Google, What Should We Expect in Terms of SEO?

Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, talks about the search engine’s algorithmic changes coming down the pike in the Summer of 2013 (see Cutts’ 7 minute video below). The changes will be an attempt to improve user experience and hinder spammers.

To avoid problems, Cutts encourages web owners to use high quality content with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. He says Google’s changes will promote doing a better job of detecting the authority of website and content authors. They are also looking at their filtering software, Panda, to find additional signals to refine things on sites and soften effects, as well as seek additional signals of quality. Google will supposedly be making improvements to how search results are viewed, too. For example, once you’ve seen a cluster of results from one site, you’ll be less likely to see more results from that site as you go deeper into the Google search result pages.

For the average Google user, you probably won’t notice anything has changed or maysimply find search results are better than before. But for website owners who utilize SEO strategies, be aware of your site content and keep it high in quality with clearly defined keywords and phrases. Avoid anything that may be considered ‘black hat’ and be sure to put emphasis on your authorship. If you don’t prepare for the changes, you may see your rankings and traffic take a hit this fall.

Business and Mobile Web

Does My Business Need a Mobile Website?


For most businesses, an ideal website will be responsive to desktop computers, tablets and smart phones. When planning to design or redesign your website, however, you need to consider if you want to target a mobile audience. If so, what do you want to convey to them through mobile? Some statistics…

  • 56% of people who own cell phone use their phone to go online
  • 50% of smart phone owners use their phones for social media every day
  • 34% of mobile website users would visit a competitor’s mobile site, if they had a bad mobile experience with a business
  • 30% use their phone to decide whether to visit a local business, such as a restaurant or retail store

Top activities on Smartphones:

  • access local information (maps, directions)
  • search for general information
  • participate in social media
  • access news and entertainment
  • find local services (ie., restaurants)

Since over half of cell phone users go online with their mobile devices, many businesses (especially local storefronts and restaurants) would benefit from a mobile site. To avoid frustrating your audience, consider the following details:

Mobile Web Design should:

  • keep branding elements (logo, colors, etc.) consistent with the desktop website version
  • simplify navigation, so it is easy to understand and select options from a smaller screen
  • be thumb friendly–easy to click with little typing needed
  • give an option to view the full website version
  • use white space and minimal text for better viewing
  • clearly show contact information, directions and map

If you think you need to have your website accessible by phone, then consider the design, target audience and goals. Analytic tracking of mobile activity is a must and should be implemented to gauge the value of the mobile site. Otherwise, how will you know if your efforts have delivered a good return on your investment?

Statistical data from Pew Internet

Cavalier Courier Services

Defining Your Target Audience

Define a Target Market

define your target audienceEspecially when working with a tight budget, research the potential buying audience and define the common elements first.  Choose marketing vehicles that only cater to the identified target group or potential buyers. Start by looking at your current customer list and note the common elements within the list, such as vertical industries like healthcare, tech services, retail, etc. Think of target markets as customer group categories.

Profile the Typical Consumer

The best way to define your audience is to go right to the source. Surveys are a great way to collect information and find out what your customers want from you. After tightly defining your audience you can market to them more effectively. To determine your audience, ask yourself the following:

  • What is the age range?
  • The Gender?
  • Marital status?
  • Level of income?
  • Children?
  • Role in company?
  • Hobbies?
  • Education?
  • Motivation for purchasing?
  • Is your product or service a necessity or luxury?
  • What value does your product bring to the consumer?
  • Are there any specific vertical industries?

Communicate to Your Identified Audience

Once you determine your budget, utilize the internet to reach your intended audience. There are free or inexpensive ways to communicate your product and/or services:

  • Website – even a basic starter business website with blog can communicate your message and build credibility.
  • Facebook business page – free publicity for your company. Be sure to link to your website and “Like” your own page, and invite other to do the same.
  • Twitter – Twitter is not for everyone, but you can use both platforms through Facebook by setting Facebook posts as feeds onto Twitter where they appear as Tweets.
  • LinkedIn – Network with others to demonstrate your expertise and join like-minded groups to share ideas and flow of information.
  • Membership business listing – if you are a member of the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups, be sure to take advantage of their member listings.
  • Free business listings – there are many industry specific listing that are free, or low cost.

Drive SEO Traffic to Your Website Through Strategic Campaigns

When building an SEO campaign, it is important to gauge the results of your online marketing strategy by setting goal tracking on specific areas of your website. The information you glean from any strategic campaign can be used to improve your site’s overall performance, view what action people take while visiting and adjust future campaigns accordingly.

The easiest and cheapest way to gauge results is by setting up goal tracking in Google Analytics using conversion goals and funnels. Once this is set up, not only will you be able to track visits and leads by organic search engine traffic, but you’ll know how many leads came through direct traffic, pay-per-click (if applicable), referrals (in bound links) and emails campaigns as well.

The graph on the left shows the results of one of our client websites a day after they sent an email blast to their own client base. The search traffic, referral traffic and direct traffic are roughly evenly distributed. The ‘campaigns’ shows the percent of traffic received so far on an email blast sent to their own client base a few days ago. This is the current goal funnel we are focusing on right now. The email blast referenced a website link and the readers are clicking to view the page. We will track the results of this campaign to determine its effectiveness and continued marketing strategy.

