SEO Trends for 2019 You Have to Know

SEO Trends for 2019 You Have to Know

Each new year brings fresh SEO trends every business should embrace to stay on top of their marketing game.

2019 is on the doorstep, and we’re excited to see what it has in store for the wonderful world of SEO — so we’ve decided to explore the biggest trends you have to know about!

Faster Load Times

No one likes staring at a half-loaded page, waiting for content to appear. It’s infuriating, especially when you need answers in a hurry.

Keeping load times as short as possible is important — and this will only become even truer in 2019, as more of us depend on mobile searches. There’s still some way to go, though: the average mobile page-load time is 15.3 seconds.

The more time your pages take to load, the more likely visitors are to click away. Speed is now a ranking signal for mobile searches, so businesses have to focus on this to keep Google on side.

Longer, Deeper Content

Long-form content will be in vogue during 2019. You’ll need to give visitors content offering value, with useful or eye-opening information to take away from it.

Long-form content helps to keep readers on your site for more time too, opening up additional opportunities to hook them. Use content to build relationships with potential and existing customers, and try to make your headlines as irresistible as possible.

Going Social

Social media will still be a vital channel between customers and brands in 2019. Chatting on Facebook and Twitter is much faster and more convenient than calling a helpline.

People can access direct support while they communicate with friends on their social networks, without having to use a different channel. It’s also easy for your business to target prospects sharing interests and activities with your existing customers through advertising.

It’s essential to stay active on social media too: show your followers you care enough to respond quickly and share content they’re likely to enjoy.

Voice Search Matters

Voice search has made finding the information you want faster and easier than ever. You don’t need to type anymore — you just speak and Google does the rest!

In 2019, this will keep becoming more popular, and you’ll have to keep that in mind when coming up with keywords. Long-tail terms are helpful, as is an overall conversational tone that reflects the way in which people speak.

Adding FAQs to your site is a big help when targeting voice searchers too, so try to match the exact phrases people are likely to use.

At Nett Solutions, our Orange County digital marketing experts are here to help you in 2019! We’ll create an effective SEO campaign tailored to your business and audience, so what are you waiting for? Just get in touch now!

 

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5-Essential-Image-Tips-to-Benefit-Your-SEO-Campaign

5 Essential Image Tips to Benefit Your SEO Campaign

Never underestimate the power of visual content.

Put yourself in potential customers’ shoes: if you landed on a website looking for a specific product or service, would you be impressed if there were no images? Would you feel this was a dynamic brand that cared about engaging buyers?

It’s unlikely one page after another consisting of blocks of text would win you over. Images are essential to convey information that complements your copy: you need to show off your products / services, introduce your team (even if just a few members) and, ultimately, make your website exciting to look at.

Images can make a big difference to your SEO campaign, and in this post, we look at 5 essential tips you need to know.

 

Be Original

Stock images definitely have their place. Quality stock pictures can fill a gap and still add a professional touch to your site, but use them sparingly.

Users will recognize stock images when they appear on countless sites, and if they see them on yours, they may feel it makes you a little less credible. Use original pictures as much as you can to be authentic, and ensure they’re of a high quality.

Slick, polished images help you stand out in search results and make your site unique.

 

Don’t Overload your Site

Too much visual content can affect your site’s performance, causing pages to load slower than they should.

JPEG images are typically best for maintaining decent load times, and cope well with compression, allowing images to load faster without too much of a drop in quality. PNG images are of a higher quality but too many can strain your load times.

Consider using PNG files for your most crucial images and JPEGs for the rest.

 

Keep your Captions Specific

Captions are a useful addition to your images. This is a brief line or two of text that explains the picture’s purpose, allowing readers to understand what they’re seeing straight away.

Captions can help search engines identify how relevant your images are to users.

 

Apply Descriptive Names to Images

Like captions, descriptive file names with quality keywords let search engines know the image’s content. It has to put the picture in context and boost your chances of being discovered by a user.

If a prospect runs an image search, a descriptive title can get your website put on clear display, hopefully driving more traffic your way.

