Archive for February, 2012

Get Your Business Website in Tip-Top Shape with These SEO Tips and Tricks

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a tool to grow your online business while helping customers and potential customers find your business. Whether your business is located in the heart of Washington DC or in Falls Church, VA, without question SEO can help increase your presence throughout all of the greater NOVA area. As you understand more about SEO and how it works in conjunction with your website, you will also learn how important it is to get it right.

Give us a call and we can design a custom SEO campaign for your business, but in the meantime, here are a few tips to help get you started or guide you toward SEO.

  • Be patient. Search Engine Optimization is not a single event, it is a long-term tactic used to maximize the Internet and all it offers. For example, you may find your dry cleaning business ranks first for “dry cleaners in Falls Church VA” one week and suddenly a few weeks later you are suddenly fifth. Search engine algorithms change all the time, which requires you to change as well. Remember, what works today may not work next month or next year.
  • Be smart. Before you hire a company to complete the SEO work for you, ask questions and know what you are getting yourself into. Ask the company for specifics before you agree to anything; find out what they plan to do and how they plan to do it, then take some time and investigate for yourself.
  • Build a fantastic website. Even though you could once throw any website together using a free service and it was “good enough” that time has passed. Work with a developer to create a dynamic website for your business and be sure it incorporates room to grow as well. Since your goal is to grow your Falls Church VA dry cleaning business into a huge conglomerate, make sure your website can follow suit.
  • Buy a smart, SEO-friendly URL. If you are not sure what the URL is, you should definitely hire someone to do your SEO work for you. The URL is the location of your website (the name of it if you will). Rather than using confusing or unrelated URLs for your business, find one that states what you do and if possible where you are. For example, “fallschurchdrycleaning” (while hard to read) fits the bill for a dry cleaning business in Falls Church, VA; but “wecancleanyourshirt” does not. It doesn’t articulate what you do or where your business is.
  • Embrace pay-per-click advertising. No matter what source you choose to use, investing in a pay-per-click advertising campaign, also known as PPC. This is a great way to add actual search volume to your keywords for a rather small investment. Set a budget you can live with and work from there. (By the way, this is also something Digital Assembly Line does, and does very well.)

If you’re ready to move your business into the leader’s position, give us a call. No matter where you are or what you do, we can help create a SEO campaign that will help make you a leader in your market.

Don't Get Penalized For Blackhat SEO Practices

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Business owners in the NOVA area often wonder if they are doing everything they can to promote their business online and grab hold of the endless opportunities available. So when they get an email or a phone call marketing search engine optimization, or SEO, services for their business in Herndon, VA they listen intently hoping for the magic answer.

Well, that’s exactly what most of these SEO companies are trying to sell business owners throughout the Northern Virginia area — a magic answer that really is not magic — it’s unethical instead. Blackhat SEO practices have been around as long as SEO has been a term, and at one point they probably weren’t even blackhat – just the beginning form of SEO.

Search engine optimization is based on using keywords to guide search engines to a particular website. There is nothing wrong with using SEO, heck, Google even provides SEO tools for webmasters. The problem becomes instead when these blackhat SEO companies prey on unknowing business owners, offer the (Internet)world on a silver platter, and then do the exact opposite of what they promise. You see, when the search engine giants who run the (Internet)world — and probably someday the world too! — discover the use of blackhat SEO practices, they penalize the website and will typically remove it from their rankings and search results altogether. If this happens, NO ONE will find your business unless they know your direct website address and go there directly. That’s not a good idea.

For example, a (fictitious) company called SEO 1-2-3 calls the (fictitious) Sally May’s Dog Grooming Service in Herndon, VA and offers a great deal on search engine optimization for new customers. Sally May is excited about the opportunity since she has heard about SEO and knows it could really help her grow her business. So for the low price of just five monthly installments of $99, her business will now be found by everyone in the NOVA area searching for dog grooming in the Herndon, VA area. In fact, SEO 1-2-3 guarantees Sally May’s Dog Grooming Service will be ranked first in every related search within one month, or she will be refunded. And what’s more, since she agreed to it today, SEO 1-2-3 will throw in a few extras too! Starting to remind you of an infomercial? Yeah, it should.

While the overall goal and theory behind this special offer is legitimate — except for the extra part, we can’t vouch for that even in our own scenario. An effective SEO campaign is designed to raise the ranking of a website, and help search engines find the business when people search for (in this case) “dog grooming Herndon, VA” but an honest and ethical SEO company (like Digital Assembly Line of course!) will not make guarantees. Why? Because we do not control the search engines, and the search engine companies are responsible for designing their own page ranking criteria.

So, what does all of this mean? It means you should embark on a SEO campaign to improve online visibility of your business, but do so with a reputable company. Running the risk of being banned by the search engines is not worth it.

SEO: The Online Equivalent of Colorful Road Maps

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

If you’ve followed our blog for a while, thanks!, and if this is your first time here, welcome aboard! Either way, we get so wrapped up in our corner of the SEO world working for clients all over Northern Virginia (in places like Reston, VA and Washington DC) that we sometimes forget to take a step backward and explain it all from the beginning. So here it goes….SEO described as a road map. Keep reading, you will understand.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of luring traffic (visitors) to your website. Website visitors are referred to as “traffic” so think of this entire process as a large map…an atlas if you will. The Internet in its entirety is the giant atlas book — you know, the one that you’ve forgotten even existed since the creation of online mapping tools. After opening the atlas, you need to figure out how to get from Aspen Hill, MA to Reston, VA, but where do you begin? The index.

The index in this case is the search engine of your choice (probably Google, Bing or Yahoo!). After looking to the index, you locate your current location (Aspen Hill, MA) and then look for where you want to go (Reston, VA). When you find your destination, you then can figure out how to get there.

Using the atlas analogy, as you scour the different routes to get from point A to point B. You may decide you’d like to get there as quickly as possible and take an Interstate, but you may also want to take the more scenic route and visit some quaint antique shops along the way. For this exercise, we are saving money and skipping the shopping…at least for now.

Entering your final destination (which is Reston, VA) into the atlas (Google, Bing or Yahoo!) will tell you where you need to go. This is where SEO comes in. When looking at the atlas, you see many different roads all depicted using different colors to signify the type of road it is. For example, a bold red line may be a highway, whereas a think blue line may be a dirt road. Think of SEO as the color-coding of the Internet.

SEO is nothing more than a way to aid visitors (traffic) in finding your location (final destination of Reston, VA). Search Engine Optimization is a group of colorful road signs that you can’t see but your atlas (Google, Bing or Yahoo!) can which helps you get to where you want to go quickly. Isn’t the Internet smart?