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Are you looking for the best Internet Marketing services to get your business found across all of the internet? Tired of SEO companies making promises and nothing happens? Then check out our video:

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Don’t Forget The Basics

Sometimes we all forget the basics. This is especially true when it comes to SEO. Search engine optimization is such a volatile and ever changing landscape that even the pros sometimes forget, or over look the basics. We get wrapped up in dissecting the newest Algorithm change and adapting to them that we sometimes overlook the obvious.  Let’s touch base on a couple that we see happen often when business owners attempt SEO on their own.

Don't forget keywords for SEO

Keywords

Yes, keywords are still very important to on page and off page SEO. While Rank Brain is learning away, we do see that with some of our clients sites that they rank for words and terms that are NOT on their site, and are synonyms or LSI keywords. Still, it’s very important to have as many sprinkled throughout your content AND in your backlink profile, (use sparingly for backlinks).

Gabriel Shaoolian recently published an article on SiteProNews.com that touches on a few key elements of keywords:

Failing to do keyword research.

Nailing a keyword list is going to be the bread and butter for your site’s SEO. In fact, you can think of every keyword as a breadcrumb, trailing users to your site. But in order to create a successful list, you need to not only think of the most basic words to identify your brand. These are the words that consumers are going to be using to start their search. But you also need to consider your competitors.

If, for example, you’re a locally-based eCommerce site for specialty foods, such as gourmet cheese, the terms “specialty foods” and “gourmet cheese” are probably first going to come to mind. But how many other sites out there are already using these words? Probably millions. So, you need to take things one step further by creating a long tail keyword. This would be something along the lines of “best gourmet cheese in Denver.” And here’s where our third what-not-to-do comes into play.

Forgetting to localize.

In the above example, choosing to feature one of your specialty foods—cheese—was a smart move in narrowing down the search competition. But smarter yet was the choice to incorporate the name of your city. This step localizes your search terms, an extremely important SEO step, especially for retail brands with physical locations. In fact, 50 percent of Smartphone shoppers, who search locally on Google, end up visiting physical stores on the same day.

If your brand is failing to optimize itself for local searches, you are going to miss out on an entire pool of customers. Most importantly, given their close physical proximity to your brand, these customers are the ones you should be converting into brand loyalists. When creating your target keyword lists, be sure to include local search terms.

Finish Reading The Full Article Here

That’s good content from Gabriel, especially about not forgetting to add Geo modifiers to your keywords. Local is important for most businesses as they don’t serve the entire US but only their local city or county. As Google gets smarter it picks up on users location and will direct them to businesses that solves their search query. In fact, with most searches now when you search for something you will see in Google suggests the “near me” appended to your search term. So don’t forget to localize!

We recommend you check out Gabriel’s article because of his next point being speaking like a human, which kind of ties in with keywords and voice search.

Lack of proper URL structure will effect SEO and rankings

Website Structure

This can be a huge pain in the rear. If you get this wrong in the beginning and don’t address it, it will snow ball. This was covered in an article done by Pratik Dholakiya on MarketingLand.com:

Poor URL architecture

URL architecture can be a difficult thing to fix without breaking other aspects of your SEO, so we don’t recommend rushing into this, or you might do more harm than good.

That said, one of the most frequent issues I come across is a lack of solid URL architecture. In particular, folder organization is often spotty.

A few common issues:

  • Blog posts listed in multiple categories, resulting in blog posts listed in multiple folders, creating duplicate content issues as a result.
  • URLs with no folders other than the parent domain. While this is precisely the form your most important pages should take, pages further down the hierarchy should be listed in folders to categorize them.
  • URLs with folders that are, themselves, 404 pages. If a URL is listed under a folder, many users expect that folder to be an operational page. From an architecture perspective, it’s semantically confusing, and from an internal link perspective, it’s ideal to have links to these pages from a parent folder.
  • Junk URLs full of numbers and letters. These days, these are primarily reserved for search result pages and database queries that aren’t intended to be indexed and found in search engines. Your URLs should contain useful information intelligible to a human if you want them to contribute positively to your performance in the search engines.

