Monthly Archives:October 2018

ByKevinD

Local SEO Services and Branding Strategy

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not the exclusive property of big businesses, the Home Depots and Lowes, or the Walmarts and Targets of the world. There is also room for local interior decorators and small specialty shops. In fact, it is probably true that most business, professional services and non-profit websites are aimed at a local audience.  All of these websites should be employing local SEO services aimed at driving their local branding strategy, but many fail to do so.

What is meant by the terms “local SEO services” and “local branding strategy?” Local SEO is about optimizing your site for better rankings for a local audience, a town, city or just an area of a town or city. Do not confuse this with “small business SEO;” a small business is not necessarily local. The internet has made it quite possible for many small businesses to operate worldwide. Local SEO services are intended to brand your business in a given area and get you or your business to the top results for local searches like this – “pool services in Daytona.”

GoogleEntering that search term will return a SERP (search engine results page) with numerous headlines and snippets plus another very important element, the Google (or Bing) Map. If you have a local business, a shop, showroom or office location, then optimizing your website is about getting on to the first page of SERPs, and also making certain that people are able to find you in real life. This means that you must use local SEO techniques for your city’s name, address and even zip code. Even if you are not actively getting visitors to your physical location, you are targeting an audience that is located in the same geographical area as you. Being seen on the map will help accomplish this purpose. This is “local SEO.”

It is easiest to achieve local SEO if you have a proper physical address, even if most potential clients are not likely to come to that physical location.  Look at this SERP result for the search query, “marketing services Ormond.”

BingYou can see that Axiom Administrative Services appears on the map even though the first contact with clients is likely to be by telephone or email. Axiom’s presence on the map is still a reminder that it operates in the Ormond-Volusia-Flagler area.

If you want to optimize for a service area in which you are not physically located, quality content must be your main tool. You should write a lot about that area, and do not try to fake it or to use cut and pasted material from other sites. Search engines are becoming more and more accurate in detecting this, and it will lower your ranking.

A critical step in a good local SEO strategy is to claim your business listing in all of the major portals that browsers use to find products or services. These include Google My Business, Facebook for Business, Yelp, Bing Places for Business, the Yellow Pages (YP) and any of the others that are commonly used in your geographic area or in specialized markets. Each of these listings should include your business name, address, phone number a link to your website, a description of your business (approximately 250 characters), business or service category, your logo and at least one graphic or photograph.

All of this is sound advice, and much, much more is at numerous sites on the web. The “catch” is that doing this is beyond the time and interest boundaries of most business or professional people. Even with good instruction, building a good local SEO strategy requires time, effort and resources that most business people simply do not have. If you are struggling to find digital marketing solutions that work and branding strategies that make your business stand out, turn to Axiom. Your business deserves more than a cheap web design, and Axiom is more than an internet marketing agency. Axiom Administrative Services has the professional skill and small business SEO skills needed to get your web presence the ranking it deserves.

Our business marketing team can combine traditional marketing tools like direct mail advertising with local SEO services to build your branding strategy. Please visit Axiom’s small business services page or call Axiom at 800-888-6348.

ByKevinD

The Importance of Good Web Design

mobile friendlyThere are literally billions of websites on the internet today, and yours is just one of them. If you are operating a small business, professional practice or non-profit organization, your website is just one small fish in that internet sea. That ocean is a crowded, competitive place, and to get the attention you deserve, you must have a web presence that stands out.

Your website has a visual impact that is just as important as your storefront, your signage or even your personal appearance. In fact, your website is very likely to be the first impression that a customer, patron or patient gets. It may very well be the deciding factor in a buying decision. Given those facts, why do so many business and professional people choose a mediocre or amateur web design?

Part of this problem may be laid at the feet of people who run internet marketing agencies and construct SEO strategies. They may sometimes pay more attention to little known Search Engine Optimization techniques like page and image titles than to the appearance and the usefulness of your page. There may be many opinions, preferences or tastes when it comes to any design, but there are some guidelines to which all (good) design must subscribe.

