Seattle SEO Tips: Social Media Creats Backlinks

SEO has changed a lot over the last few years, especially where it pertains to Google’s search algorithm. The release of Panda and then Hummingbird not only nearly eliminated the usage of keyword phrases and backlink techniques that most users relied on for ranking, it also eliminated a great deal of content spamming, such as posting dozens of low-quality articles in hopes of ranking. But, with both keywords and backlinks pretty much out of the picture, how do you rank in today’s search engines?

We got together with several local Seattle social media companies, including Rory Martin, to discuss one of the prime ranking factors, social media.

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You probably already know that social signals impact your ranking. Most search engines evaluate your audience by watching backlinks, social shares, traffic, and other data. What you might not know is that when an article gets a lot of shares, gets more traffic from social, or generates a lot of discussion on a Facebook or Google Plus page, you’re actually boosting your SEO. This is because Google ranks these social signals similarly to interaction on the page, similarly to guest posts and directory links, and essentially, as a signal that your content is popular, or something that people want to read.

But that’s not all.

Social media also provides feedback that you can use to boost your user satisfaction. Because Google’s Hummingbird is primarily about user satisfaction, that’s in your best interest. If users tell you that you need more content, write longer articles. In fact, Google is now ranking pages that are 1,500 words or longer in their own category, ‘in depth information’. By listening to what your social media is saying about your shares, your links, and your posts, you can tweak what you’re putting up to increase engagement, and therefore boost your ranking and SEO.

Social Media Shares Result in Links

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Buzzfeed did an article on the most shared articles on Search Engine Land, who promptly turned around and did a study on it. They then cross checked those with the most shares, and found that higher numbers of social shares had the highest number of backlinks. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that the social shares are backlinks, it does say that more social sharing results in more backlinks. Rather than an effect, it’s a cause and effect, which results in links, which still benefit your ranking.

Social Media Drives Traffic

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Finally, if you create high-quality, consumer oriented content for social media, then you’re probably driving traffic from your social to your web page. More importantly, because Google now ranks high-quality content as well as keywords and other data, and traffic is a ranking signal, the combination of these two items is a very clear signal to Google, Bing, and Yahoo that you deserve to be ranked. While you might still have competitors who are ahead of you on the quality content game,

SEO is a long-term strategy, and Social Media can be either or. However, analytics show that the two are now intrinsically linked, and if you want to succeed with SEO, social media platforms can help.

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Seattle Web Design – Redesigning Your Website

If you’re ready to redesign your website, then you’re probably wondering about the steps and processes that go into it. While a lot of what goes into redesigning is decision making on your part, the following include the steps taken by Seattle web design teams when reorganizing, revamping, and redesigning websites.

Seattle Web Design

Kickoffs and Meetings

The first step to redesigning your website is talking over your needs, ideas, and dislikes with your team. They will make suggestions, you will make suggestions, and both parties will walk away with a clearer idea of what you actually want. This is one of the most important reasons to hire a local Seattle web designer, because you can actually get together and talk to them, instead of trying to communicate your ideas over the web.

Structuring Content

After writing up ideas, a web design team will begin structuring content to create a mockup of the new design. Structuring is the planning of where photos, call to actions, slogans, and web content fit onto the site. It is an important part of the process because it allows both the web design team and the editorial team to work together to create something. Once your team has structured content, both teams can go to work, even if you’ve hired them separately.

Web Design

Most of the time, when you redesign your website, you get completely new web content. This is logical because it’s usually easier to start from scratch or with new ideas than to drastically change and existing website. If you’re using a theme or preexisting CMS with a custom theme, then your new web design should be finished fairly quickly, but usually you do get to see mockups first to ensure that you like the ideas.

Content Editing

If you want entirely new web content, then part of the web design is usually just that, although not all web designers offer copywriting. If you want the content to be tweaked, re-arranged, or improved, that is also an option, although it depends a great deal on you. Web content usually takes considerably less time than web design, meaning that you can have it back to approve well in advance of the website going back online. Most of the time, if you’re paying for new web design, you will want new content as well, or at least reorganized content so that it fits your new website better, suits the voice better, and if there are any errors, they are fixed.

Graphics and Artwork

If you haven’t chosen the graphics and artwork for your website, then your web design team can handle that too. In some cases, you may want custom imagery, in which case you need a photographer to come in and take quality photos. Otherwise, stock imagery will be purchased and used to brighten up the website.

If you wan to know more about redesigning websites, you can contact the Rory Martin Seattle web design team, for a consultation to ask about your site, or go ahead and make the hire to start with your kickoff meeting.

Seattle Web Development and Design: What Affect Your Bottom Line?

