Getting Started With WordPressThings are about to get real!

You just picked out the perfect domain url and picked the best hosting service for you WordPress website.

Now its time to get your website set up so you can start driving traffic to it and generate leads and sales for your business.

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

**Throughout this post we will be showing you how to install WordPress through A2 Hosting.  You will find that many hosting services use a similar installation process.

Installing WordPress

With WordPress being the leading website platform, most hosting providers provide 1 click installation so you can get started building your website quickly.

Once you login to your hosting service, you will want to open your c-panel.  Your c-panel hosts a ton of different aps that you can install on your website.

When in your c-panel, locate the WordPress icon and click on it.

cpanel wordpress installation

After clicking on the icon, A2 Hosting will provide you with a description about WordPress and how they have automatically configured your installation for speed and security.

Click on the install tab, then click on the Quick Install button to initiate WordPress – A2 Optimized installation.

WordPress A2 Optimized Quick Install

The next screen will ask you to choose the domain you want to install WordPress on.  You will also need to create an admin username, password and enter your email address.

Once everything looks good, simply click the install button and WordPress will be installed

WordPress Installation Details

As soon as the installation process is complete, you will be provided with a success screen that will provide you with a unique url to login to your WordPress site.

I highly recommend clicking on your unique url to open it in a new browser, then add a bookmark for that url so you can easily access your WordPress website’s admin area.

Now that WordPress is installed, you can log out of your hosting account because the rest of your website will be setup from within your WordPress admin area.

Free WordPress Website

Configuring Settings In WordPress

Once logged into WordPress, you will see a list of tabs running down the left side of the screen.  Locate the settings tab and click on it.

WordPress Navigation Menu

General Settings

WordPress General Settings

The general tab under settings is where you set the foundation to your website.

The first decision you will have to make is giving your website a site title.  You can simply use your business name as the site title.

However, we suggest incorporating the number 1 keyword you want to rank for within your site title.  The key to a great site title is to keep it short yet very descriptive.

The next tab to fill out is the tagline field.  Again, try to incorporate your secondary keyword into the tagline for SEO purposes.

The next 2 tabs relate to how you want your website url to appear.  We recommend typing in your full url, http://www.mywebsite.com in this field.

Additionally, if you are using A2 Hosting, you have access to free security.  This means you can type in https://www.mywebsite.com to let your visitors know that your website is secure.

The rest of the tabs under the general settings are related to you or where you are located.  Use the appropriate formats that suits your needs.

Reading Settings

WordPress Reading Settings

The reading tab under settings is the next tab you will want to focus on.

The first decision to make under the reading tab is whether your websites home page will be a static page or a blog page.

If you are setting up a business website, we recommend choosing the static page option.

A static page means that you can choose any page of your website to be your home page.  This option allows you to build and optimize your home page for visitors and search engine spiders.

The most important option in the reading tab is to make sure the checkbox next to search engine visibility is unchecked.  If this box is checked, you are telling search engines that you do not want to show up in search results.

Permalinks Settings

WordPress Permalink Settings

The permalinks settings is how you set the foundation to your url structure.

To make it easy for visitors to remember your url and for search engine spiders to properly index your urls, we recommend choosing the “Post Name” option.

Conclusion

Setting up WordPress for the first time can seem very daunting.  However, if you have made it through the steps above you can take a deep breathe.

With WordPress installed and your settings optimized properly, take some time and click around and familiarize yourself with your new admin panel.

If you have any questions, recommendations or just want to tell us how helpful this post was for you, please leave a comment below and we will be sure to respond as soon as we can.

Best Website Hosting Services For Small BusinessFinding the best website hosting services for you small business can seem like an overwhelming tasks.

I mean who really knows what all those nerdy technology words mean anyway?

I know I sure dont!

However, I have been working with a number of website hosts over the years and I know from experience a good host from a bad one.

What To Look For Before Buying Website Hosting Services

When reviewing web hosting companies, here are 15 key factors you should take into consideration…

  1. Know your hosting needs
  2. Server reliability and uptime guarantees
  3. Hosting upgrade options
  4. Number of addon domains
  5. Signup prices vs renewal prices
  6. Refund policy and free trial period
  7. Essential hosting features
  8. E-commerce features and support
  9. Control panel
  10. Account limitations
  11. Email hosting
  12. Subscription period
  13. Site backup
  14. Live chat/telephone support
  15. Server responsiveness

Our Top 3 Website Hosting Service Providers

A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting has been around since 2001 and have data centers in Arizona, Michigan, Amsterdam and Singapore and is the website host we use for Concrete Internet Marketing and a number of our clients.

Stable &Reliable Uptime of Over Last 10 Months

From December of 2017 through September 2018, A2 Hosting’s uptime was 99.92%, just .02 below the industry standard of 99.94%.  You can check the latest uptime results here.

Fastest Shared Hosting Provider

What really sets A2 Hosting apart from the competition is just how fast their hosting service is.

Website speed is important because if your website does not load within 3 seconds you stand to lose 50% of your traffic.

Here are the stats for just how fast their server responds, and yes this is the fastest you will find anywhere…

  • December 2017 – 411 ms
  • January 2018 – 371 ms
  • February 2018 – 372 ms
  • March 2018 – 390 ms
  • April 2018 – 377 ms
  • May 2018 – 395 ms
  • June 2018 – 364 ms
  • July 2018 – 345 ms
  • August 2018 – 354 ms
  • September 2018 – 345 ms

You can view the latest response times here.

Top Notch Customer Support

Customer support is available 24/7 through chat, email, phone or ticket submission and their representatives know what they are doing.

We can honestly say, with the support of A2 Hosting we have been able to resolve issues faster than we have with any other hosting support center.

Actually, we encourage you to head over to A2 Hosting yourself and click on the chat button to see for yourself just how responsive and knowledgeable their staff is.

Free “HackScan”

HackScan is part of A2 Hosting’s Perpetual Security initiative and is included free with every hosting plan.

