Small Business SEO MistakesSmall Business SEO Mistakes

In terms of visibility to the searching prospects that a business would want to attract online, there is no ‘one SEO fits all plan’. Throwing every imaginable signal at a hyper-competitive search engine result target isn’t always the best course of action, nor is it always necessary. Better to build the fundamental SEO signals correctly first. Then pursue an analysis of where the business sits versus its competition in order to determine what is necessary going forward. While most will fail to execute on even the most obvious requirements, some competition is going to be there and the analysis will show how much. What follows is a list of the most common small business SEO mistakes, the cost being leads & new business captured cost-effectively. Where is your business on these?

The Most Common Small Business SEO Mistakes

1. A lack of dedication to pages that specifically detail each service offered:

Google’s algorithm identifies, then ranks pages for keywords based upon what it sees as useful subject-specific content. The key being ‘is the page worthy of human consumption?’ One page with a list of services is a mistake, it ruins any chance of competing for the qualified traffic searching for specific services.

2. A lack of a commitment to timely content:

Google’s algorithm also seeks new & timely information and so it values websites that produce it. A website that never updates its pages or that has no blog to cover timely ‘question & answer topics’ related to its services fails to support what Google is looking to recommend.

3. No geographic specifics:

Most small businesses operate in a particular area and Google believes a local business is the better answer to a local search. If a business fails to demonstrate service authority for specific geography when Google is looking for those local answers, then the business is going to be compared to a much larger less specific set of competitors. As a result, it is less likely to be visible for them. Establish locally first, then build content to conquer more (towns, counties, state) geography.

4. Incomplete NAP contact information:

A detail like ‘hours of operation’, for example, matters to Google when ranking a local web presence. Many fail to show hours with their contact information and are, at certain times, ignored in search results because of it. All primary contact information is cross-referenced against local listings, so your website needs to have things like name, address, phone (NAP), and even hours all accurate & consistent.

5. Incomplete Google My Business Tools:

Google favors certain types of content generated with its’ own free tools. Once verified and properly executed, these Google My Business tools will matter a great deal. And don’t rule out posting to the listing or adding pictures, in some business cases it can add more value than social media.

6. Inaccurate search & directory listings:

Not to say they are more visible than a content-rich website, but some search and directory listings matter! Search engines will crawl these listings as a (NAP) name, address, phone, and more information accuracy cross-reference. If those listings are consistent with the website it is a positive ranking signal. Descriptions, categorization, the keywords used, and links back to the website may all matter. When a lead ends up on its business listing- if nothing else, that business certainly wants it to be accurate and useful.

7. Sending reviews to the wrong place:

Google still dominates search: it prioritizes reviews published on a Google listing in its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Good reviews are hard to get so be smart and send folks to where they are going to be seen the most by far … and that is your Google listing.

8. Failure to present website page meta tags:

Search engines crawl meta tags. There’s even a description tag believed NOT to be used for competitive ranking; however and because it becomes a part of your search result, it still serves as a tactical means for enticing traffic … making it useful to your SEO.

9. Failure to leverage basic web page link opportunities & techniques:

Search engines crawl & evaluate all links, including a) to other relevant pages in the website, b) that link off the website to useful supporting information and c) that come in from other relevant websites. Do NOT fail to leverage these links! For instance, a link from a trusted search & directory listing or related industry association website.

10. Website solution choice:

Many website solutions limit fundamental tools, customer support, or worse, they trap a user’s web presence in its’ host environment. Why allow someone else to own the indexing, links, bookmarks, social likes & shares, and all the signals a website accumulates over time? A cheap or free website is likely serving someone, but it never prioritizes the average business using it. Business owners should own and control a website they can forever rely upon and grow.

11. Website Host solution choice:

The cheapest host solution is almost always shared too much; it limits bandwidth & loads too slow, and it offers minimal security. And good luck with any service that ever matters.

12. A lack of website & web presence assets management:

In this day and age, a serious business likely needs website and other web presence assets management. If assets aren’t managed in support of one another, any web presence will inevitably become a regrettable waste of time, effort, and resources.