Paying for quality web design is an understood part of doing business on the web, but do you know how it affects your bottom line? Does having a certain type of website, or a quality looking website, actually affect sales? Actually, studies show that having a ‘credible’ looking website affects sales, and it scaled a four out of five on the level of importance. If you’re interested in improving your web design, the following include a few tips from Seattle web development professionals on what actually affects your ROI.

Clutter

Did you know that minimalistic, clean websites are more professional and usually convert better than cluttered and crowded websites? The natural idea is to try to fit everything in, but statistics show, that might actually hurt your business. Keep your tabs, submenus, and features to a minimum, and focus on offering the best quality possible for what you do have. This holds true for your web design as well. A minimalistic look with large, clean graphics, rather than more images, serves you better.

UX Design

User Experience is incredibly important for professionalism and sales. If the user can easily navigate a website, get a clear idea of what to do, and not feel marketed to, then they are more likely to purchase something. While UX design can be complicated, it’s mostly the idea of planning out your website, taking consumers from top to bottom, and then to secondary pages, and guiding them through your website. UX is making it easy for the customer to purchase something.

Content

You may have guessed that your content, including graphics and web copy, affect your sales a great deal. For graphics, you want large, unique images as often as possible. Clutter is always bad. Web copy is a little more difficult. You need well written content that avoids clichés, is easy to read, flows, well, and doesn’t make it obvious that it’s trying to sell something. Obnoxious calls to action may have worked in the past, but the modern Internet prefers to be talked to rather than marketed to.

Frequent Updates

New, content is the best way to tell your consumers that you’re still around and you’re still relevant. By updating your website frequently, keeping dates on your website to that year, and blogging regularly, you tell your consumers that you’re always around, and that you’re reliable. No one wants to purchase anything from a website that hasn’t been updated since 2012, mainly because the might not know if the website is still in business. This does mean you need a quality Content Management System.

Professionalism

If your website looks professional, then you look professional. Because a website represents your brand on the internet, it is every bit as important to be professional online as it is in your business. Your text, your conduct on blogs, and your site design should all reflect that, because they do impact your business and sales.

Want to know more about how quality web design can improve your business? Or, do you need a quality, modern website to help boost your conversion rates? Contact Rory Martin to ask about a consultation, or browse through our past websites to see what we’ve done for other clients.

Seattle Social Media Marketing: Using Facebook for Branding Not Market

Seattle Social Media Marketing: Using Facebook for Branding Not Marketing

Facebook may be one of the most popular social platforms, but recently, many marketers have begun to doubt the actual value of using it for business. While metrics show that most Facebook pages do not push a lot of sales, the platform is still a powerful marketing tool for branding, including customer service, consumer advice, and brand awareness. While many marketers mistakenly approach the platform as sales only, and push poorly converting ads and pitches over the page, to create low interaction and low engagement, there is a better, more efficient and more profitable way to use Facebook.

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 Why Doesn’t Facebook Work for Sales?

Most consumers use social media for sharing content, making connections, consumption of other content, and controlling their media. These are known as the 4 Cs of social media, and essentially motivate every user action on social media, including Facebook. Essentially, if you are not offering informative, entertaining, or valuable content and not connecting with them, they won’t want anything to do with you. Because most managers attempt to push products and services, they do not fall into the category of interests for Facebook users. Most are not there to buy something, but rather, to be entertained, and to get information.

How This Works For You

Every business has a brand, and part of that brand should be quality customer service, an informative and friendly attitude, and consistency. Posting to Facebook allows you to drive all of these impressions, by responding to consumers and replying to comments to engage your audience, consistently sharing helpful and entertaining information related to your business, offering value in the form of coupons or how-to’s and tips, and building a quality reputation through good reviews and positive comments.

Because more and more social users are now looking up businesses on Facebook as a way to vet them before making a purchase, all of these branding goals are important for you as a business. Facebook might not directly drive a sale that you can track using metrics, but it can convince your potential customer that you are a valid business, ready to offer quality services or products.

So Can You Make Money With Facebook?

Sometimes you can make money directly from Facebook, but more often, it will simply help to reinforce your brand image, give users a place to look you up, and serve as a customer support hub. While you can offer product information, advice, and tips that may lead to a purchase, your sole goal should usually be the information and advice, rather than the sale, because spammy sales tactics don’t really work that well anymore. You can push the occasional sale by offering discounts, coupons, and offers to your Facebook fans, but if you overuse it, it will loose value. Instead, consider Facebook as a valuable branding platform for your business. If you use it correctly, it can help your consumers through every step of the buying process, even if it doesn’t necessarily directly drive the sale.

