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Getting a Head Start on Voice Search Optimization

Not long ago after taking a hard look at end-of-year trends for 2018, something dawned on me. Smartphones that use Google Assistant (or Siri, Cortana, etc.), and smart home speaker devices, like Alexa, are becoming a popular alternative to searching for something manually on the Internet.

I took the next few days analyzing my own site data, general theories swapped among my fellow digital marketing consultants, and speculation about what Google will be implementing via updates, to see exactly how voice search applications are going to affect Internet traffic.

Here are my findings, and a little later, I’ll show you how to prepare for its inevitable take over.

So…What is Voice Search?

Let’s start with the basics. Simply put, voice search (also known as voice-enabled) offers users the ability to use voice command to handle a specific task. Most of the time — at least at this point in time — voice search is used for searching for services or goods, as well as asking general questions, via the Internet. Most devices used to accomplish this are either mobile devices or smart home speaker devices.

With the advent of smart home speaker devices, now is the time for websites to take action in updating their SEO accordingly. Don’t believe me?

According to a 2018 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, 71 percent of people surveyed would rather use some form of voice assistant for their queries rather than typing it out and hitting the search button.

However, voice search isn’t exclusive to smart devices like Alexa or your smartphone either. People also use their desktop PCs for voice search as well.

How Will Voice Search Affect My Business?

This is the million dollar question.

There are many ways that voice search can affect your online business, but nothing showcases the power of voice search so clearly as this report conducted by BrightLocal. In short, BrightLocal found that:

  • Around 58 percent of consumers have used voice search to find local business information within the last year.
  • 46 percent of consumers use voice search to look up local business information on the daily.
  • 27 percent of consumers who use voice search then visit the website of said local business.

To be clear, voice search is just another method that consumers use to find online businesses, local or otherwise. But it’s important to be aware that if your website isn’t properly optimized for voice search, you could be losing out on revenue-generating opportunities.

That’s why hiring an experienced digital marketing consultant like me, Mauricio Piña, to open many of these potentially lucrative opportunities for you is well worth an investment.

How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search

Now that we know why optimizing our business website for voice search is important, how do we actually go about doing it? Even though many top-tier companies have foreseen this happening for years, voice search implementation has been a relatively slow process.

That being said, a few of the following tips for updating your SEO to incorporate voice search may seem a little familiar, as I’ve talked about them in the past, but essentially you’ll want to:

1. Use Natural Speech – Data from Google shows that 70 percent of requests to Google Assistant are expressed in “natural language.” In order to be effective in our efforts to attract more clients to our websites, SEO strategies for voice search must reflect this.
2. Try Long-Tail Keywords – This is important, especially in conjunction with tip number one. Long-tail keywords are, in a sense, specific phrases that people use when searching on the Internet. They generally run around three to five words long and are more specific than what you would expect from regular keywords.

To illustrate this, let’s say that you run a small business that sells vintage vinyl records from the 60s. Since your business is small, it may be a bit challenging to go up against massive businesses that sell vinyl records as well. Instead, it would benefit your business if you used targeted long-tail keywords like “vinyl records from the 60s” to attract customers looking specifically for the type of product you’re selling.

3. Use “Near Me” to Your Advantage – Since our devices are connected to the Internet, chances are high that they know where we live. Since the “near me” trend is rapidly increasing in use, it is only natural that we optimize accordingly.

Why? Because users use natural language when using voice search, and voice search optimization is based on conversational speech. Saying “near me” comes off more naturally for someone searching for a local service or good.

4. Take User Intent Into Consideration – User intent tells digital marketers and SEO gurus why users are utilizing a search engine in the first place. In most cases, it is fairly obvious why if an individual is using words like “buy” and “how to” in their query. But other times it takes a little finesse to figure it all out.

And by finesse, I mean Google’s 2013 update Hummingbird. This update did a lot for helping Google understand the context in search queries by analyzing the most relevant content. That’s why when you enter in a search for “Super Bowl winners,” Google will show the most recent champion, rather than the winner from 25 years ago.

Optimizing your site to understand user intent and helping them get quick answers is what will be important in the near future. If you do it right, you will reap the benefits from the next tip.

5. Beef Up Your Featured Snippets Game – Usually, when people use voice search, their digital assistant will read aloud the copy in the Google snippet.

You will want to take advantage of this. Doing so will establish you as a leader in your industry, which will then, in turn, gain the confidence of shoppers looking to make a purchase. That’s why it is well worth your investment to hire a digital marketing consultant to help you create quality content that answers users’ questions.

6. Improve Your Page Speed – This is something that we should all be doing, anyway, as part of our website optimization process for mobile devices. Page speed will still continue to make a difference as we focus more on optimizing voice search because people still want quick answers.

“Alexa, who is one the best digital marketing consultants in the Rio Grande Valley?” Answer: “Mauricio Piña.”

If you’re looking for guidance on how to update SEO for voice search queries or have any other digital marketing questions, do not hesitate to contact me today at (956) 566-4998.

Featured Google SEO

The Mo’ You Know: A Resource Guide for Your SEO Needs

If you’re new to digital marketing or barely on the cusp of developing your own website, then you should know that there is plenty to learn about this complex world. One of the toughest concepts to grasp is Search Engine Optimization, otherwise known as SEO.

