First of all, if you see this message, turn around and walk away. You heard me. Walk away. Your money can be better spent on homeless shelters, United Way, Red Cross et al. You get the idea.

In my previous post, “The Correct Way To SEO Your Website: Dedication and Long-Term Commitment“, I stress the fact that SEO is a long-term investment. No one can promise you an ‘effective’ #1 ranking overnight. I stress the word ‘effective’ because it does not help if you get ranked for a keyword or phrase that no one uses. For example, anyone can get you ranked #1 for some obscure phrase, but if no one is looking for that search phrase, how is it helping you?

Recently, one of my clients recounted that earlier some company called and told him they are looking for only 1 (fill-in-the-blank profession, aka doctor, lawyer etc.) per city to rank. They told him that time was limited because there are many others that are waiting to take advantage of their ‘proprietary methods’ (read: BS & pressure). They promised that they would get about a dozen or so keywords on page 1. Their offer seemed legit on the face of it, since they guaranteed it. So how did it turn out? My client sure got ranked on page 1 within a few weeks – unfortunately, they were all keywords that looked important, yet drove ZERO traffic. Within a few more weeks, even those rankings had tumbled down. The result: My client was out several thousand dollars and more importantly, lost about 3 or 4 months. To make matters worse, there’s usually a contract attached to it, which typically runs 6 months to a year. Does this sound familiar? I’m sure it is. Callls like these are made everyday, hoping to snag someone.

The moral of the story? The old adage is true: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Lesson #1: Don’t fall prey to high pressured sales.
  • Lesson #2: Expect legitimate SEO to take some time, as it requires careful planning and execution. If you’re in a rush and have cash to spare, consider Pay Per Click options, while you ramp up your organic SEO strategy.
  • Lesson #3: When any company guarantees you #1 ranking, ask for increased traffic and conversions as part of the guarantee. While no legit company can promise you exact amount of traffic on organic search, they can guarantee a marked increase in traffic and the resulting conversions. If they balk, walk away.

If you are a small business then you might feel cautious about Search Engine Optimization and other forms of web advertising. Perhaps you figure that SEO is an expense only a medium to large company can make. After all, they have the money—they can afford to lose it, right?

However, this logic is dangerous. SEO is a form of internet marketing and a widely accepted form of marketing. Would you ever say that your company can live without marketing? Can you live without advertising? This is simply a matter of “avoiding bad business 101”. Whatever you are reaping right now in terms of profit is the marketing you paid for last year or even two years ago.

You may be making money from customer loyalty or from referrals but all sales come from a definite source. If you suddenly stop all forms of marketing and just live off your sales, what do you think is going to happen? Eventually, your sales will begin decreasing. Eventually, you will stop taking in sales altogether because reaction is the result of an action, in life and certainly in business.

So, consider the alternatives to SEO and web marketing. TV or radio advertisements? Print ads? Banners on the road? Just how well can you target your customer base with these mediums?

Did you know that over 70% of all online consumers start their quest for a product or service using a search engine? Chances are, they are using Google, Yahoo or Bing, the top three in North America. The advantages of SEO web marketing are concrete:

  • SEO is cost efficient and in many instances, entirely free!
  • SEO is the most targeted form of advertising
  • The Internet is where your audience is buying

Why rationalize it away? Whatever your marketing budget, some of it should go to SEO, as it is a very cost-effective way to generate new customers!

What are some advantages of Local SEO? Perhaps you have only thought of SEO as a national or international medium, something that can establish an online store or an entertainment site. However, you can also use this form of internet marketing to establish a local businesses. There are some great advantages to Local Search Optimization, whether you’re in the medical field, a mechanic or even the restaurant business. Consider three advantages of local SEO!

1. Local SEO is even less expensive than mainstream SEO.

Why? Because there is far less competition for your keywords. A broad keyword campaign (and content created around them) can be expensive. However, sometimes a few “long tail” local articles are all you need to be recognized by a major search engine.

2. A better form of targeting – regional targeting!

While you can expect far more traffic if you go after the niches, you will still be competing against niche websites all over the world. When you target your customers to local areas in your vicinity, you narrow down the market. That’s a better chance you have of making a sale. Why, some of these clients you could even meet in person!

3. Build Your Credibility as a Local Expert

Credibility does not necessarily lie in accolades, degrees and business awards. You can earn the reputation of an expert by simply being an expert in your field – and making yourself available to the public. Because you are narrowing your market, you won’t be competing against numerous over-qualified candidates. It will be a fair contest, and you can showcase your knowledge and win your city’s respect!

Remember the name of the game is online visibility. Whether you are competing for a national market or a local market you must establish a strong online presence. It is much easier to do this locally, so reach out to the local community and start spreading your message!

Before you launch your first small business SEO campaign it is important to avoid the mistakes that others have made. What are the most common mistakes new companies make when trying to learn online marketing? Consider these 5 common blunders…

1. Keyword Stuffing

This is an old school SEO tactic and one that doesn’t have much use today. While all campaigns will require keyword density strategy, the “stuffing” of keywords is just as likely to merit a search engine penalty for a webpage as it is to be ignored.