This malware protection runs 24/7 to block attacks before they damage your site.  Other hosting providers offer similar products but those products come along with a fee.

Free Site Migrations

If you already have a website and you hate your hosting provider for whatever reason, then moving your site to A2 Hosting might be the best decision you ever make.

Not only does A2 Hosting provide free migration, their knowledgeable customer support center will help you through the migration process.

Money Back Guarantee

A2 Hosting offers a 30 day money back guarantee.  If for any reason, with the first 30 days, you are not satisfied with their hosting services simply cancel for a full refund.

Additionally, if you do go over 30 days and then decide to cancel, A2 Hosting will offer you a prorated refund.

Learn more about their refund policy here.

Free Content Delivery Network

A2 Hosting provides its clients with Cloudflare that provides 200% faster load time and uses 60% less bandwidth.

You can learn more about Cloudflare here.

Pricing

A2 Hosting offers shared hosting services for as little as $3.92 per month, which is perfect for you if you are just getting your website started.

A2 Hosting Shared Hosting Pricing

As your websites traffic grows, or if you already have a busy website, you can consider purchasing a semi dedicated server for as little as $9.31 per month.

A2 Dedicated Hosting Pricing

Bluehost


Bluehost.com Web Hosting $3.95
Bluehost has been around since 2003 and is based in Orem, Utah.  They are committed to WordPress and they know more about WordPress than just about anybody.

Stable &Reliable Uptime of Over Last 10 Months

From December of 2017 through September 2018, A2 Hosting’s uptime was 99.99%, just .05 above the industry standard of 99.94%.  You can check the latest uptime results here.

Bluehost Up Time

Fast Shared Hosting Provider

Although Bluehost is not as fast as A2 Hosting, they still do have some pretty fast response times.

Here are the stats for just how fast their server responds…

  • December 2017 – 399 ms
  • January 2018 – 415 ms
  • February 2018 – 463 ms
  • March 2018 – 429 ms
  • April 2018 – 409 ms
  • May 2018 – 406 ms
  • June 2018 – 468 ms
  • July 2018 – 418 ms
  • August 2018 – 416 ms
  • September 2018 – 487 ms

You can view the latest response times here.

Customer Support

Although Bluehost does know WordPress very well, their customer supports response rate is a slower than their competitors.  However, if you have a more technical questions, you may be bounced around from representative to representative before you get the answer you need.

On the bright side, Bluehost’s YouTube channel does offer a lot of helpful tutorials that go deep in depth to help you solve 90% of the issues you may face.

Security Features

Bluehost comes with a myriad of security options to keep your website and your visitors safe.

Some of these tools include SpamAssassin, Spam Experts and Spam Hammer.  They also offer hotlink protection which prevents people from stealing your images and content.

Furthermore, you can enable two-factor authentication and the entire site is build with token account validation.

Site Migrations

If you already have a website and are thinking about migrating over to Bluehost, would a migration fee of $149.99 change your mind?

Unfortunately site migrations are not free and you are limited to 5site migrations and 20 email accounts.

Money Back Guarantee

Bluehost offers a 30 day money back guarantee.  However, if you registered your domain name for free with them, they will deduct $15.99 from your refund.

You can view their refund policy here.

Pricing

Bluehost offers shared hosting services for as little as $3.95 per month and comes with a free domain name and a free SSL certificate.

Bluehost Shared Hosting Price

As your websites traffic grows, or if you already have a busy website, you can consider purchasing a dedicated server for as little as $79.99 per month.

Bluehost Dedicated Hosting Price

HostGator


HostGator was founded in 2002 and has headquarters in Houston and Austin, Texas.  Recently HostGator unveiled their Cloud product which has helped improve their server response time and makes them a legit contender for hosting services.

Stable & Reliable Uptime of Over Last 10 Months

From December of 2017 through September 2018, A2 Hosting’s uptime was 99.97%, just .03 above the industry standard of 99.94%.  You can check the latest uptime results here.

HostGator Cloud Up Time

Fast Shared Hosting Provider

Over the last 10 months HostGator has really made some improvements to their cloud server and are inching up the ladder to become one of the fastest servers available.

Here are the stats for just how fast their server responds…

  • December 2017 – 440 ms
  • January 2018 – 430 ms
  • February 2018 – 456 ms
  • March 2018 – 479 ms
  • April 2018 – 433 ms
  • May 2018 – 491 ms
  • June 2018 – 454 ms
  • July 2018 – 342 ms
  • August 2018 – 358 ms
  • September 2018 – 360 ms

You can view the latest response times here.

Customer Support

HostGator offers 24/7 support via phone, live chat and email.  Although you may have to wait a few minutes to make contact with somebody, the representatives at HostGator are very knowledgeable.

Free Site Migrations

HostGator does offer free site migrations and will even assist you through the process.

Money Back Guarantee

HostGator offers a 45 day money back guarantee, but restrictions do apply.  You can see a list of their restrictions here.

Pricing

HostGator offers shared hosting services for as little as $3.49 per month if you pre-pay for 36 months.

HostGator Shared Hosting Price

As your websites traffic grows, or if you already have a busy website, you can consider purchasing a dedicated server for as little as $119.00 per month if you pre-pay for 36 months.

HostGator Dedicated Server Pricing

Conclusion

Choosing a reliable hosting company is critical to the success of your website.  The hosting companies mentioned above have proven year after year to be some of the most reliable hosting companies available.

If you have experience with any of the hosting companies mentioned above. or maybe another hosting company you feel deserves a mention, leave us a comment below and tell us about your experience.

And as always, if you liked our post, please chime in and let us know how we are doing.

Start A WebsiteYou have decided it’s time to take the plunge and start a website for your business.

But where do you begin and how do you make sure you are setting a concrete foundation that will help your business grow for years to come?

In this article we are going to touch on the basic fundamental decisions you have to make before you can start a website for your business.

