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So far Rhys McKay has created 8 blog entries.

Using Google My Business Listings To Generate Leads Online

It’s 2018. We’re deep into the 21st century and the age of the Internet. If you’re a business owner—regardless of the size of your business—and you still don’t have a business page online, whether it’s on social media or your own website, let’s be honest: you’re doing it wrong. Everyone is on the internet most of the day now, so it’s on you to reach the most people as quickly as possible online.

One really easy way you can do this is by using Google’s Google My Business (GMB) listing services. A GMB listing functions similarly to old yellow pages listings, except that they can be updated in real-time. Where yellow pages simply list down a business’s name and phone number, and sometimes even their address, a Google My Business page has a wealth of information immediately available to the searcher.

A GMB listing can include the phone number, social media pages or the website, business hours (and a real-time update on whether the business is currently open or closed), customer ratings, the exact location of the establishment on Google Maps, images of the place to help customers find and identify it more easily, and so on. Google’s really made it so that business owners can quickly put themselves out there using GMB; all you have to do is put it up, fill in info, and make sure it’s the first thing people see when they search for a keyword your business falls under.

Beyond a mere listing on the Google search results, the Google My Business service also includes a free and easy-to-use website builder! It’s a basic what-you-see-is-what-you-get site builder that should be easy enough for people who want to have a fully-functioning and professional-looking website to go with their listing.

With these free tools Google has to offer, you’ll be able to reach a market you might have never thought was possible, and generate more leads and sales from beyond, say, Huntsville, Alabama than by word of mouth, or by your business simply existing in its location.


Creating a Google My Business account, listing, and website

You can access the GMB dashboard by clicking here.

In order to create a Google My Business listing, your business has to be eligible for it. While that may sound restrictive, it’s actually not hard to be eligible for GMB: your business simply has to be one that involves constant personal interaction with customers. That means if you’re a brick-and-mortar store of any kind, you are allowed to create a GMB page. There are exceptions for places like ATMs, but if you’re a small business owner—especially in a place like Huntsville—you’re likely to be eligible for it.

For quick reference, you can’t create a GMB listing if your business is:

  • Still under construction
  • A property for sale or for rent (there are other channels for this)
  • Not a business in a place you own, or of an organization you are not a representative of

Got it? Good. Don’t worry, if you’re here reading this, it seems like your business qualifies. Once you’ve created your GMB account, you can access the site builder feature on the drop-down menu (the three horizontal lines icon) and Google will take you through the entire process of site creation step by step. (If you want your own .com domain name, you’re going to have to pay for it, though! That part’s not free.)

Once your site is finished and live, you need to add the URL (that’s the .com link) to your GMB listing so that people have somewhere to click when they look you up.


Search Engine Optimization

How exactly do you get to the top of the Google results page, you ask? Well, the trick there is in something called search engine optimization, or SEO.

Some business owners may already be familiar with this, but if you don’t have a GMB listing or an online presence yet, it’s not surprising that you may not know what SEO is as well. Basically, it’s the process of tuning your site and its content in order for Google’s search crawling bots to rank it higher on its results page, thereby making it more likely to be the first thing searchers see. At its simplest, SEO involves stuffing your website’s text with as many keywords involving your business and its particular niche as possible, but also without “spamming” or overdoing it.

SEO also involves creating unique and compelling content for your site, as well as making it easy to access, but since you’re only creating a site for the purposes of having a presence on the internet, you shouldn’t be concerned with coming up with regular content. You’ll just need to make sure that your site’s text is full of the relevant keywords, which should also include your business’s city or region location. Google will also take care of how your site runs, so you don’t have to worry about whether it’s functional.


Using Google Analytics to track traffic

Once your GMB listing and site are up and running, the real key is using Google My Business, SEO & Google Analytics together to track your traffic and leads. Google Analytics is a free service Google offers for people to monitor statistics of how many people are accessing your site (and thereby looking at your business) in real time or any particular period of time. It can get a little technical, but at its simplest, it’s merely counting how many people visit your site.

To start using Analytics with your Google My Business account dashboard, all you have to do is activate Analytics (you can click here to do it) using the same Google account you signed up for GMB with. Make sure both your listing and site is live; after you set up Analytics, all you need to do is click the listing on the GMB dashboard in order to see the Analytics insights and data for your site.

From there, you can check out how many people visit your site, whether your listing and your site are effective in presenting your business and generating leads, and figuring out where and what to adjust if necessary.


Get an advantage online

Now, for an old-school small business owner in Huntsville, AL these things may take some learning. There’s a bit of jargon and technical know-how that gets in the way, especially in putting up a new site, doing some SEO, and using Google Analytics, but trust us—once you fully understand what’s going on, you’ll be looking at marketing your business a whole new way. When people start coming in after finding you on Google, you’ll be glad you went online!

By |2018-10-08T12:38:49-05:00October 8th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Using Google My Business Listings To Generate Leads Online

SEO vs. Pay-Per-Click: What’s the Difference?