If you want to know more about using your page for social branding, contact Rory Martin, a professional Seattle social media marketing team, for a consultation.

Seattle Web Design – Why A Unique Website?

If you’re getting ready to hire a Seattle web designer, then you’re probably asking a lot of questions. This article is about one important question that is bound to come up in any web design conversation. Why would you need a unique website? A unique website is a custom site designed around your needs, ideas, and values. usually created by either a web designer or a web developer. In either case, you can choose to use the website with an existing content management system or have a web developer design something around your needs. The following include several reasons why a unique website benefits you as a business.

 

Custom Websites Stand Out

Having a website that stands out is especially important if you have a number of local competitors, or a number of competitors who deliver affordably in the Seattle area. If you use a theme, then you run a certain risk of blending in with hundreds of other websites that your users and target audience probably visits on a daily or monthly basis. If your site looks the same, you won’t stand out. Because one of the main rules of marketing is to be memorable, you can probably understand why standing out, especially on the web where there are so many options, is beneficial to you. If you use a template, no matter how convenient, your website will still look like a thousand other websites. In fact, most of the popular free themes have 3,000 or more downloads, while themes that run around $50 per, usually already have several hundred.

A Custom Design Is Flexible

If you want a specific menu, banners in certain places, your graphics to be a specific size, or your shop to display images in a certain way, then you need a custom design. Unfortunately, themes are made to other people’s specifications, which means, not to yours. If you want something to suit you perfectly, then it has to be custom made.

You Can Still Use Your Favorite CMS

If you have your heart set on using Joomla, Drupal, or Wordpress with your website, don’t worry, you still can with a custom theme. In fact, it’s actually the most affordable way to go. You simply pay someone to design you a custom theme for that CMS, they set it up for you, and then you continue to use the back end of the site that you are familiar with. In fact, many major websites like CNN use custom themes with a CMS. CNN uses Wordpress.

While custom websites are flexible, easy, and great for marketing, they aren’t always the only option. It’s easy to use a theme and make it your own with the right graphics, just make sure that they are the right ones. However, there are a lot of benefits to custom sites, and you shouldn’t discount them entirely based on cost. If you’re not sure, consider having a discussion with a local Seattle web designer to talk about what’s popular, what works, and what you need.

What’s New for Seattle SEO in 2015

Marketing your website can be a big deal, especially when you’re trying to do so on a limited budget. SEO is usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of web marketing, but unfortunately, many people know surprisingly little about it, that it can change frequently, or that techniques which helped your site last month might actually hurt your website this month. SEO trends can vary a great deal depending on which search engine you’re marketing to, but the following include general rules for new SEO trends in 2015. If you need more help, consider hiring or asking a Seattle SEO expert.

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Keywords are Out But Not All the Way

In 2011, a 4% keyword density was the thing for putting you on the top of search. Fortunately, that trend is completely over and you no longer have to worry about percentages and keyword volume. But that doesn’t mean that you can ignore keywords completely. You still have to give Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines a good idea of what you’re talking about. A good rule of thumb is to use keywords as naturally as possible, only using them when you would without paying attention. You can also use Google’s SKTOOL to find a series of related keywords, you can use a thesaurus (Or just google) to find synonyms of your keyword, and then mix up phrasing and word usage. Keep in mind that your grammar and spelling should always be accurate.

Back End Optimization is More Important Than Ever

Back end optimization is often overlooked by many quick sell SEO companies, and their products and services rarely drive results. Back end optimization includes making sure that your website is search friendly, creating site maps, using appropriate meta tags, and so on.

Unique Content is Necessary to Rank

Another very important thing to consider about modern SEO is that if your content is not unique, you will not rank. This means that not only do you have to write 100% unique content for your pages, you also have to avoid doing any previously good techniques like spinning the article to post on other sites.

Quality Over Quantity

Good grammar, great spelling, informative content, and content longer than 350 words are all more likely to rank than throwing up a dozen small posts with no attention to detail. All search engines are now creating grammar and helpfulness metrics, which means that you have to start paying attention to content, quality, and readability. In some cases, this may mean paying for a professional writer.

Stop Link Farming

Whether you’re putting up guest posts, commenting with links back to your website, or adding your website to every directory you can get your hands on, just stop. It’s not helping you, and in fact, in enough quantity, it may even get you blacklisted. Instead, consider creating guest posts for the sole purpose of driving people to your website. If you don’t think the users will click through and follow it, then the link is worthless.

SEO is changing a lot, and whether you’re trying to market to a local Seattle audience, or aiming for something a little larger, it is important to follow the rules. Paying attention and keeping up to date with new rules is the only way to rank, unless you want to hire a professional Seattle SEO team to handle it for you.

