Tag Archives: seo

Custom Web Design for Mystic Elements

Custom Web Design is something we love to do @ Impact Media Solutions, so when Lorraine with Mystic Elements came to us and ask us create something unique that reflected her store and the services she offers we were very excited to take on her web project. Her web design is a large page format with subtle animation, while offering great information on her services and items in her store. We will be performing Internet Marketing & SEO on national level for the unique products she carries in her store as many of them are one of kind items. Please visit her website and let us know what you think:

Custom Web Design

Choosing the right SEO Company

When choosing your SEO company, ethics should play a major role.

The difference between White Hat and Black Hat SEO could cost your company dearly.

 

Here at Impact Media Solutions we perform a combination of White Hat and Organic search engine optimization methods.  White Hat SEO means that we follow the rules and guidelines set forth by the search engine companies, mainly Google.  If you have been put in charge of finding the right SEO service for your company, you will want to do a little research and make sure that any company you are considering has a reputation for high ethical standards.  If you choose an SEO service provider that tries to circumvent the rules or blatantly break them (referred to as Black Hat SEO), then you are putting your company at risk of losing a considerable amount of business.  Interflora is a great case-in-point.

Recently Interflora, which is a UK based flower delivery company, was unexplainably dropped from Google’s search engine’s organic results.  Organic means naturally occurring so in the search engine world, these are the results that follow the paid ad section at the top.  If you were to type Flower Delivery UK into the Google search engine, Interflora was nowhere to be seen.  The omission went on for eleven days and later we learned from Barry Schwartz’s article on SearchEngineLand.com (click here for article)  that a few bloggers had posted tweets that Interflora had asked them to remove any links back to the Interflora website.  This led to our assumption that Interflora, or their SEO service provider, was involved in paying for pages that pass PageRank (through gifts or monetary means).  What that means is they were paying bloggers to write posts that included a link back to the Interflora website.  This is a huge violation in the Google rule book.  If a blogger wants to write about your company and add a link, then that’s their business, but to pay them to do that creates non-organic search results and is a highly unfair practice.

To take the explanation a little further, we are now handling the SEO for a local based carpet and upholstery cleaning company.  It is operated by two men who have taken a very scientific approach to the process and they have built a solid clientele based mostly on word of mouth.  Now let’s say that a large carpet cleaning company comes into town and they have a monster marketing budget.  We’ll call them Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning.  Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning begins paying bloggers to write about various carpet cleaning topics and in each post they include a link to the Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning website.

Imagine one night you are enjoying a glass of red wine and you accidently spill some on the carpet and now you need to get your carpet cleaned.  You go to Google.com, type in carpet cleaning wine stains and out of the first twenty results, 15 are blog entries about how to get red wine out of your carpet and they all inexplicably link back to Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning.  This does two things.  It greatly reduces the chances of any other cleaning company like our client from showing up on the search results.   Secondly, it gives a psychological advantage to Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning.  We know that 75% of people who use search engines do not go past the first page of their search results ¹.  We also know that people typically do not read the entire content snippets returned in search results, but rather they scan them for names and adjectives.  If they see Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning over and over again, then they are going to assume it’s a great, well known company unless they see negative adjectives accompanying the listing.  In essence Super Ultra Carpet Cleaning has created a search results monopoly and this is highly unethical.

     Back to Interflora…  It took 11 days before they were reinstated into the Google search results, but when they came back, they ranked 9th for “flowers”…7th for “mothers day flowers”…8th for “flower delivery”…9th for “flowers delivered”…& 10th for “roses” ².  Imagine how much money they lost in those omitted 11 days and now they are ranking below six to nine other companies where before they always ranked in the top three of each category.  When an SEO company does things the wrong way, it can cost your company dearly.

When you are searching for the right SEO company, make sure you ask for references.  Then search for those references on various search engines and see what you find.  If there is an inordinate amount of material from bloggers not affiliated with the company that all include hyperlinks back to the company’s website, or if you find pages that have links to the website, but the content has nothing to do with what the company does, then that should raise a red flag.  Also make sure to call the reference and ask if they are happy with their return-on-investment.  If their answer is yes and the searches return clean, high ranking results, then chances are you have found a good, ethical company to deal with.

 SEO

¹ This statistic was collected from Eric Siu’s article on SearchEngineJournal.com (click here to read the article)

² These statistics were collected from Matt McGee’s article on SearchEngineLand.com (click here to read the article)

New Real Estate Web Design for the Southport area!

