Archive for the ‘SEO – Search Engine Optimization’ Category

postheadericon The New Google Social Media: “Plus” or Minus

Well, it’s official.  Google has finally rolled out their new social media platform, Google Plus.  In a blatant attempt at coveting the mass market appeal that Facebook has been garnering since its inception 7 years ago, we now see Google trying to get into the social media game.  The platform, while still in its infancy, was started with nothing less than a full throttle exposure by Google, utilizing every aspect of its web presence to reinforce the potential uses and powers of the new social media outlet.  The three most powerful features, or perhaps most important when it comes to search engine optimization and web marketing, are the social media pages, the “+1” button, and the search engine integration.

Social Media Page

From a glance, Google Plus has all the basic features you would expect with social media these days.  There is a place for basic information, your profile, photos of you, contact information, and a space to say how you are doing (the basic equivalent of Facebook status or a Twitter tweet).  There is one minor difference in that when you are messaged, you are actually emailed (using your gmail account, of course), instead of the message being stored somewhere else.  In addition, you are able to easily search for people to add t your circle of friends based on pasty emails or using Google’s own search engine.  The biggest difference is the addition of the Google Plus Circles, which is how Google organizes your friends and family.  Facebook has similar organizational groups, but Google actually forces you to put all of your friends in a specific circle (even if it is called “Friends”) which would differentiate them from your family, coworkers, etc.  This could be very useful for when you want to share something that perhaps you don’t want your family or your boss to see, but other than that it doesn’t really add much that I can see yet.

+1

I mentioned in a previous post about the new +1 buttons that we are adding to all of our SEO clients pages.  The Google equivalent of a “Like” button, these buttons which are coded into the page help to both track who and how many people like a particular website, but also helps to bring inbound links into the page which increases the rankings of the site in search engines.  The biggest difference that I see between the way that Facebook did this and the way that Google is doing this is where the inbound links are going to be found.  For Facebook, this is was in a post made on the wall of the person that clicked the “like” button.  Whereas in Google, this is actually a separate tab, next to photos and basic info, that lists all the pages that particular person has +1’d.  The pages are listed in reverse chronological order so the first thing you see will be the person’s latest interest.

Search Engine Integration

Google’s new platform already proves that it has a significant amount of power behind it.  However, the real power behind the new social media platform is the integration with everything else that Google is already offering.  Google’s approach to business seems to be, if we can do 1 thing extremely well, we can probably do everything extremely well.  Oddly enough, they seem to be right for the most part.  From their original search engine to their power email solution, an internet browser, a smartphone operating system, and now its social media platform, there seems to be no end to what Google will do.  What makes it better is that everything is integrated.  On Google’s website now, you will see the +You button (which changes “You” to your first name when you are logged in) next to the web search bar.  From within the platform, you can use gmail to send messages, Picassa to share photos, and the search engine to find friends, and this is the tip of the iceberg for what I am sure Google will do.  This would make the new platform a very powerful tool in the internet marketing world, where social media has become the way businesses build reputation and create buzz about the company.  At the moment, it seems more geared towards individuals, but it is only a matter of time before Google branches out to businesses like Facebook has done.

What do you think?

We want to know you’re opinion about the changing social media environment and how Google Plus compares to Facebook.  Keeping in mind that it is still in beta and has not been finished yet (as if Facebook is ever actually finished either), what do our readers think?  Gives us a rating, 1-5, so we can find out how many people are using it and how they like it so far?

postheadericon Being “Like”‘d Helps Being Looked At

There was an interesting article I read some time ago about the benefits of social media marketing, with the use of Facebook in particular outlined in the article.  We have all seen the “Like” buttons on various websites that we have visited, as well as the Facebook “Pages” which form mini-websites of their own as well as powerful advertising tools.  Facebook can certainly be a powerful tool for increasing website traffic and search engine rankings.

The Facebook Page:

While Facebook was traditionally a way for individuals to connect with one another, Facebook needed a way to allow for groups and organizations to promote what they have on its site as well.  Hence the addition of the Facebook Pages.  These mini-advertising sites are helpful in that they form a bridge between your personal Facebook account and your company’s website.  While you are allowed to make posts on your Facebook page’s wall, thus proving how current and up-to-date you are, there is enough room for advertisements on your page that it is well worth the effort.  Plus, there are a million different places to put links back to your website, in addition to the Like button for the page, that helps bring in more people.  The more people “Like” your page, the more people will see and visit it and the more opportunities for you to get them to visit your main website and hence use your services.  It is all about a way in.

