In South Jersey and Philadelphia, you can find at least 50-60 companies or local SEO experts that offer monthly SEO/Internet Marketing services. Each one may offer something a bit different, from services, packages, etc., but there’s always one main factor that customers and clients use to make the choice of which SEO Agency they ultimately decide to work with.

Price.

While price is important in deciding to hire an SEO company, keep in mind the old saying “you get what you pay for” will always ring true. If you went to a mechanic and one place charged a significantly lesser price for services, would you be suspect? How about a house that’s $400,000 versus on that is $50,000? Which would you expect to be the better property to live in?

According to a survey on SEOMOZ (now MOZ.com), the average SEO company charges in two ways: by the hour, or a monthly retainer. The average going hourly rate ranges from $55 to $250 an hour, and up, and monthly costs can be all over depending on varied factors. So, let’s say we’re at $100 and hour, and you’re paying $99.00 a month. What could you do for an hour a month that would be worth it?

Here are 3 downsides to Cheap SEO.

Quality – The SEO agency in the city charges $1500 a month just for the basics. The other guy on Craigslist will do it for $250 a month. Then there’s all the “yellow book” related services that offer introduction packages starting at $99 a month. Forget the $1500 a month agency, who are they kidding?

Actually, it’s the other guys that are kidding you, out of your money. How much do you make an hour? Now multiply that by the amount of hours you work a day, week or month. Now what if your boss came to you and said we found someone to do your job for a quarter of what we pay you, would you be happy? Also, what if you were a boss and someone made that offer, but said instead of 40 hours a week, they’d work for less money, but also only put in 2 hours a week? Not exactly enticing, is it?

When you cut costs, you cut the amount of time that goes into your site. On the other side, it can also mean outsourcing the work to a lower cost worker overseas. So, now you’re site is being handled in the Philippines or India and the quality is all over the place. Sure your costs are down, but so it the quality.

Results – Let’s stay on time for this one. So, you’ve went with the cheaper SEO company because they have a great price. They’re now doing a whopping 3 hours of work a month on your website. That includes the time it takes to email you (logged and deducted), time to run reports (logged and deducted), maybe a phone call or two (logged, logged and deducted) and where does that leave you with actual Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing work done? 1-1.5 hours? I know I have phone calls with clients that take up 3-4 hours a month added up, so would that be fair to pay just to talk to your SEO company?

This means little to no results happen for anything significant. Oh, don’t worry, because the “cheap SEO” company already built that into their sales pitch, with the promise of landing 1 keyword in the top 10 in 9-12 months, or “it can take up to a year to see the top 50 even!” – Your results are going to reflect what has put in to the work. Low quality work means low quality results.

Cost – Yes, we mentioned price being a factor, but we’re talking cost. The salesperson at CHEAPO SEO sold you a great SEO plan for $250 a month. Much cheaper than the other company offered for $900 a month, or the other who wanted $1500. You just saved a ton of money!

Actually, no, you didn’t.

Let’s take $250, add 12 months. That’s $3000. You were sold something on price only, not features, certainly not benefits or results – but it cost less. You even negotiated a better price to get that $250, which was easily met by the eager salesperson wanting your business. Now, the other company outlined everything they would do, how many keywords, Google and Bing, all the right words. $900 a month, and 3 months in those clients are seeing leads, clicks and calls because they put the time into local listings, Google+ and Places, great new website content and new on-site SEO.The other company?

That isn’t even part of your services package!

In the long run, cost isn’t measured day 1. Internet Marketing is a continual process. SEO is a daily task to either do or monitor. What you save now, you may lose tomorrow. What you put out today might be returned 10 fold in a few months. Be sure you’re paying the right price for the right services, not something that just sounds good and doesn’t cost much. There’s a reason SEO costs what it does, and that’s mainly because it’s a skilled industry with people who should be informed and experienced in what they do, and in an industry that changes almost weekly. SEO in 2012 is vastly different in 2013, as it will be in 2014, 2015 and so on.

