Tag Archives: SEO

Local SEO, Part II: Social Media for Business

Make sure to read our previous blog about local SEO and how to get started!

Social Media Profiles for Businesses

After you have claimed your Google My Business listing, made a good, professional website, and made it mobile-friendly, creating social media profiles for your business is going to be the next step. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other forms of social media can be a major help for your business. Some platforms may be better for your specific business than others, but all can be helpful. It will never hurt your business to have social media platforms! So how do you know which platforms will be best for you? We can tell you a bit about each platform and you can make your own decisions!

Facebook for Businesses

Social Media

Facebook, in general, is good for all types of businesses. Facebook has essentially become a search engine inside of a social media platform. If someone searches for a type of business in their area (for example, “lawn care in my area”) Facebook may show them your business if your page is set up and relates to that search term.

Facebook also allows you to make Events. If you have something special going on at your business, you can make an Event. This lets people know that something is happening and they can keep up with information about it as well as share the Event with their family and friends. You’ll also have a better idea about how many people will come or are interested based on responses from your audience.

You can also advertise on Facebook, which allows you to target specific people in your audience based on interests, buying habits, etc. Get your ads in front of people who are more likely to interact/buy from your business with Facebook Ads! Facebook in general is great for your local SEO.

Instagram for Businesses

social media managementInstagram is great for businesses that are trendy or fun, have products you can buy, or are in general “younger”. Instagram’s users tend to be Millennials and Gen Z, so your business will do well if it is geared toward the younger generations. For example, wedding venues, clothing stores, make up brands, pet product stores, and even restaurants will do well. If you can take pictures of your products in a way that is engaging and interesting, Instagram is the platform for you!

Instagram has a shopping tool that allows users to buy directly from your posts, which can be incredibly helpful for retail businesses. If you are more service-based, Instagram–while still helpful because you will appear in searches or as a suggested profile–may not be the best platform for you.

Twitter for Businesses

Twitter is another platform that is more geared toward the younger generations but is still useful for businesses. Twitter allows you to share information about your business in a quick and easily digestible way. You can share specials you are having or relevant links to your website or share news articles relating to your business.

We recommend Twitter because when your audience interacts with your posts or content, it has the possibility of showing up on their followers’ feeds. In other words, people who might not normally see your content may see it. This is unlike the other two platforms, where it is very difficult for your profiles to be seen by people who don’t already follow you!

Pinterest for Businesses

social media management graphicSimilar to Instagram, Pinterest is great for retail businesses or businesses that have “shareable” content such as DIYs, recipes, etc. Pinterest is better for Generation X and Millennials–especially women. If that is your average consumer, Pinterest is a great option. Any time someone shares one of your pins, it can be seen by anyone that follows them!

LinkedIn for Businesses

LinkedIn is great for professional businesses such as law firms, accountants, insurance, construction companies, etc. LinkedIn allows you to share new case studies, deals, or information about your business. You can also run ads on LinkedIn!

No matter which social media platforms you pursue, make sure to keep them as current as possible. Non-active accounts won’t help you much, because you won’t get information out in front of the eyes of your audience. If you keep them updated, they can majorly benefit your local SEO! If you need help managing your accounts, consider hiring someone to do it for you! Contact us here at Team WTI. We offer social media management services.

Local SEO, Part I: First Steps

local seoDo you want your business to show up in Google, Bing, Maps, and other local search engines? The first step is claiming your business’ Google My Business listing. Did you know that almost half of all searches are local? And that over half of local businesses have not claimed their Google listing? Businesses that have not claimed their listing are at a severe disadvantage to those who have claimed theirs. Your Google listing can help bring people to your business by providing business hours, directions, description of your service, menus (if applicable), reviews, and more! The real kicker is that it is not that difficult to claim your business’ listing.

Also, while claiming your Google My Business listing is important and valuable, there is so much more you can do to make sure your business gets seen by local searches. Local SEO is about optimizing your online presence (your website, social media, etc.) to attract more customers and more business. And not just on Google! Although Google dominates in terms of the number of searches, local SEO applies to Bing, Yelp, Apple Maps, and more.