Here is a basic list of those principals:

  • Good design must be pleasing to the eye (“aesthetically pleasing,” as experts say). Good appearance is integral to the usefulness of most products, and your website is a product. It is an object that viewers use to discover what they want to know about you, your businesses and your services. In many cases, websites have completely replaced older tools for this purpose. How long has it been since you consulted a physical copy of the Yellow Pages to find any product or service? Printed flyers and brochures are still used, but they are a niche medium, usually distributed in parking lots or found in mail boxes.
  • Good design must be useful. Why do searchers go to a website? There are many frivolous reasons, but if you are a business, service or professional person, people go to your site to fill some need. They want to buy wallpaper, find a CPA or satisfy some other desire. Do not load your website (especially the home or landing page) with too many words, buttons or sidebars.
    Ask yourself and some other people what information is most likely to be useful to a viewer, and keep the NAP principal (Name, Address, Phone number) in mind. This information should be on any good business or professional website.  Be certain that the most commonly sought information is easy to find. Images are extremely important to getting and holding attention, but pick only a few for the landing page.
  • Good design keeps your landing page messages “short and sweet.” Of course, you want to stimulate the customers’ basic emotions and thoughts, but people are gravitating more and more to small bits of content like, “how much does it cost” or “what are your services?” Be certain that it is easy to find an answer to a question like that on the home page. If longer, more in-depth content is necessary, there should be an optional link to learn more.
  • Good design absolutely has a strong logo on your landing page. This is the visual reminder of all you do and stand for, a single image that summarizes your branding strategy.
  • Good design means that it is mobile friendly. Mobile optimization should be part of all good web design. More than half of all web traffic is now generated by mobile devices, so you must ask, “How will this design look on a tablet, Android or iPhone?” Make certain that your web designer or internet marketing agency knows that mobile optimization is a must-have.

 

Overall, your website should be well constructed, not a cheap web design, it should be updated frequently with useful content and it should reflect a well thought out branding strategy and SEO strategy. This is what the professionals at an internet marketing agency like Axiom do best. If you are struggling to find digital marketing solutions that work and branding strategies that make your business stand out, turn to Axiom. Your business deserves more than a cheap web design, and Axiom is more than an internet marketing agency. Axiom Administrative Services has the professional skill and small business SEO skills needed to get your web presence the ranking it deserves.

Our business marketing team can combine traditional marketing tools like direct mail advertising with local SEO services to build your branding strategy. Please visit Axiom’s small business services page or call Axiom at 800-888-6348.

ByKevinD

A Word About Keywords

keywordsActually, entire books have been written about keywords, but the subject is still poorly understood or not grasped at all by many. It is not possible to build a successful online branding strategy, or SEO strategy without proper keyword grounding. Keyword research is an essential part of any SEO strategy.

Let’s take a little time to make some definitions. A keyword is a significant or descriptive word, one that is used as a reference point for finding more information. Keyword research is the work you do to come up with a list of keywords for which you wish to rank. A key phrase is a group of words that conveys an idea, an answer to the search intent. In most SEO strategies, the terms keyword and key phrase can be used interchangeably; they mean the same thing, but a multi-word key phrase is often the more useful tool.

In fact, key phrases are more common and usually more effective than a single word. Consider this example – Right now (it is early October, 2018), and entering the search term “senate” in the Google search engine brings forth a torrent of results with titles like, “Republican Senator says he will miss confirmation vote” or “Supplemental FBI background file for Judge Kavanaugh…” In more normal times, the same keyword query would probably lead first to the Wikipedia article titled, “United States Senate.”

The presumed intent of searching for the word, “senate” has changed. It will keep changing, too. If you were the searcher, a more productive key phrase might be, “senators from Florida” or “Florida Senators,” which yields a SERP (search engine results page) headed by images, biographies and articles about Florida’s two United States Senators (what you really intended)..

Search intent is the art and science of discovering what a searcher actually wants and supplying it. It is not about just keywords, but the underlying reasons for the search. A search for “football” issued in Europe will give very different results from the same single word search originating from Atlanta, Georgia. However, if a German citizen visiting Atlanta was to enter the key phrase, “European football,” he or she would probably come much closer to the desired result.

Keyword research is critical; you must make certain that the search terms your target audience use match as closely as possible the key phrases you include in your branding strategy and SEO techniques. Do not try to be ‘cute’ or to overthink the audience. It is a common mistake to use one set of words or phrases when describing a product or idea while the target audience uses a completely different set of words. The website cannot be found by their potential customers because of a mismatch in word use.

