How to Build an Online Reputation for Your Business

Having a good online reputation is just as important – if not more important than your in-person reputation you have in the community.

If you’re a new entrepreneur and have just launched a website, building a solid reputation is key.  SEO is just as important for a new website of course, but here we will be talking about building trust and a good reputation with your readers or customers. The first reality is that it’s an ongoing process and will not happen overnight.  Knowing where to start is the first step.

Here are 3 helpful tips in creating relationships with your customers and building a solid reputation:

1. Social media – the most obvious tool that businesses and everyday people use to capture their audiences’ attention.  Through the use of “likes” and “shares”, it’s an ideal and cost-effective way to rapidly build relationships and trust with users.

The content you post on social media sites can make or break your business.  Insults, swearing, and bullying are obvious no-no’s (or at least they should be obvious).  Your content should always be positive and more importantly, informational.  Creating content that is informative and answers questions that customers frequently ask will make all the difference.  When users have a question that they need answered, the majority of them will turn to Google to look for their answers, thus opening an opportunity for you.  Once users see that your business provides a solution to their problem, relationships start and trust-building begins.  

It’s noteworthy to mention that the content you post to social media sites should also be posted on your website either with a blog, or perhaps an FAQ page.

2. Review sites – they are there because they work.  Consumers want to be assured that they are dealing with a trustworthy, reputable company before opening their wallets.    When a potential customer searches for “Best Home Renovators” in Google, review pages such as Consumer Reports, Angie’s List, Yelp, or Bing Places will appear.   These testimonials will make all the difference, so be sure that your website appears on these sites.  According to Brightlocal.com’s 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

3. Advertise your past clients and partners – while this is also a form of a testimonial, they can be even more powerful.  Showing that your business is good enough to work with other reputable websites/businesses speaks volumes to potential customers when it comes to trust.

Has your online reputation already been damaged?  Read more on how to recover from it, and how to rebuild that trust:  http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/how-to-recover-from-a-business-social-media-disaster/

Changing URL Formats? What You Need To Know Before the Switch

Changing your sites’ URL format is not super-complicated, but if you want to keep your sites ranking and authority you need to keep these points in mind when doing so.

One of the more common reasons for switching URL formats is to create a more user-friendly site.  Perhaps you have thousands of pages and you want to reduce it to a few hundred by combining some of its relevant pages into one page.  Google will treat the new URL as a brand new page causing you to lose any keyword rankings you may have had for those previous pages and consequently a drop in organic traffic.  Therefore, when doing so you need to ensure that you apply proper SEO redirects from the old URL to the new URL.  

Generally speaking, combining pages to reduce the total number of pages should be avoided if at all possible.  When dealing with larger websites with hundreds of thousands of pages, redirects for all the pages can become extremely complicated.  If you decide to go ahead with it, have a digital marketing expert or experienced webmaster do it for you.  

External and internal links is another aspect that is often overlooked when there is a shuffle in a websites URL structure.  Having links that point to an old inactive URL (a dead link) is disastrous for your sites search engine optimization.  All of these old links must be changed so it points to the new URL.  That goes for any external links you may have on other websites, blogs or forums.

Need help from a digital marketing professional?  Visit www.thebestmedia.com for all of your online digital marketing needs.

Optimize Your Blogs and Articles With These 3 Great Tips

You can find endless amounts in information on the web regarding blog-writing tips and best practices.   So instead of covering the same obvious topics of “What message do you want to send?”, and “be sure to include an introduction and conclusion”, we are going to talk about best blogging practices – in terms of Google and SEO.

The first tip would be to frequently link back to previous content, preferably a “relatable” blog post of the same general topic.  Linking structure is important to search engines.  By doing this, it will make your post more powerful because it shows you have some authority on the topic.

Secondly, your articles should have a minimum of 300 words with keywords appearing 3-5 times throughout.  Don’t have them too long as it may scare off some potential readers.

Thirdly, you should post the content on your own website first.   Then wait about a month or so before syndicating it to other websites.  You want to give search engines ample time to rank the post from your website before it ranks from your syndicated sites.   In addition, if the search engines become confused about a duplicate content issue, it ensures that your site will not be penalized, as you were the first to post.

As search engines are constantly changing their algorithm and ranking factors, you should stay in the loop of Google updates and regularly check on your web traffic for any drops in traffic.

For more helpful tips on blogging, visit: http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/the-best-tips-for-creating-high-quality-blog-posts/

Duplicate Content – The SEO Consequences and the Remedy

You’ve heard the term “duplicate content” before, but do you know the consequences it can have on your website?  

Duplicate content is when content appears on the web in more than one place.  It’s not always intentional however, and doesn’t necessarily stem from ill intentions.    While technically it’s not a “penalty”, it can still have a serious effect on your website and its search engine rankings.  

The problem is that search engines don’t know where to direct its link metrics such as authority and trust.   Search engines rarely show multiple versions of the same content in search results and are forced to choose which version is likely the best result to display.  Therefore, although you may be the originator of the content, a different site may reap the benefits instead.

So what can you do if you find your content duplicated on the internet? 