URL/Domain Name Registration

Your domain name is the single most important factor to starting a website that represents your business online.

It is a name that your business will have to live with forever, so take your time and make sure you get it right.

In an ideal world, you would want your domain name to be your business name.  However, with over 2 billion domain names taken, there is a good chance you will have to be creative when deciding on your domain name.

Here are some tips that can help you find the perfect domain name for your website.

Before getting started, open this tool that will tell you whether or not the domain urls you are considering are available for purchase.

Domain Name Search

  1. Make it easy to type

Avoid using slang, such as u instead of you, and hard to spell words.  You want your domain name to be spelled exactly how it sounds to reduce the frustrations of potential visitors mistyping your domain url and ending up on a competitors website.

  1. Keep it short

The shorter your domain name is the easier it is to remember and less likely to be mistyped by potential visitors.

  1. Use keywords

Using keywords in your domain url is not only good for SEO purposes, but it also gives consumers an idea of what your website is about.

  1. Local

If you business relies on local consumers, include your city, state or even neighborhood into your domain name.  Local SEO has become a hot trend over the years and including local signals to search engines in your domain name can help you climb to the top of search engines for local searches.

  1. Avoid # and –

Numbers and hyphens can over complicate something as simple as a domain name.  Think about it, if I told you my website was “5 dogs dash on a leash” how would you type it in a search engine?

  1. CopyrightResearch

Before purchasing a domain name make sure you’re not infringing on somebody else’s trademark or copyright.  The last thing you want is to start building a name for yourself only to find out you have to shut it down.

  1. Use the right domain name extension

The most commonly used domain name extension businesses use is a .com extension.  However, if you are a non-profit, using a .org extension is more appropriate.  Additional domain name extension available include .co, .info, .net, .biz and .me.

  1. Ask for feedback

Share the domain names you are considering with friends and family.  Find out which domain names they like and why, then use their feedback when deciding on your domain name.  You never know, they may even come up with a domain name you haven’t considered but is perfect for your website.

Registering Your Domain Name

Now that you have found the perfect domain name for your website, it is time to register your domain name.

Generally speaking, you will want to pick out where you want to host your website before registering your domain name because you will be able to access your domain a lot quicker if you register with the hosting company you will be using.

Additionally, some website platforms and hosting companies offer free domain registration for up to 1 year.

Choosing The Right Website Platforms

Since there are so many platforms to choose from, we decided to review the top 5 platforms we have used over the years and let you decide from there.

Additionally, with most of these platforms there is a free version that allows you to go into the backend of the website to see how easy, or hard, creating a website can be.

WordPress

WordPress Free WebsiteWordPress is by far the most popular website platform and is used on 30 percent of the top 10 million sites!

With WordPress, you have literally thousands of free templates and plugins to choose from to completely customize your website.

Additionally, WordPress has a number of free drag and drop template builders that are compatible with just about any theme.  This gives you the ability to play around with them to find out for yourself how easy they are to use.

WordPress itself is free and many of the hosting services we reviewed here have a 1 click install.

Lastly, WordPress gives you complete control over every aspect of your website and can be used to build an e-Commerce store, community forums, social networks, membership websites and of course your professionally looking business website.

The only real downside to WordPress is that you will have to manage the updates and create backups.  That means, on a weekly basis you will have to login to your website and click a few update buttons to keep your website running smoothly.

Free WordPress Website

Shopify

Shopify is designed specifically for E-Commerce websites and powers more than 500,000 businesses in 175 countries.

Shopify is an all-in-one fully hosted solution which means you won’t have to purchase a separate hosting package.  However, pricing for Shopify starts at $9 per month that allows you to add a buy button on any website and can cost as much as $299 per month to have full control of your website.

Shopify also offers an integrated payment solution that allows you to seamlessly collect payments right on your website.

Since Shopify is strictly an E-Commerce website platform, it comes fully loaded with inventory management, unlimited products, analytics and marketing solutions.

Furthermore, if you have a brick and mortar store, Shopify offers an in-store POS that allows you to take advantage of Shopify’s inventory, shipping and management tools all in one place.

Other than pricing, the only real downside to Shopify is, if you outgrow their platform or want to move your website to another platform you will find out that it is nearly impossible.

Wix

Wix Website BuilderWix is a popular cloud based website builder that also offers a fully hosted platform so you will not have to pay for a separate hosting service.

Wix offers a free plan that is branded with a Wix sub domain and littered with advertisements.  However, they also have paid plans ranging from $9.16 per month up to $26.25 per month.

Wix comes with hundreds of templates and dozens of free and paid plugins that allow you to add custom features and functionality to your website.

Additionally, Wix offers a drag and drop user interface that makes website design a breeze and they provide comprehensive tutorials in case you do encounter problems.

The downsides to Wix is, if you decide to change your websites template you are going to have to rebuild your entire website and it is also nearly impossible to move your website away from Wix.

Weebly

Weebly - Websites, eCommerce & Marketing in one place.Weebly is a popular platform that is also fully hosted so you wont have to purchase a separate hosting service.

Weebly offers a very limited free plan that does include advertisements in the footer of your website.  From there, their paid plans start at $8 per month for a basic plan, $12 per month for their pro plan and $25 per month for their business plan.

Weebly is one of the easiest website builders to use and comes with 40 pre-designed page layouts for you to choose from.

Unlike Wix, if you decide to change your website template in Weebly you do not have to rebuild your entire site.

The downsides to Weebly is, there are only 40 pre-designed templates to choose from and these templates cannot be customized.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is designed specifically for E-Commerce websites and offers the most practical tools that you can use to grow your online business on a self-hosted platform.

BigCommerce does offer a 15 day free trial so you can get a feel for their platform.  Once your free trail is up, pricing ranges from $29.95 per month to $249.95 per month once your website starts generating more than $1 Million annually.