But SEO consists of more than just one single action. In fact, Google has over 200 SEO factors that they take into consideration when ranking a website (and one of your main goals should be to have a high ranking on Google search results).

That means your website, along with your overall digital marketing strategy, has to hit multiple targets, such as:

  • JavaScript standards
  • Website security (HTTPS vs. HTTP)
  • Mobile-ready website
  • Fast web page loading
  • Correct website schema markup (coding)
  • Quality and length of website content
  • Quality social media connections to your website
  • Quality backlinks
  • Optimized images on the website
  • Off-page optimization
  • Keyword optimization
  • Sitemap optimization
  • Quality UX
  • Optimized web design
  • Quality domain authority

These are but a few components that need to be managed on an ongoing basis.

That’s right. SEO isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s a process that requires you to remain on top of your game at all times. Google loves to change its algorithm constantly and you need to be aware of these changes in order to make the proper adjustments in your SEO strategy.

Is all this scaring you? Well…it shouldn’t.

While there’s definitely a learning curve to SEO, thankfully, there are quite a few resources available out on the Internet that can get you on the right path.

(Or you can always reach out to your local digital marketing consultant if your looking for a quick start or don’t have the time to handle the complexities of SEO.)

The Basics About JavaScript and SEO

JavaScript (JS) is a frequently used programming language to develop websites. However, there were issues for some time with crawlers being unable to properly index JS websites. When indexing couldn’t be properly completed then a website’s ranking was affected.

Fast forward a few years, however, and Google now has the ability to crawl JavaScript. This has changed digital marketing and SEO. It’s important to be aware, however, that there are certain instances in which a crawler could misinterpret content on your website and thus affect ranking results.

Google is leading the way in terms of successfully crawling JavaScript websites but you should still be wary of developing your entire website using it. It’s better that you use JavaScript for certain elements so that your site can be easily accessed by crawlers.

When it comes to JavaScript and SEO, you should know that:

  • JavaScript content must be indexable within the load event.
  • Content dependent on user events is not indexable.
  • You’ll need an indexable URL with server-side support for your JavaScript site.
  • There shouldn’t be any variations between the HTML and JavaScript versions of your website.
  • All essential elements or content on your JavaScript website need to load during the load event. Anything loaded after will not necessarily be crawled and indexed.
  • You’ll need to allow search engines to crawl your JavaScript, otherwise, they may penalize you.
  • Consider doing a manual check to see if your website is “crawlable”.

There’s plenty (and we mean plenty) more that can be said about JavaScript and SEO but the resources below should help you to develop a clearer understanding.

The SEO Resources You Need to Know About

First on our list are the “Beginner Guides and How-To’s” of SEO:

What you need to know about JavaScript and SEO:

Google resources you need to know about:

Websites that can help you on your SEO journey:

If you need in-depth assistance setting up your website SEO and customizing your JavaScript website to improve your ranking on Google, then contact a digital marketing consultant like me, Mauricio Pina, at (956) 566-4998 today.


Top Three Tips That Make Earning Links Easy (Or at Least Easier)

Want to know an easy-peasy way to get Google to realize that your site is a credible and trusted source of information? Well…sorry to burst your bubble but there is no magic solution that can make link building happen at just the snap of your fingers.

While earning links isn’t super challenging, it can take some time and effort. Today, we’re taking a look at the top three tips you need to make earning links easier.

What Goes On When Earning Links?

It is important to note that there are two types of links: inbound and outbound.

I. Inbound – This type of link building is what we will be discussing throughout this post as they have more value when it comes to helping your website achieve a higher search engine rank. These types of links come from an outside website linking to yours.

For example, if your website features custom-made cupcakes and the Food Network links to your website in their “Best Cupcakes of 2018” article, this gives you a referral that never expires.

II. Outbound – These types of links work in reverse. This occurs when you link to a website. An example of this would be when you cite a study from a government agency to lend credibility to your blog post.

Earning inbound links is considered by many to be the best way to develop long-term traffic growth. Digital marketers reap many benefits from link building including:

  1. It establishes your website as an authority in your niche.
  2. It increases your website’s search engine ranking depending on the query.
  3. It supplies an indefinite amount of referral traffic.
  4. It helps reinforce your brand’s online reputation.

Top Three Tips to Know

  1. Generate Original Research Value

  2. This tip gives you the most value, bar none. Creating original research is the best way to attract inbound links, as long as what you are researching is something that people/site visitors will care about. Couple that with fresh information that people have yet to see, and before you know it, you’ll start earning links.

    Why is this important? Well, conducting research means that you’ve done the work that other companies may not want to put the effort into. Since this research was conducted by your company alone, others in your industry will come to you as a source.

    The best way to really set up some mileage with this tip is to conduct a survey, as it is an inexpensive and informative way to collect data relevant to your niche while setting you up as a trusted source.

  3. Offer to do a Guest Blog

  4. In a perfect world, an outside company would link your blog or article in one of their own, generating interest and sharing traffic between both sites. In the real world, your blog has to offer some sort of worth in order for visitors to find value in the information you are posting.

    Usually, to do so, you’d have to cite your facts or quotes, stemming from other types of studies or research. But the next best thing would be to earn a guest blog spot for a site that has already been established as an authoritative figure in your niche.

    Guest posting helps you gain exposure from other established sources, quickly promoting you to a position of trustworthiness. Getting to the point that you can create a guest post usually takes a little longer than letting the links come in naturally, but this method is more effective.