What Should you Optimize First?

local seo

Google is going to be your bread and butter. Obviously, as mentioned, claiming your Google listing and adding your information to it will be a huge first step. Next, you will want to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Over half (about 60%) of searches are on a mobile device and that number will only increase. Making sure your website looks great on mobile is going to help keep people on your site, instead of just leaving right away to find another business. It’s important to make sure your website looks great no matter how it is being viewed, as well. No one likes to visit a site that doesn’t look good. It leaves a bad impression and can make a business seem unprofessional.

These are the three first steps you’ll need to make sure that your online presence is benefitting you. After that, you can delve deeper and look into social media profiles, keyword research, on-page SEO, reviews, and link building. Keep an eye on our blog to keep learning more about local SEO and how you can improve your online presence. Click here for part two!

If you are looking to improve your local SEO but are not sure where to start or would prefer a professional to take care of it, contact us here at Team WTI. We offer SEO services, social media management, web maintenance, and more! Leave it to a team of professionals so you can be sure that you are getting the best results possible. Give us a call today!

How Outdated SEO Tactics Can Hurt Your Rankings

outdated SEO tactics hurt rankings

Once upon a time, you could trick Google into ranking your site higher in search results, but those days are long gone friends. This post outlines a few outdated SEO tactics that Google actually punishes sites for, so be sure to avoid using these approaches when creating content for your website!

Outdated SEO Tactic #1: Duplicate Content

Intentionally duplicating content, or creating multiple pages with slightly different title tags in an attempt to rank for a set of keywords is an outdated SEO tactic. This approach should not be used for many reasons. The main reason is that search engines will rarely show multiple versions of the same content in its search results for users anyway, so it’s best to just create one page, and pack it full with useful, unique content for visitors. In most cases, duplicate content is unintentional, but try to avoid having multiple pages or posts that are similar whenever possible because search engines don’t know which versions to include or exclude in search results for users.

Outdated SEO Tactic #2: Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing refers to writing content “optimized” for search engines, meaning that instead of writing sentences to be easily read by humans, the text was written for search engine bots. You can usually tell if someone is stuffing content with keywords because they might mention those words over and over again throughout their page or paragraphs. And while it might seem tempting to try to write content tailored to search engines, it’s not necessarily search engines that are determining rankings alone anymore. If users are consistently clicking on a page and immediately exiting, that tells Google that content isn’t useful or relevant, and therefore the page loses credibility.

Key Takeaway 

Instead of wasting tons of time trying to “beat the algorithm” in tacky ways, it is better to show up consistently with quality, sharable content. Search engines are getting better at understanding human language and semantics, so it’s almost useless to tailor a site for a set of rules that will probably change tomorrow anyway. Because at the end of the day, all search engines are trying to do is to deliver the best possible results to their users, every single time.

If you need help creating quality content for your website, blog, or social media, let us know! We’ll be happy to help!

Digital Marketing During COVID-19

 

Everything seems to be up in the air right now with the spread of COVID-19, but one thing that we know to be true during this time, is that digital marketing for businesses is more important than it has ever been.

Now more than ever, people are relying on the internet and social media for news updates, product recommendations, and human connection in a time that makes it nearly impossible to get these things in any other form. The internet has become a lifeline for those that want to maintain somewhat of a normal lifestyle. And it’s because of the internet that almost everything we need is available at our fingertips.

While it’s not a fun topic to cover, it’s a crucial one to address if you want your business to make it through this pandemic, and possibly others yet to come in the future. The fact of the matter is: this is the reality we are facing today. How is your business prepared to make it through these tough times, and even after? Do you have a digital marketing system in place? How are you still showing up to support your customers in this serious time of need? 

Below are few ways you can prepare and develop your digital marketing systems for your business during the ever-changing COVID-19 protocols.

Start Building Relationships With Your Potential Customers.

The internet is full of free, easy, and useful tools for marketing online. If your business doesn’t have a Facebook Page or an Instagram Account, now is the time to start one. The important thing to remember about social media is that consistency is key. Show up for your people consistently so that they know what to expect from you! Social media is a great way to connect with customers on a more personal level. People are more likely to purchase from you if they feel like they can trust you. You can use social media to build and nurture that precious relationship between you and your customers.