BigCommerce offers only 7 free templates to choose from but they also have 76 paid premium templates if you want something unique.  However, BigCommerce makes up for its lack of templates with easy integration with online advertising platforms like Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, eBay and more.

The downside to BigCommerce is, learning how to use the platform can be very overwhelming even for those who have been using the platform for some time.

Conclusion

Before you start a website for your business, you have a lot of difficult decision to make.  Take your time and make sure you get things right from the beginning so you have a solid foundation to build on.

Above, we mentioned just some of the most popular platforms available.  If we didn’t cover a platform you are considering, please leave a comment below and we will do some research and provide you with detailed information to help you make an informed decision.

Also, if you liked our post or have any questions about starting a website for your business please leave a comment below and we will respond.

7 Plumber Marketing Strategies To Generate Leads Now (Even For New Websites)

Imagine if you could make one simple tweak to your online plumber marketing strategies and see an instant boost in organic website traffic and leads.

Or even better:

What if there were 6 of those tweaks…

… and each of them could consistently generate new leads for your plumbing business?

You would probably want to know about them right?

Lucky for you, I am going to share with you the exact strategies we used to generate new leads for a local plumber in Tulsa, OK.

Our Step by Step Plumber Marketing Strategy You Can Implement Today

  1. Add Local Web Pages For Each City & Each Service You Offer
  2. Optimize Meta Tags For Improved Search Rankings & Click Through Rates
  3. Insert Rich Snippets To Make Your Search Result Listing Stand Out
  4. Submit Your Entire Website To Google Search Console For Indexing
  5. Customize Google Analytics Using Google Tag Manager & Track Everything
  6. Optimize Your “Google My Business” & “Bing Places” Pages
  7. Make It Easy For Your Customers To Leave An Online Review

1. Add Local Web Pages For Each City & Each Service You Offer

As a searcher for local plumbing services, you are more likely to make contact with a business who offers the exact service you are looking for and is in the same neighborhood as you.

As Google, Bing and other major search engines, they are increasingly trying to provide their users with the most relevant web pages based on the users search.

That’s where adding local web pages for each service you offer will have your website showing up on search results.

Local SEO

Here’s how it works:

Determine which suburbs you want to start generating leads in.

Next, create a web page for each city that explains who you are and what services you offer.

Next, create a web page for that explains each service you offer in that city and link that web page to the city page.

Duplicate this process for each city.

2. Optimize Meta Tags For Improved Search Rankings & Click Through Rates

With each new web page you created, you will need to research keywords your target audience is searching for.

Once you have your keywords ready, you are ready to start optimizing your meta tags.

Optimizing Meta Tags with Yoast SEO

Your title tag is one of the most important meta tags on your website so it is imperative that you get this step right.

This post will show you exactly how to optimize your title tag for first page rankings on Google.

Once you have your title tag in place, it’s time to tell search engines how you want your web page to be described to searchers.

Although your description tag does not directly impact search rankings, it directly impacts your click through rate which impacts your search rankings.

This post here will show you how to increase your click through rates with killer description tags.

3. Insert Rich Snippets To Make Your Search Result Listing Stand Out

Have you seen results on Google where star ratings show up underneath the clickable link?

Rich Snippet Reviews

Those are rich snippets and they make your listing stand out.

As a matter fact, case studies have shown local businesses can see up to a 30 percent increase in organic traffic by implement rich snippets.

Installing rich snippets is a little bit techie and you may want to consult your SEO expert or web design for implementation.

However, you may want to visit this post if you have a WordPress website and you want to install rich snippets yourself.

4. Submit Your Entire Website To Google Search Console For Indexing

Now that all of your local SEO tasks have been completed, it’s time to tell Google all about them.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool from Google that provides you with a plethora of information about it’s searchers and your website.

GSC is easy to set up, essentially all you do is head over to GSC and add your website.

From there, GSC will give you a snippet of code to add to your website.

Once the code is added, you are done!

Now that GSC is integrated into your website, all you have to do is tell Google’s bot to crawl and index your website.

This post here will tell you how to use GSC and how it will improve your websites rankings.

5. Customize Google Analytics Using Google Tag Manager & Track Everything

Google Analytics (GA)and Google Tag Manager (GTM) are both free tools from Google.

Google Analytics Consultant

GA allows you to see how many visitors came to your site, how they got to your site and what they did on your site.

However, to track even more details, you will need a GA expert that knows how to set up conversion tracking, customize segments, set up remarketing audiences and much more.

GA works in tandem with GTM.  GTM is basically the drag and drop way to customize GA without having to log into your website and change raw code.

Additionally, GTM gives you the ability to instantly know whether or not you set up your tracking preferences properly.

We often refer to Measure School on YouTube when we run into issues because they truly are the experts at GTM.

6. Optimize Your “Google My Business” & “Bing Places” Pages

Google My Business and Bing Places are basically business listings on the major search engines.

Local SEO

When a user does a search on Google or Bing, often times they will see map listings at the very top with businesses names and contact information.

These results come from Google My Business and Bin Places listings.

There are a number of factors that are in play when Google and Bing determine whether or not your listing is worthy of “top of the first page on the map” placements.

When optimizing your business pages, be sure to use the same name, number and address that is on your website.

Additionally, you will want to select the most descriptive category for your business, continually add photos and always ask for reviews.

7. Make It Easy For Your Customers To Leave An Online Review

Reviews play an important role in how online searchers find and select plumbers they want to make contact with.

Simply asking a customer to review you on Google or Bing or Facebook isn’t enough!  You have to be proactive and provide them easy access.

Chances are, not all of your customers are going to have a Google account.  However, I am willing to bet they have at least one account on one platform your business has a listing on where they can leave a review for you.

This post will tell you about our ingenious way we help our clients get more online review.

Is Getting More Leads Really That Simple?

Yes!  We have used the techniques above for a variety of different local services and they have had amazing results.

We actually just implemented this strategy for Acts of Service Plumbing out of Tulsa, Ok on July 1st, 2018.