In addressing these issues, there are two complications you want to avoid: creating 404 pages and losing existing link authority. When you change your URL architecture, you need to make sure that the old pages 301 to the new ones. Ideally, any internal links to the old pages should also be updated, since PageRank is reduced by the damping factor every time it passes through a link or 301.

As an exception, if blog posts are listed in multiple categories, a 301 isn’t always necessary, but in its place you should canonicalize to the preferable page.

Read Pratik’s full article here

His first point is one that we see all to often. A blog post that is listed in several categories resulting in duplicate content penalties. It’s important to note that in every test we have ever done on duplicate content, the only time it ever results in a penalty is when it is duplicate content on the SAME site.

His last point is also another one that can’t be overlooked, not properly setting permalink structure. We do run across this from time to time. We have seen that through updates that sometimes the permalink structure gets changed for whatever reason and must be reset.

Summing It Up

Don’t forget about the basics, they still work. Keywords in your content and backlinks as well as keyword rich titles and descriptions, H1 and H2 tags with LSI’s. Lastly, make sure your permalink structure is correct and hasn’t changed or been altered by mistake.

As always, if you need help with your Local SEO for your small business, visit us at MD Internet Marketing Solutions

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Getting Optimum Performance Out Of Your WordPress Site

Your website is ground zero for all of your online marketing. Whether you are using video, social media, adwords – you name it, everything points back to your website to convert visitors into customers. However, if your site isn’t performing at it’s peak, then you maybe losing sales. Here are some great tips to make sure you are getting the maximum potential out of your WordPress site.

How To Optimize Your WordPress Website

Optimizing Your WordPress Site

There are a lot of factors that come into play when optimizing your site not only for search engines, but customers as well. As search engines become smarter, it does get a little easier to combine your optimization efforts to please both.

If you have followed any of our posts on Web Design, you know that we have been mentioning for awhile that your site needs to load fast. If your site doesn’t load in just a couple of seconds, users will hit the back button to go to another site. Site load speed is also a ranking factor in search engines. So making sure your site loads fast is probably one of the biggest factors in getting the most out of your site. To learn more about how to make your site load faster, see our post “Speed Up Your Site For Better Rankings And UX“.

Website Hosting

The next thing that must be mentioned is hosting. If you have your site on subpar host, then your site will be lacking. In fact it can hurt not only your site load speed, but user engagement as well. “How” you may ask? Well this was just covered in an article by Chris Garret on CopyBlogger and his tenth point:

 

Hosting with a company that prevents or punishes your success

This last one will catch you by surprise at the worst moment.

You get your 15 minutes (or 15,000 visitors) of fame, only for your host to tell you … nope! Not on their watch.

They shut you down.

There it is, in the fine print of your hosting contract … you’re only allowed a certain number of visitors or so much bandwidth … which means all your new prospects land on a page that says your website is down.

It’s smart to keep your costs manageable when you’re starting out, but losing potential customers because of penny-pinching isn’t so smart.

If you currently have cheap “hobby” hosting, you need to ask yourself:

How many clients or customers can I afford to lose to a bad web experience?

Read Chris’ full article “10 Often Overlooked Website Mistakes that May Harm Your Business

It’s a great point from Chris. We like how he makes the connection between cheap hosting and “hobby” hosting. It’s true. You need to stop and ask yourself if it’s worth saving a few hundred dollars a year on hosting costs that could literally be costing your business tens of thousands of dollars in sales due to a slow loading site or not loading because of exceeding your monthly bandwidth. Are you running a business, or is it just a hobby??

Next we move onto more things on your WordPress site itself. We have covered about how important it is to keep your site’s themes and plugins updated. “Is Your Website At Risk Of Being Hacked” explains how important these updates are in keeping your site secure. Sometimes these updates can also lead to how well your site performs, or doesn’t.

But what about your site’s database and links? One of our favorite writers, Colin Newcomer, just made a post on WPKube that covers this:

Clean and Optimize Your Database

When you first install WordPress, your database starts off so clean and tiny. But as you start “living” in your site, your database starts picking up all kinds of junk. It’s like dust in your house. You didn’t do anything to “cause” the dust…but it still accumulates and makes everything look dirty.

