How To Improve Your Search Engine Ranking With Content Marketing

When a new client approaches us for a website design, one of the most common issues with their current site is that it hasn’t been updated in months or years. Your web designer or a dedicated person on your team should be constantly crafting new content for your website to keep it fresh.

A decade or two ago, it was common thinking that a website should be set in stone and only updated very occasionally, like a brochure or business card. That’s simply not the case anymore.

The Online Experience Centers Around Contentcms-265127_1920

As can be seen by the popularity of sites like The Huffington Post, Reddit, HowStuffWorks and countless blogs, fresh, ever-changing content helps sites retain and grow a following and build their ranking in search engines. Sites which are constantly changing their content, being added to and improved are getting the most traffic.

However, each of those sites have a focus: news and opinion, cool and strange things from the internet, and explanations of how language, mechanics and other things work. Their content focuses on those things and their readers reward good content with clicks, time spent on the page and site, and sharing those articles on social media.

Therefore, your site should not only have new content, but it needs to be centered on topics which reinforce your business. This is the heart of content marketing.

Experimentation

Another great way content marketing can improve your search engine ranking is by experimenting with different types of content and different types of pages.

Do you have a blog currently? If not, that’s a great place to start, as blogs are a good way to create consistently new content based around a theme. Experiment with different formats of blog posts, like lists, ‘How Tos’ and others.

Also experiment with infographics and videos as well as text posts to see which perform better. Use your websites built-in analytics or sign up for Google Analytics to get a better idea of how each piece of content performs with your visitors, and don’t forget to promote it on social media!

For help with the whole gamut of content marketing, contact us today!

How Small Businesses Like Yours Are Leveraging Search Engine Optimization

When it comes to trying to capture the attention of potential customers online, search engine optimization is key to your online success, especially for small, local businesses! In fact, in 2016, searches containing “near me” – i.e. auto repair near me, tacos near me, etc. – increase 34x since 2011!

This means customers near you are looking for your category of business, but the question is: are you appearing in the search results? Because a huge amount of the traffic from a search goes to the first three results on the first page of google. And very few people head to the second page of results.

Let’s look at how you as a small business can make search engine optimization (SEO) help build your business! And remember, we’re always available to talk.

The below statistics were supplied by The Google Mobile Playbook.

Producing High-Quality, Local ContentSearch Engine Optimization

One of the best things you can do to boost your SEO ranking is to create high-quality, engaging and local content. This content is what will help searchers convert into customers, giving them the information they need to make a decision and providing a link to the product or contact and location information so they can come to the store and make the purchase.

In regards to local, mobile searches, 51% of searchers will visit a store after completing the search; 48% of them will call the store; and, 29% of them will visit the store and complete the purchase quickly. This means local searches are extremely valuable, and creating content geared toward them is rewarding.

Employing An SEO Firm To Clean Up Data

Another way of boosting your SEO to get further up the rankings is to clean up the data behind your website.

It’s usually a good idea to hire an SEO firm like ours to go in and clean up these bits, such as page titles, descriptions, dead or misdirected links and organizing the sitemap. Everything needs to be geared toward your business and streamlined to give you the best ranking for the keywords your business needs.

Contact us anytime to learn more about how we can help you climb the rankings and capture more customers searching for your products or services locally!

4 Ways Search Engine Optimization Has Changed In 2016 (So Far)

The search engine optimization (SEO) game is always changing. That’s why people hire firms like ours – to keep their website ranking well for the keywords which are important to their industry, among other reasons.

At Cohlab, we stay on top of the latest news and developments in the world of SEO so you don’t have to. But if you want to here’s a breakdown of the big news, in chronological order, in SEO so far this year.

1. Google Moves Ads To Top Of Search [February]Search Engine Optimization

You might be thinking, “Hey, ads are part of search engine marketing (SEM), not SEO.” And you’d be right. Except we’re not paying attention to the movement of the ads, but the reason behind the movement of the ads.

