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Stay On Top: SEO in 2019

Hello, 2019! It’s a New Year, which means it’s time to get ahead of the competition and on top of your search engine optimization (SEO). In the next few minutes, we’ll cover these five topics to get you thinking about improving your SEO strategy: Mobile-first indexing, page speed, thought-provoking content, featured snippets, and RankBrain.

1. Mobile-first indexing

As of March 2018, Google started rolling out what they call “mobile-first indexing”. In 2019, this concept will become even more relevant as mobile users rise and Google adapts mobile-first indexing to more and more websites.

Searches on desktops are declining, driving the pressing need for appropriate indexing based on the mobile versions of websites. Due to this, mobile-first indexing was created with the intention of helping mobile users easily find what they’re looking for. So, what does this mean for you? Should you completely disregard the desktop version of your website and solely focus on the mobile? The simple answer is no. Both your desktop and mobile versions will come into play in the New Year. This is why Google’s new strategy is called mobile-first indexing, not mobile-only indexing.

In order to avoid negatively impacting your rankings, ensure your mobile and desktop versions are developed with quick loading times and optimized images and content. It’s important not to sacrifice your desktop version for your mobile version, or vise versa.  

2. Page speed

In the new mobile-first index, page speed has become a huge ranking factor, primarily impacting pages that deliver the slowest experience to users on mobile versions. Slow loading speeds cause users to bounce from 32-90% as page load times increase from 1-5 seconds. Research has shown, consumers don’t like to wait for content, especially while on their mobile devices.

How can you increase your page speed? There are three easy steps you can take to increase your speed. First, you can conduct a page speed test using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Next, take into account the size of your pages; many sites are loaded down with too much information, making it difficult to process. Cutting down on the bulk will help your speed improve. Third, contact your web/SEO expert, like us! We can help determine what steps you should take to improve your page speed (and overall SEO). 

3. Thought-provoking content

It’s time to stop creating content for the sake of creating content. Focus on creating content that solves a problem by offering advice, motivation, and engagement for your customer. Creating exceptional content shouldn’t be forgotten and will likely always be an important key to improving your SEO. Exceptional content keeps people wanting more, bringing them back to your site.

4. Featured Snippets

A featured snippet is a short summary to a user’s search displayed on top of Google search results. The image below is a snippet, and trust us, it’s where you want your website to appear when consumers search for a service or product.

By using snippets effectively, you can maximize your authority, prove that Google chooses your page over competitors, and increase your traffic. You can earn a featured snippet by analyzing keyword opportunities and implementing them into your site, creating strategic content, having a Q&A section on your website, clearly outlining your subheadings, lists, tables, etc., and polishing up any existing snippets.

5. RankBrain

RankBrain is a machine-learning algorithm that works alongside Google’s current algorithm, Hummingbird, to improve Google’s search engine by learning and identifying patterns and interpreting unknown search strings. Machine learning is what happens when a computer learns by experience, and that’s exactly what RankBrain does. It intelligently gathers users habits and needs to direct them to the most useful content for their search. It works by taking segments of the entire search and relating them to the most popular searches with those related terms, and as people click on their desired result, RankBrain grows in its search knowledge. RankBrain affects how Google ranks search results. It learns which results are relevant and pushes them to the top.

According to Google, RankBrain is the third most important factor in SEO, after content and links. The key to overcoming RankBrain is to provide users with a positive experience through easy-to-navigate, detailed, and quality content to optimize your site.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the slough of information and ever-changing world of SEO, don’t stress! We’re here to keep you abreast of the changes, and help you implement them into your website structure.

 

RELATED: 

Mobile-Responsive Web Design and Why Your Business Needs it

 


Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


Three Effective Marketing Strategies for Your Business

Three Effective Marketing Strategies for Your Business

There are many marketing strategies for anyone running a business or promoting a product. New and improved strategies may become global trends, however most will become a thing of the past before you even read about it. These three marketing strategies will help keep your business fresh and credible. 