Posts revisions, transients, table overhead, spam comments, and more do that to your database. Each individual database entry isn’t a big deal…but combined (like those specks of dust), they can make your site a big sluggish.

Thankfully, they’re easy to clean up. All you need to do is run a plugin like WP-Sweep. Nothing to configure – just install, head to Tools → Sweep and clean up your various tables:

You can also Sweep All at the bottom of the page – though I don’t recommend it because you might wipe out your drafts. It’s usually better to go through each category individually to ensure you don’t remove important information.

Check for Broken Internal and External Links

Broken links are bad for user experience and, to a lesser extent, SEO. They make it harder for humans to use your site and robots to crawl your site. They’re difficult to find manually…but with the right tool (Broken Link Checker), you can instantly sniff out every single broken link on your WordPress site.

While the plugin does have some advanced settings, for most sites, you can just install it and head to Tools → Broken Links:

You can hover over each link to quickly edit it or remove the link.

Because some people say that Broken Link Checker can slow down the wp-admin dashboard, I recommend only enabling the plugin specifically when you want to check for broken links.

Read Colin’s Full Article “9 WordPress Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Site Running Smoothly

Those are some really good tips. However, before adding any plugins to your site, make sure you back it up first as they may conflict with others and cause the dreaded “white screen of death”. We would also advise that with both of these plugins you deactivate them when not in use as Colin points out with Broken Link Checker. This brings us to our last point –

wordpress plugins

Plugins

One of the greatest things about WordPress are the plugins. There are thousands of them. What you must remember is that “the more the better” rule DOES NOT apply here. Too many plugins will slow down your site, while some plugins are hogs and can really slow things down. As a general rule, we try and stay away from “Swiss Army Knife” plugins that do “everything” for you as they tend to be the worst. Also, the more plugins you are running the greater your chances of having a conflict resulting in again the “white screen of death” or the site not functioning properly leading to poor user experience.

Try and use the minimum amount of plugins as possible to get your needs done. It’s a good idea to regularly check your plugins and if you are not using them, deactivate and uninstall to keep from slowing down your site and minimize the risk of plugin conflict.

Summing It Up

Getting optimum performance from your website really starts with your hosting. With a low cost hosting provider you may be saving a few bucks, but losing thousands in lost revenue due to customers leaving your site before they even see it. Try and use the plugins that Colin recommends to clean up your database and links. Cleaning your database will mostly only benefit your load times, but broken links can not only impact rankings, but user experience as well. Just these few things can have a real impact on how well your site performs.

If you need help with optimizing your website, need a website rebuild, or just need a web design service, visit us at MD Internet Marketing Solutions

Getting Optimum Performance Out Of Your WordPress Site Find more on: http://www.MDIMSolutions.com

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Is Your Website At Risk Of Being Hacked?

How Secure Is Your Website?

You may be the owner of a small business with a small website and think your website isn’t a target for hackers. After all, what would a hacker want with your website? Your website might be just about your services that doesn’t contain any customer information. Why would a hacker even bother with your “little” site? You might be surprised about what hackers can do with your site once they infiltrate it and what they can do.

Is your website at risk of being hacked?

 

We are sticklers about website security. We have also taken on customers that have had their site hacked. It’s no fun. Every site that we have dealt with that has been hacked did not have any person’s personal information whatsoever. So why did the hackers bother with these sites?

If you are using our favorite CMS – WordPress, it’s really very simple. It’s all about the numbers. As of last year (2016), WordPress websites accounted for around 26% of the websites on the web. So with over a Billion sites on the web that equates to around 250 million of them being on WordPress. It’s a numbers game for hackers, why not create one bot that can have the most effect and best chances of succeeding.

What Will Hackers Do With Your Site?

What does a hacker want with your site? Install malware to try and infect visitors computers, try and spread their political views, try and gain access to the server your site is hosted on, and probably sometimes, some geek with too much time on their hands.

