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.

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!

Do You Need a Website Redesign?

 
Categories
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?

 
Categories
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

 
Categories
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.

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.

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.

 

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