Until February, Google AdWords ads were displayed at the top and bottom as well as the right-hand column of the search engine results pages (SERPs). The top and bottom each might have had between 1-3 ads, while the right-hand side could host up to 8 ads. After the change, the right-hand side ads were removed completely, and now between 1-4 ads will appear on the top with 1-3 ads on the bottom.

This is important because this reduces the total number of ads visible for a search, which increases the importance of appearing naturally in search results – SEO.

It’s also important because of why it was done – to create a uniform experience across desktop and mobile devices. This means optimizing your website for mobile, as well as optimizing the content on it to rank better in search is absolutely necessary.

2. Panda Update Makes Content More Important [March]

Content received another boost as a ranking factor for SERPs in March. Panda is the name of an update to Google’s search algorithm meant to lower the rank of websites with little content or low-quality content. While Panda was first implemented in 2011, it was updated this year to place even more importance on the quality of the content on a page.

3. Increasing Relevance Of Mobile-First Design [May]

In April 2015, Google started the process of dropping the SERP ranking for websites which weren’t mobile-friendly. In May, this process was ramped up dramatically, because more Google searched than ever before are being performed on mobile devices.

Mobile-first and responsive website design are more important than ever to retaining people’s interest in your website and converting them into customers.

4. RankBrain Update Makes Great Content Even More Important [June]

RankBrain is Google’s name for their machine-learning AI system they are using to help process searches and rank websites. RankBrain was rolled out to less than 15% of search queries at the end of 2015, and this summer was rolled out to every single search which goes through Google.

While this update is important, we’re keeping most of our knowledge on this update for our current clients. If you’re interested in learning more, we’d be happy to help you improve your website and SEO!

4 Extremely Common SEO Mistakes To Avoid

Search engine optimization (SEO) is necessary if you want any part of your website to rank highly in Google searches. If you’re not on the first page of Google results for the keywords you’ve chosen, you’re nearly invisible to searchers.

You may know some of the brighter points about what to do to have good SEO, like having consistent, fresh content and using relevant keywords, but today we’re going to look at huge SEO mistakes we see people make, and which should be avoided at all costs. Whether you work with us or not, take heed of these tips.

1. No SEO At Allpexels-photo-52608

The most common form of bad SEO is to have no SEO at all. This means the website has been left in it’s most basic, original state.

None of the titles or descriptions have been updated, so they are generic and unoriginal, e.g. Home, About Us, Contact, Blog, Services, Products, etc.

The descriptions might be something like, “We provide solutions for clients to help them succeed.”

Some of the content might even be left over from the development process of the website. Placeholder content such as the fake Latin “Lorem Ipsum” is common in the web development world, but can be accidentally left behind and make your website even more confusing.

No keywords will be specified, or if they are they are far too general. Not having any SEO makes it hard for search engines – as well as your customers – to understand what you website is about, leading people to leave your website very quickly without contacting you.

2. Duplicate Titles/Descriptions/ContentSEO Mistakes

One of the worst mistakes which can be made is duplicating content. Whether it’s the titles of pages, the descriptions or the words on the page itself, duplicating content is a lazy way to create volume.

When content is a copy of another page, search engines will notice and only index one of the pages, meaning the effort put into creating the duplicate pages was wasted anyways. And if the content was duplicated from another, pre-existing site, none of your content may be indexed at all in favor of the original content.

Individual users will also be repelled by duplicate content. No one wants to go to a new page, only to find the same exact material as was previously covered. That would be like opening a book to page 52 and finding out the author simply started over with Chapter 1 at that point. That book wouldn’t sell a lot of copies.

3. Still Using Meta Keywords

Meta keywords were heavily used in the 1990s and early-to-mid 2000s to help search engines and searchers understand what a webpage was about. While the meta keywords form can still be filled in with keywords, it can now be more damaging to your ranking than helpful.