 

1. Content marketing

Why content marketing? Content is king. Search engines love content. Content helps to spread the word about your business and your products. Customers are searching for what you offer online. Their search engine searches bring them to videos, blogs, and social media posts. 

Videos, blogs, and social media gives you a platform to show your prospective customers how you can help solve their problem or issue. Hang up the idea of having to constantly pitch and start showing the world how you or your product are relevant to their needs. 

 

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Gain a better reach to your prospective customers with search engine optimization, known as SEO. Once you have produced your content, your next step is to make sure that it is optimized for search engines. Having a SEO specialist optimize your content – website, blogs, and videos – will help you get an advantage over your competitors. This can be accomplished on a local and national geographical level. 

SEO is a very important process in a customer’s research and purchasing cycle. While it may not be easy to find out exactly how a customer decided to walk into your store, SEO tools can help you gather that data for online shoppers. SEO is a very effective tool for learning how to continually target and retarget the customers that actually buy.

 

3. Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)

A CRM is a Customer Relationship Manager. This database keep a list of your customers and prospective customers (also known as leads) contact information that you ask for such as: name, phone, address, birthdate, and/or email address. People willingly provide this information in order to find out more about your business via a contact form on a landing or capture page. Their information is kept in a CRM for you to maintain and follow up with them. 

CRM’s are the lifeline for your business. The size of your business has no relation to whether or not your need a CRM. You can use a CRM to send out newsletters, informational emails, email marketing of sales/promotions, follow up after a sale, or even generate a winner for a contest. 
These three effective strategies will help you to drive more traffic to your business and website, increase sales, and keep customers coming back. Content, SEO, and a proper CRM are things that must be continually updated and monitored. 

This can be a lot of work for someone who is trying to run a business. Fortunately, there are companies like BIS Designs who can help you manage these things effectively. BIS Designs is a small, but powerful firm with some of the top specialists on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Mississippi, and the Pensacola panhandle. 

Contact us for a consultation to find out the best marketing strategies that will be the most effective for your business and niche. 
BIS Designs is an internet marketing company serving the Mobile, Alabama area. Our content, development, social media marketing and search engine optimization specialists have years of experience in targeting custom audiences for the B2B community and would welcome the opportunity to help your business grow.

 

SEO Interview with Phillip Long and Sean Williams
If you're a business owner, you'll want to watch this interview between Phillip Long, CEO, and Sean Williams, SEO specialist, to learn more about search engine optimization. 


Top 11 Mistakes To Avoid When Using SEO
search engine optimization SEO graphic

What good is a website if no one can find it? Today, most businesses recognize the need for a website and the importance of ranking well in search. But how can you be sure your website gets top listings in a competitive marketing world? The answer is strategic search engine optimization (SEO)

Well-deployed SEO helps cut through all the noise to get your website found by its intended audience. 


While optimizing for search engines is a crucial component to your business’ success, there are several mistakes that must be avoided. Otherwise, you could actually end up hurting your SEO efforts.

Here’s a quick overview of the top mistakes to avoid when leveraging SEO for your company’s best success online.

1. Keyword stuffing

a. This used to be a regular technique in search engine optimization where a webpage had “keywords” (popular words used in search queries) placed all over the site in metatags or in the content. However, Google soon  realized that the number of keywords on a site did not necessarily equate to a valuable resource for the web user. Currently, keyword stuffing is viewed as a black hat technique and an attempt to manipulate a site’s rankings in search results. This can potentially cause a site to be banned or penalized in search engine rankings.

b. An example of keyword stuffing is below:

 keyword stuffing - bad SEO
Image source: Inklyo.com 

2. Keyword research or lack thereof. 

Many companies these days are telling people to just write naturally and not worry about keywords, but there is a deep value in using the search algorithms to your advantage. Having quality content on a website is the leading factor for making a website useful and popular for visitors. Keywords need to be researched and selected first before any writing begins in order for the content to read naturally. 