  5. Enlist the Aid of Influencers

  6. For those of you not familiar with the term, an influencer is an individual that has the power to affect the purchase decisions of others due to their wealth of knowledge, authority in their particular niche, and/or relationship with his or her audience. A good amount of influencers can be found on YouTube, Twitter, or Instagram.

    Influencers work hard to attract an audience in their particular niche, and if you share that niche, you may be able to enlist their support.

    To enlist their help, there are three things that you can do:

    1. Create a piece of content alongside the influencer.
    2. Conduct an interview with them.
    3. Reach out directly to them and advertise your piece or idea to them.

    Recruiting an influencer to your company’s cause is one of the best options your business can undertake, essentially placing your traffic growth on cruise control while leaving you to be able to focus on other key areas of your business. But be aware that this route could come with some substantial costs.

    Do you need a little assistance earning links to establish you as an authoritative figure in your industry? Contact me today at (956) 566-4998 to get started.

SEO Web Design

Five Reasons Why You Should Do a Content Audit on Your Website

Fact: Writing content for a business blog or website is not easy. Not only do you have to cook up some creative copy that gathers the reader’s attention, but you also need to remain consistent throughout the piece to keep them engaged.

You also have to worry about all of the little intricacies of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that will get those eyes to your page in the first place.

It’s a lot of stuff to take into consideration, and even once your piece is published, you can’t just kick back and expect those leads to come pouring in. You’ll have to monitor how well your content is doing through tools like Google Analytics. If it’s doing poorly, you’ll need to address those problem areas.

That, in a very small nutshell, is what content auditing is all about. And if you want to convert as many leads into sales, you’ve got to do it.

Today, we’re taking a look at the five top reasons why you should do a content audit.

  1. You Just Started to Localize Your Content
  2. Localizing your content is the process of adapting the content that you produce based on a specific location. That means adapting your copy to hit local SEO factors in an effort to make your business stand above the local competition, making accurate translations that reflect your business message to people overseas, and formatting your content in a way that is culturally sensitive to the customs of people outside of the United States.

    That’s where a good ol’ fashioned content audit comes into play. It can identify areas in your content that need to be fixed including terminology, any processes, tools, and templates that need altering to fit localization. Outside of the U.S., marketers call this internationalization.

    Adapting your content to fit localization recommendations through accurate translations, and the like, can help establish you as a reliable source of information, gaining the confidence of people no matter where they live while boosting up your conversion rates.

  3. Your Company Merged With Another
  4. Company mergers can be a very complicated thing, and updating your website can be the last thing on your mind. Hiring a digital marketing consultant, however, can get you back on track in no time flat.

    In reality, your content needs to be updated to reflect any big changes. If your content still reflects the old business or department name, your visitors will lose trust, thinking that your company doesn’t care enough to update its online content. If the company doesn’t care to update its content, it can be easily misconstrued that your company doesn’t care enough about providing the best product or service either.

    Unfortunately, perception is reality in the marketing business, so conducting a content audit if or when your company or department merges with another is an absolute necessity.

  5. Attracting the Right Amount of Traffic for the Wrong Reasons
  6. If traffic is flowing into your site like milk into a cereal bowl but you aren’t getting much of an increase to your conversion rate, you may be attracting the right amount of traffic for the wrong reasons.

    What does that mean? Well, it can mean a few things:

    1. Your page copy isn’t targeting a specific buyer persona.
    2. Your copy doesn’t address your target audience’s interests or needs.
    3. Your content isn’t persuasive enough.
    4. Your content fails to clarify a call to action that your visitor must take.

    A content audit can help you identify the problematic blog pieces or web pages that need a little TLC in order to jump-start your dead-on-arrival conversion rate.

  7. Your Visitors are Having a Hard Time Navigating Through Your Site
  8. We’ve all been there – going to a website looking for information on a product, but with no clear pathway to get to where you want to go.

    It’s frustrating, and in most cases, you end up leaving the page without the information you initially went for. It’s no different for visitors to your website if there isn’t a clear pathway to get to the product or service information that they need. If they don’t find what they need quickly, they’ll leave, and your bounce rate will increase.

    Sometimes a quick rearrangement of the site menu bar or helpful links on the home or landing page can direct customers to the information they need. At the same time, a simple content audit can help you identify where the issue is and allow you to fix it.

  9. Rebranding Your Company
  10. Rebranding is a marketing strategy used where your company’s logo, name, slogan, symbol, or design is changed in an effort to revitalize your business, make appropriate changes to two companies that have merged, or to update the direction of the company.

    Rebranding shines when it comes to making your business stand out among competitors as well.

    When you’ve finally taken the plunge to rebrand your company and are left with the titanic task of redesigning your website to accommodate those changes, a content audit is just what you need to tie up all the loose ends.

A quality content audit is your ticket to greater returns. An experienced digital marketing consultant can help you get there.  

A content audit requires a skilled eye to read the data, interpret it, and create a digital marketing plan that can address the areas of concern. As a business owner, you have more than enough on your plate. Let a digital marketing consultant do the heavy digital marketing lifting for you.

Contact me today at (956) 566-4998 to set up a consultation and to learn more about a content audit.

Content Management SEO

Beef Up Your On-Page Optimization Game With These Three Quick Tips

Let’s face it. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all of these updates that Google implements on a frequent basis.