Most major search engines no longer use meta keywords to help them rank webpages; they instead check the content to decide what a webpage is about.

By continuing to use meta keywords, you can confuse search engines and possibly searchers, because your meta keywords may not match up perfectly with the topic of your content.

4. Keyword Stuffin

Keyword stuffing is the practice of taking a keyword or keyphrase – think “Cars” or “Used Cars For Sale In California” – and sprinkling it heavily throughout the content of a page, as well as in the description, meta keyword section and/or title.

Instead, it’s best to write about a content naturally, and let the keyword appear a few times naturally throughout the content. There is no longer a hard-and-fast rule about how many times a keyword should appear in content, as long as the content is valuable for the reader and brings people to your page.

If you’d like to learn more about how to create good SEO on your website, give us a call or email us today!

3 Tips For Hiring The Right SEO Marketing Services Firm For You

If you’re here, you’re likely in need of a search engine optimization, or SEO marketing services firm, to help your company with its Google search rankings.

If you do a search for “SEO Firms” on Google, you’ll probably come back with dozens or even hundreds of results, depending on the size of the city you’re in. But how can you know which SEO marketing services company is the best fit for you?

Let’s take a look at some tips for hiring the right SEO marketing services firm for you, and of course, be sure to check us out to find out if we would be a good fit for you as well.

3 Tips For Hiring The Right SEO Marketing Services Firm For You

1. Set Goals/Examine Your Needspeople-office-group-team

What are you hoping to get out of a relationship with an SEO marketing services firm: reputation management, an SEO audit, ongoing SEO, local SEO, link building, PPC management, retargeting, content, or some other services SEO firms tend to offer?

If you’re unsure of what you need, it’s time to take a hard look at your business. Do you want to grow your sales by 10% over the next 6 months, or leads by 40% over the same time period? Is your goal an increased rank on Google searches for specific keywords, or do you just need help with generating consistent content?

Have a goal in mind so you can measure the success of your relationship with the SEO marketing services firm, and make that goal the center of your relationship with them.

2. Get References

When you look for an auto body shop, you look for good reviews, either online or in recommendations from people you know. You want to see success stories. The same goes for an SEO marketing services firm.

Ask them to show you work they have done so you understand their process, their metrics for success, as well as the companies they typically work with. If you’re a restaurant (B2C) and the firm has only ever worked with IT services companies (B2B), they might not be the right fit for you.

3. Make The SEO Marketing Services Firm Tell You Stories

When you hire a new employee, you don’t simply look at their resume and take their word for it. You ask them follow up questions and ask them for the stories behind some of their accomplishments. The same should go for hiring an SEO marketing services firm.

You want them to be able to tell you stories about their background, experience, successes and failures. It’s important to know how they react to different situations, because no business is exactly the same.

Setting clear goals, examining an SEO marketing services firm’s body of work, and having them tell you stories will help you hire the right SEO firm for your business.

For more information on what we do at Cohlab Digital Marketing and how we can help your SEO, contact us today.

Online Reviews And Listings: 5 Ways To Improve Local Search Ranking

Local search ranking is a huge opportunity for any business. Google is emphasizing local answers in search, so it’s important for you to be visible so you can be found by local searchers. There are a few different ways to become more visible, like getting more online reviews and claiming your Google business listing.

Before we get into the ‘how’ of improving local search ranking, it’s important to truly understand the ‘why.’

95% of searchers do not go beyond the first page of Google results, and 60% of clicks occur in the top three individual search results, making local search ranking one of the most important factors in traffic flow to your website. And online reviews are one of the top ranking factors for local search ranking.

1. Claim Your Google Business ListingCohlab Google Business Listing

One of the most important things you can do is claim your Google business listing. You can see here how we have claimed ours. This means anyone who directly searches the name of our company gets a complete and full look at our address, phone number, photos of the business, a map, as well as online reviews and other things we might choose to put in there, depending on our type of business.