Build an Engaged Email List.

If you already have active social media channels, give your customers another way to connect with you on a more intimate level! You can invite them to sign up for your email list on social media, as well as on your website. By building an email list, you are creating your very own customer base that no one else has access to while they are reading your emails. In general, people are protective of their inbox, so if someone signs up for your email list, understand that they are actively saying, “Yes, I want to know more!” So do your audience a favor and give them the information they’re asking for. Instead of only showing up in their inbox when you need something, (aka: a sale) you can reach out to your customers and personally let them know the different ways you can help them or solve their problems. You can give exclusive access to certain discount codes, or content on your website to serve those customers better.

Allow the Professionals to Handle it.

If you’re not comfortable with posting on social media, or don’t feel as though you are able to dedicate the amount of time it takes to develop a strong digital presence, allow the professionals to handle it! Team WTI will welcome you with open arms and work with you to create a plan that’s completely customized for you and your business. We offer everything from Web Design & Digital Development, to a wide variety of Digital Marketing Services that include social media management and content development. To learn more about who we are and how we can serve you, visit the Services tab on our website! We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, and we wish you all the very best in navigating these difficult times.

Is Social Media Important for My Business?

Social media is an important part of getting your brand and message out to prospective and current customers. You’re probably aware of the marketing aspect of it, but did you know it can help with the SEO of your website? Google, Bing, and other search engines are incorporating more social media posts into their search engine results. Can you use social media to affect SEO? Let Team WTI show you how to use social media (and we can even handle it for you).

social media posts help SEO

Claim Your Profile

The whole goal of SEO is to make sure your pages and site are at the top of search engine results. The more information you have on the internet, the better your chances of hitting those top spots. People do all kinds of searches, so you must cover as many areas as possible. They not only use search engines to look for you, but they will also search for your brand on their favorite social media platforms.

People judge the authority and professionalism of a company by their social media presence. Having an amateurish appearance, inconsistent branding, or worse, no profile are all ways to turn off potential customers. If you don’t look like a “real” business or have no profile at all, your customers may go to one of your competitors. Also, if you don’t claim your profile or username, competitors or squatters can claim them. You should claim all your social media profiles, even if you’re not going to use them right now. It’s better to have them in your possession, in case you decide to use them later and to prevent someone else from using your name. If you do decide to use the platform in the future, you’re ready to go. You won’t have to jump through all the hoops it takes to not only sign up but the headache of trying to claim it from someone who “stole” your username.

A word of advice from Yoast, a leader in the SEO world: If you don’t plan on using your social media right away, you can pin a post to the top of most platforms. The post should let visitors know that they have reached the correct brand and they can contact you through the platform. You can provide other ways that they can contact you, such as email, phone number, and physical address. Make it easy for them to get in touch with you.

Team WTI can set up your profiles for you. We’ll use your company or brand name, along with your logo. We’ll fill in all of the information that a current or prospective client will need. Our Social Media team will make sure that your profile looks professional, up-to-date, and is helpful to visitors. We’ll make sure your brand is consistent across all platforms and your website, ensuring that visitors know that they are visiting the company they are looking for.

How Social Media Helps Search Results

More and more search engines are incorporating social media posts into their results. Your social media accounts can appear when people search for your brand name. In the image below, you can see the Google Knowledge Panel for one of our clients, The Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany. Their Facebook profile is included near the bottom of their panel.

social media in a knowledge panel

By having your social media profile included with your knowledge panel, it tells visitors that these are the authentic websites and social media profiles for your business. By clicking on that social media icon, they will be taken to your profile.

In addition to the knowledge panel, Google has been adding tweets from Twitter to search results. They may show up in the results as a “Tweet Carousel”. This is just being rolled out by Google, so it’s not seen a lot, but we’ll probably see more of it in the future.

Make Room in Search Results

As you may have noticed, the space for organic search results is getting smaller due to more paid ads and other information on the result page. You can take up that valuable real estate by making sure your website pages get ranked well, in addition to social media pages and posts. The more room you take, the less room there is for your competitors and the bigger the chance of a customer clicking on your page or website.

