If you haven't implemented an SEO strategy yet, it's time to start thinking about it. Here are six surefire signs your business needs to invest in SEO.

6 Signs You Should Invest In SEO

If you’re running a small business, SEO is probably not on the top of your mind every day. You have too many other things to worry about, too many other tasks and details to take care of to keep your business running. And let’s face it, SEO isn’t exactly sexy.

However, just because it’s not top of mind, doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. SEO is a crucial strategy that will help your business succeed in the long-term. If you haven’t implemented an SEO strategy yet, it’s time to start thinking about it. Here are six surefire signs your business needs to invest in SEO, pronto.

1. You’re Operating On a Budget

If your business is running on a tight budget and your ad campaigns aren’t seeing a significant ROI, it’s time to shake things up and change your approach to finding new customers.

Many small businesses are hesitant to start paying for SEO services because of the initial cost. This is an unfortunate outlook, as search engine optimization will deliver high-value traffic for less money than ad campaigns over time.

SEO is a long-term investment that pays for itself many times over.

Once your website starts dominating search results for terms specific to the products or services your company sells, you will get a virtually unlimited supply of free, targeted traffic driven to your website. It might take some effort to get to the top, but once you’re there, the traffic flows in and you are exposed to an entirely new source of potential customers.

2. You Need More Leads

Your website is your #1 sales tool (and your cheapest employee). Think about it… it is always on, it says exactly what you want, and can meet with an unlimited number of prospects at any given time. Your website is an indispensable sales tool.

If your website isn’t generating new leads and customers, there are one of two issues that need to be addressed. First, the content needs to be high-converting copy and designed to drive signups and opt-ins. Second, you need to have targeted traffic landing on your website. After all, how is your #1 sales machine supposed to sell if nobody is interacting with it?

If you’re not getting organic traffic (people find your website from search engines), you’re missing out on a valuable source of new leads.

The beauty of SEO is that when searchers find your site, they are pre-qualified as prospects based on the very fact that they were searching for your product or service.

People are trying to do business with you. Are you ready to welcome them?

3. People Can’t Find Your Website (Your Website Isn’t Ranking For Your Brand Name)

Believe it or not, ranking for your own brand name is not a sure bet in the complex world of SEO. If you search for your company name, and you don’t show up in the #1 spot, you have a problem on your hands and it needs to be fixed ASAP.

If people can’t find you online by searching for your company name, how do you expect them to find you when they are searching for the products or services your business offers?

Fortunately, SEO companies can help!

4. The Cost of Click Ads (PPC) Is Overwhelming

A lot of internet marketers like to polarize SEO and PPC (pay-per-click advertising), telling you it’s an either/or strategy. This is the wrong approach.

SEO and PPC are meant to complement each other.

PPC is great for getting immediate results, driving targeted traffic to your website. But those results come with a pretty high price tag, and over time, a PPC campaign can get costly.

If you manage an AdWords account, you’ve probably looked at your monthly invoice and thought, “I spent how much on ads last month??” on at least two occasions. It’s not a good feeling. PPC costs can get out of control, and your business in a certain sense can become addicted to paid traffic.

Fortunately, there’s a way to wean a business off the PPC habit.

An SEO campaign is a sustainable, reliable source of traffic that will in the long run deliver organic results that you don’t have to pay for.

Together, PPC and SEO make a winning combination. You’ll spend less on AdWords every month, and supplement your traffic with organic search results.

All while getting more traffic, more leads, new customers and growing your business.

5. You Need Higher Quality Traffic

Is your conversion rate stagnant in the low single digits? Or worse, is it falling from a once-healthy 15%?

Is your website traffic just not rolling in like it used to before?

Are your visitors leaving your website (bouncing) before they opt-in or sign up?

These are common issues facing many small and local business owners. If your metrics are suffering, a boost of organic search traffic can get you back on course.

A search engine optimization campaign will introduce a new level of quality traffic to your website, and ultimately increase your conversion metrics and earn you more leads.

Don’t settle for stale website performance. Get new eyes and new traffic on your site now!

6. Your Competitors Are Showing Up Ahead of You In Online Searches

I might not know you or your business personally, but I can say with 99% certainty that you face at least some level of competition in your niche or industry. If you don’t have any competitors, consider yourself blessed. For everyone else, going head to head with your competitors is a daily grind.

An easy way to get an edge on your competition is through SEO. If your website shows up behind those of your competitors for search terms related to your offerings, you’re losing the online battle. You are losing money every single day your site is behind in search rankings. Stop it!