 

Keep Background Images Minimal

Images in your page backgrounds and / or borders may add satisfying decoration to your site, but they only add extra data that has to be loaded.

If you find your site is taking longer to load, non-essential images like these could be to blame. You have to balance images that add obvious visual appeal with those that don’t.

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How_can_you_Drive_More_Traffic_to_your_Website

How can you Drive More Traffic to your Website?

Driving more traffic to your website isn’t easy. You’re just one of thousands of businesses competing in the digital marketplace, and building your brand into a strong contender for people’s money takes a lot of hard work.

There are certain steps you can take to drive more traffic to your website and increase your conversion rates. Join our Orange County digital marketing team as we explore your options!

 

Keep your content flowing

Content, content, content.

Good, valuable, informative, shareable content is crucial. You have to identify what your target audience is and make sure you’re crafting content that speaks to them.

You have to keep publishing fresh content regularly too, at least twice a week. Whether this is blogs, articles, guides or videos, keep it coming. After all, companies publishing a blog have 97 percent more inbound links.

 

Hyping new product launches

You can’t afford to keep releasing new products again and again, but you have to make the most of the opportunity each launch offers.

Take the time to build the release up in the weeks ahead. Create press releases, exclusive reveal videos and interviews with the designers etc. Make the new product seem like big news and prospects may just believe it is.

 

Explore other forms of media

Have you considered creating a YouTube channel for your brand? How about a podcast?

Depending on the products or services you offer, one or both of these options might seem pretty unlikely. If you sell, say, cleaning products created by other companies, videos or podcasts may appear to be a stretch.

However, you could still produce YouTube content offering valuable information on how best to use your goods. Creating video content helps you build your brand and engage prospects, while you can maximize your video description with a CTA and keywords.

Video is predicted to account for 80 percent of the world’s traffic by next year, so you’re missing out if you don’t get on-board.

If you’re in an industry that seems better suited to podcasts (such as tech), why not give it a try? Like videos, these can help you generate more brand awareness and forge stronger connections with buyers.

 

Engage more people on social media

Social media is a valuable tool to reach new customers and keep existing buyers engaged.

Make an effort to share content across Facebook, Twitter etc., using striking images, hashtags (in moderation) and a CTA. Always be responsive to people’s comments or questions, or else prospects may assume you don’t care for their input.

Avoid spreading yourself too thin, though. Don’t think you have to be present on every social media channel, especially not to start with. Just two will be enough in the beginning: focus on building a loyal group of followers before expanding.

When these people share your content, your brand will appear on the feeds of users who may not see it otherwise.

 

Nett Solutions’ Orange County digital marketing specialists can help drive more traffic to your website and build your online presence. Want to know more about what we can do? Just get in touch!

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Top SEO Tips for Niche Companies

 Are you operating in a niche market?

If you are, then you’ll know marketing a smaller company can be incredibly difficult. However, an effective, well-structured SEO campaign can help you promote your company properly and grow your customer base significantly.

If you’re looking to expand your niche business’s reach in an organic way, read on for some top SEO tips.

 

Engage your customers to build brand loyalty

You need to make engaging your customers and prospects a priority from day one. Your digital marketing campaign should include social media marketing (SMM), incorporating both paid ads and regular posts.

Make a real effort to engage users, whether they’re current followers or not. Visual content is critical to grab attention on social media, so use images and videos throughout your posts.

The more eye-catching and clear to understand your marketing materials are, the more likely people are to share them. Brand posts with images have been shown to achieve more interactions than those without.

Never bombard users with a slew of promotional posts. Focus on captivating rather than selling, selling, selling.

Visual content is obviously just as important on your website. Keep your text brief and to the point, but make sure your blogs, product pages, and more are rich with visuals too. Short videos introducing your brand and your team can convey background information in a much more accessible way than expecting a visitor to read blocks of text.

 

Check out your competition

Even in niche businesses, you’ll face some competition. Unless you’ve created a product or service that nobody else on the planet has, you should be able to research what rival companies are doing to expand their reach.

