How Long Before I See SEO Results?

 
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SEO

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

 
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SEO

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.

Will Adding a Blog Help My SEO Efforts?

 
Categories
SEO

Will Adding a Blog Help My SEO Efforts?

If you’re already investing in SEO services for your business website, congratulations. You’re making one of the best marketing investments there is. But are you doing everything you can?

A blog can be a big investment timewise, if you write it yourself, but the SEO benefits can really make it worth your time. If you’re a small business and you need to focus all of your energy on your projects and getting new clients, consider adding blog writing into your SEO services contract. Coastal Web Services provides monthly blog writing in certain SEO packages.

Adding a blog to your website improves its search visibility. A blog is part of your content strategy that can allow you to rank for more keywords, or rank better for your top priorities.

Ideally, your website content provides an expert level of knowledge about what it is you do – whether you sell used machinery, you are a custom home builder or you’re a landscaping company. This helps make sure you meet Google’s quality guidelines. By adding a blog to your website, you gain search engine results page (SERP) real estate, which provides additional touch points for users to discover your company. By creating new content, you will inevitably be expanding your keyword set.

By increasing your visibility through SEO and writing a blog, the likelihood that different pages of your website will appear in the same SERP list, which in turn leads to an increased click-through rate.

To sum it up, content creation, particularly blogs, is critical if you want to expand your company’s profile. As an added bonus, adding fresh content requires Google to regularly crawl and index your site, and fresh content is a consideration when Google ranks your page in search results. In addition, if your website lacks on-page content due to aesthetic purposes or because it’s an e-commerce site, a blog is an excellent way to beef up your content offerings and target specific queries.

For more information on blog writing and how to write a blog, check out some of our previous posts.

If you want to add a blog to your website but don’t have the writing ability or the time to do it yourself, call Coastal Web Services today at 410-420-9390 to add blog writing to your SEO services plan.

Should You Use Cookies on Your Business Website?

 
Categories
SEO Website Design

Have you ever visited a website, looked at a product or researched something only to have an ad for that product or website appear elsewhere online, such as in your Facebook feed, or as an ad on a totally unrelated website? If you feel like you’re being followed, you are.

This is done with the help of tracking pixels, tags and website cookies. Did you know you can use these same tactics to track visitors to your website, monitor specific actions on your website or track and improve your internet marketing programs?

Why Use Pixels, Tags & Cookies?

There are multiple upsides to using tracking pixels. You can gain insider knowledge about who visits your site or social media platforms, and what they do while they’re there, including how long they stay on a page. This allows you to hone in on what is attractive to potential customers, as well as send out a retargeting ad to bring them back to your site. Facebook retargeting is a common example of this.

Getting Started

Implementation is pretty easy. A company, advertiser, or third party generates a pixel or snippet of code for your site. You or your website administrator add the code to your site. When a user visits your site, that pixel drops a cookie. Depending on what you’re using or tracking, different ads would then show up to the visitor based on his or her previous history with your site.

Keeping Track

There are multiple analytic tools available to track cookies: Google Analytics, Hubspot, Facebook Insights, Twitalyzer, ClickTale, Compete. No matter the analytic tool you decide to use, you should definitely take advantage of what cookies have to offer! When used to their fullest extent, they can work wonders for your business on the web.

For a more in-depth discussion on whether cookies could help you grow your business, contact Coastal Web Services for a chat. We can implement the program and use the analytics to help you grow your business through targeted advertising, changes in content, etc.

If you need a web design company or SEO services, call Coastal Web Services today at 410-420-9390 today for a free consultation.

Is the Page Load Time on Your Website Costing Your Business?

 
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SEO Website Design

Simply put, page load time is the amount of time it takes for a web page to fully load into a person’s browser. We’ve talked before about the need for speed when it comes to your website. We are an instant gratification society, and when we click on a website, whether from a laptop or a mobile phone, we expect instant results. People are impatient. No one wants to see that little spinny thing. We’ve said they may not wait around for your site to load. Well, it’s worse than we thought.

A new study shows many online shoppers and researchers won’t wait more than five seconds for a page to load before clicking over to the next retailer or service provider. The study from Soasta, a company that measure’s website performance, says a third of shoppers will leave a site if they have to wait more than 5 seconds for it to load. People who leave your site while it’s loading comprise your “bounce rate.” If another second is added on to the load time, making it 6 seconds, the bounce rate increases by a full 3 percentage points.

Now, people are more inclined to wait if they know internet traffic is heavy, such as on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or if you have another big sale going on. But if it’s just a regular day, a lot of potential customers are going somewhere else. And mobile users are especially impatient. If a page doesn’t load in 3 seconds, they are out of there.

So, have you checked the page load time on your website lately? Have you tested it on both a PC and a mobile phone? What were the results? If you’re not happy with your page load time and you’re looking to increase website performance, we can help.

