Online Marketing Blog

Our DeCarlo Studios online marketing blog – learn about SEO, Website Design, Graphic Design, and Inbound Marketing here!

Writing Marketing Content Isn't as Scary as a Stephen King Novel

Writing Marketing Content Isn't as Scary as a Stephen King Novel

No one is a master of suspense more than Stephen King. Stephen King expertly weaves his tales of horror and keeps his readers glued to every word, gripped in fear. Many clients admit that they are terrified at the prospect of writing content for blogs, e-newsletters and social media. But writing marketing content doesn't have to be as scary as reading a Stephen King novel. We know that these forms of marketing improve your website's SEO (Search Engine Optimization), builds relationships with your clients and establishes you as an expert in your field. So what's a non-writer to do when faced with the daunting task of writing for marketing materials?

Read and Write Often

Stephen King is a huge believer in reading a lot, writing a lot and not being afraid to fail. Good writing takes practice and a leap of faith. The more you read and write, the better you will become. Research others who are doing what you want to do and see what they are doing to be successful. If you want to build a Facebook presence, check out other companies who are doing it well. You will be surprised at how many new ideas this will spark for your own Facebook page. Sometimes the hardest part is simply getting started and a fear of failure. Fear and procrastination are two things that impede the creative process. Make it a priority to set small goals every day with your writing, and it will become easier every day.

Put Yourself in Your Customer's Shoes

Are you looking for ideas and topics to cover in your marketing materials? Speak directly to your customers and answer the questions that they often ask you. What are the topics that are most important to them? Strive to address and answer these concerns in your blog, e-newsletters and social content. "How-To" articles are a great way to answer questions. It is not enough these days to simply say how great you are on your website or marketing materials. Customers want to see testimonials from other customers, they want to see details about your business and they want to be reassured that you are the best person to help them. There are plenty of other businesses in competition with yours. Make sure your content is detailed and you will come out the clear winner and prompt a call to action.

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Why Adding Badges and Awards to Your Website is Important

Why Adding Badges and Awards to Your Website is Important

Many of our website customers subscribe to sites to get reviews in order to help attract customers and establish a reputation. They offer rewards in the form of "badges" that can be placed on their website. Other times clients receive awards based on being "voted" the best at something in their field of expertise. It's important to place these badges and awards on your website.

 

Benefits of Adding Badges and Awards to Your Website

  • The badges are a link to a reputable site which many times also links back to you – this raises awareness and social sharing possibilities, thus improving your SEO opportunities.
  • Badges mark your achievements as a business. Winning awards over the years helps to build your reputation.
  • When customers see your badges on your website, this establishes a trust and credibility for your business. They are more likely to do business with you when they see that someone else has given you a good review or award.

Examples of Review Sites

There are many review sites where reviews can be posted about people, businesses, products, or services. You can even set up an area on your own website where clients can submit testimonials and reviews. Here are a few popular services that many of our clients use:

  • Angie's List
  • Yelp
  • Wedding Wire
  • YOUZZ
  • Google Reviews
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
  • Your own website (clients submit reviews and testimonials)

Where to Place your Badges or Awards

A common question that we are asked is, "Where do I place my badge/award on my website?" The header (the topmost section of your website, usually where your company logo and phone number are located) is a great place to add your badge. The footer is also a great place to add badges, alongside your social media links. Some clients even opt to create a separate page dedicated to the award. And by the way, don't forget to add your badges and awards to your printed marketing materials too!

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What is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO?

What is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short), is a process of doing the necessary tasks to make your site known and easily crawled by search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. There are many companies that offer SEO, including DeCarlo Studios. We use special software and systems to help our clients. We would like to share the main tools we use so you can review them.

We use the enterprise version of SEO Power Suite by Link Assistant daily for our SEO clients. You can visit their website, go through a tutorial on SEO and download a free version. Link Assistant updates the software frequently and it provides excellent automation and in-depth reports that we generate weekly for our SEO clients. The reports give you exact, step-by-step instructions about what is needed to optimize your website.
SEO Power Suite is made up of four separate programs:

  1. Rank Tracker. We use Rank Tracker to run reports and closely monitor the keywords for which we are helping our clients rank. Rank Tracker checks our client's page rank on hundreds of search engines and reports the exact page rank for the keywords we are targeting.
  2. Website Auditor. We use Website Auditor to tell us what needs to be adjusted in the website's structure and content. Website Auditor gives us an in-depth report about what needs to be optimized for the web crawlers. It also generates XML sitemaps.
  3. SEO Spy Glass. We use SEO Spy Glass to find out what SEO our client's competitors are using. SEO Spy Glass provides an evaluation report which helps us create SEO strategies to the beat the competition.
  4. Link Assistant. This program works for all link management tasks from building link directories to establishing link partnerships. It includes exporting and reporting facilities.
  5. Check out SEO Power Suite by Link Assistant. http://www.link-assistant.com/