Even if they don’t run a website, everyone on the internet has been on it long enough to know and understand how they are a part of the whole process; that their patronage of websites by clicking on links to view them contributes to their lifeblood. Hits are important, as advertisers and ad networks pay webmasters for each pair of eyes they bring to the ad by way of their site.

And because the internet has evolved into a business where almost anything, any piece of content can easily be monetized, so have the ways to bring people to websites developed as well. Search engines like Google have designed and perfected methods that help webmasters and marketers use their platforms to become relevant, while others have offered their platforms completely to anyone for the right price. We’re here today to take a look at both things, how they’re similar in bringing hits to websites, and how they differ in the process.


What is SEO?

Everyone knows by now what search engine optimization is and what it entails. SEO is an umbrella term for many free methods designed to increase a site’s relevance and rankings on search engine results pages like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! In a nutshell, SEO involves a lot of legwork on the business end of a site in order to draw more attention to it, as well as affiliates and associates in its niche.

When a webmaster or an SEO practitioner uses SEO to drive hits to their site, what they’re really doing is making sure the site is not only optimized for search engine crawler bots, but also for the general user experience. Search engines base rankings on how often users visit and return to a particular page, so the site itself has to be the best it can possibly for people to come to it. White hat SEO — that is, upfront and honest SEO that doesn’t try to deceive search engines — takes a lot of work to maintain, such as making sure metadata is in order, that the user experience is smooth and recommendable, and building ties with other sites and blogs, just to name a few.


What is PPC?

Pay-per-click marketing, on the other hand, is more like traditional advertising but only on a digital platform. The most common form of PPC marketing can be found on social media or Google display ad networks: basically, the webmaster pays a platform to display their link or content to users who fall under the target audience. When you boost a post on Facebook or Instagram, a tweet on Twitter, or put up an ad of an image that links back to your page via Google AdWords, you’re running a pay-per-click campaign.


Normally, the determining factors are the kind of links or web content a user’s viewed on their browser recently.

PPC is older than SEO as a form of marketing, and big brands (or basically, entities and organizations with enough of a budget to spare) generally tend to go for PPC simply because it’s a quick way to gain a lot of visibility in a relatively shorter amount of time.


So what’s the difference between the two?

While it’s much easier to say that implementing effective SEO requires more effort than simply handing over money to execute a PPC campaign, that’s not so true when you take a closer look. Putting up an effective pay-per-click campaign needs a thorough understanding of which people will be compelled to click on your link or content, so much like in SEO,  there’s a lot of work needed in the actual creation of content to make sure it’s something people would actually want to read.


The biggest difference between the two methods, then, is the speed and legwork required to produce results and visibility. Where PPC is essentially a manager or a marketer paying money to make sure the right people see the content they’ve worked hard on faster, SEO is more of a slower, long-term big-picture game that counts on a substantial amount of free (that is, without cost) effort to gain good returns. For example, let’s say you’re running a campaign or some content on your site targeted to people in Huntsville, Alabama; a PPC campaign pays to have people geolocated in Huntsville see your content, while an SEO practitioner will have to manually seed the keyword “Huntsville, Alabama” in their content — and wait — for their site to rank high in searches for Huntsville.


Another key difference between the two methods is the issue of credibility. We’ve already seen many jokes involving sketchy-looking pop-up ads that lead to potentially dangerous sites. You likely won’t get that problem when you go with SEO. Because of its slow-burn nature that takes a while for search engines to properly vouch for sites (such as ranking a page based on trustworthy link building, making sure there’s no spam content on the page, etc.), earning a high search ranking is pretty much a mark of credibility when it comes to a certain keyword. When a user sees your page at the top of the search results, they already know it’s a good link to click.


That isn’t to say that running a PPC campaign will make your links or content seem sketchy; we just mean that people are more likely to distrust a paid ad because anyone can put an ad up.


If you’ve got the budget, you can opt for PPC; otherwise, you’re pretty much stuck trying to play the SEO game, but at least you’re not spending on anything other than web hosting. They’re both effective methods of increasing visibility, just tailor-made for people with specific goals in mind. When you’re deciding between which method you need to take in order to bring more hits to your site, always remember these factors. And don’t forget to come up with some great content — neither approach will count if your content isn’t worth it.


By |2018-09-30T13:30:59-05:00September 30th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on SEO vs. Pay-Per-Click: What’s the Difference?

WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace for SEO: The Ultimate Website Round-Up

The importance of SEO cannot be overstated, especially if you’re a small business owner looking to gain an advantage over your competitors. Done right, SEO will attract more visitors to your site – and more visitors means more chances of a sale.

But before you can get onto the business of search engine optimization, first, you need a website. There are tons of website building platforms out there; you might have heard of some of these names already thanks to their very aggressive marketing teams – WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace.

If the thought of putting together an entire website on your own doesn’t scare you, these content management systems promise to deliver you the same results that a professional can at a fraction of the cost. However, hiring a web developer – who has spent years training in the top techniques of the trade – is the best and only way to guarantee a professional, clean, and fully-functional website.