3. Not Using Long Tailed Keywords.

Long tail keywords, or descriptive phrases, are keywords too. They are much more likely to rank well in search results than short tail keywords. Why? Because people are getting much more specific in their searches, and keyword optimization should follow suit. You may get fewer hits, but the hits you get will be from web users that are much further down the road towards taking action than those that were only searching for one general word. It’s also much more achievable to get a webpage to rank highly on the search engine listings for long tail keywords because the competition is not as high as it is for general one word terms. Just think about the intention difference between someone searching for “Mobile Bay” versus “Mobile Bay charter boat tours Fairhope AL”. The specific search query is more likely to reflect a shopper who knows what they’re looking for and is closer to a purchase decision.

4. Not adding fresh content to your site.

Okay, so now you have a stellar website with dynamic content and optimized keywords ready to rock the socks off of users. But before you expect to be listed on that first page of search results on Google, and ideally the top three listings, you need to understand the importance of updating the content on your site regularly. If you’re not regularly updating your website, search engines are not going to continually notice you. Each time you add something new to your site, it’s a beacon calling the web crawling search bots to come back around to index your site, which in turn gives you better chances of higher search rankings. 
How can you add new content to your site? Writing blog articles, providing downloads and adding new web pages are good examples. But these content updates need to be on a regular basis, and the content needs to be reliable and valuable information in order to have a better chance of your site ranking higher with each update. 

How often is often enough? Typically, a frequently updated site is considered one that is updated once a day, or at least two to three times a week. These updates can be as simple as making minor changes on your site, but the easiest and most effective ways to get noticed are to add blog articles with images that will get the attention of your viewers. As a bonus, if users comment on your blog, this counts as an update on your site too. 

5. Weak Content

Search engines have begun devaluing the ranking in search results of websites that have don’t have much content. It used to be a common goal to keep blog posts around 300 words, but now the world’s leading brands and marketing analysts agree that longer form content actually boosts SEO rankings because of its added value to the readers. Thus, somewhere on your website, a strategy should be to include content that goes up to 1,500 words, with of course, the necessary optimization of meta descriptions, image tags, and other text formatting. 

6. Duplicate Content

Duplicate content refers to content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. This can be text that copies verbatim content found on other parts of your own web page, but more importantly, found on other webpages. Obviously, plagiarism is highly frowned upon, and the search algorithms are engineered to penalize sites when duplicate content is found. It’s completely okay to quote or insert a block of text from another source as long as you attribute to it in a link, like we do on our blogs all the time. 
Another situation that creates red flags is when you publish guest posts on other sites. For the most part, it’s okay to use the majority of the content, but you need to make sure that some of the content is altered to make what Kissmetrics calls an “evil twin.”

7. Broken Internal Links

Internal links are places on your website where you can have content from one of your web pages link to other content on another page on the same website. It should only be used if there is a real connection between the two pages. When done correctly, internal linking is considered good SEO practice. It helps keep users on your page longer by linking to the internally referenced pages, but mainly it is a routine step in SEO because it helps the search engines crawl your sight and verify that your content is valuable to readers because of the linked connections. 
However, when internal links are broken and users and web bots get a “404 Error” page, it’s a red flag that the content lacks value. “404” pages are damaging to your website’s credibility, and search engine crawl interruptions can lower your site’s ranking and decrease its visibility. You can check for broken links on your webpage by using this web validator tool. No one, users or web crawlers, like to see this message:

webpage error 404 meessage

8. Black Hat Backlinking and Lack of Link Building.

Backlinks, or inbound links, are links on outside websites that link to your webpage.  It’s an important SEO strategy to acquire these links that point back to your site, but not so long ago, this practice was tarnished with people buying low quality links to get listed on sketchy website directories. Link farms, as they were dubbed, became so popular that Google made algorithm changes to specifically penalize websites that did this. Finding quality web directories and acquiring citations and reference links from websites in the same industry are the smart way to go about doing this. Search engines can tell if you’re trying to trick them into promoting your website. While it’s better to have no links than bad links, there are still many tools, time consuming as they may be, to help get your site the quality backlinks Google values. But remember, content first, links later.