Seattle SMM Tips: Do Share Campaigns Really Work?

If you spend any amount of time on social media, but especially Facebook, then you’re going to see a share campaign. Usually, these campaigns go along the lines of “Like and share this post and our page to win this item”. Or, if on Twitter, “Retweet and Favorite this post, and Follow our channel to win this item”. These share campaigns are popular, offer a reward in exchange for a behavior by a consumer, and are frequent across almost all types of social media. If you run a social media page for your business, you might be wondering if you should do the same thing, and what, if anything they will do for you. The following include tips from a professional Seattle SMM (Social Media Marketing) company, explaining exactly what share campaigns are, what they can do, and why you might want one.

What Can a Share Campaign Do?

The main goal of any share campaign is usually to build followers. No matter which social platform you’re on, the share campaign is aimed at reaching more people to build an audience of interested persons. Share campaigns can:

  • Increase page followers
  • Increase page visibility
  • Boost your social ranking
  • Boost exposure
  • Increase traffic to a website
  • Create leads
  • Create signups

Negatives of Share Campaigns

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Unfortunately, while you can build an audience with a share campaign, it isn’t going to be up to the same quality as a natural audience. Because many people will try to win things, even if they won’t consider buying them, not all of your new followers will even be interested in your product or service. Second, many people who participate in share campaigns just want free things, which means that some of your new followers may drop off in the weeks and months after your campaign ends. Furthermore, many of them will not want to buy your product. Therefore, while share campaigns can drive massive amounts of publicity, they won’t necessarily make you any money.

Pros of Share Campaigns

Share campaigns are the single easiest way to get your product a lot of exposure and quickly. Whether you’re offering a small prize or a big one, the more people who share your product, the more people who will see it. The more valuable your prize, the more people who will share it. So, essentially, if you have 1,000 people on your channel, and 30 of them share it, and 2 of each of their friends share it, and so on, you can quickly generate a large amount of shares within a relatively short amount of time. Because the average person has roughly 100 friends, give or take, this can quickly add up to a lot of exposure.

Share campaigns are not advantageous for everyone, especially if you’re operating on a very local basis, or have something that most people won’t buy because of a giveaway. For example, if you have a shoe store with a very specific type of shoes that no one else has, doing a share campaign can get you an audience, and can get people interested in sales. If you are a gardener giving away free fertilizer, then you can use a share campaign to bring people to your page, so that you can market to them later in order to push sales.

Will a social share campaign benefit you? The best route is usually to discuss your expectations and your needs with a local Seattle social media manager or marketer to see what they recommend.

Why You Should Hold a Kickoff Meeting With Your Seattle Web Development Team

Whether you’re hiring your first web development team or hiring someone to make small updates to your existent content, they will probably offer you a kickoff meeting (if they don’t, go find another developer). While it may seem like a waste of your time to get together and have a meeting with your web developer, after all, some people hire international rather than local Seattle web developers, there are a couple of pretty convincing reasons why you should take them up on the offer and attend the meeting.

What is a Kickoff Meeting

A kickoff meeting is exactly what it sounds like, it’s a meeting where you go over initial design ideas, tell your web developers what you want, and if you’re lucky, they will show you any preliminary ideas. This sort of meeting can be done over the web if you’re short on time, but you can also show up to get to meet your designers, and they can meet you to get a better feel for who you are and what you might want. Some developers will want to host the meeting in your place of business so that they can get an idea of what your business is like as well, which is helpful when creating a design.

What Should You Discuss with Your Web Designers

A great kickoff meeting will allow you to discuss your needs, desires, and requirements for the product. In return, web designers will discuss product viability, feasibility, budget, time constraints, and any preliminary options for the site. You’ll cover topics like your brand, your core products, your product purpose, and most importantly, getting everyone involved to submit ideas, suggestions, and other information which might be helpful for creating a finalized idea of what you want your website to be.

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Preparing for your Kickoff Meeting

While your web developer should do most of the prep work for the kickoff meeting, you can make sure that you are prepared by bringing along ideas of what you want your site to look like, lists of requirements, timelines, and items such as crucial elements of your website. If you have a separate web designer, then you’ll want to bring them along to the kickoff meeting as well so that they can work with the developer, but most development teams include design in the package.

Other than that, you really just have to set up a time and a place, and then start talking to your web developers about what you want and need in a site. From there, they can decide which direction you want to go, get a better idea of the feel of your company, and choose an appropriate direction, so that you get a website you truly love. A good kickoff meeting sets the stage for a whole project, and the ability to hold them is actually one of the reasons why you should choose a local Seattle web development team, rather than choosing one in Austin, Texas.