One benefit of hiring a web developer is that you won’t have to make the difficult decision of which web building platform is best for your website’s SEO – it’s our job to take care of that for you! PTG handles everything from website strategy, design, content development, and data analytics, saving you the trouble of doing that yourself.

But whether you go for a pro or decide to DIY, it’s helpful to know the difference between content management systems. Here’s a round-up of the three most popular website building platforms, and what SEO features each one has.



WordPress began as a blogging platform way back when but has now grown to be one of the biggest and most flexible content management systems. It’s best known for its open source code, which allows developers full access to different customization options and features.

While the basic, out-of-the-box site already comes with enough tools to jumpstart your website, what really sets WordPress apart from the others is its database of tens of thousands of plug-ins and themes that you can use to truly make your site your own. This includes the ever-popular Yoast SEO plug-in that webmasters use to optimize their page for search engine rankings.

Because WordPress began as a blogging site, it’s incredibly easy to update your content regularly. As we say in the SEO industry, content is king, and being able to publish new content frequently is one key to better rankings.


Best for

People who have a background in web development and design, or are willing to learn; businesses of any size; people who need easy and fast blogging capabilities



  • Option to add over 50,000+ plug-ins that can help boost SEO
  • Full customization options
  • Complete control over your website, including technical aspects like page speed
  • Flawless blogging integration
  • Customizable URLs, page titles, and metadata descriptions
  • Optimized for mobile



  • Takes time to learn, delaying your site launch
  • Less secure because of third-party apps and plug-ins
  • SEO-boosting plug-ins are necessary for added functionality; not built in



One of the original drag-and-drop website builders, Wix has moved on from its obsolete Flash-based platform to today’s HTML5 code. Wix’s claim to fame is that it makes it easy for anyone to build their own website from scratch.

Wix recognizes that just having a website isn’t enough in today’s competitive global market, so they launched the Wix SEO Wiz. It’s a complete search engine optimization toolkit that is intuitive and delivers quantifiable results, so much so that Google even acknowledged it in one of their conferences.

“The Wiz”, as its fondly called by the Wix community, analyzes your website and makes suggestions on what to tweak to improve your search engine rankings. It provides you with a thorough checklist of things you can do, such as adding important keywords and editing image alt texts. Wix offered some very convincing statistics for The Wiz: 82% of Wix-ers saw their rankings improve after using it, and over ⅔ of Wix websites have made it to the first search results page.


Best for

Start-ups or small businesses that don’t need a complicated website, or have the time and resources to put one up



  • Easy drag-and-drop, all-inclusive website builder; can launch a site quickly
  • Access to SEO toolkit “The Wiz”
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
  • Automatic and instant indexing
  • Automatic site mapping for premium accounts
  • Automatic free SSL certification
  • Customizable URLs
  • Integration with Google Analytics and Google Search Console
  • Access to SEO add-ons from the Wix App Market
  • Wix Site Booster
  • Optimized for sharing on social networks
  • Optimized for mobile
  • Integrated blogging capabilities



  • Less flexibility in terms of functionalities
  • Not optimized for large businesses or websites that require multiple pages
  • Difficult to implement advanced SEO techniques



The newest player of the bunch, Squarespace is known for its gorgeous design above all else. Just like Wix, Squarespace allows you to build your own website based off of exclusive, customizable templates. It’s not particularly well-known for its SEO-boosting capabilities, but they do incorporate some tools that allow you to optimize your site for search engine rankings.


Best for

Creative content or design-oriented brands



  • Easy, drag-and-drop interface with inclusive domain and web hosting
  • Free SSL certificates
  • Automatically-generated sitemap and metadata
  • Automatic tagging
  • Clean URLs and HTML markup
  • Customizable URLs, titles, and page descriptions
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
  • Optimized for mobile
  • Integrated blogging with third-party apps like Google Drive and Evernote



  • Less flexibility and control over your website
  • Fewer templates than Wix or WordPress
  • Limited e-commerce options
  • Not as friendly for SEO beginners



Ultimately, it’s not really about what website builder you choose, it’s about the content you create. Good content and quality backlinks are more important factors in your SEO ranking; in fact, Google itself has said that what website building platform you use doesn’t factor into your ranking.

Google ranks you based on how useful and authoritative your content is for your keywords. If people find your content relevant and trustworthy, you will rank higher. Most website builders provide pretty similar SEO features, so it’s really about how well you’re able to take advantage of them.

That being said, WordPress has a slight advantage over other content management systems. While it is more difficult to learn, it will provide you with more flexibility and SEO tools in the long run. With its blogging roots, it’s great for publishing lots of quality content and boosting your on-page SEO. Thousands of plug-ins can be incorporated into your site, letting you fine-tune your website for better rankings.


Go for the pros

SEO is way more than just what platform you use to build your website. Even if you go for a drag-and-drop website builder like Wix or Squarespace, there are still a ton of SEO techniques you’ll have to master if you want to get a much-coveted spot on the first search results page.

Good SEO combines web development, psychology, marketing, and so much more. Instead of spending the rest of your life getting the hang of it, it’s easier (and more cost-effective) to hire someone who’s already done all the difficult legwork for you.