The business listings are highly important, as they can also show up when people search for your industry locally, like ‘web design in St. Cloud, MN’ or something like this. The listing won’t show up in full immediately, but will be truncated with simply your address, phone number and star rating. The searcher can then click on you to be given the full listing as well as a larger map.

2. Claim Your Online Reviews Site Listings

There are a lot of online review websites out there: Yelp, TripAdvisor, Fandango, Houzz, Google, Yellow Pages, Facebook, Amazon and so many more. These sites all have listings for businesses. You might have a listing already and not even know it!

Go to one of these websites and do a search for your business name. If you find an unclaimed listing for your business, it’s in your best interested to claim it and start to control it and the online reviews. If you don’t have one, you can create one to collect future reviews with.

3. Ensure Data Is Consistent On All Listings

Once you’ve claimed all of your online reviews site listings and Google business listing, make sure your address, phone number, photos and all relevant information are consistent across all of them. Google will be looking at this information when it is considering where to rank you in local search results, and inconsistent information will lower your ranking.

4. Add Online Reviews To Your WebsiteCohlab Reviews

Next, make sure you add your online reviews to your website.

Hosting online reviews on your website can boost your conversions: visitors who read and interact with online reviews are 58% more likely to convert than those who don’t.

No, don’t copy and paste the reviews on there. Many plugins or widgets exist which you can utilize with some research to get your online reviews onto your website for customers to see.

Another option would be utilizing our proprietery Cohlab.Reviews software. Cohlab.Reviews, as can be seen here, gathers all of your online reviews from across the web and displays them chronologically (while also filtering out bad reviews.) With Cohlab.Reviews, you are also able to solicit customers who you know are happy to provide you with extra reviews on the site of their choosing.

5. Share Online Reviews On Social Media

While social media is not the biggest ranking factor for local search listings, it doesn’t hurt, and it may help grow your business through word-of-mouth, or person-to-person influence.

Online reviews play a huge role in building trust, and are viewed as more trustworthy than other types of promotional posts on social media. So when you get a new 5-star review, post a link to the review on social media and write a thank you to the person.

4 Ways To Simultaneously Succeed With Web Marketing

Web marketing can be tricky business, especially if you don’t have the staff or bandwidth to devote to it.

Digital marketing firms like ours have the expertise and time to devote to working on your web marketing and search engine optimization to help bring you new and repeat business. Let’s look at 4 ways you can help your business succeed with web marketing, either on your own or with the help of a digital marketing firm.

4 Ways To Simultaneously Succeed With Web Marketing

1. Knowledge CardCohlab Google Business Listing

Your Google Knowledge Card might be a potential client’s first interaction with your web marketing, or it could be how a returning client is able to quickly access your phone number or website.

A knowledge card, seen here, is a way for Google to quickly display the gist of a business to a searcher on any device. On a larger display the knowledge card appears on the right-hand side of the screen, on a smaller device it appears above search results but below other forms of web marketing, like paid ads and map results, if there are any.

Having an up-to-date knowledge card allows you to display your correct phone number, address, accurate hours, as well as reviews, photos and other great information. This is a really effective web marketing technique to make sure your company is known, especially over other companies with similar names.

2. Back-End Optimization

Another huge piece of web marketing is optimizing the many parts of your website you might not normally think of adjusting.

Page descriptions don’t actually appear on the pages of your website, but they do appear in the Google search results, and so needs to be an accurate reflection of what people will find on the page when they arrive; the same goes for your page title. Both of these also need to be between a certain number of characters to fit in the space Google provides.

The text on your page should also be separated by headers, defining different sections. Google likes to see headers, especially when one contains your chosen keyword/phrase for the pages. The headers also need to cascade in size, depending on the topic.

Images are another important piece of web marketing. The images should be unique to your website, as well as tagged with an “alt tag” and “caption” which are both accurate and contain the keyword for your page.