In Summary

There is no ‘one web presence SEO fits all business plan’. It’s why it is always best to start with the fundamentals, to measure placement, & competition, and then to assess whether or not those fundamentals are enough to drive leads. They just might be, so getting the fundamentals right not only saves money versus throwing it at all kinds of unnecessary signals, but it sets the benchmark for determining whether or not managing them going forward is enough. Or, if competition is such, there is a need to build.

Ask us about our affordable fundamentals-based SEO Plan and also overall digital assets management options. Let us help you get organized, drive leads and save money!

Specific Keywords & Content Drive Leads

 

Keywords & Content Drive Leads

Competition is fierce online, including for the local small to medium-sized businesses hoping to rank their services in search results. The fact is, serious consumers often search very specifically. So let’s look at a strategic approach to keywords & content that most of the competition will fail to execute. It is about targeting the ‘long tail of search‘ with keywords and it requires optimizing content very specifically.

‘Long tail keywords’ involve targeting less obvious | more specific keywords or phrases in website pages. While these keywords will have fewer consumer searches, they will BOTH see less competition AND much more serious consumers. For the business optimizing keywords & content correctly, being visible to the serious (=highly qualified) consumer becomes highly likely.

The ‘Long tail’ of keywords & content is about working to being visible to the person who looks a little harder and who is a little more specific when they want something that you offer!

Specific or ‘Long Tail Keywords’ Explained

 

long tail seo theoryThe Long Tail theory was originally explored by a forward-thinking Chris Anderson in his Oct 2004 Wired Magazine article describing how the web might influence getting new business. Anderson, Editor of Wired Magazine at the time, later authored his best-selling book ‘The Long Tail’ to better detail his theory.

As it applies to better search engine optimization and to marketing – the idea with ‘The Long Tail’ is to be visible for the specific keyword variations related to one’s ‘core business focus’.

Proven below this theory shows that, while a business may generate less search discovery per ‘long tail’ keyword (i.e. 3 Bedroom Condo Greenwich Village) than it will for the most competitive keywords (i.e. NYC Condo), the collective impact for those ‘long tail’ keywords is likely to outperform that of the most obviously targeted. Again, the more specific the keywords & content are the less competitive it likely is in search results. The assumption being that most business competition has either only focused on the most obvious keyword searches or that they are not bothering to optimize content & keywords at all. The assumption is also that the serious consumer leads out there are searching much more specifically than the less serious masses.

An SEO strategy placing focus on ‘long tail’ keywords & content is one capable of not only capturing traffic but the better more highly qualified & serious traffic. This is NOT meant to suggest a business should give up targeting the obvious searches (i.e. New York City Real Estate). On the contrary, the argument is to target more specific … less competitive … terms (i.e. 3 Bedroom Condo Greenwich Village) in the search engine result pages (SERPs). It can mean being visible when extremely serious people, demonstrated by their hyper-specific search effort, search. Search visibility to serious consumers is undoubtedly a cost-effective marketing strategy; whereas, solely pursuing the most competitive, less specific keyword search topics will increase the marketers’ competition as well exposure to the LEAST qualified consumers.

Analysis Shows The Specific Keyword SEO Strategy Works!


Research shows that serious people do search more specifically.
To demonstrate the ‘Long Tail’ content & keywords theory below is traffic analytics data (2007) drawn from a ‘publish lots of specific content Vail CO Real Estate Agency’ client of ours. This agency had broad keyword indexing for both the most sought after (and then also the not so sought after or specific) keyword targets. Their pages and blog posts focused on being indexed for everything going on in the area & community as it related to local Real Estate. We examined one month of data to demonstrate ‘long tail’ keywords search discovery success for this (remains anonymous) agency in Vail, CO.

the long tail keywords SEO and leadsA. Total ‘Short Tail’ search discovery equaled 190/ 1,015 searches bringing new visitors to a website = 19%

  • Short Tail being the town’s name and state plus the words 1) property, 2) real estate, 3) home, or 4) homes

 

B. Total ‘Long Tail’ search discovery equaled 825/1,015= 81%

      • Long Tail being as many variations relating to obvious local searches as is possible

a.) different areas of town were equal to 130 total searchers arriving on the website
b.) condominium complexes equal to 299 total searchers
c.) new developments equal to 89 total searchers
d.) local clubs equal to 101 total searchers
e.) local business news or info equal to 27 total searchers
f.)  listings or specific local streets equal to 32 total searchers
g.) local builder-developer news equal to 56 total searchers

h.) random/ miscellaneous news equal to 91 total searchers … hey, they blog about what’s going on locally a lot! 

