Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

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.

Social Media Gains Importance In 2012 With SEO

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Whether or not you want to believe it, social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter (among others) are becoming more important to online marketing than some may have thought would be true. Even if you do not like the websites personally, you should at least consider their benefits professionally.

If for no other reason, you should get involved with social media for the search engine optimization benefits if nothing else. The amount of online sharing between friends and acquaintances continues to increase, and your business could be reaping the rewards. These social media sites make it so easy to share your interests with others that people simply click the “share” button and it automatically appears on their personal Facebook page (also known as their “timeline”). That may not seem significant, but each time information is shared the more people become aware of your product or service. With each share, you gain access to more potential customers than you had just moments before. Couple the sharing factor with your business presence on these sites and people will naturally make the jump between the referrer and your page, again, leading to more potential business.

Not only will you benefit from the exposure, search engines are also picking up this traffic. The more social media history you accumulate, the more search engines are going to notice and you will eventually reap the benefits of SEO as well.

Customers often ask me if it matters how many “likes” or “fans” they have on their business Facebook page, or how many Twitter followers they have. That basically depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you simply want the ego boost of seeing you have a half-million followers or fans (an unlikely number used as an example), then yes, it does matter. However, if your main reason for using social media is to increase exposure to your business website or to boost your SEO rankings, then no, it doesn’t matter.

Social media is not yet at a point that it replaces SEO efforts, and that doesn’t seem likely for at least the foreseeable future. But, as more users become “Facebook Friendly” and “Twitter-riffic” your business better jump on the bandwagon to see the rewards.

If you are ready to take the next step in online marketing and SEO tactics for your business, give us a call. We can get you started and keep you going on the social media train.

What is Google+?

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

With the introduction of each new Internet-based application comes questions galore, especially from business owners throughout the Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC area. Each business owner wonders what the new introduction on the Internet will do to their current search engine optimization efforts, and if all the progress they have made climbing the ladder in recent months — and sometimes years — will suddenly be rendered useless. So let’s discuss what Google+ is and how — or if — it will impact the search engine optimization efforts you are currently making, or even those we make for you.

The basis of Google+ are Google “Circles.” Circles are basically categories of people you know which are organized into groups by topic. Such as friends, family, roommates, business associates, fraternity or sorority members, dog lovers, or any other category you choose. You simply drag and drop each of your contacts on Google+ into one of these categories, and they are organized.

Then comes “Sparks.” Sparks is the Google+ name for interests. You select your interests – ranging from computers to kittens and everything else in between – and Google+ offers you content based on those interests. It is basically creating a profile of your likes and interests then finds postings on the Internet it feels matches those categories.

Moving on to “Hangouts.” Google+ Hangouts are essentially nothing more than a chat room for your and your circle of friends to hang out in and chat — more or less, it’s just a video chat similar to those offered by a variety of programs available to anyone with a webcam.

Google’s answer to text messaging via the Internet is introduced with “Huddles.” Huddles allow you to connect with a group of people through messaging, there is even a mobile app available for Android phones. The app lets you send messages from your phone to your huddle and everyone can chat together.

The “Instant Update” feature of Google+ allows users of Android phones to automatically upload photos from their phone to Google+. This is a pretty simple feature and requires little explanation, so we will move on.

So how will all of this impact search engine optimization? Until recently, Google had a contract with Twitter to display Twitter feeds in real-time, which was also included in search engine results. The contract with Twitter expired, and Google did not renew it. Now, with the introduction of Google+, we know the contract was not renewed so Google could feature their own Google+ feed in search engine results. So the presence, or absence, from Google+ could eventually impact your SEO efforts, but the amount of the impact is not yet known.

The one factor that may impact SEO greatly are the Google Sparks. Since the Sparks are really interest topics, and Google suggests them (provides a pre-determined list of possible interests) many SEO experts are trying to quickly figure out how their topic of choice gets included in the Google Spark categories. Since Google created the categories, and they are not freely sharing the advice, nobody really knows how to become a Spark interest.

The one main takeaway from the study of how Google+ will impact SEO is this: in the future – possibly near, possibly not – Google rankings will be based on human interaction as much as SEO keywords. Creating a social media presence sooner rather than later — via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others — will be beneficial. Developing online relationships with customers, clients, associates and more will prove beneficial as Google changes their methods of page ranking…yet again. Give us a call at Digital Assembly Line and we can help with all of your SEO and social media needs.

Tips and Tricks of SEO From Our Experts

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Start the new year out right, with better focus paid to your business website and your search engine optimization efforts put forth. As you probably know from keeping up with our blog, SEO is essential in first growing your business, and eventually in maintaining your business.

Our SEO experts came up with some tips and tricks that should be put into place as soon as possible, to take advantage of the growing Internet sales. This holiday season more retailers saw tremendous benefit from SEO efforts than ever before and every day you neglect yours is one more day you are missing out on unlimited opportunities.