So how do these hackers get into your site in the first place? A rather large list was made on WPMUDEV.org recently that has some of the most used techniques:

How Hackers Compromise Websites

When writing code, it’s near impossible to not create any security holes whatsoever. When hackers find these vulnerabilities, they exploit them and you’re left with a compromised site.

There are are also other ways a site could be vulnerable including human error such as using passwords that are easy to guess as well as insecure or unreliable hosting.

There are a number of commonly exploited and potential WordPress vulnerabilities including:

  • SQL Injection (SQLI) – Occurs when SQL queries and statements can be entered and executed from a site’s URL
  • Cross-site Scripting (XSS) – A hacker can inject code into a site, typically through an input field
  • File Upload – A file with malicious code is uploaded to a server without restriction
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) – Code or strings are entered and executed from a site’s URL
  • Brute Force – Constantly trying to log in by guessing the admin’s account username and password
  • Denial of Service (DoS) – When a site goes down due to a steady stream of traffic coming from a hackbot
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) – Similar to a DoS attack, except the hackbot is sending traffic from multiple sources such as infected computers or routers
  • Open Redirect – Occurs due to a vulnerability and it’s a site’s page that’s redirected to a different one that’s set by a hacker and is often spam or a phishing site
  • Phishing (Identity Theft) – A site or page created by a hacker that looks like a well-known, commonly trusted site, but is used to collect login credentials by tricking a user to input their details
  • Malware – A malicious script or program with a purpose to infect a site or system
    Local File Inclusion (LFI) – An attacker is able to control what file is executed at a scheduled time that was set up by the CMS or web app
  • Authentication Bypass – A security hole that enables a hacker to circumvent the login form and gain access to the site
  • Full Path Disclosure (FPD) – When the path to a site’s webroot is exposed such as when the directory listing, errors or warnings are visible
  • User Enumeration – Being able to determine a valid username to later use for brute force attacks by adding a string to the end of a WordPress site’s URL to request a user ID which may return an author’s profile with the valid username
  • XML External Entity (XXE) – An XML input that references an external entity and is processed poorly by improperly set up XML parser and can lead to confidential information disclosure

Read The Full Article “The Ultimate Guide to WordPress Security

That’s not even the entire list from the post, nor is the post every way that a site can be hacked. As time goes on, hackers get more sophisticated and develop new ways to get into sites to use them as they wish.

How To Keep Your Site Secure

Before you get into a full on panic, there are things you can do to help make sure your site doesn’t fall victim to hackers.

The first thing you can do is make sure you use strong usernames and passwords. Never, and we mean never, use the default “Admin”. Use very long passwords, maybe a snippet from your favorite song and add a few punctuation marks and numbers before and after.

The second thing and probably the most effective is……. KEEP YOUR SITE UPDATED! Whenever there is a new release of WordPress, make sure you install it right away. Whenever you receive an email that an update is available, get it done. But it doesn’t stop there, you also need to make sure that your Themes and Plugins are also kept up to date because they can be just as vulnerable. A classic example of this is the vulnerability in the Revolution Slider back in 2014 where as many as 100 thousand sites were hacked. You won’t receive email notifications for these types of updates, so we suggest checking at least weekly that everything is up to date.

Gail Gardner just posted an article today on another one of our top priorities of keeping your site secure with the importance of choosing a good server or hosting provider:

Choose a Secure Web Host

Web hosts vary greatly in how secure they are. Shared Web hosting is the most affordable option, since you’re sharing server space with countless other websites. But, that affordability comes at the cost of security in many cases.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is a middle-ground option where you’re still technically sharing a server with other websites, but you’re each given flexibility as if you were all running on a dedicated server. Dedicated hosting means that you’re the only website on the server, so it of course it comes at a premium.

To provide more security, but still keep costs relatively manageable, many web hosts are now offering managed WordPress hosting, which is similar to shared hosting. But by having them manage the WordPress installation itself, they can help avoid security breaches.

Read Gail’s full post “Web Security More Important Now Than Ever

Gail also makes some good points in her article about you company’s security policy with employees that have access to your site.