Penny wise, dollar foolish.

Your website, and your business, is your livelihood, and you should keep it in the best hands and with the best company managing it that you can afford. If you can’t afford SEO, then you probably should be trying to do it on your own, or not doing it. Search Engine Optimization and any Internet Marketing, Pay Per Click Campaign, Social Media Marketing all take an investment to do right. Many businesses small and large invest 1-2 hours a day on their Internet Marketing. Some companies, in many cases, have a team of dedicated in-house staff working with management and other departments to implement strategy.

SEO isn’t something that’s done cheap or that should be done cheaply. More damage can come from cheap, bad work than is worth the perceived savings. If you can’t afford to pay a dedicated SEO Expert or Internet Marketing Agency to handle your business, it’s better to invest in some good books on Amazon, or use your money wisely elsewhere, or hire an SEO Consultant to educate you on best practices so you can maintain your own projects and efforts efficiently.

There isn’t a week that goes by where someone goes on Social Media and makes a bad situation into a nuclear meltdown. In this age of instantaneous glorification for positive and negative actions, reactions having instant delivery and effect causes a huge need for pause and understanding.

Take a look online at any major event of the last year and you will find someone who has taken those events and attached themselves in a negative way. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook once used to talk about feelings and plans for a weekend are now turning into life changers, career killers and worse for those who chose to act first, and think later, when it is too late.

When a Touchdown Becomes a Fumble

The big story this week is NFL Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito and his bullying of team mate Jonathan Martin. Now it’s not the bullying that made the news or the reaction so potent. Sure bullying is a hot topic in the news, but there’s more that made this issue the lead sports story it’s become.

The Incognito story exploded more when texts and posts began showing up on Twitter, some from Incognito himself. Sure, it’s pretty obvious Incognito has some issues with his temper that have been well documented (Sociopath has been used to describe him in many outlets).

When reports began to surface, the reaction from Incognito came in the form of Twitter posts to dispute the reports. It was the tone of some of the replies that left little room to doubt the stories coming out. In one Twitter post, Incognito in as many words offered to meet reporter Adam Schefter for a fight to “clear matters up.”

You Can’t Dress Up a Disaster and Make it Go Away

Halloween is a fun time to dress up, but it seems it’s also a time to lose common sense. In two separate cases there were people that dressed up in costumes that were at the very least classless and at worst… well that is still playing out.

One woman dressed for Halloween as a Boston Marathon victim, another group of men dressed as Travon Martin, in black face, and George Zimmerman. The lack of common sense and better judgement (and brains) would have been a localized incident that would surely have upset anyone but was made into a national issue due to photos being uploaded to Social Media sites, including Twitter and Instagram.

The outcome in at least the Boston Marathon costume case was death threats, nude pictures made public and loss of job and continued attacks on Social Media that are directed beyond the initiate, but also to their family.

All over posts on Social Media.

What’s the point of this all?

Many businesses use their Social Media pieces in their marketing. We can get into how businesses have used Social Media improperly and it’s ruined their businesses and their lives. Most business owners forget that in many cases, they are also part of their brand and it’s main representative.

Not controlling how you run your personal Social Media accounts properly can have severe ramifications to your company. Sure we all have something we want to say, but is it something we want everyone to know?

Even your employees can be detrimental to your business efforts if they act as public representatives for your company or services.

What Steps Can You Take to Prevent Social Media Disasters?

It’s easy to react without thinking. We’ve all done it. If you have a combative personality as a business owner, there’s no doubt you’ve have issues in your business. Do you want to carry that online where events and issues can be made aware to many more people for a much longer period of time?

Also, who controls your Social Media accounts? It’s a good idea to make sure your accounts are in the hands of someone who understands important protocols of communication and has your company and it’s best interest in mind.