The more visibility you have, the more people will be talking about you and sharing your information with others. By being discussed, Google will see that you are relevant to what people are looking for. This will increase your search engine rankings, which, in turn, will improve the traffic to your site.

You can share the content of your site through social media. The more people that read your blogs and pages and like what they see, the better your chances of converting visitors to paying customers.  When people like your content, they will share it or click “like”. Either option makes the social media algorithms “happy” and they’ll make sure it shows up in front of more viewers. The new people that see your posts and pages may like your page or profile and start following you. You’ll be top of mind if they are looking for your product or service. If your profile is engaging, informative, and useful, they will have a positive feeling towards your brand.

Combine SEO and Social Media Marketing

Having a social media presence alone won’t necessarily help with your search engine rankings. However, combining it with a good SEO strategy will help beef up your results. Many factors go into SEO and social media marketing is just one of them. Social media isn’t going away anytime soon, so you should take advantage of every tool available to you.

Maintaining a good social media profile takes time and effort. Contact Team WTI to learn how we can handle your SEO and Social Media Marketing for you. Our team works together to give you the biggest bang for your buck. We look forward to helping you increase your search rankings and improve your conversion rate.

Team WTI Participates in GMS Career Fair

Team WTI staff members at eighth grade career fair

Team WTI members Holland Block, left, and Hunter Draminski participated in an eighth-grade Career Fair at Geneseo Middle School.

Eighth graders at Geneseo Middle School had the opportunity to learn about a number of different jobs – including digital marketing and web design – during a career fair in the school gym and cafeteria on Friday, Jan. 10.

Team WTI members Holland Block, a digital marketing specialist, and Hunter Draminski, a web specialist, joined other Geneseo business professionals to speak with the more than 200 eighth-grade students at GMS.

“I was impressed with how the students all dressed up. They’d walk up to you, say ‘Hi my name is,’ and then shake your hand,” said Draminski. “They did a good job asking us questions.”

Illinois Standards Call for Career Exploration Day

As part of the State of Illinois’ new Career and College Readiness Standards, schools are required to have a career exploration day, said GMS counselor Amy Feely. 

The career fair capped off a career exploration unit in which eighth graders participated in a career survey, learned how to present themselves professionally and created a series of questions to ask employees attending the fair.

Team WTI at GMS career fair

Team WTI web specialist Hunter Draminski, right, discusses his job with an eighth-grade student at Geneseo Middle School.

Though Geneseo Middle School has hosted career fairs in the past, GMS Principal Nate O’Dell said the last one was more than a decade ago.

“They’ve been excited about this career fair,” said O’Dell. In addition to learning about career opportunities, the fair gives students a chance to work on what O’Dell called “soft skills.”

“They say ‘thank you’ and make eye contact and all those other interpersonal skills that are vitally important,” he said.

Fair Helps 8th Graders Learn About Local Businesses

Geneseo Superintendent Dr. Adam Brumbaugh said he applauded the teachers at GMS for organizing the career fair and preparing students for the day. Each took a survey in advance to see how their skills matched jobs and industries.

“Students are able to see what jobs are available locally. Ideally, we’d love our students to stay in the community. This helps them learn about the local workforce and what skills are needed to meet the needs and be good employees for local businesses,” said Brumbaugh.

Team WTI at GMS Job Fair

Geneseo Middle School eighth graders had a chance to meet with representatives from Geneseo businesses, including Team WTI.

Eighth-grade students will register for high school classes later in the spring. Thinking about jobs and careers for the future helps students plan their high school education track.

“This offers a starting place for students to see if they’re on a college track or a vocational track. We realize that college isn’t for every student, so we also look at career readiness. We want them to know what their options are,” said Brumbaugh. 

Team WTI’s Block and Draminski were good examples of each education path. Block attended a junior college before graduating from a four-year school, while Draminski entered the job market after high school.

“They were interested in how we got started and what our backgrounds were,” said Draminski. “They found it interesting that I started to learn to code when I was around their age. I enjoyed explaining how I got into the job.”

Team WTI Staff Answered Questions about Digital Marketing and Web Development

Team WTI digital marketing specialist at Career Fair

Holland Block, a digital marketing specialist at Team WTI, discusses her job with a Geneseo Middle School student.

