SEO

Should you begin SEO before or after a site launch?

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One of the questions I hear often from many of my clients who decide to redesign or create their website is: why should they care about SEO at this stage, wouldn’t be better to first launch the website and think about SEO later, and, secondly, can you really do SEO for an unpublished website? If this individual wants or needs clients or customers, my reply when it comes to when we should begin SEO work is always the same: yesterday. But why is that many experienced marketers recommend beginning SEO before a site launch? How can that be done without an actual finished site?  Let’s touch on that a bit here. 

1. It is more difficult to fix a broken website than to just make it right.

When you have a long term plan for your website, when you know your goals and expectations, you basically have everything you need to optimize it. When you build your website, it is critical to align your marketing strategy with your web development strategy and your SEO strategy. They involve different skill sets and different resources, so you’ll want to avoid the situation when your SEO specialist comes to the conclusion that you have to redesign your website altogether, while your marketing team tells you it can’t convert anything because your audience can’t find your website.

2. Build a strong branding from the beginning.

After your website launch, you’ll want people to find it, to share it and like it in social media and start building some organic traffic. Of course, it will take months for a new website to start making a difference in search engines, but it is critical to making a good impression from the beginning, to build a strong, targeted audience and give them the feeling that you were there for a long time, as opposed to leaving a “work in progress” impression. It is after all embarrassing to be found on Google as “Just another WordPress website” (if ever found).

3. Cost reduction and time-saving

It’s not cheap at all to design, build and optimize a good website: a good, professional, customized website is expensive. You don’t want to redesign your website each year, so you should ensure that at least the basic technical SEO checkpoints are covered to ensure a good usability, ergonomics and accessibility. And it is easier and even critical to tell your developer from the beginning which will be your most important pages, what are the keywords, the titles, meta description etc. than to publish the website and pay an SEO specialist afterwards to do just that. 

4. Content optimization

The content and the design go hand in hand and it is advisable and easier to write optimized content instead of changing it shortly after the launch. There are pieces of content particularly important for the SEO like headlines, image tagging, internal and external links, social media buttons and links etc. The content writers should have specific SEO guidelines to follow, which will make their work and yours a lot easier in the long run.

5. Start receiving organic traffic from the beginning

Organic traffic, which means the visitors who find your website using the search engines, by typing specific keywords they are interested in, it is critical from the beginning. The way you build it affects the way your pages are further indexed by Google, and you’ll want to make a good impression from the beginning. Ensuring fast page load times, a good user experience, making the information easy to find and creating a pleasant experience will increase your returning visitor rate, will increase the average time spent on the website, the conversion rate, the sharing rate, and other important indices, which will most likely propel your website on the first search pages, and, unlike paid advertising, will ensure a steadier growth.

6. Avoid transforming SEO into a “mission impossible”

I had many customers that wanted SEO long after launching the website to whom I had to explain why some things were impossible without doing a full redesign because the costs of optimizing them would have been higher than the actual benefit. Technical details like using flash files, using subdomains instead of subfolders, counter-intuitive navigation etc., can only be changed with great technical effort and sometimes are even impossible without reconstructing the entire website. You should at least be aware of them from the start and ask your developer about the consequences of using them.

7. Google punishes new domains

This is actually the most important reason for beginning your SEO work many months prior to launch. All marketers know that Google uses domain age as a ranking factor. What experienced marketers also know is that they actually “punish” new domains by placing them in what we love to refer to as a “sandbox” for a 2-3 month period immediately after being indexed. Why does Google punish new, unfamiliar domains? Simply put, they do not know yet if they can trust it. There are millions of spammy websites out there with bad intentions, and Google likes to have some time to figure you out. During this “sandbox” period, it is absolutely critical to have an experienced SEO professional work to establish authority and trust with the new domain. If you want your business launch to be a success, you do not want to be testing this out at that time. You want to have this period of time well behind you prior to launching your new business. 

Now, that the competition in the online environment is fierce, the SEO should be, among design, development and content, one of the key factors of a website creation process. Of course, there is a great amount of work to be invested in SEO after the website is finished, a work that will never end, if you want to keep up with the competition. What makes the difference is the significantly lower financial effort, time investment and the significantly higher SEO efficiency brought by an optimization process started earlier in a website’s life.

8 Ways To Write A Better Blog Post

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It’s no secret that blogging is a critical component to any content marketing strategy, and a blog should be implemented with the website design for every small business.

Google (and the other search engines, of course) love to see fresh content and blogging is one of the best ways to provide just that.

Plus, maintaining a regular blog on your website and using each blog post as an opportunity to target relevant keywords can be a great way to boost your SEO.

With all that being said, it’s safe to assume that blogging is important.

And it’s not going anywhere soon.

However, maintaining a consistent blog and creating regular blog posts can be a bit of a daunting task – especially if writing really isn’t your strong suit.

So, if you’re struggling to create solid blog posts on a regular basis, here are 8 of our favorite ways to write a better blog post.

How to Write a Better Blog Post_11. THINK ABOUT RELEVANT KEYWORDS TO INCLUDE

As previously mentioned, incorporating relevant keywords into your blog posts can be a great way to improve the overall SEO of your website. Pay attention to the things that people are searching for in your industry, or better yet, do a bit of keyword research and come up with a list of solid keywords to target within your blog posts.

2. USE HEADINGS AND SUBHEADINGS TO BREAK UP THE TEXT

Be honest with yourself – how often do you skim read articles online instead of reading the whole thing through from start to finish? I’m guessing this happens more often than not. And let’s be real – that pretty common. Using subheadings within your post (like the numbered list items here) helps to break things up and ultimately creates a blog post that’s much easier to read.