Lastly, we want to point out that you should be making backups regularly. Why? Because if your site does get hacked, restoring your site to it’s previous condition will be a whole lot easier.

Wrap Up

While you might consider your site not large enough, or have important data that hackers may want, it’s still a target. The most important and effective ways of keeping hackers out is to choose a good host, and keeping your site up date to help minimize the risks of your site falling prey. And in case it does fall victim, make sure you have backups!

To learn more about how we help keep our customers sites secure, as well as our web design services, visit our site MD Internet Marketing Solutions

Is Your Website At Risk Of Being Hacked? was
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Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Videos

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Video Marketing

Video is one of our favorite ways of marketing our clients to the public. We like video because of the engagement factor over text. However,  some companies do struggle sometimes to get views and get their target audience to engage with their video content and take action. In this short article we will cover what to avoid and what must be done to make sure you are creating engaging video content that converts.

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You may have attempted video marketing on your own, with lack luster results. It can be disheartening. It happens. not every video you create will go viral or be the next dollar shave commercial. Not every video you create is going to be a home run. The important thing to do is learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward with more video content. The good news is that with some careful planning, you can give your videos a lot better chance of being the conversion tool you are looking for.

Two Things To Avoid In Your Video Marketing

Yes, there are some things that you must avoid when making your videos. There are 2 things that we see continually among newbie video creators. One thing that is a must to avoid is making the video entirely too long. This was covered in one of our favorite blogs, Hubspot, where Amanda Zantal-Wiener just wrote about yesterday:

It seems like we’re past the point of requiring evidence that supports the dwindling human attention span, but just in case — studies say it’s about eight seconds. On top of that, roughly two-thirds of consumers prefer video under one minute, so in sum: Keep it short.

I’ll never forget what HubSpot’s CEO, Brian Halligan, said to me during a chat about content creation: “You’re asking to borrow someone’s brain.” When you ask someone to borrow anything, the considerate thing to do is to be respectful of that person’s time, and when they might need it back. Generally, we need our brains — so when you create something like video content, remember that you have your viewer’s brain on loan.

That’s not to say that your video needs to be limited to eight seconds — after all, how much could you possibly say in that amount of time? But when you create it, make sure those first few seconds are highly engaging, as that’s when you’ll need to grab the viewer’s attention to maintain it.

Read Amanda’s Full Article “7 Reasons Why No One is Watching Your Video Content

She has some good points throughout her article. However when it comes to video length, it can be really hard to get everything you need to say in under a minute. We tend to make our videos between 1 and 2 minutes. Another point that she makes is about not promoting your video on other channels. There is a lot of controversy about this. Some video experts say to create different videos for different platforms. We tend to agree with Amanda and say go ahead and promote every video you create on every social media platform available to you.

The second thing to avoid and that we see as a problem for a lot of “do it yourself” videos is going on and on about how great their company is, or how many awards they have won, or just continually talking about themselves or the company. What people care about is how YOUR company can help solve THEIR problem. It’s okay to tell your viewers about your companies achievements, but keep it very short and to the point. Remember that your marketing videos are to get conversions, so the more you tell them about how using your product or service will simplify or make their lives easier increases your chances of turning viewers into customers.

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The Do’s In Your Video Marketing

Now on to what is important with your video marketing campaigns. We actually found an article that covers the 2 things that we think are among the most important from Colin Newcomer in an article he has on Elegant Themes blog:

Remember That It’s Not Just About View Counts

Many marketers obsess over view counts. Views are the most important measure of a video’s success, right?

Eh, maybe.

There certainly is something to be said for tracking the raw number of views that your videos get. But it’s far from the only metric that matters.

Why’s that? Because you probably want people to actually pay attention to your videos. So to find out how engaged they are, you’ll also want to measure data like:

  • Drop-off rates. That is, how many people watch a video to the end? And if they don’t make it to the end, at what point do they stop watching?
  • Social shares. Shares are a good metric for how valuable viewers found your content.

So yes, pay attention to view counts. But pay attention to the other stuff, too.

End With a CTA

Fading to black is great for movies…it’s not so great for video marketing.