With the changes employed by Goolge, Yahoo! and Bing, the keywords you choose for your website should be focused and used broadly throughout the entire site. In the past you could focus one page on a certain topic and plaster the keyword all over it. For example, if you wanted to climb search results for “dog collars” you could simply create a page on your website dedicated to dog collars. Times have changed and now the focus of the entire website must include more information than simply dog collars. The search engines are looking closer at sites and penalizing those that do not conform to the new industry standards.

Content is now more important than ever as well. Having multiple pages of short blurbs stuffed with keywords will no longer do the trick. Longer documents and more content are key now, with a precise range of total word count that is optimal. (We can’t tell you all of our secrets now can we?) Knowing that your search engine optimization company understands the nuances of the search engines is the first step in making a wise choice in business partners.

To learn more about how search engine optimization, pay per click or other marketing tactics can help grow your business in 2012, give us a call today. Our team of trained SEO experts can put their knowledge to work for you in unmatched ways with unmatched results.

Why SEO Is Important For Your Business

Friday, December 30th, 2011

We talk about Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, quite often at Digital Assembly Line. If you ever wonder why we spend so much time focused on it, that is simple: because SEO is essential for your Northern Virginia, Washington DC or Maryland business. SEO, as it is referred to in the industry, is a method of analyzing and constructing a business website as a whole — as well as its individual pages — to attract customers. How are customers attracted? Through discovery by all of the search engines potential customers use to look at and use the Internet. That’s a pretty basic summary of what SEO is, but that basically lays out the information in an easy-to-understand format.

Using SEO techniques makes your website more relevant and more attractive to search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing. These are the driving forces behind Internet searches, which most people understand. How often do you hear friends, family and business associates say “Google it” or “I Googled” when referring to information they found online? The business name Google has become a verb in today’s language, and that’s what SEO is all about: working with the “Googling” world — as well as with the Yahoo! and Bing worlds — to make your website as easily found as possible.

Keep in mind, you are no longer simply competing with the store around the corner, you are now competing with the online merchant on another continent. Making your products and services known and easily accessible to your customers, and all of your potential customers, means something completely different than it did just 10 years ago.

Working with the right search engine optimization company is as important as the work itself. Some companies practice SEO tactics that are less than legitimate, and can have severely negative consequences for your business. When underhanded techniques are used, the search engines can choose — and often do — to blacklist your site completely. Unfortunately they are not concerned with who physically did the wrong thing, they simply want it to be known they will not allow it to happen. So rather than ending up with your website not listed at all, make sure you spend time finding the right SEO specialists to work with you.

SEO or Social Media? Which is Better for your Northern Virginia Business?

Friday, November 11th, 2011

We’ve been helping clients throughout the Northern Virginia area make their mark on the Internet marketing world for a number of years. As the times have changed, so has our message. We understand the Internet is a dynamic “place” and changes are constantly happening that may impact the effectiveness of your online marketing and search engine optimization efforts. Rather than forcing a round peg into a square hole, we always customize an online marketing plan to meet the needs of the individual business.

This is why sometimes we use a somewhat straightforward approach to online marketing for Washington, DC businesses that focuses on search engine optimization. SEO tactics focus on implementing a strategic approach to the content of your website, to better match the searches completed on search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing and others. Rather than putting your information on the Internet and hoping customers will find you, using SEO you can help draw customers — and potential customers — to your website.

In other situations, we also put social media marketing to the test as well. Social media networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are ways people easily and quickly connect to like-minded individuals. These may be friends, coworkers, family members or even business acquaintances that all come together to form an online social circle. When looking for recommendations on the best plumber in town many people will put their question out to the masses in search of information. Putting these social media platforms to work for you is both convenient and smart. You may spend thousands of dollars on an advertising campaign that lasts for one day, week or month and see limited results; but you may also create an online presence in social networks that works for you around-the-clock and is easy for your customers to share with their friends, family and coworkers and reach a nearly limitless number of people — that stays around forever.

But, when discussing an article today, we discovered many people are confused about the use of search engine optimization and social media. Bluntly put, one is not intended to replace the other. Search engine optimization is used to promote the website and when used properly, social media will advance the SEO practices. They work together, rather than independently. Using both platforms allows your potential customers to find your website and consider buying products or services, while social media allows your current customers to share their experiences with others as well.

For more information on how you should use the SEO/Social Media combination, contact our team of online marketing experts at Digital Assembly Line today.

The Basics of Branding

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean? How does it affect a small business like yours?

Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

Are you the innovative maverick in your industry? Or the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can’t be both, and you can’t be all things to all people. Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target customers want and need you to be.

The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials–all of which should integrate your logo–communicate your brand.

Brand Strategy & Equity

Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, too. Your brand can also help promote your website if it incorporates keywords or keyword phrases, both important elements when perfuming SEO (search engine optimization) on your website. Some may refer to this as SEM (search engine marketing)

Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company’s products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command. The most obvious example of this is Coke vs. a generic soda. Because Coca-Cola has built powerful brand equity, it can charge more for its product–and customers will pay that higher price.