 

Albeit anonymous, the data above demonstrates ‘Long Tail theorysuccess based upon discovery for less targeted keyword variations; that discovery amounting to 81% of the overall search traffic and 435% more visitors than what the short tail of search delivered. That’s a lot of traffic and a lot of potential for highly qualified leads! We’d argue the Agency is not only a cost-effective marketer but one that is capturing the most highly qualified eyeballs!


About Kinetic Knowledge NJ Digital Marketing Services 

 

Based in Monmouth County NJ, Kinetic Knowledge is a full-service digital marketing firm offering Local NJ SEO, website design & managed host service, social media, graphic design, content, and more. We advocate local SEO strategies, particularly the targeting of ‘Long Tail’ keywords in on and off-website content, so contact us here or give a call to learn more about ‘Long Tail’ strategies at 732-722-5915.

Ever Wonder What Your Business URL Should Have Been?

 

local seo nj

Small Business SEO NJ

URLs or Domains are necessary, at least, if a business wishes to have a live website online. A Business URL or domain is also a marketing tool and it can support the business brand; however, URLs do not correlate to competitive search engine rank or visibility unless they are supported by many other important SEO signals. It is important to understand that Search Engines prioritize ‘the best answers’ to a search or a question! They will scrutinize so many other things (up to 200, depending on the level of competition) to rank a website’s pages. A domain, no matter how close to the ‘subject search’, does not equate to a ‘best answer’.

Generally speaking, a business URL or domain name can be the exact name of the business; it may only be related to the name of that business, or to its service. It can be both the name and service, but mostly it will serve as where the business is located on the web. For local service-based businesses, there are generally 3 types of domain names:

  1. Branded Domain
  2. Keyword Domain
  3. Hybrid Domain

See more detail on these 3 below.

Business URLs Matter Little When It Comes to Competitive SEO


Regardless of the business URL or Domain your business chooses, it is always important to understand that you cannot game Google’s system with it. Google, Bing, and the other engines only prioritize the best answers to a person’s search (or their question). A domain, no matter how close to the ‘subject search’, does not amount to a ‘best answer’.

“Just because keywords are in a domain name doesn’t mean that it’ll automatically rank for those keywords. And that’s something that’s been the case for a really, really long time.” – John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst – Google

Unless there is no competition for the answer to a search and that is 99.99% completely unlikely in a world gone online, a website or a website page’s status as the best answer MUST be earned. And that is going to be based on up to 200 competitive signals, none more important than the content of the page itself.

Given the choice of A) an unrelated domain name page with great content, great use/presentation of its keywords, trusted backlinks, supportive outbound links, lots of user activity (competitive measurable examples), and B) a keyword-based domain without, the latter or B) stands no chance. Sure a unique and memorable domain is good, but a unique and memorable domain that also supports people with the information they seek is infinitely better.

1. What Is A Branded Domain Name?

A branded domain is the use of a brand or business name itself. Like, for example, Kinetic Knowledge is both our companies name and our business URL.

Our name reflects a theory we had when we got started about 17 years ago. That was related to our belief that success online starts with and is directly related to knowledge-based content. If that knowledge could be published then moved out through different channels like search engines, social networks, and email then it could be ‘Kinetic’. Kinetic meaning ‘… of, related to or produced by motion’ and in our view relating it to and supported by the nature of the web. If so a business could, in theory, build visibility with and hopefully attract traffic to where it could be converted to leads.

And so ours is an example of a “Branded” domain name. Please note that kineticknowledge.net or kineticknowledge.org, for example, are also branded domains. In these cases, we are only referring to the root domain and not the “TLD”. The ‘root’ domain is the part before the dot. What comes after the dot is the “TLD”, or Top Level Domain, like “.com”, “.net” or “.org”.


2. What Is A Keyword Domain Name?

Many local businesses will serve one geographic area for a particular service. For example, consider a theoretical local contractor in Belmar NJ named ‘Jones Construction’. It might be common for this business to try and purchase a domain like “belmarnjconstruction.com” and this would be a keyword-based domain. An “Exact Match Domain” (EMD) would match a targeted keyword exactly, like maybe “construction.com”, if that was was even available.