You would never create a landing page without a CTA, right? Well, it’s the same for your videos. You always want to close by pushing your viewers to complete an action.

So what should you tell them to do? That depends on the goals you set out at the beginning (remember – you should have specific success metrics!).

If you want to primarily boost brand engagement, you might push them to watch other videos by asking them to subscribe and suggesting some videos to watch next.

On the other hand, if you want more email opt-ins, the end of your video is a great time to push them towards your squeeze page or your sales team:

Read Colin’s Full Article “8 Key Elements Your Video Marketing Strategy Needs

Good article from Colin. Kind of funny that we found it on Elegant Themes site. If you read his full article you also notice that one of his factors is also video length.

We included his article because we find that these things are often overlooked by people producing videos. Many people put too much emphasis on views and don’t pay any attention to other metrics, such as drop off rates. While you video may be getting views, viewers maybe leaving the video at 30 seconds in before they get to a call to action.

Then all to often we see videos with no clear call to action. If you don’t tell viewers to take action, they won’t. Most videos that do have a call to action usually have them at the end of the video. This can be a problem when viewers aren’t watching the video to the end, and why paying attention to the drop off rate is important. This can sometimes be avoided on YouTube with the use of Cards. You can have Cards open up with teaser text and calls to action right inside the video and put them towards the beginning of the video to help increase conversions. The problem with YouTube Cards is that they do not work on every device, so if your drop off rate is before your CTA, your video isn’t converting.

Summing It Up

Keep you videos short and to the point. It’s okay to tell your viewers about your company, but keep it short and remember to tell them how YOU can help THEM. While views are important, don’t forget about drop off rates as this can effect your CTA and your video may not convert as much as you would like. To help avoid drop off before your CTA, and if you are hosting your videos on YouTube, make use of Cards.

If you or your company needs help with video production, just visit our site www.mdimsolutions.com for all of your video marketing needs.

 

Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Videos is republished from www.MDIMSolutions.com

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Should You Optimize Your Site For Voice Search?

 Can Optimizing For Voice Search Be Beneficial?

Voice search from Google has been around for a few years now and more people are adapting to it because of the ease of use over typing, especially on smaller devices. The accuracy of voice search has also increased significantly as of late, making it more appealing to more people. Is it really that important to make adjustments on your site and content for voice search? That’s what we will be answering here.

Should you optimize your site for voice search

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According to Google, 20 percent of searches on its mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches. As with almost anything in technology, this number is sure to increase in the coming years. And with “personal assistant” tools like Alexa and Google Home purchases on the rise, it’s a sure sign people like the ability to just speak instead of type.

Why Do People Use Voice Search

Why do people use voice search? Simple answer – it’s easier, especially on mobile devices. Almost every person can speak faster than they type, and not get aggravated trying to type on small screens on their phones. Research does indicate that these are the top reasons, and more, that people prefer voice search which was covered by Nate Dame on Search Engine Land:

While familiarity with personal assistant technology will encourage more people to try voice search, it is convenience that will really drive adoption. The top reasons people use voice search are almost all related to improved user experience.

People use voice search because it’s faster, simpler and more user-friendly. It simplifies searching for individuals who struggle to type on small devices, and it helps searchers avoid navigating confusing site menus. It’s also faster than searching by text, guided by improved accuracy in the technology.

And that’s not just people’s perception: Google’s voice recognition technology is now 95 percent accurate — improved nearly 20 percent since 2013. On average, humans can speak more than three times as many words per minute as they can type. If voice recognition is just as accurate as typing, the speed of voice search provides a compelling justification for adoption.

Voice search provides a better user experience, particularly on mobile devices. Given that 90 percent of executives use mobile devices to conduct research before making a purchase, it’s not hard to imagine that those executives will transition to voice search — not to mention the next generation of B2B buyers who are growing up with the technology as second nature.

Read The Full Article “Voice search and SEO: Why B2B marketers need to pay attention now

Good points from Nate. It’s important that you the reader take note of his last paragraph about executives, that 90% of execs use mobile before making a purchase and that they too will soon start using voice search. For that reason alone you should want to ensure your site is ready for voice search.