First you will need to pinpoint what caused it. If it was because of someone stealing or scraping your content, contact them and ask them to remove it.  If they don’t reply or refuse to, report them as “webspam”to Google: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport?hl=en&pli=1

Many websites have switched from HTTP to HTPPS.  Make sure that there is only one live version on the internet.  Having two live versions could be a basis of duplicate content to search engines.  Ensure that the previous HTTP version has been redirected to the newer HTTPS version using a 301 redirect.

Another possible cause would be with businesses that operate in more than one location and use mirrored subdirectories, with their products and contents being the same.  For example:  http://www.ebay.com and  http://www.ebay.co.uk.  This can cause confusion with Google.  To fix this, visit the Google Search Console and set up location targeting: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/182192?hl=en

For more information on duplicate content and prevention measures you can take, read: http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/what-can-you-do-to-prevent-your-web-site-from-being-scraped/

Are You Using Too Many H1 Tags on Your Website For Search Engine Optimization Purposes?

How many H1 tags should you use on your site?  This question has been asked many times over by webmasters and designers.

For SEO reasons, it’s something that you should be aware of.  H1 tags are extremely important, as they a ranking signal to search engines as to what a pages’ content is about.  Although they do not hold as strong of a signal as it once did in the past, it’s still an important aspect of search engine optimization.

In the past, the H1 tag golden rule was; each individual page of a site should have only one H1 level heading and should be used for the site title only.  Having more than one set of h1 tags sends a “less clear message” to both the search engines and users.   This rule was followed to help search engines better understand the contents subject matter of each page, and improve search engine accuracy (which in turn, improved search rankings for well-designed websites).

That rule no longer exists.  Enter HTML5.

If you are using HTML5 which was introduced a few years ago back in 2014, not only are you able to have multiple h1 level headings per webpage, but it’s actually recommended.   

The best thing to do in all cases is carefully consider the content at hand, and determine the best way to section and label it based on the HTML5 document outlining algorithm.

For information on search engine optimization, visit: http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/the-5-most-common-seo-myths-and-misconceptions/

How To Continue Using Pop-Ups Without Hindering Your Search Engine Optimization

After Google’s had announced their new algorithm update regarding intrusive pop-up ads, businesses and website owners were quick to call their webmasters.

Google is penalizing websites that use intrusive pop-up ads and website owners will likely see a drop in search rankings.  The unfortunate part is that pop-up ads do a pretty good job.  They work well, assuming that ads are not blatant scams or totally irrelevant to the content you’re viewing.  The conversion rate of high performing pop-up ads is on average just over 9%.  

So, is it still safe to use pop-ups on your website in a legitimate non-spammy fashion?

For starters, the algorithm update only affects mobile sites.  Desktop versions should not be affected, but who knows if down the road, that will change too.

Google’s mobile pop-up (or interstitial) penalty specifically targets intrusive pop-ups.  So not all pop-ups are taboo.  

If they are spammy in nature, hard to dismiss, and diminishes user experience, your rankings will take a hit.  Otherwise you should be safe.  Pop-up banners, slide-ins, and tabs that are easy to dismiss and take up 15 percent or less of the screen, are OK.  

Some other safe scenarios in using pop-ups would be:

– when your legally required to display restricted content
– when you need to verify age
– when it’s triggered by an exit intent
– cookie use notifications

Ensure that they don’t do any of the following:

– interrupts users as they navigate between pages
– covers the majority of the screen obstructing your entire view
– are difficult to close
– have to be dismissed before users can continue on

Are you still unsure if you should be using pop-ups on your website?  Ask the search engine optimization experts at The Best Media.

Building Links By Guest Posting? Why You Should Approach With Caution

Almost everyone has done it at one time or another;  dropping your link through a guest posting on a website you’ve visited.  It’s a legit, effective way to reach a community and create exposure for your business or website.

The question is…. if you do this too frequently, will Google see this as spamming?  Will it effect your websites SEO?  

Generally, Google doesn’t frown on guest posts or guest blogging.  However, there’s been an increase in spammy links (usually from low-quality websites) stuffed into these kinds of posts.  This prompted a stern warning from Google informing site owners about the dangers of publishing content on other sites for the sole purpose of building inbound links.

Doing so on a large scale is strictly prohibited by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.   If the posts are informative, relative, educational, and is not spammy in nature, then Google is okay with that and should not negatively effect your SEO.  A post or two per day is fine.  Hundreds of posts per every day, is not natural and will be identified as spammy.  For more information on the best practices on guest blogging, visit https://blog.kissmetrics.com/guide-to-guest-blogging.

If a user is guest posting to your site, YOU could also be effected.   Publishing posts or articles with spammy links will be see as a low-quality site and will drastically affect your search rankings. Site owners should be vigilant in managing their guest posts, and refuse any links that appear questionable.  Things to look for would be over-stuffing of keywords, duplicate content, irrelevant content, and poorly written articles with bad grammar.

For great ideas on how to use Twitter in boosting your SEO, visit http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/the-best-tips-on-how-to-use-twitter-for-seo/