“A lot of the students were very curious about what we do,” said Block, explaining that digital marketing included Search Engine Optimization, blog writing, online reputation management, social media management, and online advertising.

“They were interested to see all the types of things they could do in this field,” said Block.

Though the students had a set of questions they could ask participants, they were also able to expand to other questions.

“Most were nervous and started off with the questions they had, but as we spoke and joked with them, they’d get less nervous and branch out to ask other questions,” she said. “They all took the career fair very seriously.”

Both Block and Draminski had laptops at the career fair in order to better demonstrate their jobs to students.

“Some of the kids really wanted to see more, and to look at some of the sites and pages we’d created,” said Draminski.

The 2020 Geneseo Middle School Career Fair was attended by approximately 20 companies, representing everything from the military and education to human services and technology.

Do Image File Names Matter for SEO?

oil painting of william shakespeare

William Shakespeare didn’t know much about SEO, but he did know how to make his writing memorable.

“A photo by any other name will help your SEO,” said William Shakespeare. Or at least, he would have said it had he not been busy writing about roses (and living in the 1500s). 

Photo file names is an oft-forgotten aspect of SEO (search engine optimization). Too often, leaving the default straight-from-the-camera file name is the easy route to take. After all, it’s the photo people are looking at, not the image name, right?

When you use a digital image you’ve taken, it often comes with a default name like “IMG_81103.” While that name might help your camera digitally order the images chronologically, it’s not a very memorable name.

You won’t see file name “IMG_81103” on your computer desktop and have it bring back fond memories. On the other hand “Swimming Pool with Seth and Rachel” could help you recall sunny summer days. At the very least, you’ll assume a swimming pool is in the photo.

The same principle applies when you’re naming files for your website. Changing the default name will help search engines better understand the image.

Avoid the default image name

The more search engines understand your site, the better it helps your SEO. 

college ruled spiral bound notebook

If you want to make your image file name matter, avoid the letters and number comb.

Imagine you run a site selling stationery. You could label this photo “paper” or “notebook.”

But as a stationery shop, you might sell dozens of different notebooks. Labeling each photo “notebook-1,” “notebook-2,” etc. is OK, but doesn’t really maximize your photo’s SEO potential.

Instead, if the image was named “college-ruled-spiral-notebook” search engines would have a better understanding of the image.

Use Image Names as a Way to Help Search Engines Better Understand Your Site

The best way to customize your image name is to keep it short and include keywords in your description. 

Taking the time to appropriately name your image files is a way for the photo to pay double dividends. 

Images already are vitally important to how users interact with your site. Research has shown people are 80% more likely to read content that includes an image. They’re also 64% more likely to remember what they read afterward. 

You want people to remember your company and you want search engines to understand your site. Spending time on your image file names is an easy way to maximize your site’s SEO potential. 

At Team WTI, we’re experts in SEO and can help improve your site’s visibility. Contact us today for more information.

How to Improve your SEO On and Off your Website

off page SEOIt is obvious why your website needs to rank well. Websites that are listed in the first few search results are much more likely to be visited. If you can get someone to visit your site it builds brand recognition, trust, and may convert to a sale. Especially if you have decent content. So take advantage of all the resources available to you!

When you think of search engine optimization, you probably think of optimizing your website with page titles, meta descriptions, search phrases, and keywords. While this is–of course–a vital part of SEO, there are methods you can use outside of your website to improve your ranking in searches, as well. If you want your website to rank well, you must prioritize both on-site optimization and off-site SEO.

Methods of Off-Page SEO Improvement

One of the easiest things to do is to always create content that is QUALITY over QUANTITY. It is better to do one great blog each month rather than 3 “okay” blogs. Because the better your content is, the more likely other sites will link back to your page. Backlinking is one of the best ways to improve your ranking. Google tends to prefer websites that are more trustworthy and provide good content. If you are getting a lot of backlinks, that means your website likely has high quality information and is trustworthy.

Take advantage of influencer marketing, as well. An influencer is someone who has established credibility in a specific industry. They tend to have a following on social media, as well. Influencers are becoming one of the best tools for businesses. They share and promote your brand with their audience, which widens your reach. This also boosts visibility and trustworthiness, as well as boosts organic traffic to your site. Influencers can be great partners to your business if it is done correctly.