Purple Tie Guys (PTG) is a leading SEO specialist and web developer based in Huntsville, Al. We can not only build your website, but provide custom web strategies and solutions to boost your rankings, reach your customers, and increase your profits.


By |2018-09-23T18:47:40-05:00September 23rd, 2018|Post|Comments Off on WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace for SEO: The Ultimate Website Round-Up

White Hat vs. Black Hat – What’s The REAL Difference?

Anyone who’s ever run a website knows how pulling in visitors can be hard work. Whether you’re running a site for profit or you merely want to become relevant in your own particular field, you need to put in the work and do some search engine optimization. Maybe you figure you’d do it yourself, or you may consider hiring an SEO company to help boost your rankings.

But no matter who’s doing it, there are a lot of different ways to do SEO. There will always be those who are standing at the crossroads, trying to discern exactly how they want to be getting their hits. There are two major schools of SEO thought and methods: black hat and white hat.


What Is White Hat and Black Hat SEO?

The color-coded names are pretty simple and evocative of how these practitioners work: black hat refers to gaming the SEO system and algorithm by brute-forcing their sites with keywords and links in order to increase their search engine ranking, while white hat is all about the hard work of catering to your site’s actual human audience. Black hatters are playing the low-effort, high-reward SEO game to increase rankings and gain hits quickly, usually looking for the fast ad money payout; this means that if their rankings do increase, they likely won’t stay that way for long once users realize what they’re clicking, or search engines punish them.

Meanwhile, white hatters are more interested in building the same ranking over time using more credible strategies, so that when they get on top, they stay on top. You always want to be a white hatter, because search engines work hard to keep ensuring that black hatting your site’s SEO doesn’t become too profitable.


White Hat Techniques

White hat SEO practitioners are more traditional site runners and content creators. They want to make sure your experience is worth the click on their link by doing the following:


  • They create unique and informative content – The #1 rule of running a website, no matter when you’re doing it: content is king. User experience and interface does matter, but without the content your users actually look for, you’re nothing. This is why white hatters always strive to regularly create the kind of quality content that keeps visitors returning and affiliates linking back to them, and that builds up actual credibility that translates into higher search engine rankings.
  • They optimize their site for all platforms – This is why UX matters, because you need a good, reliable way to deliver your quality content to your audience. The easier it is for people to access your site — that is, faster loading times on both desktop and mobile, intuitive and simple navigation, and full readability on mobile — the more people will recommend it and keep coming back to it, increasing its ranking.
  • They create well-thought-out meta tagging – Keywords shouldn’t just be meaningless phrases containing the search term. They have to be descriptive, and in the age of voice searches and even more personalized queries, they have to follow the user’s line of thinking. Consider using questions and full sentences in your meta tags, and your site will match up with actual searches more.
  • They put in the effort to build links – Good white hatters will put in the digital legwork to create backlinks to their site on others in the same field or niche. This is done by constantly engaging with other similar (not to mention reputable) sites and getting them to link back to yours so your page ranking goes up.



Black Hat Techniques

Black hat SEO practitioners usually employ the following rule-breaking techniques and methods to increase their search rankings:


  • There are too many low-quality keywords – Spamming keywords (some of which may be unrelated to one another) in a site’s text is a glaring sign that the site is stuffing their content with them in an attempt to look like they’re credible. Having a bunch of these keywords is guaranteed to hit on searches, but that doesn’t always mean you’ll find good content behind that link.
  • They use bots to manufacture engagement – Some black hatters will employ bots to fake human interaction on their sites and posts, and you’ll easily spot them when these “comments” include mentions of certain keywords that are either grammatically incorrect or just plain unnatural.
  • They redirect you somewhere else (and unrelated) – There are some page results that are just doorway pages to something totally unrelated. They’ll stuff these doorways with a bunch of keywords so that they can rank on search engines and prey on unsuspecting users, redirecting them to a site that’s not about what they were looking for (and sometimes may even include malware). Watch out for these.
  • Their sites contain invisible text or links – Sometimes, black hatters will also put in invisible or small text or links containing a keyword so that their page will rank on those related results. They’ll employ a number of ways to hide these links and text, but it’s often not hard to find.



Do Your Research

When you hire an SEO company or consultant to help you make your site more relevant, it pays to make sure you’re not paying for a black hatter. Black hatters aren’t always incompetent, but what they all have in common is that they’ll use underhanded methods to try and improve your site’s SEO and search rankings — and these methods are swiftly punished by search engines, wasting their attempts to boost their relevance and, in turn, your hard-earned money.

Make sure you keep these questions and considerations in mind when you’re shopping around in Huntsville, Al for an SEO guy or team for your site.


The real difference between white hat and black hat SEO isn’t just in the methods they use to improve your website’s performance and achieve your goals. No, the real difference lies in whether they actually care about building something credible and long-lasting on the internet. It pays to do SEO the right way.


By |2018-09-19T10:16:09-05:00September 19th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on White Hat vs. Black Hat – What’s The REAL Difference?