There is no reason you can’t be #1 in search results for keywords related to your business. When you show up at the top of Google, you get a leg up on your competition and you start winning.

If you’re ready to start winning and being at the top of the search results, contact us today. Let’s do this!

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Black hat, white hat, gray hat, and everything in between. We take a look at 8 misconceptions about SEO that are dead wrong and need to be corrected.

8 Misconceptions About SEO That Are Dead Wrong

A lot of people have a lot of things to say when it comes to SEO, and more often than not, what’s said is either completely unfounded, or wrong, or both.

As a professional SEO agency, we shake our collective heads when we hear business owners who talk about links, meta tags, black hat vs. white hat, etc. In reality, search engine optimization is a complex field that is constantly evolving. We wanted to take some of the chatter we’ve heard out in the wild and respond to it from the perspective of a professional SEO company (a very fancy-pants distinction!). Here are 8 common misconceptions about SEO that need to be reevaluated and corrected… today!

SEO Misconception #1

SEO Is All About Keywords and Links

Let’s start off with a big one. While keywords and links play a big role in search engine optimization, they aren’t the only factors. Everything from the mobile optimization of your site to the social presence of your content plays a role in your search rank.

Further, the actual content of your website is of central importance. More and more, Google has begun to favor quality content in their rankings. So before you start worrying about backlinks and keywords, make sure your content is thorough and valuable for visitors!

SEO Misconception #2

Meta Tags Equal Google Gold

Maybe meta tags mattered a decade ago, but not in 2017. Google has gone so far as to directly state that meta tags are no longer ranking factors they consider. (Google is notoriously quiet about making direct comments regarding what factors do and do not affect search rankings.) Nevertheless, like Bigfoot, true believers continue to hold on to the myth of the meta tag.

SEO Misconception #3

My Company Doesn’t Need SEO

Search engine optimization is extremely beneficial for all businesses. I’m talking about companies of all sizes, in all locations, selling all kinds of products and services. Looking for a steady stream of leads or prospects? Rank on page one of Google. Trying to increase brand awareness? Rank on page one of Google. Aiming for growth in… well, I think you get the idea 🙂

SEO Misconception #4

Bing Doesn’t Matter

Bing is often overlooked as an inferior, often forgotten Google wanna-be, but numbers tell us we need to pay a little more attention to it. According to Search Engine Journal, Bing is growing, and fast. In fact, Bing’s market share rose while Google’s dropped in April 2016. Where 64% of searches are done on Google, nearly 33% of searches come from Bing. 1/3 market share is nothing to scoff at!

SEO Misconception #5

Keyword Stuffing is Effective

Remember when people used to create entire pages stuffed with a list of keywords and nothing else? Or worse, when they put a list of keywords on the footer of every page? Search engines have picked up on that tacky technique, and it doesn’t fly anymore. The days when you could hide keywords in the background are over. Rather than stuffing your site with keywords, focus on content for your visitors, inserting keywords into paragraphs naturally. There is no magic formula, but overusing keywords will annoy your visitors and potentially get you slapped with a Google penalty. Keyword stuffing is not effective in 2017 for search engine optimization Google penalty key word stuff.

…See? Annoying.

SEO Misconception #6

One and Done

SEO is an ongoing process. It’s a journey with no defined finish line. As soon as you start ranking in the top position for a specific keyword and turn your attention to another term to conquer, you could be dethroned from a third term that was a previous stronghold. Staying at the top of search rankings is a constant battle. Don’t think that just because you’ve done SEO work in the past, your rankings are secure. Be proactive in your strategy, and continue to get in front of and beat the competition!

SEO Misconception #7

AdWords Equals Google Gold

AdWords is great if you need an immediate solution to drive traffic to your website. However, running ads on Google is not a sustainable, long-term solution. The competition is fierce, and it’s not uncommon to watch your cost per click soar while your conversions dwindle.

SEO provides consistent, targeted traffic from people who are looking for what your business offers. Search engine optimization is a long-term solution that pays off in the long run. Invest now and reap the benefit for years to come.

SEO Misconception #8

You Can’t Start Now

This is probably the easiest one to correct: uh, yes you can. Basic DIY SEO is easy to pick up with just an hour’s work. Ongoing SEO is more of a commitment, but with effective time management, it’s easy to carve out a small block of time to address your strategy every week.

And if you have a bit little bit of a budget, you can hire professionals to handle it for you and deliver results faster than you would believe (cough—we’re just those kinds of professionals—cough).

Decide to make SEO a cornerstone of your company’s growth, and make it a priority moving forward. We’re always here to talk if you need advice or direction—don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation (pitch-free, we promise!).