9. Incomplete On-Page SEO 

On-page SEO refers to items like keywords, quality content, and fresh updates added regularly, as mentioned earlier, but it also includes the technical aspects of filling out the meta descriptions, title, and image tags with a chosen keyword, as well as including your keyword or keyword phrase ideally within the first paragraph. Ensuring you have consistent brand messaging throughout the webpage is also important.

10. Not Utilizing Social Media

For a business to maintain credibility these days, it needs to be online on social media. It’s a great avenue for building brand awareness, retaining loyal customers and fans, and sharing all those wonderful webpages and blogs you’ve optimized on your website. By sharing your website content on social media, search engines discover there are more places to find that content, thus boosting the number of listings that pop up when people search for products or services matching your content. 

Social media icons iPhone 

11. Not tracking or measuring your progress.

It’s important to know how your SEO is performing. Using Google Analytics or other software is essential to monitor the rate of change so steps can be made to amend any low-performing webpages. Conversion goals, keyword monitoring, and weekly reports are invaluable tools to determine if you’re making progress or not.

Customizable SEO Services That Deliver Results

Search engine optimization may seem daunting at first, but the benefits far outweigh the cost to your business versus not using SEO. If your business is not seeing the results you need from your website to stay successful, then it’s time to contact our BIS Designs team for your free quote on our SEO services. Our SEO & Online Specialist will collaborate with you to create the most effective search engine optimization strategy possible, customized to your individual needs. Bring your website into the modern competitive arena with strategic SEO services from your local digital marketing experts at BIS Designs.



ReTargeting Ads: A Quick Explanation and Its Top Two Benefits

Retargeting SEO concept

Heard of ‘retargeting’ before, but not sure how it can benefit your business?

Retargeting levels the playing field for small business owners to be able to reach their target audience on a much larger scale than ever before. When used in conjunction with search engine optimization (SEO), retargeting can:

Drive traffic to your website through increased brand recognition. 

Maximize a company’s return on investment (ROI).


In a nutshell, retargeting is the process of targeting and serving ads to people who’ve previously visited your website, used your mobile app, or in some cases, visited and bought something from a physical retail location. 

You’ve seen it before: you search online for ‘shoe stores Mobile, AL.’ You visit the first website that pops out and you browse around for a while, but then something else needs your attention so you leave the site. The next time you go online, whether it’s watching a YouTube video or scrolling through Facebook, you see an ad for that same shoe store company showcasing the exact pair of shoes you were last looking at earlier. 

Many people have mixed feelings about this, and numerous blogs have been written about the overall ethics involved in this type of marketing. Needless to say, it’s here to stay, and over the years marketers have refined the practice to include better targeting and less intrusive messaging to avoid creeping people out. As a side note, web users always have a way of opting out from being marketed to through retargeting by regularly erasing what cookies have been enabled in their browser history.

Studies have shown that close to 98% of website visitors leave a website without completing some form of conversion (i.e. finishing a purchase, submitting a form, or downloading something being offered). 

Therefore, it is not uncommon for a web user to take numerous steps before being ready to seal the deal. If a company’s brand name is not well established, users won’t be searching specifically for a company’s brand name and associated branded keywords. That’s when companies often invest in SEO or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing to help drive traffic to their website or store. In time, they may see their website out rank their competitors on the search engines, and typically see a healthy influx of website clicks. However, if there is no brand recognition to go along with such prominent placement on search engines, users often forget what site they visited once they have left. 

