Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

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SEO and the Implications of Duplicate Content

A few weeks ago, we wrote about reasons sites fall in search rankings with the intention of addressing the most common culprits. Upon discovering recently that we overlooked one, we decided to take the time to expand upon another common reason a website could see its rankings taking a downward turn.

The issue at hand: duplicate content.

Duplicate content is largely an issue because of individuals or sites that use the copy-and-paste method for building content, in hopes of doing nothing more than generating more site traffic. While this is typically the exception and not the norm, it happens, and the brains behind the search engine algorithms are acutely aware.

Malicious or not, if your site reuses information or makes the same information available in multiple places, search engines get a little concerned. The algorithms employed by these search engines can’t decipher which page or information source should be displayed, so they either avoid displaying them or knock them down a bit due to competition.

It all seems pretty easy to comprehend and avoid, right? Well, it’s a bit more complicated than it appears if taken only at face value, as the presence and source of this duplicate content often goes overlooked.  Luckily, there are some measures you can take to ensure your site is not unintentionally reusing content. The most common are:

  • Consolidating multiple pages that are similar or contain a lot of the same information into a single page.
  • Avoiding recycled boilerplate copy by making small tweaks in the wording or structure so that it isn’t always identical.
  • Including links back to the original article or content if used on other pages to keep Google from having to figure out which is the original source of the information.
  • Eliminating “printer-friendly” versions of pages that contain the same content.

There are times when there is no way to avoid site content being displayed across multiple URLs.  When this occurs, edits can be made on the backend to make sure that traffic is being directed accordingly and your site is not penalized. The easiest methods for addressing these issues are:

  • Rel=”canonical” – this tag allows search engines to crawl the URLs, but indicates that the pages or contents are duplicate.
  • 301 Redirect – this allows you to reroute the page with the duplicate copy to the original page.

Those concerned about the ramifications of duplicate content rarely make the mistakes knowingly or with malicious intent, but mistakes are made. Armed with the knowledge to successfully combat these issues, you can now deftly maneuver around these obstacles without feeling the sting.

If you have questions about your website, or simply would like to consider a more proactive SEO approach, we can help! Holland Advertising: Interactive consistently brings their creative expertise to the realm of marketing, with strategic planning and experienced execution. For more information, contact Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001.

4 Reasons Your Website is
Falling in Search Rankings

Search-RankingsMany clients express concern over the fact that their website rankings are falling, or that they just aren’t being ranked at all. While this is a legitimate reason for concern, it is by no means an end-of-the-world diagnosis.  There are a few ways to troubleshoot the reason(s) behind falling site rankings, as well as some effective ways to get them back where they should be.

1) Your website and its content haven’t been updated in a while.

Search engines are constantly trying to deliver people the information they seek, and what do people want from a search? They want the most relevant and up-to-date information about the string of keywords they type into the search box. Thus, regularly updating information on your site showcasing new products, industry news or making other simple copy changes can dramatically improve your search ranking.

So how do you stay on top of the need for updates? The easiest way is to create a “site update” schedule to help you keep track of when you modify content.  This could be at regular weekly or monthly intervals, though keyword content updates are recommended every few months.  A schedule will help hold you accountable and ensure that you regard search engine optimization (SEO) as a priority.

2) You need to reevaluate your keyword strategy.

Keywords are often comparable to fads, as both relevance and success of chosen keywords often ebb and flow, along with search habits. An example of this can be witnessed in the recent surge in the use of long-tail keywords.  People have become increasingly specific in their searches, typing in a string of multiple words (long-tail keywords) to yield more appropriate results. To deftly maneuver and adapt to such changes requires regularly monitoring keyword trends and modifying the keyword strategy and site content accordingly.

3) Your site moves at a snail’s pace.

Site speed is often the slyest of culprits when it comes to falling site rankings.  The reason behind this goes back to the purpose of search engines ranking results—to provide people with the most desirable sites and information related to their query.  Because a slow-loading page is highly undesirable, the site/page load time is factored into the algorithm that leads to the returned list of search results. Thus, if a page loads slowly, your ranking falls.

To remedy this, you could do a complete overhaul of your site, as many choose to do in these situations when they can’t identify the root cause of the abnormally long load time.  The easier fix is to make sure that the files on your site are not so large that it takes extra time for them to load.  More often than not, the images or graphic files on the site are simply too large for the page to load them at a desirable speed.

4) You haven’t incorporated search engine optimization.

One of the main reasons you will find your site dropping in search results is because you simply haven’t incorporated SEO.  Maybe you haven’t isolated specific keywords to lead people to your site, and are not seeing the web traffic you should because of this. Through the process of thorough keyword research, isolation and using those keywords to subsequently write creative and compelling site copy, you can easily fix this problem.