Facebook for your Site:

As much as you want people to Like your Facebook page, your actual website is even more important.  Many websites these days have embedded the code whereby people can actually Like your website itself.  They click on the button and the counter on your site goes up while a post appears on their Facebook wall telling the world that they liked it.  This means that on their wall, you now have an inbound link where their friends can see your website and have a reason to check it out.  That inbound link also works in search engine rankings.  Google counts every Like from a Facebook user as an inbound link and each inbound link will hep to boost your rankings in all the search engines.

postheadericon SEO – Where to start?

Search engine optimization is like pushing a heavy ball down a specific path.  Once you “get the ball rolling” so to speak, the momentum will help continue to push it forward.  However, when you are just starting out, it can be difficult to find your bearings.  The energy it takes to just get going past the point of inertia can seem daunting, so we’d like to take this time to give suggestions that anyone can do.

SEO can be an expanding spiral of growth if treated in the correct way.  The more people that visit your site, the better it will do in search engine rankings.  The better your site does in rankings, the more people will visit your site.  SEO strategies like keywords and video are all very important, but the main driving point in the beginning is just to get people to visit, and in this way it is fairly identical to marketing in the real world.

Friends Matter:

Sometimes it is who you know that counts.  Talk to your friends and recommend they go to your website.  Have them tell their friends about it.  Even if it only gets a few people to start visiting, it will create a trend.  While you are at it, talk to them about forming an online partnership.  We at ActiveNation have prided ourselves on linking to all of our clients websites, including Party Perfect, Diploma Company and Ross Locklear on our website, while they all have a link back to us on their website as their website developer/designer.  A link exchange, in which you put a link to your friend’s or client’s website on your own in return for them putting a link to your site on theirs, is a good way of increasing traffic to your site and is a free advertising tool.  The inbound link created on your friend’s site will also help to boost your website’s rankings.

Paper Pushers:

Once you have a website, put it everywhere.  On your advertisements, on your business cards, on the walls of your office for when people visit.  People are growing more an more used to using the internet for research on whatever company they are going to and one of the first websites they visit is the company’s own.  You can even use it to make your advertisement’s cheaper by ending with the words “Visit our website for more information.”  This means your advertisements are shorter and you are driving more people to your site, increasing your marketing reach and search rankings simultaneously.

Social Media Speaks Loudly:

These days, a large majority of the population has some social media account, be it twitter, facebook, or linkedin.  These allow you to post something for the whole world to see.  While creating your own page for your business can be helpful, it can also be detrimental if it is not constantly updated.  However, posting something on your personal account, such as a link to your website with a blurb like “Check out our new website” can be effective in driving online “friends” and visitors to your website.

postheadericon BBB Rankings

We’ve all seen the logo of the Better Business Bureau on some of our favorite sites.  They are the ones who will rate a compnay based on how well their service is and how they treat their customers.  Suffice it to say that some of the best companies we know are ranked highly by the BBB, and it shows on their website.

Some of ActiveNation’s clients, including Virginia Green Lawn Care and Party Perfect, have been ranked with an A+ ranking and are therefore entitled and encouraged to place the self-updating logo from the BBB on their website.  This logo serves a multi-faceted purpose in terms of website marketing, and it is important to look at the various values of using it.

From a purely customer-friendly point of view, the BBB is a well known and respected organization and their ranking system is trusted by many.  Just seeing that a business has an A+ ranking is a good enough reason for many potential clients to give that company a call.

However, it also serves an SEO purpose, in that by listing your website with the BBB creates an inward link to your website while the logo on your webpage will actually link to your company’s profile on the BBB’s own website.  That means that when someone goes through the BBB, they find you.  When they go through a search engine, they find you.  When they click the BBB link on your webpage, they find you again.

There are a variety of organizations that are similar to the BBB, but this goes to show the benefits of being a member of any one of them.

postheadericon ActiveNation Returns Better Than Ever

We’re Back!

To our loyal readers, ActiveNation proudly returns to this blog after our months of being away. While we apologize for our lack of posts over these last few months, we would like to assure all of our followers that we are back from our hiatus.

In these last few months, we have been busy transitioning after our recent acquisition by Data Control, LLC, a local Richmond based database programming company that has been partnered with ActiveNation many times over the past years when we have needed each others’ services.