What are they doing on social media? How are their blog posts distributed and what traction do they get?

Take the time to look at the competition ahead of you and behind you. See what to do and what not to do in your own SEO campaign.

 

Make friends in high places

One particularly effective SEO technique for niche businesses is to make connections with useful websites.

For example, if your business specializes in creating accessories for games consoles, consider trying to forge links with a high-profile blog focused on games. Can you get them to review some of your products, whether this is in blog posts or videos on YouTube? Are you able to make an impact with their audience?

However, only choose blogs or sites that aren’t in direct competition with you or already linked to other rivals of yours. Do your research first.

At Nett Solutions, our Orange County SEO team can help your niche business expand your reach and build a bigger reputation. Give us a call to discuss your options now!

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5 Pro SEO Tips for SMEs

While some larger brands can rely on the power of a good reputation and repeat custom for ongoing success, SMEs have to work hard to establish an audience.

A well-planned SEO campaign plays a critical role in increasing your visibility and building authority, but organic search can be daunting to newcomers. How do you know which techniques are most effective for growing your brand?

Below, you’ll find five pro SEO tips for SMEs to help you reach a bigger, wider audience online.

 

Quality Content is Still King

Content is one of Google’s key ranking factors, and it’s vital to make it the best you can.

Avoid temptation to stuff keywords into every paragraph on every page: Google will penalize any website trying to use such outdated, underhand tactics.

Long-form content tends to rank better than shorter pieces, but the value it offers readers is paramount. You need to provide visitors with helpful, relevant information every time.

It’s okay to go into detail on subjects, rather than feeling you need to rush everything to suit today’s busy lifestyles.

 

Embrace HTTPS

HTTPS is another ranking signal for Google, and has been for a few years now.

HTTPS is used by a staggering 81 of the top 100 websites, and businesses that avoid upgrading to HTTPS may see a negative result soon.

Why?Because all HTTP websites will be labeled as ‘not secure’ in Google Chrome as of July 2018.

Potential customers may view your HTTP site as being a security risk in the very near future. All SMEs should make an effort to upgrade as soon as possible.

 

Build Solid Links

Not so long ago, companies could buy dozens or hundreds of links to their website to boost traffic. It was a case of quantity over qualify.

This has all changed now. Google and other search engines want to see high-quality links rather than those with little relevancy.

Concentrate on building solid backlinks from quality content, and choose popular websites that have similar themes or topics to your own.

 

Cater to Mobile Users

Google’s mobile-first indexing means the search engine crawls the mobile version of your website primarily, rather than the desktop site.

This makes perfect sense, given that more and more of us are searching on our smartphones and tablets. Any SME that fails to establish a mobile-friendly website is putting itself at a big disadvantage.

 

Pay Attention to UX

UX (user experience) is essential in any good SEO campaign. You want to make sure your website gives users everything they need to maximize your chances of conversions.

Focusing on the best UX you can achieve ensures your website is more accessible to visitors and search engines. Great navigation, solid CTAs, fast page speeds, quality content, and good link structure all contribute to outstanding UX.

At Nett Solutions, we can create a bespoke SEO campaign for your SME. Want to learn more? Just give our Orange County SEO team a call now!

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Is-Blogging-Still-Relevant-to-Your-Business?

Is Blogging Still Relevant to Your Business?

Is blogging really still relevant in a world where social media allows you to communicate with your potential followers directly?

After all, if you can either write a 500 word post on your latest service or share the key points on Facebook, some businesses might now gravitate more towards one than the other for the sake of convenience.

The truth is, blogging is absolutely still relevant to your business in 2017 – and here are some key reasons why.

 

Blogs Fuel Your Social Content

 You need something to say on your social media channels, and somewhere to direct your current and prospective followers.

Simply sharing images and links to your product pages suggests you’re only interested in trying to sell, rather than engage. With regular blog posts, you can consistently share high-value content on your social accounts to entice people to your site with something more than a purchase.

Share snippets of your blog posts as a teaser, along with eye-catching images that tell a story relevant to the content itself.