And don’t forget to make sure any links in your page are working and are related to the topic. If you have a blog on how KFC chicken is the best fast food in the world, there shouldn’t be a link to the dolphin page of your local zoo on that page anywhere; for effective web marketing, the links should be to another page you have written about different fast food chicken and a link to the KFC page.

3. Content/Keyword Optimization

Content should pretty much be over 300 words for any page, but different lengths are good for different types of pages/blogs, so you’ll need to experiment.

Each page should have it’s own, unique keyword/phrase related to the topic of your website as a whole, and the keyword/phrase should make up about 2-3% of the words on the given page for effective web marketing.

4. Reputation ManagementCohlab Reviews

Another key driver of web marketing and traffic to your website is your online reputation. You’ll need to get control of reviews of your business from across the web, whether the reviews are on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Houzz, Fandango or elsewhere. Ask your happy customers either in person or via email to give you a review on their chosen site, and be sure to collect those reviews on your website. At Cohlab, we actually have a great tool, Cohlab.Reviews, which can do a lot of this automatically for you.

Feel free to take these tips and run, or, if you’d like more details on how we can help take your web marketing to the next level, contact us. We’d love to help.

Google Introduces Changes To Make Being Mobile Friendly More Important

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, or easy to use on multiple different devices (desktops, laptops, tablets or mobile phones) Google will begin penalizing it by ranking it lower on mobile search page results.

In April 2015, Google first started ranking non-mobile friendly websites lower, but now, in May 2016, the strategy has been amped up. Let’s explore a bit more what this might mean for you.

Why Is Being Mobile Friendly Important?stocksnap_gs53c70s0a

More Google searches are now executed through mobile devices than through desktop computers. So if your website isn’t mobile friendly, visitors will organically gravitate away from you and move to websites which are easier to navigate.

Being mobile friendly is part of a movement called ‘responsive web design’, wherein no matter what type of device your website is seen on, even a device which has not been manufactured yet, your website should adjust in size appropriately. Being responsive will entice visitors to stay on your website, which will organically increase your search pagerank.

Having a responsive website is very important, because 95% of people do not go past the first page of search results, and 60% of clicks happen within the top three search results.

How To Tell If Your Website Is Mobile FriendlyStrata-mobile-home

A mobile friendly website is one which has a minimum or no need for scrolling, resizing or squinting to see content, no matter what device a user might be on. The website will have a single URL so that the adjustments to certain devices are automatic; a user shouldn’t have to click to visit a mobile website.

How To Become Mobile Friendly

If you’re not a web developer yourself, you’ll likely need to hire a responsive website design company to help you out. A company like Cohlab Digital Marketing will be able to either convert your current website or build an entirely new website, creating a responsive design, and laying the groundwork for optimization of your website to make it rank better in search engine results.

At Cohlab, we have worked closely with many businesses to help them achieve great success in their responsive and mobile friendly web design efforts. We are happy to answer any questions you may have!

What Can Internet Marketing Services Do For My Business?

Stay with me folks, this might be a bit of a longer blog.

Internet marketing services are basically anything a firm like ours does. Cohlab in particular offers an array of services, from reputation management to email marketing, responsive web design to content marketing.

But how do these activities affect your bottom line in the real world? Let’s take a look at a number of internet marketing services Cohlab offers in detail to see what we can do for you.

Drive Organic Traffic With SEOInternet Marketing Services

Search engine optimization (SEO) drives organic traffic to your website. In essence, this is free advertising.

An internet marketing services provider like Cohlab is hired to execute a myriad of SEO strategies, including content marketing and backlinking, both described below, in order to increase the ranking of your website for search terms relevant to your industry and services.

In general, the higher ranked and more frequently a website appears in relevant search results, the more valuable visitors it will receive.

Find Customers With SEM

Search engine marketing (SEM), or PPC, is a great way to quickly locate customers who are searching for your industry or services. While SEO can take time, SEM is faster but more costly.