Choosing an SEO Company: Here’s What You Need To Know

The Internet is a hell of an invention. The world is a lot more interconnected these days thanks to it, in every possible sense. It’s a tool, and a very powerful one. All the glories and all the horrors of the world can break out in mere hours once they find the right platform.

This is where SEO companies come in. It’s 2018, the technology has matured, and companies exist who can look after your websites and the content on them to make sure that they’re properly optimized. Of course, as with all things, there are good companies and bad companies, and here are the basics on how you can tell which is which and get the best SEO services for your buck.


Get A Track Record

The best way to see if a company does good work is to look for that work and evidence of it.

Look up reviews for the companies you’re examining, and observe what they say. There are also lists of trustworthy SEO providers, and in this digital age, your SEO company doesn’t have to be local to provide you what you need; you can be in Huntsville, AL, while they’re in Raleigh, NC and still get effective results.

From the company itself, ask them for case studies of the work they’ve done, and for some clients they’ve worked for before that you can ask about.

Get testimonials from the people they’ve worked for; this is where your network of industry friends and insiders comes in handy. Referrals have worked to bring quality business since time immemorial, and that hasn’t changed here. Ask them what they liked and disliked about the company, and see if those match up with your needs.

Have A Concrete Goal

So this is on you instead of them, but working with your SEO company is a two-way street. SEO is, basically, a marketing concern, and to that end, you have to determine what it is you want of them. And this has to be concrete because SEO isn’t just something you do, it’s a means to an end. Traffic and rankings for their own sake mean nothing. If people visit your site but then do nothing further, what good is your site then?

Traffic must serve a specific goal. If you’ve confirmed that the traffic on your website translates to increased revenue, then increasing traffic becomes a good goal. Or if you’ve identified a target market, and thus set a goal of attracting more traffic from that market, that’s also good.

Basically, figure out what you want, and the company can more easily tell you what needs to happen.

Consider Communication Styles

Communication is vital in any relationship. Platonic, romantic, business, whatever; all connections are founded on effective communication. It’s a matter of meetings, and of just speaking to each other in general.

Do you prefer something more freewheeling, or would you instead have daily updates, weekly updates, monthly?

What kind of information do you want to get?

Do you perhaps want separate reports, like a summary for your boss and a more detailed report for your marketing department?

Go through all this with your company, and find out what works best for you. See if you can come to a reasonable compromise with the company you’re working with.

Determine Your Resources

Is there anything in this world that doesn’t cost money? SEO certainly does. Don’t think you can just drop in five dollars and have your website looking all beautiful at the top of the search results.

Don’t hesitate to ask the company you’re after, as they’ll have a contract structure for you to peruse. Define your budget, and check it against what you’re hearing, and the conversation afterwards becomes much easier.

And by resources, we don’t just mean money. The company may need to work with your people, like developers or content writers, to properly optimise, so ask them what they need and consider how much time you’re willing to commit to them.

Also consider how free a hand you’re giving the company. You may want to have someone to sign off on what they’re doing, to maintain control and build up trust, but this will cut into their time. Or you could give up oversight and let them do what they wish without anyone having to approve, but that has its own downsides.

What To Watch Out For

Just as you have ways to find the good, there are ways to root out the bad. Here are a few red flags to watch out for:




Lack of Transparency



Don’t be afraid to ask exactly what it is they’re going to do for you. A good company will be upfront and transparent about their methods and techniques. If anyone responds with ‘trade secret’, or even worse, says it’s a secret but promises guaranteed results, drop them.

SEO is an open field, the technology is mature, its techniques are well understood, and by its very nature can’t really be hidden. This isn’t like cuisine, where a unique taste defines the establishment. Anyone with any kind of ‘secret sauce’ is talking out of their ass.




Guaranteed Results



Related to the above, if an SEO company promises to get you to the top of the results page in a given timeframe, they’re again lying through their teeth. Though the methods are known, the results are impossible to guarantee. You should especially be careful of a company that says this before they do any research into your company or your current SEO profile.


SEO is a competitive field, with its ways sometimes odd to the untrained observer. Fortunately, as with almost every other trade, it has its experts. The points we’ve discussed are things to consider when you’re shopping around for the best SEO services. Hopefully, you’ll a find a good company that’ll do right by you.

By |2018-09-11T10:46:02-05:00September 11th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Choosing an SEO Company: Here’s What You Need To Know

Is Local SEO REALLY Effective for Local Businesses?

If you’re a small business, you might not think SEO is for you. After all, it’s just another expense to add to your already growing budget, right? It’s a common misconception amongst local business owners that SEO is just for big shots and major corporations. But the reality is everyone – yes, including you – can benefit greatly from local SEO.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is any activity that increases your ranking on search engine results pages. Why is this important, you ask? When people search a term that is relevant to your business, like “good coffee shop” for example, where you place in the search results page is very important.

The higher you rank on the search results, the more visible you are to potential customers, and the more opportunities you have to close that sale.

There are many methods for increasing your website’s ranking. The technical side of SEO involves having clean formatting, integrating social media, establishing business profiles on online directories, and making your website responsive for mobile users. The content side of SEO involves having great quality web content, using relevant keywords throughout your site, and being featured in articles and reviews by reputable third parties.