For assistance with setting up an online strategic campaign for your own website, contact Gallop Web Services. Ask us about improving your website’s referral traffic through our local business listing services.

How to Embed a YouTube Video in a WordPress Website

We build quite a few websites for customers using WordPress as the content management system. It is user-friendly and offers a lot of options. One of the most common questions we get asked is, “How do I upload a video to my website?” It’s a great question!  Videos are a terrific visual and any business owner who is able to use them as part of their marketing strategy is fortunate.

The easiest way to display videos on a website is by using YouTube. YouTube is a Google owned social media platform and is perfect for embedding in a website for two reasons: 1) it provides the code to you, and 2) using YouTube gives further relevancy with the search engines which is always desirable. If you don’t already have a YouTube account get one and upload your videos to your YouTube Channel, then follow the instructions below to embed your first video.

Embedding a YouTube Video

Get the YouTube Code: To embed a video, first view it in YouTube. Below the video click ‘more’ and select the ‘share’ option. Select ‘embed’. This will reveal the object code you are going to need. Below the code, set the size of the video to fit within the content area of your website (start with the minimum size). Make sure the option boxes below the code has the ‘Use old embed code’ checked off, as it is the <object> embed that works in WordPress. Select and copy all of the object code so as to include the open and closing tags. See screenshot below of YouTube:

Add the YouTube Code in the Website: Back in your website, go to Edit the page in question and select the HTML tab instead of Visual to edit the content. Carefully locate where you want the video to appear, then paste the video code into the HTML content. Switch back to Visual view of the content editor. If everything is in place, you should see the video as a gray box with an ‘f’ in the center. You can click on the box and position the video, if desired. Save and preview the website to make sure the video works within the website. You are good to go!

Start Off the New Year with a Stronger Online Business Presence

When business owners discuss Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with us what they are basically saying is they want to bring people to their website “now!” and it doesn’t really matter how they get there. Well, it does matter “how” you get people to a site and it also matters “why” you are trying to drive them there in the first place. If visitors go to your website and aren’t satisfied with what they find there then they don’t ultimately become customers. And getting customers is what the SEO game is really all about.

Heading into 2013, here are 5 current trends to consider with regard to your website and your overall on-line business presence.

1. Do you have a Responsive Website? – New to 2012, a responsive website is designed to adjust itself to size when it is viewed on a wide screen monitor, iPad, laptop or smart phone. You can check to see if your own website fits the bill. How? View the website on your computer screen, click to minimize the screen and then click and drag the sides of your browser window to resize the website’s width. If the website still looks good, and is easy to read and understand, then it is probably adequate for today’s web design standards.

2. Consider a Blog on your website – a blog is a great way to start a conversation. If you have ideas or knowledge to share with others why not put it on your own website to attract potential customers? You’ll build your online credibility with not only people, but the search engines as well.

3. Use social media and tie it to your website – If you own or manage a small business and are not using social media, then you are missing out on one of the most cost-effective tools available for promotion, branding and customer service. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. are all free and user friendly. At the very least, every business should have a Facebook company page! After setting it up, link your website the Facebook page and/or use a widget to feed the posts to your website for viewing.

4. Get on LinkedIn – every businessman and woman should have a LinkedIn account. It’s free networking!

5. Optimize your online presence as much as possible – perform a Google search on your business name to see if and how it is listed. Review the search results to see what’s what then take steps to build or improve your online presence. If you have a storefront, claim your local business listings and optimize the information with more details—business hours, logo, videos. Consult a professional to optimize your website for higher technical functionality, analyze keywords in the content, and increase visibility with the search engines. To see examples of online business listings, do a Google search on “Gallop Web Services, LLC”.

Is Instagram going to share your photos without your permission?

Instagram’s app allows millions of people to run their photos through its fun and beautiful photo filters. Many people use it for both personal and business, so it was upsetting to receive Instagram’s new Terms of Service, claiming “a business or other entity may pay” Instagram for our images without any compensation or notification to us.” There was a huge uproar over this statement and many people showed their displeasure by simply deleting their Instagram account. The photo sharing company quickly recanted and posted to their blog they will be revising the terms of service based on feedback received.

The new terms of use become effective January 16, 2013 and at this time there is no way for users to opt out of the new provisions aside from deleting their accounts altogether before the January deadline. There are several third party sites such as Instaport and Copygram that allow Instagram users to save all their photos from the site so that they can have access to them if they choose to delete their accounts.

Business Branding – Website / Facebook / Twitter

As part of a business marketing strategy, it is important to create a consistent brand and a comprehensive online business presence. The business website and social media should complement each other and display the same logo and marketing message. Feeding Facebook posts and Twitter feeds into the business website not only looks good, it communicates to your target audience through multiple avenues and optimizes the website with the search engines.

Below is an example of how Gallop Web Services created a consistent brand for LifeChange, LLC using their website, Facebook  page and Twitter profile.

LifeChange, LLC Website

Lifechange, LLC Facebook Business Page

LifeChange, LLC Twitter Profile