Even for a seasoned search engine optimization expert and digital marketing consultant like me, Mauricio Piña, it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of what works and what doesn’t after an update to Google’s core algorithm, but lucky for us, there are some fundamental things that hardly ever change.

And a lot of it has to do with how your on-page optimization is set up. Today, we’re going to discuss how to beef up your on-page optimization so that your website can climb—and stay—high in ranking.

But First, What Is On-Page Optimization?

To put it simply, on-page optimization is a special modification of individual web pages in order to earn relevant traffic and raise higher in Google’s ranking system.

What exactly is modified? That depends.

On-page usually refers to content that is on the page as well as HTML source code that can be modified—or what we in the industry call “optimize”. Since Google is updated constantly, sometimes what works one day doesn’t work as well as it should the next day.

That’s why hiring a digital marketing consultant is a valuable business decision. Running a business is hard enough without a digital marketing plan, but having an expert that can advise you with all of the latest information about on-page SEO, even off-page SEO, and the like is crucial to staying on top of the search engine results page (SERP), maximizing your revenue by being visible to more potential customers.

So without further adieu, here is what can be done to make sure that your on-page optimization is on point.

1. Avoid Low-Value Content Writing and Coding Tactics

Your content, in a nutshell, should not only answer your visitor’s questions—whether it be about your product or service—but it should also help them understand the purpose of your site and guide them throughout it as well.

While our first instinct may be to focus on writing content that is solely geared toward ranking high in search alone, it is pertinent to understand that ranking high is an added benefit. Your true focus should rely on helping searchers, even when they become visitors.

How? By remembering Google’s golden rule: Thou shalt create valuable content.

To ensure that your content is attracting the right traffic to your site, you’ve got to play by Google’s rules, meaning you should avoid:

  1. Thin Content – This type of content is generally defined as content that offers little to nothing of value to the visitor. Back in the old days, in order to compete with other websites, it wasn’t unusual to have content that was used—or duplicated—across many other relevant pages of product that you wanted to sell. It also wasn’t unusual to have nearly the same content on those pages with the keyword being the only distinguishing factor.
  2. As one particular example, this happened a lot with local businesses that would create multiple pages of the same content targeting regions or cities they wanted to pull clients from. The only thing that was different about these pages were the location keywords. This content would ultimately prove to be of little value to visitors, causing them to leave and increasing the business’ bounce rate.

    Before this problem was rectified in 2011 with Google’s update Panda, taking advantage of SEO in this manner was the norm, and it spawned much low-value content all over the ‘net. Now, Google rightfully demotes websites like this in an effort to keep the high-quality content that helps the most people ranking high in the SERP.

  3. Keyword Stuffing – Back then, keyword stuffing is something that a lot of digital marketers did in an effort to rank up their keywords.
  4. When Google was still figuring out all of its semantics, it wasn’t unusual to see pieces of content pop up here and there that were loaded with keywords. For example, let’s assume that you are generating content that has a keyword of “cherries”.

    “Are you looking for cherries in Austin, TX? Hi, I’m Tom, and I pick cherries in Austin, TX! I am the best picker of cherries in Austin that you’ll ever find. These Austin cherries…”

    You get the gist. It wouldn’t be long until Google determined that content stuffed with keywords was considered low-value. Reading it comes off unnatural—almost robotic or auto-generated—to the reader, and no one wants to read something like that. It turns visitors off, leaving you with nothing but an increased bounce rate.

  5. Hiding Text in Your HTML Code, or “Cloaking” – As a general guideline, you want to keep the text within your HTML visible. Why?
  6. In short, you want web crawlers from search engines to see the same content that a visitor would see. When this guideline is broken, it is called “cloaking”. Search engines normally don’t take too kindly on cloaking and will prevent these websites from ranking in the SERP.

    However, Google will, in certain cases, allow cloaking if it contributes to a positive experience for the visitor.

2. Optimize Your Images

An image-heavy website can weigh you down in terms of ranking. Images take time to load, and if your website takes a long time to load—over 3 seconds—then you could be penalized for it.

Luckily for us, that is why we can utilize image compression to our advantage. Because there is no particular “one size fits all” aspect in web design, image compression is the next best thing.

A bevy of options await for anyone interested in using image optimization to improve their Google ranking through on-page SEO. Compression tools like Optimizilla works wonders in compressing images, but you could use other options like “save for web” or tinkering with image sizing if you know your way around that.

Another tried and true way to optimize your images is by choosing the right format for your image. To put it simply:

  1. Gifs are the perfect format for images that need animation.
  2. If high image resolution isn’t a priority for you, use JPEG and test its different compression settings.
  3. If you do need higher image resolution, use PNG-24 for images that have a multitude of colors and PNG-8 for images that have less.

You’ll also want to adjust your thumbnails accordingly, and while you’re at it, make sure that your alternative text describes images for the visually impaired. By doing this, you are providing context of the image to your visually impaired potential customers, increasing your earning potential and becoming a trusted—and frequently visited—source for visually impaired customers interested in purchasing your product or service.

Oh, and web crawlers also gather information about your images from the alternative text, so having an accurate depiction of your alternative text is essential to these little friendly bots and the search engines they serve.

3. Make the Most Out of Meta Descriptions

In short, meta descriptions detail what your website is about to searchers. It is the few sentences below the link to a website that describe what that website is about that you would see after a quick Google search. They are normally created through HTML elements that are nested into the head tag.