A few things to remember:

  • Think first! – sure it seems simple, but it’s imperative to not react or initiate anything without considering the ramifications of your actions.
  • Plan – Do you have a post or idea you want to throw online? Write it out, and let it sit. If it seems like a good idea an hour from now, then roll with it. If not, delete, delete, delete.
  • Take YOU out of your Business – Still hard to do, but your business many times needs to operate as a “generic entity” with no causes, beliefs, feelings one way or another. Leave religious, political, and other sensitive issue beliefs in you head or in your circle. Remember, just because you believe in something, you have to respect others who don’t, especially if those who don’t mean dollars in your pocket.
  • Control who sees your information – Still having issues? Allow control of who sees your information to a select group. It’s still not perfect, but could help. In many cases, if you do something or many somethings bad enough, it’ll get out.
  • Hire a Professional! – Many times it’s best for business to hire a company with experience running a successful Social Media program. They understand the in’s and out’s of what best practices are. Whether it is for completed Social Media Management or to come in and consult and help you organize your business with best practices, consulting a professional in many case is what is best for business.

This issue isn’t one that will go away anytime soon. This will be a topic often discussed and there will be more events to transpire where someone misuses Social Media and destroys all they’ve worked hard for.

Social Media is a very powerful tool. In the right hands used properly, it’s gold and in the wrong hands done improperly, it’s a ticking time bomb. Remember these points every time you go online and comment on a blog, post a photo, or post a status update. It might be the last one for your business.

In our ongoing efforts in refining our SEO Strategy periodically, achieving awards from advertising, marketing and paid promotions will pay off in the short and long terms.

As discussed in my previous article, a well-organized and successful local search engine strategy does take focus planning, systematic implementation and long term dedications.  The long hours of work will pay off with higher search engine rankings in a short period of time.

Here are five tips:

 

Google Local Listings

 

Google has the most accurate local business database.  They have combined this listing data with Google maps and Google plus profiles.  Users can list their businesses after small business verification process.  Google continues to improve its map navigation features in Local business listings.

 

Google+

 

Setup Google+ for your business and furnish it with interior shop images as these can be viewed when using the Street view, adding great value to new audiences, engaging videos and relevant topical posts that support your brand identify.

 

Submit to Local Directories and Create Local Search Profiles

 

It is important to complete local profiles of the three main search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo.  These local search profiles are featured prominently on a search engine results page for a local search.  Basic listings are free but paid enhanced listings offer more options like pictures, logos, graphics and a more detailed description of your business.  Include local directories like Yellow Pages and Local.com and for many businesses it makes sense to have a Yelp presence.

 

Establish a multi-network presence

 

Create a multi-network presence by building your businesses profiles on as many social networks as possible, Linkedin, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, Pinterest and Medium ensure your businesses address and contact details are filled out on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Think about your customers search habits

 

Where are they?  Are they searching from home or are they using their mobile devices?  If they are on the road, are they going to use speech recognition to search?  If so, it may be wise to adopt a far more diverse, set of long-tailed search queries, as your keyword focus?

Look at it this way, if a customer finds you in the listings, will they be put off by a poorly designed mobile site?  I hear over 50% of users say they would not recommend a business with a badly designed mobile website.

Conclusion:

Search engine results are personalized and depend on factors including your search habits, your social media connections, and your location.  Therefore, it is important for businesses to have a local search presence, especially if the business is one that only operates locally.

In late August, Google announced a new search algorithm called Hummingbird.

Google Hummingbird is not only an update, but a new manner in which the search engine will process a query. The new algorithm update will redefine how organic SEO companies and experts will view their practices.

What is new in Google Hummingbird?

Google will attempt to understand the intent of the query typed to produce more specific results. The search engine now will focus more on individual intent as opposed to individual words or search terms. The Hummingbird algorithm, which is semantic based, pays more attention to every word in the query and tries to ensure that the whole meaning and intent of the conversation is taken into account. The results that are then obtained because the pages match with the meaning or intent of the query.
One of the reasons why this algorithm will work is because it is seeking to be in tandem with the way queries are now posted.