Impact Media has just launched a new Real Estate Website with some of the latest features from our company. Web Design was important, but user experience was just as important on this version and the owner of the new REMAX franchise in Southport, NC, Debby Daigle, really wanted to build a website that would be providing her clients a great user experience, by making it easier for them to find exactly what they were looking for in her area. Debby has been a client of Impact Media for 3 years and she uses our services for not only web design, but for SEO (search engine optimization) and all of her internet marketing in general. We are working on several other projects for her and cannot wait to show those off one day soon as well!

Real Estate Web Design

Open Sesame! Ignoring Simple Steps Leaves Your Smartphone Vulnerable To EVERYONE.

In part one of our new web blog series dedicated to smartphones, we examine a few ways to protect your Apple or Android device from thieves.

 I work for a company that not only provides internet marketing services such as SEO, copy writing and web development, but we also have an technical division that handles everything from setting up servers and networks to computer repair.  One of the main reasons a client will bring in their computer is because of a virus and many times the virus is trying to extract information from their system.

Your smartphone is a computer and is just as vulnerable to a virus as your laptop, but because of its size it becomes an easy target for a thief that could be standing next to you.  A simple way to discourage a potential larcenist is activating your phone’s password feature.  Yes I know, this is a revelation, but as simple as this solution is, most people do not utilize it.  The most common reason is it becomes a hassle to constantly enter your password, but it will be an even greater inconvenience if someone gets access to all your information, including your financial information.

I found a great tutorial for both Apple and Android users that explains, with pictures, how you can turn on your password protection.  The tutorial originates from the Smith College of Information Technology Services in Northhampton, Massachusetts.

http://www.smith.edu/its/tara/mobile_devices/md_password.html

If your phone is stolen, you can also remotely wipe the information stored on it.

Apple iPhone

1) Tap and open Settings.

2) Then find iCloud and turn on the Find My iPhone feature.

3) If the unfortunate happens and your phone is stolen, then you can download an app on another iOS device called Find My iPhone or you can log into icloud.com.  These two methods, once you are logged in, will allow you to remotely lock the phone with a password, wipe the phone, engage a sound on the phone or send a message.

 

Android

There is a great site you need visit called AndroidLost.com  According to their website, this software will allow you to:

 

Read SMS’es

Remote control alarm

Sound the alarm on your phone from your PC!

Find the location of your phone on a map.

Send SMS’es from your PC (All replies will still go to your phone.)

Lock the phone

Wipe the phone

Pop up messages on the phone (in case you lose the phone and a good Samaritan has found it)

Forward your calls

No battery use

Camera (AndroidLost can take pictures with the front facing camera in case the phone is stolen. Only for android 2.3.)

Text to speech (You can make the phone say: ‘I am lost – please pick me up!’)

Multiple phones on the same account

And many more features.

 

Our next blog entry we will cover virus protection software for smartphones.

The Changing Landscape of Search Engines and How it Will Affect Your SEO

There is a soap opera playing out right now between the major search engine providers.  Google, who has been the king of the playground for the past few years is finding that the other kids don’t want to play nice.  Apple has decided to replace Google Maps with its own mapping app and if you are looking for the YouTube app on the new iOS 6 operating system, don’t bother.  Apple is further separating itself from Google and why shouldn’t it?  Eric Jackson, a contributor for Forbes.com recently wrote a great article on why Apple should partner with Yahoo (click here to read the article).  He pointed out that since Yahoo doesn’t have a mobile operating system that they wouldn’t be a competitor and therefore would be the perfect search engine solution for Apple.  He also suggested that Yahoo should take back control of its back end search from Microsoft since their new mobile search application Axis is doing so well and will continue to improve.  Marissa Mayer, the new CEO of Yahoo seems to be the kind of person that would pull the trigger on such a proposal.  She also seems like she might be the first CEO Yahoo has had in a while that will bring the company back to dominance.

In other search engine news Facebook has just announced its new Graph Search.  No longer will you need to post on your timeline questions to friends like, “Where is a good Sushi restaurant?”  These kind of posts usually solicit a few answers, but then you still end up going to Google or Yahoo anyway.  With Facebook’s new Graph Search, it will scour your friends likes and give you all the answers you need.  It will be very interesting to see how that affects Google’s saturation.

So how does this affect your SEO?  A good search engine optimization company stays on top of the drama.  Here at Impact Media we are keeping a very close eye on how the Apple/Google drama plays out because it will affect how we optimize.  If Apple did utilize Yahoo then it would place a much higher value on the time we spend optimizing for the Yahoo search engine.  Right now Google has a 70% share of the search engine market so most of our time is concentrated on optimizing for that particular engine.  Now with Facebook’s new Graph Search, there is a new wrinkle that has been thrown in.  As an SEO company at the top of our game, we have to reformulate our process to include the new Graph Search for the appropriate clients.  This is part of the reason why SEO isn’t a cheap marketing strategy, but when you are using the services of a good company who understands the ever changing landscape of the search engine universe, you will get a much higher return on your investment.

