Monthly Archives: August 2015

Local SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Posted on August 28, 2015 by - SEO

With the rise of mobile search engine capabilities, customers are searching for local businesses like never before. So when people in your area search for “XYZ Service near me,” how can you be sure that your business shows up? That is where local SEO comes in. By making sure that your business’ information is correct and consistent across all sites and directories, you can ensure that your business is being found by potential customers in your area. Here are some common local SEO mistakes that could be hurting your local search rankings.

1. Inconsistent Name

Your business only has one name, so why should it be called anything else online? When you list your company in directories, create social media profiles or run advertisements online, each of these need to have the same exact company name. If you are listed as “XYZ Bakery Co.” and “XYZ Bakery Company,” your local visibility will suffer. Decide on a company name and stick to that name under all circumstances.

2. Incorrect Address or Phone Number

Maybe you recently moved or perhaps your business is now located where a previous business was. In either case, you need to make certain that your business is the only one shown at your specific address. The same rules apply here as with company naming, too. Pick a very specific address and keep it consistent. It is important to note that some directories will not list a toll-free number primarily. Be sure to include a local number first, then add a toll-free option later. Additionally, some directories will not accept a P.O. Box address. In this case, list your physical address then add a mailing address later.

3. No Categories or Services

Let’s say someone searches for “Local Wedding Cake.” Now, unlike earlier, they are searching for a specific product instead of a company. If you want “XYZ Bakery Co.” to be shown, then you need to make a consistent list of your products and services. It is also extremely important to define your business category. For “XYZ Bakery Co.,” they need to specify whether they are a catering company, bakery, wedding shop and so on. Once you have your specific business category decided, keep it consistent across all platforms. This will help make sure that you begin ranking for local products/services searches.

4. Not Going the Extra Mile

So now your business is well defined and search engines should be able to identify you to local searchers. What now? If you want to start dominating your local rankings, there are a few extra steps to take. Firstly, make sure that your website is using schema language to help search engines identify segments of your site. Schema language allows Google to answer questions about your business such as its hours of operation, even if they are not listed on your front page. These steps allow your site’s information to be indexed by search engines quicker in some cases. Next, you can work on including your location in you site’s titles, URLs, etc. This will put your site at an even greater edge for searches in your area. Lastly, be sure to always link back to your website from directories or social media profiles. These links give your site credibility and will help with search engine rankings.

Is your company’s information consistent across the internet? Are you showing up first for local searches? If not, call Thoughtwire Media at (800) 367-2570 to get started on your local SEO strategy.

Do you have an Email Marketing Strategy?

Posted on August 26, 2015 by - Uncategorized

Email Marketing serves many purposes, depending on the type of your business and your target audience. You can promote upcoming events, send promotional offers and discounts, drive traffic to an online store or social media page and/or connect with prospects, customers and clients, just to name a few.

If your business lacks an effective email marketing strategy, contact Thoughtwire for a solution! Strategies differ based upon your desired objectives, but here are a few ways we promote high engagement and maintain healthy email lists for clients:

Content Creation

Whether it’s an infographic (like the one you see below), a video, pictures or well-written content, we put a high emphasis on unique, original content that will grab your audience’s attention. We will also work with you to create contests and provide incentive to your audience that grows your list and your presence online.

Voluntary Opt-In Process

The days of buying email lists and targeting random emails are over. Actually, you can still purchase leads and buy email lists, but you run a high risk of having your server blacklisted. Most of your emails will end up in spam folders, your audience won’t engage and no one wins.

At Thoughtwire, we use Mail Chimp, which is a permission-based email delivery system. If you’re a startup company, Mail Chimp is a great place to start. If you’re an established company with an already-built client list, you’ll just have to send those folks an email asking them to opt-in to your newsletter. The opt-in process helps keep your bounce rate low, engagement high and ensures that your emails won’t end up being flagged as spam.

Integration

Through Mail Chimp, we can also integrate your email campaigns with your website and Facebook. Having a sign-up form on those platforms allows your customers and potential customers to easily sign-up to receive your information.

Targeting

We can also target specific audiences and groups within your email list. For example, if you have five physical locations throughout your state and different offers, events, products and services that are relevant to each one of your locations, we will create specific material that targets those specific audiences.

Analytics and Feedback

Finally, what good is all this work if you don’t analyze the results? We’ll give you access to the analytics, provide feedback and suggestions, create new strategies based on results and monitor your email campaigns on a weekly basis.

Call us at (800) 367-2570 or contact us here to get started on a highly effective email marketing campaign for your business.

Email Marketing Strategy

Why SEO and Marketing go Hand-in-Hand

Posted on August 21, 2015 by - Marketing, SEO

Hand ShakingIn recent years, marketing departments have been rapidly expanding with technology. We have seen more focus on social media strategists, SEO specialists and content marketers than ever before, but some companies are approaching this incorrectly.