The added value intrinsic to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. For example, Nike associates its products with star athletes, hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it’s not just the shoe’s features that sell the shoe.

Defining Your Brand

Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below:

  • What is your company’s mission?
  • What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
  • What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?

Do your research. Learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. And don’t rely on what you think they think. Know what they think.

Once you’ve defined your brand, how do you get the word out? Here are a few simple, time-tested tips:

  • Get a great logo. Place it everywhere.
  • Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.
  • Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business–how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything. Integrate your brand wherever you can on the web. (Remember your brand exercise should include the incorporation of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing) SEO-SEM.
  • Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. You get the gist.
  • Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand. You may wish to include Strategic Keywords and keyword phrases in your tagline. These keywords can help with your search engine optimization or search engine marketing efforts. (SEO & SEM).
  • Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.
  • Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you–or refer you to someone else–if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.
  • Be consistent. I placed this point last only because it involves all of the above and is the most important tip I can give you. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.

Facebook can help you earn Link Credits Critical Elements for Effective SEO

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

If you’re looking to enhance your company and or personal web page in the SERP (search engine results pages) you definitely should consider making yourself a Facebook Fan page. A facebook fan page can be beneficial in your marketing efforts as you work to move your site up within the natural search engine rankings. There are numerous reasons you should consider a fan page including

1-     Although the search engines cannot spider most facebook pages because they are privacy protected they can spider those facebook fan pages that don’t require you to login. If a spider from one of the popular search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) spider your page and then index your page you can pick up a link. Hopefully it may lead to someone clicking on that link and landing on your site.

2-     Because the pages are public you will get facebook link credit even though you cannot use anchor text. Either way it’s free. Link credits are essential if your attempting to search optimize your site.

3-     A nice feature of a fan page is that you can send updates to your fans and it’s a great tool to build a database of interested followers.

4-     You have total control over the page unlike some blogs. You decide what content you put on your fan page.

5-     It’s free and easy and you can upload your company or personal logo.

6-     It’s as great tool for those companies that offer search engine optimization (SEO) or paid search management (also called Pay Per Click or Cost Per Click).

Your comments are appreciated and if you have any questions, please email me.

Bob

bob@digitalassemblyline.com

Search Engine Specialist

Turn Online Traffic into Offline Customers

Monday, June 15th, 2009

For several years, Digital Assembly Line (DAL) has been helping our Washington, D.C.-area customers increase their online visibility with their local audience using a number of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics. And one of the best ways to enhance your Internet Marketing efforts and increase visibility to your local audience is to participate in an online community that is relevant to your business and industry.

In local search engine optimization in the Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia area, your presence does not have to lead to obtaining a link, but it should lead to increasing your business name’s relevancy to your contact information such as your local address, local phone number, city, or any other neighborhood area names, like Arlington, Bethesda, McLean. The ideal local business profile would be set up like this:

Your Company Title
Street Address
City, State Zip Code
(Local Area Code) Phone Number
Link to Your Website

Not sure where to begin? Digital Assembly Line can point you toward free online local directories that offer reviews and generate good traffic, such as Yelp.

The key to obtaining local references is to make sure those sites are crawled by Google for local content. Since local references do not get a link back, if a local directory site is not on the list to be crawled by Google for local content, your efforts to build local relevancy for local SEO won’t be very effective.

One of the ways to check is to look through “Web Pages” tab when you search for a relevant local keyword in Google Maps.

A strong PPC (pay per click) campaign will help support your SEO efforts. DAL can focus your Pay Per Click and Search Engine Optimization efforts only on the Washington DC area if that’s the market you are striving to succeed in.

Keep in mind while you’re building your local relevancy through an off-page SEO campaign that you should not just pick the local listing ranked at #1 and try to obtain all the local references that company has. Your Washington, D.C.-area business is unique from any other local companies, and it should be reflected in your local reference portfolio. You should have a unique combination of keywords and service areas, and optimizing for those local keywords to reach your targeted local audience should naturally lead to having a unique local reference portfolio. After all, if you just follow them, you will never get ahead of them.

To make your Internet Marketing efforts truly unique and outstanding, your local reference portfolio shouldn’t be just about Internet Yellow Pages or few major local directories. Be active in your online local community to find more area resources your local audience visits to find local information and contribute helpful content about your industry, and your local references should naturally grow with the trust you gain within the community.

In short, your local Search Engine Optimization efforts for local search engines offers an opportunity to turn online traffic into your offline visitors, and in the process of local SEO, you will get plenty of chances to create buzz about your business and gain trust as an industry expert within your online local community.

 

At Digital Assembly Line, we develop and implement both Natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising campaigns to help you increase both the quality and quantity of visitors to your site, improve the conversion of those visitors into customers, and maximize the return on your marketing investment.