 

Blogs are Still Effective for SEO

Blogging on a regular basis enables your business to boost your visibility and authority in a number of ways.

For starters: keywords. Back in the day, brands could write blog posts consisting of endless search terms offering little value to the reader, but now Google’s algorithm is far wiser.

The emphasis is much more on the quality of your content rather than the keywords, but they’re still important. Use your most effective ones a few times in a post, but always make sure they don’t affect its readability.

Blog posts add fresh content to your site regularly, which is crucial for solid rankings, as are social signals. Bear this in mind: 82 percent of markets blogging on a daily basis converted a customer using their blogs, while only 57 of those publishing posts once per month did so.

 

Blogs can Help You Build Credibility

Having a wide variety of blog posts on your business’s website builds your credibility. How so?

Blogging gives your brand an opportunity to become a thought-leader, sharing innovative insights and influencing others. This can lead to your blogs gaining a wider readership by peers and customers alike, driving more traffic to your site over time.

Your business will appear more reliable and professional with a portfolio of well-written, well-presented blog posts, rather than a bare-bones site.

 

Blogs Allow for Deeper Communication than Social Media

You have to establish a style and voice for your business on social channels, and Facebook, Twitter etc. are ideal places to communicate with your customers.

However, blog posts enable you to tell deeper, richer stories unsuited to the shorter, sweeter structure of social accounts. Yourself and / or your team can explore your processes, motivations, missions, products, and opinions in more detail.

Your readers will get to know you better, and feel more invested in your brand.

Looking to start blogging for your business, or want to improve future posts? At Nett Solutions, we’re an experienced Orange County digital marketing agency dedicated to helping companies of all sizes build better results! Give our expert team a call now!

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SEO Trends to Watch Out for in 2018

SEO Trends to Watch Out for in 2018

 As we come to the end of another year, it’s time to think about what we can expect to see in the next.  2018 looks to be a big year for changes in the world of SEO, and it’s best to prepare for them now to stay ahead of the curve.

So, what’s in store?

 

The Future is Mobile

Mobile is a major player in SEO, with the approaching mobile-first index meaning that Google will look for mobile content before desktop.

Businesses should have been optimizing their content for mobile devices for a few years now, but as more and more of us browse the internet on our smartphones and tablets, this takes on a greater urgency

Mobile-friendly sites stand a better chance of ranking ahead of non-friendly domains, and local SEO will become more important in 2018 to help businesses target customers on the go. Expect to see more Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in the next 12 months.

 

Greater Focus on Voice Search

Voice search has been on the rise in recent years, with almost half of American adults using it every day, and it will only become more important to effective SEO campaigns in 2018.

You need to focus more on natural language and long-tail keywords to cater to voice-searchers’ conversational approach.

 

Feeling the Need, the Need for Speed

Making your site’s pages load as quickly as possible will be more imperative in 2018.

Speed is a key ranking signal and makes a significant impact on your visitors’ user experience (UX). Pages should load within three seconds to minimize the risk of chasing customers away to faster alternatives.

What can you do to make your pages load faster? Try making your images smaller, assess whether all of your plugins are really necessary, and look into compressing your content. All of this can make a big difference to your site’s UX, on mobile and desktop devices.

 

Visual Search will Become More Visible

The popularity of visual search will rise in 2018. Google Lens, the giant’s visual-search app for their own Pixel smartphones, enables users to aim it at a piece of visual information (such as a shop sign) and retrieve details on its business hours, reviews, and more.

People want to look at products, locations, venues, and more rather than just taking a business’s word. More companies will have to embrace the power of visuals, creating strong branding, product, and service images across their sites.

 

Machines, Learning, and RankBrain

Machine learning will play a bigger role in SEO throughout 2018, as the RankBrain algorithm continues to refine Google’s search queries. This aims to provide users with the most relevant results possible and avoid directing them to pages of little value.

RankBrain studies how users are looking for information and across which devices. Businesses need to focus on making their content as relevant and valuable to visitors as they can, without any of the shortcuts black-hat SEO practitioners used to rely upon.