One of the most popular and effective ways a local business can market themselves is by using a variation of this called local SEO. Using local SEO will help you reach the customers that matter the most to your business: people in your area. You already have an advantage since you know your target audience well – they’re your neighbors, your friends, and the people in your community.

In 2018, having a strong online presence is crucial for any business, big or small. 64% of people use search engines like Google or Bing to find local businesses in their area, and a whopping 78% of local mobile searches end up in a sale.

The numbers don’t lie – here’s how local SEO can help you convert those website clicks into cash.


You target the right people at the right time.

When people need a specific product or service, they want one that is easily accessible to them at the moment they need it. Search engines understand that local searches are often more relevant to their users – someone in Huntsville, Alabama has no use for restaurant listings in New York, for example.

46% of all Google searches are actually local searches, and having an SEO strategy will help you take advantage of this.


Local SEO works because it connects your business to people nearby who are already actively seeking it out; they just need to know where they can get what they want and how. That’s where you come in – good SEO practices will make it easy for potential customers to find and contact you.


You improve your word-of-mouth.

Even with all the cutting-edge advancements in the field of marketing, word of mouth is still by far the most effective way to market your local business. Back in the day, this meant getting recommendations from friends and family about which bar to go to or which dentist is the best. The rise of technology hasn’t changed this at all, but it has transformed the way we get our recommendations.

9 out of 10 people trust online reviews – yup, even from complete strangers on the internet. Many people said they even put online reviews at the same level as a personal recommendation from someone they know.

They scan blogs and comments to determine the quality of a business so that they can make informed decisions about which brand or company to choose. If people like you enough to leave good feedback, others are bound to listen.

One of the major focuses of local SEO is monitoring and responding to online reviews about your business. It helps you keep track of what people think about your products or services, lets you signal boost positive reviews, and gives you the opportunity to reach out to the people who have had negative experiences.

This shows that you truly care about your customers and are dedicated to providing the best in your field.


You keep track of your customers and your business.

The great thing about SEO is that it’s measurable. Part of SEO is analytics – looking at the data and tweaking your strategy from there. You can glean so many insights from tracking your SEO results; you can monitor your number of clicks, website traffic, which pages are most popular. You’ll know which methods are working and which need improvement, helping you make better, more calculated decisions.

There’s also a sense of accomplishment in being able to see the tangible results of your SEO efforts, whether it’s an increase in site traffic or higher conversion rates.


You avoid losing sales.

If you’ve been neglecting your SEO, or, worse, using questionable methods to boost your rankings, you’re definitely hurting your business in the long run.

At best, not having an updated address, contact number, and business hours make it harder for people to find you and purchase your products and service. A messy website that is ill-structured, outdated, and hard to understand will turn away potential customers, thus losing you revenue.

At worst, black hat SEO techniques will get you penalized by search engines, whose algorithms are constantly being updated to weed out spammy and irrelevant websites.

If a search engine determines that you’ve been engaging in dubious practices to artificially boost your ranking, they can bump you down or remove you from the results altogether.


You can get revenue with little to no cash-out.

There are many SEO agencies who are experts in SEO for local small businesses, and they can definitely help you get the results you want. But did you know that you can still reap the benefits of SEO without having to shell out any extra money?

Claiming your business on online directories like Yelp or Google My Business is FREE. All you have to do is claim your listing, update your contact information and address. And voila! This is your first step to reaching your potential customers. Search engines will automatically rank you higher because your information is verified and up-to-date, and it will be much easier for people to find your business when they search online.

Any local business, whether you’re an established neighborhood mom-and-pop diner or an exciting new startup, can benefit from implementing good SEO practices. Promote your products and services online with SEO, reach a wider audience, and see your business really take off.


By |2018-09-03T10:12:38-05:00September 3rd, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Is Local SEO REALLY Effective for Local Businesses?

US-Based vs Offshore SEO Services

US-Based vs Offshore SEO Services: Everything You NEED To Know

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing your ranking in search engine result pages so that your website attracts more visitors and earns you more revenue. Google, Bing, and other search engines employ an algorithm which ranks your website based on a variety of technical and content factors. To maximize your ranking, your website should, at the very least:


  • Be secure (HTTPS vs HTTP)
  • Be mobile-friendly
  • Load quickly
  • Have relevant and authoritative content
  • Have quality backlinks from other reputable websites



Why Is SEO Important?

Any business with an online presence can benefit greatly from SEO services. Why is it so important? An overwhelming majority of online experiences begin with a search engine. Most people never scroll past the first page, so if you want to direct traffic to your website, it’s important to increase your ranking for important keywords. This involves many methods, like cleaning up your code, regularly writing content that is useful to your audience, sharing that content, and even managing your reputation and responding to negative reviews online.

SEO is a highly-specialized skill, so most businesses turn to companies who are experts in digital marketing. SEO companies provide many services – site audits, strategy development and implementation, as well as data tracking and analysis. Tapping into their experience can help you identify the changes that need to be made to your website for it to rise in the ranks.