The domain “belmarnjconstruction.com” might be the best idea in terms of a Keyword Domain used for identification amongst local prospects.


3. What Is A Hybrid Domain Name?

A hybrid domain name, obviously, is a mix of the two or ‘Jones’ and ‘Construction’. So a brand and a keyword in the domain like, for instance, maybe “JonesConstruction.com.”

Ask us about local SEO and getting your business set up to compete online successfully!

Using Search Optimization When Building A New Website?

Search Optimization When Building A New Website | Kinetic Knowledge NJ


Creating a new website is an exciting time for a business. A website is where company design, aesthetics, and imagery can define & differentiate its unique brand; it is in-depth information on the company, its products, services, features, benefits, and ultimately what this unique brand offers the public. But a serious business person must ask, “what about search optimization when building a new website?”

Just building a website doesn’t mean anyone will find it. Built right with SEO in mind, website pages can compete for visibility and become powerful marketing tools! To chase competitive search engine placement requires planning a fundamental SEO strategy. It’s an effort that’s not necessarily done with a new website. Not if there is competition, but it all starts with website content!

User Experience | Search Optimization When Building a New Website

A well-structured website supports both user experience and, thereby, competitive search engine indexing. While a website should be pleasing to the eye, there are other important marketing considerations when building your useful pages:

  • Content Structure > search engines crawl pages for their keywords, so pages structured well with URL, headers, metadata, and proper keyword placement (throughout) is crucial!
  • Mobile Responsive > user experience is priority number one with search engines, people search with their phones so a website MUST be mobile-friendly!
  • Navigation > search engines don’t only count inbound links from other websites, they count relevant in-website links that offer visitors a path to other useful website pages! > search engines also measure how long visitors stay and how many pages they visit, so ease for navigating all information must be a priority!
  • Outbound Links: search engines like to see references, a link here & there to other useful sources of information can matter!
  • Host & Load Speeds > while most of the competition won’t deliver it, search engines measure speed; a fast website host will serve visitor experience with fast page load times!
  • Security > search engines also crawl pages for malware in order to protect their searching surfers, so be sure it is protected against malware or assume you will be thrown out of the index!
  • SSL > Secure socket layers encrypt web browser to website connections, so nothing can follow people in from one to the other!


What To Optimize Before
Building a New Website

Competition will always come, so SEO is never static and certainly an ongoing process. But the groundwork must be laid in order to prepare a website for search engine crawling & keyword indexing. Here are some things that need optimization before the site launch.

  • Using Keywords In URLs – Search engines focus heavily on keywords and indexing them via their page URLs. They also consider those used in the URL itself! Make sure page URLs help to describe what each page has to offer. Fix this after the fact, your page starts all over and what was indexed is lost! 
  • Title and Meta Data – Much easier and less damaging to change after the fact than a URL, you must still consider the time it takes to index competitively. It’s why you want to try and be sure your keywords are available to search engines early and in the clearest possible fashion. Keep your page meta titles straightforward, easy to identify, and keyword-friendly!
  • Responsive Design – Simply stated, your website must be mobile-friendly! It is no small project to convert an existing site to a mobile-friendly site. Therefore, why not start from the beginning with a mobile-friendly website design!?
  • Optimize Photos and Videos – Using properly tagged graphics, photos and video supports the aesthetics of the website, but is also an important part of any SEO strategy. Using the right file names & alt tags will not only generate more indexing and search engine visibility for content, but optimal photo sizes also support page loads speed! 
  • Create Link Structures For The Crawl – Your link structure needs to make sense, a path that can be followed by search engines. In other words, content must flow in a logical manner.
  • Social Sharing > Social voice matters and the search engine’s ability to measure how often a page has been shared by visitors on the page via social icons with share counts makes their job much easier!
  • Measurement Software – And don’t rule out supporting software, like day-to-day keyword rank measurement and fundamental page SEO grading solutions.

Not planning SEO with a website design & development project may cause a business to miss out on important ranking opportunities. At Kinetic Knowledge we can help build a new, or convert an old, website into a new user, mobile, and search engine friendly design.