There are a number of things our web developer can do behind the scenes to speed up your page load time and make your site faster and more attractive to potential customers. If you’re ready to work with a web design company to improve the performance of your website, call Coastal Web Services at 410-420-9390 today for a free website analysis. If you don’t yet have a small business website, we can design one for you, and start with SEO from the beginning, to make the most of your investment.

Common SEO Myths

 
Categories
SEO

Many of our clients and prospective clients have heard a lot of information about just what SEO is, and what it can do for them. But a lot of the information out there about search engine optimization is bogus information. Today, we hope to debunk several of the most common myths surrounding SEO.
1. SEO doesn’t work Did you know that in the U.S., 68% of prospective customers begin their purchasing decisions by using a search engine to research the product or service? And this traffic converts. According to one report, leads generated from search / SEO are eight times more likely to close into customers than outbound leads from direct mail or trade shows. (source).
In addition, many users tend to ignore paid ad listings and click on organic results instead.
2. SEO is expensive You’ve heard the phrase you get what you pay for. When you hire a search engine optimization professional who is an expert in their field, you are paying them for their knowledge, expertise and execution of complex tasks, including:
• Researching your industry, market and sales trends.
• Researching your competitors.
• Researching keyword terms that can bring the most relevant traffic.
• Optimizing a site for SEO, page by page.
• Building links.
• Monitoring and analysis of your SEO efforts.
Each of these tasks takes time and effort (not to mention specialized research skills and databases) — and there’s just no SEO without them. So while you do need to pay for someone to implement these tasks, keep in mind that SEO keeps bringing results long after you make the initial investment. With that being said, get several estimates before hiring an SEO company, and make sure you understand what their SEO plans involve. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. SEO is an investment in your company.
And keep in mind, SEO is a business expense that can be written off on your taxes.
3. I’m old school. I don’t need SEO, or a website for that matter Oh my. Where do we begin? Perhaps with a couple of statistics.
• 80% of U.S. consumers read online reviews before making a purchase of a product or service.
• 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
Even if only a tiny percentage of those people are interested in your services, you get the idea that most of the people who are looking to hire you or buy your products are starting out online.
Not promoting your business online means you are missing out on a huge opportunity to get new customers. Worse yet, you may be sending them over to your competitors. If new clients can’t find you online, they may never bother to call.
4. SEO will require me to change my website. I don’t have time for that Yes, you do have time. You need to make time to prioritize promoting your business to bring in new customers. Small businesses may need to change their existing websites to improve search engine optimization. Common changes that you can see include new content (most SEO companies have a content writer who can do the writing, with input from you), adding new pages or consolidating pages, and changes in web design.
Common changes that you can’t see are the addition of title tags, image alt tags, description tags, the addition of links, and many other behind the scenes additions that help the search engines find your site. This includes making sure your site loads quickly.
5. SEO is always changing. I can’t keep up It’s true that Google changes it’s algorithms several times a year. But most of these changes won’t affect your website. You probably won’t even notice most of them, even as a user.
There are, however, bigger algorithm changes that can impact your site. A good SEO company will be aware of upcoming changes and advise you as to how the changes will impact your site, and what SEO modifications need to be made so that your site isn’t negatively impacted or penalized. A recent change that comes to mind is Google’s decision to place mobile-friendly sites higher in search results, and non-mobile friendly sites lower in results.
So rather than not implement SEO at all, the challenge is to hire an SEO company that can keep up with the changes.
6. SEO can be automated No, no, no it can’t. Real, quality SEO is done by a live human being, or team of SEO experts. Automated SEO is a spammy practice that has nothing to do with knowledge of your individual business, your local customer base, or your marketing efforts.
Don’t believe anyone who tells you that SEO can be done magically with one click. If you’re ready to invest a little time and money in SEO, do it with an SEO company that can meet with you face to face, get to know your business, and develop an SEO program tailored to your needs.
Now does an SEO company use automated tools to run reports? Yes. But that is not the same thing as automated SEO.
If you’re considering SEO for your company’s website, call Coastal Web Services today at 410-420-9390 for a free consultation and website analysis. We offer web design and SEO services to small businesses throughout Central Maryland including Harford County, Baltimore County, Cecil County and Anne Arundel County.

Finding an SEO Company You Can Trust

 
Categories
SEO

If you’re looking for a new SEO company because your old one didn’t perform, or you’re just getting your feet wet in the world of search engine optimization, it’s important that you work with an SEO company that uses SEO best practices. These are sometimes called “White Hat SEO” as opposed to “Black Hat SEO”.

Steer clear of SEO companies that use black hat techniques, or that speak ill of a competitor. An SEO company should be able to stand on its own merits without disparaging the competition, and should be able and willing to tell you what they will do and how they will do it as far as SEO.