Because SEO is so necessary in this day and age, many companies have popped up offering their services—both in the United States and offshore. India, in particular, is a frequent go-to for many businesses because of their cheap services.

How do you go about choosing from the hundreds, if not thousands, of options locally and around the globe? There are five main factors to consider when choosing between SEO services in the US and those offshore.


1. Cost

On paper, local and offshore SEO companies usually offer the same types of services, with one key difference: price. Many SEO firms based abroad, like those in India, offer similar packages at a fraction of the cost of their American counterparts.

This is a major deciding factor, especially for small to medium businesses who might not have the capital to spend thousands of dollars per month on a local SEO consultant. After all, if the results are the same, isn’t it a smarter business decision to go for the cheaper option?

The adage rings true—you get what you pay for. Of course, this doesn’t always mean that more expensive equals better results, but there is a point where the money you save isn’t worth the sacrifice in quality and the risk. A good SEO strategy requires a thorough audit of your site, marketing and social media expertise, and possibly an overhaul of the code and content of your website.

Offshore SEO services may claim to do all these for a low price, but they will have to cut corners somewhere to turn a profit – usually by providing lower quality content or even resorting to gray and black hat methods to deliver short-term results while staying within budget. Local services, on the other hand, might be more expensive off the bat to account for the serious research and work that go into creating your SEO marketing plan.


2. Communication

English has long been the standard means of communication across the globe; the internet has only made it easier for people to learn the language, so it’s no surprise that many people abroad can speak and write in English.

But anyone who has received messages and emails from offshore SEO firms can attest that there is a world of difference between a native English speaker and one for whom English is a second language. While some SEO agencies do have fluent English speakers on staff, this might not always be the case.

The language barrier could pose major problems even early on. A solid SEO strategy involves a back-and-forth between your company and the SEO service provider, and any miscommunication from budgets to business objectives could put your investment dollars at serious risk.

SEO also requires a lot of research and content writing, and you are more likely to end up with awkwardly-phrased content at best, and unintelligible writing at worst.


The time difference also stands in the way of seamless communication between you and the SEO company. This makes it more difficult to collaborate on your SEO marketing plan, and impossible to act on time-sensitive errors and problems.


3. Quality & Innovation

Outsourcing is incredibly helpful and cost-effective for technical tasks, but SEO is more than just simplifying code and adding backlinks. SEO consultants need a solid grasp of content and social media marketing to provide you with customized, comprehensive solutions.

Search engines like Google often take into consideration the length and quality of your web page content in determining your index ranking. Your company’s reputation and rankings are dependent on quality content and messaging – you don’t want to leave this responsibility with just anyone.

It’s easier for local SEO companies to understand your objectives and target demographic than for someone who is in a different country. Companies in America also have to adhere to very strict operational requirements so that you can trust their standards and attention to detail. Local writers obviously have a great grasp of the English language and are better able to create relevant and valuable content that is tailored to your company’s needs.

Offshore content writers usually hammer out large numbers of articles for a low price, which means that they might not be able to take the time to create your site’s content carefully. They are also not usually native English speakers, and this shows in the quality of their writing. Some even resort to shady tactics that could generate content for your website quickly and cheaply, but will hurt your business in the long run—more on that later.

Search engines change their algorithm for ranking and detecting spam websites regularly, so it’s important that the SEO company you work with is caught up with the latest optimization methods. SEO techniques that were commonplace even just a few years ago are outdated now, and could get your site penalized.

American SEO firms are usually up-to-date with algorithm changes and are at the forefront of new and innovative techniques. Local SEO companies also offer a wide range of long-term services, including data tracking and analysis to tweak their methods and continually improve your rankings month after month.


4. Integrity

There are two main kinds of SEO: white hat and black hat. White hat methods involve tweaking your website and improving your content to affect your rankings. It requires a company with extensive experience in web programming, networking, content writing, and even graphic design. With white hat SEO, your website content is king – it needs to be useful and relevant to your audience. The agency is in charge of figuring out the common search terms related to your line of business, and include those keywords in your content so that it’s easier for potential customers to find and connect with you online.

They’ll also increase your quality backlinks from other reputable websites, help you manage negative reviews online, and enhance your profiles on related directories and blogs. This holistic and multi-level approach to increasing your visitors and generating leads is the reason why many local SEO companies charge a pretty penny for their services.

While there are trustworthy SEO services in India and other countries, their low cost often means they resort to other, less expensive ways to manipulate your search engine rankings superficially. These shady and unethical practices, like keyword stuffing, using link farms, and scraping content from other websites, might boost your ranking in the short term, but search engine algorithms are programmed to sniff out disreputable websites that employ these tactics and penalize them by decreasing their rankings or removing them from search results altogether.


Offshore vs US-Based: Which is better?

The SEO company you eventually hire will run the nitty gritty of your online presence so that you have more time to focus on operating your business. They will improve your website and user experience so that it’s easier for customers to find your products and services. It’s important to hire an agency that is credible, easy to communicate with, will deliver long-term results, and give you your money’s worth.