Acts of Service Plumbing had a simple 1 page website and they were virtually impossible to find on any search engine.

Curious to watch and see how our plumber marketing strategy works for them?

Head over to their portfolio page to see how many organic visitors and organic leads are generated in the very 1st month they showed up on the first page of Google.

Once you’ve done that, take a second and leave a comment.

We’d love to know what you thought of the post.

 

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Search Engine OptimizationIf you want to rank on Google, or any other major search engine, you need to understand the basics of SEO and what search engine spiders are looking for when analyzing your website.

In this blog post, we are going to look at the basic SEO foundations you need to set when optimizing your website for 1st page rankings on Google and other search engines.

What Is On Page SEO?

On Page SEO  is the optimization of individual website pages that tell search engines what each page is about.

There are a number of details search engines look for when determining how well your website pages will rank.

Some of these details include the title tag, description tag, heading tags and the content on the web page.

Why On Page SEO Is Important

On page SEO is important because a well optimized website can drive tons of free traffic to your website 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Additionally,  traffic from search engines is highly targeted and are proven to have the highest conversion rates in the industry.

Just to give you an idea of how important on page SEO is, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine and 75% of people never scroll past the first page! (source: https://junto.digital/)

How To Optimize For On Page SEO

  • Google AnalyticsKeyword Research

The first step to optimize your website is to research keywords you want to rank for.

When researching keywords, look for keywords that have a high search volume and low competition.

If your website is new and you try to rank for a keyword that has a high search volume and lots of competition like “pizza”, chances are  your web page will be buried deep in search engine results pages where nobody will find you.

Instead, you may want to try to rank for “long tail keywords” that have a high volume of search but have less competition.

Using the “pizza” example, a long tail keyword could include something like “pizza delivery in (your town)”.

Google offers a free keyword research tool to anybody with a Google account.  You can access Googles free tool, “Keyword Planner” here.

  • Title Tag

The title tag is the most important factor of on page SEO because it is the first thing search engines recognize.

After you have done your keyword research, you will want to put the keyword you want to rank for at the beginning of the title tag.

Keep your title tag under 60 characters long so it displays properly in search engine results.

  • Description Tag

The description tag is important because it is what searchers read before determining whether or not to click on your listing.

Consider your description tag more of a sales copy to entice searchers to click.

Keep your description tag under 160 characters long so it displays properly in search engine results.

(Update:  As of Dec 2017, Google now displays up to 325 characters)

  • Keywords Tag

The keyword tag is no longer relevant to search engines and can do more harm then help to your online rankings.

The reason keywords are no longer relevant is because webmasters abused them by spamming the tag with hundreds of keywords.

Google and other search engines recognized the issue and did away with the keyword tag.

  • Heading Tags

Heading tags, such as H1, H2, and H3, are important because they give structure to your page.

From a search engines perspective, a H1 tag carries more relevance than an H3 tag.

From a consumers standpoint, the use of heading tags helps them navigate the web page to discover they content they came looking for.

  • Keyword Density

Keyword density is important for on page SEO because it reinforces what your web page is about.

The trick to keyword density is to not overuse your keyword and to make it flow with the content on your page.

Advances in Google’s search engine now recognizes keyword variations which allows website owners to create content that is easy for consumers to digest.

What Is Off Page SEO?

Off Page SEO is the practice of marketing techniques that take place outside of a websites immediate domain and have an impact on your websites ranking.

Some off page SEO marketing techniques include link building, social media engagement and the consistency of how your business appears online.

Why Off Page SEO Is Important

Off Page SEO is important because it tells search engines how popular and trustworthy your website is.

A popular website tends to receive more links and more engagement on social media which signals to search engines that your website is trustworthy.

Therefore, a trustworthy website ranks higher in search engines because consumers find the information valuable.

How To Optimize For Off Page SEO

  • Backlinks

Backlinks are links from third party websites that point to a page on your website.

There are a number of ways to obtain backlinks to your website.  You can scour the internet for blog posts to comment on, add a link to your website in directories and even guest blog on other websites.

When creating backlinks to your website, it is important to remember that the quality of the link is more important than the quantity of links.

Generally speaking, backlinks on .gov and .edu websites will help increase website rankings over other types of backlinks.

  • Social Media Engagement

The growth and popularity of social media has changed the way search engines rank websites.  Therefore it is important to link back to your website on all of your social media profiles.

When posting on social media, engagement counts!  When posting on social media, make sure to post quality content your users find helpful.

Quality content drives engagement which translates into likes and shares which means more inbound links to your content.

The more inbound links to your content, the more visibility you have, which is what matters most to  search engines.

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the optimization of a website and its online assets in an attempt to rank at the top of search engines when a local search is performed.

Some online assets include Google Business Listing, Bing Business Listing, Yelp and even Facebook Business Pages.

Why Local SEO Is Important

With the rise in mobile technology, consumers who are out and about are very likely to search for nearby places of interest to satisfy their needs.

If your business is around the corner but not easily found online, chances are you just lost that customer to your competitor.

Just to give you an idea of how important local SEO is, a recent study showed that 78% of local-mobile searches result  in offline purchases.

That same study also shows that nearly 96% of PC users conduct local searches on their desktops. (Source: http://searchengineland.com/)

Another study shows that 68% of local searches use the “get directions” or “click to call” on local searches and 46% of all searches on Google are local! (Source: http://www.business2community.com/)

How To Optimize For Local SEO

The first step when optimizing your business for local search is to make sure the websites meta tags are properly optimized for the community you wish to target.

For service industries who target multiple locations, you may have to get creative and add website pages for additional communities to target.

Next, search places on the internet where your businesses information can be submitted.

A great start is Google My BusinessBing Places For BusinessesYelp and Four Square.

Citations/NAP

The most important aspect of local SEO is making sure all of your citations are exactly the same.

Citations are how your businesses information is displayed on each individual site including your own website.

Citations, or NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number), are very important for higher rankings in local search results.