Whether you are currently incorporating SEO or need some guidance as to where to begin, Holland Advertising: Interactive can help. Holland takes pride in helping each of its clients develop a unique SEO strategy, write compelling SEO copy and ultimately help them see increased conversions. For more information, contact Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001.

Why Should Your Business Invest in SEO?

Search-Engine-OptimizationWith the rise of search engine capabilities and almost universal access to the Internet, it comes as no surprise that people are relying on these tools to seek out specific products and services.  Specifically, they tend to place the majority of weight on the results yielded by search engines after a simple search consisting of only a few words.  And where your company ranks within these results matters.

The higher your company’s site ranks on the results page after a search, the more likely the searcher is to visit your site and ultimately, the more likely they are to convert.  Link clicks and site visits yield conversions.  It makes sense, right?

Yet clients continue to question how they could benefit from Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Here, we’ll address the three most common arguments that arise when having the conversation about SEO.

Argument 1: It’s not a worthy investment of my company’s time or money.

Rebuttal: Organic searches are the cheapest way to attract visitors to your site and see the greatest ROI over time than other forms of traditional marketing.

Argument 2: Our site is already ranking without SEO. 

Rebuttal: SEO will help your company maintain and even improve your position as new businesses enter your company’s niche.  This is vital to maintaining your competitive edge within your given industry.

Argument 3: I’ll think about it later.

Rebuttal: Other businesses—competitors—are thinking about it and implementing it now.  They will soon use SEO to their advantage and more than likely surpass you in certain areas, including sales and conversions due to SEO’s overall impact.

The moral of the story is simple – don’t get left behind.  Don’t let your competition outmaneuver you with their enhanced marketing tactics.  Let us help!

If you would like to learn more about what SEO has to offer your business, as well as gain more industry insight, we’d love to help. Holland’s experienced team takes a focused approach to marketing, injecting smart strategy and fresh ideas into each of its clients’ marketing plans.  For more information about how Holland can help your business see greater marketing ROI, contact Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001.

Do YOU Speak SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t just a buzz phrase, it’s an absolute necessity. A few of our smaller to mid-size clients are still a bit resistant to optimizing their site and we know why.

They don’t speak SEO.

It’s that simple. Just when they prepare to optimize their site they talk to a vendor, customer, competitor, or somebody who purports to be the expert and bam – they want to wait. They get confused by the jargon and may think one or more of the following erroneous thoughts:

  1. I’m a small local business. I don’t need to optimize because prospects will find me and solicit my business based on geography.
  2. I’m doing a great job with word of mouth, and my clients are mostly referrals.
  3. My company doesn’t do any e-commerce, so why should I drive business to my site?
  4. My company name is my web address, and my product is my company name. Won’t that drive business to my site?
  5. My website was built in a CMS that automatically optimizes my content.
  6. I’m on Facebook – doesn’t that help my rankings?
  7. We’ve already spent money on our website, we shouldn’t need spend MORE on SEO!

SEO is a process, and if you have a website, you need to optimize. We’ve seen it happen over and over – we build a great website loaded with shareable content, that is user-friendly, welcoming to visitors AND it’s optimized for internet search and the rankings increase. When this happens overall interest in the company’s services and products increases, too. It’s a good thing for everyone – our clients, their customers, their bottom line AND us!

YET, all too often our customers want to continue to invest in traditional media and delay updating and optimizing their site. Here are some of the basic terms and functions of SEO. When you speak SEO, you can better understand the need for an optimized site and better content.

Keyword – this is more or less the holy grail of searches. It’s the word or words a prospect (or client) would use when trying to find your good or service. Your keyword should be reflected in the copy on the page with a density of about 5%. For example, if you are a dentist that specializes in cosmetic dentistry in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, your keywords would like likely be dentist Columbus Ohio or cosmetic dentistry Columbus Ohio. If you are an online wholesaler for the specialty baking industry, your keywords would likely be bulk flour, bread flour, or gluten free flour. If you want to attract even more surfers for some of your more popular items, you may want to add bulk almond flour, bulk pastry flour, etc.

You want your keyword reflected in the following places on your website:

URL – your web address.
Title tag – what a viewer sees at the top of the page that describes the content of the page.
Heading tags – the boldest, most prevalent line of copy on the page. They are coded with the abbreviation H1 & H2. Generally this is the headline and subhead on the page, and both should include the keywords for that page.
Alt image tags – like H1 & H2’s your alt image tags are coded with the keywords for the page.

The rules for the keywords and where and how to use them hasn’t changed much over the last few years. They are still important elements to improving search, but the importance of fresh long-form content on both your webpages and a frequently-updated blog has been growing. Information-heavy content that is well written and includes your keywords has been growing steadily in importance as it affects your rankings. The obvious advantage of having all this content on your site is that it encourages visitors to stay and look around, read information and get excited about your brand. The more clear, relevant content you have, the more likely your visitors will stay and look around your website.

