If you’re considering the best way to move forward with building or improving your web presence, you’re bound to have a lot of questions. Here are answers to ten frequently asked questions to help you gain a better understanding of how digital marketing, SEO, Keyword Research, PPC advertising and Social Media Marketing can help your business build a stronger presence on the Internet.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is meant by “web presence”?
2. What is SEO?
3. Why does my business need a growing web presence?
4. Why do I need SEO for my business?
5. What are Keywords?
6. What is Social Media?
7. What is Local Search?
8. Why do Search Engine Rankings Change Frequently?
9. How much do SEO and Web Presence services cost?
10. I have a local business and most of my customers are within 10 miles of my business, do I need a web presence?
The web presence of a business is the complete digital footprint of a business found on the Internet. While the website and the written, video and graphical content it contains is the cornerstone of a company’s web presence, there are quite a few other digital locations where a business might have a presence. These include, but are not limited to:
- Links to pages and content on the company’s website from other places on the Internet.
- Social media properties such as a Facebook Page, Twitter account, LinkedIn account (business and personal), company blog, Google +1 account.
- Mentions of a business or website in social media – posts, links, tweets, +1’s, likes, etc.
- Video content created and posted on video sharing sites such as YouTube.
- Local business pages such as Google + Local;
- Listings in business directories like Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Merchant Circle, YellowPages.com, Whitepages, CitySearch and others.
- Email communications with customers and prospects.
- Press Releases to news and media outlets.
- Content a business has created and shared on other websites.
Definitions of SEO can vary but many of the core concepts are consistent. According to Wikipedia:
“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.”
“As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.”
In a somewhat shorter description Search Engine Land, a well-regarded search-focused website, explains:
“SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” listings on search engines. All major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have such results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. Payment is not involved, as it is with paid search ads.”
Building a growing web presence will your business help reach more new customers and prospects while increasing contact with existing customers. Your competitors are growing their web presence, so if you aren’t growing yours then you are falling behind.
People search the web for a business, product or service in different ways. Some people use familiar search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo). Some people will utilize social media such as Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. Other people may use business directory services like Yelp, CitySearch or FourSquare. There are numerous additional ways Internet users find businesses and these methods continue to evolve at a rapid rate. The more places your business has a presence, the more likely your business will be found.
A growing web presence also helps develops trust and authority for customers and prospects. The more places people see you the bigger and more familiar you are in their minds. In addition, a broader web presence will also frequently enhance search engine rankings for many of the same reasons.
Search engine optimization is an essential component of a business’s marketing and sales strategy. With the rise and rapid growth of the Internet and the demise of many traditional (offline) channels to reach customers and prospects such as the Yellow Pages, having a web presence has become increasingly important if not vital.
Reasons for developing and implementing a clear SEO and web presence strategy include:
- To optimize your web presence and visibility.
- To build better branding and positioning for your business, products and services.
- To increase the online credibility and trust for your business.
- To identify a business’ most effective keywords.
- To rank higher in the search engines.
- To increase traffic from potential customers.
- To increase the number of repeat visitors and customers.
- To Grow Your Business – $$$
The goals, project scope and budget for search engine optimization and growing a web presence can vary significantly for different businesses. However, the need and importance for having an optimized web presence will only grow over time. At the end of the day, if your customers and potential customers are not finding you on the Internet they are finding your competitors.
Keywords and keyword phrases are a central element of search engine optimization. In its most basic definition a keyword or keyword phrase is the text a web user types into a search box to find relevant information or content. Phrased another way, keywords are descriptions of the information people are searching for and can bring targeted traffic to your website.
Choosing the best keywords for your website and SEO optimization is very important for getting targeted traffic to your website with the greatest chance of converting them to customers and repeat visitors. Effective use of keywords is essential for ranking well and being found on the Internet. Keyword research is focused on locating the optimal keyword phrases for drawing targeted traffic to a website.
Keyword research can frequently be dry and very detailed oriented. To do it well it requires special software tools and experience. However, this type of research and the information it provides is the cornerstone of any successful SEO effort. Many people also consider the optimal use of keyword phrases to be essential for creating and maintaining a successful website as keywords will appear in the website’s page content, in the off-page meta data and frequently in page titles and descriptions.
Moz is a well-known and well-respected website for SEO information, tools and services. Part of their perspective on Keywords includes:
“It all begins with words typed into a search box. Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the search marketing field. Ranking for the “right” keywords can make or break your website. Through the detective work of puzzling out your market’s keyword demand, you not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.”