The number 1 thing search engines look for in citations is consistency.

When creating profiles on social media and in directories, make sure  your NAP is identical.

If your NAP is not consistent, search engines can become confused and your website will drop in search engine rankings.

What Is Mobile SEO?

Mobile SEO is the optimization of a website to ensure its capable of functioning properly based on the device the user is accessing the website on.

Mobile SEO includes responsive web design, page speed, user experience and more to ensure a mobile friendly user experience.

Why Mobile SEO Is Important

Mobile Marketing ServicesMobile SEO is important because users on mobile devices tend to have more of an urgency to their searches.

Think about it, how many times have you searched for nearby places while out and about and then went to that nearby place and purchased something?

Chances are very high that mobile search has helped you more than once over the past week.

The most important factor in mobile SEO is page speed because a slow mobile website results in a high abandonment rate.

As a matter of fact, 53% of mobile pages are abandoned if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.  Furthermore, a 10 second load time has a 123% higher bounce rate than a 1 second load time.  (source: https://www.wiredseo.com/)

Ranking high on mobile searches will also yield more visitors to your website.

According to Google, more Google searches are done on mobile devices than on a desktop.  Additionally, 51% of smartphone users have discovers a new company when conducting a search on their mobile device.  (source: https://www.hubspot.com/)

How To Optimize For Mobile SEO

As mentioned above, there are a number of factors search engines look at when ranking a mobile website.

However, on this page we are just going to cover a couple of the top factors to ranking well on mobile searches.

  • Responsive Website Design

Responsive website design is the process in which a web designer builds a website that displays properly on different screen sizes.

This can be accomplished in 1 of 2 ways, 1 – the web designer can create a completely different mobile sites – 2 – the web design can incorporate code into the website that tells it how to display content based on the users screen size.

However, other aspects as far as spacing, button sizes, forms and so on still have to display properly so it is easy for a mobile visitor to use and navigate the website.

  • Page Speed

Page speed is a huge factor when it comes to how well your website ranks on search engines.

Since most search engines want users to have a good experience from their search results, a high bounce rate can drag your mobile rankings down.

As mentioned above, the longer it takes your website to load, the better chance the user will abandon your website before the even see it.

There are a number of great free tools available to see how fast your website loads.

The first tool we suggest is Googles own PageSpeed Insights.  We also recommend GTmetrix and Pingdom.  Each tool will provide you with feedback about how fast your website loads and suggestions on how to improve your load time.

Facebook AdsFacebook Advertising in 2018 is very complex, even for us seasoned veterans.

It doesn’t help that Facebook is always changing their advertising platform and rules.

However, there are some Facebook basics that are likely to remain within the Facebook Advertising platform for years to come.

In this article, we cover those basics so beginners have a basic understanding of how to run a Facebook Advertising campaign.

What Is Facebook Pixel?

The Facebook Pixel is a snippet of code that is installed on a website to track visitors.  The Facebook Pixel allows advertisers to gauge the effectiveness of their Facebook ads.  Additionally, data collected from the Facebook Pixel can be used to create and target custom audiences based on the actions visitors took on your website.

What Can The Facebook Pixel Do?

The Facebook Pixel is designed to provide advertisers with the information they need to make better ads on Facebook.  The 3 main functions of the include:

Re-Targeting

Since the Facebook Pixel can track the web pages a visitor views, advertisers can create re-targeting ads that deliver relevant information based on what that individual viewed on your website.  Re-targeting is so powerful that it has actually been proven to increase ad response by up to 400 percent!  (source: http://www.cmo.com/)

Conversion Tracking

The Facebook Pixel’s conversion tracking technology collects data from your website and inputs results into your Facebook ads reporting.  There is some customization to the code involved but, you can tell the pixel what pages are conversion pages and the pages value.  That information will then transfer to your Facebook ads reporting so you can easily see the ROI on your ads.

Installing Facebook Pixel

Look-A-Like Audience

A look-a-like audience is a custom audience that you define based on data collected from the pixel.  For example, you can create an audience with the same demographics as those who visited a conversion page on your website.  The look-a-like audience takes all of the guess work out of identifying your ideal customers.

How To Install The  Facebook Pixel

Installing the Facebook Pixel is fairly simple.  Head over to your Facebook account and go into your ads manager.  Once in your ads manager, click on the drop down box, as shown in the picture, and click on pixels.  A new screen will load and near the top all you have to do is click the “set up pixel” button.

Once you have set up your pixel, Facebook will provide you with a snippet of code to install on your website.  The snippet of code you receive is the standard version of the pixel.

You can customize your pixel to track conversions, values and a number of other things but it does  take some knowledge of coding.  If you need help customizing your Facebook Pixel, contact us and let us know how we can help.

What Are Facebook Advertising Objectives?

Facebook Advertising Objectives are what you want people to do when they see your ad.  Facebook objectives include awareness, consideration and conversion.  The first step in creating a Facebook ad is to choose the objective that aligns with your business goals.

A Closer Look At Facebook Advertising Objectives

Facebook Advertising Objectives – AwarenessAwareness

Awareness objectives are design to generate interest in your product, service or business.  The two objectives to choose from under awareness include:

Brand Awareness:

Reach consumers who are likely to engage with your ad and increase awareness about your brand with their connections on Facebook.

Reach:

Show your ad to as many people as possible.

Facebook Advertising Objective – ConsiderationConsideration

Consideration objectives are designed to make consumers consider how your product or service can solve a problem they are having and dig deeper into the solution you are offering.  The 5 objectives to choose from under consideration are:

Traffic:

Send traffic to your website or mobile app.

App Installs:

Send traffic to your app store so they can download your app.

Engagement:

Get Facebook users to like, comment or share on one of your Facebook post.

Video Views:

Promote your videos for the views by your audience.

Lead Generation:

Use Facebook’s platform to install a lead capture form to collect consumers name, email address and phone number.