The First Five Steps to Begin SEO

Here are the first five steps DeCarlo Studios completes to begin SEO. In addition to the five steps below, we also run reports with Link Assistant’s WebSite Auditor and Link Assistant’s Rank Tracker. These five steps will help get the SEO ball rolling:

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How to Get Your Business Listed Online for Free

How to Get Your Business Listed Online for Free

There’s a simple to use, free tool to help you get your business listed free on different search sites. This free tool also assists you with claiming your existing business listings on search engines and review sites that already have your business listed but are missing your details.

The online utility is called "Get Listed" and here is the link. https://getlisted.org/ It’s a free online tool and part of the SEOmoz tool set. SEOmoz is now just called MOZ. Here is a link to MOZ’s tools. http://moz.com/tools

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SEO Writing Tips

Understanding Meta Keywords, Meta Descriptions, and Title Tags

Here are some tips for using Meta Tags, Meta Descriptions and Meta Keywords on your web pages for better SEO.

The Meta Tags are a very important part of the HTML code of your web page. They are read by the search engines but are not displayed as a part of your web page design. Usually they include a concise summary of the web page content and you should include your relevant keywords in them. The most important tags are the description, keywords and title.

Meta Title

The Meta Title is one of the most important factors for a successful search engine optimi­zation of your web site. The title provides summarized information about your website and appears in the browser title bar. The title is what appears on the search engines result page (SERP). The title tags should be up to 75 characters but try not to exceed that amount.

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Top 3 SEO Questions and Answers

Top 3 SEO Questions and Answers

These are the answers to the top 3 SEO questions we’re asked about getting found online.

1. “How Do I Get Found on Search Engines Like Google Bing and Yahoo?”

Everyone wants to be found on the top of search lists for their keywords. An immediate way to get found at the top of search engines is to sign up for a Google pay-per-click Adwords account choose your keywords and you will be at the top of searches because you are paying to be there. Here’s how to get started with Google Adwords. ‎If you are interested in getting found organically on search engines, please see the 8 steps below. 

2. “Why Doesn’t My Web Site Get the Phone Ringing With New Business?"

This may not be the fault of poor search rank. A website can rank well but not help visitors find the answers they’re looking for, and the visitors will bounce on to the next site in their search for their answer. Remember that only 3% of visitors are ready to make contact with you from your site.

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Why Website SEO Does Not Work!

Why Website SEO Does Not Work!

I admit that I've spent a lot of time and money researching, learning and employing search engine optimization for my business. I've also optimized many webpages for other businesses. For a lot of businesses, SEO does not work.

I Want To Be On the First Page of Search Engines!

Some businesses have the impression that being on the first page of search engines is like being on the first page of the Yellow Pages. Their phone will start to ring because they are top of the list. The problem is that the phone book is used with a telephone to make a call and the Internet is not.

Today buyers only talk to a real salesperson as a last resort, not as a first step. Buyers have the knowledge of the world at their fingertips and use the Internet to search for information online instead of calling a salesperson. The Internet has empowered buyers with the ability to bypass sales people and find what they’re looking for themselves. They expect to find any answer they need online. Don't know the answer, Google it! This gives businesses that know this fact a great opportunity to be a truly helpful resource to potential buyers.

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Business Blogging Tips

Business Blogging Tips

What is a Business Blog?

A business blog is a collection of written articles to help educate with helpful, valuable content for a specific target audience. Business blogs are designed specifically to draw prospects and customers to your website. Successful business blogs use buyer’s personas to focus their writing on  their target audience. For more info, check out our free buyer’s persona guide and template file.

Why Does Your Business Need a Blog?

Well, do you want more web traffic, leads and customers? Here are some numbers:

  • Companies that blog get 55% more website traffic than those that don’t blog.
  • Companies that blog get 70% more leads than those that don’t blog.
  • 57% of companies have acquired a customer through their blog.

How Does Blogging Work for Me?

Blogging influences SEO. Every blog page is indexed and counted as a webpage on your site by search engines. So each and every post you write gets published as its own, individual indexed page on your website.

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Website Optimizing Tips that Work

Website Optimizing Tips that Work

Optimizing your website is about setting up your website for success — but how do you get people to your site and what do you do with them once they are on your website?

