products and services you offer, and what you’re all about. Sure, it helps if your business name tells what you do – ABC Plumbing, for instance – but there’s more to it than that.

Coastal Web Services is in the business of helping you make the right first impression with your website, and to us, all of these items are no brainers. But if another web design company tells you differently, at least this way you’re informed.

  1. Contact Information But you would be surprised how many small business websites don’t have a phone number, email link or contact form on their Home page. How are people supposed to contact you? And having an email link or a contact form is crucial, because a lot of people do their research on products and businesses after hours, so if they have a question for you, you want to make it easy for them to ask. You should also have your physical or mailing address included on the page. The common location is in the footer of the page. You really should consider having the same contact information included in all of your interior pages as well. It’s pretty easy to build it into your website design.
  2. Images that Represent What You Do If you’re a plumber, show a photo of running water, or someone working under a sink. Make sense? You’d be surprised how many small business websites have flowers, scrollwork or family photos that don’t relate to what the business does.
  3. Clear Navigation With Working Links Visitors to your website should have an easy pathway to get where they’re going. Have clearly named navigation menus at the top of the page, the side of the page, or both. Using the plumbing business, things could include Plumbing Repairs, Water Heaters, Septic Systems, etc.
  4. An Email Sign-Up Box Ask visitors to sign up for your email newsletter, with the promise of discounts, special offers, pertinent news, etc.
  5. Social Media Links Help customers stay up to date and engaged with social media. Use the standard icons for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. Call us today at 410-420-9390 or use our contact form to get started. We provide web design and SEO consulting services to small business clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as the Carolinas and the Gulf coast. We’d love to work with you.

Small Business Website Mistakes

 
Categories
Website Design

If you’re guilty (or your website is guilty) of some of the mistakes in the infographic below, you are missing out. Coastal Web Services can help you take advantage of every opportunity with some changes to your website. Call us today at 410-420-9390 or use our contact form to get started. We provide web design and SEO consulting services to small business clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as the Carolinas and the Gulf coast. We’d love to work with you.

 

Choosing Among Website Color Schemes

 
Categories
Website Design

OK, so you’re working with a web design company to develop your new website. One of the most important things that will determine the look and feel of your website is the website colors you choose. If you’re wondering how to choose the right colors for your website, keep reading.

For some background, you may want to read this article on the basics of color theory.

If you already have a company logo and ad campaign that uses certain colors, it may make sense to use those colors, as well as variations of those colors to develop your website color scheme. If you’re starting from scratch with a new website design, there are two primary questions to ask to help identify the proper colors:

  • What is the content about?
  • And, who will most likely read the content?

For example, let’s say you’re developing a website that will cover everything about babies. So, the content is clearly about infants, but who is going to read it? It is most likely the mothers or moms-to-be. After giving it some thought, we can extract some keywords that will help us to choose the colors, which in this case are: Baby, Babies, Mothers, and baby things (Clothes, Food, Toys, Diapers, etc). Then we can look for these items in our surroundings or using Google images for inspiration.

In this case, I entered the words “baby colors” into Google images, and these color schemes were prevalent:

 Baltimore County, website color schemes, Harford County, web design companyBaltimore County, website color schemes, Harford County, web design company

 

Now depending on your business and your personality, one of those color schemes might seem better. Personally, I think the pastel color scheme is suited for a baby clothes/baby gifts website, while the primary colors are great for a daycare or kid’s toy store. But that’s the thing. Color is personal.

If you’re ready to start thinking about website color schemes, you may want to learn a little about HTML color codes, and what they mean. Scroll down at the link to take a look at an html color chart.

Pick some colors that appeal to you and relate to your logo, or the product/service you are selling. When you meet with your web design team, you can discuss with them your color choices, and what will work well with the overall design you choose.

Coastal Web Services is a full service Harford County web design company, offering SEO services and graphic design services as well. If you’re looking for a website development company to build a website, call us today at 410-420-9390.

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