Retargeting can successfully bridge that gap, especially when combined with SEO. Through building your brand’s familiarity with your target audience, you are increasing the opportunity for specific company branded terms to be entered into a Google search or an organic site visit. 

Comscore found that retargeting campaigns led to a 1046% increase in branded search and a 726% lift in site visitation after four weeks of retargeted ad exposure. 

By specifically marketing to people who are familiar with your business, retargeting ultimately will move them closer to a sale and improve your overall ROI. 

Learn how BIS Designs can increase your search engine ranking and drive traffic to your website here.

Sources: 
http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Retargeting-Used-by-Marketers-Cost-Effective-Brand-Lift/1007948
http://searchengineland.com/3-surprising-benefits-of-retargeting-181164
http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/retargeting-campaigns-beginner-guide#sm.00000t84uav30xes9rwre0rti1gb9


What do you need to know about voice search?

As of 2016, there are almost 3 billion smartphone users across the globe. And research expects a whopping 6.1 billion smartphone users by 2020.

That’s a huge number… Think of 10 of your friends, family members or colleagues that have a flip phone or brick phone… Now, how many people could you actually think of? Probably not many. That’s because we are living in a tech savvy age.  Statistics illuminate the vast amount of technology the average consumer is using. As of May 2013, 63% of U.S. adults use their smart phones to go online. Whether it is through a search engine, email, or app, smartphone users access the internet on their phone constantly.

Here’s one last statistic for you:  As of October 2014, approximately 55% of U.S. teenagers and 41% of U.S. adults were using voice search on their smart phones. Whether it is Apple iPhone’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Google Now, almost all smartphones come with an option for voice search now.

Voice search enables the user to perform searches quickly and easily with the press of the button. The answers to their search queries are fast and reliable. This is extremely helpful in situations like driving a car or multi-tasking or when you’re on the go. Since it is a popular feature and useful tool, what do businesses need to know about voice search?

Well, it all comes down to SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO ranks websites and businesses on keywords, backlinks and a plethora of other factors. The end result is your website coming up at the top of a search engine query.

For example, say you searched for “clothing boutique, Mobile, Alabama” using voice search on your smartphone. Well that would bring up a list of boutiques in the area that rank high in SEO or are using Google’s local business feature. If you’re a boutique in Mobile, Alabama and your website does not come up in the listings or on the map, you probably need to work on your SEO a little bit, and register your company on Google My Business.

How voice search effects SEO is a little unknown currently. There are suggestions that phrases used in voice search differ from typed search queries. This means that people are speaking differently than they are writing when they search for a topic, which makes sense if you think about it. Most people don’t talk the same way they type something out, or else it would sound robotic and strange.

SEO for written search queries is dominated by keywords, so keyword optimization for companies just contained the keywords and not the sentence structure that accompanies those keywords. In contrast, Voice-Search SEO uses more sentence-like, conversational phrases with keywords to mimic what someone would ask during a voice search.

Example:

Voice Search SEO: “What are good restaurants to eat at in Gulf Shores, Alabama?”

Typed SEO: good restaurants gulf shores, al

See the difference?

Google has recently launched a new SEO update called Hummingbird that incorporates voice search into their new SEO algorithm. This Google updates makes it easier for searchers to find what they are looking for without having to use short, terse keyword search phrases.

With the shift from searching using awkward keyword phrases such as, “Subaru Spanish Fort,” and instead using a conversational tone like, “Subaru dealerships in Spanish, Fort,” you can expect the SEO landscape to change with it. Though currently not many SEO experts are investing too much time key wording for Voice Search yet, it won’t be too long until it will becomes a larger player in the SEO realm.

A tip to consider: Try adding a Q&A section to your website. This will help Google pick up natural, conversational keywords and phrases within your website that will be used to influence your company’s SEO ranking.

If you need help with your business’ SEO strategy, give us a call. Our SEO experts at BIS Designs can great a plan and take proactive stance for your business’ SEO ranking. Call: 251-923-4252


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