2. No In-Coming Links and/or In-Effective Internal Linking

A backlink is a link to your webpage from another website and is considered a ‘vote’ for your web page. A website without any links is virtually an island onto itself. If it doesn’t link out, or at least internally, then it will not be discovered by search bots.  Internal Linking is another big factor. If you don’t give importance to an internal page yourself, why would a search engine?

3. Poorly Written Content

Why do companies still do this? Do they really want to publish badly written pages on their industry and try to pass this inferior writing off as expert opinion? Not only are people smart enough to see through this, but search bots are growing wise too. Every new iteration of search engine algorithm update is getting better at identifying good content.

4. Poor Choice of Keywords

An SEO campaign lives or dies on the appropriate selection of keywords. If you do not research the right keywords or base your entire campaign around “instincts” you are bound to be disappointed. Without careful targeting of keywords, you may not receive any traffic at all!

5. Unrealistic Expectations

Many companies still believe that in order for SEO to prove itself profitable, it must perform monumental tasks in a very short period of time. Yes, super-SEO…a few blogs and articles capable of attracting the entire Internet and causing a wildfire of publicity! It’s not going to happen and not just in SEO, but in any medium. Web marketing is a continual process, just like any form of advertising. I’ll say it again: SEO is a long-term process.

You can succeed in web marketing, as long as you take the job seriously, treat the public with respect and give it some time to grow.

Search Engine Optimization seems like an empty phrase at times. The word “optimization” merely means “the process of modifying a software system to make some aspect of it work more efficiently.” In truth, this is not what we know as SEO. We are not actually modifying programs, though slightly altering HTML programming and page/picture titles is often times a course of action.

Rather, SEO is about essentially establishing a strong presence. Yes, you are making use of the search engines and using organic methods to influence the search company’s “algorithm.” The term optimization merely means that you are optimizing the status quo—finding ways to increase the website’s ranking in the search engine.

Years ago, the benefits of SEO were somewhat unclear, as the industry was still making tweaks, and the entire world had yet to globalize and make the Internet the dominant form of communication and entertainment. By now in 2012, that has happened. The power of SEO is felt by every industry (if still not completely understood) and this is why practically every rising business has a blog, has directory articles and has several pages of keyword rich text.

Remember when you work with SEO that you can expect some measurable benefits. More than any medium, when you work with SEO you can expect free targeted traffic. You can boost your traffic by earning higher rankings in popular or niche keyword searches. The good news is that once you earn your place in the top 10, you can keep it there for a while, as you will have established good quality content and a good keyword strategy. SEO marketing also works nonstop, 24-7, and until you remove the page from the Internet.

SEO gives you increased brand visibility and can also help you establish brand trust. You can work with blogs, press releases, article marketing and social networking pages to promote your company. Sooner than later, your audience will begin to associate your name with their favorite keyword requests—that’s priceless!

Experience the power of SEO and see what it can do for your business!

Level9Solutions completes the redesign of Inteligy Tampa Bay’s website

Inteligy Tampa Bay offers local small businesses a new way to save thousands of dollars by switching to VoIP business phone systems. Inteligy Tampa Bay utilizes sophisticated technology to create effective, professional and affordable VoIP phone solutions for businesses in Tampa Bay and around the country.

“Advanced business phone systems shouldn’t be reserved for large businesses with huge budgets,” says Keith Berisford, CEO and owner of Inteligy Tampa Bay. “We believe that every business owner should have access to the modern communications tools that promote success. ” To that end, Inteligy Tampa Bay offers unified communications solutions and business phone systems to Tampa businesses of any size.

As part of their commitment to efficacy and reliability, Inteligy Tampa Bay has contracted Tampa Website Design Company, Level9Solutuons to redesign their website and provide ongoing Search Engine Optimization Services. Level9Solutions specializes in: customized website design, Search Engine Optimization, software development and content management. The cooperation of these Tampa Bay businesses complements their mutual goals toward customization, customer support and client satisfaction.

Why do you want to consider a website marketing strategy? You may not think that you need an extensive web marketing campaign at the present. And why should you? After all, maybe you’re doing pretty good business so far in 2012. You’re selling out of products. You’re getting lots of referrals.

Or maybe you figure your business doesn’t need substantial Internet marketing. Perhaps you have a restaurant, or a locally owned business, and your clients are largely local and perhaps even within a neighborhood.

Guess what? Even if all the above is true, you still need web marketing to survive. In business, you don’t survive unless you thrive. So never believe that marketing on the Internet is unnecessary or that it’s “excessive.” Chances are, you’re not doing anything if you’re not investing in website marketing. TV, print and radio are more expensive than Internet advertising. Plus, they’re not as targeted, and not as effective. Local signage is costly and doesn’t really make much of an impact to the average drive-by motorist.

And if you’re depending on word of mouth advertising and referrals then there’s something else you should know. All of the success you’re currently receiving is coming from your past efforts. Maybe you didn’t advertise, but you did make connections way back when and you’re receiving the fruits of that labor right now. So what are you doing to boost tomorrow’s profit? If you do nothing in the present, then you can expect nothing in the future.