The dictionary meaning of Optimization is: OPTIMIZATION -Noun: An act, process, or methodology of making something as fully perfect, functional or effective as possible. Derivative of the verb optimize |ˈäptəˌmīz | verb [with obj.] make the best or most effective use of (a situation, opportunity, or resource): Computing rearrange or rewrite (data, software, etc.) to improve efficiency of retrieval or processing.

What Should I Optimize My Website for, Specifically?

You should optimize your site to get;
    1.    Website Visitors, to visit your site.
    2.    Search Engines, to take note of your site in the search.
An un-optimized site does not attract, convert, close or delight customers. A well optimized site should attract your “ideal customer” to your website.

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Getting Top Search Engine Rank on Your Website

Getting Top Search Engine Rank on Your Website

Clients always want to be on the first page of Google, Bing and Yahoo in local search keywords for products and services they sell. Who wouldn’t want to be ranked on the first page?

DeCarlo Studios provides on-page search engine optimization for clients. SEO is one of our many services. We help to get local businesses on the first page in hundreds of local searches through on-page SEO. The problem we run into even after clients are ranking in the top 10 for multiple keyword searches is that “being on the first page doesn’t translate into the telephone ringing with more business.” This is upsetting to clients because they equate being on the first page in a search with more business, but it's just not true.  Is there more exposure for your site on the front page? Yes. Does it guarantee more business? No.

You Can Lead a Horse to Water ...

This old saying is also true with website SEO for search engines too. You can do all of the right things to get a top-ten page rank but if the visitor doesn’t find what they're looking for on your site, they bounce away to the next site. So how do you keep the visitor’s interest on your website and get them to call you about your product or service? The answer is simple. INTERESTING CONTENT written specifically for your buyer's persona to answer their questions.

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Why Do I Need Keywords? What are Keywords?

Why Do I Need Keywords? What are Keywords?

While technically you don’t need keywords on your website, they are a must-have for any website search engine optimization plan if you want to be found for specific organic searches. An organic search is the search that displays under the yellow paid ads in a Google search.

What are Keywords?

Keywords are the specific words that someone would key into a search engine like Google, Bing and Yahoo. The search engines then create a list of what it thinks are the best online matches to the keywords that are entered into the search field.

The search engine uses many different criteria to deliver the listed results. A person who would like to rank on the first page of a search engine in the organic search must meet the search engines' many different criteria in order to rank in a search. Having matching keywords would be one of the many criteria search engines use, and it’s an important one. Knowing how to use the keywords correctly on your webpage is also important if you expect to be found online.

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How to Add Google Analytics to My Website

How to Add Google Analytics to My Website

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a must-have, FREE addition to your website. To find out how many visits your site gets, how long people visit, what pages they visit, how they found your site and where in the world your traffic is coming from, installing Google Analytics on your website is definitely something you will want to do.

We think that one of the most interesting pieces of the 8 Suggestions is the Google Analytics suggestion. Google Analytics will give you insight into how many visits your website gets, what pages were viewed on your website, how long visitors visited your website and where the visitors are from. You will also be able to find out which networks, browsers and devices they are using when they look at your site. Google Analytics will also show the keywords that viewers used to find your site. It will give you information on referring websites. All of this information is just the start. You can create custom reports and keyword campaigns. You can view very specific data and use this information to fine-tune your website content to attract more traffic. Another great thing is that the Google Analytics tool is free. DeCarlo Studios installs it on every website we build for our clients. We use the data from Google Analytics when we do SEO for our clients. The analytics provides us the information we need to know to be successful with our client's search engine optimization campaign.

From the day you install Google Analytics, it begins to track the traffic on your web site. It will give you information on the keywords people are using to find your site and who is referring visitors to your site. Once you have Google Analytics installed on your website, you have information to know if your site is actually being looked at.

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How Do I Add My Website's Site Map and Show Google How to Access It?

How Do I Add My Website's Site Map and Show Google How to Access It?

A site map is a file that lists the pages of your website. The site map is a helper that search engines can use to crawl your website more efficiently. Site maps are usually located in the root directory of your website. The root directory can be found on the site server that most people rent from a website hosting provider like GoDaddy, 1and1, Bluehost, or Network Solutions (you get the picture).

What is an "XML sitemap"?

By placing a formatted xml file with site map on your webserver, you enable Search Engine crawlers (like Google) to find out what pages are present and which have recently changed, and to crawl your site accordingly.

How to create an "XML sitemap"

Before you can upload a sitemap, you need to have an XML site map. We use a sitemap generator website to generate sitemaps for our clients. XML-Sitemaps Generator works great and takes less than five minutes to create an XML sitemap that can be submitted to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines to help them crawl your website better. Here is the link to XML Sitemaps.com:
http://www.xml-sitemaps.com

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