You’ve got around a 150 to 300 character limit to make an effective meta description. That’s it. Within that limit, you’ve got to make sure that you have:

  1. An effective Call to Action.
  2. Your brand name visible.
  3. Your geographical location visible.
  4. Any featured details regarding your business.
  5. Any sort of unique value that your business offers.

Make sure that your meta descriptions are relevant to the content on your website. It should essentially summarize the key concept or purpose of your business without giving away too much information that won’t lead a searcher to click through.

Google frequently chooses and displays text that is relevant to the searcher’s query on the SERP. While this helps your meta descriptions for searches that are more unique, you cannot afford to leave out an effective meta description. Google may not consider meta descriptions a ranking factor, but they sure do help your click-through rate.

With These Three On-Page SEO Tips, Paired With Great, Valuable Content Meant to Inform and Entice Your Visitors, Reaching High Search Engine Ranking—And Staying There—Is Easy, Especially When You Have an SEO Guru Like Me, Mauricio Piña, By Your Side. Contact Me at (956) 566-4998 Today.

Google Ranking SEO

Three Reasons Why Ranking Well On Google Is Important

Google RankingYou don’t have to be a search engine optimization expert to understand the importance of using quality SEO practices.

The name of the game is all about getting your website high in Google’s ranking system and propelling your site onto the first-page of the SERP. Having a first-page ranking is absolutely essential as the vast majority of people never look past the first-page results.

75% of users never get past first page search results #Google #FirstPage #SEO Click To Tweet

In the digital world, you want to develop a digital marketing strategy that drives leads to your website or brick-and-mortar store. In order to do that, however, you need to rank well on Google. Don’t worry, though, you have my help – an expert digital marketing consultant – to get you there.

In today’s post, we’re looking at why exactly why ranking in Google is so important.

1. Visibility

It’s no secret that Google is widely popular. In fact, it is the No. 1 search engine in the U.S., handling over 12 billion searches per month. And this isn’t just a couple thousand or even hundreds of thousands of users. We’re talking nearly 1.17 billion unique individuals that use Google every month.

If you think that is impressive, just wait. Google generates 63.5% of all core search queries in the United States. For mobile search, Google dominates with 93% market share. This is extremely important as 93% of all buying decisions start with an online search.

What does that all mean? Billions of people are using their mobile devices to conduct Google searches for items, products, or services they would like to purchase.

If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, isn’t optimized for voice search, and/or isn’t properly optimized through other standard SEO practices, your ranking will tank. Don’t let diminishing visibility make you lose out on potential customers.

2. Indexing

In a nutshell, the higher page ranking you have in Google, the faster your content is going to get indexed.

What exactly does that mean? Well, indexing is when Google collects, analyzes, and stores data so that it can pull up accurate information at a rapid pace when a relevant topic is searched for in Google Search.

Indexing isn’t only limited to Google. For instance, Bing also works in a similar manner. Search engines release little bots called web crawlers. In Google’s instance, their web crawling bots are called “spiders”. These spiders do the brunt of the collecting, analyzing, and storing of new pages so that they can be added into the Google Index.

Naturally, if you are ranked higher with Google, these little critters will be able to index your business site more quickly than if you had a lower rank. Faster indexing allows searchers to find your web page faster.

As they say in the world of business – “Time is money.”

3. Authority and Credibility

This one is a big one. If done right, your high Google ranking can establish you as a trusted source of information, products, or services. If you are considered a trusted source, it is more likely that you will appear on the first SERP.

Search engines evaluate a ton of factors in order to determine whether or not your web page can be considered legitimate:

  1. Out-links – Links that are present in your content that link out to credible sources. But if it leads back to a website that is no longer relevant or simply outdated, your ranking can take a hit.
  2. In-links (a.k.a. backlinks) – These links are from credible sources that are linking to your web page. This is one of the most – if not the most – effective ways of raising your rank. It goes without saying, the more credible and trustworthy the site, the better your ranking will be.
  3. Traffic – In essence, the more traffic you attract, the more relevant you are to people searching for content in your niche.
  4. Error-free site – Clean up all of those missing links and images, spelling errors, and 404 errors.
  5. User-friendly navigation – Ensure that your visitors can easily navigate through your website to get to the information they are seeking. Complicated pathing in a website can cause your visitors to leave, increasing your bounce rate and lowering your ranking since the search engine will recognize that your site wasn’t a good match for their search inquiry.
  6. XML sitemap – On the other side of the spectrum, your site needs to be easy for spiders to traverse. XML sitemaps act like a roadmap for web crawlers that leads them through your site, either by a text-based list of pages contained throughout your website or a .xml file.

While these aren’t the end-all-be-all factors that contribute to a higher ranking in Google, they are strong factors that can get you started.

Of course, if you need more in-depth assistance setting up your website to rank high with Google, all you need to do is contact a digital marketing consultant like me, Mauricio Pina, at (956) 566-4998 today.

Digital Marketing SEO

Local SEO: Getting Down to Local Business

Local SEOYes…I know I harp a lot about how big SEO is. But it really does bear repeating. There are a plenty of meaningful SEO tactics and strategies that one can be used to improve your website’s Google ranking.

But I know what you’re thinking. “Moe, I’m a small business owner. How can I compete when my market is dominated by a national chain?”