When you begin to think of SEO as a separate department from marketing, then your SEO strategy will fail. The truth is that SEO, social media and content marketing are all different parts of a grand marketing strategy. Your content writers and social media specialists need to understand basic SEO if they want to succeed. Likewise, SEO experts need to have a comprehensive knowledge of social media tactics and content strategies. Each of these areas works to inform the other, and by doing so the entire marketing strategy is more effective.

For example, your SEO team may outline the key words and phrases that your website should rank for. Your content writers will then include those keywords in their titles, subheads and content. Your social media coordinators will use those keywords when promoting your site. Your advertisers will work to place ads on search engines for those keywords and so on.

When it all comes together, then the SEO team works to find new keywords and strategies. By doing this, the efforts of the marketing department are united and more effective. Without support from social media, your website will not receive the authority needed for search rankings. Without keyword-focused content, your blogs won’t drive traffic to your site. This is why SEO and marketing should not be treated as separate departments, but instead SEO should be seen as a method of uniting and improving your marketing strategy.

If you have yet to form your SEO, social media or content strategy, contact Thoughtwire Media by filling out our online form.

Why Every Website Needs Google Analytics

Posted on August 20, 2015 by - Development, SEO

The SEO process

If you are currently running a website, but are completely foreign to Google Analytics, your website is underperforming. Put simply, Google Analytics is possibly the single most important tool in any site owner’s arsenal. We aren’t here to admire the tools of Google Analytics; however, we are going to explain how tracking your website’s data can keep you from missing out on important opportunities.

Understanding Your Real Market

Every business exists to fulfill some sort of want or need. Most business owners believe they have a firm grasp on what their customers want, but the truth is that customers’ wants are constantly changing. Let’s pretend that you are a catering company who only caters weddings. What if you began tracking the search terms your customers use and discovered that 15 percent of your traffic comes from people searching for “corporate event catering” and other related terms? You would realize that you are alienating 15 percent of your customer base by having a site made exclusively for wedding catering. Understanding what people are searching for gives you a direct line to both current and potential customers.

Maximizing Revenue Opportunities

No matter how your business makes money, your website should exist to help you make money. It is likely that our catering company would have some sort of contact form for visitors to fill out and through those forms, the website is helping to generate revenue. What if you noticed that 50 percent of visitors who began the form left before completing it? You would consider shortening the form or using clear language to maximize the amount of visitors who fill out the form. There are hundreds of ways to maximize revenue opportunities through a website, but you miss out on all of them without Google Analytics.

Seeing the Future of Your Website

By keeping track of your website’s visitors, clicks, etc., you are able to spot trends early. For site owners without Google Analytics, there is a huge gap between when customers are/aren’t buying and when you notice it. Knowing where your site is and where it should be helps you constantly be aware of how your company is doing. Google Analytics removes the gap between what your customers are/aren’t doing and when you know about it.

Even if you have Google Analytics installed on your website, you may not be using it to its full extent. Call Thoughtwire Media at (800) 367-2570 to start making the most of your website.

What Windows 10 Means for SEO

Posted on August 12, 2015 by - SEO

Windows 10 Logo

When Microsoft unveiled that 14 million people were using Windows 10 only one day after its release, it was clear that the latest operating system is here to stay. Aside from a new interface, Windows 10 comes packed with new features, most of which will have little effect on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A handful of these features, however, may require changes to our SEO strategies. We breakdown what features and changes may have impact the world of SEO.

Microsoft Edge

The Internet Explorer killer’s goal was to compete with Google Chrome on speed and it has definitely succeeded. Faster page loading could lead to lower bounce rates for many sites that struggle with loading times. The integration with Cortana could definitely lead to increased web searches for those who are migrating from Internet Explorer, but we will cover Cortana later.

Right now, Microsoft Edge’s lack of extensions and features may keep current Chrome and Firefox users from taking advantage of the browser, but over time we may see a shift over to Edge that will require websites to take advantage of its features. For e-commerce sites, Edge’s on-screen annotation could potentially be used to share products and sources, but for now we have no means of tracking if visitors are annotating pages.

Cortana

The personal assistant from Microsoft has become an integral part of Windows 10. If Microsoft’s hopes come true, users will be asking Cortana for all of their questions instead of Google. This means increased relevancy for Bing listings. Additionally, Cortana is set up to automatically pull information out of web pages such as phone numbers, hours of operation, etc. This will put more importance on schema so that Cortana can find your business’ information easily.

Windows 10 on Multiple Devices

With Windows 10 aiming to create a fluid experience across tablets, desktops, gaming consoles and phones, we might begin to see the influence each device has on search engines. This year Google changed their algorithm for increased mobile friendliness. Perhaps search results will be tailored to show more relevant results for gaming consoles. Be sure to keep an eye on which devices your users are finding you on and, if you haven’t already, start work on making your website responsive.