By |2018-08-20T16:37:20-05:00August 20th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on US-Based vs Offshore SEO Services

Here’s How a Cheap SEO Company Can End Up Costing You MORE…

So you’ve got your business up and running, and now it’s time to start implementing your content marketing strategy.

Of course, this means you’ll need to hire an agency or a freelancer to work on your SEO to improve your search rankings, but hey – isn’t that just a bunch of keywords, backlinks, and a little bit of research every once in a while?

Surely you don’t have to spend so much to get working search engine optimization!


Unfortunately this isn’t the case at all. Not only will a cheap SEO company often be ineffective at producing results, but they may even push your rankings down even lower!

SEO techniques and strategy have changed a lot since the dawn of digital marketing, and a cheap agency may be using outdated techniques or even dirty tricks in their “optimization” methods that are actually penalized by Google.

In this blog entry, we look at the ways in which a cheap SEO company could hurt your search engine rankings, and how to detect them.


1. They Use Private Blog Networks For Linking

This is by far one of the shadiest and most potentially damaging tricks that a cheap SEO company might use to artificially inflate your rankings. A private blog network, or PBN, is a bunch of seemingly unrelated sites that one can pay to have their links included in posts. Buying and selling links in a “link scheme” such as this is a violation of Google’s terms, and they’re always watching for new PBNs and sites that have purchased their services. If you’re ever caught – and believe me, you eventually will be! – your site’s rankings may tank, or even be removed entirely.

You can catch them right at the negotiation phase with your prospective SEO company by checking if they offer a “link scheme” or any way of improving traffic and linkage that isn’t organic link building. You can also check your site insights, or use a free backlink checker, and have a look at your backlinks – if you see an assortment of unrelated, irrelevant blogs which contain spam-like content that links back to you, your SEO company may be using a link scheme!


2. They Might Be Automatically Spinning & Scraping Articles For Your Linked Content

It’s a given that spamming the exact same content and linking back to your site is a big no-no for search engine rankings. The solution is to create variations of content that tell variations of the same story, also known as “spinning.” However, a cheap SEO company might decide to just run a single piece of content through software that swaps every few words with a synonym and call it a day.

Sure, in theory this produces content that looks different, but in practice, content that is automatically spun will read like an absolute train wreck, and will probably be flagged as low-quality content which will damage your site’s performance and credibility.

Another technique that a cheap SEO company might use is called scraping, defined in Google Support as this practice:

“Some webmasters use content taken (“scraped”) from other, more reputable sites on the assumption that increasing the volume of pages on their site is a good long-term strategy regardless of the relevance or uniqueness of that content.”

Scraping is related to article spinning, as one technique involved in scraping is to run the stolen content through spinning software to give the appearance of being unique. Google can very easily detect scraped content and will ruin your day if your site is caught scraping because your cheap SEO company wanted to make a quick buck.

Both spinning and scraping can be detected by searching Google for exact sentences lifted from the content that your provider has produced for you. If you see any very close matches, you may be a victim of these black-hat techniques.


3. Keyword Stuffing

A classic technique of cheap SEO from its more primitive days, keyword stuffing is when you plug in as many related keywords as possible in your content, meta tags, links – basically anywhere that a keyword can fit. This used to work when search engines weren’t as smart as they are now, but times have changed, and keyword stuffing is now universally considered a bad thing by even a cheap SEO company. Not only is keyword stuffing spam and therefore will negatively impact your rankings, it’s also terrible to read when implanted in your content.

Even if keyword stuffing did work to introduce traffic to your site, your stuffed content would turn people off as soon as they saw its spam-like appearance.

Naturally and organically integrating keywords into content is an art form that comes along with high-quality content, and you can’t cheap out on high-quality content. An SEO company will also ensure that keyword density is no more than 5%, as any more is both spammy and hard to read.


4. Low-Quality Content

“You can’t cheap out on high-quality content.” That was two sentences ago, and you need to read it again. Quality content has a price that covers a good writer, proper editing, research skills, and active avoidance of plagiarism. If you lose out on any single one of those elements because you skimped on your content spend, you can kiss your rankings goodbye. And it goes without saying that if your SEO company is cheap, their content will be cheap too.


AVOID Cheap SEO Companies At All Costs!

Of course you want to save money – every additional spent cent is a reduction of your profits. However, going too low with something as critical as SEO will end up with not just low performance, but potentially negative performance! There’s no set metric on how cheap is too cheap, but like with many things, the answer to weeding out bad SEO companies is “research.”

Check reviews and ask for studies of past clients. Read up on a candidate and see how long they’ve been in the industry. Discard random newbies on Fiverr. And hey, if an SEO company is any good, shouldn’t their own site and content be doing well on Google too? SEO agencies with higher rankings on Google are a fair bet.

Cheap SEO may seem like a tempting proposition, but you’re going to run into more trouble than the savings are worth if you go for it. SEO is an extremely important part of your performance, and it should definitely be given the proper respect in your overall marketing strategy.

By |2018-07-16T11:19:31-05:00July 17th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Here’s How a Cheap SEO Company Can End Up Costing You MORE…