Easy. Local search engine optimization.

Leave it to an expert digital marketing consultant like me, Mauricio Pina, to give you a little bit of insight on Local SEO and how it can improve your lead generation and business.

What is Local SEO?

SEO can encompass a lot of different things. But in this instance, local SEO deals specifically with search engine tactics that focus on helping you reach customers based on location.

Sounds simple, right? While it’s an easy concept to understand, it’s a little harder to put in practice. When implemented correctly, however, it can help your small business outrank larger competitors. Plus, with the Internet going through a mobile revolution, it is a tactic you are going to want to master.

How does Local SEO work?

Millions of potential customers are combing through the Internet at any given moment, searching for that perfect product, service, restaurant, etc.

This is where local SEO comes in.

Local SEO is comprised of several components that allow you to be found online when customers are searching in your area or city. Some of the most important steps to improve your local SEO include:

    1. Web Localization – When it comes to localizing your web page, you are going to want to pepper in your city, county, or region name naturally throughout your site. You don’t have to saturate your site with said information because if Google detects that you are trying to exploit its algorithm, it could penalize you.

      Rather, sprinkle it throughout your content and blogs. You can also use a footer on your site to include your local information (address, phone number, hours of operation, etc.).

    2. Citation Building – Your business – whether it is a brick-and-mortar shop or e-business- needs to be featured in online business directories and citation sites. This helps your local SEO two-fold:
      1. Helps customers find your business.
      2. Having your business on citation sites and online business directories improves your search rankings.
    3. Acquiring Quality Backlinks – Backlinks from authoritative sites like local newspapers, business associations, bloggers, and citations help build your site’s credibility, helping search engines acknowledge your website as a trusted page full of quality information.
    4. Managing Your Reviews and Ratings – Honest ratings and reviews are valuable for numerous reasons. They give potential customers a glimpse of how well of a service or product you provide. They also signal to search engines that the site and product/service you provide are both useful and trustworthy. Important factors about reviews and ratings that help improve your rankings include:
      1. The number of reviews you’ve received.
      2. The general quality of the reviews and ratings.
      3. The authority that the review or rating sites carry.
    5. Google My Business Listings – This is a key step in improving your website’s visibility – especially with Google. Google My Business helps you display important business information on Local Search, Google +, and Maps. Take ownership of these online directories right away.

    Does your business need a Local SEO rework? Contact the digital consultant extraordinaire, Mauricio Pina, to find out more.

    Properly implementing Local SEO strategies can help you to equalize the market, giving your business the ability to compete with larger competitors. When done right, Local SEO optimization can net you a lot of revenue for your business.

    If you need help, enlist the aid of a digital marketing consultant like me to help build your website’s presence. Contact me today at (956) 566-4998 to learn more about how I can help you increase your profit.

Content Management Digital Marketing SEO

The 411 on Conversion Funnels

Lead Generation

Maybe your website is doing just fine without a particular marketing strategy. Maybe you’re making okay earnings every month with what you are doing right now.

But the truth is, without a direction, you could be ultimately shooting yourself in the foot – so to speak.

A conversion funnel can organize not only the way you run your business – but more importantly – it can make your shoppers transition to customers much easier.

If you don’t know what a conversion funnel is or haven’t developed one, you’re in luck. In today’s piece, we are focusing on what a conversion funnel is, why they are so important, and how they can benefit your business.

First thing’s first: What is a conversion funnel?

A conversion funnel is a concept that helps marketers visualize how a customer lands on their website and is directed to perform a certain desired action – usually to purchase a product or service.

You may have heard it called a “sales funnel” before. In truth, they are one in the same. It is called a funnel because it guides the customer toward a conversion point in a multitude of ways:

The terms “desired action” is defined by what the business hopes to accomplish. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the desired action is to have your customer purchase a product or service, although it mostly used as such.

A conversion funnel can also be used to gather customers’ email addresses in an effort to create an email list that your business can use for an effective email marketing campaign. It can also guide visitors to download useful PDFs on certain subjects, offering a little more information that wouldn’t be found in a traditional blog.

However, the word “funnel” may implicate some sort of haphazard pouring of customers into your business. Of course, you need to do your best to attract customers to your funnel, but don’t narrow it down so much that a customer feels closed in. Your customer needs to have options that they can select (like proceeding to a landing page, opting in or out of an email list, etc.), and the funnel must also present clear directions to them there.

Let’s Put This All into Context

Take, for instance, a customer interested in purchasing scented candles. They’ll type in “scented candles” in the Google search bar and find a distributor recommended by a friend. The moment the friend told them about the site, they were already in the first stage of the funnel known as “Awareness”.

The potential customer will go to the website and immediately notice a blog: “Three Scented Candles You Want to Use Around the House For Summer”. They’ll click on it because that was just what they were looking for. This particular stage in the funnel is called “Interest”.

They’ll read the content and are pleased with the inspiration that it provided them. This is the “Desire” stage of the funnel.

At the end of the blog post will be a “Call to Action”. A call to action attempts to convince your potential customer to do a desired action. In this case, perhaps it will be a link that leads to the three candles that were highlighted in the blog with an option to buy. This stage is known as “Conversion” because you are converting shoppers into customers—assuming they make the purchase.