Based on Hummingbird’s influence on SEO best practices should focus more on the following:

  • Queries, needs and problems posed. Focus on delivering the answer and provide solutions.
  • To identify the intent of the user, engaging with them on social media platforms will provide valuable clues.
  • Understand the idea behind the new Google algorithm and align themselves with new process of handling queries and searches.

Google mentions that SEO experts and companies need to be mindful of a few things, such as: high quality content that is shareable, link-able, engaging and original have nothing to be concerned about. The very basic signals that were important in the past continue to retain their importance.
In brief, based on the manner in which Google will now handle queries and data, organic SEO experts and companies will need to focus more on the intent and less on the keyword.

It’s inevitable in this day and age that consumers will turn to search engines to search for services, shop or look up questions they need answers to. Using Google or Bing is how people find their needs, replacing immediate word of mouth and Yellow Page listings that did not give more than name or number among many different listings.

This is where SEOSearch Engine Optimization, allowed businesses and web sites who followed best practices to rise to the top above their competition and to the eyes of a paying public.

The focus of SEO has always been the “keyword”, or “key phrase”, a search term one puts in to find products, services and information. It was through keywords that a business would optimize and gauge success, based off where they ranked in search.

It is easy to see the importance of ranking well, as a few spots can mean hundreds or thousands of dollars in business, or complete anonymity. It’s also easy to see why an SEO or a business owner could become obsessive over rank.

It’s frustrating, but ranking changes and with new algorithms and now Hummingbird, what had you #2 can have you #30 or vice versa before you know what caused it.

Does that mean success starts and ends with keyword ranking success or failure?

It’s important to have a quality and effectively run SEO strategy in place using best practices to lay foundation for success. This allows Google to place you in the best position it deems fit for your site.

Other factors in place are your location due to search personalization, which delivers results based off your location, more focused if you’re logged into your Google account.

You also need to check your analytics to see where your traffic is coming from. Do you have a large number of visits and conversions, even if you’re not ranking well? Check to see where that traffic is coming from. Social media, including Facebook and Google+, Twitter posts, Citations could all be pieces you have well in place that feed traffic to your site that outweigh your keyword ranking success.

Ranking is still a big factor to have in your favor, but don’t obsess with your position while not focusing on other areas of Search Engine Optimization that actually paying off and delivering sales, conversions and/or traffic.

MOZ, a leading Internet Marketing/SEO site, has compiled their annual list of Top SEO Ranking factors for 2015.

The data was compiled through a survey of 120 Search Engine Optimization Experts who detailed and ranked the individual factors on a scale of importance, highest to least.

Through this data, Moz analysed and utilized their own collected data to create the new list of factors.

One of the most interesting and certainly up for debate factors is Google +1’s being noted as a top factor in ranking. This is interesting since Matt Cutts from Google himself stated in a recent interview that +1’s were not a significant ranking factor. Either the day to day SEO’s have misinterpreted the importance of +1’s or Google is smoke screening to prevent abuse.

To view the entire MOZ Report, you can find it HERE.

Page authority, unique content and quality over quantity of backlinks are still important, and should always been a large focus of a successful SEO campaign. Social Media signals, LIKE’s and engagement equally show up as top levels of importance.

With the new Hummingbird algorithm in place, new data and analytics will be available that could influence the factors and their individual levels of importance.

To have your site reviewed for Top Ranking Factors for SEO and Hummingbird Site Analysis and Recovery, Contact Impact Internet Marketing at 856-778-7308 for more help.

3 Tips For Local SEO Success

Some of the best short and long term business growth will come from refining your SEO strategy periodically.  You will get rewards from paid promotions, advertising and marketing do have their rewards as we know.  These strategies need to be kept up which of course cost money.

A well-organized and successful local search engine strategy takes focus planning, systematic implementation and long term dedication.  If you perm the right methods of optimization by following procedures, you will see significant difference in your search engine rankings in a few weeks.