Facebook Advertising Objectives – ConversionConversion

Conversion objectives are designed to convert visitors into paying customers.  The 3 objectives to choose from under the conversion objective are:

Conversions:

Get visitors to convert on your website of app using the Facebook Pixel for tracking purposes.

Product Catalog Sales:

Convert sales from your product catalog.

Store Visits:

Promote your store location to consumers who are nearby.

Which Facebook Advertising Objective Is Right For You?

Choosing the wrong objective can cost hundreds of dollars.  However, choosing the right objective can provide your business with a very rewarding ROI.  The first decision an advertiser needs to make is determining what the goal is for the marketing campaign.

If your business is getting ready to launch a new product, consider the awareness objective.  Building awareness before the product actually launches can create a buzz.  This can be a good thing because it gives consumers the opportunity to bring up  their concerns that can be alleviated before the first product hits the shelf.

Facebook gives business page owners the ability to create an e-commerce shop within Facebook.  If you have a shop, consider using the product catalog sales objective when advertising.

What Is Facebook Targeting?

Facebook targeting is the creation of audiences that define who your ideal customer is.  Facebook Ads gives you the ability to choose from a number of demographics including age, sex, location, income and hundreds of additional choices.

Why Targeting The Right Audience On Facebook Is Important

With billions of users on Facebook, targeting the right audience with your Facebook Ads is essential.  Through targeted advertisement, advertisers can find and engage the most relevant audience by filtering internet users on the basis of their online behavior. Facebook provides specific filtration for leveraging current market trends and target audience analysis, which significantly increases the number of relevant clicks as well as sales.

How To Target The Right Facebook Audience

In order to target the right audience on Facebook, you need to understand your buyers persona.  A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.  Once a buyer persona is identified, apply the demographics to your Facebook Ad and start collecting data.

If you have the Facebook Pixel installed, you can create look-a-like audiences.  A look-a-like audience is a custom audience with the same demographics as any audience you segment from the data contained within your Facebook Pixel.  This allows for laser focused targeting to reach the most customers who are likely to buy your products or use your services.

What Is Facebook Retargeting?

Facebook retargeting is a highly effective marketing tool that targets your ads on Facebook to consumers who have already visited your website.  Using the Facebook Pixel, an advertiser can retarget website visitors with specific ads based on actions they took on their website.

Facebook Remarketing Life Cycle

Why Retarget Facebook Users?

Retargeting Facebook users keeps them engaged with your brand and can turn them into advocates for your business.  Furthermore, retargeting is a great way up-sale products to previous customers and inform them about new products and services that are available.

As a matter of fact, retargeting lead to a 1046% increase in branded search and can increase conversion rates by up to 147%. (source: http://syndacast.com/)

Facebook Retargeting Ideas

Facebook retargeting provides endless opportunities for businesses to get in front of their target market.  Here are a few ways you can use retargeting to increase sales and re-engage your audience.

Retarget Your Most Engaged Fans

Your die hard fans can play a HUGE part in helping to grow your business. The more opportunity you give them and the easier you make it, the better.

You can use your email marketing system to export a list of your most engaged subscribers (the ones opening your emails is a good metric to filter by) and then import it into Facebook.

You can then retarget these visitors with your most valuable/sharable content. This is a great way to increase your reach as your die hard fans are more likely to share, like and comment on the Facebook post.

The Facebook algorithm favors sponsored posts with high engagement by boosting their organic reach. So, you can try and take advantage of this by showing highly shareable content with people who have a higher chance of engaging with it.

Retarget Hot Leads

If you have the Facebook Pixel set up, you can retarget website visitors who may have abandoned the shopping cart or visited specific sales pages but didn’t convert.  Since these visitors took specific actions, you can tailor a message to their specific needs and turn them into sales.

Furthermore, retargeting hot leads to upsell them is a great way to increase your bottom line and pick from the low hanging fruit.

Building TrustFor nearly a decade now online marketers have been pushing their lead magnets in an attempt to obtain names and email addresses.  Up until recently it has worked wonderfully and many businesses used this lead generating strategy to grow their databases tremendously over the years.

However, consumers are smarter now than they were in the early days of the internet.  They know that if they give you their email address, their inbox will be full of spam and unsolicited offers from the very business they trusted with their email address.

Not to mention, with so much information on the web today, consumers can simply do a Google search and find what it is they are looking for without having to sign up for the “special” lead magnet that is full of promises that never materialize.

So, as a marketer, what are we to do to generate leads and grow our business?  I mean, email marketing is still a huge success and I’m not saying you should not have an email marketing strategy put together.  What I am saying is you first need to let your potential consumer get to know and like you so they trust you and are more open to giving you their email address.

Establishing Trust

In today’s world everybody is a specialist at everything.  Just do a Google search for the best this or the best that and you will see millions of results pop up.

In order to build trust you need to set yourself apart from all of the other so called experts.  Consumers are seeking content but most are not willing to give anything up, such as an email address, in the initial stages of research.

You need to show that you are the expert by providing them the content they want.  Get rid of your “I Am The Best & Here Is Why” lead magnet and just put it out there on your blog for all to see.  If your content is good your potential customers are going to seek more information from you.

If you web page is optimized correctly, good content can lead to new follows on social media platforms.  Consumers may even bookmark your website or sign up to receive new blog posts via email.

Giving your best content away for free not only shows your expertise in your field but also gives your potential consumer a chance to get to know, like and ultimately trust you.

Building An Audience

Building an audience to consume your content works in the exact same way it does when it comes to promoting your lead magnet.

Now you may be asking, why would I want to spend all of this time just to send traffic to my website and not even try to collect an email address?  How do I generate leads?

Besides the know, like and trust factor mentioned early in this blog, we as marketers now have the ability to listen, understand and identify our ideal consumers.

In case your unfamiliar with advances in tracking from Google and Facebook, a marketer can now track their online visitors across multiple platforms.