So, let’s recap. The stages within a conversion funnel are:

  1. Awareness – making customers aware of your product through SEO, content marketing, word of mouth, etc.
  2. Interest – providing engaging and attractive content like blogs or email campaigns.
  3. Desire – essentially building upon the interest stage with product reviews, tantalizing images of your product, fantastic product descriptions, or inspiring videos.
  4. Conversion – turning the shopper into a customer.

While these are all crucial components of a conversion funnel, people tend to forget another important part of it: re-engaging.

Customer retention is the lifeblood of an e-commerce business. These customers are crucial to your revenue streams because:

  1. You don’t have to pay much of anything to get these type of customers.
  2. They already demonstrated an interest in your business.

Needless to say, you’ll want to pull these customers back to the top of the funnel to start the process all over again. Some of the easiest ways to do this are to:

  1. Have them sign up for an email list.
  2. Encourage them to follow your social media accounts for latest news, offers, products, and more.
  3. Send coupons or special deals to their email.
  4. Ship marketing or loyalty materials with their purchase so they know they are a valued customer.
  5. Expand your product line or develop new services to entice them back.

These are all cost-effective ways to re-attract customers that you can use to pump up your revenue stream.

Why are conversion funnels so important?

Simply, conversion funnels are important because they help you pinpoint where customers are having difficulty transitioning from potential shoppers to actual customers. If your website doesn’t have a conversion funnel strategy, that could be a big reason why your conversion rate is so low.

Maybe the shopping cart is buggy or not user-friendly. Maybe content is not engaging or missing a call to action and customers don’t know where to go to purchase your product or services. Cluttered or poorly detailed product pages and descriptions can leave a customer confused.

So many minor and major things can compromise the conversion of shoppers to customers, and your earning potential may be suffering as a result. With a proper conversion funnel strategy, you can easily see where improvements must be made – and then make them. In the end, taking the time to address these pain points only builds up your business’ earnings and that is always a good thing.

With a good conversion funnel, your business can truly thrive. To start developing yours, enlist the help of an expert digital marketing consultant like me, Mauricio Pina. Contact me at (956) 566-4998 today to find out how I can help you grow your business through digital marketing.

Google Ranking SEO

5 Reasons Your WebSite Is Not Ranking

As a business owner, it’s not only important for you to have a website, but to have it ranking high on Google as well (preferably on the first page). If you’re wondering why, then consider this.

Studies show that 90% of people never go beyond the first page of Google’s search results, and the first 10 positions account for 94% of all clicks. Suffice to say that a first page ranking on Google can bring in lots of visitors and potential sales.

But there are a number of obstacles that can get in the way of your website earning that valuable high ranking. As a digital marketing consultant, I’ve seen my fair share of SEO, website design, and digital marketing issues that can greatly affect ranking – and the opportunities it brings.

If you’re wondering why your site is not ranking well on Google, then the following information is precisely what you need to know.

Why Your Site Might Not Be Ranking

    1. It’s a new website.

If you aren’t too familiar with the digital world, it can be easy to expect that your brand new website will be at the top of every search engine as soon as you launch. But, unfortunately, that’s not the way things work.

There is plenty of work that needs to get done including back-end SEO, link building, content building, and more. All of this takes time to implement and then Google might recognize your site and start moving you up the ranking.

Again, this all takes time and it can be anywhere from a few months to a year before you see some noticeable results.

    1. Digital competition can be fierce.

As mentioned before, there’s plenty of back-end work that goes into developing your website and building up your reputation. One of those important factors is going to be your targeted keywords. These are the words you want your business’s website to be known for (e.g. dentist, doctor, restaurant, jewelry, etc.); essentially the product or services that you offer.

Depending on the level of competition on your keyword, getting your ranking up is going to require some SEO expertise, plenty of hard work, and time. Don’t expect to catch up to your competitors in only a few short months. If they are well recognized, it’s going to be a challenge to overcome them.

That’s why when you are developing your SEO strategy, you need to do plenty of research on your targeted keywords to get a solid understanding of where you stand and what you will need to do. Tools like Moz can help you get a better view of the road ahead.

    1. Your content just isn’t up to par.

The content on your website plays a major role in Google’s indexing process and ranking standards. Content also affects your SEO strategy, the value of your site to visitors, and backlinking validation (when another site shares your content).

It’s important to recognize that content issues is a multi-faceted problem.

For starters, you need to have high-quality content on your website. Content comes in many different shapes and forms including images, video, and text. If you don’t have much on your site, then Google isn’t going to be able to rank you at all, but having a bunch of nonsensical, keyword stuffed pages isn’t going to help either. Quality is key here, and content should:

      • Be helpful to your audience
      • Be written in a way that includes targeted keywords while meeting customer needs
      • Be shareable
      • Feature images
      • Be shared on your social profiles

The next thing to consider when it comes to your content is optimization. Page headings, image file names, alt-text, internal and external links, markups, URL structures, and overall design all need to be factored in. Perfecting these aspects of your content will definitely help with ranking.

    1. You are under negative SEO attack!

While this might be a little more rare, it’s important to accept that the world wide web can be a dangerous place with plenty of competitors and outright malicious hackers willing to sabotage all your hard work by using negative SEO tactics against you.

There might not be any rhyme or reason to the attack on your website. It’s just something that occasionally occurs (but Google will try to help you out…or at least notify you).