Research Keywords

This is a good one.  Assuming you’ve already established the niche for your small business.  By having this already worked out makes keyword hunting a bit easier since you already have an idea of who your main audience is.  You need to find out how many searches there are for these keywords and the competition you’re dealing with for the same words.  You can use free services to assist you with this step.  If you want further means, you can opt into paid services that will grant you access to even more word research options.

This keyword research is important because these words have to be all throughout your content for future optimization steps.

Choose an SEO Friendly Website Design

The type of code you decide to use, its organization and what it contains are important features of long-term SEO.  One rule is for optimization friendly design is you need to insure you build a site that is easy to read to the search engine indexing bots that crawl the web.

This means your site should not have too much flash especially for the demonstration of important content.  Quality content is the meat of what you want your viewers (customers) to focus on with your product.  Be careful not to use Flash as your site page navigation interface.

Once you’ve built your website, don’t forget to focus on the details on-page optimization.  These things include making sure that you have text-based HTML attributes to all videos, flash elements and images on your site.

Create Quality Content and Build Links

You’ve researched your niche keywords and created a great optimized website layout and you’ve got pages of SEO friendly URLs to fill.  This means you are now prepared for the most important part of long term, high quality SEO.  This is content.

By content, we mean quality content.  Update your site regularly with informative, useful and relevant to your target audience.  You need to create content that engages site visitors, making them likely to not only visit your website themselves but to share with others they know that have the same interests.

When this is applied consistently, it will bring you a reputation for expertise and trustworthiness that will attract the attention of not only more readers but also other sites with interests that are related to your own.  Your site visitors may share your page(s) through their social media accounts while other site owners will link to your content on their own from their own high quality sites.

These two trends are your best sources for organic link building, making you look popular in the eyes if Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

Being focused on your company’s SEO strategic planning is an integral aspect of growing your small business.  By putting in the necessary and required time and energy into improving your SEO, will promote better growth opportunities and will insure your site and business is successful.

Social Media continues to move toward business integration.  Communication, coordination and collaboration are major keys with social media.  Social media presence is vital to a company’s survival and success.

Giants such as Google/Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Bing, and Yahoo continue to skyrocket in growth and popularity.

Three key social media trends that come to mind are:

  • Visual – Skype, video conferencing, pictured search results, phone cameras, videos, TV viewing, pictures, internet pictures.Visual content is King.The way that news and information is organized and distributed has gone visual and is getting bigger in popularity.  In today’s world people do not get the opportunity to read long documents resulting in the move to visual means.  It really is on the rise.  After a hard day at work, getting home to view visual material and content is rewarding.  People love to create, share pictures and video.  It also provides stress relief and keeps you in a good frame of mine.
  • Smartphones, iPads, Tablets, Notebooks – These items provide ease of sharing information. An estimated 139 million people now own a Smartphone.  Web Applications, business internet, education, internet shopping, internet sharing continues to increase in popularity and text messaging.  How many times have someone shared photos, business information, movies and in general keep in touch with these communication resources.
  • Ever growing entertainment channels – Television, reality programs, variety of music, all sports, computers, internet and cell phones.People are turning to the internet to receive their daily news, current events, education, entertainment, shopping, share with others, keep in touch with friends, family, businesses, work.

Conclusion:
Companies need to embrace the awesome power of social media and be aware of how it applies to their business needs to have that competitive edge.  We want to capture and engage the audience at all times.  Most companies use customer surveys as a great tool to measure business success.

People want to stay connected, involved in current events, celebrities, sports, family and friends, business, education, just to name a few.  While reading and viewing messages and video, people through social media enjoy providing feedback expressing their views, opinions, suggestions, recommendations and thoughts.

For more information on Social Media Optimization or Social Media Consultants in South Jersey, contact Impact @ 856-778-7308 or our Contact Form Here.