Is Bad Writing Losing Leads For Your Business?

One thing I have learned in the internet marketing business is that many clients try to save money by writing their web content themselves.  This is a good idea for the business owner or marketing director who has a background in writing and enjoys the process.  For everyone else this is a bad decision because it is more than likely killing your chances at capturing leads.
Typically I have found that most copy (the industry term for written content) sounds like a bad television commercial.  The reason for this is people write like they talk.  They will read their produced content, hear themselves saying it in their head, and believe it is at least good enough for the website.  What people tend to forget is most of the people coming to your site have never met you and it will not be your voice speaking to them in their head as they read, it will be theirs.  What you have written might sound very weird to them in their voice.  That is why you have to keep a somewhat neutral, but confident tone with your content.
Additionally there is SEO to think about with your content.  Search Engine Optimization relies heavily on the copy.  Part of the challenge of writing effective content is flawlessly writing in the appropriate keywords.  Even if your content reads very well, if it does not have the keywords that the search engine web crawlers are looking for, your website could be rendered useless to everyone, but those who are directly searching for your particular business.  Here is some advice to always remember, according to the Search Engine Journal, 75% of people who use a search engine do not go past the first page of results.  This puts an exclamation mark on why SEO integration with your copy is crucial.
Below is an example of badly written content.  Though I have made this up, I could have easily replaced the Mattress King with a dozen other business names you have heard of and it would be eerily similar to what they have on their website right now.

Welcome to Mattress King.  We have been in business for 22 years and are ready to serve your mattress needs.  We have a wide selection for you to choose from and our customer service is the best.  We’re open from 10am to 8 pm Monday through Friday and 9am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Please enjoy all that our site has to offer and come by and see us today and you will see why we have the best mattress selection in the area.

This is terrible copy and I am going to break down for you exactly why your web content should never look like this.
•    Welcome to Mattress King.  Mattress King is a bricks and mortar store.  The website is a completely separate entity with a different functionality.
•    We have been in business for 22 years and are ready to serve your mattress needs. The mattress doesn’t have needs, the customer does.  The 22 years of business is very important, but you still have to sell it.
•    The rest of the paragraph is simply a radio ad.  There is no indication of what tools the website has to offer to the potential customer.  There is also no true call-to-action.  If they want to find out the contact information, the guest will have to look through the navigation tab, find Contact Us, and hopefully find what they are looking for.

Here is how it should have been written.

Your nights of tossing and turning are about to come to an end.  Welcome to the Mattress King online service center.  Here you will discover the newest products we offer, tips on which mattress is right for you and an array of headboards and footboards to compliment your new Mattress King mattress.
Located just off South College road near the Hardees by UNCW, we have 22 years of experience helping people with back pain and restless and sleepless nights in the New Hanover, Pender & Brunswick county area.  It is our number one goal to listen to your needs and help you find the right mattress for the perfect night of sleep.
For your convenience, we have provided an easy to use contact form so you may ask a question of our mattress experts without having to leave the comfort of you home.  Based on your needs we can help you determine which mattress is right for you, have you come into the showroom so you can test the selections your mattress expert has chosen for you, and have it delivered to your bedroom and set-up by the next day.
For your added convenience we are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekends.  You can contact us through our easy contact form or give us a call at 910-555-1212.  Thank you so much for visiting our website and we cannot wait to help you get the best night of sleep you have ever had.

There is no question that the latter content is more compelling.  It gives the guest a good idea of what advantages visiting the website has given them by clearly pointing them out.  The location is given by a road and two landmarks rather than an address, making it easier for people to quickly figure out where the store is.  The 22 years of experience becomes important now because it involved helping people with very common reasons for why many of us need a new mattress.  The locations of the surrounding areas is also factored in, which caters to the search engine optimization variable.
A call-to-action is presented with the contact form.  If you do not use a contact form on the front page of your website, I can guarantee you, you are losing leads.  After that, the process of selecting a mattress and having it in the guests bedroom sounds seamless and easy.  The times are written to sound like everything is being done to make it easier on the guest and the contact form and phone number are emphasized so capturing the lead is given a final push.  Finally the last line sums up what the guest is really there for.  They want to have a comfortable night’s sleep.  This again allows the store to connect with the guest, all without “saying” a word.
If you want to give your website a facelift, without spending thousands of dollars on graphics and design, ask a professional copywriter to rewrite your content.  It will add new life to your site and do more to help capture leads then you could have ever imagined.

C.S. Alexander is a professional copywriter with Impact Media Solutions in Wilmington, NC.  He is also an internationally published novelist and former newspaper editor.