That’s the way it is with web marketing and with all forms of marketing. Regardless of what type of business you have you can benefit from a professional website design because this will count towards your marketing future. A professional website can provide contact information 24/7, and also help educate your customers, and promote your best products.

Now is the time to invest in Internet Marketing so you can profit tomorrow and survive this competitive market!

Local Search Engine Optimization is often dismissed as impractical. If you have a virtually located store or business then you probably are thinking that you want to go national. However, even if that’s your plan, never underestimate the strategy of local SEO content building.

Instead of thinking of regions or locality as limitations, think of them as “niches” – specific areas that you can go after. In essence, what you do when you try local SEO is narrow the market down and focus attention on a highly targeted audience. This means that if you reach these Internet viewers, and they see your localized message, they are far more likely to convert. You have four advantages here.

  • You are going after localized keywords, meaning you are separating yourself from other companies that do not work within your area.
  • You are entering a market that is less competitive; one that might even be easier to dominate.
  • You are establishing a great web presence and are truly becoming a big fish in a small pond.
  • The search engines will help you, once they see that you are localizing your market. The major search engines are more likely to return your local search results to other local users rather than list some company halfway across the world.

Here’s a localization tip to see even better results: make the article personal and very local. Reference specific sites in the area or community culture. There are probably companies already trying for your local city – but chances are, they are standardizing content, not really spelling out a difference between your city or Los Angeles or New York. If you go the extra mile and make the article or blog about your community, you are more likely to be recognized and rewarded.

As the industry becomes even more fiercely competitive, you will find local search optimization to be of great importance.

Search Engine Optimization, like any other marketing avenue you can think of, is a long-term commitment.  Think about it – what other advertising channel lets you garner great success from a one-time commercial?  The Super Bowl, maybe?  Sure…if everyone watches the Super Bowl and you pay about 3 million dollars for a commercial, then your company will bask in the sun…for about a week or so.  Eventually, they all forget you. This is why you see all these companies continue to advertise.

The point is, all marketing can be considered a long-term commitment – and especially web marketing.  After all, what is advertising if not constant repetition of your company message?  Now it is true that SEO and all other types of web marketing may require even greater repetition than other mediums, and this is because text is cheap and the competition is monstrous.  Your competition and the entire SEO industry know that the company that “talks the most” (and says something of substance the most often) will be rewarded in the search rankings.

So the very idea of a short-term SEO solutions is ridiculous!  How can a company expect to see results or any form of return on investment if the campaign is killed after a month?  A few blogs here and there are not going to make a dent in the market.  For that matter, a few blogs here and there are not going to win over any customers.  You must become a consistent voice in your market. 

The only way to use effective SEO, indeed, the only way to use the entire Internet for your marketing purposes, is to be consistent.  You must provide a strong voice on a regular basis, investing in SEO optimized articles, blogs, press releases, eBooks and other online content.

Remember, there are billions of messages and millions of new content pages shared every day.  Don’t get lost in the ocean.  Build yourself a foundation and stay afloat.  This attitude will lead to great results!

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

By now you must have been researching SEO very well, as you begin to take your company to new heights in an exclusively Internet Age.  Now it’s time to accept the fact that although SEO is a rather straightforward concept, not every SEO firm is going to be helpful to you.  In fact, here are four types of SEO “experts” that you might want to avoid.

The SEO Mill:

Conspicuously cheap prices but bad quality writing – which means all the optimization going on is for nothing.  Search engines no longer pay attention to cheap traffic-grabbing methods and actually penalize companies for trying to pass off bad content as quality content. Get a Professional Copywriter who has experience in SEO Techniques.

The SEO Genius:

For lack of a better term, this is the guy who convinces small companies that he’s doing so much brilliant SEO work, he can’t even explain it all.  All of his/her reports are vague and nothing is ever concrete.  SEO may not be easy, but it is logical and a straightforward business.  Unfortunately, there are some shady individuals working in SEO who give it a bad name. These guys will promise you #1 ranking, unfortunately, the keywords they will rank you for – well – no one’s looking for them. Bummer!

The SEO Evil Genius:

There are still a few of these wise guys out there – the same ones who insist that organic SEO is a waste of time, and that that all of their sneaky methods are what work today.  Some of their scams are obvious (black hat SEO tricks that have been banned by Google) while others are highly suspect (high keyword densities, inserting special codes, etc.).  The only way to buy SEO (just like your groceries) is to buy “organic”!

The SEO Slacker:

This guru has everything down and the logic figured out.  Unfortunately, he/she doesn’t have a solid marketing plan.  If you are looking to an SEO firm for marketing guidance, be sure that you don’t simply take the expert at his word.  Ask the expert precise questions about the what’s and why’s of keywords and SEO marketing.  In the end, not only is this good business, but it also makes sure the SEO Company understands your business model and your customers.

If you have any questions on SEO Strategies, give us a call or fill out the contact form.