Now, as the two companies have merged into one, we have become a more efficient well-oiled machine that is ready to serve all of your search engine optimization, search engine marketing, pay-per-click management, and website development and maintenance needs and desires, as well as a variety of other programming services through our new parent company.

 

Moving Forward:

While we have been away, the world has kept turning.  The internet never stops changing, and so we must always be vigilant in our attempt to stay on top of the newest in internet trends.  While there isn’t enough space in this blog to go into detail about all the changes that have taken place, we wanted to list some of the topics to be covered in the upcoming posts, if only to whet your appetite.

 

The World Goes Mobile:

Smartphones have become the name of the game in the market of the modern age.  The internet is no longer limited to big bulky desktops or laptops where a local ethernet jack is readily available.  All of the world’s information now rests literally in the palm of our hand, and we must be prepared to face it.

Google Plus: The New Facebook?

Google has finally decided to get into the social media game with their new platform, Google Plus.  How will this affect the way we do business?  Is this the wave of the future or a fad that will fade into the background as quickly and quietly as myspace has over the past few years?

QR: Decoding the Trend:

If you have seen the square barcodes around, you know that these days people are being directed to websites and advertising material even when they are not surfing the web.  You could be walking around the local art museum or shopping mall, see one of these qr codes, scan it into your smartphone, and suddenly you are looking at the company’s specialized website.  How do we utilize this new trend in all of our marketing ideas?

 

It’s All About The Future

These topics and more are only the beginning of the latest in internet trends.  Internet marketing has become a whole new ballgame, and as we continue along the never-ending path towards website marketing, it will only get more exciting as the technology continues to radically change the way we do business everyday.

postheadericon Online Shopping Outdoes Itself This Holiday Season

Black Friday has come and gone and the holiday season is almost done all together, so many wonder exactly how well did online business perform? Statistics have rolled in answering just the question and more. It’s evident that the internet, and social media specifically, have played a major role in the way web users communicate and shop, so how much of an impact did these methods actually make on this year’s holiday season compared to last year? Apparently this year online patrons increased business revenue by 16 percent compared to last year, by opting to research and shop online as opposed to in-store. In fact according to Coremetrics online, shoppers spent more this year with the average order total at $190.80 compared to last year’s $170.19 average transaction amount. That’s a pretty nice increase! PayPal even analyzed consumer spending during Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday and analyzed another big increase of overall 27% online spending compared to 2009.

This chart exemplifies which brands had a bigger buzz on Twitter and had high performances during Black Friday. Retail stores like Walmart and Apple performed exceptionally, taking the forefront in the running for brand activity during the holiday season. Even online charitable contributions increased from 2009 by 45% according to PayPal reports.

With the results of Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day sales and purchases one can only imagine how the years to come will outdo these current numbers. Is that people are getting hip to the idea of convenience and accessibility now. There was once a time where no one even knew how and where to begin with online shopping but with the help of social media and mobile advertising people is starting to get wiser and realize that this is the beginning of a new generation of consumer behavior and interaction. So now instead of trying to survive the hustle and bustle of getting up early just to be at your favorite store before everyone else, you can sleep in, enjoy your day without the hassle. The click of a mouse on your computer or a button on your phone, retail therapy will be so much sweeter.

postheadericon Choosing the RIGHT SEO Company for You

Internet marketing is evolving more and more and businesses are constantly trying to catch up with the digital enhancements that frequently occur. There are many effective online marketing tools out there but that doesn’t mean effective for everyone

How do you know which marketing tools are the right ones for your online marketing campaign? How do you use them for your company’s benefit? These are only a few of the many questions companies ask themselves when trying to develop an internet marketing campaign. I mean, let’s face it, traditional marketing isn’t the same anymore and it doesn’t help that we are finding ourselves growing in a digital world. So it’s only natural that we would throw the traditions out the window and convert to a new generation of sales leads. With all of that being said, businesses, small and large, naturally would rather have a professional guide them to ensure a successful marketing campaign for the company. The only thing is, knowing which SEO company is right for your business.

Know your companies objectives. If you have a plan for your marketing campaign, then you’ve already conquered the first step. Knowing what you want and how you want to get there will help you determine which SEO company is right for you considering you will know what to look for and what to expect from a professional. You should always have a strategy for your campaign so that you don’t lose your target goal in the mix of digital marketing lingo and confusing advice that you may not need.