When you utilize both on-site SEO and off-site SEO strategies, your website will be more visible to customers and potential customers. Use all the resources you have available to you and your business will see more success!

Are Users Giving Your Website an ‘F?’

Are viewers giving your website an F? Most likely, but that’s OK. The “F” refers to the reading pattern followed when looking at a site.

How the F-pattern works

First, users look in a horizontal movement across the upper part of the page (like the top “bar” of the letter “F.”)

A reader will next move down the page a bit, looking at content on the left-hand side.

That’s followed by another horizontal glance across the middle of the page. The second horizontal glance is often shorter than the first, and represents the lower “bar” of the letter “F.”

Finally, a reader continues scanning the left-hand side of a page in a vertical movement.

Known as the “F-Pattern,” it is the most common eye-scanning pattern.

A page with a lot of content is prone to users resorting to the F-pattern. Readers especially use the pattern on text-heavy pages.

What does the F-pattern mean for your site?

When users glance at a page using the F-pattern, it means the first lines of text are seen more than subsequent lines of text.

It also means the first few words on the left side of your page also receive more views.

Woman in glasses wearing black looking at computer screen.

Web users tend to scan pages in an F-shape pattern.

Web users tend to look at pages quickly. They want to find the information the need and then move on. As a result, the F-pattern comes in to play.

However, when users scan your page in an “F” shape, they may miss important information – especially if that information happens to be on the right side of the page.

Good design helps readers see more

  • Breaking up large blocks of text and providing formatting text helps readers more thoroughly view your content.
  • Use headings and subheadings on your page. The text is larger and will draw attention to important areas of your content.
  • Use bullet points or numbers to call out items in a list. Tiny chunks of information are easier for readers to retain.
  • It may be best to group small amounts of related content and draw attention to it with a colored background or border.
  • If your page is especially wordy, editing might be your best bet. Cut unnecessary content to increase the page’s readability.

Contact the experts at Team WTI to ensure your website impresses.

Poorly Placed Photos Lead Readers Away From Your Blog

Infographic on blue background detailing how photo orientation helps blogsAre your photos subliminally leading people away from your blog posts? The orientation of photos matters and can be the difference between your blog being read or ignored.

Great design relies heavily upon psychology, which reflects on how we process and perceive our world.

Our mind fills in the blanks of photo movement

Subliminally, our mind constantly evaluates and makes decisions about the visual elements we’re seeing.

For example, if a photo shows a person walking, our eyes will naturally follow the direction of the walk. If the walk leads away from your blog post, then readers’ eyes also will leave.

We’ve spent our entire lives looking at photos. We understand they’re a moment captured in time. As a result, our mind subconsciously fills in “what happens next.”

Take the image of a football quarterback preparing to throw the ball. The quarterback is looking downfield, his arm is pulled back and his body is in motion to throw.

We know what will happen next. The ball will be released and travel away from the quarterback.

Houston Texans quarterback in white jersey preparing to throw the football

As the quarterback prepares to throw, our mind naturally fills in the direction the ball is likely to take, and our eyes move accordingly.

Naturally, our “line of sight” fills in the likely trajectory and moves in the direction the ball will travel.

The photo itself is stationary, but our brains understand motion, so the mind fills in the blanks about what happens next.

If that line of sight looks away from your blog content, recapturing a reader’s attention will be difficult.

You have limited time to engage readers

The average attention span is only 10 minutes. You have a limited amount of time to engage your reader in what you’re saying.

Gray and white kitten with one paw raised playing with a green weed growing out between the mortar of paving stones.

The kitten is looking to the left as it plays with a flower. As a result, the eye travels to the right.

Brains are wired to focus on specific things. Using photos to subliminally point the eye back toward your content is key.

In his classic book, “The Design of Everyday Things” Donald A. Norman describes design as “an act of communication.”

Great designers understand how the human mind works. Design isn’t solely about “looking pretty” it’s about helping your readers connect with your content.

Let our SEO experts at Team WTI ensure customers are engaged with your site.