    1. You p!$$&d Google off.

Ok…so Google doesn’t actually get mad per se, but there are some behaviors that can lower your ranking and get you penalized. A few of the more noticeable website mistakes and issues that can hurt your ranking include:

    • A bad domain history, constantly being penalized, or using black hat SEO tactics can quickly put you in the doghouse with Google. Don’t risk it. Google has gotten pretty smart about these behaviors.
    • Page speed is going to become a major ranking factor in July 2018. Make sure that your site is up to par.
    • Keyword stuffed pages, valueless content, spammy links, and tricky redirects will ultimately work against you in the long run.
    • You’re focused only on one aspect of digital marketing; Google is getting better at taking into account your business’s entire online profile. And really it just makes sense. When your social media profiles and YouTube videos are driving visitors back to your site who engage with your content, then you’ll build a bigger community, and Google will take note of that.
    • You accidently blocked Google from crawling your website.Yes, this can really happen and can be fixed in your robots.txt file.

Moving Up Google Rankings: Never Give Up

Does it seem like there’s a lot to do to get your website where you want it to be? If it does, then you are finally starting to see the big picture.

Digital marketing is a lot more than just a pretty website. There’s plenty that goes into making your business’s site shine and get all the attention that it deserves.

But don’t worry. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can start reaping the benefits of a meaningful digital marketing strategy.

And if you need a little bit of help getting to that top ranking spot on Google search, then contact me today at 956-566-4998. I have the experience and technical know-how to get your website ranked and visitors converted into sales.

Featured SEO

“Hey Moe, What Exactly Is Search Engine Optimization?”

Throughout my years of digital marketing, I’ve had plenty of inexperienced entrepreneurs spring up to me with a fresh-faced approach and a glint of hope in their eye. The future looks bright for them, especially since they have found an online niche that they believe will be profitable.

That look of enthusiasm quickly fades away when I ask them if they have a particular SEO strategy. Some may actually know what it means but don’t have a full grasp of what it can do for them.

I don’t blame them. SEO itself can be a confusing topic for discussion that can mean many different things. But luckily for you, this digital marketing consultant is more than willing to help out anyone looking for more information on the subject.

Okay, really though. What is SEO?

Search engine optimization is the process that helps websites become more visible in a search engine’s unpaid results. It’s important to also recognize that SEO isn’t a “one and done” kind of thing, either. One day’s success may be the next day’s failure because of frequent changes made to search engine algorithms. For instance, Google updates their system between 500 to 600 times a year.

Therefore, marketers must adapt their SEO practices to the frequent changes made to the search engine algorithms in order to keep their website(s) ranking. If marketers fail to make the appropriate changes to content or any other ranking factor on their website, their website may lose their ranking, or even be removed entirely.

How does SEO work?

While we all know what a search engine is – like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing – many do not know how they really work. Well, understanding all the intricacies that happen behind the scenes can definitely give you a newfound appreciation for the technological marvels that are search engines.

First, Google, or whatever search engine you use, sends out search engine spiders to gather information on all the content they can find on the Internet regarding your query. When they return to the search engine with all of the data that they have collected, they create an index. After that, the index is sifted through the algorithm to accurately match the original query.

This is literally the first two-thirds of what SEO stands for – search engines (SE).

When it comes to optimizing (the O in SEO), that is more in control of the owner of the website, be it business or personal.

In short, optimizing is something that can be done in several ways. One of the popular options is in content writing, where keywords are used to attract both traffic and search engine spiders. A few years back, loading up a blog post full of keywords was a go to in terms of SEO, but now the focus is being shifted back—and rightly so—to several other factors that encourage content to be less focused on keywords and more focused on actually being informative and valuable.

While there are fast and easy methods you can use to make a quick buck, sticking to long-term, sustainable SEO practices are much more rewarding. In order for your website to have longevity and success, you need to be able to utilize both your on-page and off-page SEO at maximum efficiency.

What is on-page and off-page SEO?

These two categories need to be working well together in order to have a successful SEO strategy:

  • On-page SEO – This refers to all of the ranking factors and variables that Google and other search engines use to look at your web page and its optimization, such as content, headlines, and page structure.
  • Off-page SEO – This method deals with link building, social media marketing, social bookmarking, the personal history of the person doing the search and several other variables that deal with your website’s reputation.

Sound a little confusing?

Think about it this way: in this particular scenario, you own a restaurant. A good example of on-page SEO would be the inside of the restaurant that features beautiful, wooden oak tables stained a rich mahogany, a sleek and clean bar area with a variety of taps and top-shelf beverages in the back, friendly wait staff, and steamin’ hot food ready within minutes.

It could be the perfect bar and grill on the inside but if it doesn’t have a solid reputation, if there’s no social gatherings happening there, no word around town, no magazine or newspaper reviews, then you won’t have a crowd coming in.

If this scenario is reversed and you have a great social presence but a raunchy interior, you won’t have good results either.

In fact, you may have more people bounce. Not, like, slang for “leave,” but a term that Google uses when people leave only after viewing one page in your website. Having a high bounce rate will bring down your page in rank, making your website less and less visible.

To be truly successful when it comes to SEO, you’ve got to have both on-page and off-page SEO working in tandem.

Search engine optimization is a huge field of study that requires a lot of time and patience to master. Luckily for you, you have a digital marketing consultant, me, at the ready waiting for your call for any additional information you need.