By simply placing a snippet of code, one from Google and one from Facebook, you can deliver additional ads to specific groups of consumers who took specific actions on your website.

For example, using Google AdWords remarketing, I can show additional ads to my visitors who have visited this page and then went over and checked out some of my AdWords services or additional AdWords blog posts.  I can do the same thing with the Facebook pixel for those who view my Facebook services or blog posts.

This tracking allows me to deliver some pretty powerful ads across multiple platforms to consumers who have shown an interest in my products or services on a granular level.  This also allows me to exclude any visitors who may have came to my website but left within 10, 15, 20 seconds upon the page loading.

Building The Trust

Assuming you have established some sort of trust with a consumer who visits multiple pages on your website, you now must continue to build on that trust.

In order to build the trust you need to continue to push quality content that your consumer will devour.  This may include some tutorials about how to “do it yourself”.  I know this may sound counterproductive to lead generating but in the long run it will be worth it because sooner or later your consumer will realize you are the expert and they need your help.

Furthermore, your potential consumer today will likely follow you on their favorite social media platform if they find value in what they have to learn from you.  In today’s online marketing game it is all about the following on social media because of the impact your consumers can have on helping you spread your message.

With that being said, I hope this article gave you some ideas on how you can grow your business and generate leads without having to come up with that next great lead magnet and without becoming a spammer.

If you found value in this article, please head over to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/concreteinternetmarketing/ and show us some love.

Google Search ConsoleGoogle Search Console (GSC) is the most underutilized SEO tool available for free to every webmaster.  The data provided by GSC is so powerful because it gives you all the answers to what needs to be done to improve SEO rankings on Google.

What is Google Search Console?

GSC is simply the most powerful SEO analyzer for your website.

Here is how Google describes GSC…

Our interpretation is, GSC is a tool that tells you everything you need to know about how consumers are searching for your services or products on Google search.

Why Use Google Search Console?

If you are serious, about ranking on the first page of Google then you must use GSC.

Here are just a few reasons why you should be using GSC…

Now that we understand how powerful GSC is, let’s get it installed on your website.

Installing Google Search Console

To get started, head over to GSC and click the red “Add A Property” button located in the top right corner.  Once clicked, a pop up will appear that ask you to enter the url of your website.

From there, you will need to verify ownership of the website.  GSC provide you with 4 or 5 different ways to verify ownership of a website.

One of the easiest ways to verify ownership is by connecting it to your Google Analytics account.  By connecting it to your Google Analytics account, data generated in GSC will automatically populate into your analytics data.

Verified?  Great, now it’s time to dig into GSC and learn ways it can be used to improve your SEO efforts.

Features On Google Search Console

There are a number of features to explore on GSC but we are going to focus on the 2 features we use to analyze our SEO efforts.  Those two features are search traffic and crawl.

(Below is a short video in case you don’t like to read)

Search Traffic

We spend a lot of time under the search traffic tab because this is where you can find search data.  For starters, we’ll go through the search analytics options and show you how they can be used to improve your SEO efforts.

When you first log into the search analytics interface, you will see a top bar that looks like this…

The top row gives you options to display individual data or rows of data.  You can click on one or all of them; we usually apply all of them.

Here is a brief explanation of what each one does:

Clicks show you how many clicks you have received on search results.

Impressions show how many times a link to your website has shown up on search results.

CTR (click through rate) shows how many times a link in search results to your website has been clicked on.

Position shows the average position a link to your website on search results.

The next row down gives you more options to refine your results even further.  This bar allows you to really dig into your data and develop laser targeted SEO campaigns.

Selecting Queries will show you the keywords people have searched that triggered your website to show in search results.

Selecting Page will show which of your pages showed up in search results.

Selecting Country will show the countries where your website is showing up in search results.

Selecting Device will show which devices people are using that triggered your website to show up in search results.

Selecting Search Type will show what type of search (ie… web, video, image) triggered your website to show up in search results

Selecting Search Appearance will show rich snippet results if you have rich snippets installed on your website.

Selecting Date will allow you choose a timeframe in which you want to see search results from.

As you can see, there are a lot of different configurations you can use to break down Google search data.

Crawl

The other feature we use religiously is the “Fetch as Google”.  This feature allows you to submit your website to Google for indexing.

We use this feature every time we write a new post because it helps the post climb to the top of search engines in the matter of minutes.

When using this feature, be sure to fetch the desktop version and the mobile version.

How To Use Google Search Console to Improve SEO

Now that we have an idea of what people are searching for that triggers your website to appear on search results, we can develop strategies that will increase your online presence and click through rates.

The first thing to look for is keywords that have a high impression count but a low click through rate.  To do this, click on all 4 features on the top row of search analytics and on the queries feature on the bottom row.

When the results pop up, click on the impressions text to organize keywords by impressions.

From the results above, the keyword that sticks out to me is “leaf baggers”.  The results show a click through rate of just 1.38% while the keyword is positioned highly at the 3.3 spot on search results.

This tells me that we are ranking highly for a keyword but our title tag and/or description tag is not enticing enough to make searchers click through.

Therefore, we should reconsider the title tag and description tag for this page.  To do this, simply head over to Google and search for your keyword, in this instance “leaf baggers”.

We researching title tags and description tags we pay close attention to ads that are being ran for the keyword.  Since advertisers spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on advertising you can be they have put time into developing title and description tags that get high click through rates.

You can use this same technique to discover web pages that need to be improved.  Instead of using the queries feature on the second row, use the pages feature.

Organize your results by the number of impression and locate the pages that are showing up in results but have a low click through rate.  Then make changes to the title and description tags and monitor results on a week over week basis.

The above techniques are just two simple ways you can use GSC to analyze and interpret your SEO efforts.  We could go on and on about other features but we would like to hear from you.

What are some ways you use GSC to analyze your SEO results?  Leave a comment or suggestion below in the comment box and let us know and be sure to check out our 5 SEO hacks to help improve your online rankings.