The benefit of having a great blog with relevant content is it encourages sharing, and having another company in your business segment link your blog can greatly increase your rankings. In some cases, this is easy to achieve – you share another company’s blog, it will increase the chances that they will share your blog. Updating this content regularly increases your Google rankings because Google is constantly looking for fresh content.

Your site also has to be responsive to mobile surfers. It’s a fact that more websites are accessed via mobile devices that via laptops. To you this means your site needs to address the needs of surfers on the go. This may mean having a dedicated mobile site that only hits the important features of your product or service as it relates to a mobile user. Using the click to call feature is a MUST, as is having actionable information easily accessible such as coupons, offers, hours of operation, etc., AND a site that loads quickly – in just a second or two. This also helps your local rankings, as people that access your site via a mobile device are also using location services that will reinforce your local presence.

Once you optimize for your prospects, customers and Google, you’ll quickly notice an increase of unique visitors to you site. Be ready! Make sure that you have an appropriate, fast response to requests for additional information, and that your site is true to your brand message.

It’s never too early to optimize, but it can be too late! If you have numerous competitors who are “doing it right” when it comes to SEO, you may find that they have built a following. If that is the case, you need to get busy, yesterday.

Get FREE SEO help? Call Holland today.

We’re offering a FREE website consultation that includes a keyword ranking report that shows how well your keywords are ranked on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. We can help improve your website and your SEO language skills to help take your business to the next level. Ring in the New Year with an updated, optimized website. Email Bholland@HollandAdvertising.com or call Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001.

Manufacture More Sales With Inbound Marketing!

If your internet marketing plan includes a great website loaded with product specifications, accolades about your company, information about how to contact you and easy online ordering, GREAT, but you could be doing more to generate leads and convert surfers to buyers.

When we are working with marketing professionals in the manufacturing industry we are often met with resistance to internet marketing. The argument we hear sounds a bit like this, “We are a B2B company, most of our prospects are attending tradeshows and reading trade publications. They aren’t surfing the web and using social media to find out about us, they use searches to shop for lawnmowers, cars or to get a deal on electronics or shoes.”

The truth is, the more expensive a purchase, the more research is done before the purchase. Prospects DON’T want to make a mistake, and the overwhelming majority is turning to the web to start their searches. Good, no GREAT, prospects are surfing for better products and solutions, and social media and other web analytics are leading them to your competitors’ websites with targeted ads and content-based web results. If they don’t find YOU, then you aren’t making their list of potential sources.

Resistance to developing a solid internet marketing plan is futile.

Creating an internet marketing plan that successfully integrates inbound marketing is essential. Yes, inbound marketing includes someone picking up the phone and calling your company, but now it is so much more. There are five major components to inbound marketing:

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – This is the most important component in your internet marketing efforts. Without an optimized site, surfers won’t find you, and chances are your competitors are optimized. This could result in surfers being driven to your competition when they are searching for your products. There is a good chance your competitor is smart enough to include your company name in their optimization, so people searching for you will get THEM!

Email Marketing – You have a good list of customers, right? How about leads and prospects? Hopefully you do, and regular emails with relevant, compelling content will get prospects to click through to your site to take advantage of your offer or learn about your products.

Retargeting and Google AdWords Marketing – You can increase visits to your site exponentially by using keywords that prospects are using to search for your product. It’s as easy as it sounds, and this is how Google says it in their marketing, “People search on Google. They see your ad. You get more customers.” By using AdWords you get the top section and/or the right ad column in searches, and customers are more likely to click them and visit your site. Retargeting is an effective way to reach out to surfers that have visited your site and left. The next time they surf they are presented with one of your ads that allows them to click through to your site. This gives you another chance to convert them or at least get a great lead. Both of these tactics are an integral part of any effective internet marketing plan.

Blogging and White Papers – You’ve invested in SEO, emailed them and compelled them to click through, and/or reeled them in with a retargeted ad, now KEEP THEM THERE, and keep them coming back for more with fresh, relevant, interesting information. This makes you look like the expert you are and will help your search engine rankings. Everyone wins in this internet marketing scenario – informed, interested customers and prospects, great leads for you and more sales! Creating compelling content via articles and blogs will not only drive more business to your site, it can start a dialogue between you and your prospects and customers. The information they share with you can be an invaluable asset, and help you market to them more effectively.

Social Media – Never underestimate the power of online interaction – social media works in great ways. Opening a dialogue with your customers and prospects can have a multitude of benefits. Your website must include a link to your Facebook and Google+ page, and you really should be on LinkedIn, too – it’s not just for job searching anymore. Once you set up your pages, it’s easy to update regularly – repost your blogs, ask questions, showcase new products, welcome new customers – with great content and information.