This type of internet marketing service creates advertisements within Google searches, either at the top or bottom of a search results page, targeting whichever relevant keywords we choose.

These ads are extremely effective at driving traffic to your website quickly.

Keep Them Interested With 10x Content

No matter how nice looking your website is, or how amazing your ads are, if you have nothing to entertain or educate your visitors, they won’t stay on your site long enough to have an impact on your business.

Content refers to anything on your website which is consumable: text, audio, videos, photos, graphics, etc. 10x content is content which is impossible to improve on. It is created by observing the competition in the keywords a company wants to rank in searches for, then creating content which is 10x more interesting than anything the competition has.

Bring Them Back With Email Marketing

Sometimes, customers don’t bring you their repeat business. Maybe they’re too busy, or it’s inconvenient to get to your store, or some other reason.

Email marketing is a great way to bring them back in, by creating a compelling call-to-action for them to grab onto, whether it’s a used car trade-in, or a 30% sale. These emails are going to a group of people who you know will buy from you, they just need a reason to get back in the habit and email marketing is a great way to bring them back.

Build Trust With High-Quality LinksSearch engine marketing

Link building is a huge part of how well a website ranks in Google searches. Creating high-quality links between your website and others great websites, both back and forth, means Google believes your information is worth sharing or talking about, which means they will want to show it to people who are searching for the keywords you rank for.

Increase Traffic By Getting Responsive

A responsive website is one which fits whatever screen size it might be displayed on, whether that is an iPhone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

The website won’t look exactly the same in every case; it will respond accordingly and adjust itself at certain size intervals, displaying the most important parts of the website where the viewer is most likely to need them. Having a responsive website will also increase your search engine ranking, and will make people on mobile devices more likely to stay on your site longer and utilize your services since it will be easier to navigate.
Thanks for staying with me through the whole blog, and I hope you have a better understanding of what internet marketing services can do for your business!

At Cohlab, we have worked closely with many businesses to help them achieve great success with internet marketing services. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have, just let us know!

How A Responsive Web Design Firm Improves Your Search Ranking

A web design firm, especially a responsive web design firm, can help your business in a lot of ways, from helping choose fonts and colors, to organizing your menus and content.

But certain things a responsive web design firm does have a huge impact on your search rankings. So when you are choosing a new designer, make sure they can help you out in the following ways.

How Does A Responsive Web Design Firm Increase My Ranking?Rankings

Speed

Studies show that if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 57% of your visitors will move on. Those users either close the window, frustrated, or hit the back button, looking for a different, faster answer or result.

As a business owner, you want to serve your customers well. If the doors to your business had a 3 second wait before opening, you’d probably have a lot fewer walk-ins. The only people who would come in are those who are already determined to buy something; it would be hard to get new business.

Check with your web design firm and make sure the speed of your website is up to par.

Future Proofing

A responsive website design effectively “future proofs” your site. Whether someone comes to your website on a desktop, iPhone, laptop, tablet or any other device, your website should automatically adjust to properly fit the screen your visitor is using.

This responsiveness is not “set in stone;” in fact, it’s the opposite. No matter what type of device your website is seen on, even a device which has not been manufactured yet, your website should adjust in size appropriately.

Most Google searches and browsing time is now done on mobile devices, so having a responsive website for the many sizes of screens out there is important so you don’t exclude any potential customers.

Clicks Beget Clicks

Having a responsive website design which is also fast will help improve your rankings, which means more people will be able to visit your site. Those visitors will have a better experience, staying on your website longer and possibly sharing or linking to your content or merchandise. This will also improve your ranking!

Having a responsive website with a good rank is very important, because 95% of people do not go past the first page of search results, and 60% of clicks happen within the top three search results.

“Cohlaboration” With Cohlab

At Cohlab, we have worked closely with many businesses to help them achieve great success in their responsive web design efforts. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.