“It’s not always about getting visitors to your site, but about getting the right kind of visitors. The usefulness of this intelligence cannot be overstated.”
There are quite a few different ideas and opinions on defining the term “social media.” However, there are two aspects that are consistent: it involves sharing information, and it is continually evolving. The most commonly recognized social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. A broader definition of social media would also include social sharing sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram. The number, scope and size of social sites continues to grow at a rapid rate.
According to Doreen Moran, a digital and social marketing strategist, “Social media is a collection of online platforms and tools that people use to share content, profiles, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and media itself, facilitating conversations and interactions online between groups of people.
- Social Media is the platform/tools.
- Social Networking is the act of connecting on social media platforms.
- Social Media Marketing is how businesses join the conversation in an authentic and transparent way to build relationships.”
Wikipedia states, “Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.
Ann Handley, a marketing and social media expert and author states, “Social media is an ever-growing and evolving collection of online tools and toys, platforms and applications that enable all of us to interact with and share information. Increasingly, it’s both the connective tissue and neural net of the Web.”
Local Search is the use of a geographic tag, such as a state, city, or zip code as part of the search phrase when performing a search. Local search is an efficient way for a search engines to deliver relevant, results for businesses, products and services within a limited geographic area. An example of a local search, also referred to as Local SEO, would be entering “italian restaurant chicago” into the search box on Google, Bing or Yahoo.
Businesses with a physical location such as restaurants, repair businesses, contractors, dentists and plumbers, can derive significant benefits from optimizing their web presence for local search opportunities. There are a growing number of online directories and locations where local businesses can develop a presence.
Google, Bing and Yahoo all have services that allow local business owners to create a business listing online with the most accurate, up to date information about their business, products and services. These listing will generally include a link to the businesses website, their phone number and a map showing the business location.
The Web is a dynamic place and the search engine results pages (SERPs) can change on a frequent basis. This can be frustrating to website owners as one day they may rank number 2 for an important keyword phrase and two days later they may rank number 5.
There are a number of factors that affect the rankings for a given web page and a given keyword on any given day. These can include:
- New sites, web pages and content are discovered by the search engines on a daily basis and may jump ahead of existing pages in the rankings.
- Older sites, web pages and content can be taken offline (removed from the web), or decrease in relevancy due to content that is unchanged or seldom visited over a long period.
- Older sites and web pages are upgraded or enhanced (SEO) to make their content more attractive to visitors and to the search engines.
- The search engines can change how they evaluate websites, web pages, content and links, which can result in the rank of a given page for a given keyword falling or rising without any changes by the website owner.
While these changes can be disconcerting to a website owner or business, they should be taken in context. By having a broader web presence that is not solely dependent on the rank of a given keyword in the search engines results pages a business lessens its dependency on any single source of web traffic. Diversity is important.
A common question. Our normal answer is “it depends.” While not trying to sound cute, we do not offer specific “canned” packages of service. The cost of our services will depend upon the needs of a client. We work with a wide range of businesses and the needs, requirements, desired results and budget can vary. A few of the parameters that are evaluated as part of a business engagement include:
- How large is your website?
- How competitive is your business niche or market?
- Where do you currently rank for your most important keywords and where do you want to rank?
- How many keywords would you like to target?
- What is your existing web presence?
- What is the commitment level?
- How active has your business been in social media? Email marketing? Content creation? Video marketing?
10. I have a local business and most of my customers are within 10 miles of my business, do I need a web presence?
This is a very valid question for small businesses. Especially if budget dollars are tight. One way to answer this question is to look at what your competitors are doing. In evaluating competitors be sure to look at both online and offline (brick and mortar or retail) competitors. If the products or services your business provides can be ordered or delivered via the Internet then your online competitors may be as important or even more important than your local offline competitors.
This is a good example of where, if your potential customers are not finding you, they are finding your competitors. Therefore, a good place to begin in answering this question is to determine how your customers and prospects are currently finding your business. If your business does not currently have a web presence then this could be an opportunity to reach many more potential customers and significantly expand your business. If your competitors have a web presence and you don’t, then you could be losing a lot of business to them now and in the future.
If you have additional questions or would like to discuss how Web Presence Solutions can help you with your digital marketing, email marketing, SEO, ecommerce, Amazon selling, and web presence management needs, please contact us today!
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