Here is a practical example – You are a rental agent for a group of lakefront vacation homes. One of your associates has described these houses as “adorable bungalows.” That phrase sticks in your mind and you begin to use it as part of your branding strategy and as a keyword/key phrase in your SEO strategy. “Adorable bungalow” might be a good term for a 19th century novel, but it is not a term that most people use when trying to find a good vacation rental.  You are not going to rank.

There are actually professional people who spend a good deal of time in determining what keywords or key phrases are used at a specific time of year, for a particular occasion (a wedding or a vacation), in a given geographic location or by a defined ethnic group. This kind of research requires access to paid databases and the skill needed to use them. If you are a small business person, a professional practitioner or service provider, your best bet is probably an informal poll of friends and associates. Just ask them, “How would you try to find a (name your service or product) in this town?”  The most common answers you get from a moderate number of associates and acquaintances will most likely be your best keywords.

That is good advice, but if you do not have the time or inclination to do keyword research of any type, it will pay you to turn to a professional search engine optimization company and internet marketing agency. Axiom Administrative Services has the professional digital marketing skills needed to guide your web presence to the rankings it should have. Axiom understands the needs of small businesses, professional practices and nonprofits. Please visit Axiom’s small business services or call Axiom at 800-888-6348.

ByKevinD

Digital Marketing to Seniors

SEOThere is a huge hole in many branding strategies, SEO techniques and internet marketing agency targeting. That hole is the senior market. This market represents a vast resource that is largely untapped by otherwise savvy internet entrepreneurs, as well as internet marketing agencies.

This may be due to the fact that most of the highly successful and famous names in the web, or social media are themselves comparatively young.  Search the internet for a picture of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook or Jack Dorsey, who started Twitter. You are going to see relatively young-looking faces for people who have a net worth of billions of dollars. In fact, both Facebook and Twitter were ideas that occurred to their inventors when they were college students, not that long ago.

Most of the people working today in the field of digital marketing are at most in their 40’s. In Silicon Valley, there is a code word for the age group born after 1985; they are called “digital natives.” The name implies that these young people have a natural affinity for the digital world that older individuals just cannot develop. This is false.

In fact, younger seniors (age 65 to 70) have digital use patterns that are very similar to the population in general. Recently, a Pew Research Center study found that 82% of Americans aged 65 to 69 and 75% of those in the 70 to 74 year old group are online. When they are online, they are reachable. The people who develop branding strategies, SEO techniques or any form of digital marketing solutions, must take note of this digital reality.

The most common use that seniors find for digital media is simple: the web search. This means that they look to the net for help finding a doctor, an attorney, real estate, travel advice or a good pizza. Beyond that basic function, 69% of seniors (according to Pew) visit social media sites. This market is a huge opportunity waiting for digital marketing solutions directed specifically to its constituents.

Search engines are now the primary way mature consumers are gathering information. To be effective, your digital marketing solution needs to include strong search engine optimization (SEO techniques) and branding strategies, ensuring that you are being seen and remembered by your prospects. One of Axiom’s clients, Ourseniors.net, is directing its focus straight at this under-served market. Its website covers a range of the subjects that are of concern to seniors.

Ourseniors.net offers seniors a website that is rich in useful content and engaging in presentation. Because it is focused on senior issues and concerns, it is followed by a market segment that has specific needs. It concentrates on putting specialized professionals like elder-law attorneys, senior real estate specialists or senior financial planners in touch with their natural consumers. Its printed publication, OurSeniors.net Magazine, is also made available online.

If you are a small business operator, a professional practitioner or an entrepreneur, maybe this is a way to put your products or services before the senior market. Axiom Administrative Services can put your branding strategy and existing digital marketing solutions into this already functioning web vehicle. If you would prefer to create your own web presence aimed at this rich market, Axiom can do that as well.

Axiom is more than an internet marketing agency. Axiom understands the needs of small businesses, professional practices and nonprofits. Our digital marketing and business marketing teams are able to combine traditional marketing techniques like printing and direct mail with creative web services. Please visit us to find out how Axiom Administrative Services can fill your digital marketing needs, or call Axiom at 800-888-6348.

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