Research is everything. It’s wise to research the company you are looking into so that you get as much background information as possible. After all, you want to make sure you can trust the company.  Check their website and portfolios to see some of their previous work so you will have examples of their performance and even their work ethic. Also, ask them about their reviews, feedback and if they have any references. Do they have any success stories on their website or anywhere for your viewing? It’s important to see any interaction from their previous or current clients so that you know they are worthy of your trust and your money. You also can’t go wrong asking the people that you trust for their references.

Find out what they can do for you. It’s always wise to ask as many questions as you can think of. You can call in a consultation or you can meet in person to ask the tough questions you really want answers to. Asking questions like, “How can you provide a high SEO ranking for my company?” or “How long have you been providing optimization for businesses?” can steer you in the right direction in finding out their process and methods for helping your company reach your marketing objectives. Also requesting proposals are the best way to go. This should give you all the information and all the answers you will need to help make your decision on whether that SEO Company is right for you.

So as you see, hiring a professional SEO company to handle your internet marketing campaign can be pretty beneficial, rather than going it independently. Now finding the right SEO Company for your business is the challenging part. As long as you have a clear marketing plan and you trust your gut you can only find the best to meet what you need.

postheadericon What is SEO – Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, may seem like a foreign language to some, but it’s a term business owners should become familiar with.  SEO is a method of internet marketing that is used to help companies improve their website visibility by optimizing the site to rank high organically across all the major search engine results pages.  One of the main goals of SEO  is to have your site listed on the first page of all the major search engines when someone types specific keywords for the products or services you’re marketing  for.  When you type a keyword or phrase in a search engine you will find the top 10 results listed on the first page and the next 10 results on page 2 and so on and so forth.     The results you receive on the first page are seen as the best, most relevant results to your keyword or phrase, and to have the top rankings on that search engine; ultimately this is where you want to be because site visitors can become customers.  Being one of the  sites listed on the first page of one or more major search engine is highly favorable.  Remember, the more pages you cycle through the less relevant the results become to your initial search inquiry.

So how exactly does Search Engine Optimization work and who can utilize this technique?  Well, you can research SEO and try to go at it alone, but it can be a time consuming ordeal, so it is recommended that you utilize a SEO company to take care of the process for you.  Not to mention, it’s wise that you work with an internet marketing consultant first to get a professional opinion about whether or not your site needs an SEO overhaul and the best way to use it to your advantage.  Search engine optimization can be a strategy used alone or within a broader online marketing campaign, so it’s best to find an internet marketing consultant or SEO company that’s highly skilled and with a significant amount of experience.

Search engine optimizing is a process that is constant and continuous. Before the process begins, the consultant will analyze your site’s overall health, content and format, imagery, keywords in use,  and other aspects of your site to get a benchmark of how your site is doing at the present time.  Also a review of your overall internet marketing campaign including current seo efforts in place, paid search campaigns, social media efforts, company blog , etc. is also highly recommended.

So how do you know if you even need an SEO overhaul for your site? Ask your self, Where do I rank on the search engines?  If your answer is something other than page one, then you need an SEO overhaul!   Is your website easy to navigate or isn’t user -friendly?  Then you need an SEO overhaul!  It is essential to have a clean, easy to navigate, and content rich website that is user-friendly, if this is not the case then consult with a web designer to help improve your site’s overall look and fell.  Once you have a user friendly company website that is rich with quality content the SEO process can begin.  You should ask yourself, “Does this site provide quality answers and relevant services to inquiring patrons? If the answer is no, or you’re not sure, more than likely you should find a professional to make search engine optimization work for your site.

When choosing a SEO company to optimize your site, don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Initially, make sure to ask how many years the company/consultant has worked in this field and/or been in business. You should also check for an extensive portfolio that will exemplify their techniques and services and also check to see if they have any marketing experience. It’s also beneficial to know whether they can perform an analysis of your competitors’ sites to better understand popular trends.  When it boils down to it, you want to work with an SEO company that is consistent and effective.  Read up on customer reviews and testimonials regarding their services, but also take it all with a grain of salt. While reading customer reviews and site forums can help an inquiring consumer to trust the company their researching, you must also remember that they are still opinions from strangers. Another alternative to researching a company online is to also get a recommendation from someone you know and trust.