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Top SEO Blogs All Small Business Owners Should Follow

Top SEO Blogs All Small Business Owners Should Follow

As a small business owner, you have to think about a thousand and one different things at any given moment. Chances are, your web presence isn’t very high on the list. If you are ready to get serious about improving your website, but don’t have the budget to hire professionals, it is possible to take a do-it-yourself approach. Here are the top SEO blogs you should be aware of to improve your online presence and increase your web traffic.

Moz Blog

Moz is one of the leading voices in the SEO industry. The writing style at the Moz Blog is accessible and engaging, almost like having a casual conversation with a friend who is (extremely) knowledgeable. The posts on Moz Blog always feature actionable steps that are easy to digest, ultimately helping you boost your traffic over time.

Moz posts about an article per day. It’s a lot to keep up with, but worth reading a post here and there when you can!

Quick Sprout

Quick Sprout offers extremely thorough articles on everything from optimizing your website to convert search traffic visitors to customers, to getting the most out of your pay per click (PPC) campaigns. The writer, Neil Patel, is a giant in the online marketing world. His writing is approachable and direct, and extremely insightful. I always learn something new when I read an article on Quick Sprout, which is why they are one of our top SEO blogs to follow!

Backlinko

Backlino is run by Brain Dean, another huge name in the online traffic and SEO world. Brian posts less frequently than the other SEO blogs we’ve mentioned so far, but his content is extremely thorough. Brian’s articles are basically mini-books, all constituting essential reading in a search engine optimization master class. Head over to Backlinko when you have an hour or two open and want to dive into the deep end of on-site optimization.

Yoast

If your website is running on WordPress, chances are you’re using the Yoast SEO plugin. The makers of this very popular plugin also happen to run a very popular SEO blog. Their regular articles feature actionable advice and insights. Although not essential reading, it’s a good one to add to your RSS in case a title catches your eye.

Search Engine Land

Search Engine Land is a frequent publisher (multiple articles per day). As such, the posts cover a wider range than the other SEO blogs mentioned so far. Expect to find technical information about Google algorithm updates, posts about Google in the mainstream news, as well as tips for search engine optimization.

HubSpot

Chances are, you’ve heard about HubSpot. They are leaders in the content marketing world, and offer a variety of products and services for online lead generation and customer engagement. They also offer a lot of amazing content for free. Their SEO blog offers helpful articles that are easy to digest, and cover a range of topics. This is must-read SEO blog for companies of all sizes.

Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the founder of Quick Sprout (mentioned previously), and the content on his personal website is similar to what you would find on his other blog. Reliable, in-depth articles covering a wide range of topics having to do with online marketing and engagement. I’m a huge fan of Neil’s blog and recommend it to everyone whose company has some kind of online presence.

Conclusion

There are hundreds of resources available online dedicated to helping you improve your online presence and search traffic. If you would like to take the DIY approach and handle your web operations on your own, it’s easy to start following a handful of hte top SEO blogs and start absorbing the valuable information they publish daily. As you learn more about search engine optimization, the concepts and practices will become almost second nature to you, and optimizing your website will be a breeze. The blogs above are a great place to start as you begin the process of self-education.

What are your favorite SEO blogs? Did we miss any that you think are essential? We’d love to learn more about them—contact us to let us know!

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5 Simple But Effective Ways to Improve Web Traffic for Your Local Business

5 Simple But Effective Ways to Improve Web Traffic for Your Local Business

In today’s increasingly tech-savvy world, the online presence of your business is of utmost importance. Without generating any web traffic, it’s nearly impossible for a local business to grow, let alone survive.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to improve web traffic for small businesses. With just a little bit of knowledge, you can spend an afternoon working on your website and see some drastic changes in incoming traffic over the next few months. Here are 5 simple but effective ways to improve web traffic for your local business:

#1 – Conduct a Simple SEO Audit

Making sure your website is on point from an SEO standpoint is the #1 way to drive organic traffic to your landing pages. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it essentially means making your web content easy for Google to understand and categorize. Your website consists of HTML, which search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing read.