 

NettSolutions, an Orange County digital marketing agency, can help your business’s SEO reach all-new heights in 2018 — and beyond. Give us a call to learn more!

 

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5 Must-Have Features for Every Business Website

5 Must-Have Features for Every Business Website

A staggering 46% of small businesses are operating without a website, but 24% plan to build one in the near future.

Today, every company needs a website that caters to your customers’ exact needs. Any prospect looking for information on your business, ethics, products, shipping process, and anything else they could possibly need to know before buying should be able to find it.

Which features must be on your website?

 

Social Media Integration

Social media is critical for every business. It allows you to market to existing and prospective customers, and reach a wider demographic. After all, 22 percent of the planet’s population is on Facebook, while over 50 million companies have Facebook Business Pages.

Beyond Facebook, 93 percent of Pinterest’s users plan or make purchases, and 88 percent of companies use Twitter as a marketing tool.

Add buttons to your website and enable visitors to check out your social pages with just a click. This helps to boost engagement and is invaluable as a fast customer-service tool.

 

Multiple Contact Channels

If customers go to your ‘contact us’ page only to find an email address or an international phone number (with expensive charges), they may well be put off. It appears unprofessional and suggests your business has little interest in receiving feedback.

Provide users with email addresses (one for product queries, one for complaints), local phone numbers, and live chat. This latter option is vital today, providing a free chance to exchange text-based messages with support agents in real-time.

 

High-End Security

Never take security for granted. For businesses handling online transactions, an SSL certificate will show customers that you take their safety seriously, and all critical details (credit card numbers, bank-account numbers etc.) are encrypted.

With an SSL certificate, a tiny green padlock will appear to the left of your HTTPS URL. Today’s online consumers are security-savvy, so invest in the best you can.

 

Clear, Logical Navigation

Make navigating your website as quick, simple, and logical as possible. Use clear names for pages in your tabs and site maps (About, Contact, FAQ etc.), and use calls to action to help visitors find the most important pages, such as specific product catalogs or live chat.

Imagine yourself as a customer visiting your website for the first time. Where would you want to go first? Would you be able to get their with your current design? Explore the site with this mindset and make note of any potential problems.

 

A Comprehensive FAQ

A variety of contact channels is key, as we mentioned above. However, add an FAQ to your website so visitors can help themselves before having to get in touch with your support team.

Again, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What would you want to know? List as many questions as you can think of, and then add any others being asked on a regular basis.

 

At Nett Solutions, we’re a leading Orange County digital marketing agency. If you want to know more about boosting engagement and maximizing your online performance, give us a call now.

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Link Building or Content Building?

link building or content building8 Good Reasons to Concentrate on Content, not on Links

So you have your business website set up to draw visitors from all over Orange County. It’s ready to entice them and convert them or at the very least to get an email address off of them. Now you have some place to continue adding content, like a blog or a customer service portal with easy navigation so that all of your visitors can find what they need and remain thankful to you for providing it.

Now the question is, do you concentrate more on building more content? Or do you work on linking more, other, highly ranked sites back to your existing content? That debate continues.

For lots of us big mouth experts, the answer is easy.

For the Orange County small business owner, it’s still, often, not so clear. Let’s look at it this way.

1) Content is the Far More Affordable Option

Most of the link builders you’ll meet are going to give you valueless or even damaging links. That’s the nature of the game. Links that are easy to get are useless and the people who can really build valuable links will really make you pay for them. The results still won’t be as good as what you can do with quality organic content and organic back linking.

Hiring and working with a decent copywriter is not expensive and has all kinds of benefits beyond simply building links and an interesting website. Find and work with a writer

– or even two or three. You may need to work closely with them at first, but a good copywriter will learn your business and your customer base.

2) Value

It’s far easier to measure the value of pages on your site than the value of links to your overall ranking. Unless a particular link is feeding you visible traffic, you won’t know the value of a link to your overall ranking. But pages of written copy are easy to evaluate in terms of “likes”, “shares” and traffic. Exact search terms might be a little more difficult to determine, but there is almost no limit to the number of search terms you can benefit from. Anyone who offers to “optimize” your site with fewer than a hundred search phrases is selling you short. Adding content means you’re always adding search terms.