Steer clear of a company that promises you speedy results, which are frequently the result of black hat techniques such as:

  • Duplicate content
  • Invisible text and stuffed keywords
  • Cloaking or re-directing the user to another site or page
  • Link stuffing with links to sites with non-relevant content

Black hat SEO focuses on the search engines, rather than the user experience, and can possibly result in your site being banned from a search engine.

Good SEO, or White Hat SEO, focuses on the user experience. Be prepared to overhaul your existing website to meet best practices. A good SEO company provides search engine optimization including:

  • Website optimized for viewing on mobile devices.
  • Relevant, well-written content. You should look like an expert in your field.
  • Complete sentences with good spelling and grammar. Easy to read without being dumbed down.
  • Content that is informative and more than just a snippet of information.
  • Content that incorporates your key phrases and related phrases.
  • Video content
  • Unique and relevant page titles
  • Well-labeled images (with image alt tags)
  • Title tags and unique description tags
  • Standards compliant HTML
  • Relevant links and references

When you meet with a representative of an SEO company / web design company there are important questions to ask and information they should be happy to share with you.

  1. Show and Tell

The SEO expert you choose should have something to show you about the actual SEO practices that they are planning to do for you. Things you would expect to hear from them are how they will:

  • Optimize the content on your current website
  • Do an SEO audit of your site
  • Add strategic outbound links and inbound links 
  • Do and analysis of the site’s current link profile
  • Conduct an analysis of company social and blog.

 

  1. Are They Curious About Your Business?

Things an SEO company should ask you for as the owner of the website/ business.

  • Admin access or view to Google Analytics and Google Adwords
  • Editor or admin access to your websites CMS
  • List of targeted keywords – if you don’t have them, they should offer suggestions
  • Access to social media accounts
  • Do they offer suggestions for improvement? 

A good SEO partner would help you out with some website suggestions or improvements in order to get better results. They should view their relationship as a partnership. If they are not telling or suggesting something, then it’s all about THEM.

  1. Do they share their SEO techniques?

An ethical SEO company should be open to discussing their techniques; after all you are paying them for their expertise and time!. A white hat SEO company would have NO problem sharing their techniques, as they are accepted as legitimate ways to get proven results. If your SEO agency says that they need to keep their techniques confidential or “due to the nature of the industry we cannot disclose our practices” then beware!! 

If you’re looking for an SEO company you can trust to work with you over the long term, call Coastal Web Services today at 410-420-9390. We’ll work with you to develop both a short term and a long term SEO strategy that will help you grow your business.

Do You Need Small Business SEO Services?

 
Categories
SEO

Do You Need Small Business SEO Services?

If you have a website, and if you don’t you should probably get one pronto, you need small business SEO services. SEO, or search engine optimization, simply put, is when we use a series of techniques and procedures to optimize your website so the search engines will place your website high up in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

This includes a lot of behind the scenes work and visible work such as the use of appropriately researched keywords and related phrases in your content, meta tags, title tags, description tags, a site map, appropriate url names, header tags, image alt tags, creating new content with blogs, videos, photos and graphics, adding your site to directories, link building, and much, much more.

Can you do your own SEO? Maybe, if you have an SEO expert on staff who doesn’t have another job to do. Being “good with computers” isn’t enough these days. SEO changes daily, and in order to have access to some of the needed tools and training, SEO companies maintain subscriptions to various keyword search tools, analytics tools and more.

Local SEO Company

Of course, we think it makes sense to hire a local SEO company like Coastal Web Services to handle your SEO efforts. Hiring an SEO company allows you to focus on what you do best – running your business. Whether you’re a home builder, assisted living facility, plumber or insurance agent, you’re an expert in your field. Do you think we could come in and do what you do because we’re handy around the house or like to work with people? Of course not. And just like any other business expense such as buying equipment or paying a monthly lease, you can write off your SEO service expenses come tax time.

Why should you hire Coastal Web Services instead of the SEO company down the street? Because we have years of experience, and a proven track record. Now, we may not be as cheap as some SEO providers, but we charge a fair and competitive price. Remember, you get what you pay for. If someone promises they can get you to the top spot in the SERPs for a fraction of the price other companies are charging, watch out. Chances are, they are charging bargain basement prices to try and build a clientele, but they may not necessarily know what they’re doing. Poorly done SEO efforts can do more harm than good.

And SEO is a long term investment in your business. You should see an improvement in your placement in the search engine results within a few months, but if you are in a highly competitive business with multiple companies providing the same service in a small geographic area, it may take more time for you to see improvement for every page of your website.

So if you’ve been thinking about if you need SEO services, and you want to get more information about what that entails, give Coastal Web Services a call today at 410-420-9390. Based in Bel Air, MD, we provide web design and SEO services to small businesses throughout the greater Baltimore area, including Harford County, Baltimore County, Cecil County and Anne Arundel County.

 

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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