3 SEO Myths That Every Business Should Know The Truth About

While there are many SEO myths out there, below we identify and debunk three important myths that every business should know about.

Myth #1: Branded Search Doesn’t Matter

Many SEO professionals espouse that the traffic a site receives from branded search doesn’t matter because the brand’s name is included in the keyword term, and only traffic from non-branded search (search terms that do not include the brand’s name) matters. What this philosophy assumes, is that a Web site which lacks SEO will rank just as well for branded search terms as a Web site that is optimized. This simply isn’t true. When a Web site is optimized, it is optimized for specific keyword terms, and also inadvertently optimized for variations of those keyword terms, including variations that include the brand’s name. If an optimized Web site ranks well and receives traffic from keyword terms that include the brand’s name, whereas prior to optimization it did not, how can traffic from these keyword terms not matter? The simple answer is that traffic from branded search does matter.

Myth #2: SEO’s Primary Role is to Create Initial Contact

Many people believe that SEO’s primary role is to create the initial contact with a prospective customer. The truth is that SEO can play a very important role with prospective customers who have already come into contact with a brand. For example, Tom sees a commercial for On-Time A/C Repair that catches his attention. A week later, his A/C goes out. Tom doesn’t remember the name of the company he saw on that commercial, but he is confident he’ll recognize the name once he sees it. So, he Googles “Tampa A/C Repair” and fortunately, On-Time A/C Repair is the second Web site listed. Tom recognizes the name immediately, and books his appointment. Had On-Time A/C Repair not been optimized and at the top of Tom’s search, they would not have gotten Tom’s business that day. In this scenario, the commercial created the initial contact, and SEO helped facilitate the conversion from prospect to customer.

Myth #3: Paid Search is Unnecessary With Good Rankings

While having good rankings for high traffic keyword terms will send a consistent flow of traffic, what if that traffic could be doubled? A paid search campaign can often contribute a significant amount of traffic on top of what an SEO campaign is already sending. One reason for this is that a paid search campaign can target keyword terms that the SEO campaign has not yet achieved good rankings for. Another reason is that a paid search campaign increases a Web site’s visibility. Search engine results pages (SERPs) have become cluttered and filled with distractions. Good luck capturing a user’s attention with only one organic listing on the first page, even if it’s at the top. Now, add a paid search listing, and a Web site can have twice the visibility for a given keyword term. Because of the increased visibility, running an SEO and paid search campaign concurrently can be much more effective than running either campaign individually.

Looking for professional SEO companies in Tampa? Give us a call at (866) 611-6267 or complete our contact request form for more information on our SEO services.

Is Your Web Site Costing You Customers?

Did you know your Web site may actually be costing you customers? The common consensus among business owners is that having a poorly designed Web site is better than not having one at all. We explain why that theory may actually cause you to lose customers.

First Impressions Really Matter

Think having a cheap Web site is better than not having one at all? Studies indicate that businesses are better off without a Web site, than with one that is poorly designed. The reason for this is that your Web site is often the first impression a potential customer has of your business. It tells them everything they need to know about your business within seconds. In fact, a study conducted at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, concluded that users form a first impression of a Web site based on its design within 50 milliseconds, and that first impression impacts subsequent decisions such as making a purchase.

Your site’s ability to convert visitors into customers begins with trust, and trust cannot be established if visitors do not remain on your site long enough because they are quickly discouraged by its poor design and usability.

You may be saying to yourself, “but if I didn’t have a Web site for that user to find in the first place, I would have lost them as a customer as well.” While that is true, you would not have compounded the loss of that customer with a poor first impression, only making it more difficult to acquire that customer in the future.

Are You a Professional Service Provider?

This is especially true for professional service providers, such as attorneys, physicians, and accountants, where credibility is paramount. Because professional service providers offer important and expensive services, potential customers are willing to invest more time researching them before making a purchase decision. Much of this research will be performed online, starting with the professional service provider’s Web site.

Let’s say someone is in need of an attorney. So, they do a quick Google search, and find two attorneys in their area that meet their needs. Both attorneys have the exact same information on their Web sites, graduated from the same school, charge the same hourly rate, and have the same amount of experience. The first attorney, attorney A, has what appears to be a very well-designed Web site. While the other attorney, attorney B, has a Web site that looks a cheap and outdated. After viewing both attorneys’ sites, the prospective client asks herself, “Can I trust this information? Is this attorney credible?” Given this situation, which attorney would you call first? Most people would call attorney A first, because attorney A successfully differentiated herself from attorney B simply by appearing more credible and trustworthy. Attorney B may be a great attorney, but she never has a chance to speak with the prospective client because her Web site did not communicate effectively that she is a great attorney and worth the call. Furthermore, the prospective client may now have a negative impression of attorney B, impacting attorney B’s chances of acquiring that prospective client in the future.

For these reasons, your Web site may be doing your business more harm than good. A well-designed Web site that makes a great first impression on potential customers should be an essential component of any business owner’s marketing strategy, and professional service providers in particular.

Need a new professional website for your business? Looking to work with a local Tampa Web design company? Contact us at (866) 611-6267 or complete our contact request form for more information on our professional web design services.

Google+ Local: Why Local Businesses Can’t Afford to Ignore Google+ Anymore

Up to now, local businesses have for the most part ignored Google+, and focused most social media efforts on Facebook and other social media outlets. Last month, Google merged Google Places into Google+, which means any company that had a Google Places page now has a Google+ Local page. What does this mean? No more ignoring Google+! With 80 million Google Places pages being converted into 80 million Google+ Local pages, local businesses can no longer afford to ignore Google+.

New Reviews & Rating System

Although there are many differences between Google Places pages and the new Google+ Local pages, one of the differences that will potentially have major implications on local business is the use of the Zagat review rating system, which is based on a 30 point rating scale. Arguably, a 30 point rating scale can have more impact on perception than the 5 star rating scale Google Places utilized, because of the potential for greater spreads in ratings. For example, if someone’s looking for a local dentist and they come across two dentist pages, one with 3 out of 5 stars, and another with 4 out of 5 stars, a one star difference probably won’t have much impact on that person’s perception of each dentist. However, if the same person comes across two dentist pages, one with a rating of 24 out of 30, and one with a rating of 18 out of 30. The dentist with the 24/30 rating is more likely to be perceived as a better dentist.

New Way to Search For Local Businesses

Another difference that will potentially have a great impact on local businesses is the fact that searches for local businesses can now be conducted within Google+, rather than the traditional Google search. However, instead of showing links to Web sites in the search results as in Google’s traditional search, Google+ local search shows links to Google+ Local pages only (with the Zagat ratings listed directly below the business name). This forces users to visit a company’s Google+ Local page before having access to their Web site URL. So, one can see how poor ratings and an incomplete Google+ Local page could result in negative impressions of a business, which would prevent users from ever reaching their Web site.

The Takeaway

The takeaway here is that local businesses will not only have to begin paying attention to Google+, but will need to make sure they’re Google+ Local page is complete and attractive. Local businesses will also want to more actively manage their reviews, and make sure positive ratings and reviews significantly outweigh negative ones.

While there are many changes with the new Google+ Local pages, these are the two changes that we think will have the greatest impact on local businesses initially. If you’d like to learn more, our friends at Search Engine Land have a nice writeup that outlines some additional changes with the new Google+ Local pages.

We are a professional SEO company in Tampa. Want to learn how Google+ Local can help your SEO efforts? Give us a call at (866) 611-6267 or complete our contact request form for more information.