So how will this affect businesses and search? This is a really good question, and if you stop and think about the possibilities, it could possibly change the entire landscape of search marketing.

This was actually covered in a post by Megan Hannay in Search Engine Land just a few months ago:

Most who do believe in a voice-dominated future are in a love/hate relationship with the idea. Some predict we’ll lose all local organic space to ads. Others foresee a future in which anything less than the No. 1 rank is worthless. I see both conclusions as an incomplete picture.

A recent Moz study demonstrated that only 3.4 percent of Google local searches result in ad clicks. While it’s possible to anticipate a future in which voice search results are entirely paid ads, the fact that consumers seem to largely prefer organic suggests that Google would have a hard time retaining customers with such a model.

Imagine if Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” search were a paid ad spot — who would click that button? Replacing the organic “best” option with the highest bidder changes our perception of the result. For businesses, this is further encouragement to tap into the power of organic local reach via accurate data and local knowledge sharing.

Additionally, I think it’s a fallacy to assume that instant answers will beget a world where only the lucky top-ranked result wins. Rather, as I’ll show in this post, voice will make filtering for exactly what a consumer wants a much simpler process. So instead of a single No. 1 rank for a given local keyword (e.g., “divorce lawyer Los Angeles”), there will be dozens of No. 1 pages based on the other parameters a searcher indicates in her query (“a female divorce lawyer within a 20-minute drive from my office in Los Angeles who has experience in custody cases and pre-nups, with at least a 4.5-star rating and who can meet during my lunch break this week”).

Read Megan’s Full Post Here…

That’s a good read from Megan. When we at the office started brain storming about the possibilities of voice search, we have to admit that we did think that it could really wreck organic search results. However, Megan makes a strong case for multiple page 1 results based on the searcher’s query. In any case, voice search is another trend that must be addressed for local businesses.

how to optimize for voice search

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How To Optimize For Voice Search

Chances are you have been optimizing your site for regular search. 2, 3 maybe 4 keywords together. For a longtime we have been big fans of optimizing for long tail keywords to target more queries. If you have been following our advice, you are ahead of the game.

Seth Nickerson just made a great video about how to actually start optimizing for voice search that includes using long tails and more:

 

Great video with good actionable tips that you can start using now to get a jump on your competition. For the point he makes about using Schema, we will devote an entire article to that subject soon.

Summing It Up

Now is the time to start optimizing for voice search. There is plenty of evidence that this trend is going to grow, and if you don’t optimize for it, your competition that does will beat you to the punch 😮

If you are to busy to implement this or any other Local SEO tactics, contact us at www.MDIMSolutions.com for a free consultation.

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Speed Up Your Site For Better Rankings And UX

Site Speed Effects UX And Rankings

For quite some time Google has been informing the public that site load speed is a ranking factor. The problem is a lot of site owners have no clue how to speed up their site. In this short article we’ll cover a few actionable tips to get your site up to speed and better rankings.

Speed Up Your Site For Better Rankings And UX

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In our last post under the web design topic, we wrote about how using a CDN can help speed up your site. Because site speed is so important to both rankings and UX, we thought we would expand further on site speed. Honestly, we could have put this post under the local seo blog because of the ranking factor, but since it’s a little more technical, we opted to place it under the website building, design and development category.

First up, lets just cover the FACT that site speed IS a ranking factor to Google. They actually made this public statement about site speed and rankings:

You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.

Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don’t just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites.

Read The Full Article “Using site speed in web search ranking

That article is straight from Google’s Webmaster Central Blog – all the way back in April of 2010, over 7 years ago! Now that can put to rest any doubt about site speed and it’s effect on rankings 🙂

UX Site Speed And Bounce Rate

A lot of people don’t realize how site speed and UX tie together for rankings. If someone clicks a link to your site and it takes more than a few seconds to load, most people just hit the back button to look elsewhere for the information they are hunting. This actually counts against you twice.