There are several key elements search engines look for in your website markup that will give the strongest indications about your site’s content. Some of these elements include:

  • Page title – make sure the page title is specific to what your landing page is targeting.
  • Header tags (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc.) – place important keywords inside header tags to show search engines that these topics are the main point of your web page.
  • URL slug (the text in the url that comes after .com. For example: example.com/this-is-the-url-slug) – use keywords that indicate what the landing page is about. Do not use strings of numbers or symbols as they won’t help search engines understand what they can expect to find on your page.
  • Site navigation – your site navigation should be easy to follow, and break down into categories and sub-categories where appropriate.
  • Internal linking – it should be easy to get from one piece of content on your website to another. Search engines use internal links to understand how your pages and content are related, what the site hierarchy is, and general relevance for search queries.
  • Site performance and speed – this is a big one. If elements on your website or landing pages take long to load, Google and other search engines will view your site unfavorably (and so will your visitors… in fact, if a page on your site takes longer than one second to load, visitors are likely to leave before they even see the content).

These are just a few of the hundreds of factors that determine SEO performance. WP Hatch offers free SEO audits, which will show you specifically where your website excels with search engines, and where it could use some work. Contact us today for your free SEO audit.

#2 – Build Your Email List

Building an email or newsletter list is an important way to not only improve your web traffic, but also to get new sales and customers.

Having a robust email list is an easy way to drive traffic to your website, call attention to a new product or piece of content, and to make special offers to people who would otherwise most likely not be visiting your website regularly.

Creating an email list is easy. WP Hatch usually uses MailChimp, but there are dozens of other email service providers available at an affordable rate (including Campaign Monitor, EmmaConstant Contact, and many more).

Once you’ve created an account with an email service provider, you’ll want to implement an email capture tool on your website. Several new tech companies make this easy for you (we recommend HelloBar or SumoMe). These tools link to your ESP account and implement popups and on-screen messaging that encourages readers to join your email list.

As you grow your email list, you can send them friendly reminders about your services, products, web content, and special offers… all pointing back to your website, increasing your web traffic and sales.

Creating and connecting accounts with an email service provider and lead generation tool like HelloBar is simple, but if you just don’t have the time or have any questions, shoot us an email! We’re here to help 🙂

#3 – Make Sure Your Website Design is Responsive (Mobile-Friendly)

Did you know that the majority of Internet browsing is now done on smartphones? According to Smart Insights, 51% of digital media consumption is now done on mobile phones, compared to desktop computers (which comes in at just 42%). The crazy thing is that mobile phone Internet browsing is rising drastically, every single day.

What this means for you is that your website needs to not just work on mobile phones, but it needs to look great for your visitors. In fact, it’s so important that search engines like Google look at whether websites are mobile-friendly (or “responsive”) as a key SEO factor. If your website is not responsive, you’re missing out on some serious web traffic, and your search rankings are suffering!

Fortunately, Google has a great tool that will help you determine if your website is mobile-friendly called Mobile-Friendly Test (clever, huh?). Run the test to check whether your site works for mobile devices. If not, you should strongly consider updating your site to be mobile friendly. (Hint: if you don’t have access to a developer or web designer, WP Hatch can help!)

#4 – Use Explainer Videos

Slick landing pages are awesome, but a recent web trend for small businesses is to incorporate videos onto websites to describe offerings. You’ve probably seen some already—they’re often animated or sketched drawings that explain the core offerings from a business.

The key advantage of explainer videos is that they capture your visitor’s interest, and explain your product or service in a way that is easily digestible. Further, online video consumption is growing at a rapid pace, with many web surfers preferring to take info in the form of a video rather than text. If that’s not enough motivation, videos actually improve SEO for most websites.

WP Hatch offers affordable animated explainer videos. Our videos start at just $99 per minute, but act fast: prices are about to go up as demand increases.

#5 – Establish a Social Media Presence

Social Media is by no means a new trend, but the staggering amount of user engagement continues to surprise industry experts.

Social Media Statistics

Mind-boggling social media statistics from BrandWatch.com.

Establishing a social media presence is a great way to grow your business. It will allow you to engage with your existing customers and fans, turning them into repeat buyers. Having a strong social media following will also enable you to find a new audience, and convert them into loyal customers.

While having a strong social media presence is important for businesses of all sizes, it’s worth noting that not every social media platform makes sense for every business. It’s best to be selective and choose 2-3 social media channels to dive into, and do them well. If you aren’t sure which social media platform makes the most sense for your business, drop us a line! We’d love to help you figure out a social media strategy to grow your business.

Conclusion

The idea of making proactive changes to a website to increase performance and traffic can be daunting at first, but if you follow the steps above, you will notice significant changes in your web traffic in the following months. And this is just the tip of the iceberg—there are hundreds of more ways for you to improve search rankings, organic traffic, and online presence.

Are you on a mission to improve web traffic for your business? What’s working for you? What are your hangups? Let us know in the comments below!

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