Once you have your internet marketing campaign up and running, you will need to nurture the leads and interest that are generated, either from email capture from downloading your whitepapers, or requests for more information on your contact us page. These are great leads and keeping a close eye on them will generate more sales. A simple email and follow-up call can be effective, but if it isn’t, keeping these contacts in your sales funnel is a great way to push them further down towards a purchase. If you don’t, you’re missing the opportunity to create a new customer – and isn’t creating a new customer what your internet marketing plan is all about?

If you’re concerned that creating an internet marketing plan will move you too far away from traditional advertising, you need not worry. The good news is your traditional marketing is even MORE effective when customers have already been exposed to your brand message. You don’t have to abandon these methods in favor of internet marketing, in fact, updating your collateral, print ads and tradeshow information to communicate the same message as your inbound internet marketing is a must!

Need help implementing an effective internet marketing strategy? Holland can help. Call Bryan Holland at holland advertising : interactive at 513.744.3001 or email him at bholland@hollandadvertising.com.

Is SEO For YOU?

Are You Happy With Your Website’s Google Rankings?
If Your Answer is No, Then You Need To OPTIMIZE!

With a shiny new website, it’s easy to think, “If we build it, they will come.” Not true. In fact, unless a customer knows your EXACT web address, without optimization chances are they won’t find you at all. Everyone has heard the terms keywords and optimization, but after years of interaction with clients (old and new) we find that many have little idea about the benefits of SEO.

What IS SEO?

SEO is a process in which we take your website and by using keywords within the copy and meta tags, alt tags and page titles, (found in the HTML source codes of the site) help increase your rankings in search engine (such as Google, Yahoo and Bing) results. The higher the ranking, the more likely it is that your potential customers will find you when they search for the terms within your site.

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Do you have a Google+ page for your business?

You may think that your social media and web presence is “fine” and that you don’t need any more social media icons on your website, but Google+ is catching on. Create a Google+ business profile and see where it takes your web presence. Chances are over the next few months you’ll notice an increase in traffic to your page.

Right now, any SEO expert will tell you to get in on the trend, before your competitors establish their Google+ presence. Since the trend is new, there are a few benefits to setting up your page and inviting customers and potential customers to interact with your brand. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Google+ is dominated by info that is uncluttered by ads and non-relevant information. The information is professional and customer-focused, plus it allows for more direct contact with customers via text and video.

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Are You Maximizing Your Internet Marketing Efforts?

The GOOD news is that isn’t too late to squash your competition! Internet marketing can be a quick, sometimes instantaneous way to connect with your customers – both existing and potential.

So what does internet marketing mean to YOU?

Here’s what it means to Holland – an internet marketing agency in Cincinnati:

  • An optimized website communicating your brand story and unique selling proposition.
  • Complete, compelling product information.
  • Content designed to convert surfers to customers.
  • Links to and interaction with social media platforms.
  • Pay-per-click advertising that gets your site on page one of searches.
  • Retargeted ads directed to surfers that have viewed your site – and left.
  • Capturing as much data as possible about visitors, and applying that info to your marketing efforts.
  • Engaging your customers with interesting and pertinent information – either blogging or with email campaigns.
  • Embedded video content that tells your story or showcases your products – or both.
  • A responsive opt-in email list.
  • Encouraging your existing customers to comment, praise, and share information about your product or service.
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Beware the Panda!

In late February, 2011, Google released a substantial update to their ranking algorithm, known by many as Panda. This release was aimed at identifying low quality websites, and docking their rankings accordingly. Low quality sites are presumed to be those that have good content for search engines, but not for the user experience (think ‘content farms’). This change reportedly affected about 12% of all websites. So the question is: what can you do to your website to make sure it’s not negatively affected by Panda, or better yet, is positively affected by Panda.

First, a website should be an active part of a company’s marketing activity. This means that the site should be relevant to the company’s product or service, and actively updated as the
product / service mix changes and grows. Sites that are basically ‘marketing brochure’ sites and never changed are at risk for a ding by Google.

Next, social media is becoming a bigger factor in Google rankings. With Panda, a strong social presence can improve a website’s position. While this was true before Panda, it seems that it is more true now. At some level though, since most companies do not actively participate in social media, the quality of the website must still prevail.

Finally, look for ways to engage your clients and prospects by participating where they might be looking. If there are relevant blogs or social media groups, join in the conversation and let your voice be heard. Reply to a post or get involved in a discussion – basically participate as you would if the writers/contributors were standing with you at a networking event. Don’t go overboard and sell yourself or your products too hard. Just as this would be a turn-off in a networking situation, it’s a turn-off in a social media situation as well. Be yourself and your post will come off as knowledgeable and sincere.

Google Panda will probably continue to morph over the next several months. Keep your eyes open for discussions about how it is changing search. Adopt some of the new theories, and your website should continue to perform well.