Thoughtwire makes it our mission to adapt strategies as technology changes. If you want your website to perform better on Windows 10, call Thoughtwire today at (800) 367-2570 or contact us here.

Best Smartphone Plans September 2015

Posted on August 10, 2015 by - Uncategorized

Best smartphone plans

Raise your hand if you like hidden fees, access charges, extra line fees and paying more than what is advertised. Right, not a lot of people like to be shown one price, only to pay much more at checkout.

Smartphones, cellular devices and mobile carriers all revolve around access and data plans. The consumer just wants a simple way to get the best deal without paying a bunch of extra charges.

AT&T and Verizon have been dominating the domestic landscape. But even though they are the most popular, they are not the cheapest carriers.

In an effort to catch up, Sprint and T-Mobile are offering some pretty competitive plans. Right now, Sprint’s Family Plan is $25 per line. Four lines for a hundred bucks. You share data but you don’t have to pay fees for the extra lines or to have them activated.

T-Mobile is offering a similar family plan, but without any roaming charges. Heading to Mexico or Canada? Call without extra charges with T-Mobile.

You can also negotiate with your carrier. Speak to a manager and see if they will price match. Some carriers will even buy out your existing plan. Do a little research so you can find the best plan.

Do you have smartphone, mobile apps, development or online marketing questions? Thoughtwire Media is the authority in digital marketing; get immediate help for your business by calling: 800-367-2570.

Using Unknown Holidays in Social Media

Posted on August 7, 2015 by - Marketing, Social Media

It’s time to talk about how you can use upcoming holidays and awareness months to drive customers to your store, but not holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. We are here to cover the holidays that you may not know about, but can still use to boost your online marketing. Companies constantly use holidays or cultural events like the Super Bowl to easily boost their online marketing, but how many of them mention National Night Out or National Grandparents Day?

By using these niche holidays to specify your social media message, you will be able to make your posts both unique and timely. Read below about some upcoming holidays that might be worth mentioning on social media. Click here for a more comprehensive list of upcoming holidays.

Minor Holidays Infographic

 

Web Security—What You Need to Know

Posted on August 5, 2015 by - Hosting

Web Security

It’s to the point where people don’t have to wonder what might happen—it’s already been occurring. Target was hacked and the credit card numbers of thousands of customers were compromised. Blacklisted servers, URLs being punished by search engines, firewall issues and consumers updating websites without the proper plugins—the list is endless related to the issues and fallout associated with cyber security.

Just last week, there was a DDoS attack that delayed the $18 million dollar Dota 2 tournament.

The key is to be as prepared as possible. Know the basics and get professional digital assistance when areas are over your head.

A good place to start learning about and understanding online security is with a firewall.

“A firewall is a system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. You can implement a firewall in either hardware or software form, or a combination of both. Firewalls prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet, especially intranets,” reported Indiana University.

Servers have firewalls to prevent hacking and spam. The firewalls can break down or be bypassed. This can lead to your server being exposed and blacklisted, even making it so you cannot send or receive emails.

Another area of concern is at the code level. For example, an SQL injection is a way to attack data-driven applications by using a code-injection technique. SQL injections are used to steal customer information, such as credit card numbers, from a website’s database.

Another big area of vulnerability is cross-site scripting (XSS). XSS makes it so hackers can inject client-side script into different website pages viewed by other users. Basically, an XSS attack occurs when an application gathers malicious data from an unsuspecting user.

Do you have web security issues? Are you 100 percent protected against server firewall problems, SQL injections and XSS attacks? If not, call Thoughtwire Media immediately at: 800-367-2570. 

Mobile vs Responsive—Know the Difference

Posted on August 5, 2015 by - Uncategorized

Mobile vs Responsive

With Google’s latest algorithm change that targeted sites that weren’t mobile-friendly, many companies began quickly scrambling to figure out if they would be affected.

If you do not have a responsive or mobile-friendly website, you will be directly impacted by the new algorithm change. To put it simply, if your site isn’t available to the mobile audience, Google is going to slowly punish your page rank. They believe that with the ever-rising mobile usage, a non-mobile site shouldn’t appear on the first page of search.

Here’s a quick overview so you understand:

A mobile site is a separate website from your current main URL. Usually there is a “dot mobile” or “dot m” attached to the URL. If you are on your mobile device, you may have the option of visiting the mobile site instead of viewing the desktop version on your small screen.

Mobile sites are nice and accomplish a lot of the same goals as a Responsive site, but there is that extra re-direct step.

A responsive site is a website that has content that will form-fit into any screen. When the screen size changes, the website responds and fits into that screen.

As long as you have a mobile site or a Responsive site, you at least have the chance of appearing on the first page of Google search. If you don’t, you shouldn’t rely on customers finding you online.

Need a mobile-friendly website evaluation? Want more information about getting a Responsive or mobile website? Call Thoughtwire Media at: 800-367-2570.