The first is obvious, you have lost a customer to someone else. The second is that to the search engines, you are giving a negative bounce signal, which means the person performing the search wasn’t given the info they were searching for on your site and decided to search elsewhere. That negative bounce signal can be increased if you are using Google Analytics on your site.

How Do You Speed Up Your Site?

There are a lot of things that come into play when it comes to how fast your website loads. The first that we have mentioned before is where your website is hosted. Where your website is hosted alone can make a HUGE difference in page load time. Cheap shared hosting just won’t cut it. We feel that hosting is such a big issue we will cover it more in depth in an up coming post.

There’s a whole slew of things in the backend of your website to help improve performance. David Manng just wrote a post today that gives great info about how to get more speed out of your site and a few of the techniques that we also use for our customers site’s:

Optimize every single image

A common warning you’ll see when you test your site is that your images are not properly formatted. Maybe you’re using high resolution images when you don’t need to, increasing the page-load time needed to download your images. Compressing and resizing your images to fit your web page can reduce the file size without noticeable quality loss.

The type of image matters as well. It’s recommended to use a JPG for photographs and PNG for everything else. As modern sites become more image heavy, this recommendation becomes more critical. One tool we’d recommend to compress individual images is Optimizilla. If you want to do a crawl for large images on your site, try Screaming Frog.

Leverage Browser Caching

Every time a user visits your site, they are requesting files from the server. If they are revisiting, you should allow them to reuse the local files that are stored in their browser. This will reduce the amount of downloads and make one less request to the server, resulting in a faster page load time. You can do this by marking files to update at different times. For example, a logo is unlikely to change so you can mark that to update less regularly.

Minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

Minifying one of these resources is the process of removing unnecessary data without affecting how the page loads in the browser. By compacting the code, you save data and speed up downloading time.

Read David’s full article “How to Improve Page Load Speed Performance

David gives a lot of great tips in the article. One of the biggest speed factors that we see for clients that come to us with an existing website is the point he makes about images. We would add that proper image size is also important, especially if your are using WordPress. Many times we see on site pages an image that is 400×400 pixels, but then when the media library is inspected the image is a whopping 1500×1500. Now WordPress is being slowed down by having to resize these images while loading.

In David’s article he also recommends GTMetrix and Google’s tool for checking site speed. We found another speed tool that we like – https://tools.pingdom.com

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Good News For WordPress Users!

A lot of David’s tips from above can be difficult to achieve for newbies. We actually ran across an article from WPMUDEV about the new release of a plugin that can help with solving site speed problems:

Got a serious need for speed? Satisfy it – for free! – with Hummingbird. We’re excited to announce today that our speed optimization plugin is now available to download at WordPress.org.

Hummingbird is the ultimate performance optimization plugin for WordPress. Once activated, it scans your site for potential speed improvements and provides fine-tuned controls for file compression, minification and browser caching. Not only does Hummingbird make your site faster, it also helps you improve your Google PageSpeed Insights score!

Fast AND Free!? Pinch Me, I Must Be Dreaming

You may have noticed we’ve been looking for ways to give back to the WordPress community and what better way to spread the love than by sharing some of our favorite tools!

Well, everyone’s making a big deal over pagespeed because it is a BIG DEAL. Slow pages have visitors bouncing faster than a rabbit in heat and if your site isn’t optimized to load lightning fast you can kiss your dreams of ranking on the front page of Google goodbye.

Read Their Full Article And Download The Plugin Here

This looks really promising, while we will have to do some testing on a few of our own sites to make sure it does what it says it will and doesn’t break sites. We do have to admit that we were a little confused by the name “Hummingbird”, thinking that it was going to be something that talked too, or tickled Google’s Hummingbird update.

Summing It Up

If you have been ignoring how fast your site loads, you better start giving it some thought now and taking action. Even if you aren’t driving traffic from Google, but social media or other avenues, visitors to your site will not tolerate slow loading sites. We’ve given you a few actionable tips through a couple of trusted sources to help get the job done. One word of caution, before making any changes to your siteMAKE A BACKUP of your site, just in case things go wrong.

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Speed Up Your Site For Better Rankings And UX Find more on: www.MDIMSolutions.com

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