Want to know more? Contact Rory Martin to discuss your web development needs.

How Seattle Social Media Management Can Help You With Your 2015 Business Goals

Whether you’ve set sales goals or customer goals, chances are that you want to grow your business for 2015. For many businesses, that may involve identifying new demographics to market to, spending thousands on costly radio or roadside ads, and hoping that consumers will come in. For others, it means appealing to a different kind of consumer by hiring a Seattle social media management company to run a campaign to boost sales. If you’re wondering how that works, let’s discuss what you get.

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Professional Marketing Plans and Strategies

Whether you want to increase your consumer base or drive actual sales, a social media marketing team can help you do it. When you first hire the team, they will sit down with you to discuss your options, various strategies, and specifics such as offers and promotions that they may want to use as part of the campaign. Then, they will design a campaign around your needs, your budget, and your time constraints, to create a marketing plan that will drive you the consumers and sales that you want within the set time period. Because planning and strategy are most of what’s responsible for a successful campaign, this is essential for reaching your target number of consumers or sales.

Local Knowledge

You know one part of your local customer database, a professional Seattle social team knows most or all of it. They also know the online areas and hotspots where they can best market your business, know local hashtags, know pages and websites where they can promote you, and know how to reach your intended audience. The largest reason that many small businesses fail on social media is an inability to reach their target audience, and with a professional company, you completely avoid this problem.

Why hire a Social Media Management Company?

When you hire a Seattle Social Media management company to come in and take over or create your social media accounts, you’re hiring a professional to market, manage, and quality check for you. You’re also getting the advantage of a trained team of professionals who know how to market, who know how to create sales plans, and who have pushed hundreds of thousands of consumers and likes in the past. While you could hire a full time social media manager for your company, this only works if you need a full time manager, and if you’re ready to pay the often high costs associated with a quality manager. Sure you could pay anyone minimum wage to do it, but they would not have any of the marketing experience or acumen that comes with hiring a professional.

Social media is a great way to reach a nearly unlimited audience, or to reach a very select target audience in your local neighborhood depending on your plans. A Seattle social media management team can help you to get in touch with that audience, and to convert them into customers using marketing strategies and offers. If you want to know more, schedule a meeting or call us to discuss your needs, or visit our Whitepapers to see how we’ve helped other local Seattle businesses.

Seattle Web Development: Do You Need Mobile Web?

Seattle Web Development: Do You Need Mobile Web?

If you’ve been looking around for a website designer then you’ve probably heard or seen the term ‘mobile web’ a few times. If you’ve been reading up on what your website should and should not have on a blog then you’ve probably heard it more than a few times. The mobile web is a vast and confusing place if you’re new to the world of web development, but, whether you have an existing website or you’re planning on hiring a local Seattle web developer to build one for you, you’re probably only wondering one thing about the mobile web, do you need it?

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What is the Mobile Web?

The mobile web is technically any part of the web designed for mobile use. For the most part, that means websites and menus which resize or adjust or are sized properly for phones and tablets. Because traditional websites are often too big to display properly, or display so small that it is impossible to read or select the menus comfortably, the mobile web makes using the web easier.

Do You Have Mobile Traffic?

If you already have a website, then the easiest way to see if a mobile website could benefit you is to check your mobile traffic. If you have any analytics program (the free version from Google will do the trick), you can easily check to see which percentage of your visitors visit on a browser vs. a tablet or phone. Some will even tell you the specific devices such as Samsung Galaxy or iPhone that you’re getting your traffic from.

If you don’t have a website or don’t have analytics (or don’t know how to use your analytics) then you can also go by general statistics. Right now, mobile usage is trending upwards, more than 60% of users research shops, restaurants, and stores on their phone before visiting them, and more than 70% of consumers research products and cross compare them on their phone before purchasing. Essentially, if you sell products, have a store, or have anything that users may want to research online first, then the mobile web could directly impact your sales.

What Are My Options?

There are multiple options for anyone who wants to have a website that’s compatible with the mobile web, but sometimes the best thing to do is to talk to your Seattle web developer about your needs and your site first. Some websites work well with mobile websites set up separately, although these do have their issues with search engine optimization and duplicate content. You can set your website to automatically re-direct to your mobile version whenever someone logs on from a mobile device. You can also have your web designer set up a responsive web desing that resizes based on your visitors, but this isn’t always ideal.

Do you want to talk about which mobile web option is best for your website? Try talking to one of the professional Seattle web developers at Rory Martin before you make your decision.

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