3. BULLET POINTS AND NUMBERED LISTS ARE YOUR FRIENDS

Continuing on with the same train of thought, bullet points and numbered lists are great for improving the readability (and skimability) of any blog post. So, for example, instead of writing a long-winded paragraph, try thinking about the key pieces of information being presented within that paragraph and arrange those items in a list format instead.

4. KEEP THINGS SIMPLE WITH SHORTER PARAGRAPHS

Lists are great, of course, but your entire blog post can’t be just one giant bullet-pointed list. Keep readability rates up by writing shorter, snippier paragraphs. Blogs posts aren’t supposed to be college essays. They’re meant to be informational, educational, sometimes entertaining, and always easy and quick to read. Using shorter paragraphs helps to achieve this.

5. ALWAYS INCLUDE AN INTRODUCTION AND A CONCLUSION

The introduction of your blog post is extremely important, as this is your one and only opportunity to ‘hook’ your reader and try to keep them reading on into the meat of your post. The best way to do this is by creating an engaging intro section, something that is interesting and really resonates with readers. Equally important though is the conclusion, as this is your opportunity to sum things up and segue into a call to action.

6. TRY INCLUDING A SUMMARY SECTION AT THE END

Chances are good that most people will be skimming your blog post – at least upon first read-through. Including an organized summary section at the end of your post that briefly touches on what you’ve previously discussed can really help to draw the stragglers back in. This is especially helpful if you’ve written quite a lengthy blog post and want to end on a high note.

7. DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE EVER-IMPORTANT CALL TO ACTION

It’s always important to include some sort of call to action at the end of your blog posts. Now, this doesn’t have to be something salesy or promotional. It can be a simple as asking people to respond to a question in the comments or share your post on social media. Whatever it is, the important thing is that you’re giving your readers a ‘next step’ – something to do immediately after reading your blog post to keep them engaged with your content.

8. KEEP AN ONGOING LIST OF TOPIC IDEAS GOING

Sometimes it can be difficult to come up with ideas for blog posts on the fly. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep a notebook handy (physical or digital) to record blog post ideas when you happen to think of them. And if you’re planning to post regular blog content, creating an editorial calendar can be a great way to organize your thoughts and keep track of your content ideas.

IN CONCLUSION…

So that’s it. Hopefully, you’ve found these blogging tips helpful and can use some of them right away in your own blog posts.

And if you still need some help, don’t worry – we love writing blogs and creating content marketing strategies for our clients.

If you’d like us to help, feel free to shoot us an email at hello@janismarketing.com, give us a call at 215-621-8441, or fill out our contact form here.

Simple Steps You Can Take To Improve Your Website’s Rankings

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Look closely and you’ll find when it comes to ranking high in SERPs, quality makes all the difference.

It’s still true that the first page in the search engine results pages (SERPs) gets the most traffic and the most clicks. Many times, if searchers don’t find what they need fast, instead of looking through dozens of pages, they’ll input new keywords and search again. The good news is that ranking high is doable. Take a proactive approach to getting your business to place in a top SERP position. Leaving it to chance is like putting money on the table and then walking away.

Frequently Update Your Website with Relevant Content

Relevant content, updated often, tells your audience you’re serious. From a ranking standpoint, search engines notice the frequent activity. This increases your brand awareness and placement as an authoritative presence.

Display original, high quality content as often as you can. Long-form blog posts and articles outrank shorter pieces. A 600- to 2,000-word range is optimal to keep visitors engaged on your website longer. Google pays attention and may improve your SERP ranking. Two more benefits to keeping fresh quality content on your website are (1) current and potential customers appreciate the information, and (2) they may share it with others.

Improve Keyword Relevancy

Select a primary keyword that describes your niche industry. Be careful not to overstuff. Opt for organic, natural-sounding keywords and phrases. These tend to rank higher than forced keywords.

Find Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords. LSI keywords are words and phrases that have the same meaning. Gather ideas by conducting an internet search on your primary keyword or phrase. Take note of the results shown in the drop-down list. Use the ones that are pertinent to your particular type of business.

Remove Intrusive Interstitials

Interstitials are pop-up ads that cover up at least a portion of readable content on a page. These ads may also all of a sudden show when a visitor scrolls. Some ads take up the entire area above the fold leaving the original content the searcher was looking for below the fold. Most, but not all interstitials are intrusive. The exceptions are login dialogs, age verification queries, and other private pop-ups.

If an interstitial appears in mobile search results, Google penalizes that website by giving it a lower rank. The bottom line: It’s best to skip the shortcuts and optimize your website the correct way.

Complete Metadata Information

Fill out the Title, Description, and Keyword metadata fields for each webpage. The Title metadata appears in the browser window. The Description metadata describes a particular webpage so visitors understand what it’s about. The Keyword metadata is crucial for the webpage to appear in SERPs. Try to limit your total amount of keyword phrases to eight. More than that may look spammy and search engines might not index your website.

Organize, Categorize, and Promote Important Pages

Structure your site in a logical way. Define and highlight your most significant pages. Identify the pages that generate the largest amount of traffic and profits. Promote those the most. Place some inbound links inside a body of content on your home page for extra ranking boost!

At the end of 2016, there were more than one billion websites. Some consistently rank high. Your’s can too. The steps above are great starting points, but there’s so much more to it. We, at Janis Marketing , can help. We’ve improved website rankings for businesses nationwide and we’re ready to do the same for your business. Get on the exciting path to improving your company’s website’s rankings now!