3) Writing is Thinking.

That’s why a lot of people hate it, right? Working closely with a copywriter, or better, handing them a draft allows you to not just re-focus your service, your site and your business. You also get it far better spelled out so that you can see the cracks, the gaps – and the opportunities. Good copywriters know this.  Writing is about ten times more intensive than reading. If your business is not writing, you’re very likely operating on just a vague understanding of your business model. Re-writing your business plan every couple of years is just good business, and the more you have written, the better prepared you’ll be for the next draft.

4) Links don’t do P.R.

Content does. Content generates links, and you can, perhaps, estimate the extent of your public outreach just by counting up those links, but that’s not PR. Public relations is inserting your business into the public conversation. It can be a little more complex than that, but why shouldn’t you be there when the cameras are clicking and the pages are getting scanned?  Submission based links are all but wiped out as a valuable ranking factor. Guest blogging goes on, but it’s not valuable for the links, unless there is actual buzz.

5) Writers are everywhere.

You don’t have to get the very best writer, and especially not on the first try. On the contrary, you can always evaluate what they’ve done – and get another one if it didn’t work out. Doing that with an SEO team will cost about ten times more and take three times longer. Link builders? They were virtually wiped out by algorithm changes (Panda and especially Penguin ) and their links were too. But let’s look closer at those landscape altering algorithm changes.

6) Working against Google is just not viable.

Lots of business people would never do Black-Hat trades with their customers, suppliers or partners – yet they only think of Google in terms of gaming the system. Google has spelled out how it wants you to work with them. That work involves quality content that engages and educates your visitor – be they a customer or not. The plan calls for quality content, transparent business relations (and reviews) and natural, organic linking schemes. Not back linking plans.

7) Branding without a Plan is like Talking without a Voice.

Branding just baffles lots of business people, and were it not for Google and the Internet, business people would probably spend (lose) as much to Branding experts as they do to SEO consultants. The shame is, Branding will get you better returns and the more you do it the better you get at it. But you can’t do it without a plan. As mentioned above (#3), planning means writing, and thinking and reading and clarifying. Essentially, you’re writing up a “person” not a just logo and that person needs to be as complete as the people you know. Think about that.

Better yet, think about this. Fyodor Dostoevsky could write up a character in two pages. At the end of those two pages, you’ll feel that you know that person better than the actual people in your life. That’s the task of branding. There’s no better way to develop the elusive brand than to write it up, continually, over a period of time, and let it interact with your customers. It’s not only totally do-able, it’s what’s expected of you.

8) Thinking “They Already Get It” is a Recipe for Disaster

It’s a bit macho too. And that’s probably where most of the resistance to content comes from. Business people are no-nonsense, and telling stories and customer-service is too often presented as a ladies’ game. The truth is, people buy from people, not from companies. If people bought from companies, companies would all be vending machines. On the contrary, telling your complete story, in bite sized pieces, is smarter, and allows you to re-convince even existing customers to come back for more. Existing customers are your most cost effective source for new customers.

There’s not much more reason for resisting now is there, macho man? Work with your content. Work with a bright, energetic writer and you’ll wonder why you ever wasted so much money on SEO. A year from now, you’ll be re-inventing your business. Good luck!

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15 Things You Should Know about Content Marketing

Content Marketing Cycle

Content marketing was a big, big buzzword for 2013, not least in Orange County. By the end of the year, as luck would have it, some very good pins were stuck into the bubble of people thinking that content marketing is the answer to everything. “Content marketing will never work” is the must-read for 2014, and the comments at the bottom are a must too. But before we get too contradictory right up front, keep in mind that Content Marketing was never the be-all-end-all for quick, impulse purchases and throw-away relationships.

If you’re thinking of content marketing for your Orange County business, you should also think of the multiple ways that content marketing is construed. Content marketing really is, simultaneously:

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